Johnny-Canuck Pot Roast

..Something good, reliable, hearty, economical, even fairly quick:
(c) 2015, Davd

Readers in this year 2015 don’t need me to tell you that beef is outrageously expensive compared to pork or poultry. What beef i buy is chosen substantially based on price—and i do like to eat beef. So even in early summer, i bought a “blade roast” about 850g [slightly less than two pounds] in weight, for “last day reduced price” and when i got it back to camp*, popped it into the freezer. It came back out of the freezer before long, and one cool late afternoon and early evening, became a very satisfying meal.

“Yankee Pot Roast” used to be famous; but i’m not a Yankee and none of my Yankee friends ever taught me that technique. This particular roast was cut fairly thin—about 3 cm—as is common in Acadian food stores. I had a good supply of herbs, an onion and some carrots, and some vegetable stock… and of course, some pot barley. (Pearl barley will do fine, too, or you can use potatoes—even pasta, but that’s a little trickier).

A pot roast should be “seared”, or cooked briefly in a hot, preferably cast iron pan, to brown the flat sides; and then it should be simmered. I had a big enough, tall enough stainless steel frying pan, that i was able to sear the beef in a smaller, cast-iron pan and then transfer it to the big pan while i briefly browned the chopped onion on the cast iron. I used less than half of one medium onion and the result was good; more onion, or cutting in chive in addition would have been good also, perhaps a little better.

With the beef, vegetable stock, and some cut-up carrots in the big frying pan, there was room for everything, and also for the onion and barley to come—which there would not have been in the searing pan. If you have a really big cast-iron frying pan or “Dutch oven”, you can and should leave the pot roast in that pan from start to finish1.

I then added first about ¾ cup of uncooked barley, then a third of a cup of salted wild mushrooms, then oregano, liveche, and pepper. Thus the usual herb-spice checklist was covered: Strong Herb [Oregano], Celery [Liveche], Onion, and Pepper.. Mushrooms are optional; i happened to know that these salted Lactarii go well with beef and grain.

The big frying pan, with beef, grain, carrot, onion, spices, and vegetable stock, was then simmered for a half hour or perhaps a bit longer. A simmer, remember, is a gentle, slow boil.

The taste was delicious: The meat, full-flavoured and tender to chew, the barley, rich with the flavours it absorbed as it swelled while cooking, the broth, rich and full without any added “soup powder”. While i do very much enjoy a good beefsteak, especially grilled over the coals of a wood fire2, a well cooked pot roast also qualifies as a top-quality dinner, and the meat to make it usually costs much less.

The mushrooms are optional. Ordinary grocery store mushrooms will do fine, as will most of the stronger flavoured wild mushrooms… or you can leave them out. Cabbage and turnips are also optional, and i didn’t include either this time—but my vegetable stock included turnip flavour, which may have contributed to the good result.

Carrots, onion, and beef are not optional. You could substitute potatoes for the barley; but i myself like barley better, with simmered or boiled beef; and potatoes don’t protein-balance as well with red meat as grain does. The barley absorbs the meat and vegetable stock flavours as it cooks, which is why barley is so good in beef stews3 and with pot roasts.

(The best protein-balance for potatoes is “dairy”—milk or cheese. Baked or mashed potatoes with cheese can be delicious, especially with chives snipped a half centimetre to a quarter inch long, on top. My chef friend Soren used to add milk to potatoes when mashing them. Fried potatoes, whether shredded before frying or fried in slices, are very good with cheese melted on top and some chive snipped onto the cheese just as it melts.).

But that combination—potatoes and cheese—should be the subject of another blog. Beef and barley and some onion and carrot, the beef seared and the onion lightly browned before it’s all simmered with some herbs of your choice (and optionally, cabbage, mushrooms and turnip)—that’s a fine pot-roast, a meal you can cook any time of year and enjoy as leftovers if you haven’t enough guests or housemates to eat it up the day it’s cooked.


* I was preparing to relocate for prostate cancer treatment, so my home of 9 years had become “camp.”

1. I have one, but it hadn’t been used in months and would have needed cleaning and seasoning before i could have cooked in it without off-flavours—so i used two pans.

2. The best woods for grilling meat tend to be from trees that produce food: Apple, cherry, hickory and maple are famous. Alder wood also is widely known as a good barbecue wood. Don’t use pine!—or any wood high in pitch or turpentine content.

3. A beef stew usually contains more grain or potatoes relative to meat, and the meat is cut up into cubes; the techniques are otherwise quite similar. Pot roast very often yields leftover meat, after the grain and vegetables are all eaten, which can be made into sandwiches with mustard or perhaps mayonnaise.


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The Stink Bomb

.. an Old Man’s Reflection on Civil Disobedience:
(c) 2015, Davd

Though i never experienced one myself, i remember them well, announced over school Public Address speakers and local radio stations back in the middle of the 20th Century; and i remember laughing when they were. In their best efforts at proper, even prim “Naughty! Naughty!” tones of voice, The Authorities admitted that their imposed routines had again been disrupted by—a Stink Bomb. Much as they may have been pained to speak aloud to the public, that childish slang word stink, there was no other short clear phrase to use. “A malodorous improvised device” was too formal and circumflatulent; the less intelligent—or to be clearer, the stupider members of the audience might not understand, might even go to see what on earth that long fancy phrase really meant.

Nobody wants to go to a stink.

… which, of course, is why there were boys1, probably small groups of boys, who made and “planted” them. Once a stink bomb “went off” there was nothing to do but get everyone safely away from it. “The Authorities” could not maintain their imposition of their chosen routines in the presence of a well planted, big bad stench… and for many boys, literally “making a big stink” was funny.

Notice, though, please: No one killed, no one injured. The damage a Stink Bomb did was cleaned up fairly quickly by a competent janitor, and perhaps some few people felt they had to wash some of their clothing. The purpose was to disrupt imposed routines, and frankly, the Stink Bombs achieved it efficiently and with a minimum of what now gets called “collateral damage.” Civil Disobedience is the harshest term you can fairly apply to a well-placed Stink Bomb.

Civil Disobedience, in a genuine democracy, is often punished but never severely. The usual charge is mischief, not some crime. Rarely, “the authorities” will concede that the purpose of some act of Civil Disobedience is indeed worthy—that what was disrupted should and could be improved upon—and decide not to punish at all.

To criminalize nonviolent, efficient Civil Disobedience is to confess yourselves a tyranny.

I don’t recall Stink Bombs ever becoming even daily events. It does, after all, take quite a lot of work to make and plant one. To some extent, those Stink Bombs probably did keep school authorities especially from making things even less boy friendly than they already were. Democracy depends on the consent of the governed, and in schools especially, where the governed could not vote, Stink Bombs were a way of saying non-consent. Even the boys who made them were willing to conform to most of the rules, most of the time. Civil Disobedience is part of democracy when the authorities go astray—and “the authorities” too, are sinners who fall well short of perfection.

In political conflicts, similar tactics express dissent but not with authorities. Either the “loggers” or the “environmentalists” in British Columbia, back around the turn of the century when their disputes were important public political theatre, managed an elegant variation on the Stink Bomb: They arranged to get liquid manure spread all over the Provincial Legislature lawn a day or two before the other side was to have a rally there. The manuring had actual merit as landscape maintenance, and for those walking past on the paved pedestrian walkways2, the stink was minimal. For those standing any length of time on the lawn, it was “somewhat worse”, and sitting on the lawn, a common protester’s way to rest, was, er, precluded.

… and like those Stink Bombs in schools and occasionally in places of pompous ceremony, it was funny, at least to those who agreed with the perpetrators rather than the ceremony. Civil Disobedience is in essence, emphatic, attention demanding dissent. Humour improves it.

I don’t recall, if i ever knew, how those Stink Bombs were made. Many things stink; many techniques exist for distributing them uh, quickly. I would count a large plastic bag of liquid manure, dropped somehow onto a stage just before the Premier is to walk up to the podium and announce that funds for medical cannabis for PTSD veterans, will be redirected to support later abortions, to be a Stink Bomb and one well deserved3. But so would be a sulfurous device whose stench is quite different. Just don’t set the theatre on fire: Good Stink Bombs are efficient4.

Perhaps the Stink Bomb example will inspire other, similarly efficient ways of Civil Disobedience that improve on Stink Bombs for many purposes and occasions. I wouldn’t want it to be the only way to dissent from unwelcome “authority” with a minimum of damage done; better there be several.

Several violent ways of dissent have become far more common in this century than they were in the middle of the last. Stink Bombs that were often Civil Disobedience5, in contrast, showed much of the discipline and focus that marked the hunting teams of primitive human societies. Activists can learn from those “naughty, naughty” boys—and for all i know, some of them were those boys.

Better a Stink Bomb than a car bomb, a suicide bomb, or some kind of chemical poison or germ-warfare. Democracy is not puppetry, and voting is not all there is to it. Good if we can improve on those old Stink Bomb pranks; good too, if we recognize that they were better than many of the conflict techniques that have come later.


1. I never heard of girls making or planting stink bombs. In those mid-20th Century days, i doubt any girls did. Today? who knows? but it does seem that stink is more men’s than women’s work: How many women garbage collectors do you see? How many Feminists are demanding gender parity in that job? How many silly references have you heard to the husband’s rather than the wife’s duty to “take out the garbage”?

It may be worth adding, that women’s bodies are equally capable of stinking, perhaps more so—but working with things that stink is not Ladylike, and as Elaine Morgan wrote in 1972: “We’re all turning into ladies; and while people have sometimes jocularly debated ‘Do women make good mothers?’ nobody’s ever bothered to ask ‘Do ladies make good mothers?’ because the question obviously didn’t apply. Well, it applies now, and henceforth increasingly.” (The Descent of Woman: London[UK]: Souvenir Press. p. 249)

2. Ah! the uncertainties of Canadian English! In US-English they are sidewalks, in British English, “pavements”.

3. This is a secular website, but i am permitted to acknowledge myself a Christian, and my Christian faith considers convenience abortions to be evil… as i have explained in secular terms in an earlier blog.

4. As i draft this blog, a series of bomb threats have disrupted the WestJet airline… so let me say “loud and clear” that a Stink Bomb on an airplane in flight is much more damaging than the same Stink Bomb would be among the same number of people in a meeting room or a restaurant. It might even cause serious sickness…. and an airplane is not a public place such as Civil Disobedience normally chooses. There are good ecological reasons to question today’s extensive air travel; but i couldn’t call a Stink Bomb in flight, a non-violent nor an efficient way to convey them.

5. I’m not certain of this recollection, but it seems to me that once or twice, Stink Bombs were used to disrupt school examinations and the suspicion was, that they were planted by students who didn’t feel ready to take the tests.


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Misandry for Profit:

The “Jackass Formula” in Television Programming
(c) 2011, 2015, Davd*

There’s a powerful, subtle irony when Feminists attack capitalism. Capitalist funding [and through funding, substantial control] of television, was one of the first major supporters of feminism and female supremacism, if in a very backhanded way. The first widespread misandric themes in 20th Century mass media were—as best one can estimate—framed, choreographed and broadcast to pander to women’s control over—shopping.

Capitalism tends to have a narrow social focus: It pays too much attention to the money and too little to the “side effects”.

