Monday, January 16, 2012

armed and genderous

Happiness is a warm gun
Happiness is a warm gun, momma
When I hold you in my arms
And I feel my finger on your trigger
I know nobody can do me no harm
Because happiness is a warm gun, momma
Happiness is a warm gun
Bang bang, shoot shoot...

~~john lennon

i don't mind guns.

it's people i don't trust.

people and guns are a bad combination. anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is lying. or foolish. foolish liars with guns are an even worse combination.

"chicks with guns" (the concept and the book) is only slightly less disquieting than "children with guns," or "monkeys with guns."

women, see, are the life-affirming, life-giving, life-worth-living side of humanity. our better half in more ways than one should attempt to count.

put 20 million guns in their hands, and what do they become? what do we become? irredeemably dangerous. frightening. and, best avoided by creatures that prefer their bodies unpunctured by fast-moving metal.

"but, guns are for protection! women deserve to feel safe from other people with guns. people with bad intentions. you know, men!"

this argument seems valid, until you look at the fine print. the part about 30,000 u.s. gun deaths each year. the 17,000 suicides, and the 1,000 accidental deaths-by-gun.

when you put it that way, being anywhere near a gun doesn't sound like such a good idea. it sounds about as safe as petting a ravenous mountain lion. or befriending a masked man with a chainsaw. or fracking a volcano.

or indoctrinating the next generation of gun-toting tots...

Some of the more haunting images are those of moms with their kids.

In one image, a woman who lives in Healdsburg is seated on her bed with her daughter. The woman, named Lake, holds a stainless-steel Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum. Her young daughter, Ruby, sits behind her and holds a vintage cap gun. Both stare impassively at the camera. Another portrait shows a woman in Houston, cradling her naked young son in one arm and holding an Ithaca 20-gauge side-by-side in the other. The woman told McCrum, "I'm eager to teach my boys everything I know."

if she gets started on that lecture now, those boys should be ready to go out and shoot living things any minute. heads up, y'all.

if we're being honest here (and we are), we should agree that guns are made to kill and maim animate objects. and if we can agree on that, we can also feel the dissonance of turning women into steely-eyed weapon wavers, a hair-trigger away from something horrifying and permanent.

men, historically, are the hunters and killers of all things with a pulse. back in the days of mammoths and saber tooth tigers, you could make a case for weaponizing the males, so the women could focus on perpetuating the species. now? not so much. the threat of extinction is no longer imminent, so men with guns kill things for fun, or because they're drunk, or because they're stupid.

until proven otherwise, we should agree that men can't be trusted with anything more dangerous than a plastic butter knife. and that the women are too smart, too civilized, too invested in the future of humankind to set their sights that low.

or maybe that's just whistling past civilization's graveyard.

Author and satirist Christopher Buckley called the book "a serious work of cultural iconography, and visually stunning, alternately sexy, arresting, haunting and mesmerizing."

visually stunning and haunting, certainly. indicative of our culture's cheerfully homicidal nature? definitely. sexy? um, right. nothing says "sexy" like a woman with a gun in her hand and a look of vacuous indifference or calculated menace in her eyes.

upon further review, it occurs to me that if you mentally photoshop out the guns, most of the women in "chicks with guns" actually are sexy. but then, they'd have to change the title of the book to something like "random chicks in fields," or just "chicks." which would be kind of odd.

the conclusion, then, is that that the chicks with guns should stay far, really, farther~~and i'll stay over here with the living things that don't care to be shot or shot at or even have a gun anywhere near them.

we can agree to that, yes?



Fish and Bicycles said...

Yes, we can certainly agree.

LOVED this post! A spaceneedl classic, I must say, with your characteristic combination of wit and biting commentary.

spaceneedl said...

well, thank you. me, i just want to avoid becoming one of those fancy taxidermy things...