Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cisalpine Gaul*

Phil Plait, who often writes entertainingly about astronomy, taught me a new word today: "cisgendered" as in "cisgendered male", which is what he proclaims himself to be. I had to look it up, and apparently it means a person who identifies with the gender assigned at birth. I assume that this is some sort of politically correct way of saying one is not transgender in orientation without invoking such dreaded English words as "usual" or "normal", though it's not exactly clear to me how translation into a Latin equivalent is more or less offensive. Rather, I suppose, it's one of those tribal shibboleths intended to identify oneself as among the PC hip.

Anyway, the actual substance of his post is looking at the Isla Vista mass murderer as an example of Men Behaving Badly. He was, it seems, a contributor to Men's Rights forums (or "fora" as Phil would prefer), as well as such other festering pools of aggrieved masculinity as pickup artist and anti-pickup artist sites. I don't think that this is likely to be one of the more fruitful lenses through which to view this kind of atrocity, but it has turned out to be a rallying cry for some, including those who believe traditional masculine values should be abolished, whatever that may mean.

* Cisalpine Gaul, we may recall, is what the Romans called the territory they found occupied by Celts on "their" side of the Alps.