Forgive me, but I have a head cold. My face hurts, and the medicine makes me feel like my brain is covered in Vaseline. Which is a shame, because there are some good stories this week. Stories that might inspire a good writer, that might incite civil action to improve society, or at least a laugh.
Sorry. You’re stuck with me.
And I see a common motif of men, unused to thinking of women as anything other than semen receptacles (and, possibly, baby incubators), doing stupid shit. Really, really stupid shit. Please note: I’m not saying women don’t also do stupid shit. I, myself, spend an inordinate amount of time asking questions of my cat, even though I know she won’t answer me. However, when I do this, I in no way inflict any hardship on the rest of the populace.
Which brings us to the Catholic Church.
The New York area was shocked this week to learn of the sad fate of Monsignor Kevin Wallins, a popular priest who was found to be, among other things, a sex addict and a meth dealer. What’s horrifying about this story is not the man’s weakness, but the way the system protected him from confronting his problems. Because he was a “man of God,” everyone assumed he was also a man of virtue.
At least, in his case, the Diocese took action when his behavior became known to them. He was relieved of his position.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Roger Cardinal Mahony, the former Archbishop of Los Angeles, faced no such consequences. Although there is a massive amount of evidence that he protected pedophile priests who were under his supervision, he is preparing to go to Rome to help select the new pope. And when he was confronted by angry parishioners, the article in my link says:
“Mahony wrote Thursday in a blog post about Lent that he has been publicly humiliated numerous times by people angered by his handling of the clergy abuse crisis. ‘I could understand the depth of their anger and outrage – at me, at the Church, at about injustices that swirl around us,’ he wrote.
“‘Thanks to God’s special grace, I simply stood there, asking God to bless and forgive them.’”
In other words, he was forgiving them for being victims of the crimes he abetted.”
And then, there’s the Republicans. In their zeal to obstruct President Obama, no matter what he wants to do, they will believe any damn thing. This week, we learned that one of their pet peeves, that Chuck Hagel, Obama’s choice to be Secretary of State, had allegedly received payment for speaking to a gathering of “The Friends of Hamas,” was untrue. In fact, the source of the rumor was a sarcastic conversation between a reporter and a Senate aide. The reporter also asked if Hagel had received money from the ‘Junior League of Hezbollah.”
Within a day of the reporter’s call, the story was presented, as fact, on a right-wing web site. And, as I write this, that same web site is refusing to acknowledge that they got hosed.
As a gender, men in our society don’t like to admit that they’ve made a mistake. They think it makes them look weak. In fact, it only makes them look more wrong.
My third example doesn’t fit in quite as neatly with my first two, but it does illustrate how susceptible some men are to delusions.
In a video, Jean Kilbourne vividly illustrates how the media torment women with a constant parade of images that make us feel like failures. Through images of female beauty that don’t exist anywhere but on a computer screen, they tell us that we won’t be good enough to get a man, a job, a happy life, unless we consume products that might let them approach that impossible, thin yet busty dream.
But women aren’t the only ones who fall for this propaganda. In a video that my kid’s blog assures me all the cool kids are watching, The Women of LA, a young man laments the fact that he isn’t rich enough, or famous enough, or pretty enough to get laid in Los Angeles.
You know what? All the women who reject him are gorgeous. Some of them brag about the plastic surgery that gave them the impossible bodies they saw in the magazines tow which Jean Kilbourne referred. And the guys? They’re nice enough looking, but nothing spectacular. Yet they only want the gorgeous starlet-types, not the women who are nice enough looking, but nothing spectacular.
Believe me, if I starved myself down to an impossible body size, then had surgery to enhance what I couldn’t achieve naturally, plus spend a fortune on makeup and hair extensions, I’d expect to get a rich guy, too. That kind of commitment is a career, and I’d want to get paid.
All the men described above should meet a few real women. Not for the purpose of having sex, or making babies, or squiring around town, but for the purpose of meeting people different from themselves.
Learn to listen to another point of view without getting defensive (women are, as a rule, really good at that, at least to your face).
Women are excellent at apologizing. My own mother would apologize if you stepped on her foot. And she never even met Cardinal Mahoney.
Martha Thomases, Media Goddess, probably couldn’t get laid in LA either.