Do you ladies actually care about this sort of nonsense?

Oscillon dares to rap against my escutcheon, and challenges me to hazard at the lists! I cry defiance at thee, varlet!

Or, rather, he accuses me of something, but I cannot make out his meaning, so I will try to answer as best I might. He surely cannot mean what I think he means. 

His comment:

(quoting me) “But the guys in the locker room establish a male pecking order based on strength and aggression, and that reputation for aggression called honor. Honor is something women don’t understand, don’t like, and don’t do very well.”

honor –noun
1. honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions: a man of honor.
2. a source of credit or distinction: to be an honor to one’s family.
3. high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: to be held in honor.
4. such respect manifested: a memorial in honor of the dead.
5. high public esteem; fame; glory: He has earned his position of honor.
6. the privilege of being associated with or receiving a favor from a respected person, group, organization, etc.: to have the honor of serving on a prize jury; I have the honor of introducing this evening’s speaker.
7. Usually, honors. evidence, as a special ceremony, decoration, scroll, or title, of high rank, dignity, or distinction: political honors; military honors.
8. (initial capital letter) a deferential title of respect, esp. for judges and mayors (prec. by His, Her, Your, etc.).
9. honors, a. special rank or distinction conferred by a university, college, or school upon a student for eminence in scholarship or success in some particular subject.
b. an advanced course of study for superior students. Compare honors course.
10. chastity or purity in a woman.

You usage of the word “Honor” seems to be aimed at a particular form of definition number 3. It is not what comes to mind for me first (or even second) when the word honor is used. It seems intentionally inflammatory to use a very peripheral version of meaning and then go on to generalize about women using the general term.

 My reply: Forgive me for being unclear. I thought I was using the words in their ordinary, common, and original sense.

I defined the term in the middle of the paragraph: “Honor involves fighting when you don’t need to fight, so that friend and foe alike has no reason to doubt your quality when you do need to fight.”


The opening paragraph which introduced this thought reads; “It is a curious blend: a man polite enough to wait while you picked up your dropped epee, honest enough to show up at the dueling field at dawn as promised, and warlike enough to wound or kill you when you needed it.”

As such, it fits definitions you quote 1 through 7. What the definition you quote fails to mention, however, is the context in which I used the term; I was speaking not of the ‘honor’ of being a chess champion or of a poet ‘honored’ for writing a poem.

Honor, for a philosopher, means the intellectual integrity needed to answer a question when challenged, and to change one’s mind when defeated in a contest of logic. Honor for a poet means as much loyalty to your muse as a knight has for his standard. These are, of course, secondary meanings, or analogies. Neither philosophers nor poets ordinarily put their life and limb at hazard when answering challenges.

I speaking of honor in its original and normal meaning, as a part and parcel of the life of a gentleman and a fighting man, what is normally called a “real” man. A man who fights when challenged does so in a literal way.  

So: “integrity in one’s beliefs and actions” is referenced when I speak about the integrity of a man “who show up at the dueling field at dawn as promised” Likewise “fairness” is allowing a foe to pick up a dropped epee.

2. “Credit or distinction”: men who are bellipotent and courteous and unafraid in war, and yet unyeilding on points of honor do it so that they may be credited as such. They distinguish themselves from the common herd of cowardly or non-magnanimous men.

3. “high respect” The whole point of the behavior, of fighting when you do not have to fight is so that brave men will respect you and cowards will fear you. It is done to win respect.

4. “such respect manifested” Same as above. Such deeds are not done in secret, but done for the pragmatic purpose of inspiring courage in friends and fear in enemies. It is for this reason that brave acts are rewarded by medals and memorials, songs, monuments by the society. 

5. “high public esteem; fame; glory” This is exactly what I am talking about. No woman I have ever met (not even women playing male characters in a medieval fantasy role-playing game where reputation, honor, and glory mean everything, and have a direct and immediate military purpose) ever fight for glory. They might fight for their children, for pay, for their unit, but not merely to win the reputation of being eager for war. Women — at least the ones I know — are too pragmatic to fight, and too practical to be merciful once the fight begins. There as surely exceptions to this, but I have never encountered them. Men fight for glory. I have never heard any women express the least interest in such a thing. They regard it (and rightly so) as macho foolishness and posturing.

6. “the privilege of being associated with or receiving a favor from a respected person…” In this case, we are speaking of the privilege of public opinion, both of allies and enemies. 

7. “military rank” given, of course, because ‘honor’ in the other meanings of the word has been earned. They do not give medals and promotions to cowards.

Now, you go on to call this ordinary use of the term “Intentionally inflammatory.” I admit I am dumbfounded with puzzlement. Are you certain we are discussing the same topic? It sounds as if you are ascribing to me some sinister motive (this is the usual meaning of “intentionally”) that I am attempting to provoke a controversy where no real controversy exists, to inflame passions with an insulting word rather than using a neutral or un-provocative word (this is the usual meaning of “inflammatory”). 

You are, in effect, accusing me of dishonoring someone (I am not sure whom) because I use the word “honor” when talking about the concept of honor. Here, unfortunately, your comment fails the giggle test. Surely you jest.

Perhaps you can define your point more clearly. (If you are honorable enough, as a philosopher, to answer a question when challenged.) 

Are you honestly saying that EVEN TO USE THE WORD HONOR when talking about men of honor is an insult to  … your honor? The honor of women? The honor of craven cowards?

If it is not an insult, then what, exactly, do you say I am deliberately trying to inflame when you say I am being inflammatory? 

As far as I can tell, no woman in her right mind would be insulted by telling her that she is not a macho jackass who gets into brawls at the drop of a hat.

I will make you a bargain. If you can find a woman in the Marine Corps or a policewoman willing just to say that she will come by my house and kick my ass for no reason, I will issue a public apology to all women everywhere, and accept the dishonor and shame of backing down before a distaff threat. Is any lady out there willing to say she is offended by my comment that she will risk facing me with saber or dueling pistols at dawn? I am a fat old guy, and not a good shot, so your chances are better than even. 

Just to make things square with the law, let me say at the outset that I will not fight, and that these comments are meant as an experiment only, not a real challenge to fight a duel. (Fighting duels is illegal in Virginia, as it is and should be in all civilized nations)

This is a great bargain! The woman does not have to actually come kick my fat pale droopy buttocks, she just has to be WILLING TO SAY SHE WILL, and I will back down and admit I dishonored the fair sex, and you will win the argument. 

The only other qualification is that the lady issuing the challenge has to own either a blade or a firearm. The toy swords used in sport fencing count.

Come now, all you warlike ladies, now is your chance.