As is customary on such formal occasions the responsibility for writing a commemorative post devolves upon The Slo-Man.
August is a grand old month. Not only does the first whisper of cooler climes caress your cheek as you walk to work, but August brings the first jackets, the last languorous look at lighted evenings before the days shorten faster and faster. The light changes and the first leaf falls from the tree. August is venerable, the wise old month, letting you know that it is quite alright to have some fun, but serious work lies ahead, so charge your batteries, stock up on the canned food, bring in the frozen meats and prepare, prepare for the hard days that lie just ahead. August is wise, August is getting up there in age, August is.
August 26 is the day when Charles Thurber patented a typewriter, possibly starting a new wave of writers on the road to anguish. The telegraph system carried the first news item. LeggieLefty reports thatMiddlesex beat Gloucestershire by an innings and 31 runs in a single day. General Charles De Gaulle marched down the Champs Elysees to mark the liberation of Paris. The Beatles met the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on this day when The Slo-Man was flying kites off his terrace in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, oblivious of this momentous event. Many a famous personality was born this day, Mother Teresa and Joseph-Michel Montgolfier for instance. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner received certification on this day.
By the most curious concatenation of circumstances The Slo-Man, The LastWord, The Peeved Punjabi and LeggieLefty share the same birthday, today. Yes, some 50 something years ago all of the afore-mentioned came into the world at the exact same date and time. It is a miracle of sorts that they are all here working together to bring you this utterly fascinating blog. The Slo-Man is aware that this fascination may not be shared by too many readers, but he feels, as do the LastWord, The PP and LL, that what matters most is that they, the writers, are having fun.
Possibly the silliest observance is the proclamation of Women’s Equality Day in the US. On this day, 40 years before the birth of The Slo-Man, the women of the USA gained the right to vote. The Slo-Man hastens to clarify that giving women the vote is not what he considers the wrong thing to do and he asks you to please read this sentence again (and again, if need be).
It is the word “equality” that is open to question. Equality is a broad term. Equality of votes was achieved 94 years ago in the US. Women are free to drive, work, serve in the army. Women CEO’s exist, like the pretty young mother who runs Yahoo and falls asleep and is late for every meeting. Women should get equal pay for equal work. None of this is disputable.
However, can women be equal? To whom? Men? First of all, is that really a desirable benchmark? Men are reputed to be lazy, uncaring and reportedly geared for sex, beer, American football, which isn’t really football, or they are into huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ with their other male buddies. Women are objects of lust, used to sell everything from soup to nuts, literally. So would equality in this case allow women to sink to the same level?
Can women be equal to men in athletics and sport? When will women tennis players start playing 5-set matches? Should we abolish women’s tees on golf courses? You will argue that, of course, women are physically not going to match men and you will be quite correct in that. As he writes, he sees Maria Kirilenko and a couple of ball girls running prettily away from a bee or fly on the tennis court.
Equality is the wrong word. You should be looking for fairness, not equality.
Consider the following ladies: Sirimavo Bandarnaike – 1960, Indira Gandhi – 1966, Golda Meir – 1969, Margaret Thatcher – 1979, Corazon Aquino – 1986, Benazir Bhutto – 1988, Khaleda Zia – 1991
These are the well-known ones. Scan the world and see how many female heads of state there have been outside the US. If the US would take it’s collective cranium out of it’s collective excretory opening at the end of it’s collective alimentary canal, it would realize that it has not come to terms yet with a President who is a person of color.
A President of the female sex? That would equal the Sri Lankans in 1960, India in 1966, Israel in 1969, the UK in 1979, The Philippines in 1986 and, worst of all, two Islamic states, Pakistan (yes, Pakistan) in 1988 and Bangladesh, 1991.
Until then, the US will make do with the proclamation of “equality” and a staunch belief in it’s power and freedom.
Happy birthday to The Slo-Man, the LastWord, the PeevedPunjabi and LeggieLefty. And Happy Women’s Equality Day.