So Nimm Denn Meine Hande...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Why I'm never wanting to be in a Medeival Rap Video...

I am not chivalrous, nor do I ever try to be.

That's right ladies. I said it.


Now, before I get beaten to death, I probably should explain why I have a distaste for the word "chivalry".

Craver recently put up something about Chivalry, and I agree with him.

Men should treat every woman like a princess, or a beloved mother, or a favorite sister. Men should open doors, initiate the "DTR" ("Define the Relationship" talk), offer their arms on ice, defend any woman in peril, let women sneak into grocery lines, offer to carry them women over large puddles (unless they have a jacket to lay down), protect, serve, and in all questions of conduct, do whatever they can to let them know that they are precious. So Craver is right, and I wholeheartedly agree. Anyone who doubts me has never met my mother. (I know the proper way to kiss a maiden's hand...WRITE THIS DOWN FELLAS: You grasp the hand with your thumb on top, and then kiss your thumb, not the maiden's hand. Only a classless boor would lay his filthy lips on the fair hand of a beautiful maiden, probably getting dirt and grime on her gloves! Sheesh!)

So best recognize that I definitely am in the "lift up the ladies" club...

...but that's NOT chivalry. No ma'am.

When we think of chivalry, we think of "social conduct" and such; ways of treating a maiden. Unfourtunately, that's what Chivalry became, but not even remotely close to what it originally was. The following can be found here:

"Chivalry" comes from the French word for "knight" (chevalier), and was the professional soldier of the time (around the time of the crusades, and even earlier). "Chivalry" was the code of conduct of the professional cavalry soldier, and it had nothing to do with the ladies.

Medieval knights fought on behalf of the church and God, and were even granted special privledges such as the remission of all penances, dispensation from the jurisdiction of the secular courts, and as a means of defraying the expenses of the journey to the Holy Land, knights were granted the tenth of all the church revenues.

After the era of the crusades, knighthood reached it's highest and most noble time. Being a knight was similar to being in a monastic order, and "Chivalry" was seen as a fusion of the religious and military; the ideal "man'. Chivalry was still about the maxims of honour and courtesy, but the term encapsulated the idea of ideal "knighthood".

After the Crusades chivalry gradually lost its religious aspect. Around this time, "Chivalry" became the peculiar worship of knighthood. Love, neither God or the Church, became the mainspring of chivalry. As a consequence there arose a new type of Chevalier, vowed to the service of some noble lady, who could even be another man's wife. This idol of his heart was to be worshipped at a distance. Unfortunately, notwithstanding the obligations imposed upon the knightly lover, these extravagant fancies often led to lamentable results.

This is the period of chivalry that we associate with the word "Chivalry". In the third age of Chevalier, we see the romantic knight who fights on behalf of the noblewoman with a sword in one hand, a rose in the other and poetry spouting from his mouth whilst he rides an unspotted white horse across a field of daisies. Unfortunately, this concept of "Chivalry = code of conduct on how to swoon the ladies fans" is essentially the medieval version of being a "playa".

"Chivalry" became a code of conduct for "scoring with the chicks". That's where all the romantic, mushy, excessive etiquette stuff comes from. Knights didn't open the doors for the ladies out of anything short a desire to impress the ladies (not that any knight would open a door...that's what servants are for! DUH!) and thereby get "all up ins". In another word, Chivalry was a drawn out medieval equivalent of "candy is dandy but liquor is quicker"...just with a few dozen more rules (and less rhyming..again my fascination with rap comes out).

I don't want to use "etiquette" as a tool to weasel my way into a fair maidens arms, heart, or God forbid, bed. I don't want to allure women with romanticism or my inner "warrior poet". I definitely don't want married women getting swooned by my immaculate table manners, my ability to spontaneously spout obscure poetry in perfect pentameter (i.e. freestyle rap), my ability to play their favorite song on any of 47 instruments or my ability to save them from a flat tire without ever messing my hair. (and I cannot do any of those

Feel free to call me what you will, but PLEASE don't call me Chivalrous. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian.


Blogger Craver VII said...

Eewww, yuck! I had no idea... I think I'm gonna be sick.

6:28 PM

Blogger michael lewis said...

Are we talking apples and oranges, or apples and garbage?

I like most of what you say, except I don't like the "princess" analogy.

It's a stupid little-girl fairy tale that plants then feeds her deep seeded need for girl-porn (romantica-erotica).

