To the Horrible Man at the Newspaper

/ posted in: Current EventsFeminism

At my office we subscribe to the local newspaper.  We do this because of the police blotter.  Crime is rampant in this town because of drugs so most the stories are tragic but there is also a whole lot of really stupid crime that is hysterically funny.  I take pictures of the best and post them on Facebook to entertain my family members. 

In addition to the police blotter, there is a columnist who is an idiot.  He reduces me to an absolute blithering mess every week mostly through his inability to write a sentence.  If you can’t write a sentence using proper English rules perhaps you shouldn’t have a job writing sentences for publication.  Just a thought.  It isn’t even that he is grammatically challenged.  He doesn’t even try.  He appears to literally write down the thoughts in his brain in a free-form, free associating manner.  He starts the first paragraph or two in a standard manner and then it devolves into sentence fragments with no attempts at punctuation in ways that would make ee cummings cry into his soup.

By the end he is thinking of things that existed in his childhood and is just listing them.  There are toys and sayings and tv shows.  It is just a list.  It occurs to me while writing this that you are never going to believe me so I will insert a picture of a recent column.

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See?  Anyway the point of this, is that this columnist infuriates me.  He makes me want to write very angry letters to the editor.  I am approaching my dotage but I’m not quite to the Angry Letters to the Newspaper stage yet.  Also I am embarrassed that I am letting this horrible person manipulate me in this way.  He’s too insignificant to upset me this much but at the same time, “Aaaaaaaaaaaggggh!”

He makes me tear at my hair when he states with confidence that certain things no longer exist.  Even if he has not seen them lately, maybe 10 seconds should be invested on Google before declaring things extinct.

Things he as declared extinct recently:

  • School nurses – He knows they don’t exist any more because schools would be sued for letting people practice medicine without training.  Of course, they do exist and they even have training because that’s what the term “nurse” implies to any rational human being and now I’m about to scream again.
  • Comic books – Oh dearie me.  Maybe you don’t see displays down to the ol’ Five and Dime anymore but I assure you that comic books are alive and well.  Five seconds of googling brings up articles about why comics are so popular today. 

Anyway, what has pushed me over the edge is his assertion one week, apropos of seemingly nothing, that women who leave their purse in their shopping cart deserve to have it stolen. 

This made me so blisteringly angry that it has taken me days to make a rational response.  First of all, sir, why are you chastising women for not guarding their purses in what you perceive to be an appropriate way instead of using your platform to tell people not to steal?  Is that too hard of a leap of imagination for you to make?  How can you possibly tell potential thieves to behave themselves?  Wouldn’t the world be a better place if people stood up to wrong doers instead of constantly telling the innocent that you need to protect yourself better from people who mean you harm? 

I know you won’t understand my next point and will probably think I’m being overly dramatic.  I assume you might even think of me as hysterical or hormonal because you seem like that kind of man.  But when I read a man telling me that is my responsibility to keep from being robbed I also hear your unspoken next thoughts.  It moves from “She turned her back on her purse.  No wonder she was robbed.” to “She went out at night.  She was just asking to be raped.”  Men may think of this as a huge leap.  We know it isn’t.  It is all the same.  It is all our fault.  Stay in our place.  Protect ourselves.  Don’t imagine a world where more attention is spent controlling the behavior of the ones who would hurt us than controlling us.  That will never be what the world is.  Well, of course, it won’t with people who think like you running around. 

This is the patriarchy.  This is the inability to imagine and fight for a better world.  This is a world where it is easier to push down and keep people in their place.  It starts with something simple, something benign.  Who is going to so upset about being told what to do with their purse?  Hopefully, we all are.  Hopefully, we will push back against those who tell us to limit our freedom in the smallest of ways in order to limit our freedom in larger ways.  We can imagine a better world.  Now get out of the way and let us make it. 

That’s what I want to say to this man.  I scream inside with frustration knowing that he will never understand.  He’ll never care.  He seems like the type who would go on about how everyone is so sensitive these days and never understand his role is making us this way.