Amanda at Mouse Words is on a hot streak. Here are some of my favorites of her recent posts:
- On one of the most repulsive anti-same-sex-marriage arguments I’ve seen;
- On why “what if there were only one sex?” speculation (sci-fi novels and the like) almost always imagine men being the sex that’s wiped out;
Why is it that in most versions of this intellectual exercise-cum-fantasy that men are the sex that suddenly disappears? I doubt it has much to do with the genetics of the X and Y chromosomes. My guess is that since the great bulk of the day-to-day work of exaggerrating the differences between the sexes falls on the shoulders of women, then it’s just natural. Men are the standard that we strive to differ from. Men are hairy, so women attempt to be unhairy. The one place men have less hair is on their heads, so women diligently work to make our hair look thicker, i.e., not mannish. Since we do the work of being a Gender, we are the ones who have a vested interest in the idea of a world without gender, which means that the standard we strive not to be like would be what disappears.
(And also check out this response to Amanda on Brutal Women.)
- And my favorite of the recent bunch, a comparison of It’s a Wonderful Life and The Dead.
The way that “Wonderful Life” disposes of this plot point is probably the weakest part of the movie. When the question of who his wife would be if he had never been there arises, it’s summarily dismissed by showing that she would be a spinster, which the movie makes more than clear means that she wouldn’t have much of a life at all. It’s a logic-defying conclusion that points to the pat answer to George Bailey’s existential crisis, that answer being, “We find meaning in our life through other people.” This is exactly the answer that eludes Conroy at the end of “The Dead”, because it is in fact, too pat. After all, he has been rejected momentarily for the memory of a dead man, exactly the sort of thing that will frustrate your attempts to find meaning in other people.