Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Wrestling and clever editing

I’m at the airport in Miami yesterday drinking a latte, thinking cigar, but sitting next to a lovely woman; we talked a bit. Eventually, I start glancing at the New York Times. I look at the front page headlines and, as always, don’t begin reading the articles that are unsurprising: "A Divided House Denounces Plan for More Troops," "Italy Indicts 26, Many from CIA, in ’03 Abduction," "Furor Over Push for a Cervical Cancer Vaccine," and one on McCain, on Iran, and so on. My eye lands on

In Twist for High School Wrestlers: Girl Beats Boy. Still on the front page, below the fold, I begin reading. It has to do with a 103 pound wrestler named Jessica Bennett who is very good at the craft. She racks up points (against a boy), as the boys’ teamates "look down at their feet." I note their shame. The piece seems to describe a bawdy sport, hinging on the pornographic, describing who is mounting who, which leg is being held and where, how the boy is riding the girl’s back, and then almost a kind of lust stirring up a desperate courage, seeming to beat low nature back. She wins the point.

Into the article more, I notice that the woman next to me marks that I am growling and huffing and puffing. I had to explain. Talked about boys and girls, men and women, and the possible differences. She admitted some, and also said she understood the boys’ shame. Physical strength is all they have left now, she said. And maybe not even that. No longer the weaker vessels, these young women, but ladies no more. What will they do? What will the boys do when they cannot be called Andrews? Maybe Jessica has a way out for us, I read aloud to my neighbor what "soft-spoken Jessica" says near the end of the article: "Boys have a lot of testosterone and they’re stronger, so when I win it’s on technique. Hopefully, I can outwit them." This might be high nature reasserting itself, so I end the article being less pessimistic and I note to my new lady friend that it is Jessica herself--a fifteen year old--who understands. Hope reasserted itself.

But I do note this morning, in re-reading the very same article on-line that that comment from Jessica, as it appeared in the paper version of the New York Times, has been removed from the on-line version. I wonder why, and I wonder if Jessica would approve.

Discussions - 36 Comments

Yea, there is clearly a war on men, and it’s been raging since the early 1970s. Now women are earning more degrees, getting better grades...smarter in every way I suppose. The fact is, it’s all nonsense. Most of the women earning degrees are doing so in "soft" fields like education, social sciences, and humanities (although they have made strides in the life sciences). Moreover, men still have the cognitive advantages of spatial perception and analytical thinking (e.g., math). And if you looked into it, men RUN the infrastructure of the modern world. Who strings the electricity grid? Who fixes our computers? Who digs the coal and pumps the oil? Who fixes the plumbing? Who delivers the packages? And who fights the wars? Men, disproportionately in every case. And if men decided to play these stupid gender politics, the modern world would grind to a halt PDQ. Without the efforts of men, women’s so-called equality evaporates.

I think that Western women have had it pretty good, and I’m all for ability deciding peoples’ fate. But the cultural war that degrades men on a daily basis is vain, foolish, and full of falsehoods.

Hey dain, be sure to remind your daughter of all that stuff on a regular basis. That way she won’t go getting any big ideas and try to be something other than a nurse or a housewife! Silly women!

What a trollish comment. Don’t have anything substantive to say...just moral condemnation? How typical...and mindless.

I feel for the boy who had to wrestle Jessica. First, there was the chance -- realized -- that he’d lose. And with that comes more shame than can be imagined for a boy that age. Second, I would guess he felt at least partially hampered in how he wrestled. Wrestling is a full-contact sport, where the placement of hands isn’t always done with complete awareness of where a girl’s breast may happen to be.

Yes, there is a pleasure in beating men in something, especially when they approach every situation with such arrogance! I did it throughout high school and university - and I was consistently the best in statistics and physics, not exactly "soft" fields.

What upsets Dain - and probably Mr. Schramm, too - about this girl wrestler is that she is winning, and her very existence threatens them as they likely couldn’t outwrestle so much as a Ritz cracker, perhaps even working together.

