"But you know, deep down, I’m kinda tempted to go and see my Bessie again"

I’ve been trying for an hour to come up with something coherent to say. I’ve got nothing. The Professor and I went to the park. Mrs. Wigglebottom behaved like she’d never been outside before in her whole damn life. That was annoying.

After I dropped the Professor off, I heard “Up on Cripple Creek” by The Band on the radio. I have a soft spot in my heart for that song, and “Rainy Day Woman” by Waylon Jennings.

They’re cheating songs, but they’re not your normal cheating songs. No one’s lying there with Linda on his mind. No one’s acting like some kind of martyr for love because the hardest thing he’s ever had to do is holding her and loving you. No one’s standing at your door because he’s left the one he left you for.

They’re love songs without demands. I just like that.

The Professor and I were talking about men on our walk and then at lunch. And we were talking about some dumbasses we know who seem incapable of articulating, even to themselves, what they want.

And as we were talking about all the ill-at-ease men, I realized that this is exactly what’s so disconcerting about the Wayward Boy Scout. Here’s a man who comes across as utterly at ease. Hmm. No, maybe not at ease, but open to being pleasantly surprised. No, he’s definitely open to being pleasantly surprised. I stand by that. But I also think he is really at ease–maybe not with the world; I don’t know that a man running around armed could be called at ease with the world–but he comes across as being at ease with himself.

At one point we were sitting in a bar and I was saying something witty and obnoxious and feminist and he said “I’m sorry. I didn’t hear what you were saying. I was busy staring at your tits.”

Now, this is not the kind of thing most men could say and live. But I also doubt most men would have been so blatantly staring at my tits, either*.I think it was the mix of unapologetic and appreciative that utterly disarmed me**.

But talking to the Professor about this made me wonder if men have any idea that this is how women think about them. Do y’all know how much we like you and how dear you are to us? Do you have any clues about all the ways we’re fond of you or do you think our reactions to you are all reducible to anger and resentment?***

So, I think I’m going to spend more time thinking carefully about and writing about the men I know. I think it might be useful, not just to me, but to y’all.

I had this weird dream last night that the Butcher came home with a baby and said that some Katie or Kathy girl had given birth to his baby and now he had to raise it. And in his arms was a baby chimp wearing a pink dress. As I was trying to figure out how he could have a chimp as a baby, he handed her to me and she grabbed my cheeks and shook my face and I went “blurb blurb blurb” and she was really strong for a baby. She had a really firm grip. I guess because she was a monkey.

*Though, really, if you want to, boys and girls, who can blame you? Stare away. Write poems about them. Conquer lands in honor of them. They totally deserve it.
**That and the fact that he was obviously also listening, not just staring.
***I said this to y’all once upon a time ago, that it cracks me up that feminists are considered the man-haters when anyone who’s ever stood in a kitchen washing dishes with a group of women who think feminist means “man-hating man-wannabe” will hear some feelings about men so vile it’d make you more than glad to be out in the front room watching the game. You think feminists are the ones who hate men, you’re just not overhearing enough kitchen talk.

Okay, I’ll Admit It

I don’t like Hillary Clinton and I think that, if she runs for President, that will be the end of the Democratic party as we know it. All they’ll be left with is this so-called center Clinton is constantly pandering to, which doesn’t even exist. The far left and the anti-war crowd and the gays and the pro-choicers and, in all fairness, the he-man woman-haters, when slammed with a Clinton presidential bid, will all blow off like the bits of proto-earth that settled into a rocky ring around our planet. And then we’ll all have the pleasure of waiting around to see if they coalesce into a new moon, er political party.

Whew. Actually, I’m not quite smart enough to sustain a prolonged metaphor about politics and pre-lunar planets, but I hope you can appreciate that I tried.

But here’s my problem with Clinton. She’s smart enough to be President. She’s got the gritty determination. But I feel like her every move is calculated to grab power, and thus she panders.

Now, all politicians want to grab power. I’m not faulting her for that. I’m faulting her for coming across like a person whose every movement is opinion-polled and focus-grouped to death.

You want power? Act like you have opinions of your own, even some that Republicans might find unpopular. I mean, isn’t that what’s funny? Republicans, in general, don’t like her. She could come out tomorrow with fourteen assault rifles strapped to her body, quoting Jesus, and blocking the door to abortion clinics while kicking any gays who want to get married who happen to stroll by and right wingers would still be like “Bitch is crazy.”

So why the fuck is she trying to make herself palatable to them?

Molly Ivins kicks some ass about this in her latest column.

You sit there in Washington so frightened of the big, bad Republican machine you have no idea what people are thinking. I’m telling you right now, Tom DeLay is going to lose in his district. If Democrats in Washington haven’t got enough sense to OWN the issue of political reform, I give up on them entirely.

And then she makes her best point in such a beautiful way, I bow down before her:

In World War I, they went around kicking dachshunds on the grounds that dachshunds were “German dogs.” They did not, however, go around kicking German shepherds. The MINUTE someone impugns your patriotism for opposing this war, turn on them like a snarling dog and explain what loving your country really means.

Preach on, Sister Ivins.

The fact that the Democratic leadership appears to be willfully oblivious to the dissention in the ranks is alarming. Every liberal blogger, every liberal columnist, every liberal I know is fixing for a fight. But we’re all supposed to either accept Kos’s “moderate voice of reason”* or… or what? Some conservatives, like Ole Sully, will use shitty polls to draw strange conclusions** about us and call us “unhinged and ineffective”? Well, Jesus H. Christ, they already do.

Ivins is right. Where are the brave Democrats? The thoughtful and plain-spoken who can lead the party? Who are the folks who are going to stand up and say “This isn’t right?”

I’m not seeing them, especially not in the likes of Clinton.

*No one has said that specifically about him. I’m just using the quotes to indicate that that seems to be the stereotype.
** I don’t hang out at Kos’s site because I don’t like to be daily reminded how the Democratic party sees my personal autonomy as some kind of fringe issue that can be discarded whenever convenient. But there was a poll, apparently, in which 41% of the respondents said they hated Bush more than Bin Laden. From that, Sully concludes that this is some “indicator of how unhinged and ineffective the far left has become.”

For those of you who don’t understand the problem, let me explain. Say that Kos has 10,000 readers a day. There’s a poll with this kind of stupid question on it. Say then that 9,900 of his readers, of all types of liberal persuasions, look at the question and are like “My god, that’s asinine” and don’t participate. So, 100 do and 41 of them hate Bush more than Bin Laden. That doesn’t tell us anything about the attitudes of the other 9,900 readers, some of whom may be much farther left than the 41. Polls that require people to feel passionately enough about the question to respond are going to attract only the people who feel passionately enough to respond. It doesn’t tell you anything about the attitudes of the majority of leftists.

And, what kind of poll is that anyway? Can’t a person hate Bush passionately and still wish Bin Laden’s head had been mounted on a pole in the crater of the World Trade Center within weeks of September 11, where it would be left to rot and be torn at by stray dogs?