As television became widespread, programming was soon guided by the Profit Motive: The programs that were broadcast were those that advertisers would pay the most to broadcast. There were some social-policy restrictions, such as “no pornography where and when children might watch”, “don’t insult people’s race or religion”; and some imprecise restrictions on violence. These restrictions probably caused more “domestic situation comedy” programs to be shown than would have “aired” without them.

Advertisers pay for television—as they pay for any advertising medium—because they expect to get more profit from increased sales, than they pay out. They aim their advertisements, and choose the programs with which to broadcast them, with shoppers in mind. Excellent television content that does not appeal to shoppers, is a “bad bet” for most advertisers.

(The iron tonic named “Geritol” [a name derived from the Latin word for old age] sponsored Lawrence Welk’s dance music programs. The people dancing were mostly grey-haired. So, we may suppose, was the viewer population, since the makers of Geritol felt that the “Welk show” sold enough seniors’-anti-anaemia tonic to justify sponsorship.)

“Domestic situation comedies” were perhaps the commonest type of programming. They were mostly free of taboo erotica; they were nominally pro-family, but they were not very respectful of husbands. Why not?—because of the money. As regular comment-poster “Rebel” wrote on the Spearhead site,

T.V. will continue to cater to women unless men start outspending women1..

Men shop less than women and have done as long as i’ve been alive. The TV programming aimed at men—sports, especially—tended to be sponsored by the likes of shaving products and beers. There’s a lot less money spent on shaving products and beer, than on all the things women buy, especially food, housekeeping supplies (they called some programs soap operas, for a reason), and women’s clothing. (Ever go through the print advertisements in “content-analysis mode”, counting up the amount of space given to women’s vs. men’s clothing?)

So who did it pay the advertiser to please? Husband or wife?

After World War II, as television was becoming common, came the “Baby Boom”. Women love babies, and prosperity enabled men to support nuclear families without their wives having to earn money. Housewives became the chief shoppers and television programming catered to them—because they were the ones who spent the most money. not men.)

As a student or junior professor in the 1960s or ’70s—i no longer remember just when—i first read the phrase “The Jackass Formula”, meaning that husbands were portrayed as bumbling fools and wives as smarter and wiser. It referred to the conventional structure of “domestic situation comedies”, and the obvious reason why television programming followed it,was that the advertisers wanted to please the main household spenders—who were wives.

Since “The Simpsons” is better known to most readers than the television programming of decades past, i’ll quote a passage i read recently about that program:

‘The Simpsons’ follows the middle-class, Springfield-dwelling Simpson family. Homer Simpson is the caring but moronic head of the household, who works at the Springfield nuclear power plant for maniacal Springfield billionaire Montgomery Burns. His wife Marge puts up with his constant hair-brained ploys which have taken the family around the world and in contact with celebrities, famous athletes, and even presidents of the United States. Lisa is a know-it-all who’s dream is to become the first woman president and save the world of all its evils. Unlike his idealistic sister, Bart is a troublemaker at Springfield Elementary, always avoiding the bullies with his best friend Milhouse. Maggie is the youngest Simpson, always sucking on her pacifier, and who regularly seems to be forgotten by her family which gives her time to explore and cause her own mischief.

[accessed 14 October 2011]

Fair characterization of men vis-a-vis women? Not at all. It would be just silly fun satire, if there were as many programs showing men as wiser and smarter, and women as silly-goofy—but are there?

Nathanson and Young (Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men in Popular Culture Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001) go well beyond saying “no, there aren’t,” but they do say: Mass media content, in the late 20th Century, was strongly misandric on average. Nathanson and Young examine the ideology and influence of misandric Feminists; but do they explain why capitalist television networks and sponsors played the misandric game?

Shopping seems to provide that explanation. Cheap shots at men, sadly, seem to have made big money for television producers and sponsors.

There’s much more to misandry than pandering to the shoppers’ dollars. We can ask why shoppers—why any women, any men, would be more motivated to watch demeaning depictions of another sex, or another race,.. and to some extent better content, better chanacterizations did appeal to many. Many more, it seemed, were fooled by the Jackass Formula… or at least, entertained enough to watch the commercials.

The commercials motivated television producers and sponsors to denigrate men and call it humour2, to make misandry so common on TV as to give a sort of public legitimacy to female supremacism; until by the beginning of this century, with the lobbying of Feminist ideologues to direct it politically and legally, it had spread to real life.


* This essay was published originally on the Spearhead website in October 2011, when that site was very active. The language has remained “current as of 2011″; with some edition near the end: The focus on 20th Century television contains the basic argument, which has not changed in the past four years. It is posted here on everyman now, because access to the Spearhead site has recently been unreliable.

1. The url was “″ I did not make it a link because since Spearhead became inactive, having the link would lead many browsers to display the text, crossed-out.

2. It’s worth remembering, that a TV audience containing tens of millions of shoppers, meant at least as many millions of dollars spent on programming and advertising. Those misadric “domestic situation comedies”, were very cleverly scripted and staged. Their misandry was sly more than ugly—and men often “kid” each other somewhat similarly (but usually not “when the Ladies are present.”) What was distinctive to “The Jackass Formula”, was that there was little or no balancing “funny misogyny”—women were portrayed as better than men.


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Violence and “Real Men”

Two Lessons from Human Evolution
(c) 2011*, Davd

Human nature formed in hunting and gathering societies, where all adults were producers. Men hunted (e.g Harris, 1989: 278-281), and mostly they hunted co-operatively. Women gathered—foraged roots, berries, and sometimes other edible or useful parts of the natural environment. Most of what they gathered were plants or parts of plants.

Human evolution shifted from being primarily biological to being primarily cultural “at some point during the last 100,000 years, and perhaps only within the last 40,000 years” (Lenski, Lenski and Nolan, 1991: 92) while big-game hunting as men’s work and gathering as primarily women’s work began much earlier (ibid.: 89-90). Hunting shaped men’s nature, and gathering shaped women’s1.

Hunting is inherently violent. Those neat styrofoam trays of meat in the supermarket contain cut-up portions of the dead bodies of animals. A few days ago i spent 3-4 hours turning 47 recently killed mackerel into stored meat; i have killed and butchered fish and game many times, and farm animals a few times. As the meat providers in prehistoric human societies, men used violence to feed their communities. Real men are violent—but disciplined and restrained in our use of violence. Lack of discipline can cause injury, and it can cause tainted meat.

Undisciplined men don’t have the reproductive—the evolutionary—fitness of disciplined men. Men who resort to undisciplined violence have lost some of their humanity. They are not “real men” in the full sense. For anyone, and especially for a Feminist purporting to be expert, to describe a violent rampage as typical of man-nature, is—if not a malicious lie or a self-deception—ignorant to the point of folly.

Real men are co-operative. During the thousands of centuries when humanity evolved, there were no rifles, no shotguns, no compound bows or fiberglass arrows. Our earliest ancestors [and here i refer to the first Homo sapiens, as well as Australopithecus and H. erectus] didn’t even have crude longbows. Clubs, spears, maybe slings were the weapons available, and with those weapons, teams of our ancestors killed elephants!—as well as aurochs, bison, caribou, elk, moose, pigs [which can be both large and deadly], and zebra. Even elk and zebra are too large for one man, armed only with spears, clubs and stone knives, to reliably kill alone.

During those hundreds of millennia of human genetic evolution, human nature was formed. Men [and male pre-humans] needed co-operation, discipline, and restraint to provide high-protein, immensely valued food using tools and weapons we would find incredibly crude. Men would not be on Earth today if we did not have co-operation, and discipline including restraint, bred into us.2


* This essay was published originally on the Spearhead website in September 2011, when that site was very active. The language has remained “current as of 2011″; and given its focus on prehistoric humanity, more recent events or writings would not change the body text. It is posted here on everyman now, because access to the Spearhead site has recently been unreliable.

1. During these hundreds of centuries, perhaps millions of years of evolution, women seldom if ever hunted big game. The co-operation, discipline, and restraint that was bred into men could possibly have their main loci “on the Y chromosome”, such that women are less co-operative, less disciplined, less restrained by nature, not merely for cultural reasons associated with civilization. “Charles Martel” (on The-Spearhead, January 2010) summarized neurological research indicating major differences between men’s and women’s brain anatomy: It is virtually certain that important gender differences in personality are “inborn” rather than learned. Whether men’s co-operation, discipline, and restraint are genetically based in brain features that differ from women “is not [to my knowledge] yet established”. We should keep in mind that they very plausibly might be.)

2. If there were instead, some species of big-brained ape that lacked co-operation, discipline, and restraint, it would not be human as we know humanity.


Harris, Marvin, 1989. Our Kind. NY: Harper and Row.

Lenski, Gerhard, Jean Lenski, and Patrick Nolan, 1991. Human Societies: An Introduction to Macrosociology. 6th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

“Martel, Charles”, 2010. “Is There a Female Brain?” The-Spearhead website, January 3.


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Bean Sprouts:

..The Freshest Off-Season Vegetable:
(c) 2015, Davd

Unless you’re eating asparagus and fiddleheads, or are brave enough to cook young dandelion greens, early June is still winter in the average Canadian kitchen. In old fashioned farm culture, this time of year—spring outdoors but no fresh vegetables yet—was called the Hungry Gap. Today, it’s possible to go to a store and buy “fresh” vegetables trucked (more rarely, flown) in from far to the south where it’s been growing season for weeks already—but the prices?—the prices are a powerful incentive to grow your own.

I don’t recall vegetables costing half or more as much, per kilo, as meat, back in the 1960s when i began regularly cooking for myself. Today, vegetables like bell peppers, tomatoes, even cauliflower, can cost more than basic meat like pork chops, smoked pork shoulder, chicken, and the sale prices for round and “sirloin tip” beef roasts and steaks.

We have an incentive, gentlemen, to figure out ways to produce fresh vegetables earlier—preferably, all winter.

In the second blog in this series, i named the four staple Canadian winter vegetables: Cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and turnips. (Perhaps i should also have named beets and parsnips. I like beets, but parsnips don’t really seem that much fun to eat—to me. If you enjoy them, don’t let me stop you.) Those are the vegetables that can be found, fairly often, for a dollar to $1.55 per kilo [45-70 cents per pound]… and usually half that price or less for potatoes, which are intermediate between a vegetable in the usual sense, and a “complex carbohydrate” food (most of which, in Canada, are grains: Barley, maize, rye, and wheat, especially. Potatoes contain much more water per weight than grains; and so, usually cost significantly less per kilo than grain.)

Life could get pretty dull if those were all there was to eat, though. No wonder people overheated their kitchens in July and August and September canning tomatoes and applesauce, beans and plums and relishes, pickling beets and cucumbers, and did all the work of making sauerkraut… back 50 years ago and earlier.

Today, spinach and tomatoes tend to be frozen rather than canned, at home; and to cost ten times what they cost when i started cooking, in stores; while fresh vegetables more tender than cabbage—meaning much more tender than roots—can cost as much as meat, and sometimes 50% to 100% more than meat.

Bell peppers were advertised this past winter for three dollars per pound—the same price i paid for a beef roast to bake in the oven the same month, and 60% more than the best price i paid this year—after the price of pork went up—for pork chops. Green and yellow snap beans were advertised for $2—$3+ per pound last summer—in season, yet. To get a fresh vegetable for just over one dollar per kilo—between 50 and 60 cents per pound—reliably all winter? Gentlemen, it’s worth a little bit of work, to have a fresh vegetable you can produce in a glass jar in your own kitchen for that cost.

