Saturday, September 23, 2006

Op-Shop Book Corner

This week: Ballbreaking by Robert Spicer (Animo Books, 1983)

I’m not promising that this is going to become a regular series – my record on that score is pretty spotty. Not Dalmatian spotty; more like Dalmatian with alopecia spotty. It all depends on how the supply of curious books at my local op-shop holds up.

According to the blurb, Robert Spicer’s Ballbreaking:

… shatters the common conceptions of what relationships between men and women in the affluent Western world are really all about!

Derryn Hinch promises:

You will be outraged, alarmed and challenged by Bob Spicer’s theories. There is enough fuel here for a thousand feminist fires. And I thought I was

And according to John Michael Howson:

A controversial subject deserves a controversial point of view – perceptive and brave…

So, what’s in the book?

According to Spicer’s introduction:

This book is based largely on hundreds of informal discussions with women and men of all ages and backgrounds. The results have been obtained rather
under-handedly, in much the same way as one gets the real opinion of the white
Afrikaner in South Africa, as distinct from the stated opinions he has
whitewashed for general exhibition.

First, by establishing the outlook of the individual being interviewed in each case, and then by appearing to identify with that point of view, one can draw other more deeply hidden attitudes into the open…

I don’t know why Spicer describes this research method as underhand; it’s instantly familiar to anyone who has found themselves in one of those awkward conversations at a bar where that amiable stranger gets a little too deep into his cups and starts sounding off about his ex-wife. Then it’s time to start muttering a non-committal "Uh-huh" now and then, while you finish your drink as quickly as you can without being obvious about it, make some excuse that the shit-faced loon won’t remember anyway and get the hell out. Unless you’re doing informal social research - then I guess you might offer to buy your new acquaintance another.

From his hundreds of informal conversations, Spicer has constructed a manual for prospective ballbreakers throughout the western world. And why not? After all:

Men deserve everything they get, and more, for allowing themselves to be debased, abused and manipulated by a strictly speaking inferior creature. Nevertheless, they do it, and given the conspiracy against them from birth, I daresay it is understandable and forgivable.

Though Spicer maintains, in the Introduction, that his book is a tongue in cheek attempt to present a serious message, a warning to men of the ways women seek to entrap them in their lesser selves and an exhortation to women to stop debasing, abusing and manipulating their natural superiors, methinks he protesteth too much. The sage advice he gives women in the rest of the book on how first to entrap their victim, and then pussy-whip him into complete and abject submission looks more like a gender sell-out – a progression from misogyny to misandry and hence complete misanthropy.

Why is it that low women seek to dominate the inherently nobler sex of man? According to Chapter One, "The decision for prostitution" It all begins in early childhood:

When a little girl sells her first kiss for a lolly, the stage is set. Whether it be to a her father or the boy next door, it’s all over bar the shouting. Why on earth should one involve oneself with the odious and objectionable business
of making a living, when for such a little favour one can have the fruits of
someone else’s labour – man’s.

At a very early age, the majority of women decide to become prostitutes. Not, of course, honestly and openly; you must remember that to succeed, you must never be honest. Man will never suspect for a moment that his creature on a pedestal is not honest, therefore the need for honesty is, in fact, non-existent.

To be a common prostitute is, of course to be a complete fool; you should quite rightly despise her for selling her services for a pittance, overlooking their potential value and thereby debasing the product…

Men should adore the common prostitute for her openness and honesty, but the good women in their lives have succeeded in keeping the whole shooting match very firmly in the closet.

Forget Damned Whores and God’s Police – once that first kiss has been sold, either to a dumb father, who really ought to know better, or to the boy next door, who can hardly be blamed for allowing his innocent sexual urges get the better of him, the die is cast. A woman’s choice in this world is to be either a damned whore or a damneder whore and that’s that.

All Spicer’s chapters finish with a summary, in point form, of the chapter’s main findings and hints for the prospective ballbreaker. Here’s number twelve from chapter one – it might cure a few blokes out there who’re still having trouble with a touch of the old Madonna/Whore complex:

Romantic love as man perceives it has no place in your life except to the degree that he must be deceived into believing that it is the only thing in your life.

Actually, on reflection, number eleven is better:

Your purpose is initially to attract and please man, and thereafter to
manipulate his emotional deficiencies and to maximise his earning potential for
your own benefit through his inadequacies, insecurities and moral conditioning.

Don’t forget, when it comes down to it the poor boob actually deserves it. As numerous on-line commentators will no doubt attest.

(Cross-posted at Larvatus Prodeo)