Tell you what. I’m gonna get me about sixteen Dobermans with no judgment. Then, next time I see one of those chunky talk-show ladies with short hair blowing about what brigands white males are, and how we ought to dethrone them, I’m gonna get the Dobermans to eat her. Then I’ll get their stomachs pumped, because I like dogs, and send them on a vacation to the Bahamas.
The other day I heard one of’em blathering about white males. (A chunky lady, not a Doberman.) She was all in an uproar about it. She had the nuanced lyricism I associate with truss ads and said we needed to deconstruct the paradigm of white patriarchal masculinity with its linear-logical gender-hierarchical phallocentric oppressive something-or-other. She wanted to get rid of white males.
I figured she needed to learn English first, but never mind.
Now, mostly I’m a well-mannered fellow, because my momma taught me to be. Sometimes I come up short. This was one of them.
I found myself wanting to say, “Now, listen here, Maple Syrup. You get up in the morning, maybe with the help of a forklift, and get food out of the refrigerator, which white men invented and you don’t understand. (What’s the compressor for? Did you know a refrigerator had a compressor?) Then you sit down to write your thoughts on a defenseless computer, which white men invented and you don’t understand. (What’s branch prediction on a floating-point pipeline? Name the three parts of a transistor?)
“Next you to go to the studio in your car, which white men invented and you don’t understand. (What are dual overhead cams? The difference between pre-ignition and detonation?) Finally you spew your wormwood and gall on television, which white men invented and you don’t understand. (Where is closed-captioning encoded in an NTSC signal? I’ll tell you: In the vertical-blanking interval. Now do you know?)
“Hooboy, am I impressed, Sweet Potato. Yes ma’am. I sure enough see why we need to get rid of white males. How could anyone doubt it?”
Actually, I’ve got nothing against spewing gall. Do a little of it myself. I might spew wormwood too, except I’m not sure what it is. But I begin to notice a pattern. The people who grouse most about white males are people who can’t keep up with them, and who owe the most to them. Those who can keep up–Chinese males, Vietnamese males, males from India–don’t do a lot of complaining.
Don’t misunderstand me. We pale males aren’t perfect. Far from it. We’ve got warts on most of us. We leave things all over the living room. We drink beer and chase women. Sometimes we punch each other out in bars. But we have contributed a few things to civilization. For example:
Euclidean geometry. Parabolic geometry. Hyperbolic geometry. Projective geometry. Differential geometry. Algebra. Limits, continuity, differentiation, integration. Physical chemistry. Organic chemistry. Biochemistry. Classical mechanics. The indeterminacy principle. The wave equation. The Parthenon. The Anabasis. Air conditioning. Number theory. Romanesque architecture. Gothic architecture. Information theory. Entropy. Enthalpy. Every symphony ever written. Pierre Auguste Renoir. The twelve-tone scale. The mathematics behind it, twelfth root of two and all that. S-p hybrid bonding orbitals. The Bohr-Sommerfeld atom. The purine-pyrimidine structure of the DNA ladder. Single-sideband radio. All other radio. Dentistry. The internal-combustion engine. Turbojets. Turbofans. Doppler beam-sharpening. Penicillin. Airplanes. Surgery. The mammogram. The Pill. The condom. The penis. Polio vaccine. The integrated circuit. The computer. Football. Computational fluid dynamics. Tensors. The Constitution. Euripides, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Aeschylus, Homer, Hesiod. Glass. Rubber. Nylon. Roads. Buildings. Elvis. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. (OK, that’s nerve gas, and maybe we didn’t really need it.) Silicone. The automobile. Really weird stuff, like clathrates, Buckyballs, and rotaxanes. The Bible. Bug spray. Diffie-Hellman, public-key cryptography, and RSA. Et cetera.
Me, I reckon as how radical-feminist ladies can blow their horns as soon as they have a horn to blow. Don’t reach for your earplugs just yet. Fact is, being myself a competitive white male, more or less rational, and like most white males inclined to try to figure out this screwy universe and maybe make it a bit less unpleasant for all concerned–I believe I could get along without bitchy feminists. It would be a stretch, but I could do it. The sterile, a curmudgeon might say (though I don’t know any of those) have little obvious right to assault the productive, to gripe about what they can’t do and can’t do without. Fish or cut bait, I might almost say.
Sometimes I think feminism comes down to sheer ill-breeding. When men, as thousands do, (along with any number of women) spend lifetimes in labs at NIH and suchlike, working their guts out trying to find out how oncogenes work and how to get at cancer cells with something they won’t like at all–when they do this for thirty years straight, for reasonable but not cosmic salaries–they aren’t trying to oppress Native Americans or to batter women or commit incest with defenseless autistics. They’re trying to get rid of cancer. The response of anyone with class would be, “Thanks, gang. Keep at it.” And when somebody finally does beat cancer, the odds are phenomenal that it will be a white male. Deal with it, Sweet Potato.
Now I’ve gotta run. To the guard-dog store, for some Dobermans.