So I saw an ad on the website of the far-too-nearby gun club for a book by one of its members (“The Gun Guy”) that “takes the reader through the joyful and humorous stories about life at the hunt camp, hunting culture, and the joys of nature and wildlife.”
I wrote him a short letter: You “take the reader through the joyful and humorous stories about life at the hunt camp, hunting culture, and the joys of nature and wildlife.” And yet you kill it. You do not see the contradiction? (If you enjoy wildlife, you wouldn’t fucking kill it.)”
He wrote back: “I have to say … I respectfully disagree. I don’t see a contradiction. Man is part of nature. We are omnivores, we eat food of both plant and animal origin. Harvesting an animal to eat is no different than picking a roast up at the grocery store.”
I’ll grant the last point, but as I pointed out in my response to his response: “I do not eat animals. I don’t need to. And if I were that desperate to have to kill another to stay alive, I certainly wouldn’t call it sport, I would not enjoy it.”
I also said: “That we can do something doesn’t mean we should do that something.”
He did not write back again.
Upon re-reading his (initial, only) response a month later, having lost a battle with the MNR about clear-cutting a chunk of forest just a couple hundred feet from my house,* is the complete absence of an ethical perspective. ‘Man is, we are, we eat.‘ There are no should sentences, no justifications for what he is, what he does. It reminds me of the currently popular “It is what it is.” Which drives me nuts. What the fuck does that mean? It means ‘I refuse to consider whether it should be that way’; ‘I refuse to consider right/wrong’; ‘I refuse to be an ethical animal.’
What also strikes me now is the complete lack of recognition that he is killing something he enjoys.** I guess that’s how men kill the girlfriends and wives they love so much.
* About which a neighbour said, undistressed, ‘That’s what it’s for.’ What? It took me a minute to see that he was MNR, and male, to the core: things are resources, they exist for our use, they have no intrinsic or autonomous value. Unbelievably, neither my neighbour nor the MNR even recognizes the forest’s instrumental value as the lungs of our planet, as desperately needed carbon containers . Let alone its instrumental value as a beautiful thing.
** And not to end or prevent pain, as in benevolent euthanasia.
Ever notice that women, far more often than men, are expected to volunteer their time and their effort? On the one hand, the implication is that women’s work has no value. On the other hand, since they’re expected to do whatever it is, the implication is that it has considerable value (it needs to be done). Consider, as just one example, the production of a human being.
Am I implying that women be paid to be pregnant and/or to mother? I don’t know what I think about that. There’s something very unique about pregnancy, labour, breastfeeding, mothering … It’s not the same as being a daycare worker. Then again, it is …
I do think, however, that I should not be the one to do the paying (through my taxes). Unless, until, we need more human beings to ensure the species’ survival.
As for other things, housework is part of house ownership, so no payment by someone else is justified—except by the other people living in said house. Overtime? Definitely payment required there. Committee membership? Definitely payment required there.
Regardless, there should be no difference on the basis of sex, with regard to being paid or not.
“As a man, you’re assumed to be competent unless proven otherwise,” she says. “Whereas as a woman you’re presumed to be incompetent unless proven otherwise.” https://time.com/transgender-men-sexism/ She gained authority and professional respect overnight.
(Now if only we could hear from transwomen. Hear them ADMIT that they LOST authority and respect overnight.) (That they had no idea …) (Because they were, are, clueless about sexism …)
“[In the VR experience] ‘Becoming Homeless,’ a narrator guides participants through several interactive VR scenarios that would happen if they lost their jobs. In one scene, the participant has to look around an apartment to select items to sell in order to pay the rent. In another scene, the participant finds shelter on a public bus and has to protect belongings from being stolen by a stranger.” Participants became “more empathetic toward the homeless and more likely to sign a petition in support of affordable housing”.
Yeah. What I thought. That’s why I wrote What Happened to Tom.
(And is it just me or is this just a little bit appalling. That reading about it, or seeing a movie about it, or just imagining it isn’t enough. People have to experience something before they ‘get it’–it even if the experience is just fake.)
As I was reading this book, I realized right away I wanted to post about it, so I started making a list of bits to mention, but very quickly there were just too many!! So – A MUST READ. This book is FULL of all the stats you ever wanted to support your personal experience: it’s NOT just you, it wasn’t just then, it wasn’t just there … For every bit below, I’ve underlined in my copy of the book twenty more …
70% of men rate men more highly than women for achieving the same goals (p4).
“We will continue to assume that a man knows what he’s talking about until he proves otherwise” (p7). Yes. And we shouldn’t (as the book shows). So, NEW RULE: Assume that men are full of shit until proven otherwise.
“It’s as if men are swimming with the current in a river and women are swimming against it” (p17). Yes. YES!! “[Men] don’t experience the myriad of little insults to their self-esteem and confidence that women have to put up with daily …” (p17). “Even when a woman gets a top job for which she’s qualified, people ask her what her qualifications are in a way that men are never asked” (p55).
Re women in government, “Women read their briefs, they don’t just read the summary of their Cabinet papers, they’ve actually done the homework, often much more diligently” (p78). And THAT’S why fewer women seek such positions: we see the responsibility; men see just the power.
