Don Coyote

“Don Coyote”

“Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.”

“See, I knew it’d be awesome.”

“No, B.  No.  It’s not ‘Daan Cai-otee’ [imagine, if you will a flock of geese calling to each other across a flat, empty corn field in the early evening: Daan, Daan, Daan Cai-otee].”

“Are you making fun of me because I’m Midwestern?”

“You must say it as if every letter were a lover’s kiss–delicate at first, soft, tender–feel that ‘n’ in your mouth like a warm splash of tequila and then let the jagged edge of that c catch you like an unexpected but anticipated nibble at the base of your neck.  Each sound should build to the next sound until, by the time you reach the ‘te,’ it comes out like the last gasp a woman makes before her lover fulfills his most sacred obligation to her.  That, that is how you pronounce ‘Don Coyote.'”

“Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

What Do You Want from Writing?

We were talking writing today, what its purpose is, how it should work.  I’m still mulling it over.

I feel like how I was taught how to teach writing was inherently supremacist–that there’s some objective standard for what makes “good” writing and that everything else that falls short of that objective standard sucks.

That’s just not true.  I was taught to teach writing like it’s a fortress for ideas and that each part of the fortress must be precise and disciplined and correct in order to keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out.

But “correct” English is a fiction.  No one speaks it.  It’s a useful fiction, because it lets a bunch of folks who all speak all kids of English have access to an agreed-upon formal, but fake way of communicating and being understood.  But it’s not “right.”  And I think it’s bullshit the way that “correct” English is used as a measure of the value of someone’s ideas.

I think good writing is when the writer imagines herself sitting across from her reader.  And she writes in such a way that something about her seems spread open (arms, legs, mouth, eyes, hands, etc.) and the reader feels like responding to that openness.  Sometimes, it’s meant to feel like a seduction–“Come in here, sweetie.”–and sometime it’s meant to feel like a reassuring hug and sometimes I want you to laugh with me or shout with me or lace your fingers through mine.

I want you to feel invited to connect with me in some intimate way.

And in a way that’s very hard for me to feel comfortable with in real life.

So, I don’t know.  I have to say, I think that’s what pisses me off about Bob Krumm.  I used to feel that, even though we disagreed on everything, that I was welcome over there to read and to think about his ideas.  And now I feel like something’s changed and I’m not welcome.  And I don’t know if it’s something I did or if he’s changing his blogging strategy or what.

But it’s weird.  And I don’t know how to explain it, but as a reader, I feel cheated.

Remedial Feminism

It’s come to my attention that even well-meaning men still believe that feminism is somehow all about them–that it’s about hating men or how we’re the victims of men or how we’re trying to be the same as men (I mean, seriously, Bob Krumm wrote a postbasically mocking women’s desire for equality and not one person gave a shit enough about what Krumm thinks of women to point and laugh, which is something, considering that it proves two of my points simultaneously–1.  That women aren’t sitting around waiting with baited breath to hear what men think about feminism and 2.  That there are some folks who still think that basic things like equality between the sexes is a joke*.).

Anyway, yes, Slartibartfast, who’s over at his place complaining about how I’m forcing him to “accept ‘feminism’ (which is left undefined, so I assume we have to accept the whole movement – even the extremes), or acquiesce to wife beating, pay inequity, and general enslavement of the female gender.”

Aside from missing the point of my post, he clearly missed who the post was written to.

But let me put it simply.  Unless I specifically say that some post on feminism is addressed to men, you men are not the primary audience.  You’re welcome to read along and join in the discussion, but if you imagine that I am talking specifically to you when I’m talking about feminism and feminist concerns, you are missing a basic nuance.

I love you, but you are not my default reader**.

I’m talking to other women. 

Listen, Exador is, by any measure, a handsome man, fun to be around, and, in his own way, charming.  I think it’s reasonable to say that being with him is, in its own way, pleasurable.

When a handsome charming man who heaps pleasures upon women insinuates, even teasingly, that, if only those darn feminists weren’t ruining it, all women could live happily with a man like him?

Well, good god damn, I’m only a person with a wet and welcoming cooter and that’s a person it’s hard not to want to invite in and make feel welcome.

And it’s not just Exador.  Every day we’re faced with men we care very deeply for who define feminism how ever the hell they want and then ask us to renounce those kinds of feminists, if not all feminism.

And when they’re looking so charming and smiling so sweetly and scooting so close you can almost imagine the warmth of their breath on your neck?

It’s tempting.

But it’s also ridiculous.  Feminism is not some scary monster movement full of man-haters.  It’s a movement that has immeasurably improved the lives of women, men, and children.  And the point of my post was a humorous reminder that, if there hadn’t been feminism, life would be very different for all of us.

I bring all this up because Ivy sent me a link to a story about her daughter that just ripped my heart out and pissed me off.

Is this story about men?  No.

Does Ivy want to castrate all men and tie their testicles to the bumper of her car and drive all through town laughing like she won the lottery?  No.

Does Ivy hate men and want to mock and belittle them at every turn?  No.

Ivy wants to be able to walk into McDonald’s and get for her daughter a toy without it turning into a lesson in how either 1.  Boys get all the cool toys and girls have to learn how to put up with shit. Or 2.  Because you’re a girl, you usually only deserve the girl toy, which sucks, but because someone has pointed out that you are “exceptional,” you might be able to get the boy toy.

See how nothing about this has to do directly with boys?  This isn’t an anecdote about boys.  No one is suggesting that any boy should have to suffer or put up with a shit toy.  There’s nothing in this story directly about boys.

This is about a mom who wants her daughter to be able to eat a god damn meal without being taught that shitty things are for girls and cool things are for boys and that, if she wants the cool thing, she has to accept that it’s not really for girls.

That’s feminism.  That right there.  Wanting your daughter to be able to eat a meal without it turning into a lesson on how to eat shit, metaphorically.

That’s all.  It’s both revolutionary and ordinary and I’m embarrassed for you and furious with you that you fathers would mock a movement your own daughters still need.


*It’ll be interesting to see if Krumm finds this as amusing when it becomes his own children who are affected.  Not that I’m in love with the “exceptional woman” exception to women’s shit, but enough “exceptional women” go on to become feminists that I feel it’s a net gain after an initial setback.  I guess you could argue that, though.

**I know it bothers you to have to talk about “male privilege,” but really, gentlemen, getting to assume that you are the primary audience for everything you read and feeling hurt and confused, and feeling that those feelings are justified, when you are not?  That’s a damn big privilege.