Of Adam & Eve

The castle is stormed, since yesterday’s Idlepost, by ladies denying that they are bibliophobes, liberphobes, libellumphobes, volumenphobes, chartaphobes, codexphobes, or book haters. Several make good arguments for themselves. My chief correspondente in western Massachusetts reports that every room in her man-free house is book-dominated, and the hallways were lined, too, before she began “downsizing.” So would have been the bathrooms, were they not so small. (I do not keep books in my shower stall, either.)

She is the real deal, for her downsizing, which comes with age sometimes, includes “de-thinging” as well as de-booking, and as she has discovered, the “things” are easier to part with. Notwithstanding she declares 20 boxes or more on topics like gardening and theology to a local monastery, 15 of the murder mysteries she no longer reads to another still addicted, and innumerable books possibly suitable for children to her daughter across the pond — whom I also know as a bibliophile. Too, she has not stopped buying books, which is the decisive indicator.

There is another woman in the Far East (Halifax) whose kitchen cupboards are stuffed with books, and who finds them set down in her refrigerator. Moreover, I am told that there are female librarians, though I doubt this proves any sympathy with the creatures. (With Coleridge, I count books as living, speaking, wingéd things.)

It is true, some women are bookish, and many men are not, as another correspondente insists. Very well, I find this easy to admit, but do not stand corrected. I did write, “in my experience,” which includes several harrowing cases.

“I need clothes more than you need books,” is a phrase I recall from several “starter” marriages. And among those more prolonged, I include a woman who drove her husband to a mental asylum (quite literally, for he did not have a driver’s licence), then dumpstered all his books while he was trapped inside. (He was, to his consternation, released a few days later.) And another, the wife of a prominent university professor, seen present and gleefully smiling soon after his death, through the auction that dispersed his library in big lots arranged by size and colour. She personally thanked the book scouts for carting the horrible things away.

Tolstoy said he would tell the truth about women, but only when he had one foot in the grave.

It happens I have other anecdotes, of book-friendly women, with which I might have created an illusion of balance and equality. But the times are not right for them. We live in an age when the art of generalization has been lost, and no “fact” unillustrated by statistical charts will be admitted. And should the stereotype indeed be statistically validated, there will be riots on campus.

So we must stick to our guns, and generalize bravely.

Behind the eagle eyes, and elephantine ears of our progressive gestapo, we still find examples of affectionate sexism, racism, and the like. (An unaffectionate misandry, on the other hand, is publicly promoted and reinforced by law, along with quotas to restrict the advancement of white people, as the State consolidates its monopoly on prejudice.) It is a proof that some feist still lurks in our old bag of a civilization. For misanthropy is the backbone of Reaction, and targeted misanthropy is the most exhilarating kind.