Its name is mung bean sprouts. Its taste is a little like fresh snap beans in the summer, and refreshingly different from all the staple winter vegetables. Add it to cabbage or kale (or broccoli or cauliflower) a carrot cut fine, and some onion, and you have the usual vegetables for stir-frying with chicken, ham, unsmoked pork, even beef. You can make a simple sauce of vegetable oil, sugar, and soy sauce; and have steamed bean sprouts as a winter salad. You can substitute chive blossom vinegar for the soy in that salad dressing and have two kinds of bean sprout salad. You can eat hot steamed sprouts with a bit of soy or chive blossom vinegar, as a vegetable with almost any meal. And if you want a meatless meal that’s protein balanced—try stir-frying sprouts, cabbage or broccoli, and thin carrot strips, seasoned with soy sauce, and eating them with rice. Steamed sprouts with rice and soy sauce are also good… and barley is almost as good as rice with both.

(There are many other ways to eat them, i’m sure, in books you can find at the library. I make chive blossom vinegar, so i find that stir-frying, two salads, and occasionally the hot steamed form, are ways enough for me to use the bean sprouts i make.)

Mung beans are sold at most bulk food stores, by now. The “Bulk Barn” outlet in Miramichi sold them for $4.35 per kilo* this past winter, which is a little higher than the 2013 price. They are quite small, about the size of a ‘fat’ pinhead; and a dull olive-green colour that reminds me of military vehicles. I’ve never cooked them unsprouted; but once sprouted, they really diversify the off-season vegetable supply.

At $4.35 per kilo, i’d consider them an expensive vegetable—but that’s their price in dry form. In sprouted form, they cost a lot less.

Last October, i measured 100g of mung beans into a jar [with a mesh lid] and added water. Five days later, the sprouts weighed 375 grams (to the nearest 25) The beans had cost me $4.35 per kilo (ignoring the 10% Seniors’ and Student’s Discount, no sales tax because they are a foodstuff). Dividing 4.35 by 3.75 [the multiple by which the weight had increased], the cost of the sprouts, per kilo [not per pound!] worked out to $1.16—that’s about 53 cents per pound. I’ve seen even cabbage and turnips priced at a dollar and more per pound in big name grocery stores “off special.”

At $4.35 per kilo, then, mung beans can be made into sprouts that cost about the same price as cabbages and turnips “on special”, and less than one-fifth the price of those three dollar bell peppers. What’s more, you can make them when you want them, without driving anywhere to buy anything.

You start with a glass jar that has a perforated or mesh lid. I bought my first mesh lids, made to fit wide-mouth canning jars, at a yard sale; and later i actually found one near high tide line on a beach. If you don’t easily spot those lids to buy and your high tide line doesn’t have any, you can take any size lid—the larger the better up to “wide mouth”, i’d say—and perforate it with a drill or a nail. My guess is that the easiest way to proceed would be to put the metal lid, top side down, on a piece of scrap lumber, and drive a nail through it at least 20 times, scattering the holes about the surface of the lid with plenty of them near the edge all-’round. 40 holes probably wouldn’t be too many.

I’d use a 1-litre pickle jar probably, because i fairly often buy pickles on sale, and have several empty jars around the kitchen. Most one litre jars with fairly wide mouths will do. If the lid is made of plastic, drill holes through it rather than punching holes with a nail.

Put a half inch [1,3 cm] deep layer of dry mung beans in the bottom of the jar. Add enough warm water to cover them two or three times high—a couple inches [5 cm] of water seems about right for the first, long soak. Cover the jar with the perforated lid, put it somewhere they’ll stay warm but not get really hot, and leave them for 5-10 hours.

When the beans have soaked for 5-10 hours, drain them (the water that drains off is good for watering house plants—or the summer vegetable plants you’re starting in the sun porch, if it’s spring.) Let the jar drip until the drops come one second apart, or more slowly. (I air-dry dishes when i wash them, so i tend to put the jars of mung beans on that dish drying rack, to drain.) Then stand the jar right side up and let the beans have some air—at least half an hour of air time, as an estimate, and up to 12 hours. Then add warm water again, to definitely cover the beans, and this time, let them soak for 5-15 minutes; then drain them as before.

Ideally, water and drain the sprouting beans every hour or so, when you’re not in bed. As a minimum, water and drain at least twice a day—and between waterings, keep them warmish—18 to 25 or even 28, but below 30 Celsius, meaning about 65-80 Fahrenheit. Be sure they drain well, so that all the sprouting beans get air time as well as water time. When they’re under water, they soak up some of it; and then when they have air between them, they use some of that water, to grow.

How big to sprout them before you use them? That’s “a matter of taste”. I’d say let the rootlet that is forming from the bean, get to be at least half an inch, but not much more than an inch long. If the sprout starts forming bean leaves, that’s a little too far along—but they’ll still be usable. You can store bean sprouts in the ‘fridge for a few days (and they don’t need watering and draining while they’re fridged—in fact, it might hurt them. Beans like warm conditions for sprouting.)

What i usually do is begin cooking with my sprouts when the rootlets reach half to three-quarters of an inch long (1.3 to 2 cm). The main ways i use them are steamed until they brighten, and then used in a salad as described above, with grain [also as described above], or put raw into stir-fry mixtures (the sprouts are usually added to the wok or pan, last). Cook them until they brighten … and enjoy.

I’ve tried sprouting soybeans, because i read somewhere that they have a better protein content than mung beans—but they didn’t sprout well for me. Untreated alfalfa seeds will make good sprouts, but they are expensive and harder to find in stores; and the mesh of the lids for sprouting them must be quite fine, or the seeds will drain away with the water. Me, i stick with mung beans, which are more available, less expensive, and easier to handle.

The sprouts taste different than beets, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, turnips [or parsnips]—and in my ‘umble opinion, they taste good. They have a pleasant crunch but are easier to chew than cabbage or any root vegetable, Winter (and springtime) meals just won’t be as boring with bean sprouts added to your vegetable collection.

____ _ ____

* They posted that price as 44 cents per 100 grams, for the same reason grocers post meat and produce prices by the pound—because the smaller numbers apparently influence some shoppers to buy. I translate all prices by weight, into kilo prices, for clearer comparison.


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If The Genders Be Reversed:

… a Test for Equal Treatment
(c) 2012,* Davd, lightly edited 2014, 2015

Even when we know intuitively or from reading that something “is so” or “isn’t so”, it helps to have a measure, or at least an indicator of the fact. When arguing over gender [in]equality, a good indicator is all-the-more needed, because one side’s intuitions aren’t likely to be honoured by the opposition. Here’s a test, an indicator if you prefer that word, for Gender Equality: If the genders were reversed, would the outcome be the same? Methinks it will unmask most Feminist claims that “gender equality” requires giving more to women; and become a valuable tool for men seeking fair (equal-opportunity) treatment. A few examples may help readers see how to apply this “Gender-Reversal test”; using double standards of violence, accusation, sexual consent, and child custody that should all be familiar to most men.

Gerry and Leslie are names given to both boys and girls. Suppose there is a domestic fight involving the heterosexual couple Gerry and Leslie. Each is being equally violent. The police want to break up the fight, and the power they have available to use, is arrest. Who will the police arrest and take away to jail?

I’d be willing to bet—if i could be assured of a true answer—that as you read this, most of you who answered, thought or said “him”. I might lose a few bets, but i’d win many more—and there would probably be many who wouldn’t answer, just because you didn’t know which one of them was the male…

.. and “him” is the correct answer.

When i talked with people involved with law-enforcement, from criminal lawyers to pastors who counsel inmates and Salvation Army officers, in 2010 and 2011; they agreed that with equal violence on both sides, the male will be arrested 90% or more of the time anyone is arrested. (I live in Canada and arrests are not mandatory, or weren’t until very recently.)

This is especially unfair if—as seems more likely than not—equal violence on both sides, means the man is restraining himself more than the woman is restraining herself! The poor man is fighting back just enough to defend himself—and he’s the one that gets hauled off to jail?

If instead of male and female, the categories involved were “Native” and “white” and both combatants were of the same gender, such systematic favouritism would be called “racism” and would be forbidden by law.

This stereotypical example is almost comical, but it is no joke. I begin with it because it is an obvious, extreme negative answer to the “Gender-Reversal1 test” question: If the genders were reversed, would the outcome be the same? If they would not be the same, there is inequality. Think about that: If there were gender-equality in the legal treatment of domestic fights, as many women as men would be hauled off to jail, when police responded to he-she battles with equal violence on both sides. Obviously, that’s not true: Women are privileged—privileged to do violence to men they live with.

To stay with violence as subject-matter for two more examples, let’s consider pre-pubertal children and opposite-sex pairs of adults who do not “have a sexual relationship.”

About 60 years ago, my boyhood playmates and i would occasionally get kicked-in-the-shins, hard, by a girl who then danced away chanting “Can’t hit a gir-rul, can’t hit a gir-rul”. Many parents discouraged their daughters from this kind of aggression (some mothers seemed to believe that such aggression was a legitimate way for girls to respond to merely verbal insults); but boys who fought-back after being attacked were generally punished more harshly than girls who attacked. I have not seen this happen lately; but then, old men hanging around playgrounds are sometimes treated as potential “perverts”, so i am “prudently intimidated” from going to observe where i might most likely see it.

Can you even imagine a boy aged 8-10 kicking a girl of the same age in-the-shins, hard, and dancing away chanting “Can’t hit a bow-ee, can’t hit a bow-ee”?

The double standard of childhood verbal insulting was less clear, but again, favoured girls.

That small-child double standard i experienced, existed at a time when most girls expected to grow up to be housewives and mothers. Those were the Diefenbaker-Eisenhower years; and the girls who kicked me in the shins represented the first “Baby Boomers” and their older sisters. Many of their mothers had waited through World War II to be able to marry and have children. (In the 1950s, having children outside marriage was shameful.) The daughters saw mothers and housewives as positive examples partly because most of those older mothers2 were very glad to be stay-home mothers rather than Depression girls or spinsters, and wartime workers, such as they had been before marriage.

“The protection of the home” was then the normal milieu of women and girls; adventure and violence were male business to which only a small fraction of women aspired3. Most homes were protected, not only by the law and the Police, but first and foremost by a husband-father. If the home protected a few female privileges, they were plausibly “balanced” by men’s greater access to the wider world, and by the practice, then common, of brides vowing to obey their husbands.

Today, girls and women still have their privileges, including the privilege of violence without the violent response that same-sex violence often provokes—but men’s privileges are gone.

For a third example of violence between the sexes, let’s be conventionally old-fashioned, and recall a “standard movie scene”, which can happen in ordinary life, of a woman slapping a man’s face, hard, for using “naughty words”, impugning her virtue [sexual or otherwise], or showing affection in a way she finds offensive. Men were and are expected to take such violence without complaint, much less even think of hitting back… though few if any men would dare slap another man in like manner unless he were inviting a fight4. If a man who a woman slapped were to call the Police, and if they both told the exact truth about the incident, she would be vanishingly unlikely to be arrested, far less punished as a criminal. Few if any men would be fool enough to try dialling 9-1-1 because a woman slapped their faces, even several times, no matter how hard.

