Tag Archives: masculinity

Spree Killer Contradictions

I refuse to write his name because he’s not the point, the is-he-or-isn’t-he faking psychosis mass murderer who destroyed dozens of families last weekend in his quest for selfishness. As much as we want to aim our fingers at him in judgment, this act of violence isn’t about him, just as it wouldn’t be about the lone terrorist who stuffed a bomb into his underwear, or the two disgruntled men who took out the Federal building in Oklahoma City all those Aprils ago. I don’t absolve any of these men of their acts, certainly not, but I can’t abide providing them the public attention they crave and that they receive from so many media outlets.

One wonders where people even get the idea (CSI) to gun down (Call of Duty) large groups of people (The Closer, NCIS) in a twisted sense of justice (Breaking Bad, Dexter) or superhuman power (The X-Men, The Dark Knight). And we could ponder why we see these events as solely the actions of a broken brain (Criminal Minds, Numb3rs, The Silence of the Lambs) are at their core individual episodes and not related in any way to larger systems that have a perverse need to produce violence.

I just don’t know how we get here, where a stream of life-ending bullets descends onto a crowd gathered for a movie, and it takes everyone too long to realize they’re actually under attack. Susanne called this aspect of Friday night’s tragedy particularly sad, and she’s got a good point there. Who are we as a culture that extreme violence is so much of our contemporary entertainment narratives?

Also weird to me is the utter silence around potentially productive conversations we could be having right now but aren’t. The National Rifle Association balked when people were upset about a tweet they posted after the shooting:

NRA tweet

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Raising Che

che guevara onesieA scant two weeks ago, my partner brought our little boy into the world. I was shocked—not only was the baby not the dragon we’d seen on the ultrasound, but I really anticipated we’d be having a girl. I don’t have a good reason why, save to say that confirmation bias may have had something to do with it. I was more than willing to disregard any old wives’ tale that indicated boyhood, and focused instead on the ones predicting for a girl. And I promise, I didn’t and don’t have a personal preference; I’m astounded and thrilled to be a parent, at long last. I have already parented a collection of cats, hundreds of stuffed animals, my own parents at times, previous partners (never Susanne), and assorted coworkers (not the majority of you, certainly).

It could have something to do with my own frame of reference for childhood, but I think the more likely culprit is that I know the narratives I want to relay to my girl child. They’re all about empowerment, finding her voice, locating her strengths and meting those out wisely. I’d even borrow a little from the Girl Power folks, at least, I was ready to. I had braced myself for conversations about Bratz Dolls, Disney princesses, and the omnipresent pipeline of Pink Things.

As a freely bleeding heart liberal who’s been described by some as “left of Mao,” I am all ready to raise a girl in the entropy of 21st Century Earth, in the still-richest country on said planet. Read More…

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