What are little boys made of?
Snakes and snails
And puppy-dogs' tails,
That's what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
And everything nice,
That's what little girls are made of.

Well, anyway, that’s what we heard as children a long, long time ago. But such nonsense didn’t keep millions of little girls in America, including me, from playing in the mud, making paper-airplanes, constructing little wood boats with propellers, racing across town on our bikes, climbing tall trees, building forts and waging dirt-clod wars with all the other kids, both boys and girls.

Thankfully, given half a chance, children, just being themselves, defy the authoritarian wet dream of gender polarity (”boys will be boys and girls will be girls, and never the twain shall meet”), as naturally as birds sing; try as you might, you can no more remove the gender complexity, the humanity, from a girl, or boy, than you can take the song from a bird. Regardless, here comes “The Dangerous Book for Boys,” to insist, yet again, on a special realm for boys, where girls dare not tread.

And don’t the likes of Rush Limbaugh and the American Enterprise Institute just love this book to pieces! Yes they do!

But I thought we had won this battle. Haven’t we settled this argument by now? Apparently not. Here we go again, where discrimination and prejudice against women and girls develops and thrives behind the bogus pretext of the celebration of boyhood, and the resurrection of the notion of adventure and fun as belonging to the exclusive domain of male children. The book, after all, is not entitled, “The Dangerous Book for Kids,” a fact that should not be glossed over, as if the word “boys” can in any way mean both boys and girls, as the word “man” used to mean both sexes in the lexicon of the patriarchy in the bad old days. Simply put, the title of the book means what it says. And it means to create a sharp line between the genders, just like that between the biological sexes, and to send a strong message—boys can do these things and be this way; girls cannot.

Okay, yes—sex and gender differences do exist. I am not blind. Males, in general, are stronger, bigger, hairier, and tend to be more aggressive; females, in general, tend to be more petite, graceful, smooth-skinned, and gentle (I am being simplistic, of course, but you get the idea...). But let us remind ourselves of another distinction here, that is, let us distinguish between sex and gender, at least as I understand them: Sex refers to biology, to the biological sexes of male and female, from anatomy to physiology and to genes; gender refers to a spectrum of masculinity and femininity, from highly masculine to highly feminine and an infinite range of shadings and blends of each, stretching in between those two poles of masculinity and femininity. Without getting into anomalous sex variations, hermaphrodites and the like, we have but two sexes, male and female, and that’s pretty much it. But gender tells a different story, for it is possible to be a feminine male or a masculine female, to be a woman who could beat many men at tennis, if such matches were allowed (think Serena Williams), or target shooting, or whatever; or to be a man who loves to sew and prefers decorating to sports. How many shadings of gender expression do we see every day, and how many ways do humans defy gender stereotypes—do I have to count them?

Do you see how insane it is—how the authors of The Dangerous Book for Boys conflate sex and gender? They see a world of two sexes, yes, but they want those two sexes to behave as only two genders as well, and for each gender to conform to specific behaviors, but where a boy gets to enjoy a bunch of stuff all kids like —making paper airplanes, camping, carving, shooting cap guns, doing science experiments— and a girl, I assume, can just sit in the corner and look pretty, hoping for her Prince Charming to arrive and rescue her, while she cuts out paper dolls in ironic anticipation of her future identity.

But does this world view fit with reality? Is it the truth about boys and girls? Well, sure, we girls did enjoy the girlie stuff, like playing princess and rocking our dolls; nobody can deny it, unless you were a girl who disdained such “silliness.” But even I, who loved my dolly, also loved to swing like a monkey from branch to branch, or delighted in exploring beyond fences displaying “No Trespassing” signs; I enjoyed fishing, throwing water balloons; I carved notches in my cap gun’s grip for the number of bad guys I’d shot, supposedly. Should I have been told, “Don’t do that; that’s for boys only?” And wouldn’t that have been a big, fat lie? And when parents give The Dangerous Book for Boys to their sons, what message do you think their daughters will internalize, when they happen on the book and leaf through it, a book with a title that so blatantly ignores and disregards them as whole persons? If such daughters enjoy the activities described in the book, won’t they feel, on some level, all wrong about themselves and be forced to either acquiesce in defeat or rebel in defiance? I have to ask: Can’t we see the damage, once and for all?

Truth be told, only a few childhood activities can reasonably be designated for boys only, rationally to be listed in a Table of Contents in a book entitled, The Dangerous Book for Boys. One would be Pissing Contests; another would be Circle Jerks...and maybe rugby. Everything else—tying knots, playing Stickball, knowledge about the world, or fossils, or building a treehouse, or any of the other things listed in the book—certainly do not pose difficulties for many girls, either of disinterest of physical challenge.
The question is, what happens to girls who get the message that within the large world of human activity, only the supposed “feminine” activities will be appropriate for them? Moreover, what happens to boys who get the message too, the one telling them that they have powers and knowledge girls may not have, that they have an entitlement to exclude girls from these realms; or if they prefer sewing to playing violent video games, they fail as males? What happens to us all? For, despite the truth of my claim at the beginning of this post, that is, that children defy gender polarization, children do get the message eventually, and what we get —still, to this day— is a whole load of crap that damages the lives of women... and men, for that matter.

I do not doubt that such pressures to conform to gender stereotypes account for teen suicide to a significant degree.

I am not going to count the ways, but if you look around, you can see that this one book simply joins hands in unity and solidarity with an infinite number of gender stereotyping influences —advertising, movies, video games, children’s books, music videos, toys and toy stores— to create a solid, sexist reality out there for girls, as well as for boys. Yes, it’s true, more and more women rise above such oppression, to do and be, according to their talents and abilities. Regardless, the Glass Ceiling and discrimination in the work place —consequences of such fossilized gender prejudice learned during childhood— still exists. And how many other girls and women face ugly, unfair obstacles throughout their schooling, before they even have a chance to fulfill whatever potential they may have? (Everyday Sexism: Evidence for Its Incidence, Nature, and Psychological Impact From Three Daily Diary Studies - Statistical Data Included
...and how many others never get that far, but rather adopt and internalize gender stereotyping from the get-go, to end up marrying damaged guys who think domination and control over a wife, and other women as well, defines them as “real men;” or end up allowing themselves to be exploited for their “only useful talents” —because it is their “role” to please men— according to the “natural order of things,” that is, their bodies and their looks. Or, if they cannot live up to the stereotype of a proper feminine girl, they can always have a sex change, to put an end to the discomfort and misery of being a misfit, of being “different.”

The Dangerous Book for Boys poses dangers, for sure, but not the kind we need to adopt as a society. I am not into banning books, but at least let’s not applaud —and purchase— what ought to be ignored, if not condemned entirely.

Damage of gender stereotyping— links:

http://www.sociology.org/media-studies/care-bears-vs-transformers-gender...

http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources/educational/lessons/seco...

http://www.catalyst.org/press-release/71/damned-or-doomed-catalyst-study...

http://worldsavvy.org/monitor/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&...

http://www.management-issues.com/2006/8/24/research/gender-stereotypes-b...

Dangerous Book for Boys:
http://www.now.org/issues/education/070809op-ed.html
http://www.blogher.com/dangerous-post-gender-stereotyped-kids-products
http://www.tor.com/blogs/2011/12/we-are-brains-before-beauty-girls-scien...

Re-imagining masculinity:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/09/20/why-we-need-to-reimagin...

Comments

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 2 years 32 weeks ago
#1

Zenzoe, you need to resubmit this long-awaited blog post. Somehow, the ends of each line are cut off, at least on my computer. I have never seen that happen before.

Also, I wish to encourage you to call the Democratic State Senators who abstained from voting on the single payer health care bill authored by Mark Leno, and encourage them to vote for the bill.

Their numbers are:

Roderick Wright: 916-651-4025

Juan Vargas: 916-651-4040

Michael Rubio: 916-651-4016

Ron Calderon: 916-651-4030

Alex Padilla: 916-651-4020

I called their offices already and it was extremely easy and efficient.

Zenzoe 2 years 32 weeks ago
#2

Thanks so much, NL. I don't know why that happened, unless it was that I composed in Google Docs and copied and pasted from there, and in that process, copied Doc's code into TH.com. Anyway, I hope my edit helped. Please let me know, if you're having the same problem.

I had already called them. But thanks.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 2 years 32 weeks ago
#3

The problem with your text is fixed now.

I guess you called the state senators before I did. How did you get their numbers? I had to remember who they were.

I agree with your thesis. In fact, I have to wonder why these authors wrote the book in the first place, aside from wanting to "make money" and get attention. The thesis of the book is so obviously false, at least to me.

I don't remember engaging in any pissing contests or circle jerks, whatever those are. But I didn't sew, play house or dress up pretty dolls, either. I think that there is a general principle that culture, unless it explicitly attempts to do the opposite, tends to exaggerate differences between people, such as gender or racial differences. Maybe people tend to be uncomfortable with too much overlap between people and inability to pigeonhole them. A similar phenomenon in social psychology is the so-called risky shift, in which groups tend to polarize toward the extremes in terms of opinions or actions. Just look at the rightward shift of the Republicans over the years, for example. I wonder if conservatives are more vulnerable to exaggerating people's differences, stereotyping people, and polarizing their views toward the extreme.

Gender conformity pressures surely do contribute to teen suicides. For a relevant example, think of the high rate of suicide among gay teens. But the effects of gender conformity pressures affect us all throughout life, some people, more than others.

On a somewhat related psychological topic, a caller today asked Thom Hartmann why Americans are so vulnerable to propaganda. I think we are propagandized into believing that propaganda cannot happen here. I think we are also programmed into believing that damaging stereotypes cannot happen here. This is a side of psychology which I am very far from, but it exists -- I am referring to consumer psychology which markets products, and organizational psychology which is largely political and corporate and markets ideas. These problems would exist without psychologists, but certain types of psychologists have been recruited to aid in the process. I think psychology can be enormously powerful, and psychologists when they recieve advanced degrees, should sign some sort of pledge like the hippocratic oath promising that they will do nothing to mislead people or betray the public good. Psychologists should be fighting propaganda and stereotypes, not aiding it. As I have mentioned before, the psychologists I know have been on the anti-propaganda, anti-stereotyping side without exception. It pains me that the other side even exists.

Robindell's picture
Robindell 2 years 32 weeks ago
#4

Individual differences in personality strike me as being more significant than gender differences in many respects. Larry Summers was on shaky ground when he made his now infamous comment. A year later, he was no longer the president of Harvard. Our educational system in some instances probably does still have some elements of pursuation to steer and direct girls into different courses and occupations than boys, but the trend toward equality has limited this effect. NL would probably be able to verify the statistic that there are today more women attending college than men. In the last 20 or 30 years, it would probably be true that there are more women professors than before, and in particular more women in the natural sciences and engineering than in previous years. There is still income inequality between men and women, but I have to wonder if this is made up for by the increases in the number of women who enter well-paying professions such as law, medicine, architecture, pharmacy, accounting, computer software, science, etc.

A sociologist or maybe a clinical psychologist would pay attention to the divorce rate. I don't keep track of it, but I have heard that the divorce rate has decreased somewhat in recent years, but the decrease is within educated, relatively high-income, middle class families. Working class couples have a higher divorce rate than do the middle class or better-educated segments. The effects of the economic depression on divorce is something that does not get much publicity. One professor I had once said that income was the single most important determinent of marriage stability.

I would assume that education which takes time is the main reason that many people today delay getting married, so that they can continue with and complete their education. Getting established financially in a job may also be a part of it. Social class as far as I know is most readily predicted by the education levels and social status of the parents.

It seems to me that social class and inequality is more important than anything else in contemporary society. It defines much about a person's social and material standing, no matter what race, ethnicity or gender a person is. The government has civil rights offices that look into complaints of discrimination, but I think this is somewhat outdated in the sense that income and class are the primary grounds for frustration overall.

Zenzoe 2 years 32 weeks ago
#5

NL, I had called the State Senate the day I heard about the failed vote, maybe on Thom's show? I don't remember when exactly. Time goes by so quickly these days. But I didn't call all those you listed, just three. Anyway, it looks like they killed it today, since the cowawdwy wabbit Democwats in question didn't change their positions—not that it’s anything to joke about.

I think the book represents a trend, in line with the extreme rightward trend of conservative politics in general. We've noticed the "war on women," right? Well, there's a big push out there to heal the supposed bashing that masculinity —including boyhood— has taken in the past, what, 20-30 years, as a result of the gains women have made toward equality. So, Robindell is correct to mention all those gains women have made (with the exception of the Glass Ceiling and other sexist realities); but the thing is, a lot of folks are damn angry about it and want to return to the good ol' days of male entitlement and superiority. I don't think I've imagined it.

We've come a long way, Baby, but now the trend shifts backward, in hopes of putting a stop to it.

NL, your mention of the "risky shift, in which groups tend to polarize toward the extremes in terms of opinions or actions," interests me. And so, too, what explains the rightward drift of the Democrats, where the two parties practically merge as one? My sense of things has people responding to pressure to conform by self-censoring and moving toward “acceptable” ways of being, whether that would be political ideology or gender expression. It’s as if totalitarian capitalism invisibly moves us toward unified, controlled behavior, without the need for violent force. And so, the polarization of the genders does not reflect tolerance of difference; instead, it denies a full range of differences, blends and similarities, that is, freedom.

I hope we don't underestimate the importance of sexist childhood programming, or the danger of limiting the horizons of girls. Or boys. Natural Lefty didn't "sew, play house or dress up pretty dolls," but some boys would like to, if not shamed for it.

My granddaughter, age 7, loves science, she told me the other day. But then, her parents don't allow television in the house, except for DVD's, and so she hasn't gotten the message yet that "mostly men grow up to do that." Won't it be a real shame, if she gets that message at school?

Zenzoe 2 years 32 weeks ago
#6

Just now, Thom mentioned Bishop Desmond Tutu's comments at the World Economic Forum in Davos, to emphasize the importance of education and equality for women and girls: "In this volatile time, when there is so much distress and dissatisfaction, we are wasting a huge source of talent and wisdom by not including women as equals in all aspects of life – whether in politics, business or religion."

Yet this subject receives little attention from progressives, those who seem unable, or unwilling, to connect the dots.

If you're concerned about war, injustice, corruption, banksterism, the war on drugs, the privatization of the prison system, torture, global warming and all the other ills facing us today, what stops you from understanding the role the spirit of masculinist ideology plays there? How can you ignore the damage done by a system that promotes toughness, cold-heartedness, and unfeeling ruthlessness as proud characteristics of masculinity? How can you ignore the damage done by the acceptance of hierarchy in all things, including gender, where males must avoid adopting the very characteristics that might save us all from ourselves, where the humanity of women and girls must be trimmed of all its fullness and life?

