Variances in friendship

We had fallen out, as friends sometimes do, over some nickle-nothing nuance of human behavior.

The White Buffalo once observed that women seldom maintain long friendships outside their families. I don’t know if this is true or not, although my own observations tend to be similar. In any case, Maralyn Lois Polak offers anecdotal evidence for the WB’s take.

It is amazing what suffices to end some friendships. When I think about it, there’s nothing an enemy has done or said to me that one of my best and oldest friends hasn’t managed to top. Easily.

Let’s face it. An enemy might punch you in the face and break your nose. A friend will punch you in the face, break your nose and laugh at you. More importantly, an enemy won’t remind you of it every chance he gets for the next 20 years.

Bastards. Now that I think about it, I may need to reconsider the potential benefits of this whole female falling-out thing.

Huzzah for the Old Line

From WND:

Therefore, be it resolved that the 33rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America encourages all her officers and members to remove their children from the public schools and see to it that they receive a thoroughly Christian education, for the glory of God and the good of Christ’s church.

This likely won’t pass, but it’s a healthy sign that more and more Christians are turning their backs on the public schools. Of the 40-60 kids in our Minnesota social circle, Space Bunny estimates that about a third are homeschooling while almost all the rest are sending their young children to church-based private schools.

What’s exciting about this is that ten years ago, most of these parents had never heard of homeschooling, much less considered it a serious educational option. And far from being maladjusted social misfits, these are children that complete strangers regularly praise for being “delightful” and “well-behaved” kids that the parents are “lucky to have”.

Literary crimes

Paul Greenberg excoriates a literary crime:

Theodore Dalrymple, M.D., devotes his article in the current issue to a literary scandal that wasn’t one. It seems that in the 1980s a feminist publishing house, Virago Press, put out a book (“Down the Road, Worlds Away”) by one Rahila Khan. In a series of short stories, she told about the lives of Muslim girls and white working-class boys who are thrown together in a certain kind of hardscrabble English neighborhood. It sounds like a finely written, sensitive book.

So? Well, it turns out that Rahila Khan was the pen name of the Reverend Toby Forward, a Church of England vicar who was reared in just such unlovely surroundings in the cities of the English Midlands, and so knew what he was writing about.

The professional feminists were not pleased. And when Virago Press found out the author’s identity, its literary judgment of his/her work (“hard-eyed realism and poignant simplicity”) no longer mattered. He was the wrong sex. Virago Press destroyed all copies of the book it had on hand (thus making the remaining ones quite valuable), and demanded that he return his advance and pay the printing costs.

I’m glad to say that the Reverend Forward has done nothing of the kind. Indeed, his story would make any sensible observer ask just whose conduct is scandalous here.

Why didn’t the vicar submit the stories under his own name? Well, he’d already had some experience along those lines. When the Rev. Toby Forward sent the stories about working-class boys to the BBC, he got a less than polite brush-off. When he submitted the stories about the girls as the work of Rahila Khan, the response was warm and encouraging. Lesson learned.

This is the sort of thing I mean when I refer generally to feminists being stalinists, as opposed to the literal Stalinism of Betty Friedan, a youthful supporter of the Soviet dictator before turning her attention to writing fiction about the mythical Patriarchy.

For all that they are publishers, organizations like the Virago Press are anti-literary. To successfully create a convincing character that is not autobiographical is one of the heights of literary achievement; we honor Dostoevsky for giving us a glimpse into the mind and morality of a murderer, we do not disdain him for failing to have had the good taste to kill someone in order to lend credibility to his right to write on the subject.

The identity police of literature, like all totalitarians, wish to control human thought and behavior. It is this, more than their execrable and reliably unreadable prose, that makes them so loathesome.