My suspicions are confirmed.
Canberra is nothing like Bakersfield. I’m relieved. Thanks Jonathon!
Of course, he raised another issue that I’m dying to write about. On the Road changed my life at 16, but The Americans also changed it at 18, and on top of that, Let us Now Praise Famous Men and American Photographs changed my life around 30. There is a tremendous chain of thought surrounding those books that I’m dying to let out. But it will have to wait until after the firestorm that is the first half of my week. Not to mention the recent article about Steinbeck that has me thinking about Horace Bristol, and my father, and other things.
But I can’t close out the day without mentioning the best confirmation of all: Girls Just Want to be Mean.
The team’s conclusion was that girls were, in fact, just as aggressive as boys, though in a different way. They were not as likely to engage in physical fights, for example, but their superior social intelligence enabled them to wage complicated battles with other girls aimed at damaging relationships or reputations — leaving nasty messages by cellphone or spreading scurrilous rumors by e-mail, making friends with one girl as revenge against another, gossiping about someone just loudly enough to be overheard. Turning the notion of women’s greater empathy on its head, Bjorkqvist focused on the destructive uses to which such emotional attunement could be put.
This coincides with what female friends have been telling me for years. There is a lot of scary stuff in this article. I’ve often had the feeling that girls are smarter than I am, but the specific application of those smarts is what scares me the most:
Unlike boys, who tend to bully acquaintances or strangers, girls frequently attack within tightly knit friendship networks, making aggression harder to identify and intensifying the damage to the victims. Within the hidden culture of aggression, girls fight with body language and relationships instead of fists and knives. In this world, friendship is a weapon, and the sting of a shout pales in comparison to a day of someone’s silence. There is no gesture more devastating than the back turning away.
I can agree with that.
Perhaps I should be happy that I have no relationships to be thwarted by right now? Nah, it’s too much fun dealing with everything else involved. Girls may be mean, but damn it, they’re fun!