Dain, your points are true, but not as relevant as you think. The increasingly female and feminized "soft" fields that you seem to denigrate ultimately control our culture. The remaining male-dominated fields are secondary and tertiary work in terms of power. Yes, such work is absolutely necessary. In the case of the military, it is heroic. But all or nearly of these people, if you think about it, are instrumental, not in real leadership roles -- let alone culture-defining roles. What you rightly call "the culture war that degrades men" is indeed, in some ultimate sense, "foolish." It is certainly "full of falsehoods." But has done great damage in ways that conservatives have only begun to explore and discuss. It will continue to. We rarely help a situation when we brush it off as unimportant. We just allow it to become more important.

4: Don, you make good points. As usual, the liberal perspective on this story -- and the perspectives of conservatives who don’t bother to think independently about such things -- is shallow and doesn’t consider nearly every relevant aspect.

Conservatives do need to think independently about these things--and to get over their narrow platitudes about gender issues. By all available historical evidence, there’s been a war on females for at least a couple of millenia that’s still going on in most parts of the world today. Yes, Western women have it pretty good, comparatively, when they are able to escape the status of chattel and the scourge of genital mutilation that their sisters endure around the world (if they are allowed to be born at all). But to sneer at women’s "so-called equality,"--quite a late achievement in the scope of things--and to belittle the remarkable academic achievements they’ve made in so short a time betrays, I think, a great deal of insecurity on Dain’s part.

It’s true that men are the majority of people fighting wars...but they also disproportionately start them. The lust to dominate runs deep, but it’s hardly a Christian attribute. I personally don’t understand why anyone wrestles, as that much homoerotic contact between singlet wearers seems embarrassing to me, but the notion that it is inherently humiliating to be bested by a woman is one whose time is up.

David, I don’t really believe that English and Political Science majors are running our country. You are overestimating the importance of such fields. If you look at any college campus, you’ll find that the really big dollars are reserved for engineering, medicine, and business. True, more women are in the latter two fields than before, but these don’t "run the country" either.

And Elizabeth...what exactly did you beat men in, dear?

8: Dain, dollars are not a proxy for cultural influence. With all due respect, I think you’re out of your depth in this particular discussion.

Why is wrestling co-ed, but basketball and other sports are single-sex? Girls can be competitive with boys only in the lower weight classes, and even then not that often. Just like: The occasional girl could make the boys basketball team, but not many of them could. So to maximize female wrestling opportunity, we conservatives should be okay with "the separate but equal approach" encouraged by, say, Title 9, but we should--without getting into pornography, shame, and other kinkiness--insist that coed wrestling makes no sense.

David, I suspect I’ve forgotten more about these topics than you’ve ever known. Believe me, I like the deep end of the pool. Besides, I don’t think you can point to a single relevant statistic that suggests women are about to take over the world. True, they get more college degrees, but as those degrees become ever more common their worth will shrink, whereas your typical UPS man’s income will continue to rise. Economic power IS political power, David, and pushing information (the foundation of women’s "so-called equality"), is dependent on the basic infrastructure of society (i.e., men). We have forgotten just how much power the infrastructure holds...globalization has immasculated our economy, but I’m betting that can’t last.

"Hear me roar" clearly has issues. There are millions of women who have been taught to resent Nature, and empowered by birth control and the easy comfort provided by inanimate forms of energy (both of which were invented by men), they fancy themselves competitive with men. They aren’t, at least in those areas that involve dealing with "the world." Women probably are men’s social equals...their communications and other "people" skills surpass men’s. Nonetheless, the male has been specialized by Nature to deal with the broader environment, and women will never be truly competitive in that realm. Broad-spectrum "equality" for women is a hot-house flower.

And people can just make fun of me all they want. Question my morality...fine. Visualize my wife in chains if it makes you happy. Regardless, I’m talking the facts of life, and I’ve grown weary of PC-fantasy.

