I’ve been thinking on and off about something that was put forth as a question on torn and frayed: Do weblogs confirm male and female stereotypes? It theorized that women write more about things close to the heart, while men write about the world in general.
I was prompted to think, could this be true of women in general, that we tend to dissect issues that are specific to our own experience, and therefore is our understanding of the world, by some scale, small?
Years and years back, when I was a single girl trying to make a place in the world as I knew it, I would buy the Sunday papers and all day I’d read it down to the last newsprint page; the ads to keep up with what’s current in my field, the national headlines to be in tune with the times, the global news to keep tabs on the world’s pulse. Each Sunday I would do this, and soon enough the stack of papers in the hallway was taller than me. I threw no issue away, thinking there might be a fact or a news item that I would one day need to re-examine.
But the time for verification did not come. I realized the news did not really change. Sure the names, dates, and places varied, but the content was the same: bullets kill, children starve, wars breakout, prices go up, priests molest, politicians get fat. No, nothing changed much. Except me. I began to notice that, after reading the papers I would end up in a foul mood, ready to argue issues to the death, angry at all the things that are so blatantly wrong with the world. I felt misled, betrayed, helpless.
So I stopped reading the Sunday papers.
And still there is no avoiding the news, or what passes for news these days. When I turn on the TV it’s there—suicide bombings in disputed territories, little girls being raped by their grandfathers, people with multiple degrees bickering in the senate, generations being orphaned by AIDS in Africa, Michael Jackson going to court in pajama bottoms.
I like to keep my world view a little blurry; it pains me to contend with reality in 12-point size, in full stereo, in crisp Technicolor. As much as I can, I must disconnect.
Still, that’s not to say I have stopped thinking about what lies out there, beyond my front door.
Here’s what the full live coverage did not tell you: in the aftermath of wars made by men, when the bombs have stopped falling, when the fires are done razing proud cities into rubble, when the fine dust of defeat has finally settled, the survivors will trickle slowly back in, the women and the children. Their small hands will dig deep into the ashes for bits of metal, bone, books, fragments of songs, what is left of language—to build anew, a piece at a time—heart and home.
But even that is no longer news to me.