“By the June of that year (1918), 700,000 United States soldiers, strong and comely men plucked from their native prairies, from their fields of tall corn, from their farms and their cities, we’re giving their lives in defense of freedom on the blood-soaked battlefields of France. They had little to gain and much to lose.”—Radclyffe Hall on WWI, “The Well of Loneliness,” pub 1928
Remember that one time Rush thought the Lorax movie was a conspiracy to teach children liberal ideas like pollution being a problem as well as greed even though the book was written in 1971? This is why we don’t give credence to anything he says.
I care about the problems of men. I care that the patriarchy tells men that they have to be stoic beasts incapable of emotion. I care that the patriarchy tells men that they are lust-filled monsters incapable of controlling their own libidos. I care that the patriarchy tells men that they cannot be raped or assaulted because the patriarchy believes women are too weak and inferior to be dangerous.
I’m going camping at a renaissance faire this weekend. I posted on another social media site that the most difficult part of packing was choosing which books to take with me. A friend of mine replied that I should get a Kindle. I already have a Kindle, I informed him, but I don’t take it with me because a book doesn’t power down in the middle of a chapter. But the issue of battery life is not the reason I prefer books.
Now I know, I know, people talk about the smell of books (decaying, processed tree bark that smells faintly of vanillin) or the feel of books blah blah blah. But my preference for books goes much deeper than that.
If you have a Kindle or any e-reader, you might read a really good book. A book that’s so good, it changes your world. You repeat phrases or ideas from it in your head as you mull it over for an hour, a day, perhaps even a few days before you start a new book. And the new book won’t be nearly as good as that other book, but you read it, and then you read another. And then you keep reading more books because that’s what you do. And in a few months, that really good book is at the bottom of the list, or perhaps on the 2nd, 3rd page of books where you don’t even scroll anymore. And perhaps on occasion you click the down button to look at the previous books you’ve read, and you realize that perhaps with some further down, you can’t remember the main characters first name. They have titles like “The Furrow” or “Star Gazer” and you try to remind yourself what proceeded in those titles. Because every time you read a new book, you pick up the same device - over and over - one hundred thousand time for hundreds of books.
My preference for books depends on where you put them. I have mine on my bookshelf that faces my front door. So every day that I come home to my apartment and open my front door, the first thing I see are my books. I have a fairly small collection, perhaps 40 or so. But I see them first thing and I remember each and every one. I know the torn covers of my tried and true authors, the ones whose books as a newly-independent adult I’m slowly accumulating. The placement of each in alphabetical order of the authors last name, how the Harry Potter series is split in half between two shelves (that’s how few books I have) because of the size of my well-worn novels. I see the worn spine, cracked perhaps twice or maybe a hundred times, and the wearing away of the title on the spine of a few where I’ve gripped them so tight that my finger has slowly worn away a particular part of the title; and the peeling spine, thick covers curling away at the top, or perhaps at the bottom. I remember the place where I was when I read each novel; not where, in a coffee shop or on the bus. But where in my life, where mentally I was, where emotionally I was when I first picked up the Sorcerers Stone or the circumstances of me meeting the person who recommended Lost Souls or how I’m the only friend of mine that I know whose read the Princess Bride. I see it every day, I’m reminded of these every day in the most fondest of ways. It’s flipping to any random page in any random book and perhaps coming upon an old and worn dog-ear mark that I may have left a year ago, or ten years ago.
Seeing them every single day, having them waiting for me in their exact order yet always waiting to be built upon with their separate characteristics of various peeled covers or cracked spines and the place I was, both emotionally and mentally, when I read them the first, second, third or tenth time. That is why I prefer books.
On this blog, I will refer to the George Washington Bridge closure in Fort Lee during mid-September as “the GW Bridge closure” or “Christies bridge scandal” or “the GW Bridge scandal” because I know the difference between a bridge closure and Watergate and have the integrity not to equate the GW Bridge closure with something as momentous as the Watergate scandal.
It really bothers me that people assume things about people based on their race or religion.
It bothers me that some people think all black people are thugs or gangsters.
It bothers me that some people think all Hispanics came to America illegally.
It bothers me that some people think all Asian people are smart.
It bothers me that some people think all Native Americans have tons of money because some of them get benefits from the government and some of them get royalties from casinos.
It bothers me that some people think all people who have a thick accent are stupid.
It bothers me that some people think all Jewish people are greedy.
It bothers me that some people think all those who are religious or go to church every Sunday are going to try to convert all their friends.
It bothers me that some people think all white people voted for Mitt Romney.