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I was reading the comments on one of Noel’s blog posts. Violet mentioned that around Easter and Christmas the doorbell might be rung by people proselytizing as many as four times in a day. More than a few people were shocked to hear it. Although that is at an extreme, I find that my own experience regarding aggressive preaching is often at odds with those of other people living in the U.S. I knew that the region in which I lived was not one of the most religious parts of the country, but when I looked it up on the internet, a map at the county level showed that much of the region is more religious than I thought. However, the map was small enough and I couldn’t see my own county, New York, on it very well.

So, I looked at a few other maps, including some that showed the most common religious group and another that showed the second most common. They were Catholicism and Judaism, which went a long way to explain why I didn’t encounter much proselytizing. Although Catholics, like all Christians, feel an obligation to “spread the word,” they don’t tend to be as aggressive about it as some Protestants. Of course, as we all know, Jews do essentially none.

So, I got curious and thought I might dig down a little deeper. I found a source that had the religious affiliations for the residents of New York City, broken down by borough. For those of you who don’t know, New York City has within it five counties. The counties correspond to the boroughs. Manhattan is New York County, Brooklyn is Kings and Staten Island is Richmond. Queens and the Bronx have the same name for both the county and the borough. I found some figures and I made up a graph because I like seeing things visually.A bubble graph showing religious affliliation in ManhattanThe source is PRRI, Public Religion Research Institute. I don’t know how accurate it is, but the numbers didn’t leave me in shock. The biggest surprise was that there appear to be so few Buddhists. At thirty percent, the largest group was the “unaffiliated.” I know that many of us are curious how many people are non-believers and it would have been nice to see this group broken down. I think you can see from the relatives sizes of the bubbles, it doesn’t feel in the least bit odd to be a non-believer in Manhattan. The source also broke down Catholicism by race. I marked it, but in the end I didn’t label it. It had the group I’m calling Protestant in separate groups, “Mainline Protestant, Black Protestant, Hispanic Protestant and Other Non-White Protestant.” I won’t even begin to get into how weird that all is. Is “other non-white” redundant? Why not just “other,” or “other race?” What about blacks who go to a “mainline” church? Also, there were several groups in the survey who weren’t numerous enough to make it to the chart, including “White Evangelical.”

Now you all know why my experience with religious people is so different than that of others who are U.S. citizens.

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The weather was very mild today, and I decided to take advantage of it to go out and photograph some of the city’s famous black squirrels. I first saw them in Union Square Park when I was a teenager.

If you don’t know about them, they are just normal Gray Squirrels that happen to be a darker color than is typical. It’s an example of melanism. It’s inherited and, since many parks in New York are comparatively isolated by block of concrete, populations of black squirrels will tend to be more common in certain parks than others. A year or two ago, I was walking with my mother near Tompkins Square Park when we saw a black squirrel. I was originally going to head there, but the L train stop on First Avenue is right next to Stuyvesant Town, adjacent to a related development called Peter Cooper Village where black squirrels have been seen. So, I decided to take a detour through Stuyvesant Town first.

Black-Squirrel-on-Step

I didn’t get far into the development before I saw a black squirrel rummaging through some leaves. I approached quietly and cautiously. It wasn’t necessary. As soon as the squirrel saw me, he came bounding up to me. I should have figured. It’s New York City and the squirrels are little hustlers. Fortunately, I had come provisioned with some hazelnuts in the shell. I’ve always found these to be a favorite of squirrels.

Black-Squirrel-under-Tree

A gray squirrel nearby saw our exchange and came running over. He got a nut, too. It didn’t feel right to only give nuts to the black squirrels.

Grey-Squirrel

I walked around the building to an open space near the center of the development. It seems that a good third of the squirrels are black. It was no problem finding them.

This peanut must have come from someone else.

This peanut must have come from someone else.

Some of the black squirrels are darker than others. I noticed that quite a few of them had lighter, brown bellies.

