The Cedar Was 52 Years Old, by Ring Count



Over at Andrew Sullivan’s, he’s collecting links to a bunch of pundits who are sitting around talking about what should and shouldn’t be illegal for grown adult people to do based on whether they’d like the legal right to keep their daughters from it.

I give you three guesses what gender all the discussion-havers are.

And I submit that, as long as this is the frame “What do I as father feel comfortable allowing my daughter to decide to do?” for what men decide should be legal or not, then there is no way for grown, adult women to have a path to independent, equal citizenship. That is literally paternalism.

How about, instead, gentlemen, you raise your daughters to be the best people they can be and stop envisioning the law as a way to expand your power as father who dictates what can and can’t happen to us into our adult lives?

Why should I have to pay the price in less autonomy for your fears about your shitty fatherhood? For that matter, why should your daughters?

Honestly, I can’t believe this is supposed to be an interesting discussion and not just obviously a fucked-up one.

If You Go to West Virginia, You Will Lose Your Head

I’m halfway through Witches, Ghosts, and Signs by Patrick Gainer, which, yes, sounds exactly like Signs, Cures, and Witchery which I read last weekend. And it deals exactly with the same groups of Appalachians, there in West Virginia. And yet, it is exactly 1.45 billion times better than Signs, Cures, and Witchery, mostly because Gainer gives you a little background and then just shuts the fuck up and lets his informants talks.

But if I have learned one thing from this book it’s that, if you have to be in West Virginia for any reason–visiting, you were born there, West Virginia conquers your homeland, etc.–you probably will get your head chopped off and become a headless ghost doomed to wander the countryside and, if for any reason it’s too difficult to prosecute your killers–no body, they’re your kin, you were kind of a drunk no one liked, etc.–, forget having any sort of justice unless someone who loved you is so shocked by your death that he or she dies of heartbreak, thus making everyone wish you hadn’t died, because they miss the person who loved you who died. Then, and only then, will your death be kind of a downer.

Based on these stories, it would be hard to overestimate the amount of worry West Virginians have about getting their heads chopped off and thus becoming a headless ghost or about seeing a headless ghost still upset about getting its head chopped off.

The second leading cause of death in West Virginia, based on their ghost stories? Being a peddler. If you had a story about the ghost of a headless peddler whose fiancee came looking for him and then died of heartbreak and is a ghost, too, you would have the quintessential West Virginian ghost story.

Anyway, I’m liking it.