Robert Oscar Lopez truly hates Sylvia Plath and The Bell Jar. It’s symptomatic of every wrong thing in the world! Mr. Lopez has a rather stunningly long screed revolving around Plath, one which would take a very long time to fisk completely, so I’ll focus on some choice parts here and there, but the whole rancid rant is worth looking at, if you’re looking for a heap of rotten reasoning to start out your day, or round off your evening. One thing I’m not going to focus on, so I’ll give a quick mention here – Mr. Lopez just can’t resist bringing up Ms. Plath’s suicide, done while her children were in the house. “That evil slut, endangering babies!” Mr. Lopez brings that up every moment he can, a reminder that Ms. Plath’s life truly was worthless, but she’s gonna burn in hell for committing the sin of self murder. Naturally, while running down Ms. Plath’s book, Mr. Lopez not so slyly inserts an a plug, here, there, and everywhere, for his book, with the charming title of “Wackos Thugs & Perverts: Clintonian Decadence in Academia”. A bit of advice, Mr. Lopez – learn about commas. I’ll assume you didn’t have an editor who might have pointed out the benefit of such learning.
Okay, where to start? Hmmmm.
Next comes dysfunction, as people start basing their life decisions on their confused notions: for example, they decide to spend their twenties not on courtship but on working long hours and trying to publish bad novels, because their muddled judgment has told them life will be totally happy if they never get married or start a family (and if they change their mind in, say, their fifties, anybody can start a family with egg donors, surrogate wombs, and sperm donors.) Because of such poor judgment, they do self-defeating things like hang all their hopes for self-worth on getting a literary agent. They look for emotional closeness from co-workers and a shrink who charges $200 an hour to do what a husband would have done for free: nod, listen, and say, “yes, you’re so right.” (The difference is that a husband will also provide some good old-fashioned lovemaking—and babies!)
You give yourself away, Mr. Lopez. This isn’t about young people being twisted about by academia; it’s about women. Women who don’t do the right thing by eschewing education, allowing themselves to be married off at a young age, and burying themselves under the weight of their uterus. So, all the young men automatically get a pass in your twisted view? How about all the young men who aspire to be authors, and work on writing rather than courting? How about all the young men who decide babies aren’t for them? I guess everything is okay if you have a penis, right? After all, in your black and white world, the only thing required to fix up a wayward penis is a good woman, yeah?
As for a husband being as good or better than a therapist, I get the idea you have rose coloured telescopes glued to your eyes. Many marriages are good, but many more or not. Marriage is not a panacea, nor is it for everyone.
Next comes anxiety, as people immersed in this blurry world of nonsensical values find their waking hours plagued with stress, doubt, uneasiness, worry, fear, and of course blind rage. Having mismanaged and sabotaged the most important relationships around them, they cling foolishly to people who hate them. They spurn people who would love them. As they realize that they’ve made bad decisions, they start racking themselves and doubling down, excoriating themselves for not doing enough of the confused decision-making that got them there in the first place. “Maybe I shouldn’t have broken down and put up a profile on OKCupid! Maybe I just need to sign up for more writing workshops run by arrogant lechers who tell long-winded stories about how they got their novel published in 1982! Maybe I should try harder to be like Diane Chambers in Cheers.”
Umm, quick question, Mr. Lopez – what decade is this? I ask because I’m not so sure you’ve made it into the current century with the rest of us. As much as it would suit your purpose, relationships do not fit neatly into a little box, same size for everyone. It’s not up to you to say that all these relationships are automagically good, and all those are automagically bad. For all your bloviating over what you seem to think comprises academia, you could have done with a bit more of it in your life, Mr. Lopez, your writing leaves much to be desired. Your writing skills are on par with mine, which is in no way a compliment.
Finally arrives ignorance, the all-encompassing state in which this tragic process culminates and to which, like the Via Appia pointing to Rome, all of the bad thinking leads. Confusion has made knowledge unattainable, while dysfunction has made it impossible for the victim of this rhythm to discipline their lives for true study and actual learning. In a crippling state of anxiety, the mind is unable to focus. The ultimate result is the lack of any perspective and inability to gain it. Life becomes nothing but outbursts, reactions to provocations, obsessions, and increasingly violent ideations. Ignorance is not bliss. It is deadly.
