Boy Books

Boy books. You’re thinking The Boys’ Book of Trains and The Hardy Boys, right? I’m thinking most of the books I took in high school English.

Consider Knowles’ A Separate Peace. Separate indeed. It’s set at a boys’ boarding school. The boys are obsessed with jumping out of a tree. This involves considerable risk of crippling injury. And yet they do it, for no other reason than ‘to prove themselves’. Now my question is ‘What are they proving themselves to be – other than complete idiots?’ We don’t get it. Read the rest of this entry »

The Superbowl: knock yourself out

So does anyone think someone’s going to get knocked out during this year’s Superbowl? It’s happened before. And frankly, I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often. Just like that latest disgrace with our prisoners of war.

I mean, consider the similarities: Read the rest of this entry »

Getting Married

When you ‘get married’ you are entering into a legal contract. You might be doing a few other things (promising your love to someone, making a deal with a god), but you are most certainly entering into a legally binding contract with another person. There are rights due to and responsibilities incumbent upon people who enter into a marriage contract. Some of these have to do with money, some have to do with children, some have to do with sexual services, and some have to do with other things.

What I find so extremely odd is that even though well over 90% of all people in the USA and Canada get married, almost none of them read the terms of the contract before they sign. (Most people find out about these terms only when they want to break the contract.) Probably because the contract isn’t presented when their signatures are required.

Although this begs the question ‘Is the contract, therefore, still binding?’, the more interesting question is ‘Why isn’t it presented?’

The Other Sex

Men, I mean. After all, they are the ones who define themselves in relation to us: to be a man is to be whatever is not to be a woman.

If women are graceful, then to be graceful is feminine. A graceful man is effeminate. A real man is not graceful. He’s not necessarily clumsy, he’s just not-graceful. Read the rest of this entry »

What Went Wrong with Political Correctness?

My guess is that it started well enough, as sensitivity: people realized that terms such as ‘crippled’ and ‘retarded’ had gathered too many negative connotations, had become insults; so they replaced them with new words such as ‘physically challenged’ and ‘mentally challenged’ – words that, because new, would be free of such slant.

This linguistic reform became called, I suggest, ‘political correctness’ – perhaps by people (men?) who couldn’t say (let alone be considered) ‘sensitive’.

From there, Read the rest of this entry »

Bang Bang

Ya gotta love Christmas. Peace on earth, goodwill toward men, and record sales of toy guns.

But, my friend says, her son, and all of his friends, will make a gun out of any old thing. The problem isn’t the toys.

Okay, so it’s the boys. Seems they’re hardwired with a propensity toward killing. Why is this not a problem? A stand-up-and-scream problem. Not a sweep-it-under-the-carpet boys-will-be-boys problem.

Why does it not bother parents that their son considers pretending to kill to be fun (that is, that he derives psychological pleasure from pretending to kill)?

Why does it not bother them that their son considers killing a game (that is, an appropriate activity for make-believe)?

Anticipating ‘It’s just the noise and the chasing that’s fun, he doesn’t associate the action with killing’ – is that supposed to make it better? That he pulls a trigger on a gun and doesn’t associate the action with killing? Maybe you should take him to an ER and let him see what a bullet does to a body. He might think twi – he might think then before so casually making that pulling-a-trigger motion.

I wonder whether parents would be as blasé if he as repeatedly put his arm around someone’s throat and swiped a piece of stiff cardboard across it? Is it just that people have become desensitized to the shooting-a-gun action?

Further, I am puzzled by the ‘doesn’t bother me’ response not only because of the psychological and philosophical implications, but also because of the practical ones: first, once he’s fourteen or sixteen, the action becomes illegal (at least in the States). (Then again, it might be illegal at all ages and maybe it’s just when a kid points a fake gun, no one presses charges.) (Because boys will be boys?) (So the men who do so are also boys?)

And, second, such an action may well get him killed. ‘Cuz I have to tell ya, since real kids have access to real guns these days, if I were walking down a city street and a kid jumped out at me pointing a gun, I’d shoot first and ask questions later. If I had a gun.

Which I don’t. So instead I’d just break out into a cold sweat and try to raise my arms. And then when the kid laughed and lowered his arm, telling me it’s just a toy, I’d haul him off to his parents and give all three of you a huge piece of mind. What right do you have to let your kid terrorize me like that? What the hell is wrong with you??

Appropriation or Imagination?

Two poems of mine have been published in a journal dedicated to “the Black experience”. An audio piece of mine has been aired on Native radio programs. I am neither Black nor Native. Had this been known, I suspect some might have accused me of cultural appropriation.

It’s an interesting idea, but Read the rest of this entry »


If I had a dollar for every time someone (i.e., a man) told me to smile, I’d be rich. (And if I had five dollars for every time that same someone did not tell a man to smile, I’d be really rich.)

Why is it that women are told, are expected, to smile a lot? (Or at least a lot more than men?) Read the rest of this entry »

Supervisory Responsibility

I have come to realize that the corporate definition of ‘responsibility’ is very different than the common definition. I am thinking, in particular, of ‘supervisory responsibility’.

Consider this situation. Read the rest of this entry »

King of the Castle

Octavia Butler got it right in Xenogenesis when the aliens identified one of our fatal flaws as that of being hierarchy-driven (they fixed us with a bit of genetic engineering) – but she failed to associate the flaw predominantly with males.

And Steven Goldberg got it right in Why Men Rule when he explained that men are genetically predisposed to hierarchy (fetal masculinization of the central nervous system renders males more sensitive to the dominance-related properties of testosterone) – but he presented that as an explanation for why men rule and not also for why men kill.

And Arthur Koestler got it right in The Call Girls when, recognizing that the survival of the human species is unlikely, a select group of geniuses meet at a special ‘Approaches to Survival’ symposium (and fail to agree on a survival plan) – but I’m not sure he realized (oh of course he did) that one of his character’s early reference to a previous symposium on ‘Hierarchic Order in Primate Societies’ was foreshadowing.

The reason the human species will not survive is simple: Read the rest of this entry »