I have to say I like the pretense of civilization (and civility) adulthood brings. I say pretense because I used to teach first grade and can tell you that loads of adults still haven’t truly become mature. I like actual civility and civilization best, but will settle for the pretense. I really don’t want to punch you, but don’t tempt me.
But there’s something cathartic about a big, old brawl. I was thinking about the fight scene in The Quiet Man and how Barry Fitzgerald announces it’s a private fight at 3:16 (taking his cue from the famous old question, Is this a private fight or can anyone get in?)
A brawl was the last thing I expected when I got an email from my friend Jess (no, we weren’t the ones brawling.) Jess and I were thick as thieves in graduate school. We both had the same concentration (Women’s Studies) and pretty much the same sensibility. Our friendship was solidified in our now-infamous Feminist Theory class, team-taught by our department chair (now nicknamed ‘The Closer’ for her ability to get you to complete your M.A. even though you have only days before the statute of academic limitations runs out) and a feminist geographer (I am not making this up, there is such a thing.) No amount of coffee, muffins or candy bars could make this class any fun. Although I do recall liking the Luce Irigaray readings, I will never get back the 4 hours of my life spent on Gayatari Spivak’s “Can the Subaltern Speak?” Geez, please, no. Although we did not study any Camille Paglia, she was just coming onto the scene with her motor-mouth, New-York-accented philosophizing, she was a celeb, but not one who crossed our syllabus. And that was some time ago.
Then Jess sends me an email, subject line: thought you'd enjoy this as much as I did :) Nothing more but the link. And oh, boy, did I. This is a slug fest (though if you are offended by words termed the f-bomb and the c-bomb, don’t click on this link.) Otherwise what you get is a perfectly orchestrated, blow-for-blow literary brawl. All the better because they’re two broads (not chicks, not gals, not dames) – most definitely, women, but here they go at it like men – and with an eye toward what this might do to help their careers. It’s a satisfying fight that anyone can get in.
(And check out Letters of Note’s entry on the late Helen Gurley Brown’s letter to the editor of Cosmo Turkey - it's a masterful use of tone.)