The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age

    Battle of the Sexes: War's not the absence of Peace

    Once upon a time in a land far away, we had big people and smaller people, and the bigger people largely took care of the smaller people and the smaller people largely did what the bigger people wanted, and this comic-book characterization carried on for a few millennia. Beneath the cartoonist's rendition, there was a lot of smudgy tawdry goings-on, but in a regular newspaper, you can only get so much detail.

    Eventually people discovered tools, which went from simple stuff like big sticks used as clubs on to more subtle stuff like x-ray spectrometry and online marketing, which confused the hell out of early caveman/woman, but is slowly becoming comprehensible to their descendants.

    At some point the smaller people noticed that these tools changed a lot of the conditions that made sense for their original deal, since even smaller people could operate a diesel-powered backhoe and a semi-automatic weapon, even push a button to launch an intercontinental missile or release their own biochemical plague that would decimate a countryside. And since people stopped crawling down into the earth so much - they had machines to do that too, as well as huge tractors that would wander the earth much like dinosaurs in days of yore, and much more stuff that just seemed to just run itself, well, this original agreement started looking like a bad deal.

    Worse, in the olden times, the big people had made a concerted effort to kill each other in large numbers, both to keep the population down and expand their domains, but also because it just seemed much more fun than sitting around the house. That was, until mobile phones and large screen TVs and video games (and should I mention streamed porn?) made it more fun to sit around the house.

    So with the big decisions slowly turning from "should we with the blessing of God smite this people from the face of the earth", aka "Make Gog and Megog Great Again", turning to "exactly how much money should we spend this month to attract website clicks", the importance of the big people faded in the smaller people's eyes - especially as they felt more and more they could do it just as well or better.

    And since the deal no longer required the bigger people going out and coming back missing an arm or head or torso, or at least having them torn up and unrecognizable, that "I could do that" became more and more justified.

    Of course the tie between being big and being smart unraveled over the centuries as well - it was recognized some time ago that even many of the smaller big people were smaller than the bigger small people, and still made the most ingenious despots and military strategists, but eventually it was recognized that they sometimes made the most idiotic as well.

    Which would have been fine if the big people at least kept making the money, but eventually it was noticed that the smaller people were doing even more and more work, less sitting around the fire all day feeding it kindling, and more going from home to office, or home to field where there weren't buildings, and what with them doing 2 jobs and machines doing the rest, there wasn't nearly as much for the big people to do.

    And so the smaller people started complaining. At first it wasn't the concerted howls of outrage and indignity - just the observation here and there about how things were unravelling, the odd comment here and there about "how the love's gone out of our relationship". Which was curious to some, as they weren't quite sure how love got into the relationship in the first place.

    And so the big and smaller people steadily adapted their thinking to this new situation, each believing they were smarter than the other, but not really sure that "smarter" was what they were after in the first place, especially as the machines seemed to be taking away most of the decisions that required any cleverness.

    What did become clearer as things evolved was that they weren't clear at all, that both had been talking over each others' heads the whole time, which was more impressive and difficult for the smaller people to be doing for sure.

    And so they came to an agreement. Or didn't. Or tried to at least....

    [to be continued... ad nauseum or add nostrum? ]


    The obvious continuation is as the last sentence of a Henry Green novel : "and the next day they all went on the same".

    Perhaps. Tipping points do occur. There hasn't been much of a feminist revolution ever, but it's the most obvious to come. As with revolutions, it's not clear what flavor or direction, but "let them fix cake" is not going to keep this disgruntlement bottled up forever.

    Seems there really is no agreement reached. Or, because the bigger people are not monolithic (nor are the smaller people) a whole lot of hasty arrangements had to be made, with limited buy-in from all sides. Sadly, some of the big people who were loudest and even preening about the need to accept these new arrangements did not, actually, accept them at all. This led to much cynicism.

    Over-50 divorces double - another sign of change. Arrangements have often not been consensual on any level. Now that they require approval, failure rate unsurprisingly increases.

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