Menu Close

Category: Wildside Tales

Twentieth Anniversary

To Kill A Mockingbird               

or,

Flipping The South The Bird

Preface

Twenty years ago, a significant portion of the population of this country, in a collective act of communal ’bulimia virtuosa’, purged themselves of common sense and went on a ‘feel good’ binge.’ It was a portent of what was the beginning of the beginning of the decline of a great nation.

Anyone Holdin’ RITALIN

Repeated attempts at finishing “To Kill A Mockingbird” ended in reflex blackouts. Desperation!  Asked Spon “What does “mockingbirds are made for singing” and “to kill a mockingbird is a sin” mean? “It means”, he said, “if you kill black people soon there won’t be any singers left”. Spon had a different angle on the world.

Remember getting an ‘F’, with notation – DNR (Did Not Read).

‘A’ for effort’ had not yet made inroads into pedagogic theory.

I remember not being bitter. Took full responsibility for the “F,” but not the sudden onset comas.

All personal experiences and resulting animus aside… (no, really), I continue – coldly, dispassionately.

Bitch Please!

In Judeo-Yiddish traditions, so I’m told, chutzpah is: “everyone has a novel in them” or “every Southerner can write.” And meshugah is publishing chutzpah by Harper Lee, who didn’t and couldn’t. Miss Lee took one year writing To Kill A Mockingbird (hereafter TKAM) and three more years rewriting, with battalion level editorial support (unreconstructed truth) and still the Muse refused to show. At one point, the Southern belle, in frustration, gave the manuscript its wings and chucked it out a window (unreconstructed truth) leaving it to make it on its own. The thing would not fly and dropped like a dead duck done in by buckshot. A literary agent, on the spot (protecting his cut) made Miss Lee retrieve it. And that’s not tall tales of sour grapes; it’s unreconstructed truth, it happened.

Finally published in 1960, TKAM became a best seller and went from publishing phenomenon to regnant exemplum of what went wrong in America. That’s right, regnant exemplum.

Flipping The South Bird

Now, there’s no need for a litany of TKAM’s shortcomings (I haven’t a book in me, either). Prospective rabble need only know this one thing; Miss Lee’s most egregious misprision, i.e., her characterization of the South. The author’s South is barely warm, and then in all the wrong places. More notable, and most inexcusable, is the absence of the South’s greatest charm – steam; dewy, sticky, steam – terrestrial clouds of breath defying steam. And where were the chilled mimosas, sultry nights amid scents of fragrant chocolate vines intermingling with night blooming jasmine, and the rustling of crinoline and taffeta, moonlit torsos, passiona……………… uhhhh…   …sorry about that!

If Ms Lee was intent on doing this, she would better have had it done in New Jersey.

Had she had it done it in the real Dixie, I’d have at least managed to stay awake skimming the steamy bits.

And all that is the least of it. The most of it is the insidious moral kitsch oozing from this bildungsroman leading to – get this – a Library of Congress book study, finding ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ the second most influential book readers had ever experienced.

The worst of it – THIS (swallow that coffee or bourbon now) a 1999 Library Journal poll chose ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ as best novel of the century. That’s right –  the entire one hundred years of 20th Century American literature (That there is the greatest  WTF?! Moment in my lifetime… so far)

Somebody, please make it stop! In 2006, British librarians ranked the book ahead of the Bible as one “every adult should read before they die”

Now… now there’s just no getting around all that! There’s no getting from here to there, from “TKAM is a novel” to “TKAM is the greatest novel of the Twentieth Century” without a long layover in dementia. If to kill a mockingbird is a sin, to kill ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ should be worth a plenary indulgence.

Prescription

Rouse The Rabble, Gather The MOB, Seize The Book, Ignite The Pyre, and Remand To The Flames “To Kill A Mockingbird”.

(Musical accompaniment: the stirring “Der Königgrätzer Marsch”

Postscript:

1Flannery O’Connor – a writer:

“It’s interesting that all the folks that are buying it (TKAM)don’t know they are buying a children’s book.”

WildMan: Go ahead, wonder at the demise of America.

2Both TKAM and RITALIN were developed in the 1950s. Both became prescriptive in the 1960s.

WildMan: Read into that what you will.

THE END  (in more ways than one)

Womenology – 102 – Advanced Womanry

Part 3 of 3
ICGNS

by WildMan aka, George Palczynski

ICGNS
Everybody sing!!!
“I can’t get NO… sat-is-fac-tion.

To a man, it’s a song. To a woman, it’s… a good deal more. It’s a trope the world over. For women, it’s not a learned inclination. It’s congenital. It is essential yin. A woman’s general satisfaction had never come from a placebo. She can’t be talked or tricked into being satisfied.

