I’m not entirely sure why this came to mind this afternoon, but in one of the early episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies (a ratings record-holder to this day), the Granny Clampett character chops up a bunch of firewood in the kitchen, throws it into the oven door of her fancy new electric stove, and lights it.
Smoke naturally fills the room. Granny’s conclusion: a) “folks call that a real stove;” b) “the stove is so ‘primitive’ it doesn’t even have a chimney;” c) it didn’t work the way she believed it should so it was a piece of crap.
When I talk about men indoctrinating themselves to believe that women are the “no-sex” class — innately disinterested in sex and therefore in need of continuous male management — I’m talking about the same mentality Granny Clampett brings to an electric stove: despite being perfectly functional she believes a stove must have a fire lit inside it in order for it to work. In fact she insists it must work that way despite considerable evidence to the contrary.
A couple of parallels: The Granny character is like a lot of social conservatives: to them it doesn’t matter what new capabilities might have been discovered, or developed — stoves (or women) simply shouldn’t be any other way than the old-fashioned way. Now a lot of liberal and progressive men think they’re way more with it when it comes to women but we’re generally more like the Jethro Bodine character: they put firewood in the oven and then turn on the broiler because that’s how you’re supposed to light a modern stove. But in either case it’s simply inconceivable that a stove might heat up without first sliding a little wood into it.
Now let’s think about the TV show for a few lesser parallels.” First, in the context of the show were the Beverly Hills millionaires the Clampetts wound up amidst any better connected to reality than their rustic neighbors? No. Were they any more admirable? No. Would there have been much of a show if either side had been either more flexible, less willful, or less thoroughly inculcated in their world-views? No. Would everybody have been better off if the hillbillies had adopted the Beverly Hills lifestyle? No. If the millionaires had adopted the Clampett’s Okie lifestyles? No. But might they have had less misunderstanding, fewer attempts to take advantage of each other’s cupidities and stupidities, and perhaps a more vibrant synthesis of cultures if they’d pulled their respective heads out of their butts and instead looked, listened, and learned instead of knee-jerk reacting to each other? Yes.