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The Melancholy of the 'Useless'

“It is the same with other diseases; as the desire of glory, a passion for women, to which the Greeks give the name of philogyneia: and thus all other diseases and sicknesses are generated. But those feelings which are the contrary of these are supposed to have fear for their foundation, as a hatred of women, such as is displayed in the Woman-hater of Atilius; or the hatred of the whole human species, as Timon is reported to have done, whom they call the Misanthrope. Of the same kind is inhospitality. And all these diseases proceed from a certain dread of such things as they hate and avoid.”

Cicero, Tusculanae Quaestiones, 1st century BC.

Go ahead, laugh at this writer and advice her to go start living in a box, but yours truly honestly had no idea that there existed such a term as a 'Misogynist'. Apparently, misogynists are men who hate women. Now here's a mystery: why on Earth would somebody start hating women all of a sudden? What did we do? We're human beings too!

So let's have a bit of correction. Misogynists don't hate women. They respect their mothers, adore their sisters, love their wives, but at the end of the day simply refuse to think these women are worth any **it.

Yeah, that explains a lot.
Funny thing is, history tells us that most of the learned and wise men were pretty much renowned for their misogynistic behaviour. Aristotle, the father of all sciences, calls us incomplete and deformed (us having a smaller brain, fewer teeth etc. etc.), Budhdha drives us out of his divine Sangha and philosopher Otto Weininger solemnly marks us as 'nothing'. In his own words: "No men who really think deeply about women retain a high opinion of them; men either despise women or they have never thought seriously about them."

This writer's science class has a top student who wears thick glasses, gets straight A's as if they were 'daal-bhaat' and vehemently refuses to speak with girls saying: “I don't like talking to women. I have better things to do.” He is probably well on his way to join the legendary league of wise men, the whole 'enlightened' bunch of whom apparently came out of their masculine fathers' wombs. Bless them.

But we can forgive our 'straight A boy' after a moment of consideration. He doesn't talk to girls but when girls talk to him, he manages to reply with a goofy smile. It could be that he's just too shy (that could even be cute in a sense). He would never verbally abuse a woman. He would never call names, scream insults or even raise his voice against a woman. But most importantly, he would never ever touch a woman as if she were trash, shred her clothing as if he had every right to do so and beat her at the slightest notions of protest like he would a lowly dumb animal.

Scary thing is, most extreme misogynists would.
21st February saw a similar shameful incident at Dhaka University, the details of which came out later in the newspapers and the miscreants were punished. A few days later, Curzon Hall campus saw a self-proclaimed 'pagol' begging money for kidney treatment. Any woman who refused him money was being subjected to his rude comments inappropriate for printing. And if you're thinking in the lines of 'it's because they wear provocative clothing and so on', this writer personally knows a number of women who strictly follow the Islamic 'Parda' rule and still have the experience of getting insulted in the streets of Dhaka by our 'complete and glorious' male populace. In fact, this has become quite an 'in' thing these days. Whenever there is a national festival (be it Pohela Boishaakh or Boshonto boron) colourful and lively with the presence of huge crowds, one must be sure that there will also be those crafty individuals lurking in the shadows of the festivity, well at ease and ready to practice their handy grope-and-vanish techniques on any woman and every woman that passes by. These masterminds may attempt to glorify themselves as misogynists by quoting the infamous 'mother/whore dichotomy' (where they hold that women can only be "mothers" or "whores"), we'll still call them perverts. We'd prefer animals but you see even animals have a sensible and 'dignified' system of pairing up with companions. The competitors take part in a duel while the female watches and the winner gets to be her rightful partner. They never think of attacking a female all at once or of raping her. That's what humans do.

Correction: that's what men do.
Let's end with a little science, a tiny bit that'd probably make even the great Aristotle stir in his grave. The male Y chromosome is considerably shorter (almost half in size) than the female X chromosome. It's scientifically proved. The overall result of which is that men have lesser genes than women and therefore they express very little proportion of genetic variation. As a consequence, it has been predicted that in the near future the male human species is likely to become extinct and a new hybrid 'in-between' species is to take its place (the gradual sequential degeneration of male and female sexual organs in higher fungi is a comparative study). While that time is still far away, we assure our enlightened male counterparts that no matter what happens, we'll still love you. We are mothers with hearts after all, however brainless and useless we may be.

