Near the Old Man of Storr, Scotland I took this in 2004

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The ranking system

A car commercial once reminded me of a simple, basic fact, there are no races, just the human race. Very profound shit from a car commercial, but they wanted to sell their car, and clearly didn’t want to alienate even one potential buyer, it’s a good marketing strategy. I didn’t buy their car, but I did buy their message, because it was a refreshing change from the maelstrom of everyday “Us versus Them” paradigms.

The “Us versus Them” paradigm is a product of the ranking system. The ranking system is what patriarchy stands for; it’s the system of divide and conquer. We are so used to ranking things, we just take it for granted that what we are actually doing is saying we agree with colonial patriarchy.

We rank women: body size, shape, height; hair colour, texture, length; breast size and shape.

We rank skin colour.

We rank men: testicle shape, body-shape, size, sexual prowess,

We rank in terms of the highest, the biggest, the fastest, etc.

I would love to climb Mount Everest one day, but not because it’s the highest mountain, or the most daunting, but because it would be amazing to see the view from the top of the world, so high up, and in such sacred land. Though, for most men climbers the two sealing points for them are that they are going to climb the highest and biggest mountain in the world; they focus on these points because they haven’t left kindergarten. In kindergarten boys are taught that to be a man you must rank, and rank everything.

What would the world be like without superlatives or even comparatives? Well, we wouldn’t have systems that tell us one thing is better than another, and that might very well end all idiotic wars, but, as Big Gov oh- so-subtly reminds us, we need wars to keep our economies healthy. Plus, wars are great places for bringing out the big artillery; the big superlatives; the enemy makers.

The ranking system is behind slavery; all forms of hate and racism, all systems that say one group is better and more deserving than another; like think jim crow and apartheid. The ranking system is what was used to ensure women were “seen and not heard”, and were legally regarded as chattel; as property of a male, such as their fathers, or husbands.

The ranking system is war, its’ the sports field which is war’s cousin.

Patriarchy relies heavily on maintaining the ranking system, in ways such as ensuring women stay insecure and “catty” with each other—“dissent among the ranks”, as it were. The more in-fighting among women patriarchal systems can create, the less likelihood of a female overthrow. The motto of patriarchy is “Keep ‘em scared, keep ‘em silent.”

Corporate giants also operate along patriarchal systems. Companies who refuse to unionize their workforce are able get away with not unionizing by leading their workforce to believe that unionizing would be detrimental for various reasons, that it would be costly, and it could even result in job loss. Therefore, the Goliath is able to maintain it’s position of fear and dominance by dropping poison into the water, as it were, and letting it spread, by word of mouth, throughout the ranks, at which point, the execs get to sit back and laugh and breathe a sigh of relief, because they have averted a political overthrow.

All governments, and different forms of governing systems rely 100% on the ranking system, if they didn’t, we would actually be able to experience democracy: from Gk. demokratia "popular government," from demos "common people," originally "district" (see demotic), + kratos "rule, strength" (

Therefore, democracy means, rule by the common people, but it’s anything but that.

Wouldn’t it be great if governments provided its citizens with full disclosure of all their actions, including spending, action plans, lies, fuck ups. If governments stopped pitting people against each other, rich against poor, black against white, …, and actually did their jobs; paved the roads, cleaned the streets, ensure protesters were guaranteed the right to protest safely, the ranking system would start to become more and more superfluous. I’ll harken back to the G20 summit, here in Toronto last year, where people only now are being released from jail. What was their crime? Existing, and not remembering patriarchy’s motto; the protesters at the G20 were not silent and that terrified Big Gov, so it really had no choice, but to “pull rank”, and throw those noise makers in the clinker, that’ll learn them.

The best way to combat patriarchy is to never stay silent—keep speaking, yelling, screaming, laughing, singing!