For those of us who who are devoted to the American tele-novella Mad Men, the recent psycho-shooting at Ft. Hood had an eerie plot echo.
In Mad Men, which takes place in New York of 1963, there's a fictional character named Greg, an aspiring surgeon who disgraces himself so badly in the operating room that he is forced to go into, shame of all shames, psychiatry.
Since I've placed my life in the hands of a therapist more than once, this reaction came as a surprise to me!
Yet among Greg's colleagues at the hospital, the psychiatry career path is considered a "fail." The deep background on Greg is that we already know he is a messed-up dude, a rapist with serious issues who is the LAST person you'd want to be talking to on a couch.
As the season closes, we learn that Greg has joined the Army where they're desperate enough to take a loser like him and give him a surgeon's scalpel and a badge.
He's so ignorant he doesn't have a clue that Vietnam is his imminent destination.
Meanwhile, in real life, Nidal Malik Hasan, the deranged Army psychiatrist who went on a shooting spree at Ft. Hood, also turns out to be… a failed surgeon. The detail that caught my eye was the anecdote revealed by his uncle, who said that Hasan went into psychiatry after he FAINTED in the O.R. during a routine childbirth. The sight of a baby emerging from a woman's vagina sent Nidal over the edge.
With that clue, something in me snapped.
This was a guy, who by all accounts so far, has never been on a date, and routinely complained to his mosque's imam that he couldn't find a woman "pious" enough to marry, a virgin who would wear a veil around the clock.
Hassan is being scrutinized for any potential ties to espionage, fanatical religious beliefs, and vicarious PTSD from treating so many broken soldiers.
But this man's craziness is more clearly understood in the context of his severe and distorted sexual repression.
In the midst of this reality-fantasy convergence, another piece of patriarchal-creep rocked the country— this time, affecting more people than Ft. Hood and Mad Men's viewership combined. We witnessed the Orwellian "health care reform" process become derailed by what I call "The Stupid Amendment," a wildly successful Vatican intervention to make sure that whatever health care plan comes out of Congress, it will be engineered to control women's wombs.
In other words, health insurance for men, not for women.
The Stupak Amendment is ostensibly about preventing women from using their insurance coverage to pay for abortion procedures. But making a rule that women's healthcare below the waist is subject to moral review is outrageous.
Would any of these politicians consider making a health care exemption to the complications of a man's penis? His prostate? His semen? His scrotum? His urethra? Would urologists, like abortion surgeons, be treated like criminals whose entire knowledge base should be wiped out of existence? Would any man be put on parade to prove "rape, incest, or imminent death" in order to prove that he needed a procedure about ANYTHING?
"Pro-life" rhetoric is now used across the aisle, with even the President proclaiming that the federal government will never fund abortions.
Afghanistan annihilation, yes! Abortion, no!
Our war-lovin', misogynistic culture cares so little about "life" that the candlelight vigil for the Hasan's victims at Fort Hood had the air of a rote exercise. Here's Wade Goodwyn, from NPR, talking last week:
The thing I was struck by was... that the vigil was a well-established routine.
I mean, this was a pretty big moment for me, but I could tell that the attending crowd had done this before.
And when we interviewed people, the soldiers and the families, after the vigil was over, they'd tell us, "I've been to too many of these already."
This country cares little about killing all life forms and even less about the welfare of its children. Our atrocious infant mortality rates, hungry children, uneducated children, children with birth defects and developmental disabilities treated like trash… my blood's turned cold. Watching Congressmen gleefully cheer on the passage of the Stupak amendment, for me, was like watching Greg rape Joan— and worse, to witness her acceptance of it.
It reminds me of something I wrote in The Sexual State of the Union:
American boomerangs from "Fear of a Black Planet," a Youth Revolt, a genderfuck coup, to the opposite horror: that of a lone man with a big gun.
Meet the older, privileged, "had-all-the-opportunities" kinda guy who comes equipped with a bomb, no dates, and a pathologically self-centered attitude. Oh, we'll wish he had only been in the Crips! If only he'd been a drag queen, if only he'd pierced his dick and gotten high on dope! Any of these would be preferable, a million times more humane.
We can diss a counter-culture, but what are we supposed to do with a counter-human? We can't stand to look at the cult of alienated masculinity and wonder how we got here.