First of all, what a terrible thing to happen to a fifteen year old boy. Damn. Second, Dr. Mansfield’s book, Manliness, is a great if this sort of thing interests you (or if you find nothing wrong with what happened). It’s target audience is the educated woman, and he treats this subject with scientific fact and common sense.

Peter wrote: "Why is wrestling co-ed, but basketball and other sports are single-sex?"

Perhaps a better question: if the occasional girl is permitted to participate on a boys’ team, may boys try out for positions on the girls’ team?

My guess is the answer is "No." It "wouldn’t be fair," or some such drivel.

A gentleman would not wrestle a girl. It’s not about whether or not he would lose, but about how a man should treat a woman. It is, to state the obvious, a full-contact sport, and so a gentleman would not want to exercise his full strength or technique wrestling a young lady (in public, no less) precisely because to do so would be to dishonor her as well as himself. This has nothing to do with his being outwitted by her (a distinct possibility), or even about him losing to her (though he has no chance of truly winning this kind of contest anyway). The question is, WHY would a boy want to wrestle and beat a girl? He wouldn’t if he had an alternative not to. Boys do so because adults, who should know better, make them to satisfy ludicrous laws. If the powers that be insist that boys wrestle girls, better for the boy to take the forfeit and preserve his honor and the girl’s virtue (to speak generally here). I ask, Is there a man or woman reading this who would permit his or her own daughter to wrestle a boy, with all that this competition entails?

This thread is nuts. First, we have Peter Schramm "growling and huffing and puffing" next to some woman - or should I say fair damsel? - in an airport, and imagining a liberal conspiracy for the web version of the story.

Then we get Dain and David Frisk bickering about exactly how feminist liberals are destroying all things good, but it mostly degrades into an ego-fueled pissing match [shorter version: "I’m smart and deep." "No you’re not, and I’m smarter and deeper than you." "No, I’m the smartest and the deepest."] - yaaaaawn.

And now we’ve got Morel clearing the table and declaring that the boys should just refuse to wrestle girls who want to give it a shot, and usually lose. Sounds like the perfect excuse...if you’re a chicken.

Lucas Morel wrote: The question is, WHY would a boy want to wrestle and beat a girl? He wouldn’t if he had an alternative not to.

That is absolutely correct. There is no upside benefit, and an enormous downside risk. I am quite certain the boy in question was deeply troubled by the prospect, and very confused about the real rules of engagement. Did someone coach him beforehand and say, "Son, wrestle like she was a boy. Don’t worry about groping her, or having your hand in her crotch, or locking her head in your legs so her face is inches from yours." Even if they had, I doubt a boy of that age, already anxious about how exactly to treat a young lady, would have fully accepted the coaching and wrestled as if she was a boy.

Lucas Morel wrote: I ask, Is there a man or woman reading this who would permit his or her own daughter to wrestle a boy, with all that this competition entails?

I assure you there are many who would ... provided they thought their daughter had a shot at beating the boy. Never underestimate the power and allure of parental pride ... or any type of pride for that matter.

Claremont Escapee wrote: And now we’ve got Morel clearing the table and declaring that the boys should just refuse to wrestle girls who want to give it a shot, and usually lose. Sounds like the perfect excuse...if you’re a chicken.

Morel started his post with: A gentleman would not wrestle a girl. The word "gentleman" is the operative word. Morel is absolutely correct: a gentleman would not. The question is whether the young man in question was a gentleman, or more importantly, had a developing sense about how a gentleman behaves and was silently seeking the guidance of an older gentleman to help him in this quest. If so, then being told to wrestle a girl and, presumably, to try to physically beat her must have been a very confusing thing indeed. Why? Because a gentleman would not wrestle a girl. The boy would sense this. And his sense would be contradicted by an important role model in his life: his coach.

