Men rule. • 2 October 2008

Could there be any more tension today? In every overheard conversation on campus, a dozen facebook updates, to say nothing of the places online where I round up my news. We’re doing this mass anticipatory schadenfreude, eager for Sarah Palin bite it tonight. Even the Christians are ready for her to get fed to the lions like a good old-time martyr (not kidding—they love it too).

Tease it out: where is about anger that such an incompetent could be put up as a leader? And where is it about latent patriarchy in us? I’m not kidding.

I’ve been thinking about what I’d say to Biden. Basically: DON’T DO ANYTHING, JOE. There’s no soundbite, no smackdown no coup de grace you can issue that’s better than the self-undoings she can issue herself. You’re a cipher for patriarchy, man; just stand there and emit no personality. I don’t care that this is the high point of the noble work you’ve done all your life to get here. Just become nobody, bubble under all the “You, Sarah, are no Hillary Clinton” lines. If you must, emit subtle condescention. Don’t do anything so overtly fatherly that someone can point to it later—just stand there above her inadequacy and don’t do her the compliment of really speaking back to it.

Sometimes I scare myself. I didn't know my own inner sexist shadow was that long. But yes: the winning strategy is pure patriarchy. And we (or, rather, I) want to see this. We want to see how unassailable patriarchy really is. What's not to like about this vision of Sarah standing up against patriarchy and revealing she’s just a little girl from beauty contests?

Fine. Ok. I want her to expose McCain as a corrupt, condescending player—as a man who has no standards for or expectations of women. But it is pretty messed up that to the degree that Biden comes down off the patriarchial pedestal, her loss will diminish. If he actually speaks as a person, rather than standing there and representing male domination, she gets points. If he addresses her as an equal (taking a subject-to-subject stance), she sort of wins because she's garnered some legitimacy. Gut-wrenching illustration of just how much a background of daddy-power is in our politics.

A post-patriarchical strategy is this: nobody gets to rely only on implicit cultural biases about what men and women are supposed to be–the supposed strengths and weakness that patriarchy says follow from genitalia. Biden has to beat her one-to-one. They have to engage each other as subjects, not objects bearing cute little sets of limitations and entitlements.

That's actually a much harder debate for the Dems.

Speaking of standards for women and the limitations of patriarchy, what if there were two tendencies—two patterns in the way we do everything—that make it impossible for the culture of yoga to enable genuinely nondual practice?

What if one of those tendencies were patriarchy? How does patriarchy manifest in individual practice and in styles of practice? How does it keep people away from their own immediate experience? How does it get reproduced? How do women in particular fight against its finally ending? Why are the most patriarchy-addicted women I know yoga practitioners? How are we still addicted to it? How does patriarchy prevent real intimacy between men and women partners? What will it look like when it is gone?

Today for the second time a teacher I respect immensely—the second time a man, because for now it still has to be—told me that the next generation of spiritual—especially yoga—practice has to be led by women or we are fucked. Krishnamurthi said this too. Apparently they also see that subconscious patriarchy is totally in the way of yoga or intimacy with your own experience or intimacy with others.

P.S. I've heard that what I tossed up here this morning was confusing, so I added a few paragraphs. Maybe this makes more sense. I wasn't ranting so much as raising delicate questions in an exasperated way. There's a difference, see? Maybe…