I must commend The GW Hatchet. Not only is that the one line in this column that won’t be edited beyond all recognition, it’s also true.
When I open The Hatchet these days, I get exposed to all kinds of exciting ideas: the ups and downs of sweatshops, the changes in gender roles, and, most recently, interracial dating. I don’t know anything about any of these, but I’m pretty much all out of ideas (Remember my glory days, or day? Remember orange vests?) so I’ll chime in about them anyway.
Sweatshop talk has taken up a great deal of opinion page space. I’m not sure why. I really think there should be more angry rants about the fact that you can no longer buy cigarettes with points – the thought of it makes me tremble with rage.
Anyway, most people seem to be against sweatshops because they are awful and remind us of those poor women trapped inside the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory as it burned down, and one guy is for them because sweatshops put the developing in developing nations.
Tensions run high on the opinion page, but most people I know are indifferent. Sure there are all kinds of reasons to come down on one side or another – human beings shouldn’t be subject to such conditions or nations should be allowed to develop freely toward the American ideal of four-car families and toothpaste that keeps working long after you’ve stopped brushing. But reason is never enough to get people to take action.
If you think it is, just try reasoning someone into bed with you. You’ve got to get people to feel something to get them going, and the issue of sweatshops in far-away foreign countries like Southern California doesn’t seem to do it.
The Hatchet devoted two whole pages to gender roles, but even that wasn’t enough. We’re in the middle of a crisis now because men still think they should be men, Hemingway-style, but there’s no point to being that kind of man anymore. It was pointless even in Hemingway’s time.
Because they no longer have a clearly defined role, many men have decided to go around killing people. I don’t know why it happens, but whenever a group of people doesn’t get specific instructions from society, mass murder ensues.
Men could become women, but that would be way too hard. Women seem to have a gung-ho spirit about taking on every responsibility in society (Hooray! Now we get to work and take care of the kids!). It can’t last.
Women will, no doubt, get tired of being women, and then we’ll have a 50-percent increase in mass murder. That’s no way to run a society. We have to come up with something other than men and women for people to be. I’ll cast my vote for just being good. Good people don’t kill anyone.
Finally, there’s interracial dating. It’s hard to imagine that society really approves of it. If it approved, everyone would be doing it. The interracial partner would be the ultimate in hip. You can almost see the slogans The Black Man – he’s not your mother’s boyfriend!
I don’t really know anything about that since I don’t really date, but interracial sex is fraught with all kinds of anxieties. Races are like brand names or corporate logos, and you just don’t want anyone to see you as a piece of letterhead or a kind of carbonated beverage. So you wonder awful things like Am I her Negro Buck? His Oriental Mystery? Her Ice Princess? And fears and doubts accumulate.
That’s a terrible conclusion to have to reach, but it’s a part of our national identity, and you might as well accept the bad with the good. If you want a limitless variety of colas, vehicles, laundry detergents and cereal, you have to put up with racial anxiety and baseball.