Don't you have to change yourself, before we can all heal?

Alberto Ceras 2 years 32 weeks ago
#7

Men and Women are different, obviously. And, yes, nature has imposed different roles for them. Children, and consequently society, would be better off if women accepted natural (vaginal rather than elective caesarian) births, if women breast fed their children, and if they remained at home with them during their (children's) early years. Women who do not want to accept these responsibilities should not have children. Call that sexist if you will, it’s intended to be.

For pro's and con's of elective caesarian this site seems comprehensive although my concern focuses on the health of the child:

http://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10271

Off the subject, if you want to get even angrier with me you might click on Calperson's blog "subjective argument for god." No, I didn't join the foolish squabble but I did take the opportunity to poke fun at them.

The "Natural Lawn Care" post was certainly stimulating, wasn't it?

Zenzoe 2 years 32 weeks ago
#8

Sorry to disappoint you, Alberto, but I am not angry with you. I have come to expect your in-your-face, verbal-barbarism-for-fun-sake style, and I’m not taking the bait.

As it turns out, I happen to agree that both babies and mothers do best with breast feeding and natural birth. I also approve of stay-at-home parenting, for women and men (I do not think women are necessarily and always better cut out for nurturance), if the family can afford it. You may have read my letter-to-the-editor, which was published in the Progressive long ago, where I advocated for motherhood as a valuable and challenging job? So, if you’re itching for a fight, you might have to go elsewhere.

I must point out to you, however, that you may be confusing, as so many do, sex and gender (and you miss the whole point of my blog, to boot!). Yes, nature has designed us to look and feel different, as sexes (biological, physical, anatomical); but if your head resides back in the stone age of “biology IS destiny,” you might want to bend your neck and head toward your shoulder and shake that stale, putrid, swampy goo out of your ears and onto the sidewalk.

But, as I said, I know you well enough to realize you’re just trying to be provocative, and you know damn well women should not have to take a back seat to men in all things, just because they have uteruses instead of penises. I know that, because I know you’re big on human rights. And, since women are human beings —people— they’re entitled to the same rights as men...AND YOU KNOW IT.

So, my question to you would be, given that war and barbarism sickens you deeply, for example, wouldn’t it be a good idea to discard the aggressive, warlike spirit in yourself? Please forgive me, if it sounds condescending, but, how about maintaining that balance in yourself, between your masculine side and your feminine side? Your biology doesn't determine your destiny, either; you can choose peace here too, you know, as you can anywhere else.

I mean, how can men “be the change” they “wish to see in the world,” if they refuse to be that change in the smaller contexts of their relationships? For that matter, how can change happen on a macro scale, if it doesn’t happen on a micro scale first? How can change happen worldwide, if it can't happen at work, at home, or even online, here?

mathboy's picture
mathboy 2 years 32 weeks ago
#9

Are you aware of The Daring Book for Girls and The Double-Daring Book for Girls? They are part of a set with The Dangerous Book for Boys. Daring and Dangerous were both published by William Morrow in 2007, Double-Daring in 2009.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 2 years 32 weeks ago
#10

Lot of reading material accumulated here today. I have been cleaning my house in anticipation of my wife.

Robindell, I think you are correct on all counts. Women now outnumber men in college, and are catching up in grad school. More than half of psychology grad students are now women, too, I believe. Also, women have a slightly higher GPA than men. Divorce rates have gradually been decreasing, mostly in more educated groups. Reasons for the trend include better income in more educated people, better preparation for marriage, making better choices, and more egalitarian relationships. There is at least some evidence too, that progressives are less likely to divorce than conservatives, probably due the husbands' more egalitarian attitudes and better ability to relate to women without stereotyping them. I also agree that social standing and socioeconomic status seem to overshadow other variables these days, but when we have greater economic fairness, that will no longer be the case.

Regarding my suggestion that psychologists take some sort of oath not to harm the public, that should probably apply to everybody who works, actually. Business people and bankers have probably caused more damage than anybody else.

Why do conservatives keep shifting more extremely to the right but they seem to pull the rest of us along with them? That is a good question, but I think I have an answer to it. Conservative politicians follow more the masculine modality -- thinking with their testicles (warlike) and penises (horny dudes who objectify women), while progressives have more of a feminine or gender balanced way of thinking -- thinking with their ovaries so to speak, which means nurturing people. The masculine modality abhors compromise, but the feminine perspective encourages compromise. I have heard this said in other ways a variety of times, and it is a tragic trend, but maybe this is a new way of looking at it. According to psychologists, males tend to follow the basic stress hormone regulated fight-or-flight pattern of behavior, while women follow more what is called the bend-and-bond response to problems, which means talking and compromising. Perhaps conservatives are programmed more for fight-or- flight, and progressives, for bend-and-bond, regardless of gender. I think we need a more nurturant political system, clearly. Mandates that a certain percentage of politicians in some nations seems helpful, but if they feel that the have to act just like their macho male counterparts, that is of no use. On the other hand, if we elect nurturant males who don't fit that macho mold, that would be helpful. I also think we need to elect progressives who stick to their principles, and don't always rely on "bend-and-bond" politics.

I would have to say that there are some big differences still between Dems and Repugnants, as indicated by the extreme polarities of their votes on many issues. Time after time, we hear that all or nearly all the Democrats voted one way, and all or nearly all the Republicans voted the other, including the single payer health care proposal here in CA. The Republicans are hopelessly delusional and will never vote for anything which nurtures the public good, speaking of nurturing. I don't think the polarities in voting on legislation is all a matter of political wheeling and dealing, either. I think it does represent largely different world views. People who deny those differences, although clearly the 2 parties have come to some very destructive consenses on certain issues, to me seem to be both stereotyping politicians, and also supporting the conservative "government is bad" position whether inadvertantly or not.

The single payer proposal may have come at a bad time in terms of funding, but it can be reworked, perhaps to be better funded, and reintroduced this year; I certainly hope it is and passes. But apparently the Dems who abstained from voting were bought off by health insurance companies. Our political system is horribly broken, especially with regard to money's influence.

To change the topic a bit to the original content of "The Dangerous Book for Boys," in addition to my not engaging in certain types of both masculine or feminine play as a child, I have to say that the book seems an extremely inaccurate description of my safety oriented, cautious parents, especially my father. My brothers and I were raised to be careful and not take unnecessary risks. My parents also would go to any lengths to keep us from being drafted into the military and sent off to war.

Zenzoe 2 years 32 weeks ago
#11

The book in question here is The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn and Hal Iggulden, published by HarperCollins. The Daring Book for Girls was written by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz. Not the same authors, eh? And not the same problem, not at all, as far as I can tell.

However, your comment reminds me of something I heard today on NPR's Fresh Air. Terry Gross interviewed Baratunde Thurston about his tongue-in-cheek book, How to Be Black. So, here's what struck me, and I think it's really relevant here:

Quote Baratunde Thurston:

Part of the mission of this book, besides being uproariously funny and occasionally tear-jerkingly emotional, is as I said in the intro, to re-complicate blackness and to just put out some other examples. Because we're at a time where the gap between who we really are and who the world expects us to be can be closed, because we can articulate who we are much more loudly than any of our ancestors.

We can paint ourselves better. And so this book, what I hope - it's definitely steeped in blackness because a part of me has been. But there's also so many quote/unquote "non-black things." All the gardening stuff, and the computer science-y stuff. You don't see those held up as shining examples of blackness. But I'm black and I do those things. And Elon James White, who I interviewed, he had a great line to, kind of, sum this up.

He said, you know, you don't have to do any particular thing to be black. Right? You do what you do and you open up the doors to blackness. And that's kind of a fun way to think, not just about blackness, about the self, and about identity in general. And so this book could be "How to Be Jewish." It could be "How to Be a Woman." It could be "How to Be Gay."

And I probably should buy all those domain names right now.

"...the gap between who we really are and who the world expects us to be can be closed..." That's the whole point, yes?

So, naturally, as soon as I heard that part about a book entitled, "How to Be a Woman," I thought, yeah, that would be really funny if somebody would write a satirical book in the same vein as his book, one entitled, How to Be a Girl. For me, the funny part would be all the not-so-cute or girlie things girls can do, which would be listed in the table of contents: Baking Slugs on Your Toy Stove; Stealing Pomegranates from the Local Axe Murderer (we did that; don't ask); Beating Your Brother at Chess...and so on. I mean, the whole notion that girls are not aggressive just makes me laugh! Like Thurston says, what we really are is a whole lot more interesting than what the world wants us to be.

Alberto Ceras 2 years 32 weeks ago
#12

I’m a great admirer of two very strong feminists – Emma Goldman and my wife. Both recognize and celebrate the difference between the sexes. Both know what it means to be a woman and take pity on or commiserate with “girlie men.” There is nothing feminine in me, there is nothing masculine in my wife. I’m grateful for that. Yet I exert myself to always be compassionate and caring while my wife is sharp and intelligent – and can be aggressive if necessary - both at home and in public. Neither of us admire willful ignorance.

"Modern" - Western - society has gone a long way toward destroying the family and creating ambivalence and uncertainty in young people of both sexes. I’d like to see a return to the old days of two parent households - one breadwinner and one stay-at-home child bearer and caregiver.

Some people have surmised that in the future it might be possible for men to endure pregnancy and to bear children. I suppose those men would also be geared up to lactate. If or when that day comes some of the more ardent feminists may celebrate. At last, true equality.

Zenzoe said earlier:

“I also approve of stay-at-home parenting, for women and men (I do not think women are necessarily and always better cut out for nurturance), if the family can afford it.”

If the family can’t afford it they should not have children. I have cared for the un-cared-for children of young single mothers. Children trapped in the vicious cycle of ignorance and poverty - with all the accompanying ills - through no fault of their own. A sane society would recognize the child's need for a nurturing family and would strive to create the conditions that make that possible. That ideal family would provide healthy examples of both men and women and would not seek to erase or blur the differences that nature has imposed on them.

This is Emma Goldman from vol. 2 of her “Living My Life,” pages 556 and 557.

This incident reminded me of a similar occasion when I had lectured on woman’s inhumanity to man. Always on the side of the underdog I resented my sex’s placing every evil at the door of the male. I pointed out that if he were as great a sinner as was being painted by the ladies, women shared the responsibility with him. The mother is the first influence in his life, the first to cultivate his conceit and self-importance. Sisters and wives follow in the mother’s footsteps, not to mention mistresses, who complete the work begun by the mother. Woman is naturally perverse, I argued; from the very birth of her male child until he reaches a ripe age, the mother leaves nothing undone to keep him tied to her. Yet she hates to see him weak and she craves the manly man. She idolizes in him the very traits that help to enslave her --- his strength, his egotism, and his exaggerated vanity. The inconsistencies of my sex keep the poor male dangling between the idol and the brute, the darling and the beast, the helpless child and the conqueror of worlds. It is really woman’s inhumanity to man that makes him what he is. When she has learned to be as self-centered and as determined as he, when she gains the courage to delve into life as he does and pay the price for it, she will achieve her liberation, and incidentally also help him become free. Whereupon my women hearers would rise up against me and cry: “You’re a man’s woman and not one of us.”

From vol. 2 of “Living My Life” p. 556-557.

For a short time a beautiful - beautiful in every way - efficient nurse worked in the children's clinic with us. She left after just a few weeks and one of the other nurses explained to me that Laura's (fictitious name) own child was severly handicapped and that caring for other ill and handicapped children was just too much of an emotional drain for her. I wrote a poem afterwards, here it is:

Why

Why do I do this?

I have my own son

Six years old

Can’t walk or talk.

I thought I had no more tears

But look at this child

Nine months

Inside the barroom

Of her mother’s womb

Treated to Seagram’s gin

Marlboros and who knows

What drugs

Although her mother

Grinning there

Rotted stumps of teeth

Says “no” I do not believe her.

Where is my compassion now?

Oh, child!

Your arms uplifted

Pull at me and I sink

Down beside you

My pounding heart full

Against the weakness of your own

I want to merge the two.

Mother, care for yourself

This child.

Come, take my hand

I will show you

Why I do this.

I could relate many true life, personal anecdotes but reading or hearing about them isn't the same as experiencing them. I'll leave it there for your contemplation or your condemnation.

Zenzoe 2 years 32 weeks ago
#13

Alberto, Alberto, Alberto...ah, how you cling to your misunderstandings, like a crocodile who resolutely clings to its caducous gills. The thing is, you will —you can— understand; you can progress. It's only a matter of arrested development. I have faith in you. (devilish grin here)

First, when I refer to the "feminine" in you, I do not mean that you display feminine mannerisms, the physical manifestations of the female sex. I'm sure you're all man, through and through, a "real man" uncontaminated by girlie gestures, unadorned by swishy hips, as hairy as the hairiest ape. Perhaps your biological and hormonal balance has you appearing at the far masculine end of the gender spectrum, i.e., that you appear to be quite the masculine male, though I'm only guessing. I've never seen you, after all.

The Feminine, as confusing a word as it may be, does not mean physical, biological or anatomical femininity. The Feminine refers to those characteristics society has designated as such, rightly or wrongly, that is, compassion, love, care, tenderness, poetry, art, myth, emotion, peace, liberal values, mercy, gentleness...and so forth. If we had a language that insisted on designating the masculine and feminine, those things would have the English equivalent of "la," as it appears in French and Spanish. I trust you know this, and it's merely a reminder for you.

Thus, do you mean to say you have no capacity for compassion, love, care, tenderness, poetry, art, emotion, peace, liberal values, mercy, or gentleness, when you say "there's no feminine in me?" Don't you contradict yourself in your compassion for children and the fact of your love of, and interest in, poetry?

I don't know why you and your wife would be so condescending as to, "take pity on or commiserate with “girlie men.” What is the matter with you?!!! Do you think "girlie men" can help their biology, physiology and anatomy? Do you think they give a shit about your pity? Do you think they are not happy in their femininity, as they have a right to be?

I don't quite know why this is so difficult for you. Your position places your mind-set on this issue smack dab in line with right-wing, religious bigots. Wow. You'd get along so well with that set.

Nobody has tried to erase male and female as sexes. The point would be to erase the intolerance that rejects those who do not conform to rigid gender designations and standards.

Nice poem, though.

