Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Michael Moore and Titles

At the end of my previous Reading Michael Moore post, it occured to me that the subject I was interested in pursuing further was not Michael Moore's work itself, which is thought-provoking and conveys messages that I believe are important, but rather peripheral aspects of his style or simple snapshots of what he covered in Bowling for Columbine and Stupid White Men

I find the title Stupid White Men as well as chapter titles like "Kill Whitey" completely gratuitous. As a, let's face it, not-so-stupid white man, Moore probably figures he can get away with it, granted they have a provocative ring. Maybe the titles are not meant to be taken literally, but I still find it pandering for attention at the expense of intellectual honesty. As a pale woman, I'm a member of the wrong color category, but the right sex, according to Moore. If he were going to be scientific about his moralizing, he should do so in a case where every category had the same opportunity to take part in the destructive activities he mentions. Are women morally superior or do most of them simply lack the opportunities or the energy to start wars, oppress people and destroy the environment? I once worked with a man who found Barbara Bush's comment that "one in seven Americans is governed by a Bush" (back when George W. was still governor of Texas) highly disturbing. He found it infuriating that everyone naturally assumed she radiated goodness simply because she was an old woman wearing pearls. Virginia Woolf looked at the issue of gender from the reverse perspective, wondering why it was that women hadn't authored more important works of literature in her essay "A Room of One's Own." She attributes this to the fact that women tend to be the ones principally responsible for raising children (not to mention bearing them), coupled with the fact that women were historically denied education, knowledge of the world and access to publication. She feels that a guaranteed private income and a room of one's own are the necessary first conditions for women to write.

Recently, some have speculated that I may have authored this blog. The idea that I have the time for such activity and that they may, by extension, have been conversing with me through this person is highly entertaining--a testament to the fertility of some imaginations and the degree to which certain people do not really know me. While it is true that the shop around the corner I work for has its preoccupations with taking over the world, there's a distinct possibility that the conventional tactics for pursuing that goal are quite time-consuming enough and there's little left over in a day in the life of yours truly to subvert the "authenticity" of blogsphere.

At fourteen months, the twins are now "fully operational" death stars. Their current interest is stress testing the Playstation and GameCube. The GameCube proved a better time investment. Pirate was crouched over the cube swatting at every possible inch of the surface until he came upon the eject button by hazard. "Ah so..." At this point Blondie leans over and observes. It's a little unquieting, like watching the velociraptors in Jurassic Park. If coming home from work to the twins was not exhausting enough, there's the four year old and her playdate who have needs as well, specifically sandwiches. Of course, they don't want the same kind and while I'm attuned to (and don't tolerate much in the way of) my daughter's culinary quirks, I come up short when it comes to the playdate. "There is mayonaise on my cheese sandwich! I don't eat mayonaise." I laboriously scrape off the mayonaise, but it's not good enough. "Fix me a new sandwich." The week-day babysitter wryly observes "You should have just told him it was a new sandwich," but it's too late and she's not helping either so I fix a new mayonaise-free sandwich...only to notice fifteen minutes later that it hasn't been touched. When I ask the child about this, he answers "Oh, I don't like that kind of cheese."

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