A commenter on an article written by some straight dude (who won’t be shut up about it) inspired what follows. I entitled it “The Wilhelm Scream of cultural misandry” because of what Private Wilhelm represented in his time and what he represents today. Anyway, the quote:
In the case of soldiers, especially, we SHOULD cheer them on for allowing themselves to be made disposable.
(emphasis in the original)
Who is Private Wilhelm, you ask, and what is his relation to the above quote concerning other disposable soldiers?
He is a fictional character from a film called The Charge at Feather River. At some point in this film, Private Wilhelm is shot with an arrow and then screams. The scream, separated from all other noise one would expect in such a scene (that I haven’t seen), was then used in more than 200 movies. It may have been used in two or more films before it received its name, thanks to Private Wilhelm, who is remembered for screaming some other man’s scream.
It is used in movies today, such as the not-so-recent Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is, along with cultural misandry, easily heard and seen in a myriad ways across mainstream media and society:
Back during my reparative therapy years, I saw a commercial for a Denzel Washington (oh boy, here we go again) and Russell Crowe movie called Virtuosity. At 1:44 in the linked trailer, a man is picked up by the seat of his pants and thrown over a crowd into an arena. I haven’t seen the film and do not see evidence of the Wilhelm Scream in particular being used in it, however, the clip with the guy thrown to his death is just a few seconds after some other guy apparently gets his neck broken by Russell Crowe, who is a cyber-composite of a whole bunch of male serial killers, with appropriate male screaming and other brutal sound effects.
Movies like this are considered guy movies; they’re considered date movies when it’s the guy’s night to choose, or the girl’s night and she’s a Russell Crowe or Denzel Washington fan (which, if she’s a straight female, she most likely is). Nobody’s a fan of the stunt man or the extra that is paid a great deal less (and is probably more than happy to deal with less). They have the disposable jobs in Hollywood, the entertainment industry of the society that raised and informed each one of us. The scream is quite common, but so commonly ignored that only those who enjoy the process of listening for it will notice it.
I didn’t know about the popular Wilhelm Scream, or the myriad other canned screams of men used by sound engineers in Hollywood. Neither did I know about society’s influence in my own mind, back in those days. I stayed away from the tough boys out of incomprehension, an inability brought about not least due to the influence of mass media. I was a misandrist by default.
All I knew at the time was that I was supremely uncomfortable watching a man being picked up like a kitten by the scruff of its neck, rendering all of his power and autonomy thoroughly useless, in a panic over something for which he is completely emotionally and physically unprepared; and made to look like a fool during an agonizing, sudden, shocking, and horrifying death. The trailer for the film, however, is slick and cool. So is Crowe. So don’t worry.
Several red pills later, and now I get it: they were just boys when I was growing up. Nothing more. Now that we’re all older, they’re just guys. Since that’s just what I am, I should treat them the way I would want to be treated. Just how did this transformation happen?
I mentioned reparative therapy because when I tried turning from gay to straight, I read a lot of books on masculinity while spending hours at the library. I then spent day after day observing interactions between men, between men and women, between men and their children, and between men and me. This is when the misandry that I had ignorantly embraced began to melt. There is no better way to describe what I learned than to juxtapose two incidents to which I was witness, both of which would otherwise be thoroughly inconsequential:
While visiting a girls’ apartment, a group of us were watching television, something at which my generation is supremely good. I watched in fascination as two female roommates, both heterosexual, lay up against each other, while the one in back stroked the hair of the female who laid on her. None of the men in the room seemed to care at all. Why should they? It’s expected and ignored.
It’s less common to ignore a gay guy lying platonically and fully clothed on another gay guy while giggling like a school girl. So one of the straight roommates, in full the-church-says-not-to-do-that mode, expresses astonishment and enough awkwardness to fill several pews.
That should give you some indication of what I learned. There are unwritten, societal rules for men and women: expected behavior, modes of discourse, code words and phrases, hopes and dreams, and so much more. On top of that my unique Mormon environment placed “God-determined” sex roles. Being spiritually informed did nothing to alter cultural perceptions of male vs. female. It actually augmented a great many of those differences unintentionally.