Alberto Ceras 2 years 32 weeks ago
#14

Communication is difficult at best but particularly so when there's no agreement on the definition of words. I prefer to use the definitions that appear in reputable dictionaries rather than the several individual and personal definitions that people erroneously give them. Here are definitions from Webster that I trust:

(from Merriam-Webster)

Definition of FEMININE

1

: female 1a(1)

2

: characteristic of or appropriate or unique to women<feminine beauty> <a feminine perspective>

3

: of, relating to, or constituting the gender that ordinarily includes most words or grammatical forms referring to females <a feminine noun>

4

a : being an unstressed and usually hypermetric final syllable<a feminine ending>b of rhyme : having an unstressed final syllablec : having the final chord occurring on a weak beat <music infeminine cadences>

Definition of MASCULINE

1

a : male

b : having qualities appropriate to or usually associated with a man

2

: of, relating to, or constituting the gender that ordinarily includes most words or grammatical forms referring to males<masculine nouns>

3

a : having or occurring in a stressed final syllable <masculinerhyme>b : having the final chord occurring on a strong beat<masculine cadence>

Definition of GENDER

1

a : a subclass within a grammatical class (as noun, pronoun, adjective, or verb) of a language that is partly arbitrary but also partly based on distinguishable characteristics (as shape, social rank, manner of existence, or sex) and that determines agreement with and selection of other words or grammatical forms

b : membership of a word or a grammatical form in such a subclassc : an inflectional form showing membership in such a subclass

2

a : sex <the feminine gender>

b : the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex

Zenzoe 2 years 32 weeks ago
#15

Oh how I wish Natural Lefty were here today to put you on the right track. But he's no doubt in deep reunion with Eunice, his beloved, and so I am left to my own devices here.

Let me refer you to a paper by Jan E. Stets and Peter J. Burke, Dept. of Sociology, WA State University, Masculinity/Femininity. An excerpt:

"We now understand that femininity and masculinity are not innate but are based upon social and cultural conditions. Anthropologist Margaret Mead addressed the issue of differences in temperament for males and females in Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (1935). This early study led to the conclusion that there are no necessary differences in traits or temperaments between the sexes. Observed differences in temperament between men and women were not a function of their biological differences. Rather, they resulted from differences in socialization and the cultural expectations held for each sex.

They also explain the societally designated characteristics that have been applied to the notions of the masculine and the feminine. Thus, again, biology does not = destiny:

"While individuals draw upon the shared cultural conceptions of what it means to be male or female in society which are transmitted through institutions such as religion or the educational system, they may come to see themselves as departing from the masculine or feminine cultural model. A person may label herself female, but instead of seeing herself in a stereotypical female manner such as being expressive, warm, and submissive (Ashmore, Del Boca, and Wohlers 1986), she may view herself in a somewhat stereotypically masculine fashion such as being somewhat instrumental, rational, and dominant. The point is that people have views of themselves along a feminine-masculine dimension of meaning, some being more feminine, some more masculine, and some perhaps a mixture of the two. It is this meaning along the feminine-masculine dimension that is their gender identity, and it is this that guides their character."

I suggest, with respect, that you read the entire paper, since this appears to be one of the very few holes in your education. ;-)

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 2 years 32 weeks ago
#16

Nope, I am scheduled to leave here at 5:30 p.m. I have to drive all the way to LAX, then Rowland Heights where daughter Isabella lives, then back here, and the airplane is scheduled to arrive at 7:05 p.m., no doubt to be followed by hours of shuttling people around, long hikes and customs inspections, as happened to me upon my return from Taiwan in August. I made the mistake yesterday of telling Eunice about my childhood crush on Marlo Thomas. I hope she isn't too angry at me about that, or my not doing a good enough job at the yardwork or housecleaning. (Eyes roll)

Alberto didn't say that everything must be classified as masuline or feminine, did you Alberto? Certainly there are certain things about which a person can be masculine or feminine such as genitals or sexual orientation, but anything else can perhaps be considered neutral, despite the tendency to stereotype everything one way or the other. I find it interesting how some languages seem compelled to consider everything as either masculine or feminine, while others are gender neutral. Chinese is gender neutral for instance. My Hungarian friend Ria told me that Hungarian language is also gender neutral. English doesn't go as far in classifying things as masculine or feminine as some languages do, but it does have its masculine and feminine words, and certainly lots of such stereotypes.

As far as I am concerned, personally, I consider only a person's biological equipment and perhaps brain wiring (such as gender identity and sexual orientation) to be masculine or feminine, and everything else to pretty much be gender neutral in terms of my ideals, at least. In that way, Alberto can have nothing feminine about him, and his wife, nothing masculine. However, I recognize that most behaviors have become objects of stereotypes and culturally determined gender roles. My approach also conflicts with theories such as Jung's or Bem's which talk about everybody having a masculine side and a feminine side. But these theories or others Zenzoe refers to can still be true in terms of gender roles and stereotypes without conflicting with my largely gender neutral approach.

p.s. Both my wife and Ria constantly confuse masculine and feminine terms, but this has nothing to do with their identities as female human beings.

Zenzoe 2 years 32 weeks ago
#17

Suddenly, NL doesn't know what I'm talking about? Funny, he used to (I hope he doesn't mind my quoting him):

Quote Natural Lefty:

...from a psychological standpoint, despite being a heterosexual male who likes sports and who does not act like a "girly boy," I score pretty high on the femininity aspects of Sandra Bem's Androgyny Scale. Actually, I admit to having scored Feminine on the Androgyny Scale when I first went to college, which was embarassing in a way, but when I considered what that meant, not so much. Basically, that means I am a fine example of the modern male that feminists like to see -- sensitive to people's feelings, nurturant, emotionally in tune. (I guess that goes a long way in explaining why I became a Social Psychologist.) However, as is typical according to research on personality throughout the lifespan, I have become more androgynous psychologically over the years. I have developed my assertive, confident, proactive side, which are masculine characteristics, and it's a good thing that I have these traits as well.

Regardless of the merits of a masculine versus a feminine psychological approach to life, the world clearly operates under a system which is far too masculine as a whole. When alpha males and their masculine approach to life rule, as it does in most of the world, and feminine characteristics are effectively excluded from the economic and political systems by which societies are run, aggression, conflict, overcompetitiveness and huge economic disparities are created. Thus, I postulate in this post, that our economic and political institutions are in grave need of a huge dose of femininity...

...I will also consider using the term "the feminine principle," although I am accustomed to saying psychological femininity and psychological masculinity, or stereotypical masculinity or femininity, or psychological androgyny, so there are several other ways to say it. I did a paper on psychological androgyny when I was in graduate school, by the way.

...You're conception of the feminine principle is consistent with humanistic psychology (my favorite orientation) and also Carl Jung's idea of gender balance and androgyny, as well as of course, Sandra Bem's concept of androgyny. Perhaps I didn't make clear that I am talking about the whole person incorporating positive qualities of all sorts, but that is what I have been talking about. Just take a look at Sandra Bem's work if you need to see that. Carl Rogers wrote a book called On Becoming a Person which I read when I was in high school. He wasn't talking about masculinity or femininity per se, but it was the same theme about wholeness which makes one a real person.

And in the same blog forum, the following, from Dhavid (I hope he doesn't mind either):

Quote Dhavid:

The first time I heard such an idea was in 1977, at a meeting of psychotherapists, spoken by a very wise Catholic Nun. She said that the feminine (principle works for me) was mostly unavailable/not accessed/damaged, for most men AND women in their daily lives. As soon as she said it I knew it was true. Been aware ever since. One of my things is tears. All of my life, when something wells up from my heart, or spirit, usually in conversation, my eyes weep. Can't help it, At first, I tried to hide it. I was sure I looked like a wierdo. Now, when such a thing happens, I just let it flow. It's just me. Long live androgeny!

...There is an attitude i have grown into over the years. To me, there is little difference if a night-launched drone missle were to hit my house and destroy my family, my pets, my entire life, or my neighbors home, family and their entire life, or a family i have never seen in Afghanistan or Pakistan, killing and maiming all life within range of the explosion. I feel the same for the people i have never seen as i do for close family and friends. Almost daily I am angered and saddened as i ponder the human and animal toll, and even the grave psychological damage that occurs with the trauma of hellicopter and drone attacks, night time raids (greatly enhanced by the mad-dog hawk, general betraeus) - both in the attacker and the attacked.

If America had this attitude we could not fight these wars. Just simply wouldn't do it. This would be a full expression of the feminine principle in action. The lack of the feminine in the national discourse (and it is severely lacking) and the continuation of the wars of occupation work together, and reveal the incredible lack of the feminine in America today.

Alberto said, "Some people have surmised that in the future it might be possible for men to endure pregnancy and to bear children. I suppose those men would also be geared up to lactate. If or when that day comes some of the more ardent feminists may celebrate. At last, true equality." This demonstrates such an abysmal lack of understanding of the point here, and such an insulting and ignorant opinion of the motives of feminists, that I can barely breathe. It is complete idiocy. Yet, we're supposed to protect his precious, delicate male ego. Give me a break.

Well, I understand: NL, you also hold a stereotypical notion of how "real women" are supposed to act and appear, as evidenced by your opinion that the world would be better off, if more women held positions of power, as if women are better than men. And this: "...In fact, it seems to me that it is difficult for most female politicians and enterpreneurs to function without trying to act like men. Among prominant female individuals, only intellectuals such as professors seem relatively comfortable being their feminine selves, in my opinion." Does that, or does that not, demand that women behave according to a standard determined by polarized, gender stereotyping? Does your statement sound tolerant of gender diversity within a range of gender expression? I don't think so.

Yin/yang—within each, a tinge of its opposite. What's the big deal?

D_NATURED's picture
D_NATURED 2 years 32 weeks ago
#18

I never believe it when some guy says, there's nothing femenine about me. I always suspect they're wearing panties.

Even if we assume that the labels masculine and femenine are inherently sexist constructs, I have no doubt a thorough search by a dedicated individual could point out yours or my femenine qualities, within the context of the accepted stereotypes. I'm proud to say I'm much less offended by that judgement now than I've ever been.

I have come to rethink what my gender is and what has shaped it. I'm still very masculine by modern standards but that may be, in some part, a protection mechanism I have developed to avoid controversy wirh gender traditionalists.

There has been a lot of emphasis placed upon ultra-masculinity and the femenine ideal, but there is a lot more wisdom in the middle.

Zenzoe 2 years 32 weeks ago
#19

Thanks so much, D_NATURED. Good points all. And I too wonder about people who deny ownership of any particular human trait, whether it would be a supposed characteristic of the opposite gender, or capacity for any human emotion, such as meanness, for example. But you put it better, and funnier, I thought. Very honest too. Still, I must admit I've come to think of you as a strong advocate for women, but in a very masculine way, which is a great, wonderful thing, to my mind.

I would want to emphasize the essential point of my blog post, if we're to put the hammer to the nail just right: It's all about discrimination. It's about how one group learns exclusivity and privilege over another; and how such indoctrination perpetuates and promotes a sexist hierarchy over the generations, making progress toward peace, equality and justice impossible. It's no small matter, such indoctrination.

That we get hung up on the lexicon of gender stereotyping is a diversion from the essential point. Our concern should be with repudiating the rejection of people based on their gender identity. To demean a feminine male as a "girlie boy," or demean a woman politician, who does her job in an aggressive, sharp and determined way, as "acting like a man," diminishes the notion of freedom, in general, but if done on a personal level, it kills.

Alberto Ceras 2 years 32 weeks ago
#20

Yes, NaturalLefty, how great it would be if such attributes were sexually neutral, as I think they should be.

But then, and it's no contradiction, If I happened to be in a tight spot with my life and that of others in the balance I’d want Ernest Hemingway alongside me, not Walt Whitman.

Here’s a fragment of conversation between Hemingway and Gertrude Stein, lesbian and great feminist, as recalled in Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast” (There's a new edition - 2011 - of this marvelous little book with fotos and more.):

“But what about the old man with beautiful manners and a great name who came to the hospital in Italy and brought me a bottle of Marsala or Campari and behaved perfectly, and then one day I had to tell the nurse never to let that man into the room again?” I asked.

“These people are sick and cannot help themselves and you should pity them."

”And in Milan the man I’m to pity was not trying to corrupt me?”

“Don’t be silly. How could he hope to corrupt you? Do you corrupt a boy like you, who drinks alcohol, with a bottle of Marsala? No, he was a pitiful old man who could not help what he was doing. He was sick and he could not help it and you should pity him,”

“I did at the time,” I said. “But I was disappointed because he had such beautiful manners.”

At least one critic called Stein’s comments on homosexuality “bizarre.” Maybe, but interesting coming from the companion of Alice Toklas.

Zenzoe 2 years 32 weeks ago
#21

Ernest Hemmingway? Well, no big surprise there. Machismo all the way, rah rah rah! But isn't he just one more influence on behalf of the glorification of war and violence as a manly endeavors? Do we need this?

It would be nice if gender designations disappeared from the lexicon, but our culture has them designated as they are, regardless. It's simply a reality. Compassion ='s Feminine; Ruthlessness ='s Masculine, etc. It should not scrape any skin off your nose, therefore, to say your humanity contains some aspects of the Feminine.

I also want to clarify one thing: We, as biological creatures, also express our physicality along a spectrum, from highly masculine to highly feminine, with shades of each in between. But even the most physically masculine male can adopt a yin/yang attitude, so that he can learn to nurture the Feminine in himself, without invalidating his masculinity. Same for the most physically feminine female; even the girliest of girls can learn self-defense and learn to assert herself.

The Machismo ideology, treasured even by some self-described progressives, functions just like the mafia. It takes the spirit of yin/yang, which could save us all, and sets it in cement blocks to be dumped in the sea, so that it can "sleep with the fishes" forever and ever.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 2 years 32 weeks ago
#22

Of course I know what you are talking about, Zenzoe. I was offering a way of looking at gender issues that perhaps we could all agree upon, and at the same time, rejecting the stereotype-based notions upon which such concepts as psychological androgyny are founded. (I am a bender and bonder, after all.) You can see in my previous reply that I am fully aware of that approach and understand its underpinnings; but that doesn't mean I have to agree with it in an ideal world, unless we are to believe that women are inherently more nurturing than men, and men are inherently more domineering than women, etc. and that differences in behavioral tendencies are not a result of training. Actually, there may be some biological influences which differentially affect the personalities of men and women, but the most relevant question is: Can training overcome these differences? And I think the answer is yes, as demonstrated in cultures in which typical gender roles do not mirror the stereotypes. The other relevant question is: How important are biological gender influences on personality? Here, I think the answer is "relatively minor."

