Mary Wollstonecraft Day - 2002
The Fourth Annual Political Postings Day
for Male Voices

May 1, 2002

Welcome to the fourth annual Mary Wollstonecraft Day!

The Male Voices bulletin board is not, in general, intended as a place for political messages, social commentary, or discussion of current events. Rather, it is devoted to an exploration of the literary vision of Jane Austen. However, one important part of this study must be the context for Jane Austen's time and that context was one of radical political thought, rhetoric, and action. For that reason, we thought it might be useful—and fun—to adopt those conditions for one day of each year. So, this day is devoted to that other extreme and should be considered a celebration.

Mary Wollstonecraft was a contemporary of Jane Austen, a political radical, a feminist, and a bisexual sexual-libertarian. Ms. Wollstonecraft was many things that Miss Austen was not. Think of it this way: we devote this single date of every year to emulate Mary Wollstonecraft and to express our own frustrations along with our utopian dreams.

If you need examples of the sort of thing that is expected, here are links to

Here is a List of Contents for 2002.


Americans don't know whether to jump or go blind about events in the Sinai right now.  The US media has been working hard to convince us that no one supports Israel, while the polls show otherwise.  What's a conscience-ridden 21st century citizen to do? Let's start with a look at the situation.

Palestinians blow up a large number of Israeli civilians; Israel invades Palestinian territories.  Both sides and the international media report heavy fighting and moderate casualties.

13 IDF soldiers are killed in an ambush.  The Israeli government is absolutely flabbergasted while there is much celebrating in the Palestinian areas...

No, wait.  The Israeli government is NOT surprised.  After all, they went into Jenin to root out militants and destroy terrorist infrastructure.  Their soldiers were NOT rampaging through civilian areas where they would reasonably expect little or no resistance.  The Palestinians are NOT celebrating.  Jenin, after all is a refugee camp. There aren't any militants there, just civilians whom the IDF are massacring.  Press conferences end with "My bad" apologies from both sides.

Meanwhile... The international press, which has ignored or sidestepped media bans in places like Kabul, Baghdad, Beirut, and the great Mosque in Jerusalem have suddenly turned into a bunch of aging Victorian spinsters, wringing their handkerchiefs and fluttering their lashes telling the world the mean old Israeli Army won't let them into Jenin.  And there's not a spare satellite phone, digital camera or laptop to be found anywhere that can be smuggled in to give us a real picture.

Over in Egypt, the government is either managing the greatest high wire act in history or possibly engaged in a Machiavellian plot worthy of the "dirty tricks" era CIA.  While the official state press agitates against Israel and the US, and the government makes the proper anti-western noises which are so popular with the voters; the same government struggles to keep the 2500 year old Egyptian tourist industry alive.   After the brutal, but very effective campaign against Islamic extremists a few years ago, we have to ask ourselves if the Egyptian government is using the crisis to smoke out more radicals?

In Jordan, the oh-so-reasonable, educated, and urbane King and Queen are models of all that's good in Islam and Royalty.  They maintain a staggering popularity in their own country while staying loyal to the US, sympathizing with the Palestinians, and supporting Israel's right to exist in peace and security.  It's strange though... every time I hear or read a statement by them, there's a voice in the background saying "Just exterminate the damn Palestinians and be it done with.  Once they've gotten what they want from Israel, they'll start demanding Jordanian territory again."

Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Kuwait are of course spitting tacks as they struggle to be good anti-west Arabs and Muslims—but not TOO good, what with the looming specter of US investment in Mexico and Argentina allowing those countries to pump oil at competitive prices.  There's also the tiny problem of US troops in Saudi Arabia, and the probable US campaign against Iraq.  The Saudi government, again as good Arabs and Muslims must be officially in favor of the first and opposed to the latter; but in reality they're not so foolish as to think Saddam Hussein is going to be a good boy without the threat of violence.  But nothing's going to happen until the current crisis is over, so they're doing their best to make sure it continues; making public peace plans while privately encouraging the violence.

