Over breakfast—a humorless, hairy cup of herbal tea and a bowl of curried dung granola—I’ve been reading the Patriarchy Manual. By which I mean the Bible, the durable bestseller that gives modern misogyny its legs.
Boy-o, is that shit a hoot. Like the part where Jesus says, “Woe betide the Dean of Admissions who accordeth that women may comprise greater than 60 percent of any university student body, for upon him or maybe her if she was lucky enough to get the job will fall the painful thwack of the Sword of Legal Dude-Approved Sex Discrimination.”
Jesus. For a fictional character upon whom much of modern civilization pretends to be modeled, he’s one sick mutha. He puncheth in the gut with one hand, but patteth on the head with another. For instance, after ensuring the ascendancy of honky males in the US, he’s breaking with a 2000-year tradition in Kerala, India by allowing premenstrual girls to serve as altarboys in the Catholic church there.
But don’t get excited, Jesus hasn’t gone all feminist on our asses. A Kerala priest—priests, you may recall, are guys who claim that the ghost of a dead Jew from the Roman Empire talks to them all the time and yet are rarely thrown into nut-houses—reassures us that this is “certainly not a first step towards ordaining women as priests.” No, it’s just a clever gambit to lure preteen girls into the nunnery, where they will have fulfilling lives as celibate brides of Jesus and priest-slaves. Patriarchy is safe, for the nonce, in the Jewel of the Arabian Sea.