If I have to talk about "masculine" and "feminine" personality and behavioral traits, however, I would prefer the psychological androgyny approach. You sure know how to dig out the oldies from this message board. (That's the same as the "yin/yang attitude".) Whether by biology, training, or both, females tend to have more of the yin, and males, more of the yang, and we have too much of the yang in politics, which is the reason for the female politician endorsement, but what really matters is having a better balance of yin and yang in politics, not necessarily a balance of male and female politicians.

You must agree with me based on this recent quote from you:

"That we get hung up on the lexicon of gender stereotyping is a diversion from the essential point. Our concern should be with repudiating the rejection of people based on their gender identity. To demean a feminine male as a "girlie boy," or demean a woman politician, who does her job in an aggressive, sharp and determined way, as "acting like a man," diminishes the notion of freedom, in general, but if done on a personal level, it kills."

Alberto, I think I might rather be stuck with Walt Whitman rather than Ernest Hemingway in a dangerous situation. Between the two of us, Walt and I could probably talk our way out of it while waxing poetic. Anyway, it's hard to predict how a person would respond in such a situation, until the person is actually in it. Writing about it fancifully is a completely different matter.

Ulysses, this is somewhat off topic, but I think giving your grandkids educational gifts relating to topics they show an interest in is a good thing, regardless of the child's gender. This appears to be one of the most effective ways to foster intrinsic motivation in learning.

On the other hand, your sports example leaves a lot to be desired. Why do otherwise reasonably intelligent people flock in droves to see feats of physical strength/endurance/size/height(basketball) etc. and turn themselves into blathering idiots while turning the athletic performers into a gang of coddled, overpaid narcissists? Neither our humanity nor survival is based anymore -- if it ever was -- on physical size or strength, and besides, there are things that women have been found to outperform men at: verbal skills, school performance in general (in recent years), relationship skills, and reading and dealing with emotions, to name a few.

And I would want my daughter to meet a guy like me: It's the guys who are not like me that I am worried about.

Zenzoe 2 years 32 weeks ago
#23

Thanks so much, Ulysses. Wow. I learn more about you all the time.

Quote Ulysses:

I teach my granddaughters that they should do anything they're able to do, but I demand excellence from them, just as from my grandsons. I teach them that they're just as good as boys in the human sense and when they're older I'll teach them to avoid the bullshit of boys who just want to get laid. Most men, if they're truly honest, will tell anybody that their main fear for their female progeny is that they'll meet guys like them. So I know how to coach them.

That's so funny, because I remember my very macho, but big-hearted step-father allowing me to take a sip from his glass of Jack Daniels and saying, "This is no big deal. Don't ever let some jerk ply you with it in order to take advantage." Something like that. He also once went out to the curb, where my clueless date waited in his car after honking for me, and read him the riot act, before sending him on his away. George was good at that, thank goodness, because I was pretty clueless too.

About your "exceptions." In general, I would agree. Testosterone cannot be denied. However, don't forget the Dahomey Amazons and this, which is from the last of Stieg Larsson's Millennium series (begins with The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo). What my step-father also pointed out (he was a Lieutenant in the army, WWII), is that a gun is an equalizer. I would venture to say that training in martial arts could also be an equalizer, that coupled with brains. The trouble is, when we take too much pride in the superior physical prowess of men, and masculinity, or use such as essential to the meaning of manhood, then, when women do join the military, or management positions in corporations, or any of the other traditional "male occupations," men are threatened and feel justified in all sorts of BS, from subtle discrimination, to harassment and rape.

And don't forget how hath no fury like a woman scorned... ;-)

Your granddaughters are lucky to have a granddad like you, though, for sure.

It's my son's birthday, so I'm outta here, for now...

Ulysses's picture
Ulysses 2 years 32 weeks ago
#24
Quote Natural Lefty:

You must agree with me based on this recent quote from you:

"That we get hung up on the lexicon of gender stereotyping is a diversion from the essential point. Our concern should be with repudiating the rejection of people based on their gender identity. To demean a feminine male as a "girlie boy," or demean a woman politician, who does her job in an aggressive, sharp and determined way, as "acting like a man," diminishes the notion of freedom, in general, but if done on a personal level, it kills."

[quote]Alberto, I think I might rather be stuck with Walt Whitman rather than Ernest Hemingway in a dangerous situation. Between the two of us, Walt and I could probably talk our way out of it while waxing poetic. Anyway, it's hard to predict how a person would respond in such a situation, until the person is actually in it. Writing about it fancifully is a completely different matter.

Yeah, well, on that point, I think you're wrong. I've been there. I'll take Hemingway on that one every time. Your estimation of your own debating skills may or may not be overblown, but I'd rather make the sure survival bet and go with Papa. Whitman was a literary genius, a male nurse during the Civil War because he wouldn't do anything violent, and probably couldn't fight his way out of a paper bag. I don't know why so many people think that in order to give the feminine fair and equal play, we have to downplay and denounce the masculine; it's NOT necessary.

On the other hand, your sports example leaves a lot to be desired. Why do otherwise reasonably intelligent people flock in droves to see feats of physical strength/endurance/size/height(basketball) etc. and turn themselves into blathering idiots while turning the athletic performers into a gang of coddled, overpaid narcissists? Neither our humanity nor survival is based anymore -- if it ever was -- on physical size or strength, and besides, there are things that women have been found to outperform men at: verbal skills, school performance in general (in recent years), relationship skills, and reading and dealing with emotions, to name a few.

First, it may leave lots to be desired -- by you. Opinions are like assholes; everybody's got one. Organized sports, when seen in the proper light and in avoidance of the "Little League Parent" mentality, can provide many positive goals, physical well-being, and positive skills which can be extrapolated into other areas of life. It's only when they get overblown that they become ridiculous. Pro sports can be appreciated in the same way as anything else can be appreciated when it epitomizes the height of human achievement. Pro athletes and their performances can be appreciated because they do what they do better than anybody else on the planet can do it, just like conductors of symphonies, Nobel laureates, etc. Sports are entertainment, and anybody who takes them too seriously is an idiot.

Having said that, I've already said that in my opinion women are equal to men in all intellectual pursuits, so why are you ignoring that and extrapolating it over here to a single point regarding physicality? Do you loathe physicality (perhaps your own) that much? Geezus, lighten up, get a life, and stop overreacting as though you were weaned on a pickle. Don't like sports? Don't attend. Everybody's still got that much freedom. I may not like your taste in movies, if I knew what it was, but I'm not going to condemn you going to see the ones I disapprove of.

And I would want my daughter to meet a guy like me: It's the guys who are not like me that I am worried about.

Whatever floats your boat. I recognize my own lack of potential for canonization. Most honest men do, too. Maybe Dr. Dimmesdale's School For Wayward Boys produces exceptions to hardwiring, I wouldn't know.

Alberto Ceras 2 years 32 weeks ago
#25

Ah, NaturalLefty. If only your presumptive killers spoke English.

I almost forgot, D_NATURED. Yes, of course I wear panties. Well “tanga” really although I’m thinking of switching to Rio’s famed “dental floss.” No panty lines when I wear my bull-fighting tights (we fellows call it VPL). My wife, of course, wears old style jockey briefs with the opening in the front. Hemingway preferred pink rayon step-ins with a small red rose on the side. Unfortunately for him he lived in pre-bikini times.

Hemingway seems to attract a good many admirers even today, both men and women, but perhaps not many among the feminists. I’ve lifted this paragraph from James Salter’s review entitled “The Finest Life You Ever Saw” of Paul Hendrickson’s recent offering: “Hemingway’s Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934–1961

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/oct/13/finest-life-you-ever-saw/?pagination=false

The Finest Life You Ever Saw

James Salter

Still, toward the end, in 1958, he finished the beautiful remembrance of his youth in Paris, A Moveable Feast, written with a simplicity and modesty that seemed long past. As with much of Hemingway, it fills one with envy and an enlarged sense of life. His Paris is a city you long to have known. Two of his novels never put in final form by him have been published posthumously, The Garden of Eden and Islands in the Stream. Like all his books, they sold well. In 2010 Scribner’s sold more than 350,000 copies of Hemingway’s works in North America alone. By far the most popular is The Old Man and the Sea.

Salter wrote the entertaing novel "A Sport and a Pastime." Lowly recommended for the ardent feminist.

Salter also, early in his review, had this to say about Hemingway: Though none of his novels is set in his own country—they take place in France, Spain, Italy, or in the sea between Cuba and Key West—he is a quintessentially American writer and a fiercely moral one.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 2 years 32 weeks ago
#26

If they didn't speak English, I guess Walt and I would have to mime our way out of trouble. By the way, I said I might prefer being with Walt Whitman. How could one say what would work better in a hypothetical situation, despite Ulysses assertion that he has "been there" (with Walt Whitman, then again with Ernest Hemingway, in a controlled experiment)? I am sure I don't need to remind you that Ernest Hemingway killed himself. I don't believe Walt Whitman did that. Although it's aside from the point, I read some of Hemingway's stuff in high school as required reading, and he definitely wasn't my type of person, or author -- despite my love of fishing which I share with Hemingway.

Sports is good for exercise and fun, maybe even some social skills, although that is debatable. I have come to the sad conclusion that it makes a horrible profession and the whole idea of professional sports was a lousy one. I think athletics should be like the Olympics was supposed to be -- something for amateurs. The whole professional sports endeavor feeds the macho, competitive side of culture, and turns it into a powerful force which plays into the hands of conservatives in my opinion. Sports is not unconnected with politics.

I think if we did a random survey of the public, most people would agree that pro athletes tend to be hugely overpaid, spoiled, and narcissistic.

I assume that the quip about not wanting ones daughters to meet men like oneself is meant as self-deprecatory humor. However, I don't think it indicates honesty. I have learned that being a good partner means being the sort of lovable person I would like to be around, as well.

Alberto Ceras 2 years 32 weeks ago
#27

There's another of my favorite authors who I expect isn't well received around here either: Joseph Conrad. Here's a clip from his novel "Youth."

"Yes, I have seen a little of the Eastern seas; but what I remember best is my first voyage there. You fellows know there are those voyages that seem ordered for the illustration of life, that might stand for a symbol of existence. You fight, work, sweat, nearly kill yourself, sometimes do kill yourself, trying to accomplish something- and you can't. Not from any fault of yours. You simply can do nothing, neither great nor little-- not a thing in the world--not even marry an old maid, or get a wretched 600-ton cargo of coal to its port of destination...Or reason with the obdurate, willfully ignorant.

I didn't know that Hemingway committed suicide. Is that what you mean?

Ulysses's picture
Ulysses 2 years 32 weeks ago
#28
Quote Natural Lefty:

If they didn't speak English, I guess Walt and I would have to mime our way out of trouble. By the way, I said I might prefer being with Walt Whitman. How could one say what would work better in a hypothetical situation, despite Ulysses assertion that he has "been there" (with Walt Whitman, then again with Ernest Hemingway, in a controlled experiment)? I am sure I don't need to remind you that Ernest Hemingway killed himself. I don't believe Walt Whitman did that. Although it's aside from the point, I read some of Hemingway's stuff in high school as required reading, and he definitely wasn't my type of person, or author -- despite my love of fishing which I share with Hemingway.

Sports is good for exercise and fun, maybe even some social skills, although that is debatable. I have come to the sad conclusion that it makes a horrible profession and the whole idea of professional sports was a lousy one. I think athletics should be like the Olympics was supposed to be -- something for amateurs. The whole professional sports endeavor feeds the macho, competitive side of culture, and turns it into a powerful force which plays into the hands of conservatives in my opinion. Sports is not unconnected with politics.

I think if we did a random survey of the public, most people would agree that pro athletes tend to be hugely overpaid, spoiled, and narcissistic.

I assume that the quip about not wanting ones daughters to meet men like oneself is meant as self-deprecatory humor. However, I don't think it indicates honesty. I have learned that being a good partner means being the sort of lovable person I would like to be around, as well.

Whatever. I have indeed been there, as far as life and safety threatening situations, on multiple occasions. What the hell do you know about me, to make light of that? Those situations usually arise quickly; they don't lend themselves to controlled experiments. Hey, I posted here upon Zenzoe's request in another thread. I didn't do it so I'd receive anal-retentive value judgments about my personal lifestyle tastes from you or any other prig, whether we're on the same side of the aisle politically or not. This is the last I'll say about it. If that means you post something else on this and get the last word, so be it.

Ulysses's picture
Ulysses 2 years 32 weeks ago
#29

I met too many women all the way through grad school who were as smart or smarter than me for me not to believe that women are equally endowed with the same range of IQ as men, all along the bell curve. Likewise, in the real world.

I teach my granddaughters that they should do anything they're able to do, but I demand excellence from them, just as from my grandsons. I teach them that they're just as good as boys in the human sense and when they're older I'll teach them to avoid the bullshit of boys who just want to get laid. Most men, if they're truly honest, will tell anybody that their main fear for their female progeny is that they'll meet guys like them. So I know how to coach them.

I gave one of them a chemistry set this past Christmas and have given them all kinds of educational (and frivolous, too) gifts because they asked for them. I've never told them they can't have or do something because it's gender-specific. They have all the same kid wheeled vehicles as the boys in their neighborhood. They roller blade, play soccer, and take Kempo Karate.

They have individual strengths and weaknesses and their parents and the rest of us who are their adult role models work on those things, while still trying to allow them to be kids. I don't really know what else to say, Zenzoe, except that I believe and will continue to believe that women should do whatever they're capable of, but without compromising standards to do it.

There's one exception. I don't think they can do the physical power stuff as well as most men, but they can do it equally well among other women. I don't think they should be combat infantry solidiers; the Soviets tried that during WWII. Their women troopers were fierce fighters, but hand-to-hand, the average man is stronger than the average woman and will usually win, so putting women in that position is simply to sacrifice them. In any physical pursuit, it's axiomatic that a good big man will beat a good little man; the same gap exists along a mean between genders, with a few marked exceptions. This is simply the truth, so there's nothing sexist about pointing it out. If it weren't, then, for example, the WNBA would draw audiences equal to the NBA. It doesn't. The reason it doesn't is not because its players aren't fine basketball players, it's that, to use a specific example, Lauren Jackson's 6'7" and so is Dwyane Wade, but Lauren Jackson simply cannot do the things that Dwyane Wade can do on a basketball court, so who do people prefer to pay to watch?

I understand there's now an analogous book out for girls, but I haven't looked at it, so I don't know if it stereotypes roles or not.

Alberto Ceras 2 years 32 weeks ago
#30

Ulysses, I would enjoy having our grandchildren meet. From what you write here I believe it would be something wonderful.