Now imagine that a man slaps a woman’s face, only half-hard, for using “naughty words”, impugning his virtue, or showing affection in a way he finds offencive. She can call the Police, and if they both tell the exact truth about the incident, he is rather likely to be arrested and punished as a criminal.

There is a Double Standard of violence displayed in each of these three examples: Women’s acts of violence against men are tolerated when, if the genders were reversed, the same acts would be punished with vigour and severity.

The obvious, logical test for gender equality, to repeat, is: If the genders were reversed, would the outcome be the same? For violence, the answer is often, perhaps always, no. The sexes are not equal; women and girls are privileged. To achieve gender equality, either girls’ and women’s violence against men and boys must be punished more severely, and condemned more, morally; and-or boys’ and men’s violence against women and girls must be punished less severely, and condemned less, morally.

Men have the moral right to demand that, in the name of “Gender equality”.

Now on to a very non-violent kind of Double Standard: Accusation:
Over 20 years ago now, i criticized something a woman had done and she responded with “Why do you hate us?” It wasn’t logical, it wasn’t true, it wasn’t fair—but because she was a she and i was a he, she got away with it. If she had criticized me the same way—complained, for instance, that i had made her wait two hours after saying i’d show up at a particular time—and i had replied, “Why do you hate us?”—do you think i would have got away with it? If the genders were reversed, would the outcome be the same?

For accusing the opposite-sex of hate, the answer between 1980 and 2010, was almost always no. The sexes were not equal; women and girls were [and apparently still are] privileged. To achieve gender equality, either girls’ and women’s [untrue] accusations against men and boys must be punished more severely, and condemned more, morally; or boys’ and men’s accusations against women and girls must be punished less severely, and condemned less, morally.

Sexual Freedom”:
If women’s privileges to do violence to men without suffering consequences, are hold-overs from when women were usually sheltered in the home, their present-day sexual privileges constitute reversals of the restrictions that sheltered women were supposed to accept “back then.” In the 1950s, there was said to be a double standard of sexual freedom: Men were considered to have more license to “screw around” than women. Since 19-sixty-somewhen, the “conventional wisdom” says, women have had about the same license as men—but is there perhaps a different double standard emerging?

Suppose a different Gerry and a different Leslie meet at a party. Alcohol is freely available. They get quite intoxicated and “have sex” by mutual agreement. Next morning both regret their mutual decision to “do it”. Who is guilty of what?

Again, as in the violence examples, “he” is deemed guilty in legal systems influenced by Feminism. Specifically, by a crime-reporting re-definition recently promulgated by the famous United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, he is guilty of raping her (though as yet, most US State laws differ from this recent redefinition.) This is not a logical attribution of guilt; it is ideological5 It blames men for consensual sexual relations between intoxicated partners—and in so doing, nearly reverses the Double Standard of the mid-20th Century. If the genders were reversed, obviously, the outcome would not be the same: Women are privileged. To achieve gender equality, women must reach equal probability of being found guilty of rape [and other sexual misconduct] in such non-violent encounters, either by reducing the number of men deemed guilty or increasing the number of women.

Someone from another intelligent species, free of the influences of Feminism (and of other earthly ideologies), would probably say that Gerry and Leslie are both and equally guilty of lack of discipline with respect to alcoholic beverages. The event wasn’t a rape at all—and the regrets should be directed at the face in the mirror, not the sex-partner.

For the final example of this little essay, let me refer to the subject that is most painful for many men: Child custody and fatherhood. If in the case of conflict involving equal violence, the poltically correct answer to “who will be punished” is he; in the case of conflict in court over custody of children, involving equal merit, the politically correct answer to “who will be given the children” is she. If the genders were reversed, would the outcome be the same? Obviously not. The sexes are not equal; women are privileged. To achieve gender equality, men must reach equal probability of winning custody.

One way to effect gender equality in child custody, would be to give each parent custody of same-sex children. There is much to be said for such a rule: Children do grow up; and boys become men while girls become women. Much of our social learning involves imitation. Boys, therefore, have more need of men than women as “role models”; while girls have more need of women than men.

Such a simple rule can also be attacked as “too crude”. A wise judge, whether in a courtroom, a family circle, a tribal circle, or the gates of Paradise, might well take into consideration the moral conduct of both parents and what kind of precepts each would offer for guidance, and what examples for imitation. A good father might raise even a girl, better than a bad mother. An athletic father might raise a child with athletic talent, even a girl, better than a “couch potato” mother.

The test remains the same: If the genders[of the parents] were reversed, would the outcome be the same? When child custody decisions reach equality by that standard, children as well as fathers will benefit.

All the above examples, turn out to show women and girls to be privileged over men and boys. If we were to consider publicly funded education, women and girls would be seen to be privileged there as well. It is difficult in the second decade of the 21st Century, to find an aspect of social life in Europe and North America, that exhibits male privilege,6 but banally easy to find examples of female privilege. The “Gender-Reversal test” looks to be a powerful way to bring that excess of female privilege to wide public attention.

My purpose in writing is not to “say the last word” on the subject. (These days, as two generations ago, women usually claim the last word.) My purpose is to invite and encourage men, and women who truly value gender-equality, to take up the Gender-Reversal test, and apply it often.

If the genders were reversed, would the outcome be the same? If not, how shall we fix the situation so that male and female humans have the equality of opportunities that led many men to support “women’s liberation” fifty years ago? I recall my own first reaction to that phrase, “women’s liberation”, was “Why not? I value liberation for people, and women are people.”

Of couse, my intention was that both sexes would benefit—that liberating women would further liberate men, rather than alter men’s condition in the direction of confinement and slavery. More recently, i have become convinced that total liberation of any population, in an interdependent milieu, necessarily entails the abuse of others with which it shares the space. The “Gender-Reversal test” may yet help us move things toward what mutual liberation is practicable, and equal opportunity.

If not, then “society”, in failing such an important test, may be on the way to flunking out completely.


* This essay was published originally on the Spearhead website in February 2012, when that site was very active. The language has remained “current as of 2012″; though a very few more recent hyperlinks have been added, the text itself does not take account of more recent events or writings. It is posted here on everyman now, because access to the Spearhead site has recently been unreliable.

1. Some readers may be inclined to “quibble”, that the word gender should read sex. However, “sex reversal” can have a connotation of “sex-change”; so idiomatically, “gender-reversal” seems preferable.

2. (Older relative to the age of their daughters)

3. A rather small minority of men aspired to violence, perhaps a majority, to adventure. But during World War II, the Korean War, and to some extent in Vietnam, many American and a few Canadian men were sent to do violence for reasons quite outside their natures.

4. One formulation of “Chivalry” states that a man who slaps another, often with an empty glove, is challenging the man slapped to a duel to the death.

5. The re-definition specifies that rape constitutes “penetration without consent”, and that one who is intoxicated cannot lawfully consent. The male genital organ “sticks out” while the female genital organ is inside the body outline, and thus the word “penetration” specifies that females who initiate intercourse, do not commit rape however drunk or unwilling the man with whom they copulate—indeed, a man on whom a drunken woman forces intercourse, could be defined to have raped her. (A woman could, by this tendentious “definition”, commit rape by “goosing” a man (or another woman) with her thumb, a trowel handle, etc..)

6. Two examples did occur to me: Senior executive office in business and politics, and competitive spectator sports. Elite leaders and elite “commercial athletes” are mostly male. (The easiest explanation of this, is the “flatter distribution curve” of male than of female ability.) Top leadership and big-league sports are both elite-only “areas of work”, to which ordinary men and women cannot realistically aspire—and if male predominance there reflects a larger number of men of extremely high [and extremely low] capability, then it may well derive from fair competition for the top spots, and not from any gender inequality of opportunity.

I do not regard military service as a privilege—it is more nearly a burdensome obligation, and obviously carries a far higher risk of death and maiming, than any work voluntarily taken up or sought by a majority of women.


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Vegetable Stock:

..Some Trimmings are Too Good to Just Compost:
(c) 2015, Davd

Carrot tops and tails, onion layers that are starting to dry and too tough to feed to people, herb stems and turnip peelings — can seriously improve the flavour of your next rice or bean dish, soup, sauce or gravy—and that’s only the beginning.

As you advance from being a so-so cook to being one whose contributions are sought after at potlucks, whose dinner invitations are valued even if nobody special will be there (or because the somebody special who is there is you—the cook); one of the skills you need to add to the ordinary recipe book and can opener stuff, is making stock. Stock is the liquid that results when food which is safe, but too scruffy to put on anyone’s dinner plate, is boiled in water to extract its flavour and some of the minerals—even vitamins—it can contribute. Many chefs make stock from bones and trimmings of meat and fish; and it’s a skill worth learning. This blog will present the simpler skill of making vegetable stock.

Chefs who make meat stock, include vegetables and usually herbs in the water. Naturally, the vegetables and herbs they use, are the ones whose looks are least presentable to the customers, such as a carrot, onion, or turnip that was cut by the shovel or fork that harvested it. If the skins of root vegetables are clean enough (of chemicals as well as of dirt) they may be put in the stockpot instead of whole vegetables, or to reduce the number needed.

Most home kitchens don’t process enough bones to make bone stock—except perhaps for the holiday turkeys and hams that many people do cook at home. Some of you reading this probably have boiled the bone and trimmings from a ham or a turkey in a big pot to make what you might have called stock, or broth, or soup base. If you included some herbs and perhaps things like celery leaves and trimmings, doing that doubtless made a better soup.

For “most of the time” when you don’t have bones to boil for their flavour and perhaps that of scraps of meat clinging to those bones, you can still make stock—from vegetables and herbs.

The last few days of April, i cooked white rice using vegetable stock instead of water, added some salted wild mushrooms—and that rice with mushrooms, plus a few early chives, made a delicious grain dish to go with a small steak. Plain white rice would not have tasted nearly as good… and the stock was made from turnip peelings, cabbage, carrot and onion trimmings, second-class oregano and liveche*. All those vegetables and herbs can be grown in Maritime Canada.

The process of making stock is simple: Collect clean vegetable trimmings (they do not have to be as clean as they would be to eat them raw—boiling sterilizes—but the taste of dirt is not what you want! nor is pesticide residue.) Use trimmings from more than one vegetable: Try to have at least three different vegetable flavours in every batch of stock, and generally, the more the better. Vegetables that are very closely related (such as broccoli, cabbage ,and cauliflower) should preferably be counted as one flavour.

Turnips, especially the “yellow” or “Swede” ones, make for good stock: I don’t know exactly why, but stock with turnip peels and trimmings does seem to have a “well rounded flavour”—as will what you cook with it. When you peel clean turnips, save the peelings. Freeze them even, if there are so many that they would go beyond balance with the other vegetables and herbs if put all in one batch. Then when you don’t have turnip peelings around, grab some from that bag in the freezer. Same for celery if you buy it—don’t throw out the trimmings if they’re clean enough for the stockpot. (Few places in Canada can grow celery easily, but most people in Canada live where liveche* will grow.) Carrots seldom need peeling, but the tops and tails are valuable for stock—don’t throw them out either.