PS. Feminist theorist Marilyn Frye comments that misogyny is 'phallogocentric' and 'homoerotic' at its root that has relevance with the general disrespect towards the female populace. We have no idea what that means, though. We're supposed to be dumb, aren't we?

By Raisa M Rafique
(Source: Wikipedia, Department of Botany DU, Principles of Genetics by Snustad and Simmons)


Sufferance

Sufferance builds character. Being miserable builds character. If you're pampered your whole life, if you're 'spared the rod', you're spoiled, they say. And so on. So if suffering builds character, does that mean that we have more character in ourselves than Straight A-ers do?

It's a biannual ritual, this one. We spend restless days and nights just before the exam preparing for a task we have no desire to undertake, miserable all the while. And when that's done, we have the misfortunate of having to wait a few months before our sow yields the bitter fruit we have no wish to taste. And all the while we're miserable and in agony, the Straight A friends come to us and complain how they forgot to write “PTO” at the bottom of the page. That's when you recall that the bastard had asked for several extra papers. Oh, how they fill those blank white sheets. It always strikes our heart with fear.

And then the day comes. The most miserable of all days when even getting out of bed and having a good meal is a chore, when we know that in just a few hours away we'll find out that we flunked in Maths, and barely scrapped a C in Economics, meanwhile some smartass on the other side of town grins at you and the following conversation ensues:

Him: DUUUUDE! I got AAAAAA in my A2! w00t!
You: I got AAABC for my O levels…
Him: What?
You: Get thee behind me, spawn of the dark.
It's a biannual thing, and by the end of our first year, we had gotten used to it, and by our second, we were so full of character that we oozed character all the time, especially when we flunked. We felt like outcasts in the normal scheme of things and could only feel comfortable in the midst of our own kin, fellow flunkies and junkies and a rag tag band of whomever not, full of characters, who suffered as we had suffered. Brothers in arms, we called them.

Hope, though, was never far away. Those were bitter years, but better years would follow; over there, just beyond the horizon, and the horizon was an arm's reach away. Indeed, when we received those stained and embarrassing golden certificates from our respective education boards, we knew that we would never be happier, never be more relieved than then to have finally been separated from their dark, clammy hands.

And, looking back now, we of the suffered brethren like to think that all of it had been a terrible nightmare, from which we've woken and walked into a new life of lesser suffering. And one where, for a change, we could be the one inflicting all the pain.

Indeed, it feels as if we have walked into a whole new nightmare. But it's not so bad anymore. Because it's someone else's nightmare, and what better way to spend your post A' level times than to chortle at the misery of those that followed you. Mel Brooks goes, “Comedy is you falling down a manhole, and tragedy is when I get a papercut.” How true and sweet.

Who can know our glee and our mirth (expressible by such emoticons as ^_^ and =D and :D), as we look on our future brothers and sisters and say four beautiful words, “Suffer as we suffered!”?

But don't think of it as cruelty or insults to your intelligence, and salt on your wound, that is to say, the discomfort you feel when you think about that period you left out, or the smudge on one of your answers, and not to mention our constant besmirching of your answers even though we know very well that you got every one of them right. No, no. Don't think of it that way. Think of this as repayment for all the times that you did NOT suffer when we did. Think of this as the imitation stage of being a part of our brotherhood. Or if you wish, our explicit stating of your exile.

And you mustn't worry, would-be brothers and sisters, for once you've joined our ranks, you shall also join us in making snide remarks for those goody-two shoes nerds that hordes As the same way we horde character. Yes, they will be arrogant and disdainful, but the least we can do is make sure that they... build some character before moving onto 'better' things. Did the great Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie not say, “Go do something you hate. Being miserable builds character.”

By Emil
(ssemil@gmail.com)

 


 

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