‘Opinion: If you let boys be boys, they will murder their fathers and sleep with their mothers,” ran a tweet from the New York Times the other day. Will they, though? As far as I know, the only man who ever did this did it 2,400 years ago, did it accidentally, and also was a fictional character. I realize the Times specializes in dubious trend stories, usually involving people who live someplace called “Bushwick” riding unicycles to work or raising children with names like “Meridian” while they perfect their formulas for artisanal mustache wax. But even for the Times, supposing that Dad-killing and Mom-marrying is going to catch on seems a bit of a stretch.
Another trend alluded to in Stephen Marche’s op-ed piece sounds intriguing, though: Marche continues, “In the third century a.d., it is widely believed, the great Catholic theologian Origen . . . castrated himself.” Now we’re more up to date, with an event that occurred a mere 1,800 years ago, and Marche thinks other men should follow Origen’s noble example. Surely Marche should do us all the courtesy of leading by example? He’d certainly get a column out of it. He quotes with solemn approbation the view of that great avatar of level-headedness Andrea Dworkin, who averred that “the only sex between a man and a woman that could be undertaken without violence was sex with a flaccid penis” and called on men to “give up their precious erections.” Mandatory castration would certainly help with that project. Humanity might die in the process, but at least we’d be rid of the problematics of erections.