Growing your own culinary herbs, especially chives, liveche*, oregano, sage, and savory, will provide you with leftover stems and second-class leaves that will improve the stock you make. Tarragon and thyme are harder to grow; tarragon is good in stock to be used with fish or poultry, and OK with beef and pork and vegetarian foods; thyme gives “strength” to stock for anything that’s not cooked sweet… as does oregano, which for me, is easier to grow. Parsley is good with most anything that’s not cooked sweet, and especially good with seafood… but if you have liveche or celery in your stockpot already, you don’t need the parsley; add a little if you have plenty and the stock will be used with seafood.

If you make your own beer and wine, as i’ve done for a few decades, then you’ll be rinsing the bottles soon after they are emptied, for re-use. Rinse them into a jar, and use that “beer and wine dregs” as part of the water with which you make stock (or all of it, if you’ve many empty bottles and few trimmings, as might be the case after guests have come for dinner, if your vegetables came from a store already trimmed, or on New Year’s Day.) Malt, hops, and wine flavours diversify and improve stock. (If one of your guests left half a glass of wine or beer go flat, you can put that in the stockpot, too—boiling sterilizes—but don’t put spoiled beer or wine there unless you know for sure its flavour will help and not hurt the overall mixture.)

Generally, fruit (sweet) and vegetable (salty or savoury) flavours don’t mix as well as fruits with fruits and vegetables with vegetables. Table wine is an exception; it goes with both. (Botanically, tomatoes are fruit, but in kitchen categories, they’re vegetables. Cucumbers are also called fruits botanically—but i wouldn’t put them in a stockpot. Large numbers of extra cucumbers can be made into a few different good pickles and relishes.) The rule seems to be “Salty with salty and sweet with sweet.”)

When you’ve collected a decent volume of vegetable trimmings and herb stems [or just surplus herbs], put it loosely into a good sized cooking pot, cover with water, usually to about twice the depth of the layer of trimmings, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10-15 minutes—and the stock is done. Next, let it cool, then pour it into a jar [put a lid on it] and refrigerate. If you’ve plenty of time and a place to leave the pot, let the vegetables in it drain a few minutes and pour that last little bit of stock into the jar, too. Then toss the boiled-out vegetable pieces into the small bucket under the sink where you collect compostables. They’ll still contribute that way as well.

When you boil vegetables for the table, the water in which they were boiled can then be made into stock. If you steam vegetables like bean sprouts, broccoli, carrots or cabbage, a few bits of herb and vegetable peels and trimmings in the steaming water, will make it into stock while the carrots, cabbage, etc. are being cooked. The steaming basket separates the scruffy looking flavourings from the nice vegetables that will actually be served, which means you needn’t make the stock in two stages.

After you’ve made several batches of stock, you’ll begin developing an intuitive sense of what flavours will go well together, and what stock mixtures will make the best liquid for what uses. Meanwhile, don’t worry. Stock made “at random” will virtually always improve gravies, sauces, soups, beans [and peas and lentils], and grain, when you use it to replace cooking water.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? More flavour in the sauce or the soup or gravy or grain, is a good thing. Now you know how professional cooks do it… the easier way, anyhow.

_ _ _ _ _

* Liveche (Levisticum officinale) is a tall, perennial relative of celery with a richer, stronger taste than celery itself. The leaves dry well hung in bunches in a shady place (I prefer the woodshed) and can be used instead of celery in sauces, soups and stuffings. It is probably the most desirable herb of all for making stock, though chives, thyme and oregano are also very good.


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Second Class Like Me[n]:

… To What Extent is the Predicament Ours, 55 Years Later?
Essay Review of John Howard Griffin, 1960. Black Like Me. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
cited in the pocket sized Signet edition, New York, “New American Library”, 1961.
(review (c) 2015, Davd

On the back cover of the pocket edition, in red, in the biggest type on the page, appear the very words with which i summarized my—and men’s—predicament when reviewing Nathanson and Young’s Legalizing Misandry, in my first Everyman posting of this year: SECOND CLASS CITIZEN. John Howard Griffin, a “white” novelist, darkened his skin in five days [pp 11-17—numbers in [] refer to page numbers in Black Like Me] and then went about the Old South as a Negro: He was able to see, hear, and report the experience of both races, as the same man; and his Negro experience was of second class citizenship—or worse [47].

Reading his account, i can’t say whether men’s situation in 2015 is better or worse, legally and bureaucratically, than “the Negro John Griffin’s” situation was 55 years ago, shortly before President Obama was born1. He chose to become “Negro”2 in the US South, including the most notoriously “segregationist” parts of the South, for his experience. From unhappy experiences in the 1980s, i decided not to return to the “Canadian Lakehead” whose Feminism (by the testimony of Prairie and European Feminists, shortly before i left) was more man-hating than in most places. So my experience of misandry—since leaving “the Lakehead”, anyway—is less extreme relative to North American misandry overall, than his relative experience of racism in Black Like Me.

What this review will compare are patterns of legal and bureaucratic discrimination, more than how strongly individual attitudes manifest themselves today or any time recently.

It is significant, something to keep in mind during these comparisons, that the sexes are more different than the races.

Anatomically and physiologically, a healthy middle-aged Native Canadian—or Kenyan, Hungarian, or Burmese—man is more like both David Cameron and David Suzuki than he is like his own sister. (One “obvious” result of this is that separation of clothing sales and public toilets by race is generally considered problematic; while the separation of clothing sales and public toilets by sex is generally considered normal3. Having to find different toilet rooms than women use, is not evidence of misandry. If women’s toilets are larger, more widely available, and-or of much better quality, that might be such evidence.)

Greater difference need not “mean” that there is more conflict between the sexes than the races; and a mere century, even a mere half century ago, the sexes were thought of as naturally complementary. For another obvious example, two women of different race, or two men of different race, cannot conceive a baby by having sexual relations. A total separation of the races would not entail the end of the species within a century. A total separation of the sexes, would. So the need for co-operation between the sexes, as well as the biological difference, is the greater.

When John Howard Griffin changed races, the conflict between races in the Southern United States was definitely greater than between the sexes. It is less obvious that it was greater than the conflict between the sexes in North America today… and more to the point of “second class citizen,” it is not clear that the legal and bureaucratic disadvantage imposed on Negroes then, was greater than the legal and bureaucratic disadvantage imposed on men today. The cultural disadvantage was greater where Griffin’s experience took place; whether it was all over the United States then, or in Canada, we cannot say.

The legal and public-treatment differences between full and second-class citizens do show some similarities when based on racial and on sex differences. “What’re you looking at me like that for?” [p 25] is not so different from a group of Feminist schoolgirls in Fredericton who, late in 2014, attacked school “dress codes” on the logically untenable grounds that restricting sexual displays by schoolgirls fostered a “rape culture.” They were not the only Feminists to insist that women should be free to display their sexuality and men, duty-bound to ignore the displays… which may have been demanding the impossible (Vincent, 2006: 35).

More similarities? “Affirmative Action” has produced a female majority among university students, and if now this artificiality leads women to feel superior and men to question our competence, those feelings are not evidence that men are actually inferior; rather, they show that victims of bias often blame themselves unfairly. Negro school children once felt inferior on similar grounds (Clark and Clark, 1947)

Still more similarities? Well, the male suicide rate is higher than the female, and the difference has been growing while laws and bureaucratic practices have grown more misandric. Page 7 is the first page of the body text of Black Like Me. It mentions with concern, “the rise in suicide tendency among Southern Negroes.”

On p. 75, Griffin reports (from the night he sat up reading a manuscript of The Magnolia Jungle by P. D. East) that State legislatures passed laws forbidding churches to hold racially integrated services, with fines for churches that did so; and applied tax money to support “white Citizens Councils”, whose avowed purposes included white supremacy. Nathanson and Young (2006: 293-99, 363, Appendix 12) indicate that tax funding is being applied to favor women and girls, including in schooling where they are already advantaged.

There are similarities enough to merit attention… but the sexes are more different than the races. Griffin reported that he became Negro; Vincent (2006) that she was disguised as a man.

John Howard Griffin began his project with some trepidation, but also a conviction, shared by the publisher and editor of Sepia, that it was worthwhile.4 His wife “unhesitatingly agreed that if I felt I must do this thing, then I must. She offered, as her part of the project, her willingness to lead, with our three children, the unsatisfactory family life of a household deprived of husband and father.” [p. 9] In 1960, that sacrifice was accepted as a sacrifice and the life of a fatherless family, unsatisfactory. In 2015??

He did not keep the project secret from the police, but met with FBI agents, one of whom said “As soon as they see you, you’ll be a Negro and that’s all they’ll ever want to know about you.” [10] Skin color was what mattered, the agent concluded—and that turned out to be the case: The sexes are more different than the races—but the very visible difference between dark brown and pale tan skin had immense social consequences in the Southern USA. When his skin became darker than the “White” range normally included, John Howard Griffin was a Negro—and was treated as such, and felt himself to be Negro.5

Darkening his skin proved medically feasible, though a bit risky—during the first several days he had regular blood tests to make sure his body tolerated the drug, one used to treat a disease named vitiligo. It was supported with sun-lamp rays… his body did tolerate it… and it worked. Griffin looked in the mirror and did not recognize himself. [11-15]

He had fortunately made some plans for the transition; and in particular, chose a Negro shoe shiner, Sterling Williams, a crippled veteran of World War I who talked intelligently with him before the color change, as his first personal link to the Negro community. When Griffin returned to the shoe stand as Negro, and explained what he had done, Williams laughed and took “delight at what I had done and delight that I should confide it to him.” [27]

Before he met Williams as a fellow Negro, though, he had spent a night and a morning among the New Orleans Negroes, as one of their race from out of town, staying at a hotel and eating “in segregation”. He was accepted on the basis of his skin color, and treated with kindness—except by one White woman he accidentally treated as an equal, fellow human being.

Though troubled at first by the poverty of New Orleans Negro life, Griffin fit in easily; he was welcomed on the bases of goodwill and skin color: “My first afternoon as a Negro was one of dragging hours and a certain contentment.” [32] He soon learned that the Dryades Street YMCA coffee shop was a meeting place for the city’s Negro leaders, and was readily accepted there based on his ability to share in an intelligent conversation—and his skin color.

One problem he and the local Negro leaders agreed about, should be familiar to men and men’s advocates: “Until we as a race can learn to rise together, we’ll never get anywhere. … have to be almost a mulatto, and have your hair conked and all slicked out and look like a Valentino. Then the Negroes will look up to you. … Isn’t that a pitiful hero-type?”

“And the white man knows that,” Mr. Davis said.

“Yes,” the cafe owner continued. “He utilizes this knowledge to flatter some of us, to tell us we’re above our people, not like most Negroes. …” [35]

Perhaps the reader can visualize some kinds of men who might be similarly flattered by Feminists. Those who blame “deadbeat Dads” who in fact are unemployed and discarded by ex-wives? Those who treat domestic violence as a men’s problem when good research (e.g. Grandin, Lupri, and Brinkerhoff, 1998, Lupri, 2004, Esmay et al, 2014, Corry, 2002) shows women attack men at least as often as the other way around?

