The Critical Mass

Men had their chance, and blew it

Live at The Cub Room: “Men captained the Titanic and the Hindenburg…”

At The Cub Room this past December, I contributed a spoken-word performance to Tommy Brunett’s Whiskey Brunch, with Greg Hassett on guitar and Gregory Andrews on drums. In recognition of #MeToo, the Women’s March protesters who last weekend filled the streets of many of our major cities, and today’s sentencing of former U.S. women’s gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar to 40 to 175 years in prison for sexually assaulting young women in the program, including many of the sport’s biggest names, I’m re-printing that pile of words here in The Critical Mass:

Men have been in charge of what we recognize as civilization for about 6,000 years. The results have not been encouraging.

Men created war and slavery. Men are responsible for the mechanisms that have created a rich and powerful business class, a minuscule sliver of the total population, that rules in a self-serving manner over the rest of us.

The news of the past few weeks has been dominated by reports of men in powerful positions sexually harassing women. Men have repressed women for centuries, manipulating the biological reality that women are the child-bearers into meaning they are also primarily responsible for child-rearing.

The lobby for the gun-manufacturing business, the National Rifle Association, is run by men.

Men captained the Titanic and the Hindenburg, shot JFK, rode with the KKK, killed Bambi’s mother and led an armed insurrection against the U.S. government in 1861. Mein Kampf was written by a man, albeit a man with one testicle. Men ordered the Ohio National Guard to shoot at unarmed Kent State University students and purposely crashed Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 into the Indian Ocean. Men planned and approved the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing at least 129,000 people, most of them civilians.

Men led the Donner Party into a dangerous shortcut through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where they were trapped by storms in the winter of 1846-47. Half of the 87 pioneers died, with some of the survivors resorting to a Christmas meal of cannibalism.

Men on the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Dred Scott case that black people were private property. Men withheld the right of American women to vote until 1920, and still do not allow women to vote in Saudi Arabia and Vatican City.

American men conspired with Russians to influence the last U.S. presidential election.

The American president – a racist, misogynist, bigot, prolific liar and corrupt business cheat – is a man.

Men are in charge of the Cleveland Browns, who it appears will not win a game this season.

Men wrote some rules – no eye gouging! – and charged money to watch two people competing in boxing and mixed martial arts, anti-social behavior that would result in the combatants’ arrest if it occurred on a city sidewalk.

Men have distorted cultural values. The most-overrated band in the history of rock, Kiss, is a men’s club celebrating juvenile behavior. A male executive at Decca Records passed on signing a little-known English band, The Beatles.

Adam Sandler, who has starred in some of the worst films in history, is a man.

Is any of this the sign of an advanced civilization? The evidence is overwhelmingly against that conclusion. After 6,000 years, it’s time to turn over the keys to women.

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