“You get him, Jack. I don’t care what you have to do. Just get him.” That line always drew cheers from the audience at our college theater. It’s from Patriot Games, starring everyone’s favorite patriot, Harrison Ford. In my opinion, it’s a tightly constructed and highly intelligent thriller. That movie proves that nobody ever did or will ever do pissed-off better than Ford. I worked at that theater, and the cheers I heard were mostly from women. With few exceptions, those were neoconservative women. That line is spoken by Anne Archer who plays Jack’s wife in very neoconservative fashion.
She’s understandably upset and afraid. The bad guy (who later dies a grisly death) tried to run her and her daughter off the road, and her daughter is fighting for her life in the hospital. She doesn’t care what Jack has to do. Apparently, she’s not going to do it herself. Presumably, she doesn’t know how. Obviously, as long as Jack is around in full utilitarian fashion, he can be the one to take out the garbage and then get the bad guy. He has the cushy, sexy job. He is the one who grew up in a culture that privileged men.
To make up for the injustice against his wife’s sex, one of the things Jack does is participate in the execution of some disposable terrorists (or suspected disposable terrorists) in a North African camp, hoping that one of them is the bad guy. While the movie’s composer rips off Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, the viewer is shown an electronic outline of a man’s body as he crawls his last few crawls. No scream. Only music.
Unfortunately, Jack doesn’t get him. Not yet. But hopefully that other guy deserved it. Ol’ Whatshisname.
At least that movie had the idea of showing us a conscience for the main character, and a rough outline of a suffering man. But then, that cyber-silhouette is there not so much to reflect on a life lost, but more to salve the viewer’s conscience while he or she (or she or she or she, because Ford is so handsome) watches Ford consent to the death of a man whose connection to the dangerous man who directly threatens Ford is tenuous at best. If you are busying yourself with studying the male mind, that “blip” on the screen begins to mean a great deal more.
As a result, and more than midway through my college experience, instead of being in love with the male body alone, I was also in love with the male mind. I’m glad I didn’t pay much for those repairs.
Jason Gregory’s article about the devolution of sports and his subsequent article about society’s expectations of male violence are describing social phenomena that run parallel with the devolution of the entire culture. In order to see it, I contend that you have to experience simultaneous devolution of misandry in your own mind. Since I am relatively unfamiliar with the world of sports, I will demonstrate what I see of cultural misandry by using another pair of movies:
In the original King Kong, there was a scene included in the cut shown at the screening of the film that featured a group of men who had been shaken off a giant log by the giant ape. Living in the ravine into which they fell were giant spiders that ate the men alive. The audience of the 30s, to its credit, left the theater talking more about that scene than anything that followed, which was roughly half the film. The filmmakers realized that they would have to cut that scene to keep continuity since it was so horrifically memorable.
The modern-day theater-going audience showed no such repulsion, as Peter Jackson, in love with the original, put that scene right back in for his 2005 remake, so that we could all watch the talented Andy Serkis’s head being devoured by a giant worm. With all due respect to the equally talented Jackson, that, in my mind, is devolution of the culture, and we’re not even talking about sports.
Continuing in the world of cinema, in keeping with a hot topic these days, and to show the deeper meaning of this personal transformation, I credit AVfM’s own Dr. T with putting the final nail in the coffin for me concerning the brouhaha over Woody Allen allegedly marrying his own daughter. In the linked video (at about 15:30), she mentions that she believes Allen and his then-girlfriend Soon-Yi were both looking for a way out of their relationships with Mia Farrow, who displays a type of abusive nature by adopting far more children than she can possibly nurture.
It had never occurred to me before that Woody Allen was not actually responsible for anything with which I can now say I disagree, except not discussing his feelings with his girlfriend first, since it involved her daughter. However, to refrain from doing so with someone who you think will react in an unreasonable fashion is perfectly understandable.
What that actually means is that not all vestiges of cultural misandry have been removed from my mind. Here is what I allowed mainstream media, from the nightly news to Saturday Night Live, do to my view of Woody Allen’s intensely private life for more than 20 years:
- He had sex with his teenaged adopted daughter.
- He kept it a secret from a woman who was practically his common-law wife.
