Endgame

To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of Heaven.

—Chuang Tse

Sometimes, I think my coworkers thing I’m a little less competent than I really am. This is the problem with being an INFJ: it’s almost impossible not to take criticism personally. People won’t let me explain myself, but they think they know what I’m doing better than I do. And oftentimes, it’s nothing more than a misunderstanding. I take a long time to commit to things, but once I do, I fucking commit. I guess that’s why I spend so much of my time lounging around wondering what to do next. It would be a lot easier if other people weren’t so eager to pin me down just so that they know what to do with me.

My life is getting a little more amorphous, a bit more complex. A few months ago, I was still preoccupied with recovering from a very stressful and difficult summer. Now I’m trying to build my life once again, and not surprisingly, it’s a lot of trial-and-error. I’ve been here before. It’s hard for me to figure out what order to do things in. I have books sitting on my shelf that I got for Christmas years ago and have yet to read. Why is that? Some of those books I even asked for (and of the ones I didn’t, there are a few that are probably still good). What am I waiting for? The right time, whenever that is. I try not to rush into things, but I think I might be overdoing it.

I am the sort of person who can spend all day brooding over one little incident. Something like that happened a few days ago. I prefer not to go into details, except to say that I think my coworker was wrong to scold me the way he did, and I don’t think the customer much minded the way I treated her to begin with. I could be wrong here, but I really don’t think I am. So with that out of the way, let’s talk about something else.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be an ally. I am a feminist, but as I am not a woman, it’s not exactly my rights that are on the line in the struggle for women’s independence. Or are they? I’ll tell a quick story. A couple years ago, I was at a party. I told a story about a play I had been in in which some of the men carried guns. Since my character did not get to carry a gun, I would pick up the prop guns and played with them backstage. “Having a second gun is like having a second cock,” I joked.

The room went dead silent. The host’s roommate informed me that, as a woman, she found my comment deeply offensive.

“No offense, but I really don’t see how—” I began.

She cut me off. “You can’t say ‘no offense’ after you say something offensive and expect that to make it okay.”

Fair point, I thought. But I still don’t see how that was sexist. Seriously, it was a dick joke. If anyone in the room were to get offended, shouldn’t it have been the men? Maybe you don’t think it’s funny. Maybe you think it’s crude. But I’ll bet dollars to fucking doughnuts that that woman went to bed that night patting herself on the back for smacking down the big dumb chauvinist patriarch.

I’ve told this story before on this blog. I’m telling it again because I think it illustrates a point. The fight for independence is the fight to be master of your own fate. Feminists want to abolish rape culture because it’s up to them to decide when to have sex and no one else. Most women think abortion should be legal because it’s up to them to decide whether they want to have a child, not me or any other man. And I want birth control pills to be readily available to anyone who wants them because, well, it’s none of my damn business what a functioning adult does on her own time. What do I want out of this? The right to tell dick jokes at parties. Michigan Representative Lisa Brown was barred from speaking on the state House floor a year or two ago for making a very funny comment that *drops monocle* contained the word “vagina”! Let’s all try to be grown-ups around here. The joke I made was at my expense. It’s my dick and I’ll decide what to do with it, thank you very much.

I know one or two people who think that now that they have Spotify on their smartphones, they might never have to buy music ever again. That’s silly. It assumes, first of all, that the stuff on Spotify Premium will always be there. It also assumes that Spotify will always be there. And lastly, it assumes that smartphones will always be there and you’ll be able to use them wherever you go. The odds that we’ll all go back to using basic cellphones anytime soon are slim to nonexistent, but let’s not all jump on the mobile computer that you can carry in your pocket wagon just yet. If you want something to be readily available, you kind of have to own it, and if Spotify is like a digital library, then Spotify Premium is just a rental service. I am as convinced as ever that people will someday realize that online shopping/streaming/torrenting/whatever is not going to replace physical media and stores, not completely. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part that we’ll see the return of independent book/music/video stores sooner or later, but maybe not. The point is that if you want something to be yours, you have to own it, not just make it readily available. There’s a difference.

Here’s Paul McGann reading a speech from classic Doctor Who. That man has an absolutely beautiful voice.

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