Tuesday, September 25, 2012


The Don Juan motif has fascinated artists and thinkers for centuries. As far back as the 17th Century, Tirso de Molina created the archetype of the hero as proto-trickster, promiscuous manipulator, sublime lecher. Mozart's Don Giovanni is an elaboration on the theme, an opera that overwhelms the senses with the sheer vitality of an entity who can only be described as a raw force of nature. Moliere and Lord Byron, among others, bring him to life. Bernard Shaw, in an interlude in his play, Man and Superman, consigns him to an honorable place in Hell. In the modern era, cartoonist Jules Pfeiffer wrote the successful play, Harry, The Rat With Women, depicting the sad/funny shenanigans of an otherwise ordinary guy using women for recreational sex. The film Alfie, dating from the same period, enumerates the many "conquests" of a Cockney truck driver. The seducer remains the hero of song and saga, at least of the pop culture media.

The sexual predator, that dark and mysterious figure, the "stranger", unpredictable, hinting at danger, tinged with violence... what is there that so attracts women to him? Truly, there seems something almost magical about those few men who seem able to mesmerize women at will. What secret do they possess that gives them this power, this intensity, this animal magnetism?

Users and manipulators is the key phrase. Such men have learned to spot and sniff out vulnerable women, the "wounded birds", the ones most susceptible to their particular brand of sorcery. They have mastered the art of "pushing the emotional buttons" of their fellow humans, exploiting the feelings and weaknesses of hurt people (and is not most everyone hurt?), playing women like a musical instrument. In their single-minded pursuit of pleasure, of self-gratification, they leave behind them a string of victims. These are haters of women, exploiters of human weakness, parasites, sociopaths*. (CYBERPATHS)

These . . . fancy-grade hit-and-run drivers leave numerous
victims in their wake . . .
Roger Shattuck, Forbidden Knowledge

This little deviation into the dark alleys of the criminal mind and the underside of human nature yields insight into the sad emptiness of the career seducer. There is little to envy in these creatures. They lead meaningless lives, and each successive "conquest" does nothing to fill the screaming, hungry void within. There is little to admire, considering the pain and wreckage they leave behind.

What a chimera, then, is man! What a novelty, what a monster, what a chaos, what a subject of contradiction, what a prodigy! A judge of all things, feeble worm of the earth, depositary of the truth, cloaca of uncertainty and error, the glory and the shame of the universe.
Blaise Pascal: Thoughts, chap. x.

Behold the man, the man of action, the ruthless hero of myth and saga, society's darling. Here is this rugged doer of deeds, the rough-and-ready "go getter", the one who grabs what he wants without pausing to think... the aggressive stranger, the cowboy, the soldier, the gangster. Contemptuously, he shoves past that quiet guy in the corner, the shy one, the one ridiculed by family and friends as a "wimp", a "mouse", a victim, as perhaps something less than a man.

According to the latest sociological dogma, females are genetically wired to be attracted to "alpha" males, those who are most assertive and aggressive. This seems all too true of some women. Aggressive men seem to get women, to attract women, many women, because of their semblance of strength, the swagger of the domineering male. Yet, what type of women are these? Fragile, unsure of themselves, swayed by instinct, emotionally damaged, running on autopilot . . .

Only a nuance, a subtle shade of difference separates aggressiveness from its less respectable cousin, aggression, the use of force to gain one's ends. With this in mind, understand aggressiveness as a sign of immaturity, of fear . . . of weakness, of blind stupidity. It is the crudest mode of social interaction, the blunt instrument, the bludgeon.

It is the "bull in a china shop" syndrome, a behavior pattern that gets its practitioners typed as boors, thugs, and worse. There is an immediacy about them, a brutal spontaneity, for they recognize no tomorrow. Unfeeling, unbridled, unburdened by remorse, they loot, despoil, and ruin. Behind them, they leave poisoned relationships, broken trust, betrayal, and despair.


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