In a recent issue of the Spectator, Matthew Parris longs for the return of Auberon Waugh. Parris feels that Auberon’s humorous approach to controversial matters is needed to bring some balance and reason to the debate over women’s rights in which the pendulum seems to have swung too far in one direction. After describing some of the more excessive examples of reparation demands from allegedly wronged women and his own limited acquaintance with Auberon, Parris concludes with how he thinks Auberon, if he were alive today, might react:
Today, Bron would probably have founded a Men’s Survival Party, as he founded his Dog Lovers’ Party after the then Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe had been accused of involvement in the murder of a dog. [See previous post.] The founding principle of the Men’s Survival Party would be the defence of the male sex against what Bron would have speculated was a secret feminist agenda first to humiliate, then to relegate men within society, then to turn us into vassals, and finally to eliminate our sex altogether…. Warming to his theme, he would have pointed out that across much of the animal and insect kingdom the male is there for only two reasons: to impregnate the females, and to fight and kill inferior males so that the genetic stock of the species is continuously improved. He would have explained that with the godless techniques of IVF, artificial insemination and genetic engineering, there would soon be no need for actual men at all; and quoted as evidence of this mis-andrist plot to create a man-free world the radical American feminist Valerie Solanas: ‘The male function is to produce sperm. We now have sperm banks.’ He would easily have dismissed the objection that we all have perfectly pleasant and reasonable feminist friends who couldn’t possibly be involved in a conspiracy to wipe men from the planet. ‘They are, in Lenin’s sense, Useful Idiots,’ he would have explained. ‘Unaware of the feminist ultras’ secret agenda, they have become unwitting accomplices in a campaign that is more sinister than they know: nothing less than gendercide. They see the beginning but they do not see the end of the journey.’
Would the po-faced culture we now live in have tolerated Bron, or understood his delicate balance between seriousness and comedy? I cannot say. But there have been days recently when an Auberon Waugh in our midst could have turned scowls into smiles. How I miss him.