Thomas Wictor

Nothing bores me more

Nothing bores me more

Don’t try to engage me in a discussion on the battle of the sexes. Nothing bores me more. Men and women are different; men and women are both human. The end.

Someone just made the most obtuse statement I’ve ever read about my writing. Though I won’t repeat it, here’s my reaction to it.

I don’t see the world through penis-colored glasses. When I read something about a man, I don’t think that the writer is describing me and all other men. If you’re the type of person who views gender as the most important aspect of an individual, I can tell you right now that my books aren’t for you. Don’t bother reading them.

My intention as a writer is to appeal to as many humans as I can. When I write I don’t have genitalia or chromosomes in mind. It’s likely that because I don’t give the slightest damn about gender politics, my attempt at being a novelist will fail. That’s fine.

When Eric was here, we talked about his own writing career. He’s a bicyclist, and he writes for a Dutch biking magazine. Some readers tell him that his articles are too technical, and he needs to dumb them down to appeal to a wider audience.

“If I have to write for stupid people, it’s not worth the effort,” he told me.

That’s how I feel. What I’m being asked to assume is that an entire gender is monolithic in its thinking. Have you ever heard of anything more ridiculous, offensive, and primitive in your life? It’s also completely contradictory to the other message being blared into our ears twenty-four hours a day, that there’s no difference between the genders.

Make up your minds. But do it without me. I’m not part of this asinine conflict. And by the way, the war will never end because too many benefit from it continuing.

I’m an aspiring entertainer. Period. I have my opinions about social issues, but I resolutely refuse to make my fiction polemical. What I’m trying to do is tell stories. That’s all. They’re not important. I’m not trying to teach, reach, reflect, or instruct, nor am I trying to become the toast of any group, especially not one as comprehensive as a gender. Is anyone on earth the toast of a gender? Name one person that every single member of a gender loves.

The message I received left me thunderstruck. Of all the viewpoints someone might have about Chasing the Last Whale, this was one I never even considered. After a day of stewing about it, I’ve decided that I’m just going to ignore it. I can’t change my entire literary ethos just because a segment of the population has a bug up its collective exhaust pipe. As Eric said, it’s not worth it to write for stupid people.

My obese, dog-worshiping, belligerent, illiterate neighbor Mimgrim and I are members of the same gender. Does that mean we think exactly alike in all ways? If he could read, would we read the same books because we both have penises? Does having penises mean we’re part of the same culture? What culture is that, exactly? Penisese?

All my closest friends have been women. I know that’s not possible; the fact that I have a plug and they have sockets means that we were deluding ourselves, and it was all based on filthy animal attraction. I mean, what sane woman could resist this?

Hunkahunka

Still, all my closest friends have been women. It’s only in the last decade—due to my age and solitude—that I haven’t had any extremely close friends who are women. Nothing’s changed, though. I still get along better with women. And I never wanted to sleep with any of my friends who were women.

I’m not a Tinkertoy. My brain actually functions. Sweeping generalizations are for others, not me. They also aren’t for the intelligent, interesting, thoughtful people for whom I write.

Take your gender war and shove it. I learned at the feet of a great iconoclast, Cecilia Lower Wictor.

Guess what? She was beautiful. Casually beautiful. I never looked at her and wondered what her beauty meant from a societal standpoint. Plenty of women despised her because she was beautiful. I got to watch that dynamic in person. It was outrageously inhumane, since Mom never did anything to flaunt her looks.

As usual the people claiming to be one thing were exactly the opposite. The loudmouthed, complaining, whining, bitching malcontents who insisted that beauty was a false construct were the ones obsessed with it. They created problems out of thin air and lied to themselves and everyone else about their real motivations.

If there’s a “problem with beauty,” women are the ones who have it. I never once criticized or insulted someone because she was beautiful. The really nasty attacks on female beauty come from women.

My fiction is just stories, precisely the way that Mom was just Mom. People made my mother suffer because of her appearance; I won’t suffer for anyone. Nor will I change my fiction in order to please buffoonish, wildly inconsistent monomaniacs. I just have a different value system, that’s all.

Like my mother I value individualism above everything. My fiction will be dedicated to her and her beauty. Like my mother’s beauty, my fiction has no societal meaning. It simply exists.

Deal with it. Grow the hell up, and don’t waste my time with your tiny thoughts.

1979


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