Will's Coffee House

John Dryden, Dramatist, Critic, Poet Laureate, and my ancestor, frequented a coffee house called Will's almost daily, where he would hold forth on sundry subjects with great wit and aplomb. Same deal here, only without the wit or aplomb.

Location: Large Midwestern City, Midwestern State, United States

I am a stranger in a sane land...

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Death of Dworkin

I'm going to Hell. I just am. I don't like this fact. I hope that the afterlife of the damned is just a bleak world where the only torment is the absence of God, because the prospect of spending eternity crammed into a body-stuffed pit of sulphurous fire while being jabbed by cackling malfreeti is something I'd rather not dwell upon. 'Cause that would, you know, suck.

Why, you ask, am I going to Hell? Many reasons--not the least of which is I never see the inside of a church unless someone's getting married or ritually interred. (Or both--one half of my family is numerous and Irish--redundant--so we occasionally double up to save time/cost. Anyway--) Part of the reason I'm going to Hell is that I can't control certain moments of pure evil--thoughts only, but thoughts can damn as much as deeds, I'm afraid. One such thought occurred last week with the death of Andrea Dworkin.

My mother, as a schoolgirl, attended a Catholic school--like many of the students, she herself wasn't Catholic, but it was the best education that could be had for the money, and so she went. Not being Catholics, she and her fellow Protestants tended to regard with predictable irreverence the nuns who instructed them with predictably punitive dogmatism. Nuns being nuns--and thus mortal--one of the sisters died while my mother was at the school. There was a school ceremony as part of her funeral, and on the way back from this ceremony, one of my mother's peers--a girl I will forever admire as a fellow in humanistic villainy--commented: "Well, that's one less to contend with." Of course, she was overheard and expelled--probably because she should have said "That's one fewer with which to contend." Those nuns can be strict about their grammar. Regardless--when I heard of Dworkin's passing, I could not stifle a smile of wicked satisfaction and the thought "One less to contend with." (Yeah, I know, I'm also going to Hell for my own internal bad grammar.)

What's worse is that upon reflection, I just can't regret this inner sin of mine. Andrea Dworkin was an apostle of hate, and just because her chosen constituency (all women everywhere, except for the ones who chose to pursue beliefs/practices she disagreed with) is more sympathetic than, say, the redneck monsters who compose the Klan, that doesn't make her any less of a divisive, bigoted monster herself. Her motivation was resentment--her driving force was wrath. She was not a person of righteous anger--she was a person of self-righteous anger--a person for whom notoriety was mark of distinction, and who thus insulated herself from all legitimate criticism. She was not, in short, a person of good will or good deeds, and as far as I can tell, the world is better off without her. I've slammed folks on the right like Coulter--I slam Dworkin just as hard. (She'd probably read that last sentence as a thinly disguised threat of rape, a bugbear she saw lurking behind every corner--a paranoia that dilutes the power of the real thing.) I do not mourn her death--I celebrate it, quietly.

Which, frankly, does not make me a good person myself. On the contrary. It makes me the kind of wrath-driven monster I decry her for having been. And for that, I blame her. I'm going to Hell, and it's all Andrea Dworkin's fault. Is it any wonder I'm glad she's dead?


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