I was re-watching, as I frequently do, an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was one of the better season 7 episodes, a season not really known for its strengths, the one where, in some kind of bizarre psychic fantasy imprinted by someone involved in the construction of the Enterprise, Counselor Troi begins a sexual relationship with Lieutenant Worf, who then turns into a fuckboy and hooks up with some nurse. Counselor Troi then kills Worf in a jealous rage.
The episode’s denouement, when Worf stops Troi from jumping into the plasma field thus breaking the imprint fantasy, was Worf questioning why she was so happy that he was alive. Troi smirks and says “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” and walks off, leaving Worf appearing somewhat confused and, if you know anything about Klingon sexuality, probably a bit turned on. The two subsequently date in later episodes.
I want to examine that phrase, considering what early reports out of Toronto are saying. The phrase outright says that if you scorn a woman, she will bring something far worse than the fires of hell down upon you (we’ll talk about how noxious the belief in a punishment-place called hell is some other day, because, well, it is a really noxious belief).
The man who rented a moving truck and then plowed it down a one-kilometer stretch of busy Yonge Street in downtown Toronto, killing 10, apparently was, it’s alleged at this early time, an incel.
What’s an incel? Honestly, you’re better off not knowing. But since I’ve used the word I’ll explain. It’s a reddit community (now deleted) of men who believe they are involuntarily celibate. They can’t get dates with women (while they don’t accept that gay incels exist, it turns out they do) and for whatever reason (usually, because they’re male, therefore, they’re entitled) they don’t do any kind of self-examination as to why. It’s the fault of the women. It’s the fault of the world. They believe they’re entitled to women and when women turn them down, they get rageful and as we seem to see time and time again, deadly. And they’re all male.
Such an “incel” shot up Isla Vista, CA, killing 6. (One will note I will not use that person’s name, or the name of this van attacker. They’re both terrorists. The end.)
But taken further outside of a movement of weirdo, somewhat dangerous group of gross men who were raised wrong, are men who, when scorned by a woman, kill that woman. At least once a week I read about a woman being attacked because she ignored a man cat-calling her because he felt he was entitled to her attention. Every day a woman (and sometimes, her children, and parents, and family and sometimes coworkers or even bystanders) die because she rejects a man’s advances. I have to wonder if the hellfury we should fear is from a man and not a woman because…taken even further, most murderers are male, terrorism is almost universally a male sport (and many of them really hate women), the ongoing and current rise of the new Nazis are male-dominated (so much so that the women in the group have begun to object to some of the new Nazis more vile prognostications, such as there should be roving legal rape gangs to punish women, with predictable results from the men), and the two people who can, at any time of their choosing erase all human life from this planet with literal hellfire, are men, one of which is likely not all-there in the head.
I think we should retire the phrase and rewrite it. Scorn a man and you might die. That’s got to be worse than whatever “Hell” is. And men? Yeah, we gots to work on this because it’s not acceptable.