ezekiel's chariot - 張敦楷 (pjammer) wrote,
ezekiel's chariot - 張敦楷

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Reason and Accountability

During Jack Nicholson's turn as the crumudgeonly author Melvin Udell in As Good As it Gets, he was asked by one of his readers "How do you write women so well?"

to which he replied: "Easy. I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability."

Quotable misogynistic quips notwithstanding, is it true that the distaff side of humanity is more prone to irrationality and blame-evasion? In his supurb essay Twilight Connoisseur, Simon Funk makes the case that rational, accountable women are exceptions that prove the depressing rule.


My mother was a freak of nature. While not always rational, she was accountable. Nothing she ever did was anyone else's fault or influence, and no problem she ever faced was an identity crisis, it was just a problem to be faced. And every problem had a solution, it was just a question of how good and how difficult. She was not afraid of life's questions, not afraid to say "I don't know," and most simply, just not afraid. She was completely unassuming, yet no one's puppet. She was purely and truly kind and benevolent, yet never a pansy. She ran the dog lab at the Salk Institute for many years because she believed the experiments were important for science and wanted to make sure they were carried out with the utmost empathy for the animals. At the age of 35 she decided to change careers, went back to school and eventually became a doctor so cherished by her local community there was practically an uprising when her and her husband declared their intent to leave town because of their misgivings with how unethically the local hospital was being run. In the end, terminally ill with cancer, she took her own life under Oregon law in order to lend a positive example to the pro-euthanasia movement fighting at the time to protect that right.

When she was Michelle's age, she was single-handedly raising a five year old son and working as a waitress with a half-finished bachelor's degree in biology (which she returned to finish a few years later under no better circumstances). Life went on, and it was good.

She was a f-cking hero in her own way, and that has warped my expectations beyond repair. What seems to me like so little to ask may in truth be the impossible. She had no idea I was not an average kid, and she had no idea she was not an average woman, and I have grown up believing, deep down, both of these things even though I know by now how far off they were. It is this that leaves me feeling that my race exists elsewhere in the universe and I'm just misplaced here.

- Twilight Connoisseur, by Simon Funk

I have my own opinions on the matter and will post them shortly, but I thought I'd throw the question to the audience and hear what you have to say.

Are rational, accountable women the exception to the rule?
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