is right: in the brave new world of identity politics, most Scottish men do not reflect on their 'masculinity'. In fact, in my experience as a philosopher (as someone who's disposed to uncover and reflect critically on the conceptual apparatus by which we construct the lifeworlds we inhabit), most Scottish men don't delve all that deeply, if ever, into ontological matters per se. Most are content to dwell, like the proverbial swine, in the phenomenal world, into which they find themselves thrown from birth, and respond to the events that befall them in their daily lives in ways they just instinctively feel are right.
Like most Scottish men, I got my instincts (my conceptual apparatus) from my father and the other significant men in my childhood, through both their exemplary behaviours and the language they used to confirm their identities to one another. Unlike most, however, I've spent much of my adult life, as a philosopher, tapping away at those instincts with my little critical hammer, to hear whether they ring true or whether they shatter under the stresses and strains of their own internal dissonances, on the Socratic principle that an unexamined life is not worth living.
But I'm not the full Socrates, coward that I am. Down the pub, I tend to keep my little philosophical hammer tucked judiciously away in my pocket, well out of sight, along with my vape pen. No eavesdropping on manly conversations for me; and certainly no foolhardy interjections.
As Gerry says, it would indeed 'be helpful [to our liberation as irreducible, autonomous individuals from traditional structures of oppression like our historically given identities] if the role of masculinity and the privileges and social assumptions which flow from it were addressed in this [transgender] controversy'.
But it's not going to happen, is it? It's not the kind of thing men, being 'men' (i.e. real men, who powerfully assert, jealously guard, and staunchly defend when challenged their 'masculinity', whatever that might mean to them, rather than deconstructive Übermenschen for whom, paradoxically, all such identifications, including their own as 'Übermenschen', are limits to be overcome) are wont to call into question.
And if you would ever care to retire some evening to a place where men do quaff and there address with them the social assumptions that inform the self-construction of their masculinity, Gerry... well, I'll haud yer jaiket and phone for the ambulance.
The current toilet tissue issue struck a friend I was talking to. My usual orders of tomatoes and UHT milk were a little short but not disastrous (housebound and needing weekly deliveries) and the news is on TV and there is even more about the rolls of the stuff. Curiously enough, one of my vivid memories of the time as a teenaged trolley-pusher was of having to work out how to break toilet rolls, which got flung from the crowd across the track and to the pitch. They used to catch and tangle round our wheels. Young men came to football matches laden with them, and you could say an opportunity was missed to create a new Olympic sport with guaranteed advance British superiority. And perhaps sponsorship – bankrolling. Some of the throwing was really impressive, and fortunately the items were launched at a steep angle:
more to the horizontal they could have strangled!
anyway they tangled
when I was a gangling lad!
Robert R Calder
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