Talk about duping a whole bunch of people all at once, even when they have no ability to think for themselves!!!

See, if the girl wants to be treated like a princess, then I as the boy must only be treated as the prince to which her princess-ness is totally and utterly dependent.

I'm not saying that we ought to strive for a tiered society in either direction, with men superior or women superior.

We ought to be looking towards the equality of the genders.

This whole "i'm a princess" nonsense detracts from this just as much as women as chattel does, but in the opposite direction.

And, it's a complete turn-off when a girl throws out this outdated line. I think it's rooted in the Rob Reiner cult-classic The Princess Bride, although This is Spinal Tap, or even When Harry Met Sally, would be much better choices to show to youth groups.

8:52 PM

Blogger The Armchair Theologian said...

Craver - sorry...Kinda a teensy pet peeve. I was hoping you wouldn't see it, or at least not take offense.

Michael - uh, whatever dude. You can feel free to treat girls according to whatever positive noun strikes your family. Treat them like a Ferarri, or an original 57' Stratocaster, or the Prime Minister of Holland. The idea behind the phrase is "treat them girls good". No "Princess Bride" idea intended, though I tend to clarify that when I talk in person to the ladies fans.

But "Girl Porn"? " ability to think for themselves"?

Come on brudda! Let's not get to venomous...she might show up here, read that, and know who you're talking about! Careful!

Hmmm... and equality of the genders? That means so many things to so many people. What do you mean?

9:04 PM

Blogger The Armchair Theologian said...

Oh, and I once knew a youth sponsor that WANTED to show Demi Moore's movie "Striptease" to his kidding.

Then again, that same dude got caught in West Edmonton Mall taking some of the youth group kids to "Hooters", and his wife was the one that caught him! Oh BUDDY! So things COULD be worse! HA!

9:07 PM

Blogger C.W. Graham said...

Very chivalrous of you to point this out, thanks.

7:20 AM

Blogger Craver VII said...

Don't apologize armchair... I'm not offended that you turned the light on; I'm offended at the dirty knights we found lurking in the dark.

michael, you must only refer to The Princess Bride in the most positive manner, or all the fans will try to convert you... Resistance is futile. Oh, that's another movie; nevermind.

11:55 AM

Blogger Curtis said...

Armchair... this post and the comments that followed got me thinking. There are some great thoughts and great points in your post. However, I think you are waging a war that is not worth fighting. We are dealing with an underlying communication and etymology issue here.

First of all, when I am told that I am chivalrous, I thank that person. Why? Because they are complimenting me. I have never been told that I am chivalrous in a "you-are-a-playa"-type manner. (Have you?!) Chivalry has always been a, "you-are-treating-that-girl-special" type compliment. Friends will question my motives by saying, "Curtis, you are being a playa." or "CJ, you are leading her on." or "Curt, you are trying to bed that chick." NEVER have I been told that I am chivalrous that carries a negative "knighthood" connotation. (To summarize the 'chivalry' definition of our time: good/honourable intentions & special action= good connotation 'chivalry' definition. NOT: selfish intention & special action= bad connotation 'chivalry' definition.) So the conclusion is this: either I am ignorant and neive in writing this last paragraph, OR people that you know intend to use the word in the way that you have so eloquantly described (and are therefore being offensive), OR you are messing around with etymology and definitions.

Etymology. Words mean different things over time. Do we really want to intend the original definition and meaning of all the words that we use today? I took a medical terminology class a few years ago. We would cringe if we knew the etymology of some of those words. (I will withhold the examples for you, the readers sake.) Let's just say that I would get kicked out of school (med-type school) if I used these words based soley on their etymology merit... regardless if they were used in their proper context.

I submit that we must communicate properly and not get caught up with etymology and terminology. The issue should be this: how do guys treat girls? And how should girls respond to that treatment? And how is this being perceived by all those involved? It's all about perception and communication. Not etymology.

And, because I know that word bothers you Armchair, you can count on me to never call you 'chivalrous' again.


1:29 PM

Blogger The Armchair Geek said...

Well, truth be told, he IS a playa. Call him chivilrous all you want! He's such a dang chump! LOL!

3:31 PM

Blogger The Armchair Theologian said...


3:32 PM

Blogger Jennifer said...


Ohhhhh, so I definitely didn't know all of that! However, I somehow knew a few of the knighthood connections... Fantastic post, playa.

Hmm, I kind of liked having "chivalry" as a nice, tidy word to describe honorable societal conduct. What am I going to do now?

