Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Stupid is as Stupid Does

My mother is convinced that the "hairy armpit feminists" aka PUMA who are still pouting about Hillary Clinton not being the candidate are so short sighted that McCain is going to be elected and not only overturn Roe v Wade but we'll also see the end of birth control as we know it. She blames the same bunch for causing trouble years ago when Ted Kennedy ran against Jimmy Carter in the primary and the next thing you know we were stuck with Ronald Reagan. Handing the Republicans the White House out of spite and stupidity.

Stranger things have happened.

Mother watches the news a lot. MSNBC is on right now even though she's gone to the grocery store. The dog watches the news in this house. Fortunately, Sophie the dog is a Southern Feminist as opposed to a Yankee (or hairy armpit) Feminist so we're having no political argufying in the kitchen. Personally, I thought Hillary's speech last night made the case for party unity. She made an excellent point when she said that she didn't spend 35 years in the trenches fighting for health care, etc. just to see the Democrats lose this election.

According to that foolish man on Morning Joe, the Hillary delegates aren't buying it despite what Ann Lewis said to the contrary. Mother tolerates Ann Lewis even though she was part of the bunch that screwed Jimmy Carter - it's Eleanor Smeal she holds personally responsible for Clarence Thomas being on the Supreme Court. Mother will hold a grudge, but it's her view that Ann Lewis is pragmatic enough and not so tied to her own agenda to throw the baby out with the bath water.

I've been looking at the differences in between Southern and Yankee Feminists in terms of common sense, acknowledging and celebrating the differences between our genders and recognizing the patriarchy causes as much trouble for men as for women. I've begun to revise my thinking, though, because the differences aren't a result of Geography. Arm pits, maybe.

Actually, my favorite feminist - besides Ann Richards - is Marion Woodman. She's from California and is a Jungian who believes that Feminism and the Divine Feminine go hand in hand.

What I've noticed since I've lived in New York City for 20 years is that some "feminists" simply want to bitch at men and are generally petulant, negative and somewhat hostile in every situation. For example, I learned from a man I used to know that when he tried to carry a college girlfriend's suit case, she bitched him out for thinking she was too weak to carry her own bag. They nearly missed their plane as she struggled with said bag. These college students were at Cornell, which counts as Ivy League. You would think they weren't stupid.

Apparently an Ivy League education doesn't pull your head out from up your ass, and George W. Bush is not the only example of that phenomenon. Maybe the distinction is not between Feminists at all. Maybe it's like Forrest Gump says: Stupid is as stupid does.

We will see where all this political stuff leads. Once we get back to the city, I'll go back to my habit of never watching TV news. I'll read the NY Times, and I'll be getting the Austin American Statesman delivered so I can decide if I really want to move there.

I feel lost and alone and under attack in the city. Outnumbered and misunderstood, so I doubt I'll be staying. There are plenty of stupid people in Texas. One of my favorite stories told by Gayle the Hillbilly Hustler concerns her neighbor in Spring, Texas who was electrocuted on his driveway while attempting to install a TV antenna during a thunderstorm. Then there is my mother's neighbor, originally from Ohio, who sent her second grader to school with a copperhead for show and tell. Better still, another neighbor who gave his wife VD some years ago and tried to convince her to take antibiotics without telling her why - and she was an RN. Oy!

A couple of years ago, one of my two year old students' father was a professor of Journalism at Columbia University. He'd worked in network news for years and years before that. He told me that on days when nothing was going on in the country or the world, and the station needed a story, the reporters turned their attention to Texas and Florida. You could always count on something ridiculous happening in Texas and Florida. Bush governors in both states a coincidence? I think not.

I mention this tidbit to illustrate that I'm not saying Southerners are cognitively superior to Yankees. I do think, however, that we have a better sense of humor down here. For example, in the Sunday Houston Chronicle I read that the DA in Austin is trying to get a rule made that allows him to restrict his staff from bringing their concealed weapons into the court room even though they may have a Right to Carry. In New York City, almost everyone would think it was outrageous that anyone besides a police officer had a fire arm in the first place.

When I was in Austin with a New Yorker, he found it necessary to challenge the young clerk in an admission booth at Windy Point park to explain a sign reading:
Visible Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages is not Permitted
I don't disagree that on the surface the sign was ridiculous, but anyone who lives in Texas knows that the Baptists make such a big deal about drinking that it's easier to simply pour your beer in a cup. Hell, bring a canteen full of Margs if you want to - just don't get drunk and drive. But if the Baptists see you drinking they'll make a fuss and someone will have to do something about it. Very logical if you understand the culture. We have to institutionalize Denial so that opposing factions - drinkers and Baptist - can peacefully coexist.

As it happened, the young clerk at Windy Point looked at the New Yorker like he was just another Dumb Ass Yankee. He explained a couple of times what the sign meant to said New Yorker because the fellow thought the sign was so silly he had to rub it in.

As it also happened, I was once out with the same fellow on a beach in Brooklyn that was effectively privatized by lack of public transportation and parking. Good idea actually, and quite pleasant. That the beach was filled with lounging white people while the work on the dunes was being done by two black fellows supervised by a Latino in camo pants and shirt. American Flags flew in a line down the beach. I was reminded of the Randy Newman song Rednecks:
Yes he's free to be put in a cage
In Harlem in New York City
And he's free to be put in a cage in the South-Side of Chicago, the West-Side
And he's free to be put in a cage in Hough in Cleveland
And he's free to be put in a cage in East St. Louis
And he's free to be put in a cage in Fillmore in San Francisco
And he's free to be put in a cage in Roxbury in Boston
They're gatherin' 'em up from miles around
Keepin' the niggers down

I'm not sure anyone but me recognized we were watching the Randy Newman song in action that day on Rockaway Beach.

Clearly I have drifted away from the Hillary Delegates into examining heights of stupidity. The fact is that I just want to come home to Texas.


Comrade Kevin said...

I agree with you that many Feminists like activists of all stripes, for whatever cause, often look for any and every reason to be offended.

The irony of that kind of militant attitude is that it repels more people than it enlightens. If the point is to make reference to injustice, then tactics like those are miserable failures.

dissed said...

Yep, Randy Newman had it going on with Good Old Boys.

My best friend, Shiksabelle, is trapped in the wilds of suburban Connecticut due to shared custody. She'll come home in four more years. You CAN go home again. It's different, and you're different, but it's still home.

P. E. Nolan said...

Shiksabelle? Great name. Makes me want to change mine to Shiksa Mae.

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