“Think how hard it must be for a female economist to thrive in a world of such intellectual rigour when the words most likely to be associated with her [previous statistic] are ‘tits’, ‘anal’, ‘horny’, and ‘prostitute’. And these are written in a public forum!” (p89).
In all nine countries, boys were much more likely to claim they knew and understood proper numbers, subjunctive scaling, and declarative fractions. A delightful study to read about because THERE ARE NO SUCH THINGS! Proof of men’s bullshitting through and through.
Female job applicants who negotiate their offered salary are twice as likely not to be hired as male applicants who do so.
Information offered to a group by a man was twice as likely to be used by the group for a decision as information offered by a woman.
“The cat sat on the mat.” Excellent analysis (too long to reproduce here). p144-5.
Male judges on literary prize panels not reading books by women. Just not reading them. p145-6
“There’s something innately very patronizing about knowing that half the population considers my thoughts on anything to be completely irrelevant to them” (p150). Well-put.
News coverage on abortion … 81% of those quoted were men. Re birth control? 75%. Were men.
Re being White Dude Alex online instead of Lady Alex. “For an entire week, I got to see what it was like to be treated with respect. As a man, I could use the same words and be met with discussion, with disagreement, or even nothing at all, instead of insults. [and rape threats and death threats] I became an equal human being, one whose voice deserves to be heard.” p265
“What kind of a person read through a newspaper and thought ‘Hmmm. I don’t appreciate Reporter X’s writing. I think I’ll send some hard-core porn mail recommending a good, solid raping.’ …” (p268).
So I recently read a book written by a grassroots activist advocating government reform. It wasn’t excellent, but it did have a few good insights, and, frankly, I’m happy to see any books by activists and any books advocating government reform. That said, the book really grabbed my attention when I read the lengthy acknowledgements section at the end. The guy, as is fashionable these days, acknowledged his white male privilege, but as I read through the acknowledgements, I thought ‘You have no idea.’
My first clue was that he’d written, early on, as if it were a matter of simple fact, “So if I’m invited to a fund-raiser, I go. And when I make eye contact with the candidate, I too am saying, ‘I might be calling you for something. I hope you’ll answer the call. I’m on your team'” (p141). I realized right then: this has been written by a man; this is how a man experiences the world. Because if I, a woman, had gone to a fund-raiser and had caught the (male) candidate’s eye, he probably would’ve understood me to mean ‘Yes, I’ll come up to your room afterwards and give you a blow job.’ (Or perhaps he would’ve just ignored me. Years ago, when I went to a talk by Alan Borovoy, then President of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, I approached him after the talk, on fire with a passion for justice, ready to join his activism, his (male) assistant told me he didn’t have time for questions. And Borovoy agreed by not even acknowledging my presence just a few feet away from him.)
My second clue was that the guy didn’t do the research for ‘his’ book. To me, that’s part of writing a book and I think the person who did the research should have gotten co-author credit. (At least he got title page credit.) And, well, that’s a male thing, isn’t it: taking credit for someone else’s work.
But back, onwards, to the Acknowledgements. (And I’ll write this as if I’m talking to him. Because I am. In fact, I sent a version of this to him. But I’m also talking to every man out there. And every woman. You should know how much easier it is for them … )
“[This book] was a fantasy and I truly had no clue where to start.” If you were a woman, and you truly had no clue, you wouldn’t even think of writing a book. Men do what they want; women do what they think they’re qualified to do. Read the study of journalists asking men and women to be interviewed: men almost always say yes, whether they’re experts on the matter or not; women almost always say no, believing they’re not expert enough. That is to say, men overestimate their competence; women underestimate theirs.
“It was my friend Peter … who suggested I’d need an editor and introduced me to … ” Women tend not to have friends who know editors. You figure out why.
“… who then told me I needed an agent and introduced me to Rick … ” What the fuck. Would you like to know how many queries I’ve sent to agents asking them to consider representing me? Well over a hundred. Probably close to two or three. Hundred. Women have to knock (and knock and knock) on the front door. Men are (‘Psst! Over here!’) let in the back door. Read Sieghart’s The Authority Gap. And the many books like it.
“…who informed me that I needed a book proposal.” You didn’t know that? Every publisher’s website makes that quite clear. (But you didn’t bother reading publishers’ websites; you’re going through life from back door to back door via friends who introduce you to people who roll out the red carpet for you because why? Oh yeah.)
“[The agent] took an enormous leap of faith by joining the project and has been acting as my cheerleader, advocate, and advisor for half a decade.” Ask him if he’s done that for any women. It’s a ‘bro’ thing. (By the way, twice I queried that particular literary agency; both times, I received no reply whatsoever, not even a form letter. If the query had been from Patrick Tittle … well, who knows? Actually, the researchers who have studied that sort of thing know. And so we do too: the query from the man will receive more attention. Read Sieghart’s The Authority Gap.)
