Hunter Doherty “Patch” Adams is a physician, an entertainer, and the founder of the Gesundheit Institute, which according to their own rhetoric are dedicated to revolutionizing health care delivery by replacing greed and competition with generosity, compassion and interdependence. Adams’s use of comedy within a medical setting was fictionalized in a movie starring comedian Robin williams in 1998.
Dr. Adams has made some significant and admirable contributions in his life, including building a children’s hospital and improving the health of many patients. To be fair to Adams, his views on medicine appear more humane, and admirable than a conventional approach to health care.
Unfortunately, when Adams sits down in front of a camera – he reveals himself a self-aggrandizing, pompous bigot with a deep hatred of men, as well as a conception of women as if they are all inert, helpless children without volition or agency. This is unfortunate, because this man deserves a great deal of the credit and esteem heaped on him. Sadly, the man is obviously addicted to what we call the blue kool-aid.
All healthy women say the same thing, all the problems of the world are due to men
This is the declaration of Patch Adams, reflecting a narrative for which he is almost universally celebrated. Unfortunately, for both Dr Adams and his enthusiasts, this distillation of his philosophy is one of the most hateful statements ever made.
“All healthy women say the same thing, all the problems of the world are due to men.”
It might appear on the surface that this is an unfair indictment of men, to attribute all of the world’s troubles to masculinity, but this is the tiniest fraction of the offence given.
Adams attributes to women no agency, no power, no volition and no adulthood. In his cosmology, women are powerless, witless, rudderless chattels with neither opinion nor actions of their own. They are things to be pushed around and acted on, not people with minds, voices, ambition, intelligence and agency in the world.
All of that is contained in the statement by Adams – in which he says “all the problems of the world are due to men.”
Inherent in this is the construct of masculine hyper agency, the mythology in which men, by some unidentified magic manifest a totality of control of events in the world. Were such control real, the observably chaotic and brutal reality enjoyed by people all over the planet would deserve some pretty strong censure. Unfortunately, this attribution of total male culpability for every worldly problem falls apart when an adult recognizes that men, contrary to any myth of male hyper-agency, and patriarchal model of how the world works, men are actually humans, much like everybody else they’re supposedly busy oppressing.
That men are “only human” fallible, greedy, fearful, foolish and demonstrative of every other human failing, is the other side of the narrative claiming patriarchy as the source of all evil. How men, as a distinct biological group can be both super-powered masters of reality, while also being the foolish, idiotic, evil, malevolent, regressive primitive subhumans is something of a contradiction, which despite it’s blatant self refutation has not yet managed to sink the dual dogmas of patriarchy theory and the myth of feminine spiritual superiority.
Unfortunately, although H.D. Adams appears to be attributing no adult volition to women, he’s quite obviously practicing some naked flattery. In Adams’ pantomime, he is the good man, casting himself in sharp contrast with bad men.
The One Good Man sees in Woman what men lack. Woman is bright and charming and good. Men are dark and sinister and bad.
To maintain the image of Woman as bright and charming and good, the One Good Man swallows Her darkness. Her rages, Her excesses, Her cruelties are his responsibility, not Hers. All Her goodness is not chosen because She is helpless in Her goodness—as She is helpless in Her femininity. ~ TyphonBlue
These are the words of another contributor at AVfM whose insights into the psychological motivations behind much of gender politics are consistently sharp.
Adams is distinguishing himself “good” and seeking the approval of those he holds helpless and fault-free, by his demonstrated willingness to vilify other men. All other men, because unlike him, they are bad.
‘Look at me, look how good I am, I’ll even disavow my own sexual identity, casting all my brothers aside, and look, I’ll whip myself with a knotted rope, see? You see? I’m good; right here grovelling at your feet.’
As one of the bad men, I’ll admit the previous statement is not a direct quote from Adams. Rather, it’s a dramatic interpretation of his sentiment. I am, of course, a very bad man, certainly worse than most.
Returning to the good doctor’s statement “All healthy women say the same thing, all the problems of the world are due to men.”
All healthy women? Setting aside the inclusive unanimity, my own layman’s grasp of mental health does not include the practice of externalizing all responsibility and holding oneself unaccountable. The behavior of assigning all blame to others is common enough to be recognizable, but its not what we expect from healthy adults. Yes, I’m positing the revolutionary idea here that women are adults, or at least, they can be.
The other possibility in Adam’s statement might be that women, as he sees them, are not adults. Rather, they are perfect, blameless infants, toddlers bereft of conscious agency and volition. I’m not sure how to reconcile this perception with women driving cars, voting, being approved for mortgages and generally enjoying adult powers, but perhaps rather than infants, women are creatures of mythical ether? I also wonder which of these narratives is going to “empower” them.
Obviously, in Adams’ cosmology, with the pseudo-enlightened mummery dialled up to frappe, I wondered if he’d already branded himself with a capitol F. A Google search turned up the following twitter posting.
Feminism is the act of constant nuturance [sic] of the “we” with attention for anyone in need. The interest & pleasure to seek out helping.
Assuming for the moment that Adams meant “nurturance”, his big-F ideology is the constant nurturance of the we. In Adams’ claim, “we” is enclosed in quotes. So who is this “we”?
In this posting, Adams makes his own identification with the big F pretty clear, however, the remainder of his tweet is less than lucid.
Feminism is the act of constant nurturance of the “we” with attention for anyone in need. Comparing this to Adams’ claim about blame for all worldly ills illuminates who he means by: we. “All healthy women say the same thing, all the problems of the world are due to men”. Okay, so Adams excludes men from this ‘we’, which seems strange until we remember that he distinguishes himself as the one good man, separate from the bad men.
Couple this with moral superiority, and an ideological revision of history, in which good and evil are simplistically defined, and assigned to clearly identifiable protagonists and antagonists.
Seven thousand years ago, men chose to worship money and power over love.
That’s doctor do-good again, declaring himself on the side of love, while heaping distain on everyone else who happens to own a penis. Adams probably didn’t mean neuterance in his semi coherent tweet about constant attention of the we. That would have been too obvious.
The cynical part of my brain wonders what, along with flattery shaped to appeal to childish egos, Dr Adams is selling to his spiritually superior fans. The Gesundheit institute website’s most prominent link is the big red donate button, found on the site’s entry page. However, we shouldn’t be confused into thinking he’s just pandering to adult children for filthy money, and we know this because he’s already denounced money in favour of love.
“Seven thousand years ago, men chose to worship money and power over love.”
Once more, Dr Adams declares men evil, distances himself from his own male identity, and insults the intelligence of any women who happen to actually be adults.
My only real question is at what point in the escalation of us-versus-them narrative, including the cynical and predatory flattery and abasement do men and women wake up and recognize an opportunist carrion eater.
The flattering-to-toddlers fiction of women as children and men as predators only takes us in one direction, and towards love, or peace, or whatever is meant by “equality” is not it.
- Substantive Equality, a golf handicap in the law - April 22, 2014
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- Consent: You Don’t Have It - April 17, 2014
- What the fuck is infanticide? - April 12, 2014
- Danielle D’Entremont, Bellwether? - March 30, 2014