Grey-Squirrel-in-Tree

It was the end of  this past December. A friend had invited me to a “First Night Celebration” in New Hampshire. At first, I was eager to go. I had no plans for New Years Eve and I was happy to be invited anyplace at all. I tried to push down the fact that I was ideologically opposed to the concept of “First Night.” I am a firm believer in the importance of the Dionysian impulse as an integral part of the human experience, and there are few opportunities we have for fully exploring those impulses. The trend away from “New Year’s Eve” celebrations to “First Night” celebrations strikes me as a puritanism as misguided as Prohibition. The only reason I considered it at all was the source of the invitation. I hadn’t seen my friend in a while, someone I’d known since I was sixteen.

Meanwhile, some exchanges on the internet put me in mind of a band I hadn’t thought of in a long time. I typed the name into a search engine and came up with a list of videos. One was of a song I once knew but hadn’t heard in a long time. The video that’s online for the song “40 Shades of Blue” has footage of the East Village as I remember it when I first started spending much of my time there at the age of eighteen or nineteen and into my late twenties. The video opens with a shot of the Bowery Mission, only a few blocks away from where my boyfriend grew up in the housing projects on Pitt Street. His bedroom window faced north and from there we could see a line of buildings along Second Street that were nothing more than shells. My boyfriend told me about how one summer in the seventies he felt that he watch building after building going up in flames, usually a result of arson. That big bad New York of the past wasn’t in the past yet. Crime was still at an all time high. Those shells of tenements feature prominently in the video and I recognized many of the other locations. I even remembered some of the graffiti. I started feeling, not only nostalgic, but homesick.

Part of the East Village was a Ukrainian neighborhood and Luscious’ parents were living in a building on Tompkins Square Park when she was born. By the time I knew her, her mother had died and her father was long since living out on Long Island and she lived in Chelsea. Sometimes we’d end a night of bar hopping at Veselka Coffee Shop, or another place whose name I’m forgetting, and argue about the right way to make pierogi. She was, as I mentioned before, a rock and roll obsessive. She would phone me dramatically declaring that there was some band we “had” to go see. She was tall, beautiful and flamboyant and I felt it was almost a privilege to be her little sidekick. I was very aware that without her I would not be half so aware of what was going on.

So one day she called me and the band we “had” to go see was named Black 47 and they were playing at some bar I’d never heard of with an Irish sounding name. She knew it, she said. Of course, she knew every place. When we walked into the place we were early, which was unusual for us, and it was crowded. An older man in his mid-thirties, looking like he had taken off his jacket and tie before leaving the office so he wouldn’t stand out too much, asked Luscious if he could buy her a beer. She smiled slowly and broadly. “I’ll allow you to buy me a drink only if you buy my friend here a drink,” she said gesturing to her faithful sidekick. She took the beers from his hands, passed one to me, and promptly turned her back on him. She was a bitch and I loved her for it. She spun me around and pushed me toward the stage.

Black 47 was based in New York and played pretty much all the time. We went to see them a few more times. A few years later I moved out of New York. Eventually, I drifted back, but by then I had no idea what had become of Luscious. The friends I was still in touch with didn’t go out that much anymore. Some of them did things like jogging on New Years Eve. As everybody knows by now, a few years ago I left New York yet again, pushed out by rising rents and stagnating income.

As I’ve been writing down my memories, one challenge has been to figure out when certain events happened. Usually there’s a clue that places it in a window of time. Sometimes larger, sometimes smaller. I probably would have put that night with Luscious down a couple of years too early. But I poked around the internet some more and I found out the, much to my surprise, Black 47 is still around but they’re planning on disbanding on the 25th anniversary of their first performance. I also saw that they were playing on New Years Eve. I thought to myself, “What the fuck,” and bought a train ticket to New York.

At the last minute, I began to wonder if it wasn’t a dumb idea. Perhaps they wouldn’t be as good as I remembered and I’d feel let down. I needn’t have worried. I don’t have the knowledge to make this a review of the show. They have a hell of a lot of energy for guys their age… um… I mean my age. They have a lot of time under their belts playing live and it shows. There’s nothing on earth that I enjoy more than a live band in a small place, except the obvious. It felt good to be back in New York.

So, apparently they’ll be around until November of this year. They’re really good live. If you’re in New York you should consider seeking them out.

