07 Jul 2020

Left-wing Psycho Essay of the Week

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Street bridges over the Chicago River.

There are so many recent examples of prestigious establishment media outlets publishing absolutely bonkers essays that could only have been produced by people so impacted by toxic ideologies that they are not properly oriented toward reality and actually belong in mental hospitals that it’s become impossible to link, and marvel at, them all. So I’m simply going to try to pick the occasional particularly exceptionally deranged example.

This week’s winner has to be Leslie Kern for her “‘Upward-thrusting buildings ejaculating into the sky’ – do cities have to be so sexist?“:

Toxic masculinity is built into the fabric of our urban spaces, writes Leslie Kern, author of new book Feminist City. And the results aren’t just divisive – they can be lethal

Glass ceilings and phallic towers. Mean streets and dark alleys. Road names and statues of men. From the physical to the metaphorical, the city is filled with reminders of masculine power. And yet we rarely talk of the urban landscape as an active participant in gender inequality. A building, no matter how phallic, isn’t actually misogynist, is it? Surely a skyscraper isn’t responsible for sexual harassment, the wage gap, or even the glass ceiling, whether it has a literal one up top or not?

That said, our built environments can still reflect patterns of gender-based discrimination. To imagine the city and its structures as neutral places where complicated human social relations are staged is to ignore the simple fact that people built these places. As the feminist geographer Jane Darke has said: “Our cities are patriarchy written in stone, brick, glass and concrete.” In other words, cities reflect the norms of the societies that build them. And sexism is a deep-rooted norm.

As far back as 1977, an American poet and professor of architecture named Dolores Hayden wrote an article with the explosive headline “Skyscraper seduction, skyscraper rape”. Hayden tore into the male power fantasies embodied in this celebrated urban form. The office tower, she wrote, is one more addition “to the procession of phallic monuments in history – including poles, obelisks, spires, columns and watchtowers”, where architects un-ironically use the language of “base, shaft and tip” while drawing upward-thrusting buildings ejaculating light into the night sky.

If the sexism of the city began and ended with architectural symbolism, I would’ve happily written a grad school essay about this then turned my attention to more pressing matters. But society’s historical and ongoing ideas about the proper gender roles for men and women (organised along a narrow binary) are built right into our cities – and they still matter.


All versions of Leftism seem to boil down to pathological self-absorption, leading to the concoction of the most far-fetched sort of grievances, flattering the leftist’s self-importance and providing leverage for his (or her) gaining power through the guilt and sympathy of the normal majority.

4 Feedbacks on "Left-wing Psycho Essay of the Week"

Hairless Joe

That’s what I’d call an “aspirational” essay. Onward and upward!

(This comment applies whether Leslie is male, female, or something else unknown to science.)


Reminds me of the feminist who got her panties in a twist (oh, wait, that’s a fashion statement these days) anyway she was upset over all the big phallic symbols that NASA was shooting off to space and the moon and all that.

She must have been overjoyed when StarTrek the Next Generation depicted the Borg as flying around in monstrously big cubes.


These “darlings” may get their wish. The tall buildings provided valuable space in a prestigious location. Now prestige is likely to be a well designed (and safe) campus out there, closer to the airport and out where the employees live. Downtowns no longer have safe streets with shops and businesses. There is no benefit to building at the edge of the burned out ghetto where any cluster needs to maintain an armed security force to get people to their parked cars.

The property owners built and paid for the corruptocracy that runs the cities. Now, the tenants, employees, and support businesses have better options that don’t involve the costs of tall buildings built around security concerns. The truck depots and container rail yards are all “out there” with the businesses they service and where the cargo and employees are much safer. Those residents left in the core are, for the most part, too dim (or too dangerous) to follow the new opportunities.

The tall city towers, like the castles that dot the European landscape, will probably just be the remains of an era long gone.


Toxic masculinity is what won the revolutio, the civil war, WW I, WW II. and Korea. Arguably feminism and lack of masculinity in our leaders is what lost the Vietnam war.

I think we are now perfectly set to lose WW III.


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