The whole episode speaks volumes about the confused nature of our world today. Imagine the boy had wrestled her without regard to her being a girl, and in the process inadvertanly broke her arm, or dislocated her shoulder. Would the response have been, "That’s the nature of the sport?" No. It would have been condemnation of the boy for being so aggressive. The boy was in a complete no-win situation: if he wins, then it’s "Big deal, she’s a girl." If he wins and wins decisively, then it’s "You didn’t have to be so rough!" And he if loses, it’s "You lost to a girl? What are you, a girl too?" Try processing all that when you’re 14, raging with hormones, and struggling with competing impulses -- natural male competitiveness against the stirrings of a sense of gentleness and generosity towards women.

It’s no wonder the Marine Corps recruiting is never lacking. Their message about being a man in the best sense of the word. If this episode is any evidence of a broader trend, then boys all across this country must be exiting their adolescence in a very confused state.

No, I’d say that the Claremont Escapee is nuts...escaping from Claremont? That tells you everything you need to know. As for David and myself, I’m not sure why is said I was "out of my depth." An odd personal attack from someone I usually agree with. When I tell him I know more on this topic, that is almost certainly the Walter Brennan used to say on The Guns of Will Sonnett back in the 60s: "No brag, just fact." Male-bashers always resort to labeling any male exchange as a "pissing context," thereby morally undercutting whatever content the disagreement might have contained. Again, just another cheap rhetorical trick.

Meant to say "pissing contest" of course.

This exchange reminds me of the following from Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier:

But whoso wyll wrastle, runne and leape with men of the countrey, ought (in my judgement) to do it after a sorte: to prove himselfe and (as they are wonte to saye) for courtesie, not to trye maistry with them: and a man ought (in a maner) to be assured to get the upper hand, elles let him not meddle with al, for it is to ill a sight and to foule a matter and without estimation to see a Gentilman overcome by a Carter and especially in wrastling. Therfore I beleve it is wel done to abstaine from it, at the leastwise in the presence of many, because if he overcome, his gaine is small, and his losse in being overcome very great.

When I was a little girl, I had brothers and lots of neighbors who were boys. I could run faster than most, climb trees better than any, and even fought and wrestled and often won. Then my body changed, and so did everything about the way I related to boys. I had to become a lady and I resented it, but it IS futile to complain against Nature. But I knew even then that what Lucas says above was right; no gentleman would wrestle with me. To wrestle with the other sort was to lose even I won.

But in my memories of fighting with boys - distant though they are - to out-think the boy and use his weight and strength against him was the way to win. If I needed to, I would get him angry and upset so he didn’t think clearly, because that helped, too. In this case, sex makes for a different kind of upset-ness of the sort Don in AZ writes about above and certainly would be an advantage for the adolescent girl against the adolescent boy, even if she didn’t intend it.

No, I would not let my daughter wrestle with boys nor let my boys encounter the temptation they might face when wrestling with a girl.

Kate: you may have been able to run faster than me, climb trees better and fought and wrestle better. But if you and I would have faced off in an Easy Oven cake cooking contest, I would have whooped ya. So there.

I need a vacation. Or something even more therapeutic than that. :-)

Probably, even if encouraged by the existing framework of a girls wrestling team, most girls wouldn’t be all that interested in it. Jessica’s school doesn’t offer a girls team, and she obviously really wants to partake in the sport. And she’s good at it; she’s 23 for 35. It doesn’t appear to be a fluke when she wins.

I don’t see where the story was "hinging on the pornographic," either. It does point out that "One thing that coaches, parents and wrestlers — both boys and girls — agree on is that sex is the last thing on wrestlers’ minds as they pull and push and turn their partners, same sex or opposite." This is easy enough to fathom. If your concentration is sidetracked, even for a split second, by some lusty notion, that could well cost you the match. From girls on wrestling mats to gays in foxholes, some people always assume sex is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Projection, perhaps?

Jessica’s explanation (pointing to technique and "outwit[ting]" them) for her victories is rather obviously self-deprecating. Wrestlers compete within their weight classes so, even when it’s boy vs. boy, mastery of technique plays more into winning than strength does. Jessica is winning the same way that most boy wrestlers win.