And you received interest from FOUR publishers? Based on a proposal you re-wrote only once? Un-fucking-believable. If the proposal had been from a woman …
Eventually, you delivered “a bloated manuscript with 100 long-winded chapters.” And they didn’t retract their contract? If the manuscript had been from a woman …
“…and he showed me how to turn it into a book.” Wow. This reminds me of the I was asked by a publisher to review a manuscript that had been submitted (this was after I’d published Critical Thinking: an appeal to reason with Routledge and What If? Collected Thought Experiments in Philosophy with Longman). It had been written by a HUGE name in Philosophy, but the manuscript was a mess. I mean C- grad student mess. I tried to be kind while being honest; maybe it was time for the guy to quit, we all get old, our minds don’t last forever … Weeks after I’d submitted my review (recommending that the manuscript not be published), it occurred to me that all of his work all of his life may have been like that and someone else fixed it up for him. (And upon receiving the publisher’s rejection, he probably just gave the manuscript to someone else, perhaps one of his A+ grad students, and said ‘Be a sport/dear, and fix this up a bit, will you?’) (And he/she would have said ‘Sure!’, honoured to have been asked.) (Instead of ‘Hell, no! Do your own damn work, Professor Y.’) See, men get help. They get detailed feedback. (Again, read Sieghart’s The Authority Gap.) So they get shown how to turn something into a book. Women are expected to submit publication-ready manuscripts and if they don’t, well, sorry, we can’t offer you a contract, it’s/you’re just not good enough.
“During my travels, many couches and guestrooms were generously shared …” Again, if you’d been a woman, in most cases it would have been considered inappropriate. While I was recording a CD in Toronto at Musicworks, I had to drive three hours each way, there and back, (I couldn’t afford a hotel room). Not once did anyone involved offer their couch (let alone “their entire home for writing retreats”). And I didn’t expect them to. Women don’t expect things to be given to them. Men do. It’s called male entitlement.
” … helped me battle procrastination and doubt …” Men get cheerleaders. Women don’t. Think back to your high school sports teams. Any of the women’s teams have a bunch of people applauding their every move, encouraging their every step … ? They probably didn’t even have the bleachers filled. Not even half-filled.
“The final draft was polished by … who proposed hundreds of clever edits and then by … who proposed thousands.” Yeah. See above regarding that philosopher. Look, if the manuscript needed thousands of edits, it was not a final draft. It was— My god, but you guys play by different rules. The bar is set WAY HIGHER for women.
“I’m very grateful to the people who kept me employed, fed, and housed during the six years it took to produce this work”—you mean you didn’t have to pay rent/mortgage or buy food? You didn’t support yourself? Even though you received a $30,000 advance? (Quick comparison: for my business ethics text, I received a $5,000 advance, out of which I had to pay permissions.) Unfuckingbelievable.
“A student who worked as a janitor at his college was sanctioned because he was seen reading a book called Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan … (The image on the cover was upsetting to the two people who reported him.) …” (The Coddling the American Mind, Lukianoff and Haidt, p207).
So, pursuant to my previous post, and keeping in mind the numerous instances in which guest speakers who would voice a view in opposition to that held by students were ‘disinvited’, not only are college/university students not expected to think, they’re not even expected to read.
ImpactAn extended confrontation between a sexual assault victim and her assailants, as part of an imagined slightly revised court process, in order to understand why they did what they did and, on that basis, to make a recommendation to the court regarding sentence does not go … as expected.
What Happened to TomTom, like many men, assumes that since pregnancy is a natural part of being a woman, it’s no big deal: a woman finds herself pregnant, she does or does not go through with it, end of story. But then …
Aiding the EnemyWhen Private Ann Jones faces execution for “aiding the enemy,” she points to American weapons manufacturers who sell to whatever country is in the market.
Bang BangWhen a young boy playing “Cops and Robbers” jumps out at a man passing by, the man shoots him, thinking the boy’s toy gun is real. Who’s to blame?
ForeseeableAn awful choice in a time of war. Whose choice was it really?
Exile (full-length drama) Finalist, WriteMovies; Quarterfinalist, Fade-In.
LJ lives in a U . S. of A., with a new Three Strikes Law: first crime, rehab; second crime, prison; third crime, you’re simply kicked out – permanently exiled to a designated remote area, to fend for yourself without the benefits of society. At least he used to live in that new U. S. of A. He’s just committed his third crime.
What Happened to Tom (full-length drama) Semifinalist, Moondance.
This guy wakes up to find his body’s been hijacked and turned into a human kidney dialysis machine – for nine months.
Aiding the Enemy (short drama 15min)
When Private Ann Jones faces execution for “aiding the enemy,” she points to American weapons manufacturers who sell to whatever country is in the market.
Bang Bang (short drama 30min) Finalist, Gimme Credit; Quarter-finalist, American Gem.
When a young boy playing “Cops and Robbers” jumps out at a man passing by, the man shoots him, thinking the boy’s toy gun is real. Who’s to blame?
Foreseeable (short drama 30min)
An awful choice in a time of war. Whose choice was it really?
Minding Our Own Business A collection of skits (including “The Price is Not Quite Right,” “Singin’ in the (Acid) Rain,” “Adverse Reactions,” “The Band-Aid Solution,” and “See Jane. See Dick.”) with a not-so-subtle environmental message