Squadratomagico has created an offshoot of the Eight Facts meme called the Eight Questions Meme. Unlike the original meme, it has no rules that need be published, and the questions are idiosyncratic enough that tagging up is a very difficult thing indeed. You can read Squadratomagico’s answers to her own questions here.
Question the first: How different are men and women really? Such a good question. When I was in my Marxist-lesbian-feminist phrase I would have been shocked that this was even a question. Nowadays, when sometimes I can’t tell whether the wedding pictures in the New York Times are two women or a heterosexual couple (unless I look closely at the names), I’m not so sure whether I have changed or whether men have changed. Three things I do know are that: in academia, at least, women are not inherently nicer, better feminists, or fairer people than men; that many young FTM transgender folks look like butch women to me (and don’t even seem to be trying to look like men at the same time that they are clear that they are men) which suggests that gender isn’t even about performativity any more; and that, as a person approaching 50, I have more in common with people of both genders who are my age than women in their twenties and thirties.
Question the second: Why do academics believe that they must work 24/7? Easy-peasy. Because we think everyone else is, so we should say we are working 24/7 even if we are not, and then others think we are, and so on. It’s like a hamster on a wheel. Also, we waste a lot of time ditzing around while we are supposed to be working, so everything takes longer: for example, revising a book review and watching Wimbledon at the same time. Also, we love to read, so we are constantly reading even when we don’t have to, and we pretend we are working when we are not.
Question the third: Why are cats’ covered litter boxes designed with the cover nestling over the bottom tray (so that the pee hits the wall and trickles out)? Because they are designed and sold by the same people who sell Absorbing Cat Mats for under the box, Cat-Pee-Go for the floor, plastic dishliners that the cats claw through instantly, and those hideous plastic scoopettes for plucking the poops out. After our last cat moved in with our friend Wesley, following a variety of misunderstandings with the dog that resulted in a Grooming Strike and a demoralized cat covered with a large mat of orange tabby felt, I realized that the litter box was the main impediment to ever having a cat again.
Question the fourth:Why do I absolutely melt when I see a baby animal, but have a minimal response to baby humans? As an aging lesbian, I switched gears on this: once I realized no one was gonna make me have a baby, I began to take an interest in other people’s babies, found them more or less as charming as puppies and kittens, and started to request their presence in my home as loaners. Baby animals, however, contrary to popular opinion, are not surrogate babies. They are animals, and their adorableness is enhanced by the fact that they more or less take care of themselves, do not have to be educated for a minimum of twelve to sixteen years, do not generate endless laundry, and do not require a government-sponsored savings plan for college and medical school. So their cuteness is unencumbered by things like physical pain, debt, endless birthday parties, tears, and socializing with their friends’ parents whether you like them or not.
Question the fifth: Why do people enjoy high levels of conformity? Because no one wants to be that person on the kindergarten playground (or be that person again) who gets noticed, and all of a sudden people are pushing up against her and saying, “EEEEE-yew! Why does YOUR mother give you LIVERWURST? EEEEEEE-yew! Liverwurst girl! Liverwurst girl!” And all of a sudden you become “Liverwurst Girl” until you move to another school or your entire class goes down in a plane.
Question the sixth: Why does astrology makes sense to me practically, if not theoretically? Beats me, Chief. Particularly since we know that having a star chart was mandatory for the Aztecs, but if you didn’t like how it turned out, you could pay the astrologer more and get another, better one.
Question the seventh: Lately I’ve been wondering — should I get dreadlocks? You ask this of a woman who practically shaves her head? OK: I have an answer, but it may be upsetting to those who believe that Fashion is Blind to race. Yes, if you are Black. It would be gorgeous and hot. No, if you are White. White hair starts coming out of the braids almost immediately, and the dreds get this grimy, greasy, matted look that I think is a little gross. You might get away with it if you are White and tall, but definitely not if you are White and short. If you are Black and short, yes, but if you grow them too long it will only emphasize your shortness, so beware. But don’t ask me. I’m almost fifty and I know nothing about fashion: I buy my clothes at the Gap for Men. And I’ve never even gotten a tattoo. So ask someone your own age.
Question the eighth: Why do people believe in “rational choice” theory? For the same reason that they believe that they aren’t really smokers if they only bum ciggies off other people at parties and never buy a whole pack. It’s comforting. If we really faced the fact that many choices were irrational, we would have to come to terms with how flawed we are and how unpredictable the world is.
Having just completed this, it occurred to me that perhaps I was supposed to ask my own questions, but nuts to that. My tags go to: Barnet Bound, professorial confessions, Ph.D. In History, Prone to Laughter, Dr. Crazy and The Proletarian.
Update for those who were tagged: ask your own questions is the rule, but I am giving myself dispensation.