Only one sex?

Roger Odisio rodisio at
Fri Nov 26 21:02:14 PST 1999

kelley wrote:

> >What nonsense.
> did you even bother to read what carrol wrote.

Yes, I did, but apparently you didn't, or at least you didn't bother to read all of what he said, particularly what I highlighted, and most important, what he concluded about the possible number of sexes today. Nor did you read carefully what I said, which was a response to that and only that.

>he wrote that for millenia

> people *thought* that there was only one sex and that women were simply a
> deformed version of the male. they looked at different genitalia and said
> that the uterus was an inside out penis and scrotum, that perhaps it just
> hadn't descended.

Yes this is what he alluded to. But then he CONCLUDED: therefore TODAY there is no biological basis for arguing there is more than one sex. Let's go to the videotape.

After suggesting that Jim Baird read Laquer or Gould's review of it, Carrol said: "You will find that even in strictly physical terms distinctions of sex are not clear cut. It is equally possible to argue (on biological grounds) that there is one sex ot two -- and the predominant view in the west for 2000 years was that there was only one sex, differing only quantitatively, not qualitatively." Note the use of the present tense and the absence of qualifiers.

He was making an argument about the composition of (the) sex(es) today. That is what I responded to. Period. His argument that there was no biological argument that can be made TODAY that there is more than one sex is what I called nonsense. If either you or he tries to argue that it's ambiguous BECAUSE there was a prior view that there was only one sex, you are simply being silly, unless you have some real reason. To do so would be like saying that because people once believed that the earth was flat there is no basis for today saying it is round.

More than that, if you read what I said, my argument about why it is clear there is more than one sex (which I notice you did not respond to) has nothing to do with the shape of the genitals. Recounting and analyzing that was nice, but it's a nonsequitor. If you are truly interested in how many sexes, I say, you needed inquire into the shape of the genitals. There mere fact the you need two different sexes to procreate is enough to establish their existence. Go on, read it again and have a whack at it, why don't you, if you really want to argue that there is only one sex.

My post was intended to clear away some of the debris Carrol had strewn, so that the real issues about the socialization of sex could be discussed without such (unimportant) distractions. I am shocked, just shocked, that you did not see it that way.

When you, as someone who complains about the lack of careful scholarship around here, so obviously doesn't bother to read carefully before jumping, I start to look for motive. Now I know you never miss a chance to turn the conversation toward the socialization of sex. But, within reason, that's Ok; its the important part of the debate in this case. Such discourse had nothing to do with my post, but, still, this doesn't explain much. Here's my clue. Your "misunderstanding" of my post created the space for Carrol to trod down that irrelevant road with you, pretending he didn't know what he said either. Aha. Carrol and Yoshie have agreed to make you a member of their comedy team, haven't they? Good work, comrade!

> furthermore, i would point out to you that a lot of marxists think that

> there are only two classes that are in competition despite the objective
> reality of what looks like at least three if not more classes in
> competition. compeitition between manual and professional, between service
> labor and manual labor, between owners and employees. and on and on.
> his claim, as you know, is based entirely on theory because the 18th
> brumaire is an exploration of the real effects of class divisiveness along
> lines that don't separate out into bourg v. prole.

Now it's you turn, kelley. Before you again let loose in public such half-baked meanderings about Marx, you need to read and learn something about what he actually wrote, starting with what his object was (hint: to uncover the laws of motion of capital and capitalism), how he chose to go about it, and what were the important elements he identified, as opposed to the peripheral (or what could be abstracted from). Then set out to understand how material conditions have changed and what that means for the laws of motion now. When you do, you will see that what you say here falls into either of two categories: incorrect and meaningless


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