Salon as a ritual site, to enact the birth of the righteous
Regardless, I found myself doing the baby boy victory lap.
I was excited about having a boy, but I was also excited because I had endured a good deal of ball-breaking from my guy friends before the gender had been determined. My buddies ribbed me about having a yucky girl baby. One friend went so far as to assure me my wife and I would only have girl babies for future pregnancies as well. It would be a plague on my house -- a plague of girls.
When it turned out the curse had been lifted -- or, more precisely, that it never existed -- I admit: I crowed.
After that opening salvo of macho banter, I began to wonder if we speak about the sex of our impending children in vastly different ways and if the reservations about baby girls were not just limited to juvenile 20-something dudes. But it wasn't until we were expecting our second child, two years later, that the question transitioned from a passing curiosity to a legitimate concern. (Aaron Traister, “And may your first child be a feminine child,” Salon, 15 November 2009)
Guys, he's not lying about the incidents -- Aaron WANTS / NEEDS to think of himself as being wholy contrite, soul-bearing, here, so there's no way he would make an error in any of this. If you focus on them, it will in fact help enable what he is really up to: using Salon as a ritual site, confessional, in which to establish himself as a sinner who aims, at least, to be the good boy who'll attend to the neglect women have suffered. He is returning to mother's lap; admitting how wrong he's been; and how, now, he'll try to do good. It's more than about a release from anxieties, from feeling punishment-worthy -- though it is that: it's about priming himself to war against all those truly bad boys out there who cannot be deterred from understanding their own needs as as important as their mothers', as their wives'. War against the ostensibly selfish.
The falseness we're sensing here comes from this being part of a ritual -- he wants it to appear soul-searching, about self-discovery, realization -- but his course is predetermined, and those not similarly on course sense the something strange that is up, here.
He's not the only in all this. Check out "Hi, I'm Marty, and I'm a recovering Republican," to get a sense of what, I think, we can expect an awful lot of here at Joan Walsh's (maternal), at Broadsheet's (furies), Salon.
Hope you snap out of it, Aaron. Become even more truly self-aware than your sister is.