Here in the US, Americans are apparently so addled by sports metaphors they think the casualty figures are football scores.  They cheer for whichever side they've chosen, and send off incoherent Letters to the Editor asking that Sharon or Arafat to be penalized for "Offsides" or "Unnecessary Roughness."  Depending on which side your favorite newspaper is on you're treated to graphic pictures of bloodied Palestinian or Israelis and 15 column inches of gory details.  To maintain the illusion of "unbiased" reporting, the 12th or 13th paragraph usually lists casualty figures "claimed" or "alleged" by the other side.  Meanwhile, the Bush administration, just like the Clinton administration, and the Bush Sr. administration and so on and so on, isn't going to commit political suicide by denying aid to Israel.  Unlike most new age liberals, Jews vote in every election.

And there's an entire sub-culture of American citizens who blithely tell us all that if the US would just stop using oil tomorrow, the entire world would be fixed.  Oddly enough, these are generally the same people who are outraged that we've sent the Iraqi economy in the toilet with our oil embargo.

But back to Jenin.

The world press begins telling us of a massacre by Israeli soldiers, but they can't find anything out for themselves first hand.  At least 500 civilians are dead; the IDF trucked the bodies out, or buried them under the rubble or something.  Israel immediately denies these reports and says it has nothing to hide. The Red Cross, Red Crescent, and Amnesty International begin work and report there's definitely been a massacre...bodies everywhere.  Except they can only find seven (bodies).  But there's "forensic" evidence.  The Palestinians downgrade the massacre from 500 to 200.

The Israelis however, upgrade the number of civilians killed from zero to "a few." The press goes looking for stories or better yet, rotting corpses. Corpses are in short supply just now, but there are plenty of stories.  The Red Cross admits it hasn't found any unarmed bodies yet and that some have been left rotting because they're booby trapped or have explosives strapped to their torsos. However, Palestinians say that most of the civilians were buried in their houses.  The Israeli Army declares that civilians were given plenty of time to evacuate and that anyone who stayed behind was therefore a militant.  No, wait, actually, somehow some of the Israeli soldiers missed the loudspeaker announcements calling civilians to evacuate and "may" have fired on those trying to leave.  They "may" have also inadvertently bulldozed a few occupants who were too sick to get out.  It's a mistake anyone could have made.

Meanwhile, although Yasser Arafat has scoffed at the idea that the PA police force has been involved in any terrorist activities; many of the dead mystery militants have been identified as members.  Also, he convenes a kangaroo court to try 6 men wanted by the Israeli government and sentences 4 of them to stiff jail terms and promises that this time he "really means it" when he says he's going to put them in jail.

Finally, Arafat is allowed to leave the compound he's been confined to for over a month; more popular than ever and declaring a Palestinian victory.  Sharon enjoys the exact same rise in popularity and an Israeli victory.  Of course both sides are correct because they have once again suckered the US into taking responsibility for their barbarity.  Meanwhile, the US and UK send this year's sacrificial lambs to guard the 4 convicted Palestinians (who should be extradited to camp XRay right now, without either side being consulted.)

Now, did I leave anyone out?  Oh yes...

The UN, which doesn't want to be seen as a puppet of the US, but frankly couldn't pour piss out of a boot with the instructions on the bottom unless the US was there to read the instructions and hold the boot; decide to send a fact finding mission to Jenin.  The Israelis of course have nothing to hide and welcome such a mission.  However, taking a page from Saddam Hussein's book, Israel then decides that it should have the final say over the makeup and brief of the mission, and where they can go and who they can speak to.  Without US support, the UN mission collapses like a wet tissue.