I lived in Manhattan. All the trains except the G train go through Manhattan, and in Manhattan the trains are always crowded. For the first few stops into the outer boroughs, the trains still tend to be crowded. Then people start getting off. Occasionally people get on, but mostly they get off. With each stop, there are fewer people until there is no longer a crowd but just some individuals.

One day, I was on I don’t remember which train going I don’t remember where, but I was on a train which wasn’t one I typically took heading to the outer boroughs where I didn’t typically go. It was one of the trains where the seats were two lines of benches facing each other. We rolled deep into the outer boroughs. Eventually, there were only a few other people in the car and there was a couple sitting across from me. Two young people. I would guess them to be about twenty-one or twenty-two. The woman was asleep, her head resting on her boyfriends shoulder. Her boyfriend looked down at her, and, with great gentleness so as not to wake her, brushed back a lock of hair that had fallen across her face.

I was charmed by the couple who were unaware my presence. Then, without warning, I began to feel very melancholy. A young man once stole a car to see me. Another would hitchhike from Canada to New York City. A man once threatened to throw acid in my face if I didn’t marry him. I’ve known plenty of passion from men, but never tenderness.

I’m not on twitter, so I can’t tweet, but if I were a twit I would tweet this tweet: All the graduates of publicly funded schools in London have fewer Nobel prizes than the graduates of New York City Public Schools.

There, I said it. I even put it in bold. I am braced for the accusations of cultural imperialism and racism that are sure to follow. On the accusation of racism let me defend myself by pointing out that all graduates of publicly funded schools in London are not the same race. Although London is associated in the world-wide popular mind with the indigenous island race popularly called Britons, itself a dubious admixture of Celts, Germans, Normans and an itty bitty bit of Roman, and probably a few other things they’d rather not talk about like those “little people”, it should be pointed out that residency in London is not, and really never has been, the exclusive property of Britons. Secondly, I have been told that my family has more than a drop of British blood, or at least it is presumed due to the surfeit of surnames that read like a seventeenth century career guide: Farmer, Cooper, Fletcher, Weaver, Smith and others. Just because I am not exclusively of British descent does not make me a “self-hating Briton.” In my entirely objective and unbiased evaluation of myself, I am entirely fair-minded and even-handed in my treatment of Britons. I treat them just like human beings, which I should point out they are.

But the lack of Noble Prizes among the graduates of the publicly funded schools in London is just a fact. Surely it is only in the interest of Londoners themselves to ask how and why their culture is failing them. The indigenous people of the British Isles once had a great culture. They hauled big rocks and put them in a circle, or something like that.

Richard Dawkins pointed out the other day, “All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.”

Writing in the Guardian, Nesrine Malik said, “To wearily engage with his logic briefly: yes, it is technically true that fewer Muslims (10) than Trinity College Cambridge members (32) have won Nobel prizes. But insert pretty much any other group of people instead of “Muslims”, and the statement would be true. You are comparing a specialised academic institution to an arbitrarily chosen group of people. Go on. Try it. All the world’s Chinese, all the world’s Indians, all the world’s lefthanded people, all the world’s cyclists.”

So I did. Or more accurately I tried to try it. I wondered how my people, the people of New Jersey, fared. I suspected with Princeton and the former Bell Labs and the highest average level of education in the U.S. we would fare very well on a world-wide scale. So I took to the internet in search of information. If you are from New Jersey, it will not surprise you that everywhere I looked I saw references to New York City, New York City, New York City. I abandoned my people and decided to settle on New York City Public High School graduates as my arbitrarily chosen group of people. I failed Nesrine Malik’s test. When substituting “New York City Public High School graduates” for “Muslims” I came up with an untrue statement. Forty (40) graduates of the New York City Public High School system have won Nobel Prizes. So take that Trinity.

Then I thought, that’s not fair. New York City public high schools (For British readers, U.S. public schools are public, unlike British public schools which are private. In other words, they are funded by the public and open to the public.) probably contain more people than Trinity college. So, let’s compare like to like. What about the graduates of publicly funded high schools in London? How many Nobel prize winners are there. I couldn’t find a complete list, but so far it doesn’t look good. Furthermore, all of the New York City Nobel Laureates didn’t attend Bronx Science. Richard Feynman went to Far Rockaway. Far Rockaway, folks! The six people listed who received their secondary education in London did not attend publicly funded schools.

