Finally we know what’s wrong with the world: Petro-masculinity

For goodness’ sake, do not let Julie Anne Genter know about this!? All her hot-buttons in one simple unified theory of everything.

Cara Daggett has published her oh-so-learned-and-serous paper, “Petro-masculinity: Fossil Fuels and Authoritarian Desire.” Quote.


As the planet warms, new authoritarian movements in the West are embracing a toxic combination of climate denial, racism and misogyny. Rather than consider these resentments separately, this article interrogates their relationship through the concept of petro-masculinity, which appreciates the historic role of fossil fuel systems in buttressing white patriarchal rule. Petro-masculinity is helpful to understanding how the anxieties aroused by the Anthropocene can augment desires for authoritarianism. The concept of petro-masculinity suggests that fossil fuels mean more than profit; fossil fuels also contribute to making identities, which poses risks for post-carbon energy politics. Moreover, through a psycho-political reading of authoritarianism, I show how fossil fuel use can function as a violent compensatory practice in reaction to gender and climate trouble.[…]

Petro: both hard and soft. Both the solidification of toxic masculinity, and the grimy, deathly flows (oil, gas) let loose as psychological compensation for that self-discipline. […] Burning fossil fuels in an age of global warming can offer a compensatory practice of violence. Fossil fuel systems provide a domain for explosive letting go, and all the pleasures that come with it ? drilling, digging, fracking, mountaintop removal, diesel trucks. In the words of Sarah Palin, ?drill, baby, drill!? […]

Helpfully, the aesthetics of fossil fuels ? most particularly oil ? are ripe for recoding as expressions of sexualised power and orgasmic satisfaction. The parallels between rape and extractivism have been well documented. Stephanie LeMenager writes of ?oil?s primal associations with earth?s body, therefore with the permeability, excess, and multiplicity of all bodies?, such that ?the spectacle of [oil?s] gushing from the earth suggests divine or Satanic origins, a givenness that confers upon it an inherent value disassociated from social relations?. In Upton Sinclair?s novel, Oil!, too, LeMenager observes how a gushing well becomes an orgasmic woman (?There she came!?), while ?for a thirteen year-old male narrator, industrial-scale pollution and waste translate into arousal and premature ejaculation?. […] End of quote.

Hopefully, she worked in the phallic imagery of drilling rigs as well – would be a shame not to. Quote.

When petro-masculinity is at stake, climate denial is thus best understood through desire, rather than as a failure of scientific communication or reason. In other words, an attachment to the righteousness of fossil fuel lifestyles, and to all the hierarchies that depend upon fossil fuel, produces a desire to not just deny, but to refuse climate change. Refusing climate change is distinct from ignoring climate change, which is effectively what many people who otherwise acknowledge its reality do. Ignoring can be dangerous, too, but it is a passive disposition, often connected to emotions of frustration or confusion, or even fear. Refusal is active. Angry. It demands struggle. In the case of climate change, by refusing it, one also subscribes to an accelerated investment in petrocultures. Refusal can no longer rest at defending the status quo but must proceed to intensifying fossil fuel systems to the last moment, which will often require resorting to authoritarian politics.? End of quote.

Yeah, whateva …

Hopefully, Cara, you used your leftover research money to buy a nice big V8.

Finally, a quick pic to show you all how wrong petro-masculinity really is …