Kids Behind the Wheel

The other day, I was walking on the gravel/dirt road I live on.  It’s a back road that might see a dozen cars in a day.  As one such car passed us, I noticed that a kid was at the wheel in dad’s lap.  Proud dad, happy kid.

What is it with that?  Why, of all the adult things, do parents push their kids into that one?  Mis-asked the question.  It’s not the parents, it’s the dads.  And usually, it’s their sons, not their daughters.

Given that men are worse drivers than women (ask the insurance companies – why do you think young males pay such a high premium?), perhaps it makes sense: boys need all the practice they can get.  But surely it would be better to take them to a go-cart track.

Proud dad, happy kid.  I get the impression it’s not practice.  Is it a rite of passage to manhood?  But women can, do, and should drive as well.  There’s nothing gender-specific about driving a car.  So why would it be a rite of passage to manhood?

Maybe it’s the vroom vroom that confuses men.  It’s a surrogate roar.  They think they’re intimidating when they make a lot of noise.  (Actually they’re just annoying.  As hell.)  And they want to be intimidating because – ?

Or, also, attendant with a roar, maybe their primitive brain triggers the production of adrenaline, and the adrenaline makes them feel good.  Perhaps that explains the appeal of the Indy.  And the adolescent males who take the mufflers off their trail bikes.

Or maybe it’s the speed that confuses them, makes them feel like they’re chasing prey (or fleeing predators) and again, their primitive brain produces feel-good adrenaline.

So why doesn’t their modern brain recognize this and veto the primitive response?  Noise and speed matter little to homo sapiens living in the 21st century.

Proud dad.  Happy kid.  Oh aren’t you the grown-up.  No, you’re not.  You shouldn’t be behind the wheel until you’re sixteen and then you should approach the task with fear and trembling.  Driving is not fun.  A car is not a toy.  One wrong move and you could kill someone.


The “M” word on Prime Time TV!!!! (Misogyny; Scandal)

I’m delightfully surprised by the current season of Scandal.  I had trouble getting into the show, and actually, I’m surprised I’m still with it; catching a glimpse of a political debate between two women and  Melly’s bid for the presidency kept me involved, even though I don’t really like her, or Olivia …

And this season, Olivia’s arrogance is really off-putting, but my god, her monument or asterisk speech to Melly  – she actually used the word ‘misogyny’.  The word!  Spoken by a character on prime time tv!!  Been waiting for that for almost fifty years.

And then in a subsequent episode, Marcus takes Fitz to task for his white privilege.

And  for turning Olivia into a ‘black ho’?  Bring it on.

And that was after he lands that “Welcome to the plight of almost every successful woman in the history of mankind” remark.

 Who are these writers?  And why weren’t they on the show since the beginning?  (If I’m reading the IMDB site correctly, the writer has always been Shonda Rhimes.  Hm.)  (Perhaps no surprise.  If she’d said the ‘m’ word in the first episode, perhaps she wouldn’t’ve gotten any further.)

(Though I have to say…I worry that Olivia will set feminism back fifty years if she continues with, well, murder and blackmail.  People will say shit like ‘see what happens when we let women in power?’ conveniently forgetting every man in power that has done the same…)

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – Traister’s All the Single Ladies

Just at chapter 3, but I can highly recommend Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies.

A few bits…

“…as the legal scholar Rachel Moran argues, while the feminist movement of the 1970s was in part a ‘direct response to these conditions of early and pervasive marriage,’ the ironic side effect was that single women had almost no place in the underpinnings of the movement” (20).  Yes!

“Le Bon conceded that ‘Without a doubt there exist some distinguished women, very superior to the average man, but they are as exceptional as the birth of any monstrosity, as, for example, of a gorilla with two heads; consequently, we may neglect them entirely'” (53).  Had not heard that one.

Oh, and this lovely tidbit: “Chambers-Schiller reports that in the medical establishment, ‘a painful  menopause was the presumed consequence of reproductive organs that were not regularly bathe din male semen'” (54).


A Postscript to Why Feminist Manuscripts Don’t Get Published

So here’s a query letter my friend Chris Wind sent to a publisher recently:

Editor, [XYZ Publishers]:

Feminist theorist Dale Spender wrote, in Women of Ideas and What Men Have Done to Them, “We need to know how patriarchy works.  We need to know how women disappear….”   Indeed we do.  Where are all the straight-A girls from high school?  Why, how, have they ‘disappeared’?  Marriage and kids is an inadequate answer because married-with-kids straight-A boys are visible.  Everywhere.  Even the straight-B boys are out there.