One of the reasons that I so admire Hemingway (and Conrad, and Chekhov, and Gogol, and Turgenev, and Tolstoy - well, the list is long) is that these people have truly lived. They have experienced first hand its sorrows, its dangers, its heartbreaks, its regrets, its great tragedies as well as, infrequently, its sublime pleasures. I would give my left nut to have known...oops, sorry, it's already gone, maybe swept out to sea to be swallowed intact by a marauding shark. "Buen provecho" my friend.

I believe NaturalLefty meant to imply that Hemingway committed suicide. I didn't know that, NaturalLefty didn't know that nor did (does) anyone else. But even if we knew for sure that he in fact did commit suicide what does that say about the man, about his writing?

This will be a long post. I’m going to paste a plain text version of Hemingway’s obituary as published by the New York Times a day after Hemingway’s death and then an excerpt from "The Devils" by Dostoevsky.

First, though, a response to Zenzoe who made this ludicrous statement: “Do you think "girlie men" can help their biology, physiology and anatomy? Do you think they give a shit about your pity? Do you think they are not happy in their femininity, as they have a right to be?”

It is wonderful that Zenzoe has met every “girlie man,” living or dead, and has acquired the competence to declare that they are all happy in their femininity. Marvelous.

Hemingway’s son, Gregory, did in fact wear ladies panties trimmed with roses. He also wore red nail polish and high heels. Accounts of his life don’t picture him as particularly happy (although, as Zenzoe claims, he had a right to be). Wikipedia has a digest of his tragic life and death (excerpt below). Yes, I pity him and I would have commiserated with him given the chance.

Zenzoe either doesn’t understand the difference between “masculinity” and “machismo” or she chooses to ignore it. They aren’t the same. The latter may well result from doubts about the first. OK, here’s Wikipedia on Gregory, Gigi or Gloria Hemingway:

After struggling with gender identity issues for decades, he underwent gender reassignment surgery and at times presented himself/herself as female and used the name Gloria, most notably when taken into police custody just days before dying in a women's jail.

In childhood, he was called Gigi or Gig and was, according to a close observer, "a tremendous athlete" and a "crack shot." As an adult he preferred the name Greg. Hemingway attended the Canterbury School, a Catholic prep school in Connecticut, graduating in 1949. He dropped out of St. John's College, Annapolis, after one year and worked for a time as an aircraft mechanic. Moving to California in 1951, he married against his father's wishes and experimented with drugs, which led to his arrest. When his mother died the day following his arrest, he inherited a fortune, which he used to finance several African hunting safaris. He later spent three years in Africa as an apprentice professional hunter, but failed to obtain a license because of his drinking. He joined and left the U.S. Army in the 1950s, suffered from mental illness, was institutionalized for a time, and received several dozen electric shock treatments. Of another stint shooting elephants he wrote: "I went back to Africa to do more killing. Somehow it was therapeutic." He entered medical school and obtained a medical degree from the University of Miami Medical School in 1964.

And finally the NY Times obituary of Ernest Hemingway followed by an excerpt from “The Devils” where:Dostoevsky writes eloquently on suicide (perhaps Dostoevsky is also on NaturalLefty’s proscribed list?):

http://www.nytimes.com/books/99/07/04/specials/hemingway-obit.html

July 3, 1961

Hemingway Dead of Shotgun Wound; Wife Says He Was Cleaning Weapon

Special to The New York Times

Ketchum, Idaho, July 2--Ernest Hemingway was found dead of a shotgun wound in the head at his home here today.

His wife, Mary, said that he had killed himself accidentally while cleaning the weapon.

The New York Times

Hemingway's obituary ran on the front page of The New York Times on July 3, 1961.

Mr. Hemingway, whose writings won him a Nobel Prize and a Pulitzer Prize, would have been 62 years old July 21

Frank Hewitt, the Blaine County Sheriff, said after a preliminary investigation that the death "looks like an accident." He said, "There is no evidence of foul play."

The body of the bearded, barrel-chested writer, clad in a robe and pajamas, was found by his wife in the foyer of their modern concrete house.

A double-barreled, 12-gauge shotgun lay beside him with one chamber discharged.

Mrs. Hemingway, the author's fourth wife, whom he married in 1946, issued this statement:

"Mr. Hemingway accidentally killed himself while cleaning a gun this morning at 7:30 A.M. No time has been set for the funeral services, which will be private."

Mrs. Hemingway was placed under sedation.

Coroner Ray McGoldrick said tonight that he would decide tomorrow, after speaking to Mrs. Hemingway, whether to hold an inquest.

The writer was discharged from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., last Monday after two months of treatment for hypertension (high blood pressure) and what a Mayo spokesman called a "very old" case of hepatitis.

He had been treated there last year for the same conditions and had been released Jan. 23 after fifty-six days.

About a month ago, Mr. Hemingway's physician at the clinic described his health as "excellent."

The author had been worried about his weight, 200 pounds. He was six feet tall.

Mr. Hemingway and his wife, who drove from Rochester, arrived Friday night at this village on the outskirts of Sun Valley.

Chuck Atkinson, a Ketchum motel owner who has been a friend of Mr. Hemingway for twenty years, was with him yesterday. He said, "He seemed to be in good spirits. We didn't talk about anything in particular. I think he spent last night at home."

However, Marshal Les Jankow, another friend and the first law officer to reach the scene, said residents had told him that Mr. Hemingway had "looked thinner and acted depressed."

At the time of the shooting, Mrs. Hemingway, the only other person in the house, lay asleep in a bedroom upstairs. The shot woke her and she went down the stairs to find her husband's body near a gun rack in the foyer.

Mrs. Hemingway told friends that she had been unable to find any note.

Expert on Firearms

Mr. Hemingway was an ardent hunter and an expert on firearms.

His father, Dr. Clarence E. Hemingway, was also devoted to hunting. He shot himself to death at his home in Oak Park, Ill., in 1928 at the age of 57, despondent over a diabetic condition. The death weapon was a Civil War pistol that had been owned by the physician's father.

The theme of a father's suicide cropped up frequently in Mr. Hemingway's short stories and at least one novel, "For Whom the Bell Tolls."

Mr. Hemingway was given his first shotgun at the age of 10.

As an adult, he sought out danger. He was wounded by mortar shells in Italy in World War I and narrowly escaped death in the Spanish Civil War when three shells plunged into his hotel room.

In World War II, he was injured in a taxi accident that took place in a blackout. The author nearly died of blood poisoning on one African safari; he and his wife walked away from an airplane crash in 1954 on another big-game hunt.

Mr. Hemingway, who owned two estates in Cuba and a home in Key West, Fla., started coming to Ketchum twenty years ago. He bought his home here from Robert Topping about three years ago.

It is a large, ultramodern concrete structure that sits on a hillside near the banks of the Wood River. The windows give upon a panoramic view of the Sawtooth Mountains.

To Be Buried in Ketchum

"The funeral and burial will be in Ketchum," Mr. McGoldrick said. "This was Mr. Hemingway's home, he loved it here."

Under a new Idaho law that took effect yesterday, the chief law-enforcement officer must make an investigation into every case of violent death and determine the cause. He may hold an inquest if he wishes, but it is not mandatory.

Late in the day, Mr. McGoldrick said about the shooting:

"I can only say at this stage that the wound was self-inflicted. The wound was in the head. I couldn't say it was accidental and I couldn't say it was suicide. There wasn't anybody there."

The coroner said that the Sheriff did not have to hand in his report on the death "for several days."

"If anything comes up indicating foul play, he may hold an inquest," he said. "I don't think he'll hold an inquest but, based on new evidence, it could be called at any time."

He added: "He doesn't have to state in his report whether it was accidental or suicide."

Confers With Friends

"Mary felt it was accidental and I hope that's the way it will go out," Mr. Atkinson said. "But maybe we will have to change our plans and hold an inquest. I know that 'Papa' [Mr. Hemingway's nickname] wouldn't give a damn how it came out in the papers."

Previously, Mr. Atkinson had been busy trying to reach members of Mr. Hemingway's immediate family. He telephoned Mrs. Jasper J. Jepson, the novelist's sister, who said that she would fly to Ketchum immediately.

The author's 28-year-old son Gregory, a University of Miami medical student, will fly here from Miami tomorrow. Another son, Patrick, according to Mr. Atkinson, is on a safari in Africa and a third, John, is fishing in Oregon.

Mourned by Kennedy

Hyannis Port, Mass., July 2 (UPI)--President Kennedy mourned tonight the death of Ernest Hemingway, whom he called one of America's greatest authors and "one of the great citizens of the world."

The President, who is spending the Fourth of July weekend here with his family, issued a statement after hearing of Mr. Hemingway's death.

"The Devils" by Dostoevsky

The dialogue takes place between the narrator and a man named Mr. Kirilov.

'There are two kinds [of people who commit suicide]: those who kill themselves from great sorrow or from spite, and those who are mad or whatever it is-those who do it suddenly. They think little about the pain, but do it suddenly. But those who do it from reason-they think a lot.'

'but are there people who do it from reason?'

'Lots. But for prejudice there would be more many more; all.'

'Not all, surely?'

He said nothing.

'But aren’t there ways of dying painlessly?'

'Imagine,' he said, stopping before me, 'imagine a stone as big as a large house; its suspended and you are under it; if it fell on you - on your head would you feel any pain?'

'A stone as big as a house? Of course, I'd be frightened.'

'I'm not talking of fear. Would it hurt?'

'A stone as big as a mountain weighing millions of pounds? Of course, it wouldn't hurt.'

'But if you stood under it while it was hanging over you, you'd be terrified of the pain. Everybody would be terrified the greatest scientist the greatest doctor. Everyone will know it won't hurt, and everyone will be afraid that it will hurt.'

'Well, and what is the second reason, the big one?'

'The next world!'

'You mean punishment?'

'Makes no difference. The next world just the next world.'

'But aren't there atheists who do not believe in the next world at all?'

Again, he said nothing.

'Perhaps you judge from yourself?'

'Everyone must judge from himself,' he said, reddening. 'Full freedom will come only when it makes no difference whether to live or not to live. That's the goal for everybody.'

'The goal? But perhaps no one will want to live then.'

'No one.' He said emphatically.

'Man's afraid of death because he loves life,' I remarked. 'That's how I see it, and that's how nature had ordered it.'

'That's despicable and that's where the whole deception lies.' His eyes flashed. 'Life is pain, life is fear, and man is unhappy. Now all is pain and fear. Now man loves life. And that's how they've done it. You're given life now for pain and fear, and that's where the whole deception lies. Now man is not yet what he will be. A new man will come, happy and proud. To whom it won’t matter whether he lives or not. He'll be the new man! He who conquers pain and fear will himself be a god. And that other God will not be.'

'So, according to you, the other God does exist, after all?'

'He doesn't exist, but He is. There's no pain in a stone, but there's pain in the fear of a stone. He who conquers pain and fear will himself become a god. Then there will be a new life, a new man, everything will be new. Then history will be divided into two parts: from the gorilla to the annihilation of God, and from the annihilation of God to-'

'To the gorilla?'

'to the physical transformation of the earth and man. Man will be god. He'll be physically transformed. And the world, too, will be transformed, and things will be transformed, and thoughts and all feelings. What do you think? Will man be physically transformed then?'

'If it is all the same whether to live or not to live, everyone will kill himself and that's perhaps the only change that will come about.'

'It makes no difference. Deception will be killed. Everyone who desires freedom must dare to kill himself. He who dares to kill himself has learnt the secret of the deception. Beyond that there is no freedom; that's all, and beyond it there is nothing. He who dares to kill himself is a god. Now everyone can make it so that there shall be no God and there shall be nothing. But no one has done so yet.'

The great human tradegy that we all share is to have been born.

Zenzoe 2 years 32 weeks ago
#31

While I am not a fan of Ernest Hemingway as a writer, I nevertheless pity his humanity, the waning of his creative powers and the poor man's end. Apparently, in fact, he did commit suicide, after having received a generous amount of electroshock "therapy," a brutal, memory-shattering torture technique invented by ethical morons. And how does one write, without one's memory?

Quote wikipedia:

Meyers writes that "an aura of secrecy surrounds Hemingway's treatment at the Mayo", but confirms he was treated with electroconvulsive therapy as many as 15 times in December 1960, then in January 1961 he was "released in ruins".Reynolds accessed Hemingway's records at the Mayo which indicate the combination of medications may have created a depressive state, for which he was treated.

Three months later, back in Ketchum, one morning in the kitchen Mary "found Hemingway holding a shotgun". She called Saviers who sedated him and admitted him to the Sun Valley hospital; from there he was returned to the Mayo for more shock treatments. He was released in late June and arrived home in Ketchum on June 30. Two days later, in the early morning hours of July 2, 1961, Hemingway "quite deliberately" shot himself with his favorite shotgun. He unlocked the basement storeroom where his guns were kept, went upstairs to the front entrance foyer of their Ketchum home, and "pushed two shells into the twelve-gauge Boss shotgun ...put the end of the barrel into his mouth, pulled the trigger and blew out his brains." Mary called the Sun Valley Hospital, and Dr. Scott Earle arrived at the house within "fifteen minutes". Despite his finding that Hemingway "had died of a self-inflicted wound to the head", the story told to the press was that the death had been "accidental".

Durng his final years, Hemingway's behavior was similar to his father's before he himself committed suicide;his father may have had the genetic disease hemochromatosis, in which the inability to metabolize iron culminates in mental and physical deterioration.Medical records made available in 1991 confirm that Hemingway's hemochromatosis had been diagnosed in early 1961. His sister Ursula and his brother Leicester also committed suicide. Added to Hemingway's physical ailments was the additional problem that he had been a heavy drinker for most of his life.

Birth grants us the potential for both joy and suffering. To name it tragedy is a tragic attitude.

As for sports, I wish all the war mongers and warriors of the world were limited to playing out their hostilities on a football or soccer field, rather than a battlefield. As it is, though, sports and war compliment each other, and Natural Lefty makes a good point, when he says, "The whole professional sports endeavor feeds the macho, competitive side of culture, and turns it into a powerful force which plays into the hands of conservatives in my opinion. Sports is not unconnected with politics." Nor is it unconnected to gender politics. Read Dave Zirin's columns in The Nation, for more. For example:

Quote Dave Zirin:

In a league where an accepted culture of sexism exists from the cheerleaders to the commercials, to the locker room, Goodell better choose wisely. Women make up the fastest-growing sector of NFL fans. For far too long, they have been treated as if they were invisible or worse. It's not too much to ask that the NFL send a message that misogyny and violence against women is not acceptable under any circumstance and a 28-year-old quarterback getting underage women drunk for bar sex will not be seen as "boys will be boys."

