Dogma gets in the way of joke

Fujisawa, Kanagawa

After enduring Sarah Mulvey’s righteously indignant April 22 letter, “Disheartening stereotyped role,” I decided to reread Thomas Dillon’s April 7 column, “Texting in the proper context,” to see what inspired Mulvey’s diatribe. Dillon made no sweeping generalizations about all Japanese women. Mulvey incorrectly accuses him of doing so, apparently to justify unleashing a cliched cascade of feminist vitriol. This straw-man technique is intellectually lazy and totally invalid here.

Dillon was simply satirizing people obsessed with texting. Furthermore, the old “Charisma Man” comic (which Mulvey cited) did not “pander” to the white, male English-conversation teacher; it was self-deprecating social satire. Mulvey’s gender-empowering dogma apparently prevents her from getting the joke.

Instead of reflexively flinging boilerplate rhetoric at white males, Mulvey should consider Somali-Dutch writer/activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s comment that “western feminists have it all wrong.” White men are not oppressors, she says, but rather liberators. As someone who has suffered terribly at the hands of others, Hirsi Ali should know.

Mulvey wonders “why there isn’t more of a backlash” against Dillon’s column. Perhaps that’s because many people recognize such indignation as a pose. They have better things to do than play the victim and seize the moral high ground to let everyone know how good they are. Dillon has committed no politically incorrect thought crimes. He merely pushed a few peoples’ silly buttons, releasing a lot of hot air that has built up since gender studies class.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

donald feeney