Education was even more an area of white advantage, than it is of female advantage today: “Our people aren’t educated because they either can’t afford it or else they know education won’t earn them the jobs it would a white man.”6 … So a lot of them, without even understanding the cause, just give up.” [42] “They put us low, and then blame us for being down there and say that since we are low, we can’t deserve our rights.” … “Equal job opportunities,” Mr Gayle said. “That’s the answer to much of the tragedy of our young people.” [43] Who then would have forecast that equal job opportunities today, would be an improvement in the condition of men? (Nathanson and Young, 2006: ch 5)

“.. every informed man with whom I had spoken, in the intimate freedom of the colored bond, had acknowledged a double problem for the Negro. First, the discrimination against him. Second, and almost more grievous, his discrimination against himself, his contempt for the blackness that he associates with his suffering; his willingness to sabotage his fellow Negroes because they are part of the blackness he has found so painful.” [44; cf. Nathanson and Young, 2012, Clark and Clark, 1947]

We should remember that this is a middle-aged man born and reared “white”, new to Negro second-class standing, who writes. Young “Negroes” as diverse as Stokely Carmichael, Angela Davis, and Carl Rowan were “in the wings”, ready to translate Negro back into English and wear it proudly. But we should also remember that Clark and Clark (1947), a dozen years earlier, had documented the same devaluation of their race, of which Griffin writes, in studies of Negro schoolgirls. Five years after Brown v. Board of Education, the effects of that “landmark decision” were only beginning to be felt.

While Griffin was still in New Orleans the mood among Negroes turned to “bitterness and despair” when a Mississippi Grand Jury failed to indict any of the lynchers who murdered Mack Parker, even refusing to examine a FBI supplied dossier identifying them[49]. Louisiana Weekly wrote, “.. it has shamed the United States in the eyes of the world …” [49]

“No one outside the Negro community,” Griffin wrote, “could imagine the profound effect this action had in killing the Negro’s hope and breaking his morale.”[50]

Griffin next took a bus to Mississippi, the state where the lynching had happened. To pay his bus fare, he had to cash some traveler’s checks, and it was Saturday afternoon. He was refused in several New Orleans stores where he had spent money during the week—and finally, was able to cash them at a Catholic Book Store. [50-52].

At the bus station, the woman ticket seller and a white man sitting in the waiting room introduced him to the hate stare, “a kind of insanity, something so obscene the very obscenity of it (rather than its threat) terrifies you. … I felt like saying ‘What in God’s name are you doing to yourself?’” [53]

Arriving in Mississippi, he was warned to “watch yourself pretty close till you catch on. … you don’t even want to even look at a white woman. In fact, you look down at the ground or the other way. … If you pass by a picture show, and they’ve got women on the posters outside, don’t look at them either. … And you dress pretty well, if you walk past an alley, walk out in the middle of the street. Plenty of people here, white and colored, would knock you in the head if they thought you had money on you. If white boys holler at you, just keep walking. Don’t let them stop you and start asking you questions.” [60]

Hitchhiking toward Alabama, Griffin learned that the beaches, publicly funded, were closed to him. His one “white” daytime ride was from a young Northern man; but at night “Suddenly, I began getting rides. Men would pass you in daylight but pick you up at night. … All but two picked me up the way they would pick up a pornographic photograph or book—but this was verbal pornography. With a Negro, they figured they need give no semblance of self-respect or respectability. … All showed morbid curiosity about the sexual life of the Negro … into the depths of depravity.” [84-85]

But not all the white men who gave him a lift, were pornographically motivated. One in particular “enjoyed company, nothing more. … I could only conclude that his [guileless friendly] attitude came from an overwhelming love for his child [that] spilled over to all humanity .. [a huge] blessing .. to someone like me after having been exhausted .. by others this rainy Alabama night.” [92-93]

In Mobile, a mission preacher put Griffin up for the night, and again, the predicament of the Southern Negro dominated their talk. The next day Griffin went looking for work, and as in New Orleans “an important part of my day was spent looking for the basic things that all whites take for granted: A place to eat, or somewhere to find a drink of water, a rest room, somewhere to wash my hands.” [97]

One foreman told him plainly, “No use trying down here. We’re gradually getting you people weeded out from the better jobs…. We’re going to do our damnedest to drive every one of you out of the state. … with all this noise about equality, we just don’t want you people around. The only way we can keep you out of our schools and cafés is to make life so hard for you that you’ll get the hell out before equality comes.” [98]

“This attitude cropped up often,” Griffin continued, “.. walking the same streets as a Negro, I found no trace of the Mobile I formerly knew … the gracious Southerner, the wise Southerner, the kind Southerner was nowhere visible. … I concluded that, as in everything else, the atmosphere of a place is entirely different for Negro and white. The Negro sees and reacts differently not because he is Negro, but because he is suppressed. Fear dims even the sunlight.” [98-99]

In Montgomery, Alabama, he found more hope, and credited it to the work of Martin Luther King, senior and especially junior… and their associates. Yet when “On Sunday I made the experiment of dressing well and walking past some of the white churches just as services were over, in each instance as the women came through the church doors and saw me, the ‘spiritual bouquets’ changed to hostility. The transformation was grotesque” [117]

Next Griffin risked changing his skin color enough to alternate between “being white” and “being Negro.”

“I was the same man, whether black or white. Yet when I was white, I received the brotherly-love smiles and the privileges from whites and the hate stares or obsequiousness from the Negroes. And when I was a Negro, the whites judged me fit for the junk heap, while the Negroes treated me with great warmth.” [121-2]

Griffin’s assessment of the contrast was charitable: “…these [white] people were simply unaware of the situation with the Negroes who passed them on the street—there was not even the communication of intelligent awareness between them.” [120]

One place where Griffin’s experience was not of mutual suspicion and some hostility between the races, was a Trappist monastery near Conyers, Georgia. “The kind of man who would come to the Trappists,” the guest-master told him “comes here to be in an atmosphere of dedication to God. Such a man would hardly keep one eye on God and the other on the color of his neighbor’s skin.” [130]

In Atlanta, Griffin met different aspects of social change than in Montgomery, and was finally encouraged that the Negro predicament was soluble. He was heartened by the unity of the Negro community, by fair-minded newspapers (especially the Atlanta Constitution) and writers, and by a city administration sympathetic to fairness and equal opportunity. He met Negro financial leaders who had established banks and an insurance company, and as one of them, T. M. Alexander, said, “There is no big Me and little you. We must pool all our resources, material and mental, to gain the respect that will enable all of us to walk the streets with the dignity of American citizens.”

On December 14, about six weeks after first becoming Negro, “I resumed for the final time my white identity. I felt strangely sad to leave the world of the Negro after having shared it so long—almost as if I were fleeing my share of his pain and heartache.” [140, cf.156]. There was a lasting sense of brotherhood, of fellowship, in and from his experience, that Vincent (2006) never experienced in a much longer time disguised as a man: The sexes are more different than the races.

It was early the next year, 1960, as the winter turned to spring, that the story of Griffin’s weeks as a Negro—the FBI man had proven right—became public. He was interviewed on television by Paul Coates, Dave Garroway, Harry Golden, Radio-Television Française, and Mike Wallace. He was also threatened and hanged in effigy; but never actually attacked.

By June 19, as that spring was ending: “There were six thousand letters to date and only nine of them abusive. Many favorable letters came from Deep South states, from the whites. This confirmed my contention that the average Southern white is more properly disposed than he dares allow his neighbor to see, that he is more afraid of his fellow white racist than he is of the Negro.” [153] Yet though the great majority of those from whom he heard were favorable, the few so frightened Griffin’s parents that they sold their farm and moved to Mexico—a Métis nation7, interestingly. “We too were going,” he wrote, “because we had decided that it was too great an injustice to our children to remain.” [155]

As they cleaned his parents’ house for the new owners, John Howard Griffin’s helper, a Negro youth, showed an exaggerated notion of how many whites were racist—almost certainly because the racists were more audible and visible to him. “The Negro does not understand the white man any more than the white understands the Negro. I was dismayed to see the extent to which this [Negro] youth exaggerated—how could he do otherwise?—the feelings of the whites toward Negroes. He thought they all hated him.” [156] The extremists showed up more visibly and sounded off more loudly—it seems to be much the same with the sexes today, does it not?

55 years ago, as he wrote and published Black Like Me, Griffin realized, “I could have been a Jew in Germany, a Mexican in a number of states, or a member of any ‘inferior’ group. Only the details would have differed. The story would be the same.” [p. 5, “Preface”]. Perhaps he didn’t envision that his own male sex could become an “inferior” group. Substitute the sexes for the races, and we can read,

Though we lived side by side … communication between the two [sexes] had simply ceased to exist. Neither really knew what went on with those of the other [sex]. The [man] will not tell the [woman] the truth. He long ago learned that if he speaks a truth unpleasing to the [woman, she] will make life miserable for him.” [7-8]

Perhaps relations between the sexes have not got that bad8; but that substituted quotation does seem more true than false, for too many men; and over the 55 years since Black Like Me was published, it has been getting worse rather than better. Many men are afraid to tell women unwelcome truths—as many boys have been for all my seventy-plus years. Doubt that? Consider the sentence “How Dare You Talk Back to Your Mother?” (Teachers are usually more subtle than that sentence; but how many boys dare talk back to them?)

As for women telling men the truth, consider “Mommy’s Little Secret” (Abraham, 2002). Men are routinely told lies about whether they sired their wives’ children, “in the child’s interest,” “in the interests of maintaining family peace,” or because legally in Canada, “The developing [unborn] baby is considered part of the mother and the results of [paternity] tests therefore belong to her.” The unborn baby is all hers, none his: If the laws are consistent, doesn’t that mean he is not liable for child support? (In fact, is he liable? William Marotta was., and for bad reasons which Barbara Kay has summarized.)

Griffin probably was told more of the truth—about how little he could have and use as “Negro” of the public facilities that had been open to him as “white”, for instance—and as for civil rights, how much of “civil rights” has a man who is required to pay support for three children who are not his (Morgan Wise, in the State of Texas [Abraham, 2002])? It seems fair enough as of what we know now, to use “Second Class Citizen” for Griffin’s experience in 1959-60 and for ours today.

On the other hand, who then was calling Negroes “privileged”? I never heard the likes of that in 1955-65; but i do hear and read claims that men are privileged when in fact, legally and bureaucratically, we are systematically disadvantaged in Canada and the US.

American Negroes had been in their predicament for centuries as slaves and not quite one century as all free citizens, when Griffin walked the Old South with dark skin. Things were improving, but slowly—more slowly than their accomplishments to date merited. Men today, are newly into a similar predicament; a century and a half century ago, there was a rough balance between men’s and women’s privileges, one that reflected women’s reproductive role and motivation and men’s advantages at skilled large muscle work. A few years ago, it seemed men’s predicament was steadily worsening; now, perhaps, the worst has arrived and there is occasion for hope things will next improve… but at age 72, i don’t expect to live long enough to have equal legal rights9 and equally good official treatment, compared with a woman of my age.

On pp. 48-50, Stirling Williams reads angrily the Louisiana Weekly‘s comments that the failure of a Mississippi Grand Jury to indict lynchers “has shamed the United States in the eyes of the world …” [49] Misandry is very plausibly an important root cause of widespread contempt for the West today, especially among Muslims. It is even plausible that some of the Western young men who have joined the most violent Muslim sects10, may be motivated significantly by shame at being second class citizens in their home countries.