Oh gods, your writing, painful it is. A lack of perspective is a common trait of being young. When you’re young, you live very much in the present. Generally speaking, we naked apes aren’t great at the whole long-term thinking/planning business. Experiences eventually pile up, allowing for perspective and introspection, you just have to give people a bit of time. It all works out. As for ignorance, well, ignorance is often innocent and correctable. Smug, willful ignorance, yes, that’s dangerous, and ugly, like the shined up shit you’re peddling, Mr. Lopez.
Never forget that Sylvia Plath, after writing about the tragically disoriented and suicidal Esther Greenwood, stuck her head in a gas oven and endangered the lives of her small children.
Yes, yes. Your obsession with Ms. Plath is bit off, y’know. What about all the generations of young people since Ms. Plath? Nothing to say about them? All the kids who got their education and made their way through life, many of them authors, many of them raising kids of their own? The silence is deafening.
To liberals, despite all their trucks with ideologically driven Black Panthers and ACTUP and pink pussy hats, Sylvia Plath epitomizes what they stand for: embittered observations about how annoying the world is, total inability to suggest anything better, sarcasm, whining, mental illness, self-absorbed neurosis, and suicidal politics with zero regard for what they do to children. The proliferation of talk therapy options, psychotropic drugs, and self-help books (including a boom in Christian sects structured around “healing” and “pastoral care for the whole person”) seems to have had no impact on the main problem facing the American left: They are profoundly spoiled, unhappy, and destructive.
I don’t have any problems suggesting better, Mr. Lopez, and neither do most of the people I know. America does not comprise the world, and there are many fine examples in the world of people getting it right. We often point out these real world examples, only to have people like yourself scream “commie socialists!” and run away. I’ll take a guess on the ‘suicidal politics’ business – that’s about women having bodily autonomy, right? A very simple phrase takes care of that one, Mr. Lopez: what I do in regard to my health is none of your fucking business, full stop.
There are countless reasons to express alarm about the left of today. My book’s title was intentionally provocative: Wackos Thugs & Perverts, to encapsulate the trivium of nihilistic tendencies that predominate in academia. You have wackos peddling wildly implausible theories about the world as if they are unquestionably smart. You have thugs on all levels, from the party racketeers who move trillions of dollars in tax-free holdings and student loans for worthless degrees, to the angry youths shattering windows and tweeting vile insults at people in the name of causes they barely understand. And at last you have the perverts who have declared war on every form of bodily dignity, striving to force their pornographic imagination into every nook and cranny of society.
Oh yes, there are whackos peddling wildly implausible theories, like Alex Jones, Lance Wallnau, Dave Daubenmire, all of Fox News, and so on. You’ve gotten your directions a bit mixed up there. Oh yes, there are thugs, monied criminals fucking everyone over for the sake of their pockets. There’s one sitting in the white house right now. At the moment, Mr. Lopez, hate crimes are spiking, and they aren’t being committed by those on the left side of life. Tweeting “vile insults” is bad? Perhaps you can manage to shut Trump the fuck up. It’s not those interested in social justice and human rights who constantly have their noses stuck in everyone else’s crotches, Mr. Lopez. That would be christians and conservatives. Perhaps if you managed to come up for air now and then, you’d see that those crotches are attached to actual human beings who deserve all human rights.
But there is room for compassion if we understand that the left is defined not by its politics but rather by its mental illness. They live in bell jars that they cannot understand or trace back to any clear person to blame. Thus they find wild monsters hidden behind everything that provokes them. They think Donald Trump wants to rape them and Mike Pence want to electrocute them to make them heterosexual. They think Vladimir Putin caused Hillary Clinton to lose an election. They think the Koch Brothers plot to sell them into slavery and Steve Scalise is a white supremacist.
Oh for fuck’s sake. You’re going to float away on that cloud of smug arrogance, Mr. Lopez. I don’t think Trump wants to rape me. Trump has a clear history of sexual assault, and has been accused of rape. Trump has admitted to committing sexual assault, and you think that should be ignored. Nice. Pence is a believer is corrective ‘therapy’ when it comes to gay people. That’s some very nasty shit right there. Perhaps you should learn about it. Maybe you’d be happy living in a theocracy, Mr. Lopez, I wouldn’t. It’s more than obvious by now that yes, there was interference in the election, there’s evidence to that effect. Of course, idiots such as yourself don’t care for evidence, do they? I think everyone would be better off if the Koch brothers simply went off and played with their money and left politics alone. A good many politicians are white supremacists, and quite open about it, look at Steve King, defender of all white supremacy.
This just goes on and on, and I’m stopping here. If you want to read the whole mess, here you go.