Oops, forgot the EU which supports the Palestinians in the conflict, but not too much because Israel is the largest importer of European goods in the world.  So, it votes down sanctions against Israel, but tells the US it should withdraw all aid to compel Israeli cooperation.  Conversely, while admitting that a substantial portion of what is supposed to be humanitarian aid to the Palestinians is probably going to buy arms, it has no plans to reduce such aid or even make the attempt to keep track of it.  The EU also pretends it has no stake in cheap oil, apparently forgetting that cheap oil means cheap American food, cheap Canadian and Russian wood, cheap US steel and aluminum, cheap plastic, and cheap Chinese goods; all of which Europeans use in abundance, last time I looked.

So, what's the solution to this mess? What could be possibly fair to both sides and still maintain much-needed stability in the Middle East and throughout the Muslim world?  How about

STOP KILLING EACH OTHER

Hey, it worked for an equally bitter conflict: the American Civil War. It even appears to be working in places like Nicaragua, Vietnam, and El Salvador.

Here's another thought, specially formulated for Americans, Europeans, Arabs, Jews, and Muslims

STOP JUSTIFYING MURDER

Crazy?  Sure, but isn't it worth a try?

back to the List of Contents


Lately my attention has been focused on the "revolutions".  The American Revolution we have studied in school.  Since my friend, Linden Salter, the author and recent visitor to New Orleans is into the French Revolution, I have looked into that one more closely.  In my genealogy research of the past few years I noticed that in Germany there was a Revolution of 1848.  Since I knew nothing about it, I went online and found out that all of Europe, and not just Germany, was in uproar in 1848-1849.  I know there are more.

Throughout history, I suppose (I must suppose not having made a thorough investigation) there have been the thinkers, the military who act on those thoughts, and the aristocracy (a generic term for all rulers) who end up being the ruling powers.  I was more familiar with the military and aristocracy from my study of history in school than the thinkers.  I am now beginning to understand the motivating force.  There were many of these thinkers, but I will only mention a very few:  Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Godwin, Paine, Malthus, our American Founding Fathers, and now I want to add Mark Twain to that list because I believe that he was a satirist who deplored the conditions and literature of his day.

Women's rights, the slavery issue, Jewish emancipation, worker's rights, etc. have nearly always been an "issue" with these thinkers.  [Please be a 'gentleman' and don't notice what I listed first!]  I call it man's inhumanity to man.

A lot of these "rights" have come to pass, but there are some bugs yet to be worked out.  They left us some work to do.  The questions remaining are:  1) what did we do with them?  2) what do we do with them?  3) will we ever get it right and when?  It behooves us to study the past, because, for example, I have always taken my womanly right to vote for granted and had no idea what women went through to get me that right.  It's something to think about.
Love from Linda

back to the List of Contents


An opinion has been extensively entertained "that the differences of the human species in different ages and countries, particularly so far as relates to moral principles of conduct, are extremely insignificant and trifling; that we are deceived in this respect by distance and confounded by glare; but that in reality the virtues and vices of men, collectively taken, always have remained, and of consequence," it is said, "always will remain, nearly at the same point."

The erroneousness of this opinion will perhaps be more completely exposed, by a summary recollection of the actual history of our species, than by the closest deductions of abstract reason. We will in this place simply remind the reader of the great changes which man has undergone as an intellectual being, entitling us to infer the probability of improvements not less essential, to be realized in future.

One of the acquisitions most evidently requisite as a preliminary to our present improvements is that of language. But it is impossible to conceive an acquisition that must have been in its origin more different from what at present it is found, or that less promised that copiousness and refinement it has since exhibited.

Its beginning was probably from those involuntary cries which infants, for example, are found to utter, and which, previously to the idea of exciting pity or procuring assistance, spontaneously arise from the operation of pain upon our animal frame. Eager desire to communicate any information to another will also prompt us to utter some simple sound for the purpose of exciting attention: this sound will probably frequently recur to organs unpractised to variety, and will at length stand as it were by convention for the information intended to be conveyed. But the distance is extreme from these simple modes of communication, which we possess in common with some of the inferior animals, to all the analysis and abstraction which languages require.

