NY Times building

The New York Times
has come under fire by the public for publishing and featuring a meandering and kooky article that argues that the male libido is inherently violent and masculinity is inherently "monstrous."

The article has a heady title: "The Unexamined Brutality of the Male Libido." But the tweet the NYT chose to announce the piece gets more to the heart of the matter: "Opinion: If you let boys be boys, they will murder their fathers and sleep with their mothers."

This is pretty much the thesis statement of a rambling 1,500 word column that reads like some modestly popular Tumblr post evolved into a Huffington Post article that was caught by an editor and buried deep in the website. In the NYT, however, the article by Canadian writer Stephen Marche (a man, it bears mentioning) is a featured column, prominently placed on the front page of the Times' opinion section.

The article roams widely in its general condemnation of men, but its main point seems to be that the recent sexual assault scandals that have plagued the entertainment world are evidence of what men "hate to think about most: the nature of men in general." "Nature" is a word used six times in the article, with the general sense being that the nature of the male libido is "ugly and dangerous" and in need of change.

Marche's article unblinkingly cites sources such as radical feminist writer Andrea Dworkin (best known for arguing that all heterosexual sex is a "pure, sterile, formal expression of men's contempt for women") and, we shit you not, fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood and Bluebeard. Hard on the heels of Dworkin is what seems to be an admiring reference to "the great Catholic theologian Origen," who apparently "castrated himself" in order to preclude any possibility of sexual violence. Or something.

No article on male libido would be complete with a pass through some pop-psychology, and Marche doesn't disappoint (or maybe he does, for any readers remotely familiar with psychoanalysis). Marche throws in references to Sigmund Freud's theory of the Oedipus Complex, the notion that young children develop unconscious desire for their opposite-sex parent and rivalry with their same-sex parent. These statements are made with no awareness that Freud's theories as-written (why bother to know any analyst after Freud? He's the cool one!) are at best controversial and, more importantly, apply to all genders. One can only imagine how an article titled "The Unexamined Brutality of the Female Libido" would go over.

Women are generally absent from his musings; evidently, Marche couldn't find better sources on the female libido than the legends of vampires and werewolves.