On a lighter note, I watched my granddaughter's all-girl softball practice yesterday afternoon. They've got an excellent guy coach, a real athlete, apparently. I noticed that he tried to teach my granddaughter the same thing that my step-father had taught me about throwing a ball—you know, not standing still and flinging it elbow first with a flip of the wrist ("like a girl"), but throwing with your whole body, transferring your weight from right to left foot, leading with the hip and following through. Actually, I had tried to show this to her a few days earlier, but I didn't get through. I'm not sure her coach did either. She listened, and tried, but it's all so unnatural to her right now. I'm afraid she's more on the girlie side of things, like some of her teammates, whereas some of her other teammates have brilliant athletic talent, or so it seemed to me. A couple of those girls wholly demonstrated that beautiful, coordinated, in-tune-with-the-body thing that all athletes have, and seemed to have it naturally. My granddaughter has her own areas of natural brilliance, but sports? Not so much. Anyway, at home she said she hadn't enjoyed practice and has told her parents she doesn't like sports. I wish they'd honor her wishes there, although it can't hurt her to get the experience. (this is the same girl who loves science)

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 2 years 32 weeks ago
#32

Alberto, my apologies and I stand corrected if Hemingway accidentally shot himself to death. I had heard that he committed suicide. In any case, he shot the gun which killed him, and those cases of "accidental shootings" are always suspicious. What is the chance of that happening, and being fatal? Pretty low, I should think. If it was a "gun-cleaning accident," that goes even further toward making my point, that people who hang out with weapons and around danger, may both invite it, and create it. But as I said, that was beside the point, and has nothing to do with his writing. He was a very skilled writer, but I just really didn't go for his style, content wise. As a fisherman, he was a trophy hunter, while I am a panfisherman who catches little fishies to eat and teaches other people including my wife, nephews and nieces and some other youngsters, how to fish.

Yes, Hemingway's true story is tragic. I used to accompany an adolescent fishing buddy at Perris Lake, near my home, probably over 10 years ago. I stopped seeing him, he grew up, and reappeared at the school where I teach a couple of years ago. He had gotten married to a young woman who was a student there, and had a little one year old daughter. Last year, his wife was in one of my classes, and I found out that my friend Giovanni had died at the age of 24 fthe previous July, from untreated hypertension, although he was a thin guy. Around the same time that I found out about Giovanni's passing, one of my students was murdered at an ATM machine here in Moreno Valley. Her murder remains unsolved, and there have been billboards with her photo around here asking for information leading to her killer. Now, when I go fishing at Perris Lake, "the spirit of Giovanni" seems to be with me, as I keep catching lots of fish, especially with one "lucky pole." Yeah, I know it sounds deluded, but you should see how fish flock to that fishing line.

I don't know, Ulysses, even when I was being more or less facetious about Walt Whitman and Ernest Hemingway, you seemed to take offense. But I guess the social critic in me got the best of me. You see, social psychologists are in a prime position to be social critics. We scrutinize and study all of the worst, insidious influences in society, and see the connections between diverse elements of society. Not all social psychologists are social critics like me, but that is the tendency. We need social critics to generate awareness of problems, and ultimately, change in society. The tricky issue is that of "freedom," because informing people that something has bad consequences, may seem to be limiting peoples' freedom, but on the other hand, not informing people of our findings leads to people continuing to make the same bad decisions. My resolution of this issue is that when people have more knowledge, they will make better decisions which I think will lead to a more harmonious, creative and free society.

My apologies to Zenzoe and Ulysses if my comments came "out of left field." I didn't know that Zenzoe invited Ulysses to make comments on this post. I have been in that situation before, and know how that can go.

Alberto Ceras 2 years 32 weeks ago
#33

Of course life is tragic, Zenzoe. Shakespeare knew that, every great writer knows that. Every true humanitarian knows it. Unless you know and understand the truth of that assertion there's no compassion, no common bond with the rest of humanity. Perhaps you are too young, perhaps you haven't yet acquired the wisdom. I don't intend that maliciously. Most of us do indeed die young in the sense that I mean, never ever becoming wise.

Thank you, William, for your brilliance and understanding, for your legacy, for - especially - "King Lear."

And thanks to Henry David for this profound insight (and more): "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."

And to John Doone for: "...I am involved with mankind."

To Conrad, speaking through Kurtz: "The horror, the horror."

But there's no end to the debt we owe to these and others. They have laid a treasure before us. We pass it by, too laden with baubles to stoop.

Zenzoe 2 years 32 weeks ago
#34

I didn't say life is not tragic, at times. What I object to is your blanket condemnation of life as tragic, when, if you're truly wise, you know that life is beautiful, and a miracle as well. So go to hell, with your patronizing BS. You're an such an ass.

Anyone who has endured a tragic diagnosis, or lost a beloved friend or relative, knows just how precious life is. There's nothing more pathetic than the pretentious, romantic attachment to the drama of death and disaster. It doesn't make you any more of an artist to be gloomy and tragic. Get over yourself, soon!

NL, why do you apologize to Alberto w/ regard to Hemingway, who did commit suicide, at least according to many sources, one of which I posted? Apparently, his wife wanted to protect his memory, by reporting it was an accident. You seem intent upon pampering Alberto.

Ulysses's picture
Ulysses 2 years 32 weeks ago
#35
Quote Alberto Ceras:

I believe NaturalLefty meant to imply that Hemingway committed suicide. I didn't know that, NaturalLefty didn't know that nor did (does) anyone else. But even if we knew for sure that he in fact did commit suicide what does that say about the man, about his writing?

I've read everything Hemingway ever wrote, as well as about eight biographies of him. The seminal book, if you're interested, is by a professor named Carlos Hurd Baker, a Hemingway scholar at Princeton, called "Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story." In there, you will find full details of all aspects of Hemingway's life.

He did indeed commite suicide. He killed himself with one of his favorite 12 gauge shotguns at his house in Sun Valley, Idaho, which he loved because in his younger days, he liked to ski. He lived a hard life, was 61 when he killed himself, and did not want to live with diminished faculties. He was a bona fide herof World War I, wherein he served under fire as a volunteer ambulance driver in the Italian Army, and was decorated for heroism by the Italian government.

A.E. Hotchner, later to be a business partner and personal friend of Paul Newman, was also a friend of Hemingway and wrote a good biography of him. You might also find that one interesting.

Zenzoe 2 years 32 weeks ago
#36

Nice work, guys—my blog post, a cult of masculinity forum. Great. I suppose that's very funny. May I please inquire, though, what has any book by Ernest Hemingway, the epitome of a repressed inner Feminine, done for me lately?

I would rather, if we must concentrate on male authors, think about those who actually love women, say, for example, Stieg Larsson, author of the Millenium Trilogy, which begins with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. No, his work does not rise to the level of great literature, but I dare you to pick up The Girl and be able to put it down until you're done. Of course, if you've already read it, I'd be interested in your take on it.

When Larsson was 15 years old, he witnessed the gang rape of a girl, which led to his lifelong abhorrence of violence and abuse against women. His longtime partner, Eva Gabrielsson, writes that this incident "marked him for life" in a chapter of her book that describes Larsson as a feminist. The author never forgave himself for failing to help the girl, and this inspired the themes of sexual violence against women in his books. According to Gabrielsson, the Millennium trilogy allowed Larsson to express a worldview he was never able to elucidate as a journalist. She described, with a great deal of specificity, how the fundamental narratives of his three books were essentially fictionalized portraits of the Sweden few people knew, a place where latent white supremacy found expression in all aspects of contemporary life, and anti­extremists lived in persistent fear of attack. “Everything of this nature described in the Millennium trilogy has happened at one time or another to a Swedish citizen, journalist, politician, public prosecutor, unionist or policeman,” she writes. “Nothing was made up."

There are also similarities between Larsson's Lisbeth Salander and Peter O'Donnell's Modesty Blaise. Both are women from disastrous childhoods who somehow survive to become adults with notable skills, including fighting, and who accomplish good by operating somewhat outside the law. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stieg_Larsson

However, I personally think Margaret Atwood can write circles around any of those guys. The Blind Assassin, for example.

You should know, however, that I do not reject a male author simply because he's a misogynist. I happen to love John Updike, for example. O my god, what a style, what use of the language. And funny to boot.

Alberto Ceras 2 years 32 weeks ago
#37

I regret my petty and childish response to NaturalLefty concerning the manner of Hemingway's death. I resented what seemed to me the gratuitous and patronizing "I needn't remind you..." but I did respond and now I'll try to put it to rest.

No one Infallibly knows that Hemingway committed suicide. The only thing that Ulysses or NaturalLefty or Carlos Baker or I - or anyone else who wasn’t there - can say is that they have read reliable accounts stating that Hemingway committed suicide. With rare exceptions people generally - I’m among them - believe that he did but belief is not certainty and, as the coroner, Mr. McGoldrick, reportedly said at the time, no one was there. Walsh, in a thorough analysis, claimed to know even the most minute details - how Hemingway picked up the shells, how he placed them in the barrel - things he could not have known but only imagined. History, circumstance, evidence - from all that I have read - do strongly suggest suicide but for me there will always be a faint shadow of doubt. And why not? Hemingway was in life an enigma. If he did commit suicide then I admire him for his courage, for categorically rejecting what must have seemed to him an agonizing and perhaps barren future, for understanding that when the rock hits there's no pain. Several influential writers have purportedly committed suicide, perhaps from an excess of Zenzoe's joie de vivre:

http://www.onlinecertificateprograms.org/blog/2011/11-influential-author...

But why does any of that matter? Why spend time in fruitless, morbid wrangling? What matters are the man’s life and his work, not the manner of his death. Whether Hemingway’s death was accidental or suicidal, his splendid body of work remains alive and well - a sublime gift for the ages.

Zenzoe 2 years 32 weeks ago
#38

Okay. I realize an inherent difficulty arises, where a member of an oppressed class tries to discuss with members of an oppressor class the issues surrounding the oppressions of that oppressor class. I realize the defense mechanisms inevitably arise. And I realize it's hard for any of us to be objective. But what am I to do, when the subtle and not-so subtle, ancient tactics overwhelm the conversation?

Imagine if this blog post were about race, written by an African American. Imagine how that would feel to such a person of that oppressed class, if, during the discussion, a number of white guys came along and lauded the life and work of a notorious racist. Would you expect that black person to ignore such an insult? But, apparently, it's okay here for Alberto and Ulysses to ignore my feelings on this, because the subject is sexism, male dominance, and crimes against the female gender, an apparent taboo subject; and, for me, a woman, to object at all feels like an insult to them, and so they feel justified in waxing proud and admiring over the life and work of a macho icon—to rub it in my face?

What if, Alberto, this blog post had been written by a Palestinian, and some Israelis came along to laud the life and work of some Israeli right-winger? Not so nice, eh?

Alberto said, "What matters are the man’s life and his work, not the manner of his death." But no, EH matters not at all. He's old hat, a member of a repudiated genre and spirit. And his memory is not welcome here. The subject of Ernest Hemingway has no relevance whatsoever to this thread, unless you want to talk about how the romanticization of macho writings about macho endeavors serves to perpetuate war and violent human activity.

If you value the notion of equality at all, how about not trying to dominate at every turn.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 2 years 32 weeks ago
#39

My qualifiers -- words such as "if" -- seem to have been ignored in this thread. Anyway, since evidence has been presented that strongly suggests -- without proving -- that Hemingway committed suicide, I think my original statement was on the mark -- not that Hemingway is important to me one way or the other. I am with Zenzoe on that, and I do agree that he epitomized macho sexism in his writings, definitely not the sort of thing we should be praising in a thread on the effects of sexism and gender stereotyping on both females and males.

I prefer to keep the conversation in the present, and discuss what we can do about sexism. Children need to be raised differently than they have been, in a nonsexist manner. Reading Hemingway novels is not going to accomplish that.

Zenzoe, you mentioned the author of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Stieg Larson?) witnessed a girl being raped when she was 15 years old, regretted not having helped -- chances are good he might not have been able to even if he had tried, but he felt guilty about not having stopped the rape -- and more than making up for it later in life through his novels. My experience witnessing the bad news when my friend's father was killed in Vietnam had somewhat the same effect on me, pacifism-wise, although obviously he had already been killed and there was nothing I could have done to prevent it from happening. At the time, I was only 8 years old, though. I have dedicated my life to advancing the notion of peace, love and understanding, and I know that sexism is an enemy to all of these.

Alberto Ceras 2 years 32 weeks ago
#40

I wonder just who or what is old hat; militant feminism or Hemingway?

Amazing. The ability to critizize an author’s work without having first read it. But maybe I misunderstood, maybe you two have read his books but read them in a darkened closet (hardly the best spot). Here’s more that you might also prefer to criticize without first reading it:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_7072/is_5/ai_n28466180/

Hemingway and Women: Female Critics and the Female Voice. Edited by Lawrence R. Broer and Gloria Holland. (Tuscaloosa and London: The University of Alabama Press, 2002. Pp. xiv 353, introduction, notes, works cited, index.)

As any scholar even vaguely familiar with the critical dialogue on Ernest Hemingway's life and work knows, "Papa's" relationship with and literary treatment of women has, for decades now, been fraught with controversy. His biography reveals a man who, despite four marriages and numerous affairs, found neither stability nor lasting satisfaction in his relationships with women. His short stories and novels likewise reveal an ambivalence toward and distrust of women--sentiments so intensely expressed in some of his works that they have long been considered proof of the author's sexism. Indeed, from Brett Ashley to Catherine Bourne, the "Hemingway Bitch" has become a literary icon, read by some feminist critics as both an embodiment of Papa's misogyny and a reinforcement of the negative female stereotypes that have been perpetuated for centuries. Given Hemingway's seeming inability to portray women as independent, strong, and sympathetic, as well as his iconic status as the quintessential "man's man," why should women continue to read, teach, and write about his work? Why, if at all, should we pay attention to Papa and his patriarchal ways?