Misandry needn’t be universal to be powerfully damaging. It is worthwhile remembering that most of the letters John Howard Griffin received after going public, were favorable—but his parents, and his own household, were driven from Texas to Mexico, because “we had decided that it was too great an injustice to our children to remain”[155]. A hostile minority and an indifferent majority of their fellow “whites” had driven them out of the United States of America. Likewise, in “gender relations” today, a hostile minority and an indifferent11 majority of women, have silenced millions of men; and driven many men who would welcome a marriage such as John Howard Griffin had then, to avoid marriage as it is now. They have made “whether to expat” a valid question in men’s rights discourse12.

Those morbid white Southerners who projected sexual excess onto Negroes in general and Griffin the hitchhiker in particular, were a “self selected sample,” and we cannot guess from his experience what fraction of Southern white men they represent; it is bad enough that they felt at liberty to harass Negro men that way, at all. Bad enough also, that some fraction of women this decade, feel at liberty to praise Lorena Bobbitt and Valerie Solanas. Bad enough that some Fredericton schoolgirls claimed the privilege to flaunt their sexuality and claimed to impose on the boys, the entire burden of ignoring that display until invited otherwise. (CBC Radio News, November 18 and December 8, 2014.) Total liberation of any population, in an interdependent milieu, necessarily entails the abuse of others with which it shares the space.

That’s worth repeating, because so many people (especially female North American people, these days) claim to deserve “total freedom”: Complete liberation of any population, in an interdependent milieu, necessarily entails the abuse of others with which it shares the space. Fairness entails all parties, all subcultures, taking something less than total liberation; and making each group’s limits about equally restricting, is about as fair as things can get. We accept that principle in traffic laws, in urban “zoning”, in demanding that smoking be done away from those who might be allergic to or even annoyed by tobacco smoke, and in the old saying that “your right to wave your arms ends safely short of my nose”. We used to demand modesty in dressing for work and school—and we’d be wise to do so again—because immodesty is distracting (cf. Vincent, 2006: 35) and there can be no moral right to distract others from their proper, useful tasks short of rare, sudden, unexpected needs to protect health and safety.

If Legalizing Misandry is a difficult read, Black Like Me is an easy one. It may disturb you emotionally, but you won’t be searching through tens of pages of footnotes for a source citation.

If this book is not in your library, and “English” is widely read among your local population, then (unless it was built in the past 50 years) the library has failed you: When the book was new, funding was more abundant than it is today; and there has not been reason since to discard it. If you have a good library, in an Anglophone region, that library shouls have this book. I suggest you go check it out, soon, if you haven’t read it yet or might like to re-read it—partly to remind the librarian to keep it. If some other man, or a woman with a heart for equality, has checked it out, put your name down to check it out after it comes back.

Read it. Look at the experiences Griffin recounts. Consider how they do and don’t parallel our experiences as men in the second decade of the 21st Century. With luck, your experiences won’t be as extreme—Griffin deliberately chose the Deep South, and Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia within the South. From what i’ve seen and from what Nathanson and Young presented in Legalizing Misandry, there will be parallels, not perfect but strong enough
to be eerie.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, why do you kill the prophets who were sent to save you? asked Jesus (Matthew 23:37, Luke 13:34); we could likewise ask why so many Civil Rights activists were killed by a USA whose coins prominently bore the word Liberty. We could ask, Ottawa, Ottawa, why did you hang Louis Riél?—and we could could ask the same question of today. The Feminists could ask themselves about Earl Silverman, Tom Ball, about why they do not take the initiative to punish or change false accusers .. about the Titanic, .. and for two generations and longer, why are the extremists more heard? why are those who are well disposed toward the other race and the other sex, so silent, then and now?

There is evidence scattered through John Griffin’s book, of Whites willing but afraid to treat Negroes equally… of intimidation of a majority of half decent, half indifferent whites by the [estimated small] minority of serious racists. Plausibly, a similar distribution exists as among North American women. Just as plausibly, many of those who are half decent and half indifferent, let the misandric take the lead because they do benefit from their privilege.

So La Diabla—and i use the female version because Nathanson and Young (2006) have made a good case that “ideological Feminists”, much more than any other political ‘force’, have lobbied this situation into existence—has got laws deeming men privileged when if either sex be, it be women; men believing that women hate us, and women believing (or at least acting like they believe) that we are abusive and misogynist.

Some are and some ain’t; and in parallel to what Griffin wrote in 1960, it seems most likely that most women are not so much hostile, as unwilling to offend the “leading ideologues” who are… and not eager, either, to let go of their privileges.

Needs fixing, that does.

Some Other References:

Abraham, Carolyn 2002. “Mommy’s Little Secret.” Toronto: The Globe and Mail December 14. Print Edition, Page F1

CBCRadioNews, 2014, November 18, December 8 “Fredericton youth Feminists” expect boys to totally ignore girls’ sexual displays. (Be they able to ..?) I find the modesty arguments far more plausible….

Clark, Kenneth B., and Mamie P. Clark, 1947 “Racial identification and preference in Negro children.” In T. M. Newcomb and E. L. Hartley, eds., Readings in Social Psychology. New York: Holt, Rinehart, Winston.

Corry, Charles E., 2002. “Domestic Violence Against Men.” Colorado Springs, USA: Equal Justice Foundation

Esmay, Dean et alia, 2014. “The Facts about Male Discrimination” Updated June 16, accessed September 7.

Grandin, Elaine, Eugen Lupri, Merlin B. Brinkerhoff, 1998.”Couple Violence and Psychological Distress” Canadian Journal of Public Health, Vol. 89, No. 1, (Jan-Feb) p. 43-47

Lupri, Eugen, 2004. “Institutional Resistance to Acknowledging Intimate Male Abuse”, Paper presented at the Counter-Roundtable Conference on Domestic Violence, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, May 7

Nathanson, Paul, and Katherine K. Young, 2006. Legalizing Misandry: From Public Shame to Systemic Discrimination against Men Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Nathanson, Paul and Katherine K. Young, 2012. “Misandry and Emptiness: Masculine Identity in a Toxic Cultural Environment” New Male Studies v. 1 Issue 1: 4-18

Pinker, Susan, 2008. The Sexual Paradox:
Extreme Men, Gifted Women and the Real Gender Gap
. [no city listed in flyleaf] Random House of Canada; New York: Simon and Schuster.

Rowan, Carl T., 1991. Breaking Barriers: A Memoir. Boston, Toronto, London: Little, Brown &co.

United States Supreme Court, 1954. Brown. V. Board of Education, decision.

Vincent, Norah, 2006. Self Made Man: One Woman’s Year Disguised as a Man. New York: Viking Penguin.


1. Culturally, methinks, the sexes differ too much, and are too  interdependent, to assess the question

2. Plainly, Negro is Black in Spanish and Portugese; and white was not the actual, usual color of Griffin’s skin, nor of any ordinary European’s skin. Both words are loosely used in ordinary colloquial “English”… and they were, still are, heavily loaded with unreasonable attitudes—but much less so today than then.

This review is written with US rather than Canadian spelling because of the importance of “color” in the text, and the convention of spelling such words in their original language when quoting.

3. Switching the “Men” and “Women” signs on toilets in university classroom buildings early in the term, was a common prank when i was a student. Those who had used the building before, went in the doors they habitually used; those who were new to the building went in by the signs, so embarrassment was maximum when there were comparable numbers of new and old students.

4. Why would a man deliberately take on a second class identity? The author’s name, methinks, tells us something of his motivation. John Howard was the founder, if any one person was, of the prisoner’s rights and rehabilitation movement. (I was a member of the board of the John Howard Society of Thunder Bay, when i was a professor at Lakehead University. Both the original Howard and the Griffin who wrote this book, have my profound sympathy. As has Louis Riél, who did the right thing and was hanged for it.)

5. Norah Vincent, in a contrasting revelation, writes in Self Made Man that she never did feel herself to be male—she was aware throughout her year-and-a-half that she was impersonating, or as the subtitle of her book says, “disguised as a man.”

Griffin’s experience was not of disguise but of transformation: “… there is no such thing as a disguised white man, once the color won’t rub off. The black man is wholly a Negro, regardless of what he once may have been.” [16]

6. It might be worthwhile adding, that today, unlike in 1959-1960, a generic university education hasn’t much value as a ticket to middle class jobs. Boys who go to trade school and do well are likely to earn as much as girls—or boys—who get Arts degrees; and often tradesmen earn more.

7. Mestizo is the Spanish way of writing Métis.

8. Griffin writes “the Negro is treated not even as a second-class citizen, but as a tenth class one.” [47] And in fact, the treatment he got varied from person to person, much as men today get treated with different amounts of respect and humanity by different women.

I can personally attest that i dared not tell unwelcome truth to some women i have “been close to”, to such extent that a psychiatrist advised me quite seriously not to remarry, and to prefer the company of other men.

9. Specifically, i expect that a woman could falsely accuse me of violence (perhaps also “sexual harassment,” but i may be getting rather old for that one) and be better believed than if the genders were reversed. It would be impressively rapid social change, if a man’s and a woman’s accusation, if a man’s and a woman’s word in a “he said—she said” case with no witnesses, were taken at equal value before i die.

10. including “the Islamic State” that beheads Western men who oppose it, and kidnaps and enslaves non-Muslim women.

11. Perhaps “indifferent” is too kind, to many white Southerners then and many women now. There are benefits to be had from privilege even when one does not claim it is rightful, if one has that privilege anyway. There are large numbers of women today, as there were of white Southerners then, who have better jobs than they would have under equal opportunity conditions. Employers especially and the buying public more generally, benefit from the exploitation of workers who, because of discrimination, are paid less than they would be if they were in the other race or the other sex.

12. I am not sure if can still be reached, but the date embedded in it indicates recent serious discussion of relocation from the US (and Canada) to less-Feminist countries. Correspondents who might prefer i not name them, have indeed left.

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Knitting Rhymes with Sitting:

..When Real Men Can Enjoy Knitting and Why Women Knit More than We Do:
(c) 2015, Davd

I was sitting in my bed mending a glove, resting after supper, when it occurred to me that i rather enjoy mending socks and gloves and torn work clothes, especially on a cold winter morning while the woodstove warms the cabin, or a cold winter evening when i figure things will get through the night without another fire, but it’s too cold to sit still at my desk.

Fishermen are skilled, hard workers—and they mend their nets fairly often. When Jesus first met two of his disciples, James, the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; they were in their boat mending nets.(Matthew 4:21, Mark 1:19). Now, fishermen’s nets are large, bulky, and often smell fishy, so i would not expect the men to mend them sitting in bed—or even indoors—but plainly, mending is men’s work as well as women’s. What i sat in bed mending, had been through the laundry.

I was wearing a pair of fingerless gloves that i knit myself, 30-40 years ago, and a sleeping cap that i also knit myself, back then; and it was uh, rather obvious to me that i hadn’t knit anything in the past 25 years. Now knitting is really quite a lot like mending, only less fussy—it’s actually a little more enjoyable, as i remember. So why do i mend for an hour or two a week, at least in winter, but not knit? Because there’s so much mending to do, and reading in bed, that lately i never get to where i really feel like i have time for knitting.