Abstraction indeed, though it be one of the sublimest operations of mind, is in some sort coeval with and inseparable from the existence of mind. The next step to simple perception is that of comparison, or the coupling together of two ideas and the perception of their resemblances and differences. Without comparison there can be no preference, and without preference no voluntary action: though it must be acknowledged, that this comparison is an operation which may be performed by the mind without adverting to its nature, and that neither the brute nor the savage has a consciousness of the several steps of the intellectual progress. Comparison immediately leads to imperfect abstraction. The sensation of to-day is classed, if similar, with the sensation of yesterday, and an inference is made respecting the conduct to be adopted. Without this degree of abstraction, the faint dawnings of language already described, could never have existed.

Abstraction, which was necessary to the first existence of language, is again assisted in its operations by language. That generalization, which is implied in the very notion of a thinking being, being thus embodied and rendered a matter of sensible impression, makes the mind acquainted with its own powers, and creates a restless desire after further progress.

But, though it be by no means impossible to trace the causes that concurred to the production of language, and to prove them adequate to their effect, it does not the less appear that this is an acquisition of slow growth and inestimable value. The very steps, were we to pursue them, would appear like an endless labyrinth. The distance is immeasurable between the three or four vague and inarticulate sounds uttered by animals, and the copiousness of lexicography or the regularity of grammar. The general and special names by which things are at first complicated and afterwards divided, the names by which properties are separated from their substances, and powers from both, the comprehensive distribution of parts of speech, verbs, adjectives and particles, the inflections of words by which the change of their terminations changes their meaning through a variety of shadings, their concords and their governments, all of them present us with such a boundless catalogue of science that he who on the one hand did not know that the task had been actually performed, or who on the other was not intimately acquainted with the progressive nature of mind, would pronounce the accomplishment of them impossible.

A second invention, well calculated to impress us with a sense of the progressive nature of man, is that of alphabetical writing. Hieroglyphical or picture-writing appears at some time to have been universal, and the difficulty of conceiving the gradation from this to alphabetical is so great as to have induced one of the most acute philosophical writers to have recourse to miraculous interposition as the only adequate solution. In reality no problem can be imagined more operose than that of decomposing the sounds of words into four and twenty simple elements or letters, and again finding these elements in all other words. When we have examined the subject a little more closely, and perceived the steps by which this labour was accomplished, perhaps the immensity of the labour will rather gain upon us, as he that shall have counted a million of units will have a vaster idea upon the subject than he that only considers them in the gross.

In China hieroglyphical writing has never been superseded by alphabetical, and this from the very nature of their language, the same sound being made to signify a great variety of objects, by means of certain shadings of tone too delicate for an alphabet to represent. They have however two kinds of writing, one for the learned, and another for the vulgar. The learned adhere closely to their hieroglyphical writing, representing every word by its corresponding picture; but the vulgar are frequent in their deviations from it.

Hieroglyphical writing and speech may indeed be considered in the first instance as two languages running parallel to each other, but with no necessary connection. The picture and the word, each of them, represent the idea, one as immediately as the other. But, though independent, they will become accidentally associated; the picture at first imperfectly, and afterwards more constantly suggesting the idea of its correspondent sound. These ideas may perhaps present us with a faint view of the manner in which an alphabet was produced, yet the actual production of a complete alphabet is perhaps of all human discoveries that which required the most persevering reflection, the luckiest concurrence of circumstances, and the most patient and gradual progress.

Let us however suppose man to have gained the two first elements of knowledge, speaking and writing; let us trace him through all his subsequent improvements, through whatever constitutes the inequality between Newton and the ploughman, and indeed much more than this, since the most ignorant ploughman in civilized society is infinitely different from what he would have been when stripped of all the benefits he has derived from literature and the arts. Let us survey the earth covered with the labours of man, houses, enclosures, harvests, manufactures, instruments, machines, together with all the wonders of painting, poetry, eloquence and philosophy.