- He probably also molested another of his daughters, and I even saw video of Allen being humiliated in front of a family court judge who declared him to be an unfit father to his face.
- The “neurotic New York Jew” act is apparently real, and a serious disappointment.
This is what is wrong with trusting mainstream media to tell the truth about anything. I was completely off. I was totally and completely off. (Well, perhaps not the neurotic-New-York-Jew thing.) Perhaps I would not have been so off if I were free of the remnants of our Wilhelm-screaming-culture.
Now a great film auteur, whose Oscar-winning body of work stretches easily across four decades while it continues to grow, has his name forever associated with incest and pedophilia. He is guilty of neither, to even the slightest extent. It does not matter to me that no court tried to convict him. It does not matter to me that he’s an older man married to a much younger love, which is an enviable position for any man. It does not matter to me that his political leanings are left-of-center, which keeps him in his happy Fifth Avenue social circles. It does not matter to me that A-list actors and actresses still line up to appear in his movies. It does not matter to me that he will die with all the creature comforts his amazing career has handed him. It does not matter to me that he can afford expensive lawyers. Nothing makes up for what these false allegations and rumors did to his name, or what I allowed it to do to his reputation in my mind. None of it makes up for how it must make a man feel.
That’s how hatred builds. It starts with assumptions that people make every day that they never question. If those assumptions are not premised on truthful, factual information, then it is that much easier for those assumptions to lead to hate.
What are the false assumptions that are supposedly made about women that get feminists so upset, and have convinced so many modern men and women that they are truly implemented against women in our society? Let’s list a few:
- “Women are intellectually inferior to men.”
- “Women can’t do the workload of men.”
- “Women are emotionally weaker than men.”
- “Women are seen as sex objects.”
Consequently, women need extra help and care due to their shared history of oppression at the hands of men who presumably make such ridiculous assumptions. Let’s not even debate the above four alleged assumptions, or the presumed conclusion. Let’s just assume the assumptions are existent, and the conclusion a necessary one; then contrast them with one assumption about men that wasn’t dreamt up like a straw man, because it lives and breathes in another article’s comments. I pasted it up top and I’ll paste it again:
In the case of soldiers, especially, we SHOULD cheer them on for allowing themselves to be made disposable.
How do any societal ideas about women (whether the above four assumptions are popularly held, or there are others I haven’t mentioned) that are alleged even come close in hideousness to just one societal expectation of men that can be proven? It is a conclusion about men, a belief (or what I would call an operating premise) that crosses skin color, sex, age, political ideology, culture, economic status, social class, education level, and religion.
It is far more powerful than feminism, because it comes I believe from natural evolutionary principles. I shouldn’t have to mention that intellectually we have gone far past evolution as a race of people on this planet, and for reasons heretofore unknown. Regardless, it is why it will sometimes seem like I’m defending feminism, or women too much, or not focusing in the right area. Semantics interest me far less than hateful assumptions, especially when those operating premises are so deeply ingrained that we do not see them, and cannot hear Wilhelm’s pitiful-yet-repetitive scream.
The concerns of modern women are legitimate in some respects, but not respecting perspective. As Big Daddy Angry Harry has taught us: “Indeed, there is nowhere on this Earth where the people can be happy if the men are not happy; and it is fast becoming supremely dangerous for millions of men not to be happy.”
Would you rather people assumed you were physically or emotionally weaker than another, and so need special care or less responsibility; or would you rather be told that you are more desirable the more you are able to display physical abilities that are either consummate with violent behavior, or an artful recreation of that behavior, and so should expend time, energy, and discipline to achieve that desire?
Feminism will die a slow, strange death, but the Wilhelm Scream will continue to be heard in the background. Cultural misandry is far more malignant and under the radar. The last pitiful cries concerning this culture’s supposed misogyny will most likely have to die out first. Such a hoped-for ideal goes beyond any time when there might be any lack of feminist thought, because “women and children first” predates any feminist ideology. I doubt that phrase had anything to do with a lack of females speaking to males about their needs. It will probably continue in this fashion until the culture realizes that – contrary to what female complaints about female troubles try to affirm while the culture embraces the Wilhelm Scream – it never wanted to hear the Wilhelmina Scream to begin with, and still doesn’t.