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Jun 30 2005

Marbles

Macchz_sausage
Triple bypass-on-a-plate: smoked Elgin sausage and rigatoni al formaggio

Preamble: Thanks, BitchPhD, for all the love. Plauditory recognition from one of my favorite internet auteurs always makes a good sausage great.

And now, a spot of patriarchy-blaming.

I’ve been meaning to get this off the Twisty chest for a couple of days now. I allude to a fluff piece broadcast by NPR last week wherein Michele Norris interviews the preteen winners of the 82nd Annual National Marbles Tournament. Note: this post is also not a fluff piece.

The National Marbles Tournament is structured with girls’ and boys’ divisions, thus producing, at the end of the gripping contest, a Marble Queen and a Marble King. Unless marbles has become a full-contact sport since I was a kid, I can imagine no physiological purpose to this segregation, and so am forced to conclude that marbles aficionados, who allow such antediluvian prejudices to govern their competitions, are retarded.

I also detected sexist undertones to the interview itself. Norris talks to the boy kid about the mechanics of the game. She asks the girl kid, I kid you not, about kissing.

“The victory comes with a little bit of responsibility,” Michele Norris tells the girl kid, alluding to the tournament’s sadistic tradition requiring the Marble King to kiss the Marble Queen. She does not address this, or any of her subsequent remarks concerning the kiss, to the boy kid. Romance, particularly when it’s fake and forced, remains the purview–and, as we have recently seen, the responsibilty–of the female.

Norris asks young Marble Queen Amy Nees to describe the big kissing moment, because as precious as it is when adults make kids enact adult scenarios, it’s even preciouser to make them describe the experience in their own adorable words!

Marbles“There isn’t really much to it,” quoth young Amy, not interested in being cast as a living Hummel figurine by the stupid radio lady, and obviously eager to put the whole sordid affair behind her. “You just have to live through it.”

She might just as well have said “I just close my eyes and think of England,” but Michele Norris thinks it is just hilarious that this 13-year-old girl has been forced by local custom to adopt the culturally-mandated role of feminine doormattitude by submitting to the undesired advances of some dorky marbles champion. It eventually emerges that the poor kid was made to suffer through three of these prepubescent maulings before the incompetent newspaper photographers could capture the darling smooch in all its wholesome cuteness.

Norris actually adopts the patriarchal party line, telling the kid that three kisses “isn’t so bad.” Amy, however, has not yet been cowed by the patriarchy, and stands up to Norris: "Yes. It is."

But she’d better get used to it, or her first frat party in 4 or 5 years is gonna be quite the eye-opener. For Amy Nees, Marble Queen, lives in America, the supposedly non-third-world country that’s been bringing you dutiful acquiescence to unwanted sexual advances since, well, forever.

(The photo above is of Amy’s brother, last year’s boy winner, kissing last year’s girl winner, who is described by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as "recoiling." So cute!).

13 comments

  1. bitchphd

    That doesn’t seem fluffy to me at all.

  2. Twisty

    Whups, I swear I’m gonna fire that incompetent copy editor! That fluff line should’ve been changed. It’s residual from an earlier incarnation of the post that really was fluffy. Of course, the more I got to thinking about the sexist social conditioning imposed on kids, the more pissed off I got, and the post lost a bit of its nap. Quelle surprise.

  3. rhondda

    I think it was Mary Daly who said something about what appears trivial is usually quite important. This was not fluffy alright. Anyway, where is the recipe that goes with the picture?

  4. Sydney

    Hmm…so norris is encouraging a boy to kiss a girl even though she dosen’t want him to. And the reporters insisted that he do it three times all for a photo op. because that’s what she is to them- a great story.

    some people kiss trophies, this young boy get to kiss a girl against her will.

    Nope, we don’t live in a rape culture.. not at all…

  5. Twisty

    Hey Rhondda–it’s baked mac & cheese from The Joy Of Cooking! And it’s spectacular! The hot smoked sausage is from Elgin, formerly the hot sausage capitol of Texas. The entire town is now a shill for Dr Fucking Phil, ever since he filmed himself giving them all get-real-life-coachings a few months ago.

  6. manxome

    That’s the best looking triple bypass I’ve ever seen!

    Maybe Norris lost her marbles?

  7. bitchphd

    Well, part of the problem with the whole “make the boy kiss the girl” thing is that it not only compromises her, it compromises him. I don’t know that he “gets” to kiss a girl against her will–my presumption would be that it would be as socially awkward for him as for her, and that the other half of the offensiveness of the thing is pressuring him into kissing someone who’s unwilling, and pressuring her into enduring it.

    But of course we can’t know, because no one asks the boys how they feel about it.

  8. Twisty

    There’s no doubt in my mind, DrB, that the boy was grossed out as well, since he is 11. At that age the male of the species is not just permitted, but also expected to openly nurture his socially-mandated disdain for the female. It’s not until later that the patriarchy teaches him to sublimate this learned hatred into porn addiction. Hahaha!

  9. Jim McCulloch

    When I was a kid, in antiquity, aka the 1950s, girls did not get to play marbles. Not with boys. Not with other girls. At least not where I lived. It was, I’d say, culturally forbidden. This doesn’t seem like much progress, that they can play, but are considered contest prizes.
    Strangely, I don’t recall seeing kids playing marbles in many years. Maybe they play it indoors on carpets, which seems problematical, or on schoolyards under strict supervision. In antiquity it was an outdoor game, after school.

  10. Twisty

    I was a kid in the 60′s, and I played marbles all the time. Nobody seemed to notice I was a girl. I kicked ass, too. But of course, I didn’t enter a national tournament.

  11. Philoillogica

    The sickest part of all this is that I’m actually *grateful* that the participants in this revolting spectacle are both wearing the same costume.

    I fully expected the female marbler costume to involve a miniskirt and crop top, perfect for bending over to make a killer shot, a la field hockey or something.

    That said, the male winner apparently gets a crown, while she sports some kind of anemic donut headgear.

  12. Twisty

    The donut symbolizes female genitalia!

  13. nomes

    Oh my God – and I mean God, not Goddess, because I lie under the weight of the patriarchy as I write – I have never laughed so much – not even because of the Manolo or the Fug girls. You are hilarious. I love it. And I have bookmarked your page so I never have to “just giggle” again.

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