The implication of the original post, and most of the comments, seems to be that girls and women need to stay "in their place" and that a) girls harm their "virtue" when they challenge males in areas usually dominated by males and b) boys should refuse to accept the challenge posed by a female, even within the context of a sport (which is a game). Girls lose their virtue and boys lose their "honor" - especially if the girl wins! Sounds like a slippery, haughty rationalization for just preserving fragile (yet bloated) male egos and male dominance, even if such dominance hasn’t been earned (by vanquishing challengers) and is just assumed to be the way it is and should be.

Don in AZ: "Imagine the boy had wrestled her without regard to her being a girl, and in the process inadvertanly [sic] broke her arm, or dislocated her shoulder. Would the response have been, "That’s the nature of the sport?" No. It would have been condemnation of the boy for being so aggressive. The boy was in a complete no-win situation: if he wins, then it’s "Big deal, she’s a girl."

I highly doubt that would be the response if the girl was injured. Broken arms and dislocated shoulders do not necessarily result only from excess aggression on the mat. And, again, seeing that Jessica’s 23 for 35, who could seriously respond to a boy beating her with "Big deal, she’s a girl."?

Don in AZ again: "It’s no wonder the Marine Corps recruiting is never lacking. Their message about being a man in the best sense of the word" - That’s not true, and it appears that lately, when the recruitment goals are met, it has more to do with things like this. Is having a felony conviction part of "being a man in the best sense of the word" now?

Lastly, regarding dain’s declaration that "there is clearly a war on men." If men are both physically stronger and more mentally capable (in all the most useful areas and hard fields that truly matter, as you’ve said), and also run the infrastructure AND could "evaporate" women’s so-called equality at the drop of a hat, what do they have to fear, exactly? And if this "war on men" was not initiated by men, but by women, then why shouldn’t men just go nuclear, all-out shock and awe, and give these feminazis (and whoever else) the fight, and humiliating defeat they’ve been begging for?

Don in AZ: Maybe with an Easy-Bake Oven, because I did not own one, but NOT with a real one. Mom had migraines. Somebody had to do the cooking when she didn’t, and I was still the girl.

Take up baking, again. It can be very therapeutic.

Kate, stir-frying is my personal therapy. Taking out your angst on those miserable bamboo shoots does wonders for one’s day!

"No, I would not let my daughter wrestle with boys nor let my boys encounter the temptation they might face when wrestling with a girl."

Bravo for coming up with that gem, Kate. What do you think is going to happen? They’re just gonna succumb to their lust and go from a full nelson to humping on the mat? Not everyone is seconds away from ripping their clothes off and going at it, old gal.

Dain, you’re a pathetic clown who not only manages to be wrong on virtually every issue, but manages to come across as bitter, arrogant, nasty, and more than a tad crazy as well. Just thought you should know!

"Into the article more, I notice that the woman next to me marks that I am growling and huffing and puffing."

Gee Mister Schramm, you sound like the Big Bad Wolf. Wasn’t the poor dame frightened?

Liberal Troll, don’t be silly. Well, no. Be my guest and be silly, though it leaves you seeming nasty, arrogant and not a little whacked, yourself.

If you had any sense, or any children, you would know that we, being parental, protect them from that kind of temptation. Temptation is of the mind. Maybe to your liberal mind, to think is to act. I did not consider it like that, at all. I just would not burden my child’s mind, neither the male nor the female mind, with the thoughts.

Kate...shhhhh. It’s best to let them ooze a little and then mop up afterwards. Messy, I know, but that’s the nature of the beast.

It doesn’t seem like you burden your own mind with thoughts of any kind!

Wow. What a great response. I know that Kate deems your insult too banal, nasty, and arrogant to warrant a reply, but I must commend you. You have satisfied her burden and have proven her to be absolutely correct. Well done. Or should I say, "Bravo for coming up with that gem."