This is what happens (fiction; 114,698w) responds to Spender’s urgent comment with a microscopic examination of the life of a single woman that is, I fear, all too typical, answering the question ‘What happened?’

Although there have been many non-fiction books since Spender that have exposed the sexism in our culture …  fiction seems not to have kept pace, seems not to be informed by the insights of those authors.  This is what happens thus helps fill an important gap (especially for those who don’t read non-fiction) …

There are three voices juxtaposed throughout the novel: the fresh, impassioned protagonist speaking in the present through her journal entries from the age of fifteen to fifty; the wise, and fighting-off-bitter, now-fifty protagonist commenting about the events of her life, talking to her younger self; and the dispassionate narrator.  Insights are underscored by alternate realities, extended ‘should’ve happeneds’ and ‘could’ve happeneds’…

And so This is what happens is part fiction, part memoir; part personal essay, part critical essay; part psychology, part philosophy, part sociology.  It is a maze of analysis in which, despite the appearance of rambling randomness, one thing leads inexorably to another.

I append below a bio, synopsis, and sample; I am submitting this query to a few other publishers.

Thank you for your consideration, and I do hope to hear you’d like to read more!

Bio:  Chris Wind (M.A., Philosophy; B.A., Literature) has published four collections of poetry (Paintings and Sculptures, UnMythed, Soliloquies: the lady doth indeed protest and dreaming of kaleidoscopes).  Her prose and poetry has appeared in several journals and magazines (including Prism International, Ariel, Bogg, Canadian Woman Studies, The University of Toronto Review, Hysteria, The Wascana Review, The Antigonish Review, event, The New Quarterly, The Humanist, f.(L)ip, Waves, grain, Canadian Author & Bookman, cv2, Atlantis, and Herizons) as well as anthologies (including Contemporary Monologues for Young Women).  Several of her short theatrical works have been performed, and her stories have been read on CBC Radio (the Canadian equivalent to the BBC).  She has been awarded sixteen Ontario (Canada) Arts Council grants.

And this is the rejection letter she received:

Thank you for submitting your fiction proposal to [XYZ Publishers].

Unfortunately, we don’t think Women of Ideas and What Men Have Done to Them is a good fit for our list at this time. …


Gregg [Somebody, XYZ Publishers]

I don’t know what’s worse, that he didn’t read the letter (or even the first line) very carefully (let alone, one has to assume, the enclosed sample) or that he didn’t recognize Spender’s work.

Why Feminist Manuscripts Aren’t Getting Published Today – McSweeney’s List


How Being in Public Feels: Men VS Women – GREAT VIDEO!

Women Now Empowered … GREAT ONION PIECE


Things they’ll never tell you about basketball — and sexism



The Hook (Up) – a short script by Peg Tittle



Crowded bar scene.  MAN and WOMAN do the standard flirting thing, he buys her a drink, they dance, then exit.  Their dialogue isn’t important — the bar’s too loud for us to hear much anyway.  But it’s clear that both are willing to engage in the sex that follows.


They enter her apartment and move through it toward the bedroom, happily and heatedly, kissing, touching, and unbuttoning each other on the way.


They are on the bed, then in the bed, which has a nightstand right beside it, then while intercourse is clearly occurring —


So, do you want a girl or a boy?

He stops mid-thrust.



He pulls out.  Grimaces at his limpness.


Well, you aren’t using any contraception, so it stands to reason you want a child.  I mean, you must know that —

(she gestures vaguely)


(rolling off her; things are clearly over)

Of course I know — No, I don’t want a kid —

He’s up and dressing.


I assumed you were —


Pretty important thing to just take for granted, isn’t it?


(his anger increasing)

What is this, some sort of trap?


Not at all.  I’m okay with it. I mean, I’ll charge for incubation services, $50,000 is about standard, and then give you the kid, no strings —


I don’t want a kid!


Then why —


Because you’re the one who gets pregnant!


I realize that.  And as I said, I’m okay with it.  If you’re the one not okay with it, if you’re the one who doesn’t want this to be reproductive sex, then you’re the one who should be using contraception.

He says nothing as he continues to dress.


Are you usually this adept at separating cause and effect?  At not looking at the consequences of your actions?

He reaches for his jacket.


I mean, if you and a friend do a B & E together and he’s the only one who gets caught, you’re okay with that?  You’d really not consider yourself equally responsible?


(quite angry now)

I’d consider myself lucky.  Bitch!

He strides out of the bedroom.



I’ll call you!

Pretty, Katie Makkai

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