Bang Bang

Ya gotta love Christmas. Peace on earth, goodwill toward men, and record sales of toy guns.

But, my friend says, her son, and all of his friends, will make a gun out of any old thing. The problem isn’t the toys.

Okay, so it’s the boys. Seems they’re hardwired with a propensity toward killing. Why is this not a problem? A stand-up-and-scream problem. Not a sweep-it-under-the-carpet boys-will-be-boys problem.

Why does it not bother parents that their son considers pretending to kill to be fun (that is, that he derives psychological pleasure from pretending to kill)?

Why does it not bother them that their son considers killing a game (that is, an appropriate activity for make-believe)?

Anticipating ‘It’s just the noise and the chasing that’s fun, he doesn’t associate the action with killing’ – is that supposed to make it better? That he pulls a trigger on a gun and doesn’t associate the action with killing? Maybe you should take him to an ER and let him see what a bullet does to a body. He might think twi – he might think then before so casually making that pulling-a-trigger motion.

I wonder whether parents would be as blasé if he as repeatedly put his arm around someone’s throat and swiped a piece of stiff cardboard across it? Is it just that people have become desensitized to the shooting-a-gun action?

Further, I am puzzled by the ‘doesn’t bother me’ response not only because of the psychological and philosophical implications, but also because of the practical ones: first, once he’s fourteen or sixteen, the action becomes illegal (at least in the States). (Then again, it might be illegal at all ages and maybe it’s just when a kid points a fake gun, no one presses charges.) (Because boys will be boys?) (So the men who do so are also boys?)

And, second, such an action may well get him killed. ‘Cuz I have to tell ya, since real kids have access to real guns these days, if I were walking down a city street and a kid jumped out at me pointing a gun, I’d shoot first and ask questions later. If I had a gun.

Which I don’t. So instead I’d just break out into a cold sweat and try to raise my arms. And then when the kid laughed and lowered his arm, telling me it’s just a toy, I’d haul him off to his parents and give all three of you a huge piece of mind. What right do you have to let your kid terrorize me like that? What the hell is wrong with you??


Appropriation or Imagination?

Two poems of mine have been published in a journal dedicated to “the Black experience”. An audio piece of mine has been aired on Native radio programs. I am neither Black nor Native. Had this been known, I suspect some might have accused me of cultural appropriation.

It’s an interesting idea, but Continue reading



If I had a dollar for every time someone (i.e., a man) told me to smile, I’d be rich. (And if I had five dollars for every time that same someone did not tell a man to smile, I’d be really rich.)

Why is it that women are told, are expected, to smile a lot? (Or at least a lot more than men?) Continue reading


Supervisory Responsibility

I have come to realize that the corporate definition of ‘responsibility’ is very different than the common definition. I am thinking, in particular, of ‘supervisory responsibility’.

Consider this situation. Continue reading


King of the Castle

Octavia Butler got it right in Xenogenesis when the aliens identified one of our fatal flaws as that of being hierarchy-driven (they fixed us with a bit of genetic engineering) – but she failed to associate the flaw predominantly with males.

And Steven Goldberg got it right in Why Men Rule when he explained that men are genetically predisposed to hierarchy (fetal masculinization of the central nervous system renders males more sensitive to the dominance-related properties of testosterone) – but he presented that as an explanation for why men rule and not also for why men kill.

And Arthur Koestler got it right in The Call Girls when, recognizing that the survival of the human species is unlikely, a select group of geniuses meet at a special ‘Approaches to Survival’ symposium (and fail to agree on a survival plan) – but I’m not sure he realized (oh of course he did) that one of his character’s early reference to a previous symposium on ‘Hierarchic Order in Primate Societies’ was foreshadowing.

The reason the human species will not survive is simple: Continue reading



Some time ago, I attended a “Women in Leadership” conference put on by one of Ontario’s larger unions.  Wheat I learned there disillusioned two parts of me: the labour part and the feminist part. Continue reading


Useless Humanities

That a humanities degree is useless for the workforce says more about our workforce than the degree.  It says that we value, that we’ll pay for, someone to provide cars, electric toothbrushes, and running shoes.  But not beauty and insight.

It doesn’t have to be that way.  Continue reading


“Daddy, daddy, the house is on fire!” “Not now, sweetie, the game’s on.”

So about this guy in Taiwan who drops his child in order to catch a foul ball at a baseball game…

I don’t know whether to be more appalled at the man’s action or at the media’s framing of it.

Am I appalled that we condition our males to value sports over parenting? That they’d rather catch a ball than take care of a child?  No. I myself would rather catch a ball than look after a kid.  Which is why I didn’t make or adopt any. The appalling thing is that a father would rather catch a ball than take care of his child. Continue reading


“And son? Take care of your mom while I’m gone.”

Excuse me? I don’t need a child to take care of me. I know, he might reply, I’m just trying to – trying to what? Teach him to be a man? Teach him that grown women need looking after? And that he, as the one with the penis, is just the person to do it?

For six months while we’re pregnant – if we get pregnant – we’re vulnerable, yeah. And while we have kids, okay, yeah, if we’re attacked, one of us should protect, hide, get the kids to safety. We could both fight, but the kids need one of us alive. Though of course who does what need not be determined by sex. If I’m closer to the gun and you’re closer to the kids – be reasonable! But otherwise, for the other 594 months of our lives…

So whatever it is you think you’re trying to teach the boy, Continue reading


To Connect

At first, I noticed incomplete sentences in their conversation and in their writing. But I thought hey, it’s a fragmented world: videos with their bits and pieces of images, radio and tv with their sound bites, even entire degree programs at university present their courses as if they’re unrelated.

But then I wondered, is it because they don’t have complete thoughts? Continue reading