East Austin high school students marching down Manor Road in protest of asinine immigration laws. All the white people stuffing themselves with tacos on the porch at El Chile (of which I was one) cheered’em on with wild abandon. It’s easy to be an activist when you’re sitting in the shade in close proximity to a big bowl of ceviche.
Astute readers—and who among you does not at least believe herself astute?—may have perceived that I’ve been showing uncharacteristic forbearance with the old patriarchy-blaming of late. Instead of outrage over nutjob-pundit-defamation of kidnap victim Jill Carroll or chuckling over the Brad-Pitt-as-women’s-issue at Broadsheet, or immersing myself in the the above-pictured immigration law protest, I’ve been reading Airstream brochures, making tranquil potages, hanging around in public washrooms, that sort of thing.
This is not because there is a sudden shortage of horrific crap to blame the patriarchy for. No sirree bob. There is raping and pillaging aplenty. And there always will be, my young onions, for my lifetime and for yours.
No, I’ve been giving it a rest because even a spinster aunt can overdose on media T&A, misogynist legislation, and the dorky idea that when feminists disagree with each other it is somehow “hurtful.”
An example of the sort of thing an actively blaming spinster aunt must address: this morning I got an email from a woman who says her 17-year-old daughter has been reading I Blame The Patriarchy. The daughter is apparently troubled by my post on altar girls in India, wants to know whether nuns are being raped, and if so, why there isn’t “big outrage” over it.
The answer to these questions—that of course nuns are being raped, since they’re women, and that there isn’t big outrage over it because it is not the policy of any patriarchal society to exhibit big outrage over rape in general—leads to many unpleasant streams of consciousness originating within the Twisty obstreperal lobe. First I speculate whether the 17-year-old daughter is specifically worried about nuns—as opposed to, say, prostitutes, or housewives—because the cloistered bride of Christ occupies a place in the popular imagination somewhere next to baby bunnies, whereas hookers and housewives are fallen and uninteresting, respectively, making their rapes seem deserved or de rigueur, also respectively. Then I am moved to jokingly remark to myself that Bill Napoli would relish making an exception for a raped nun, as long as she was sufficiently mutilated in the process, and not too old, and that no priest would go to jail for it. Then I admonish self for being a sick fuck and why can’t I get this Napoli jagoff out of my mind. Then the notion that nun-rape is more popularly abhorrent than the rape of any other sort of woman morphs into a contemplation of the total weirdness of the practice of getting unmarriageable or politically inconvenient women out of the way by locking them up in convents and assigning them Godliness as a profession. This, in turn, makes me think about the Catholic church, and the untold ways in which it has totally fucked up the world, and therefrom, I begin to writhe in trepidation over the astonishing extent to which people have normalized—if you’ll forgive me using that geekism—oppression.
Then I have to lie down.
The mother’s email concludes thusly: “Sometimes I think the whole thing is irretrievably damaged. You know, that big round thing we live on.”
Ah, good news at last! The big round thing we live on is going to be just fine. How do I know? Well, the truth is, patriarchy-blaming is just the little self-destructive hobby I took up as a substitute for substance abuse. My real focus on humanity has revealed this: that we’re a virus, no better or worse than any other virus, but a virus all the same. It’s no use getting emotional about spotted owls or global warming or the rotten things humans do to each other. We’ll run our course, and the next big disease will step up, having evolved around the conditions we left for it, and the big round thing will carry on as if nothing ever happened. We’ll all be dead, of course, but c’est la guerre.