One thing I learned at SPEP — though why do I use the acronym when “society for phenomenology and existential philosophy” is so, so fun to say? — is that a “scientific” study published this summer in England “proved” that women are genetically disposed to like pink and men to like dark colours, and that the authors proceeded to speculate on the relation of these proclivities to women’s role as gatherer and men’s as hunter. The idea is that women like pink tones because they signify ripe fruit to be gathered against darker, cooler colours, and also maybe that they’re coded to like the pink flush in a baby’s face because they have to raise the infants. The men like the dark colours because they have to pick out something dark against the sand or sky and shoot at it.
I don’t need to go into the ways the study fails in sample size, in omission and indiscriminate application of cultural variables, and in wild leaps into ill-advised and contradictory opinion: suffice it to say the failures are numerous and dismal, and that the entire enterprise is clearly bunk. But since the study was mentioned in LG’s response to BB’s paper on that master of hokum, Otto Weininger, it’s led me to a train of thought in which I connect several rubbishy strands of categorization that have been floating around in my mind for a long time, as follows.
Women pink, men blue (new study)
Women gatherers, men hunters (well-established biological speculation)
Women farmers, men ranchers (Oklahoma!)
Women Cain, men Abel (obvious on the basis of the above)
Women Jews, men goys (Weininger)
Titties Jewish, balls goyish (Lenny Bruce)
See? You should be able to mix and match any way you like, and it all kind of makes sense.
And now I’m remembering that I was approached after my a talk I recently gave on Strauss and Levinas by a well-meaning fellow who is worried that the Straussian conspiracy in Bush’s administration is a Jewish conspiracy. There he was, ranting at me, and I was nodding seriously and saying weird things like “well perhaps Jews aren’t the most likeable people on earth.” What a thing to say! But my alternatives were either to plunge my pen into his throat or to make ironic self-deprecating remarks beneath which I could occult my hostility and which he would never understand. Is it surprising that I chose the latter?
The story fits into the pink stuff somehow, but I’m too tired to figure it out. I’m jetlagged. Jetlag is when you are very, very, very, very tired and you can’t sleep because a different part of your brain is telling you it’s time to be perky. Does everyone know that? That’s what it is.