And Craver, thank you for standing up and defending the name of Princess Bride. Well done, man. That was very chiv--uhh, well done.

And take care, Michael Lewis. That savors strongly of bitterness.

7:06 PM

Blogger The Armchair Theologian said...

CURT! Welcome back bud! How's the neck? You've been in my prayers brother!

Okay. You caught me. I WAS doing a little slight of hand etymologically. I use the word "chivalry" too, and I use it in it's modern, western, context.

The pool of linguistic meaning DOES change over time, and good thing to. I had the "rock and roll" talk with somebody's grandmother a while ago, and LORD knows that certain musical phrases had beginnings that I was unaware of...and I giggle everytime I hear people say certain words.

So, I was just being a little bit of a chauch and suggesting that we Christians kinda use a non-innocent word, and a non-innocent concept, in a way that we have sanitized. I was kinda just pointing that out, and for some reason I was entertained by not resolving the post in a neat way...maybe I was fishing for comments. HA! Maybe I was lazy. But, good thoughts from you!

Oh, and Yen? No need to agree with that The Armchair Geek. His ego is big enough as it is and he doesn't need the encouragement.

And Craver is correct in insinuating that the fans of the Princess Bride are like the BORG. Resistance is futile! Does anybody want a peanut?

12:27 AM

Blogger The Armchair Geek said...

What can I say? It ain't ego if its teh truth, and it ain't braggin if you can back it up. lol.

12:32 AM

Anonymous seadonkey said...

here is the funny thing about symantics...the etemology of a word often has absolutly nothing to do with the meaning of that word today. In our subculture (or at least my evangelical one...not everyone is in my evangelical subculture) chivalry means "a tiddy word to describe proper social conduct." Not "a 13th century french knight personifying idealistic fusion of military and christian service who is entitled to misdirected gifts of grace from the church." So I will wear my chivalrous name tag proud, confident that I will not be denounced as a french knight. The "exegetical falacy" (thx Dr Carson) here is called "illigitmate totallity transfer." Not looking to attack but simply to clarify.

11:50 AM

Blogger The Armchair Theologian said...

Totality Transfer Falacy? Well! We have a new playa in the mix! Someone comes on here and starts spouting Carson's "Exegetical Fallacies"! Awesome! Welcome SeaDonkey!

Now, grabbing my copy of "Exegetical Fallacies" of my pottie (It's my toilet reader...short know...), we see that an "illegitimate totality transter" is a fallacy that sits with one leg on "Problems surrounding synonyms and componential analysis" (the 9th fallacy - pg 47-53) and another leg on "Unwarranted adoption of an expanded semantic field" (the 13th fallacy - pg 60-61), of course because an "illegitimate totality transfer" can be applied to either parent fallacy.

BUT, I'm don't think I was saying that "Chivalry" was applying the entirety of semantic range of the word to the modern usage. I didn't argue for the "French Knight" understanding to be incorporated into "Chivalry" Mr./Mrs/Miss SeaDonkey, nor did I really focus on the "...idealistic fusion of military and christian service who is entitled to misdirected gifts of grace from the church" semantic component of the term. (nice eloqution on your part too! You're pleasingly erudite!)

But, I was connecting the term with the later understanding of how it "...became a code of conduct for 'scoring with the chicks'". I was connecting the terms LATER perversion with our modern usage.

Upon filtering my post through Carson's "Exegetical Fallacies" lens I would submit to you that my error was most likely an error of "Semantic Obsolescence" (Error #3, pg 35-37). Carson defines this as when "...the interpreter assigns to a word (in his text) a meaning that the word in question used to have in earlier times, but that is no longer found within the live, semantic range of the word."

So I would counter correct your correction in conveying that I was comitting a "totality transfer" fallacy when, if I can correct your correction, I was comitting a fallacy of "semantic obsolescence", which Curtis has currently correctly corrected me concerning. Consequently, I welcome correction and congradulate for your correction, which though possibly incorrect, has lead to a correction of correction which has cunningly and consequently corrected.

12:46 PM

Blogger The Armchair Geek said...

What a freaking dork. Who has a copy of "Exegetical Fallacies" on their crapper?

12:50 PM

Blogger Curtis said...

Armchair, you are fantabulous. Some of the things you say crack me up. I love it. And the thing is, even though you may think so, you arent a chauch. You are a gentleman.

About the spine: it is mending. Thanks for the prayers. They are much appreciated.

12:12 PM


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