Life is a play about love. We are currently watching what happens when love is thwarted, repressed, personalized, nationalized, militarized. When love is turned in on itself, when it becomes selfishness, it explodes.
Can the rape culture of a patriarchal institution—the military, the police, the prisons, fraternities et al—be changed? Well, no. And certainly not by another institution! It can be driven deeper underground and made more toxic, is all.
We are where we are because the power of women has been systematically repressed for more than 4,000 years. “As regards the sexes,” explained Aristotle, “the male is by nature superior and the female inferior, the male ruler and the female subject.” As it was, so it is. Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.
Political repression has produced an art movement called excessivism. Think of George Floyd’s head painted on a brick wall. Nobody’s painting over that expanse. Or of Ai Weiwei and his sunflower seeds. Or of Bansky. The more repressive the state, the more biting the art. Excessivism fulfills British philosopher Alan Watts theory of polarity, also called the law of opposites. As he writes in “The Two Hands of God,” opposing qualities create, define and sustain one another.
Men with the biggest egos are also the most hostile. Hostility may be projected or repressed. If projected, it’s impossible to mistake—somebody’s getting blamed, shamed, laughed at or shot. Repressed anger is less obvious, but it too displays itself, often as impatience, judgment, criticism, passive-aggression, false jollity or do-gooding. Perhaps fearing that something worse lies beneath it, men are generally incurious about their anger. On a functional level, they’re basically OK with it.