Fact And Fancy
This is a cold fact. Men, dissatisfied, make no effort to fix the source of their dissatisfaction. Men merely, simply, digitally, restore the balance. If 0, then add 1; if dissatisfaction, add satisfaction. All nature is balance. It’s called ‘equipoise’. It’s powerful and it works. It may be the preeminent calculation to durable human sanity. Women are not without it; they resort to it. Dissatisfied with X, they’ll open a tub of ice cream, or go shopping for shoes. See! It works… alas… not to their complete satisfaction.

Why then are women so persistent in fixing that which dissatisfies them? Because women will not rest until ‘it’ is …BETTER. Cavil at it all you want, but it’s in their make up, and there’s not a damn thing that can be done about it.

Episodes
When I was a young man, a nice young woman asked for help rearranging the furnishings in her apartment. Apparently, she was… dissatisfied. As this had been part of my skill set by which I managed to pay off my bar tabs and stay stocked with Lucky Strikes – I agreed.

She was a feathery girl, light of heart and spirit. She could not crash through life, nor would she plow through it. It, life, was not a jungle for her to clear a path through with a machete. She, Carol was her name, did not flutter through it like a butterfly, she floated and glided – that’s how feathers ‘roll’ – they float.

You can have your bits and pieces as you like them but I’ll have them as they are… as long as they are packaged in a sweet, sweet disposition. Carol was so ‘at home’ within that sweet disposition that I’m not sure which had been made for the other. Had that disposition been made for Carol, or, Carol for that disposition?

A Lesson, A Class, A Seminar, A Tutorial

She deliberated upon each move of an assembled component piece. This was my resting time. I put it to good use, observing her – body language, facial reactions, voice – tone, pitch, and rhythm. This was not purposeful. She merely, naturally, caught my attention, my interest… and curiosity also. It was probably the signal life lesson on woman ever given me. She caught me smiling at her taking earnest consideration of the most recent composition. “What are you laughing about?” Said I, “I wasn’t laughing, I was smiling.” Said she: “Well, it looked like you were holding back a laugh.”

I moved this there, that here. Gave her props. She moved stuff along with me. We’d… she’d finally got it. She redlined ‘satisfied’. But wait! “Could you move your end back a couple of inches”, she said, of the sofa. Sure, I hadn’t said, just moved it. There. I’d almost asked if dinner was ready. She’d promised a meal in return for muscle. It was crockpot stew. The aroma was wafting for some time.

“Now just a quarter inch forward” came the words wrapped in that sweet voice. I swear it, with the saints and angels in heaven my witness… she said, “Now just a quarter inch forward”. …I’d laughed hard in my young lifetime, but I’d never been poleaxed by funny before. The laughing… it hurt. “You’re laughing again”. I nodded – I couldn’t talk. I was near on my knees on the floor, sputtering/wheezing with laughter. I’d hurt nothing moving all that furniture. I was certain I’d strained a couple intercostals laughing. Was she miffed? Damned if I could tell – couldn’t see through the tears.

She could do nothing but wait. Eventually, I’d settled. She did ask once, “What’s so funny?” I broke out again, waving off any possibility of an explanation.

Happiest dinner I ever had – smiling, grinning, chuckling and eating. She asked, several times, (CURIOSITY!), what was so funny. Having finally got control of myself I told her… “it was ‘a quarter inch'”.
“A quarter inch?”
“Yes, a quarter inch”
“How’s ‘a quarter inch’ funny?”
” It made me laugh”.
“But IT’S NOT FUNNY”
“It is if it makes you laugh”
“You’re weird”
Spent, I laughed, weakly. She shrugged, nodding disbelievingly. I was, to her, at that moment, an alien, so far removed from female/woman that she could make of me nothing more than ‘weird’.

A quarter of an inch is a big deal to a woman; and it’s never funny. That can’t be said of ANY other of GOD’s creatures. That’s the bottom line as to what will finally satisfy women everywhere… the last ‘quarter inch’ more… or less… maybe.

Atonement and Over Compensating

A woman’s curiosity and desire had got us into trouble but her amends got us from the cave to the penthouse. Women have earnestly set upon restoring the paradise that had been lost by them, whether they will cop to it or not. Not a one of them may admit it – ‘at’s okay – at some point you just have to let go of ‘it’.

Women will work ceaselessly to make things better, better men, children, homes, gardens, meals – better, always, everything, better. It’s not for nothing that women have themselves a reputation for being difficult to satisfy. They are on a mission.