Thank you for also appropriating the adjective "liberal" to yourself and to your statement. Though lacking the courage to state your actual name, you have bravely and masterfully brought an entire class of people down with you. You could not have served conservatives any better. Your devolution of intelligent discourse is appreciated.

Craig, a wrestling record does not require the wrestler to actually win; if the opposing team doesn’t have anyone in your weight class you automatically chalk up a win (which is why weight management is so important). I’m not saying this is necessarily how she got most or even any of her wins, but 103 is light, even at the high school level.

As for the Marine/Army recruiting, I wouldn’t read too much into it. Like the article noted, waivers still have to be signed (and a bunch of paperwork to boot); it’s not a simple blanket acceptance of all those who apply (I’m sure someone convicted of a violent crime would not be admitted). And as far as the officer recruits go, though, the standards are still pretty strict; for instance, the Marine Corps doesn’t accept persons with any tattoos into their officer program.

Though we are getting off the subject (though thankfully redirecting toward intelligent discussion), I believe the Marine Corps message is precisely what Don in AZ claimed - and it is wholly effective. The fact that the Army and Marines now take recruits with prior convictions (on an extremely limited basis, I assure you) does not negate the fact that both offer opportunities for these men to be "men in the best sense of the word." Obviously, the services do not recruit in prisons. Obviously, they are also not seeking this demographic for recruitment purposes or as part of their recruiting campaigns. It borders on the absurd to suggest that either the Marines or Army are promoting criminal convictions as necessary and admirable steps in the process of becoming a man. Moreover, these men (and presumambly, women) who enlist have already "served their time" to society. Why should they not have the opportunity to take a further positive step and also serve their country -- particularly when we espouse such lofty classical "liberal" notions as rehabilitation and restoration (as opposed to retribution) for "succesful" penal programs?

Now, whether the Marine Corps and Army produce the men that it proposes remains open for debate. I’d like to think that, more often than not, they do. Regardless, the message of the Marines’ recruiting is loud and clear: Be a great man. Be a Marine. I’ve often wished that the Army would do the same - rather than offering the pretextual bait of "college money" and "job skills" (two incentives that, in themselves, do nothing for producing warriors). I believe the Marines produce some of the greatest warriors in the world, precisely because they recruit "men" (and, to a lesser extent, "women").

As a final aside, following on the heels of Andrew’s comment, it is absolutely impossible for a person with a felony conviction to become an officer in any branch of the military.

Thank you, Cpt. Naum, for your defense. I didn’t really have anything else to say on the subject. Then, having time for a scroll, I noticed the jump in traffic, here, and I’m glad I did. Your riposte was a sharp one.

I think LT must have confused me with some worthy object of attack, as if I had some standing that could be damaged by insult. I think I offended LT in some previous blog post, and his ad hominem attacks make me feel like some Barbara Frietchie of the culture wars.

But to your later point, wasn’t there a tradition of sending troubled or troubling young men into the military to straighten them out? The military seems a wonderful second chance.

Defense is my (part-time) job, and I enjoy it immensely. However, I hope it was really the attack, and not my defense, that invokes the memory of the good widow Frietchie. Certainly, what few gray hairs you might have do not need my un-Stonewallesque protection!

To your last question and point (though I doubt you need my answer or input), I can think of no better second chance than the US military. There certainly was, once upon a time, a strong tradition in this country of sending troubled youth into the armed forces - though that tradition has ebbed. With reductions in forces and an increased need for specialized skill, the various branches were able to be much more selective. War has reinvigorated it, though - as it has reinvigorated patriotism and a desire to serve within much of my generation (I believe you know of what I speak). However, the tradition certainly survives. I have known some great, disciplined, honorable soldiers who were presented the option by magistrates: "Join the Army or go to jail." Each one that I know has acquitted himself admirably. The US Military is unique in that it truly presents a bona fide second chance to these souls, as well as many other tangible benefits separate and distinct from "the King’s Shilling" (which, you know, any old convict would take; and which is still offered by many armies of many nations).

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