The late Andrea Dworkin
Chapter One “The Thinker and The Prover”
By Gregory Arnott Special guest blogger
I guess for the next few paragraphs I’ll equivocate, as always, with what the Grand Old Man has to say about the Thinker and the Prover. Namely, while I agree with the general treatment, I don’t believe the model is infallible. The Thinker does Think but the Prover doesn’t always do the trick without drugs, trauma, or psychosis.
My daughter loves Pizza Hut. A couple years ago I took her to Pizza Hut before going home after I had picked her up: now it is her favorite pizza. The town that she lives in and I grew up in doesn’t have a Pizza Hut which I can imagine adds exclusivity, most alluring of spices. One of her most successful birthdays was at a Pizza Hut. So, the other night I found myself shivering outside of a pick up window, on foot, waiting on Pizza Hut.
The Hut nearest my home closed recently and when my daughter was with us over the holidays she was adamant that she needed some of that pizza pie. So I found the nearest franchise, placed an order for pick-up and drove there with my daughter. It was a relatively mild night so I only wore a cardigan and let my daughter go out without a coat. I tried the door of the restaurant and found out it was locked. Instead I asked an employee on a smoke break if I needed to go through the drive thru and she instructed me to just walk over to the window. I did so.
For what must have seemed a longer span of time than it was, I stood there with Lucy as cars pulled up behind us. I felt like a dumbass standing in the spotlight of a Jeep’s headlights. Eventually Lucy got cold and I took off my cardigan. As I stooped to put it around her I saw that the ground was littered with coins. Of course, this is one of the most natural environments to find dropped change in but it struck my sense of synchronicity. As much as I ruminated on the possible significance and tried to stir up my courage, I couldn’t bend over and avail myself of any of the coins, I couldn’t even ask my daughter to pick one up because of the anxiety of standing in a drive thru with someone else looking on. Odd that no amount of will power or curiosity could cause me to break my societal (4th Circuit) imprints that 1) it is an intolerable offense to stand in a drive thru and be seen and 2) it is undignified to stoop to pick up change.
It is amusing and tragic that my social-anxiety is brought on by the niggling idea that other people might be judging me in the same way I judge casual passersby. Instant Karma! When my car has broken down and I’ve either needed to change a tire, wait for help, or walk for service I am incredibly, cripplingly troubled by the eyes of those driving by. My thinker seems to occasionally be a Big Brother that doesn’t exist. I know on some level that the driver of the Jeep wouldn’t remember me grabbing one of the coins at my feet an hour later, on another I feared that they would to the core of my classist being.
On the same token, RAW talks about the Thinker and the Prover in the societal terms of anti-Semitism and Feminism. I don’t agree about accusations of anti-Semitism, or its invasiveness in our society in the same way that politicos such as Ben Shapiro, Bari Weiss, or Brett“Bedbug” Stephens do- I am admittedly anti-Zionist and am married to a Jewish woman who feels the same way. It isn’t the golden calf of prejudice it was to many 20th century Americans (many of whom still gladly used the racist term “Jewed down”) and my Thinker and Prover show time and again that anti-Semitism is tied to wider racism on the right, instead of being a silent predjudice of the political left. At the same time I am as hostile as RAW was to certain forms of Feminism (Dworkin or other forms of radical, or anti-heterosexual feminism) but I also believe in its overarching goals and assessments of society. I consider myself, and all reasonable peoples, to be feminist. I would never identify with the Men’s Rights Movement no matter how much I believe that Robert Bly “got done dirty” (my beloved wife’s terminology). There are nuances and I’m not sure my Prover works as well anymore as my Thinker is constantly confused. I wish I had more convictions.
My daughter loves Pizza Hut because of their stuffed crust pizza. Most of the time she only eats one slice and doesn’t touch the crust. The Thinker thinks and the Prover sometimes does its job.