The answers to these questions can be found in Hemingway and Women: Female Critics and the Female Voice, edited by Lawrence A. Broer and Gloria Holland. Broer and Holland have assembled an impressive array of seventeen critical essays--all authored, as the title suggests, by female critics--that intervene in "forty years of often superficial or misguided interpretations of Hemingway's treatment of women and gender" (ix). Rather than dismissing both Hemingway and his work as sexist, interpreting his female characters as one-dimensional and unsympathetic, or deeming the author undeserving of a female readership and critical base, the scholars included in this volume recognize, address, and grapple with the complexity of Hemingway's relationship with women, both real and fictional. Indeed, by "argu[ing] cogently for the central role of women in the Hemingway canon," the essays in this collection "expand and deepen our appreciation of gender issues in Hemingway's novels and stories, and in his life as a whole" (xiii). It is worth noting, however, that the authors' "appreciation" of Hemingway only rarely borders on adoration; this collection is not an unequivocal, uncritical celebration of Papa. As Broer and Holland note in their introduction, "these scholars do not speak in a single voice with equal sympathy for Hemingway's treatment of women nor do they respond with like readings of Hemingway's life and work" (xiii). What the scholars included in this collection do share is a common aim: to reveal how the conflicts in Hemingway's short stories, novels, and personal relationships--familial, romantic, and professional--"revolve around questions of gender ... and that understanding these complicated gender dynamics offers vital new ways of interpreting Hemingway's fiction as a whole" (xiv).

Broer and Holland have divided the book into two sections, the first of which, "Heroines and Heroes, the Female Presence," features essays that fall into three groupings. The first grouping explores the role, characterization, and significance of Hemingway's fictional women. By examining major characters such as Brett Ashley in The Sun Also Rises, Catherine Barkley in A Farewell to Arms, and Maria and Pilar in For Whom the Bell Tolls, as well as minor characters such Nick Adams' sister, Littless, in "The Last Good Country" and the wife in "Cat in the Rain," these scholars provide us with new ways of seeing how, as Gail D. Sinclair insists in her essay "Revisiting the Code: Female Foundations and 'The Undiscovered Country' in For Whom the Bell Tolls," "Hemingway's iceberg principle applies to [these female characters] as profoundly as it does to any other character or novel in the canon" (94).

Sinclair further demonstrates how Maria and Pilar, characters who have been largely overlooked in critical commentary on Hemingway's women, are "not easily reducible, nor should they be, to the traditional polemic extremes critically assigned to Hemingway's fiction" (108). She argues, in fact, that these two women collectively embody the Hemingway code--"living simply within the confines of one's circumstances, but acting courageously under those constraints" (97)--a code heretofore understood as almost exclusively male. Similarly, Kathy G. Willingham, in "The Sun Hasn't Set Yet: Brett Ashley and the Code Hero Debate," asserts that Hemingway's most famous female character "provides a model no less significant, important, or romantic than any of the male code heroes who have inspired or influenced countless readers" (34). Several other essays in this section likewise re-read Hemingway's fictional women, demonstrating how the heroism, depth, and complexity so often attributed to Hemingway's male protagonists and so often interpreted as the exclusive province of men, are traits shared by many of his female characters. In short, these critics reveal not only how Hemingway deals with the matter of women, but also how the women matter in Hemingway's oeuvre.

Part 1 also features essays that interrogate both Hemingway's relationship to the feminine and the female reader's relationship to Hemingway's work. In the most convincing and impressively researched essay in the volume, "Santiago and the Eternal Feminine: Gendering La Mar in The Old Man and the Sea," Susan F. Beegel offers a stunning interdisciplinary essay in which she establishes the centrality of the "Eternal Feminine" in Hemingway's novella. Drawing from a remarkable array of sources--mythology, religion, folklore, marine history, and literature--Beegel argues that the sea itself, "gender[ed] as feminine throughout the text" (132), is "a protagonist on an equal footing with Santiago" (131). In "On Defiling Eden: The Search for Eve in the Garden of Sorrows," Ann Putnam similarly explores the presence of the feminine in the most unlikely of places: stories such as "Big Two-Hearted River" and Green Hills of Africa, which feature "a solitary hero journeying across ... paradisal landscapes" (111). Putnam's desire to elicit the feminine in Hemingway's oeuvre stems from a crucial question that has long haunted female Hemingway scholars: "how do female readers who have always been moved by Hemingway's works ... negotiate theories that insist upon the exclusionary quality of the Hemingway world?" (110). This critical tension that Putnam identifies--a tension which underlies many of the essays in this volume--is most eloquently and compellingly addressed in Linda Patterson Miller's "In Love with Papa." Combining personal reflection on Hemingway's work with critical analysis of his female characters, Miller acknowledges that "any lover of Hemingway's art who surveys his biography feels a bit betrayed by the man" (40), but ultimately explains that her love of Hemingway stems from "the emotional complexity of his art and of his heroines.... His women embody the 7/ 8 of the iceberg that is down under and carry much of the work's emotional weight accordingly" (6)

Finally, several essays in "Heroines and Heroes, the Female Presence" examine the politics of gender, sexuality, and desire that characterize Papa's work, drawing attention to how his narratives often blur rather than reinscribe boundaries between male and female, masculine and feminine, straight and gay. Nancy R. Comley and Rose Marie Burwell specifically address how these blurrings have been suppressed in Hemingway's posthumous publications. In "The Light from Hemingway's Garden: Regendering Papa," Comley discusses how The Garden of Eden challenges the longstanding image of Hemingway as the representative of machismo, yet argues that the edited, published version of the book--particularly its characterization of Catherine--belies the complexity of the novel and the author alike. Burwell, in "West of Everything: The High Cost of Making Men in Islands in the Stream," voices a similar concern regarding the editing of Islands in the Stream, noting how those involved in the publication process "ignore[d] the complex musings on the problems of gender and creativity that are embodied in the deleted episodes" of the novel (172). Debra A. Moddelmog and Linda Wagner-Martin draw attention to how Hemingway's published narratives--even those posthumously published--often reveal his abiding interest in configurations of gender and sexuality that fall outside the "norm" of society. In "Queer Families in Hemingway's Fiction," Moddelmog maintains that "Hemingway's works are rife with alternative families" (174)--or what she calls "queer" families--which "reconfigure the bonds of belonging ... [and] target various norms of [the traditional] family--especially norms of sexuality and power" (175). Finally, Martin's "The Romance of Desire in Hemingway's Fiction" examines how Papa's works reflect the sexual ethos of their historical and cultural contexts--"times ... marked with a nearly obsessive interest in sexuality and erotica" (54). Martin provocatively argues that "Hemingway's real subject was eroticism. And the form he needed to tell that story, to entice the general reader, was the romance" (55).

Perhaps he is old hat, Zenzoe, but he doesn’t seem to be based on sales of his books and other books and works about him.

From the New York Review of Books:

‘The Finest Life You Ever Saw’OCTOBER 13, 2011James SalterHemingway’s Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934–1961 by Paul HendricksonTwo of his novels never put in final form by him have been published posthumously, The Garden of Eden and Islands in the Stream. Like all his books, they sold well. In 2010 Scribner’s sold more than 350,000 copies of Hemingway’s works in North America alone. By far the most popular is The Old Man and the Sea.A short paragraph or two and then the entire essay by Maureen Dowd:
A Farewell to MachoBy MAUREEN DOWDPublished: October 15, 2011
But Hemingway is enjoying a renaissance this year, the 50th anniversary of his suicide by shotgun, so it is time to give that most self-consciously masculine American writer another look.Papa is popping. There’s a new volume of his lusty letters. He was the funniest character in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris.” A staging of “The Sun Also Rises” is playing off-Broadway. “The Paris Wife,” a novel about Hadley Hemingway by Paula McLain, was a best seller. And the bittersweet biography of Hadley by my friend Gioia Diliberto, which inspired McLain, has just been reissued under the title “Paris Without End: The True Story of Hemingway’s First Wife.”
A Farewell to MachoBy MAUREEN DOWDPublished: October 15, 2011
HEMINGWAY could be hard on women. And women could be hard on Hemingway.I have always been a Fitzgerald girl. What could be more gorgeous than “The Great Gatsby”? If you perused Hemingway in college in the first flush of feminism, he seemed like a relic. As F. Scott Fitzgerald noted, Hemingway needed a new wife for every big book. And even when he was cheating on a wife with her friend, he painted himself as a victim of predatory and trusting women.Writing in “A Moveable Feast” about dumping his older first wife, Hadley, for his older second wife, Pauline, he whinged that “the oldest trick” is “that an unmarried young woman becomes the temporary best friend of another young woman who is married, goes to live with the husband and wife and then unknowingly, innocently and unrelentingly sets out to marry the husband.”But Hemingway is enjoying a renaissance this year, the 50th anniversary of his suicide by shotgun, so it is time to give that most self-consciously masculine American writer another look.Papa is popping. There’s a new volume of his lusty letters. He was the funniest character in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris.” A staging of “The Sun Also Rises” is playing off-Broadway. “The Paris Wife,” a novel about Hadley Hemingway by Paula McLain, was a best seller. And the bittersweet biography of Hadley by my friend Gioia Diliberto, which inspired McLain, has just been reissued under the title “Paris Without End: The True Story of Hemingway’s First Wife.”Paul Hendrickson has written a captivating book called “Hemingway’s Boat,” about Ernest’s 27-year love affair with Pilar, his mahogany cabin cruiser that outlasted three of his wives “and all his ruin.” Papa played Fats Waller records on a scratchy phonograph on the boat, where he “dominated” marlins, propositioned women, hunted German subs, saved guests from shark attacks and drank daiquiris, trying not to fall off the flying bridge.“He’d acted like a boor and a bully and an overly competitive jerk on this boat,” Hendrickson writes.Diliberto recalled that when her Hadley bio was first published in 1992, she was surprised to find her book readings filled with men “who looked like stage-three Hemingways with white beards and safari jackets straining over their bellies. They all wanted to be Hemingway, to live his outdoorsy, action-packed life.“No woman wants to be a Hemingway heroine who totally submerges her identity to her lover. As Catherine Barkley said in ‘A Farewell To Arms,’ ‘I want you so much I want to be you too.’ We’d much rather be dressed in floaty silk, sipping Champagne on Jay Gatsby’s terrace.”But Diliberto says women are wrong to think Hemingway has nothing to offer them. Especially now that women are rising and men are declining, as The Atlantic has noted in two cover stories, women can feel secure enough to “relax and enjoy him,” as Diliberto puts it.“Much of Hemingway’s work, particularly the stories he wrote during his marriage to Hadley,” she said, “brilliantly chart the emotional nuances in relationships between men and women.”Hendrickson notes that after Hemingway’s death, “it was very fashionable to put him down for his misogyny. But now scholars, ironically including great female scholars, have burrowed down into him and found this sly and deceptive sensitivity toward women. He understood there was something about himself so sensitive, a tuning-fork tremulousness, that it was almost as though it shamed him, and he put on the he-man act.”That “Kansas City-boy brutality,” as Gertrude Stein called it, was an authentic part of him. But Hendrickson believes it was also a mask covering up “a tortured sexual ambiguity.”The loathed mother, Grace, who raised her little boy for a few years as his older sister’s “twin,” dressing him in frilly bonnets, frocks and Mary Janes, imbued him with sexual confusion.Following up on interviews with the author’s sons that he did 24 years ago for The Washington Post, Hendrickson explores the bond between Hemingway and his youngest son, Gigi, a doctor who was a manic depressive, transsexual and heterosexual and who sometimes called himself Gloria Hemingway. He married four times, had eight children and died in the women’s annex of a Miami jail cell after being picked up for exposing himself.“I believe that the son was acting out in some ways the tortured sexual ambiguities that the father felt,” Hendrickson said, suggesting that it created a deep, dark bond between them.In his posthumously published novel “The Garden of Eden,” Hemingway writes about a beautiful, unstable woman on her honeymoon in France who keeps cropping her hair shorter, sleeps with a woman and does “devil” things in bed to her writer husband, pretending she’s the man and he’s the woman.Hendrickson says that women should give Hemingway a chance: “You just have to fight past the misperceptions and stereotypes.”
And this:
September 27, 2011Hemingway fascination spurs sales of 'The Paris Wife'By Carol Memmott, USA TODAY
Caught up in the current pop culture obsession with all things Ernest Hemingway: Paula McLain's The Paris Wife with over half a million combined digital and hard cover books in print after 25 printings. It's been on USA Today's Best-Selling Books list for 31 weeks."Paula's skillful evocation of Hemingway as a budding author, and of his relationship with his first wife Hadley, clearly struck a chord," says Lisa Barnes of Ballantine. The paperback is set for release some time next year.Ready to feed our current fascination with all things Hemingway: the 1992 book Hadley: A Life of Hadley Richardson Hemingway by Gioia Diliberto has been reissued with a new title Paris Without End: The True Story of Hemingway's First Wife. The book, with a new preface by the author, is available for the first time in paperback.The current crop of Hemingway vehicles included this summer's Woody Allen movie Midnight in Paris, September's Town & Country cover featuring Mariel Hemingway and a Hemingway retrospective in October's Men's Journal. Coming up: Hemingway & Gellhorn starring Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman out in 2012.

Zenzoe 2 years 32 weeks ago
#41

Oh, thanks for that one, Natural Lefty. I feel much better now. :-)

I just now found this great book online (how nice of the author to post the entire thing!). It's entitled, The Wimp Factor: Gender Gaps, Holy Wars, and the Politics of Anxious Masculinity, and it's by Stephen J. Ducat, Phd. He's a "naturopathic doctor and clinical psychologist," whatever naturopathic means. At first I read it as "naturopathetic..." ha ha. Anyway, he correlates the wimp factor with political realities, which interests me a great deal.

He writes, in the beginning, "...Along with writing, researching, and teaching about the political psychology of masculinity, I also treat men in psychotherapy. Much of the mental suffering of my male patients seems to derive from a deep fear of women, as well as a paralyzing dread of the 'feminine' within themselves.

...many of the most vivid expressions of men’s fears can be found in the colorful vernacular of everyday macho invective: sissy, bitch, pussy-whipped, mama’s boy, wimp, girly-man, pansy. These terms of hypermasculine derision attest to the narrow and rigid boundaries in which our prevailing notions of maleness are confined. Such words also tell us much about the shame that results from the failure to remain within these constricting borders."

http://www.scribd.com/doc/76354430/The-Wimp-Factor-Gender-Gaps-Holy-Wars...

http://www.themindbodyclinic.com/AboutDrStephenJDucat.en.html

He even corroborates my theory that sex-change operations derive (in part, I'm sure) from our culture's extreme polarization of sex and gender. And so, of course, I'm going to read all of it.

