Sep 012017
 

I have suspended work on my New Feminist Manifesto post series, which has been in progress since the spring. To readers who were looking forward to it, I’m sorry. I have not made the decision lightly. Please read on.

I designed the post series from the beginning to be substantive, but also antagonistic (starting right from the title—who does a man think he is telling me about a feminist manifesto?), because I wanted its posts to be forwarded and shared.

Unfortunately, I think the state of discussion in this country has degraded considerably even in just the past few months, to the point that such a model would be ineffective. Too many people all over the political spectrum are leading by spitting venom. I don’t think it would matter much how carefully I crafted my humor.

I started arguing online in 1994, with much higher standards of rhetorical etiquette in place. It was a much more civil place, much more of the time—and if you did choose to go off on someone, you’d better make it good. Solid and funny were a great one-two. Anymore, it doesn’t matter. Most of what’s out there checks either zero or one of those columns, and if something really does check them both, there’s too much chance it’ll be lost in the noise.

More importantly, there are multiple common topics between what I have written for this series and what I would like to write in light of my new passion for fighting human trafficking. I will very much want those posts to be as universally well-regarded as possible, which means I can’t go poking rhetorical fingers in the eyes of people I want to help the cause.

So, that’s the story with the New Feminist Manifesto. I haven’t quite decided how I’m going to write about human trafficking, but I expect it to be a recurring feature. Watch this space.

 Posted by at 4:32 pm
Aug 182017
 

I stalked a woman once.

Well, not really. That sounds like I followed her around and took photos or something, and I didn’t. I spooked her, though (regrettably).

She was a regular customer in the service department at Madison Books & Computers, bringing machines in for her employer. She was an attractive blonde, maybe a couple of years older than I was (so, 24 to my 22). I was nursing a shattered heart from a broken engagement, which made me behave erratically because the various parts of my emotional self were firing unpredictably, with different intensities and efficacies.

So, as part of figuring out how to date again, I decided it would be a good idea to write this woman (I’d give you her first name, but I don’t remember it) a few anonymous letters over the course of a couple of weeks, leading up to telling her who I was and inviting her to lunch in the last one. Great plan. How could she resist my verbal charms?

Now I don’t remember what I wrote, which is probably my memory protecting me from cringing so severely that my face might really freeze like that. I imagine that even in the gay old early 1990s, there wasn’t really any way to do what I did without the creepy factor being the overriding one.

What I definitely do remember is that I named the time and place for lunch, and made it clear that if she didn’t show, that would be the end of it. So if she wasn’t interested, she could simply do nothing. Instead, I got a phone call from someone who said he was her boyfriend, politely asking me to stop contacting her. I assured him I would, and that was the end of my stalking career.

That was a really odd time, between Tammy and Lea. I did manage to see some high-quality women for a while. I clumsily alienated some others. It was like I couldn’t quite remember the melody of a song, but then I’d get a piece of it, be much too relieved, and sing much too confidently, generating new nonsense for me to navigate. However good or bad the movie was, “getting your groove back” isn’t a bad way to put it at all.

And of course, none of this is a lament. I’m much happier today than I ever imagined was possible.

But I’m sorry I spooked you on the journey, blonde woman.

 Posted by at 10:02 am
Aug 142017
 

Sunday morning, my pastor told me he wants me to talk more. (Well, he told all of us.) He was specifically talking about the kind of talk I really don’t like—that which we do largely or solely because we’ve conditioned ourselves to be uncomfortable with silence. I don’t mean talking with anyone you see regularly, […]

 Posted by at 11:32 pm
Jul 262017
 

I’m not leaving voicemail anymore. OK, mostly. I’d love to just walk away from it, but then I’d love to walk away from voice calls in general. My antipathy toward telephony has grown steadily stronger for years, and apart from an occasional catch-up with my geographically inconvenient sister or sorting quotidian details with a member of […]

 Posted by at 12:10 pm

BoWilliams.com is using WP-Gravatar