Obviously, things were different 25-50 years ago—so how were they different?

I was a professor then, that’s how. Being a professor, i had to go to meetings—hours of meetings per week—at many of which meetings i had bleep all to actually do. I was commanded to attend, and there was maybe a minute or less in an average 1-2 hour meeting, that i actively “participated”. I was at the meeting obeying Orders From Above: All Such-and-such were Required to Attend. Plus which, i got to talk briefly with colleagues i didn’t see much of anywhere else, before and after.

Sitting in those meetings—and teaching classes, and preparing classes, and doing research—i didn’t wear-out my socks and gloves much, or tear my work clothes. As a professor i generated a lot less mending and i had a lot more sit-still time. Plus which, a knitting project—say, a toque or a pair of mittens in the making—is much easier to carry into a meeting than sixteen assorted socks in need of darning and seven colours of yarn with which to mend them.

I knit mittens, scarves, and toques for myself and my children, in those meetings—plain in design, usually with a couple of harmoniously contrasting stripes. One toque i have still is a fairly dark brown with two medium yellow stripes, as are the matching mittens. The fingerless gloves are brick red with yellow stripes. In a box near the kitchen door, i have a navy blue toque with red stripes, and matching mittens. Not bad after twenty-five years or more—though i freely admit that i wear them mainly while sitting around and “to town,” where they don’t get worn down by heavy work..

Once in a while, back in those professor years, i’d knit while i sat with my youngest children, as they went to sleep—so i could be there with them in case they had something to ask me or tell me. At ages 2-5, maybe a little younger than two, children like that kind of fatherly presence. By age ten, maybe one or two evenings a week, by fifteen maybe not at all… partly because the older they get, the more they can read in bed.

Then, a couple years before i turned 50, i became a herb-gardener so i could be a better single father. Much more wear and tear on the work clothes, much less occasion to wear nice clothes, and almost no meetings at all to sit through. That’s when i quit knitting, not suddenly but gradually within a year. It wasn’t that knitting had lost its appeal—it was still a little more enjoyable than mending and a lot more enjoyable than for instance, doing “paperwork”—but that i had much less must-sit-still working time, and mending (plus some sit-still gardening tasks and some [ahem] paperwork) claimed all of that.

If i sat with one of the two youngest boys while he went to sleep or did his homework, i had plenty of mending to do, and he didn’t mind if it was less tidy than knitting.

I don’t miss the knitting experience, really, but neither do i regret it. It was definitely better than nothing at all. I’ve seen pictures of cowboys knitting, sitting on their horses, and to me that makes sense. What a cowboy does, for many, many of his working hours, is ride slowly or even sit still, watching the herd and watching for possible trouble. A knitting project is easy to carry along, a miscellany of sock mending wouldn’t be1. Apart from the horse he sits on, he’s a lot like a professor in a meeting where his chance of having anything to contribute is very small.

(Yes, he’s outdoors … but unlike most outdoor work, his watching the herd is quiet; and he works in climate areas where rain isn’t that common.)

Women have traditionally done more sitting and watching than men; and knitting is easy work to add to sitting and watching.. (If women counted knitting in that old saw “a woman’s work is never done”, that should have been back before factory knit sweaters and scarves and such were cheaply available2. Cowboys and professors know that knitting is work to be done when you have to wait and maybe keep watch, but it’s not active work with a deadline for finishing it.)

Actually, it’s a lot like whittling, without the knife (which was OK in Grandpa’s time but might be Politically Incorrect today) and the shavings, which are actually clean enough, but might not be Nice to leave in a conference room.

Knitting, like cooking and gardening and many other sorts of work, is neither men’s nor women’s work by nature. It suits people of either sex who have to “sit around” for long intervals of time. There are aspects of gardening that are men’s, much as women’s smaller fingers are beter suited to those kinds of knitting that require very fine yarn.  That said, a man’s hands can knit most ordinary yarn; if he has to sit for long intervals he’s better off knitting than doing nothing, and i still enjoy my sleeping cap and fingerless gloves more than similar items i might have bought.

A man blessed with more active work should not sneer at him—even if he’s knitting in a meeting room rather than on a horse.



1. A cowboy has to be ready to take quick, vigorous action, so whittling might not be so safe as in a meeting.

2. On my bedroom shelves, which i can see from where i sit while mending in bed, are three hand knit sweaters and seven machine knit sweaters. Two of the hand knit ones belonged to my father when he was alive. I haven’t worn some of them in a year; i doubt i’ll live long enough to wear half of them out.


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What Glass Ceiling?

… Ability and Motivation, not Opportunity, are What’s Unequal:
(c) 2015, Davd

 Two things especially, legitimately determine success: Ability and application [or in two syllables each, talent and hard work]. I don’t know anyone, literally not anyone, who seriously says either talent or hard work, should not be rewarded.

The “Glass Ceiling” concept, is a prettified claim that women who have the talent and do the hard work, don’t get to the top as often, as readily, as men who have the same talent and work equally hard. I haven’t believed that claim, because: My own grandmother succeeded as a Pentecostal preacher, and my mother hadn’t completed a Bachelor’s degree but got paid on the Master’s degree scale teaching in a vocational school. The CEO of General Motors is presently a woman, as is the German Chancellor who leads the European Union in confronting the Ukrainian predicament. The President of M.I.T was a woman the last time i looked. So there are women at the top, and there are women rewarded at least in proportion to their credentials.

There are more men at the top—why? More talent? Not on average, perhaps, but yes, at the top. More hard work? Same story: yes, when it comes to extreme effort on the job. We should keep in mind that the “Glass Ceiling” concept refers to the top positions, not to overall averages.

Men and women average about 100 in IQ. When i was a student, i was taught that this is deliberate: The psychometricians choose the questions and the scoring formulae, so that the sexes will average the same. It’s in variability that the sexes differ.

Pinker (2008: 13, citing Deary et al, 2003, and several other sources) summarizes this way:

Even though the two sexes are well matched in most areas, including intelligence, there are fewer women than men at the extreme ends of the normal distribution. Men are simply more variable. Their ‘means,’ or the average scores for the group, are roughly the same as those for women, but their individual scores are scattered more widely. So there are more very stupid men and more very smart men, more extremely lazy ones and more willing to kill themselves with work.

Groth (2012), and Baumeister (2011), whose book he reviews, concur. This is an aspect of human nature that has been “found” by psychological research, and replicated repeatedly. It can be treated as a fact of human nature.

It is to access to “the top” that the Glass Ceiling concept is addressed. The variability difference phenomenon indicates that at the top of the ability distribution, there are many more men than women. Ergo, if top success fairly rewards top ability—there should be many more men at the top…

… unless, of course, women work longer and harder.

In fact, Pinker reports, the reverse is true: It’s men who work longer and harder on average, at least among those of high ability. Her third chapter [pp. 62-91] contains several interview statements by educated women, that they were not disadvantaged and may have been advantaged. Again on pp. 92-97, she reports that women she interviewed got extra help to achieve senior management rank… but many chose to have more family time, … in particular, caring for ill or newborn, family members, rather than work as senior management are expected to do. On p. 124, she writes: “Even with the dramatic changes in customs, laws, and social expectations over the past four decades, there are aspects of women’s work preferences that are likely to stay the same—for example, a desire to stay in a position that accommodates family, or to find work that exploits a talent for connecting with people.”

Her sixth chapter [157-182] reports that the “glass ceiling” is more chosen than suffered. Women don’t like the single minded commitment that work at the top, requires.

On p. 159, she writes: “A study of Harvard law graduates found that women were more likely than men to be hired at elite firms, but ten years later only a quarter of the women had stayed on to become partners (meanwhile, half the men did.)” “Greedy” jobs, as she terms them, repel more women than men; while those who stay become machoid, hiding heart attacks and cancer diagnoses.

So fewer women are at the top in ability, and fewer are single-minded in application of their talents. The “top” jobs that the Glass Ceiling concept claims women are denied, call for—very high ability and single-minded application. More men have both, than women—many rather than a few more.

Rather than a glass ceiling, there are two sex differences, working to put far more men than women in “top jobs.” It is not against women, but in favour of extremely high ability and application, that the biases work, and they are biases built into competitive, capitalist society.

This blog could end there; but it’s worth mentioning a few more facts. One is boringly obvious: All men are mortal. (I believe all women are also; but a woman recently claimed otherwise*.) The fruits of success are things that, in an old phrase “you can’t take with you”. As one who believes that death is a transition rather than nothingness, i seek to live a good story, not pile up a huge fortune. A “Top Job” isn’t necessarily a best choice; the World’s values can be misguided—as i regard present-day misandry to be—so while i regard Einstein’s Top Job as basically good, despite later misuses of his findings by others; i haven’t much sympathy for those that get rich selling Junk Food.

Another “fact” is the tendency, emphasized by Pinker, for men to combine very high ability in one aspect of mental life, with handicaps—ability levels well below average—in others; while women are more likely to be high in all abilities, average in all, or low in all.

“On the one hand” such a combination of high and low abilities, leaves many men with clearer guidance as to what sort of work to do: Work your strength and not your weakness. In contrast, a woman with several strengths, must choose; while a man with one, has his path set clear before him.

“On the other hand”, a man with but one or two strengths loses less than a woman—or a man—with many, in taking up a “greedy job”. He has fewer ways to use his time “strongly”. Single-minded application comes more naturally to a man with few but great talents, than to a woman with many. Pinker didn’t seem to notice this particular cause-effect possibility.

(It’s worth mentioning, finally, that some men have multiple talents—a smaller fraction of all men, if Dre. Pinker has got these patterns right, than women with multiple talents are of all women, but still a large number of men. So it’s not a one-sex predicament. )

But these are asides—I hope they will be instructive asides for some readers—and the main point is about gender and opportunity. Women have not, on the best evidence i have lately seen, been held back, or down, from top jobs in law, business, or wherever. Many women have chosen to have more diverse, emotionally fuller lives. Many more men than women are to be found at the top of the ability distributions (and at the bottom, where few notice.) The glass ceiling belongs with the luminiferous ether (in which many physicists once believed, before living memory) and phlogiston, a similarly obsolete but once widely believed concept from chemistry—among theoretical concepts that proved needless: They neither have any necessary part in the cause-effect patterns behind reality; nor, it turns out, do they even exist.


Baumeister, 2011, Is There Anything Good About Men? New York: Oxford University Press.

Deary, Ian J. et al, 2003. “Population differences in IQ at age 11: The Scottish Mental Survey 1932. Intelligence 32. cited Pinker 2008:

Groth, Miles 2012. Review of Roy F. Baumeister, 2011, Is There Anything Good About Men? New York: Oxford University Press. New Male Studies v. 1 Issue 1: 116-120.

Nathanson, Paul, and Katherine K. Young, 2006. Legalizing Misandry: From Public Shame to Systemic Discrimination against Men Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Pinker, Susan, 2008. The Sexual Paradox: Extreme Men, Gifted Women and the Real Gender Gap. [no city listed in flyleaf] Random House of Canada; New York: Simon and Schuster.


* “we just let you think we are” she said over the telephone; i don’t know her name, but had business with the business where she works. Perhaps this was a joke, perhaps an expression of some Pagan religion of which i am relatively ignorant.


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