Such was man in his original state, and such is man as we at present behold him. Is it possible for us to contemplate what he has already done without being impressed with a strong presentiment of the improvements he has yet to accomplish? There is no science that is not capable of additions; there is no art that may not be carried to a still higher perfection. If this be true of all other sciences, why not of morals? If this be true of all other arts, why not of social institution? The very conception of this as possible is in the highest degree encouraging. If we can still further demonstrate it to be a part of the natural and regular progress of mind, our confidence and our hopes will then be complete. This is the temper with which we ought to engage in the study of political truth. Let us look back, that we may profit by the experience of mankind; but let us not look back, as if the wisdom of our ancestors was such, as to leave no room for future improvement.

back to the List of Contents


Dear Men of the World,

DR. FORDYCE'S Sermons to Young Women (1766) have long made a part of a young woman's library; nay, girls at school are asked to read them; but I should instantly dismiss them from my pupil's, if I wished to strengthen her understanding, by leading her to form sound principles on a broad basis; though they must be allowed to contain many sensible observations.

Dr. Fordyce may have had a very laudable end in view; but these discourses are written in such an affected style, that were it only on that account, and had I nothing to object against his mellifluous precepts, I should not allow girls to peruse them, unless I designed to hunt every spark of nature out of their composition, melting every human quality into female meekness and artificial grace. I say artificial, for true grace arises from some kind of independence of mind.

Children, careless of pleasing, and only anxious to amuse themselves, are often very graceful; and the nobility who have mostly lived with inferiours, and always had the command of money, acquire a graceful ease of deportment, which should rather be termed habitual grace of body, than that superiour gracefulness which is truly the expression of the mind. This mental grace, not noticed by vulgar eyes, often flashes across a rough countenance, and irradiating every feature, shows simplicity and independence of mind. The mass of mankind, however, look for more tangible beauty; yet simplicity is, in general, admired, when people do not consider what they admire; and can there be simplicity without sincerity?

In declamatory periods Dr. Fordyce spins out Rousseau's eloquence; and in most sentimental rant, details his opinions respecting the female character, and the behaviour which woman ought to assume to render her lovely.

In this way he would have Nature address man.

I know not any comment that can be made seriously on this curious passage, and I could produce many similar ones; and some, so very sentimental, that I have heard rational men use the word 'indecent', when they mentioned them with disgust.

Throughout there is a display of cold artificial feelings, and that parade of sensibility which boys and girls should be taught to despise as the sure mark of a little vain mind. Florid appeals are made to heaven, and to the beauteous innocents, the fairest images of heaven here below, whilst sober sense is left far behind. This is not the language of the heart, nor will it ever reach it.

I shall be told, perhaps, that the public have been pleased with these volumes. True—and Hervey's Meditations are still read, though he equally sinned against sense and taste.

I particularly object to the love-like phrases of pumped up passion, which are every where interspersed. If women be ever allowed to walk without leading-strings, why must they be cajoled into virtue by artful flattery and sexual compliments?—Speak to them the language of truth and soberness, and away with the lullaby strains of condescending endearment! Let them be taught to respect themselves as rational creatures, and not led to have a passion for their own insipid persons. It moves my gall to hear a preacher descanting on dress and needle-work; and still more, to hear him address the British fair, the fairest of the fair, as if they had only feelings.

Even recommending piety he uses the following argument,

Why are women to be thus bred up with a desire of conquest? the very epithet, used in this sense, gives me a sickly qualm! Does religion and virtue offer no stronger motives, no brighter reward? Must they always be debased by being made to consider the sex of their companions? Must they be taught always to be pleasing? And when levelling their small artillery at the heart of man, is it necessary to tell them that a little sense is sufficient to render their attention incredibly soothing? I should have supposed for the same reason.