Not The End

‘Better’ is without limit there where perfection is not known to exist.
– George Palczynski

Never Forget

“Insofar as something retains mystery, it commands interest.”
– George Palczynski

Always Remember

A man is never so assured of his manhood as when a woman insists he is weird.
– George Palczynski

Vive la difference

And THAT’s the Happy Ending

Womenology – 101 – Basics of Womanry

 Part 2 of 3
Curiosity And Desire
by WildMan aka, George Palczynski

October, 2019

Revving The RPMs

 “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”
– Dorothy Parker

“Perhaps that is why desire causes men calamity. By identifying with our desires and taking them too seriously, we not only increase our susceptibility to disappointment, we actually create a climate inhospitable to the free and easy fulfillment of those desires.”
― Tom Robbins (American novelist)

Ms. Parker had it right; women, just as all felines, are forever curious about near anything, and proximity triggers intense curiosity. Women are bound to curiosity by a natural force as much as they are bound to the earth by gravity.
Mr. Robbins speaks of men’s desires and it’s true in one way or another but had he in mind paradigms of desire, he would surely have brought up women’s desires. What can stop them? What alleviates them? Women’s desires are for …more. Having one of X is not enough. X must be had in triplicate. There needs be one in vermilion, one in cerise, and one rufous. There’s a reason back of that but don’t ask a man to explain it. It’s a minor qualm of even a smaller problem, but it bears mentioning for being odd but true. And that’s what this is all about – the odd but true essentials that are the makeup of women.

Recall, from part 1, the Queen of Sheba, the paradigm of the nature of woman as flesh. The paragon herself expresses that nature, and by it, reveals that all women, to some degree, are aware of that nature and its allure.

There is also that other nature of the female, the inorganic. And for this we have another paradigm, also provided by Flaubert.

This man, this writer, knew women as few others did. He understood also the nature of a woman’s mind and soul and provides for us another paragon – the indelible Emma Bovary.

Art And Life And Imitation

Madame Bovary is one of literature’s masterpieces. And the Creation myth is one of our greatest stories.

The Creation story offers us the man, Adam, who is not delectable, and the woman, Eve, who is. So too does ‘Madame Bovary’ offer the same – the ordinary Charles; the delectable Emma. Charles, as was Adam, was useful, practical, and content. Emma, as was Eve, was curious, imaginative, and desirous.

The Creator could not have been surprised at the humans’ fall from grace. What possibly could HE have imagined the result of free will would be? I wonder if HE wondered though, which would first fall, Adam, or the woman? I believe HE had strong suspicions. I would not be surprised what they were. Would anyone… really?

The creator of Emma was not surprised at Emma’s descent to disgrace. The story was not one of surprise but inevitability.

Neither Eve, nor Emma, was evil. Both merely, simply, allowed their natures to hold sway over them. Here is the test of Free Will. Which will take hold the reins, the will, or nature?

Note that throughout many of our stories, women are harder on themselves then men are, when facing their failings. There’s Antigone, Lucretia, Cleopatra, Ophelia, Juliet, Lady Macbeth, Anna Karenina, Abigaille (Nabucco), Angelica (Suor Angelica), Cio-Cio San (Madame Butterfly), Hedda Gabler, Catherine (Jules and Jim), Susannah Fincannon (Legends of the Fall), and more, still more.

Oh Woe, Oh Woe Is Me

“I see a woman may be made a fool,
If she had not a spirit to resist.”
Katherina, Taming Of The Shrew Act 3 Scene 2 (William Shakespeare)

My rejoinder:
Brave words, Kate – in the turn of what thy husband would have want for.
But thy words drip silent to the wants the wife cannot bear resist in her turn. Resist first thyself, maiden.

Why Beat About The Bush Getting To The Nub

Paradise lost:
We’d all be slurping chilled mimosas, and EDEN would be our world if only…
Giving birth would be as a day at the spa, if only…
‘Intimacy’ would be not so much undignified, if only…
93% of the population would not be afraid of snakes, if only…
Fruit salad would have it all over charbroiled steak, if only…
“Life would be a dream, sweetheart” would be more than a song, if only…
A cursed world would not be man’s dominion to water by his sweat, if only…
There’d be no consternating at getting eaten by bears or bugs, if only…
There would be no need to don fig leaves, if only… (that’s what started the damned infernal itching! There’d be no infernal itching)… if, if… only…

And what all had it got women? A thou shalt.
“And then also, to the woman, HE said…
‘yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.'”
Allow women a collective stomp at that outcome and the resultant quake would break the world.

Woman, Know Thyself

Women, a good many of them, are resolutely miffed that they get blamed for the exile from the Garden. Suggest to them they’d have fared better if the Minx had consulted the MAN before the fact and not been so all-fired certain she could beguile him after, and… you might get swung at.

No woman worth her second x chromosome is without knowledge of her powers or her destructive capabilities. Women are more aware of it than men. Mothers know it better than sons, and are not timid bursting young men’s bubbles, well… trying. Women are women’s greatest critics. There are more misogynists among the female sex than the male. It is another great mystery – that women are the most formidable force against women – for reasons good, bad, inscrutable… and inappreciable.

That last we will be examined in – Part 3 of 3.

Womenology 102: Advanced Womanry