A Good Conversation

23 02 2007

Last night at about this time of night a man chose to end his life in a way Tolstoy might have envisioned; he flung his body into or under an oncoming Red Line train. The man, probably middle-aged probably depressed, found some reason surely for it, and committed himself. Above the Harvard T stop was a crowd of police and frustrated subway riders who found themselves confused as to why the trains (for some surely pedestrian reason) were being turned around at Harvard.

Today I sat down to dinner and next to me was certainly a surreal conversation emerging between two freshmen, a boy and a girl. The conversation was more or less:

Boy: “Men are the worst beings imaginable. Their actions constitute the vast majority of suffering throughout history, being a particularly aggressive and irrational race.”

Girl: “I agree.”

Boy: “Furthermore, women did so much for the human race. They were the ones who developed language. While men think about sex 97% of the time, women are more balanced.”

Girl: “The thing is I’ve never met a guy who doesn’t think about sex. Quite honestly, if I could meet a guy who was sensitive, and such”

Boy: “They’re out there yes, but that three percent completely blur the larger problem. While there are a few good men, most are by design imperfect subject to the confusions of the male gender. These inadequacies or deficiencies or what-have-you is subverted today into discussions of the id, or in saying that a superego transcends our society, or that some unconscious tendencies are the sum causal explanations to atrocities in our time.”

From atrocities he shifted to genocide, first Rwanda and then to how Holocaust survivors should counsel the Rwandan survivors. Then he shifted to commiting mass genocide on, quite logically, the male gender as a sort of compensatory gesture for what has happened in the course of human history.

Boy: “Women could, with the technology today, harvest men for their sperm and kill them, continuing genetic diversity but reducing the amount of hatred and violence in the world.”

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23 02 2007
that harvard kid

Author’s Note

In short he said there is a genetic component to overt acts of physical violence linked to males, which he implicitly supports the genocide of three billion people, and the abortion of half of the newborn population. It is radical, sure, but it represents a radical shift beyond women’s rights and beyond equal opportunity for women (two things I have certainly been for since I was ten, despite some of my classmates’ chiding). The radicalism is not in the genocide agreement or in the accusations about the male inclination to think about sex (some study has said that men think about it on average once a minute). The extremism lies in the notion of reparations, that I owe someone for a past injustice. Certainly many wars could have easily been avoided if cooler heads prevailed, but with the same certainity I note that it is men who have largely contributed to the global library of knowledge. This is surely a problem of inequal opportunity, as women such as Joan of Arc and Marie Curie proved to be of irreplacable merit; but given the circumstances favoring men and limiting women, men did not fall short. Ideas as wondrous and varied as the Judeo-Christian tradition, Scientific Revolution, democracy, writing, Rubik’s cubes, and painting. Let me qualify this last statement; obviously some ideas have proven themselves to be immoral (slavery and murder being the two that come to mind), but it is on the shoulders of men that we have the history and knowledge we do today. While we can contend that the world was not in women’s favor throughout human history (a fact which I don’t imagine, except for a few isolated instances, anyone seriously argues against), we should note that some men did write these books and share these thoughts. Such a historical fact is obvious but bears reminding, especially as it seems some of us men (one at least) thinks we’re not even worth keeping around for procreation. But if that’s all we think about, shouldn’t we deserve at least that?

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