Why are girls to be told that they resemble angels; but to sink them below women? Or, that a gentle innocent female is an object that comes nearer to the idea which we have formed of angels than any other. Yet they are told, at the same time, that they are only like angels when they are young and beautiful; consequently, it is their persons, not their virtues, that procure them this homage.

Idle empty words! What can such delusive flattery lead to, but vanity and folly? The lover, it is true, has a poetic licence to exalt his mistress; his reason is the bubble of his passion, and he does not utter a falsehood when he borrows the language of adoration. His imagination may raise the idol of his heart, unblamed, above humanity; and happy would it be for women, if they were only flattered by the men who loved them; I mean who loved the individual, not the sex; but should a grave preacher interlard his discourses with such fooleries?

In sermons or novels, however, voluptuousness is always true to its text. Men are allowed by moralists to cultivate, as Nature directs, different qualities, and assume the different characters, that the same passions, modified almost to infinity, give to each individual. A virtuous man may have a choleric or a sanguine constitution, be gay or grave, unreproved; be firm till he is almost overbearing, or, weakly submissive, have no will or opinion of his own; but all women are to be levelled, by meekness and docility, into one character of yielding softness and gentle compliance.

I will use the preacher's own words.

Is not the following portrait—the portrait of a house slave?

Such a woman ought to be an angel—or she is an ass—for I discern not a trace of the human character, neither reason nor passion in this domestic drudge, whose being is absorbed in that of a tyrant's.

Still Dr. Fordyce must have very little acquaintance with the human heart, if he really supposed that such conduct would bring back wandering love, instead of exciting contempt. No, beauty, gentleness, &c. &c. may gain a heart; but esteem, the only lasting affection, can alone be obtained by virtue supported by reason. It is respect for the understanding that keeps alive tenderness for the person.

As these volumes are so frequently put into the hands of young people, I have taken more notice of them than, strictly speaking, they deserve; but as they have contributed to vitiate the taste, and enervate the understanding of many of my fellow-creatures, I could not pass them silently over.

back to the List of Contents


Dear Community,

I will try to say something about the Israeli-Palestinian situation. I don't think of this so much as an analysis or an advocacy as it is an effort to sort out and better understand my own inclinations and feelings. I am far more interested in reading your reaction than in setting down my own views.

First of all, like most Americans, I don't want to think about this problem at all; I wish it would all go away. When I do think about this problem, my instinct is to side with Israel, but not for the reason that most Palestinians think that many Americans are so inclined. My inclination is related to the holocaust but in a way that I have heard neither discussed nor admitted. My basic thesis here, today, is that Americans operate out of a collective sense of guilt and not out of a simple prejudice in the cause of Israel. And that collective sense restricts us in important ways; most of us would like to complain about particular Israeli policies but we find ourselves incapable of finding the words. (For me, the settlements in the occupied territories are disturbing developments, but what can I say?—I mean how can I say it?)

America was derelict during the holocaust and that collective guilt makes it impossible for many Americans to take any opinion or action that might reflect the deep-rooted American anti-Semitism of the past. Our ethnic prejudice, at that crucial time, led to our unforgivable anti-Semitic immigration laws just at a time when the Jews would have done anything in order to escape from continental Europe. As a result, we, in America, tend to bend over backwards to assist the Jews in their current struggle. That is important for the Arab world to understand—not necessary to find useful but to understand. When they think otherwise, they will wonder how it is possible for so many Americans to sympathize with victims of the holocaust but not with the victims of Israeli occupation. The reason is simple but profound: we Americans are not implicated in the occupation, but we were implicated in the holocaust.

