Check Your Words

What words appeared in print for the first time the year you were born?

Find out at the Merriam-Webster website here.

Some of mine were:

  • battered woman syndrome
  • 800-pound gorilla (I have no idea what that even means. I guess the word didn’t age as well as I did).
  • butterfly effect
  • couch potato (ouch! But if the shoe fits…)
  • extra virgin
  • femicide
  • micromanage
  • white zinfandel
  • wuss
  • restless leg syndrome

And… drumroll…

  • enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay

What about you?

Book Club Update

Now that we are done with Zora Neale Hurston’s book, also known as punishment for my sins, the book club is finally going to read a Hispanic author.

I’m not a huge fan of Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis, if you know who I mean, but I’m very excited to be reading the complete short stories by him for our next meeting.

Amoeba Women

There have been other authors who have written about these amoeba-like women – Maria Luisa Bombal and Esther Tusquets come to mind.

What’s really funny is that this is a relatively recent phenomenon. For instance, a nineteenth-century author called Pilar Sinués, who is considered ultra-conservative, openly mocks this type of women. I actually stole the expression amoeba women from her. In Sinués’s novels, women who are obsessed with making their husbands happy and who have no other interest in life are referred to as “things and not sentient creatures.”

And it’s not just Sinués. It was a widely accepted tradition in female literature, even that written by very conservative, Catholic authors, to mock women who have no interest in life aside from pleasing a man. It’s only recently that these boy-crazy eternally childlike women became a huge feminist ideal.

Book Notes: Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God

If it weren’t for liberal use of the Southern accent, this would be a typical Harlequin novel for readers who really despise women.

The protagonist, Janie, is the most boy-crazy character I’ve ever encountered in literature. She has no interests, no concerns, and no feelings for anything other than men. She has no children, no relatives she cares about, no friends, and no hobbies. There isn’t even a favorite object or a place she’s attached to. No favorite food. No favorite piece of clothing or color. No interest in religion, which for a black woman in the 1930s is quite unusual. It’s all men, men, men. The only conversation she has with another woman throughout the novel that she’s actually interested in having is a long rant Janie delivers about men.

There are definitely women like that, although thankfully not many, so the novel isn’t completely unrealistic. Usually, it’s a function of age, and as women get older, even the most boy-crazy ones learn how to value other things in life. Janie is my age at the end of the novel, and still an empty vessel for whatever man takes her fancy.

Janie’s first two husbands beat and dominate her, so she leaves them. The third husband beats and dominates her but she adores him. The novel thankfully ends after the third but this story could have many more iterations because the character never grows of progresses in any direction. Her life is an endless loop.

Yes, the novel was published in 1937. But even in the sixteenth century there were more complex and interesting female characters. Janie is truly an amoeba. She has less depth than a cat. And the novel doesn’t portray this as Janie’s tragedy. To the contrary, Janie’s complete emptiness is an ideal to aspire to.

Curiously, back in 1937 the novel received very little attention and soon went out of print. It was only recovered quite recently and became a mega bestseller. This goes to show that a fantasy about this kind of womanhood is something quite recent. Nobody wanted to read about women whose only goal in life was to have an orgasm.

Boring, bad novel, people. I still have an aftertaste.

Invented Refugees

I have no love for Facebook but it’s pathetic that the French are blaming social media for the beheading of a teacher instead of asking why there were “refugees” from prosperous and peaceful Moscow in France at all.

“The murderer, who was shot dead by the police, came all the way from Evreux 80km to the west” because of Facebook posts these idiots complain.

No, you dummies. He came from a lot farther than that. And nobody can explain why.

The whole concept of a refugee is turned into a complete joke by these bastards. And now they are going to destroy freedom of speech to protect freedom of speech instead of looking at their deranged immigration policies.