Re: Ruby flames and Rohrlich raves

Martin Cohen (mcohen@UCLA.EDU)
Thu, 14 Mar 1996 09:08:58 -0700

Robert Thornton wrote:

>Ah, to be flamed by Ruby! I can feel the heat from here! Are Pat
>Buchanan, Bill Clinton and Ruby's rabbi really Patriarchs? How i
>WONDER, might Michaelangelo have painted such partiarchs onto the
>ceiling of MacDonalds, or prepared his HTML file for the Sistine
>Homepage? Is Hilary Clinton a Matriarch, then? The point was - and
>I don't want to waste more of people's time here -- that the idea of
>'patriarchy' was lifted from a religious and nineteenth century
>discourse about the natural-ness of the primitive, and about a theory
>of human social evolution that seems irrelevant today.

Ralph Holloway wrote:

>Ruby, why do have to drag down the quality of what has been an excellent
>debate on power and some very fine posting by Davenport, McCreery,
>Thorton, and others, on this issue of feminism and our miserable
>relationship to each other?

I don't think Ruby Rohrlich's post was a flame! It was a defense of a
reasonably defensable position. The term patriarchy (which I am not
thrilled with either) is often used in legitimate discourse with clear
meanings, irregardless of its origins. I have been amazed that the
continuing thread on power had had such little mention of concepts of
social structure, class, race, ethnicity, and gender have been entered into
the discussion. The abstraction of the concept of power is something in
which only those with power can afford to engage.

The fact that this list is governed by all males certainly does not make a
conspiracy. But there is something interesting about volunteer positions;
they still reflect social realities. 1) Who feels comfortable
volunteering? 2) Who is contacted and made aware that such a position is

Finally, I hope that my respectfully disagreeing with Prof. Thornton does
not result in unwarrented sarcasm and mild anti-semitism, as aimed by him
at Rohrlich!

Martin Cohen