It is interesting to apply these ideas to an analysis of the attitudes of Europeans. I should think the English have the best chance of being even-handed because their recent history is a better example than ours. While their immigration policies were not outstanding or even very good during the holocaust, theirs was far better than the American cousins'. They even took on 10,000 children of European Jews seeking asylum. Bravo! A terrible fate was in store for 250,000 other Jewish children that would not be granted a temporary home. Also, the British made significant efforts to reduce Jewish immigration into Palestine and that should give them some credibility with Arabs in the region. I don't know if that is enough to overcome the lingering image of their colonialism in the Mid-East.

And Britain is as a gathering of angels compared to most other European nations. Many of those were the next thing to collaborators in the holocaust. Well, the eastern Europeans were far closer than the "next" thing. The records of Poland and the Soviet Republics are as disgraceful as Germany's; we might never understand why some of the citizens of those countries weren't sent to the docket for crimes against humanity.

I certainly don't intend to suggest that the record of the United States was as bad as those of western, southern, or eastern Europe. I would be surprised if any of those peoples have any useful advice for America in these times. The British might—we should take a good listen in that direction.

I have no illusions—I know that what I say here will seem useless subtlety to a Palestinian. The usual rhetoric we here from that direction is that Israelis are Germans, Poles, or Russians and they should go back from whence they came. There seems to be no understanding that when those immigrants were in the land of their birth, they were not Germans, Poles or Russians—they were "Jews"—and targets. And the typical Palestinian has no inclination to believe that the holocaust even occurred. I should add that I don't think that an average American would act or believe any differently if placed in the Palestinian situation. The crucial point being that we are not in that situation, we are in the situation of Americans in celebration of, but burdened by, our own history.

back to the List of Contents


Since we are invited, indeed, encouraged to post strong opinions sometime this week, I herewith take the opportunity to state my views (complaints) about cell phones.

Perhaps some readers might remember what Jeff Goldblum said in Jurassic Park I - the creators of dinosaur genes were so busy thinking that they could, they never stopped to ask whether they should.  Same with cell phones.  Like anything else, SOME is good, TOO MUCH is not good.  Given that those people who have to be on the highways or drive through tough neighborhoods late at night should carry cell phones in their cars.  Mothers with kids at home alone have every right to use them!  But how about these people who use them on the treadmill at the gym?  Or in the locker room?  They can't exercise without blabbing into a cell phone?  And in the supermarket ... don't get me started.

Some woman behind me in Stater Brothers subjected me to a long detailed conversation about some skin infection someone had, the details of what it looked like and how it was being treated.  I was trying to buy food!  I had to run into another aisle to get away from her!  These contraptions should NEVER, repeat, NEVER, be allowed while driving.  Brazil passed a law against it years ago, there were so many accidents.  No matter how competent one is, nobody can do everything at once perfectly.  Accidents from cell phone use are increasing every day.

I guess one of the worst aspects is the twiddling that goes off every other minute.  I won't allow cell phones in my classes unless they are set on vibrate, and I order my students to take their calls outside.  Everywhere you go, something rings.  Cell phones play "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" during Mass.  They tinkle the "Mexican Hat Dance" in movie theaters. I am sure there are those Philistines who take them into the bathroom—God forbid they should miss a call just to obey Nature!

Cell phone were meant as a convenience (and of course to make tons of money for AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and whoever else makes and sells them).  Like everything else electronic, they have become a technological icon and people are turning into idiots.  I saw a kid on a bike today, maybe 10-11 years old, with a cell phone in his ear.  GIVE ME A BREAK!  I WANT IT QUIET!!!!!

PHEW, that felt good!  Thanks!

back to the List of Contents



Read a brief comparison of Jane Austen's nature
and biography with that of Mary Wollstonecraft

Read a short description of other
women writers in Jane Austen's time.

Read a brief survey of other
radical thought & action in Jane Austen's time

Here are links to
Mary Wollstonecraft day - 1999
Mary Wollstonecraft day - 2000
Mary Wollstonecraft day - 2001


Other Links

Back to the Bulletin Board
Table of Contents
References & Links
Index & Archive
The Male-Voices Home Page