It rained in Scottsdale a few days ago. Not that much rain for a place that is not a desert. It rained for one day and part of another, and the power cut out. I had a backup charger for my phone. I decided to walk to the nearest shopping center to see if there was power there. I wanted to walk, anyway. I walked along Arabian. All the streets in this area of McCormick Ranch are named after horses. I have learned many horse names I otherwise would not have learned. A man was on his phone in front of his house. We confirmed the power was off for a large area. I picked two lemons off a branch hanging over a wall. The traffic lights were out. Drivers had to organize themselves at intersections. I saw myself standing in the road at Shea Blvd and 84th Street. I thought I would do a good job directing traffic and it would be my civic contribution. I watched for a while. The cars seemed to be doing okay without me. I wasn’t afraid but thought I should be. I asked myself what a normal person would do and walked on, feeling I had missed an opportunity. Now that I have gotten this into my head, I will be on the lookout for another intersection during another power outage. Two cops were directing traffic at the 101. They were waving at cars in a way that looked professional. I would not have done anywhere nearly as well. I arrived at the shopping center, and the power came back on. I passed a Marshall’s. I had never been in a Marshall’s. I needed a pair of Reef flip-flops. My ankle is still fucked up from backing into the barrel cactus. The Reef’s were sold out. A tall woman with yellow hair encouraged me to try on a pair of Nike flip-flops that were marked down from $35 to $13. I was so excited, I twirled around like a dog. The woman was excited, too. She could have been high. I think it was her personality and the culture of the Marshall’s in this part of Scottsdale. I did not have any money or credit cards. She put aside the flip-flops until I could return. Today I walked in them around the man-made lakes and picked two grapefruits. It was windy, and the sky was overcast as if it were a beach day. These conditions occur here once in a blue moon.
Often I remind myself: Don’t apologize, don’t translate yourself, and don’t ask for love. Maybe I am wrong to think female humans need especially to train themselves away from these tendencies. These tendencies are probably common to all humans to some extent. On my posts and elsewhere, I find myself asked to take it down a notch. To explain myself. To be nicer with the suggestion I will attract more flies with honey than vinegar. I don’t want flies, or maybe I do. I find life confusing. Lately I have noticed women fearing for the men I satirize. They feel anxious liking a post where a woman says, “We want you to stop talking, and running things, and having opinions about us. You have to shut up and go away. Take your balls and leave.” I wrote this in response to the remark made by Steve Bannon that women want to cut off the balls of men. Michael Hanake piped up the other day in a Guardian interview claiming the “Metoo” movement was an expression of man hating. I remarked that “man hating” was the term men used when they were hating women with an especially fine point. Several women have wanted me to modify the exaggerations in my posts. Exaggeration is what makes satire satire. They have said things like, “Well not all, men, surely.” Or “They can speak as long as they tuck away their balls.” I think, wow, you believe I have the power to shut men up! You think a post is going to hurt their feelings or their amour proper. You think liking posts like mine will consign you to the nest of writhing man haters. I say to these women: Hey, girlfriends, you don’t need to protect men from me. They are at no risk from me. I wish they were, but they are not. They can take care of themselves. Look how great the patriarchy is working!
I feel a need to clear up something for some men about balls. Steve Bannon said of the women he observed at the Golden Globes: “If you rolled out a guillotine, they’d chop off every set of balls in the room.” We are not interested in your balls, and if we were interested in your balls, we would not need something as large as a guillotine. You are interested in your balls. Castration anxiety is another term for male supremacy. We want you to shut up. We want you to stop talking and stop running things and having opinions about us. You have to shut up and go away. Take your balls and leave. We don’t care where you go as long as it’s over there. Please stop talking and sitting, you know, that way on the subway.
Bill Cosby was a shitty comedian. His material on stage was smug, take-my-wifeish, and dated long before reports surfaced of his sexual predation. I covered a dreary concert he performed at Carnegie Hall, and I believe it’s in “Laughing in the Dark.” Louis CK’s riffs on masturbation in his sets were more flashing than revelation. He is a complex artist, and I am not reducing him to bits I found repellent and that dovetail with personal behavior that has come to light. Phillip Roth’s inability to look at the resentment his male characters feel toward women shrinks his world view. What his books think or feel about anything in the world is reduced by these blinders. Feminist criticism of art, theater, books, movies–everything we have looked at–has been thinking for decades about how conscious and unconscious expressions of patriarchal values mute, maim, and trivialize works of art. That is still our contemplation. The other day a writer asked on FB what people thought of the movie “Rosemary’s Baby.” I said I loved it. I thought the casting of John Cassavetes as the lout husband was genius in that he combines the solipsism of the New York actor with the ordinary inobservance of the male-baby husband to produce a man who believably pimps his wife to the devil to get better acting parts. In the case of “Rosemary’s Baby,” Polanski’s wit and brilliance steer the enterprise, perhaps because in his heart he knows he would do the same thing as Rosemary’s husband. Perhaps because he also identified with the targeted and isolated Rosemary. The movie is great because it lampoons patriarchal values. Who better than Ralph Bellamy to play the beloved and fatherly doctor who is of course in league with the devil. The devil is not grand and majestic. He is not some offspring of Milton’s Lucifer. He is a guy celebrated by people with bad taste, who tell the same tawdry stories after dinner, and don’t speak French. They elbow you in Fairway. They are emanations of the rotting meat sack occupying the White House now. Melania would be a perfect addition to the coven. She would not need to get clothes from wardrobe.