I think Stieg Larsson, not the girl, was 15, when he witnessed the rape. But I can probably think of a number of times, when I've failed to rescue somebody. Mostly pets. Right now I'm wrestling with whether or not to go across the street and check on my neighbor. Her husband was taken away by paramedics on a stretcher this morning, but she didn't go with, or follow him to the hospital, so I'm sort of assuming it's not too serious. I have never had a conversation with her, only a howdy here and there. Also, my next door neighbor has breast cancer, and I'd like to show my concern, but you never know if people would rather just be left alone. (She has her husband and big family too.) I usually prefer my privacy, so I'm holding back. It would be nice if our neighborhood were more community-minded, but mostly we just keep to ourselves. I'm friendly with a few, but not casual-friendly, if you know what I mean.

Stieg Larsson definitely made up for his guilt with his novels, and then some! You have no idea how healing it is to women, though, when a man writes a pro-woman book, or when a man sticks up for us and refers to himself as a feminist. Anyway, the American movie version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is out now, and we're going to go see it SOON! I can hardly wait.

I just now noticed Alberto's massive "comment." Oh, brother. I've read Hemingway, dear. But how much of spoiled milk does a person need to taste before the thing goes into the trash bin? I don't like his work, Alberto. Deal with it.

Alberto Ceras 2 years 32 weeks ago
#42

I might have known - rather I suspected - Zenzoe, that you wouldn't read my post. Almost all of the citations that I give, and all of the reviews contained in the book by Lawrence R. Broer and Gloria Holland,.are written by women. I've always considered Maureen Dowd, for one, a keen, intelligent observer of contemporary life and events, always worth reading.

Why do you, who seem to be otherwise intelligent, insist on remaining ignorant? You seem to be locked in the past, plucking away on your one string guitar, hating every man you can't dominate and trashing everything that doesn't parrot your antiquated notions.

Hemingway's mother, for what it's worth (surely peanuts in your book, Zenzoe) embodied exactly the sort of woman and mother that Emma Goldman described.

Zenzoe 2 years 32 weeks ago
#43

That women wrote your citations counts for nothing, Al. Women have no more cred with me than anybody else. Must I count all the women with whom I do not agree— Ayn Rand, Margaret Thatcher, Sarah Palin, Liz Cheney, Phyllis Schlafly, Machele Bachmann....

But progressive women too, in this capitalist society, may be convinced to conform to masculinist propaganda and the pressure to please the dominant ideology. They're vulnerable, and easily indoctrinated and pressured into silence and conformity too. We should hardly be surprised, given the campaign of hatred toward feminists and feminism over the past several decades, to see ass-kissing on behalf of patriarchy. No woman enjoys the vitriol sent her way for daring to complain. Everybody wants to be liked. That's human nature. And so the voice of feminism has been silenced. Notice any women who chimed in here to take my side? Nope. They don't dare.

Look at how you yourself have treated my disdain for your precious macho icon. First, you cannot simply accept that I don't like your guy; you have to impugn my education. Then you employ the favorite shaming device known to the anti-feminist cabal— "If you're a feminist, you must hate men." It matters little to you that your insult has no basis in fact; it matters little to you that I have demonstrated care and love for men many times on this site. You simply cannot resist that favored shaming and silencing device. Unfortunately for you, you're impotent in that regard (Oh no! That castrating bitch!), because... I will not be silent.

Call me what you like, whatever denigration of women or feminists you can enlist on behalf of your macho ethic, I will not be shamed into silence. If I see sexism, I am going to call it out. See, I'm past the age of caring what you, or any other sexist person, thinks about me. I don't need your approval, Al.

Am I an "angry feminist?" You're darn tootin' I am. Yup. I'm mad and I'm not taking it anymore. So, if you're looking for a passive, submissive friend here at Thom's site, you won't find it in me.

Tah tah, bye bye, be well, laugh long, but don't pee in your pajamas...

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 2 years 32 weeks ago
#44

I am surprised that no other women replied to this post too. I don't know if they didn't dare to or not. I have had 3 consecutive blog posts with no replies. I wonder what happened to Karolina, our new friend, or Leighmf, who has been around a long time. I remember Leighmf from Thom's old site. There have been a lot of other women commenting on this site recently as well; their numbers seem to be increasing, which I think is a good thing (at least more balance between the genders).

I know you like men, Zenzoe, just not when they are vexing you with entrenched conservative or sexist views.

Of course, some of those women (Ayn Rand, Margaret Thatcher, etc.) are right wing crazies as bad as any right wing man, and some men are as progressive-minded as any woman.

D_NATURED's picture
D_NATURED 2 years 32 weeks ago
#45
Quote Zenzoe:

Thanks so much, D_NATURED. Good points all. And I too wonder about people who deny ownership of any particular human trait, whether it would be a supposed characteristic of the opposite gender, or capacity for any human emotion, such as meanness, for example. But you put it better, and funnier, I thought. Very honest too. Still, I must admit I've come to think of you as a strong advocate for women, but in a very masculine way, which is a great, wonderful thing, to my mind.

You always say the nicest things...

I would want to emphasize the essential point of my blog post, if we're to put the hammer to the nail just right: It's all about discrimination. It's about how one group learns exclusivity and privilege over another; and how such indoctrination perpetuates and promotes a sexist hierarchy over the generations, making progress toward peace, equality and justice impossible. It's no small matter, such indoctrination.

Yes, there are many kinds of privilege, though. In the case of male privilege, I'm not sure which is more dangerous to women, the idea of male dominance/superiority (not that we are universally superior in any way) in male minds or that of women.

I'm not trying to blame women completely for their own social condition but they have played a part. I think a component of that is that humans have created unquestionable religious "rules" and "truths" that imply subtley or overtly that women are inferior. Then, women who have a natural desire for community have to either be an outcast who defends her own equality or a second class citizen who is, nonetheless...a citizen. We make women choose between their god, their country and their selves and that's not fair.

The other problem, as I see it, is that the default system of justice seems to be might makes right. Women being naturally, statistically smaller and less agressive, don't compete well in that system-whether they enable it or not through various muscle-worshiping or violence worshiping behaviors. In other words, there are insufficient examples of women asserting themselves physically, throughout history.

That we get hung up on the lexicon of gender stereotyping is a diversion from the essential point. Our concern should be with repudiating the rejection of people based on their gender identity. To demean a feminine male as a "girlie boy," or demean a woman politician, who does her job in an aggressive, sharp and determined way, as "acting like a man," diminishes the notion of freedom, in general, but if done on a personal level, it kills.

So much in life is parallel to the gym class experience of "picking sides". In so many things we make judgements about who we want on our team according to our desire to win. I think that a lot of the demeaning of people is justified by that very same desire. As a society-evolved from primative societies- I don't think we've lost our warrior mentality. We want men around us who can join the fight to protect the women and women around us who deserve our protection for being extra feminine and helpless. Those women who are able to defend themselves are rejecting, in some way, the masculine "gift" of protection and, thus, MEN as a whole. And, men who are unable to defend themselves represent dead weight, by warrior standards. And, just like in the gym class experience, we don't consider the real worth of people, only their perceived worth.

It's fucked up, I know. I just don't know what to do about it.

D_NATURED's picture
D_NATURED 2 years 31 weeks ago
#46
I almost forgot, D_NATURED. Yes, of course I wear panties. Well “tanga” really although I’m thinking of switching to Rio’s famed “dental floss.” No panty lines when I wear my bull-fighting tights (we fellows call it VPL). My wife, of course, wears old style jockey briefs with the opening in the front. Hemingway preferred pink rayon step-ins with a small red rose on the side. Unfortunately for him he lived in pre-bikini times.

LOL. I hope you understand I wasn't attacking you. I just feel that given how the labels masculine and feminine are assigned arbitrary values, declaring one's self to be totally masculine is like saying I'm 100% American. Is that good or not? I'm not sure we all define things the same way.

If you are completely masculine and your wife is completely feminine, do I need to measure myself according to the traits I share with you and your wife? If you and your wife, as opposite ends of the gender spectrum, are not it, what is it? I've seen the pictures of George Bush walking around holding hands with Saudi princes- like a Saudi princess-and kissing grown men on the lips as a greeting. Thus, he is feminine? Or not? Yet, he spent a lot of time with a chain saw in his hand (cutting brush on the ranch), which is masculine, right? But, in Saudi Arabia, the kissing and hand holding are not considered feminine and in some other places, women shamelessly wield chain saws but don't have to declare themselves to be lesbians.

How am I ever supposed to pick sides with such confusing standards, or lack thereof, in place?

As an aside, has anyone noticed that many of the younger generation of heterosexual men have some very girlie ways of dressing and talking? Does this mean we're becoming less conscious of our place on that gender scale and just being ourselves? I hope so.

Zenzoe 2 years 31 weeks ago
#47

NL, yes, of course, a non-response to a blog post doesn't dependably signify anything. One of our excellent female bloggers, Caroline Fairless, hasn't been back for awhile, or, at least she hasn't commented anywhere, as far as I know. People come and go. Leigh posts and sometimes responds to my posts, but she doesn't necessarily take my view of things; for example, she didn't agree with me on the Herman Cain harassment scandal, Also, we women have not been socialized for team behavior, as you probably know; that is, we don't tend to stick up for another woman who takes the controversial position. Perhaps I'm wrong, but many women shy away from kerfuffles, which are inevitable on forums of this kind. They especially don't like to mix it up with the boys.

I try to support the women on this site, where I can remain true to myself. But I don't see a return of the favor, sometimes. Sometimes yes. However, in my experience, we women tend to be competitive with each other, rather than cooperative and supportive, if the context is not one of close friendship. We're competing for male attention, supposedly.

Well, maybe it's not so much that I don't like men "with entrenched conservative or sexist views." Mostly, if you look behind the vexation, you'll find sadness—sadness for them and for the culture they create for both men and women.

D_NATURED, when he wrote, "I never believe it when some guy says, there's nothing femenine about me. I always suspect they're wearing panties," reminded me of one of my more politically "incorrect" views, one you might disagree with. So, correct me if I'm wrong. However, I do know of one woman who agrees with me about this, a black woman. She said, "You're the only person I've ever known to see it and say it! But isn't that the truth!" And what is this view? Well, it goes like this: Male chauvinism is a male homosexual world view. You could also say misogyny is a homosexual mind-set, in the metaphorical sense. That is, if you think males are superior to females, you love males, and you do not love women. If you're all about bluster and male superiority, you probably prefer the company of men and all things manly; but, if you're having sex with women, it's going to lack the kind of intense passion that comes of respect for your partner as an equal.

Is this the same insult as Alberto's insult about my "hating men?" I don't think so, because I don't intend it as a manipulation; it simply seems to be true.

Furthermore, this opinion is not just about metaphor; I think male chauvinism and patriarchy creates more male homosexuality than can be explained by biology. Yes. This, because sex with someone you think is an inferior is, like rape, about control and domination, so that half the joy and excitement gets left out of the equation. And who wants to have sex with someone who pales in comparison with your grandiose opinion of your own sexuality?—well, only guys who think it's exciting to dominate, control, or be catered to by a submissive Other. After awhile, though, that gets to be pretty old, and so the extremes of sadomasochism increase beyond anything we can call good sex. While I'm sure that for many gay guys homosexuality comes with their genetic territory, I suspect many others go there, because it's more fun than having sex with an "inferior" female, who doesn't rate on the sexual prowess scale, who is not an equal according to society. It's really quite understandable.

Once a long time ago, an interview on NPR with an anthropologist gave credence to my view on this. She said that the more patriarchal a society and the less equality for women, the more males engage in homosexuality, in secret, without their wives knowing. There's a term for that, but I forget what it is.

Thus, a non-sexist world would do more than empower women, leading to a more just, equal and sustainable reality for us all, it would also make for better sex between men and women. Think about that! If that isn't a selling point, I don't know what is...

And I just now noticed D_Natured's comments, so I'll have to return later to give a proper look and response.

D_NATURED's picture
D_NATURED 2 years 31 weeks ago
#48

Interesring theory, Zenzoe. I find it hard to believe, however, that some percentage of the population of gay men just can't respect women and, so, can't bring themselves to be soiled by them sexually. This idea does comport, however, with my own thoughts about pedophiles, who I believe may find adults too tainted to find them sexually attractive.

The pedophile priests, for instance, may believe their own hype about childhood innocence and their special relationship with the divine. They then reason that the only beings worthy of their physical "love" are the unspoiled children. I may be way off base there, but it's an idea I've had.

Zenzoe 2 years 31 weeks ago
#49

Hey, D_NATURED, interesting stuff from you too. I too find it difficult to unravel the complexity of it all. All I can do is remain in motion, moving forward, trying to understand. And, I agree that women play a part in the problem, especially conservative religious women. Well, doesn't much of sexism derive from religious institutions and traditions? I think so. But women are not perfect, in any case. I especially feel sorry for nice men who get emotionally, verbally and/or physically abused by their wives or girlfriends. It definitely happens. But we have to distinguish that from a woman simply being assertive and non-submissive, or equal. If a woman asserts her equality, you're not being "pussy whipped." Oye!

I get especially upset to see a mother physically or verbally bullying her son in public, like at the market. I mean, how to grow a misogynist, eh?

Where you write, "I find it hard to believe, however, that some percentage of the population of gay men just can't respect women and, so, can't bring themselves to be soiled by them sexually," I have to wonder if that's what I meant. I don't think it's a conscious thing, really. I think, if male supremacy factors in at all in the sexual preference of gay men, it would probably be more a matter of growing up where, first, the mythologies surrounding female sexuality dominate the landscape —"sex isn't important to women," for example— and also where the second-class status of women renders them less interesting as partners—in anything. If the male is the standard, and women must reside at the opposite end of the gender scale from men, as inferiors, then what can women offer? How can the two relate? In reality, the sexes have more in common than they don't, but the culture teaches difference, with a vengeance. I don't know. I realize many gay men love women, but those might not be the ones I'm thinking of.

As for pedophiles, probably all sorts of those exist as well, not just priests. I'm sure lots of rationalization goes on in those creepy heads. Some think that because children are sexual too, that the pedophile has his or her justification. Others imagine themselves as paragons of eroticism and a healthy attitude toward sex, as initiators to the realm of sexuality. It's disgusting, but there it is— more abuse, domination and control in the guise of love.

Zenzoe 2 years 31 weeks ago
#50

Yesterday, I tuned in to UCTV and watched part of a lecture given at a forum at UC Berkeley. The title of the forum was "New Light on Dark Energy," and the portion I watched featured this Asian woman, lecturing on the subject of measuring the universe (it's big, bigger than we thought). She is an astrophysicist. Pretty darn cool, though, as usual, the panel consisted of three males and one female. Oh well, one step at a time...

http://www.uctv.tv/search-details.aspx?showID=21566

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