American Scholar published a letter I wrote addressing what I believe is a very serious threat – in fact the threat – to any discussion between friends, public debate, or personal growth. No kidding. You can find the letter here so you can see it really was published, and I’m reproducing it below.
Toward the end of her review of Edward O. Wilson’s latest book (American Scholar “Why We Need Art,” Winter 2018), Natalie Angier dismisses the conceptualizing of women as a resource over which men compete as one of the “off-putting adumbrations of the field” (evolutionary psychology). Regardless of my own reaction to the idea of women—or any human—as commodities, I found her response deeply “off-putting.” She cannot wave off the data from multiple disciplines because it insults her view of herself, of women, of what’s fair or polite or respectful. Her dismissal seems part of a dangerous trend of skittish, timid, and politically correct avoidance of history: like it or not, we humans, from our earliest days, have indeed viewed and treated each other as “resources.” And if, via biology or culture, we modern men—and women, let’s be honest—still tend to view each other in this deeply unattractive way, that is something we must acknowledge and process in order to outgrow. No one ever got over a phobia, a prejudice, a handicap, a weakness, or a pet peeve by pretending it didn’t exist.
New York City