It is high time the British people did some serious soul-searching. All residents of the islands, not least of all the indigenous Britons, would benefit.

(Full disclosure: I once had a boyfriend from Rockaway Beach who graduated from Far Rockaway High School.)

After several dislocations during the previous decade, I was finally back in New York City. When I left New York, I had been living in Chelsea, a few doors down from a neighborhood bar called Peter McManus. Not being much of a barfly, I’d only gone there on occasion, but I passed it every day and recalled it as a comfortable enough place.

New York had changed dramatically in the intervening years. A friend of a friend of a friend was playing in a band at Arlene’s Grocery. It was a weird experience walking into the place and suddenly seeing a group of people I’d known when I was still in my late teens and hadn’t seen for twenty years. I sat down at the bar and ordered a beer. A man I thought was cute twenty years earlier sat down next to me and said, “Long time, no see.”

“I hear you’re married and living in the East Village,” I said.

“Divorced and living in Alphabet City,” he responded without much cheer. He held his hands up and mimed hanging of the edge of a cliff. “But I’m still on the island.”

“I’m less than a block away from being off the island myself.”

“Still on the island” summed up a lot about how New York had changed in the intervening years. New York had become colder, harsher, meaner, more of a Hobbesian nightmare than it had ever been during the eighties. If that’s not the image people have, it’s because it’s not only history that’s written by the winners. Journalism is too. Those people who make the t.v. shows and the movies, winners all. The two of us sitting at the bar that night weren’t slated to be winners. We probably knew it in our hearts even then, but we were still clinging to the life raft, to the past, to Manhattan.

Shortly after moving back to New York, a friend came to visit. He looked out my window. “One more block and you’d be in the East River.”

“Fuck, man, you’re in Brooklyn.”

It wasn’t only New York that had changed. A couple of years earlier, when I’d first returned to the U.S. I felt that I came back to a different country than the one I’d left. I’d been homesick and wanted nothing more than to go home and I’d been greeted with a culture shock I didn’t expect.

The radical politics of my youth, which I had come to question long before I left New York, seemed completely, utterly futile in the face of the growing conservatism of the country, a country that had grown more conservative even as Bill Clinton was president. Friends and acquaintances who disdained mainstream politics suddenly struck me as cutting off their noses to spite their faces. If I felt alienated from politics, the answer I felt was to get more involved, at the local level, the party level. I went down to city hall and changed my voter registration from independent to Democrat.

Although the 2004 elections were over a year away, candidates for the democratic nomination were beginning to declare themselves. I went online and researched each of them. I saw that Howard Dean was scheduled to speak at a venue on the Lower East Side. A day or two later, I signed up to volunteer.

In order to get on the ballot for the democratic nomination in New York State a candidate needs to get thousands of signatures. I was with a group of other Dean volunteers when they were talking about mounting a big petitioning effort.

“Where are we meeting,” I asked.

“At McManus.” Someone responded.

“The bar?”

Everyone groaned and rolled their eyes. “You’re new to politics, huh?” McManus, I would soon find out, was the largest, oldest and most storied Democratic club in New York City, a leftover from when the corrupt Tammany Hall Democratic machine ruled New York in the nineteenth century.

A day or two later, I went down to the Hell’s Kitchen club on the west side near the theater district. There was a good turnout with a lot of people I hadn’t yet met. We teamed up in pairs, grabbed clipboards holding official green forms and fanned out across Midtown. I’d already done this with another woman during the day a week earlier out in Brooklyn. Now it was evening. A light freezing drizzle did not look encouraging for standing out on a street corner trying to get passersby in Manhattan to sign a petition. My partner was a petite, dark woman, about ten years my junior, whose name I no longer recall. We placed ourselves on a corner near Manhattan Plaza, a housing project for performing artists. It was dark and cold, and, as the night wore on, boring. As people passed by we called out, “Are you a registered Democrat?”

As the evening progressed, the number of people on the street increased with what appeared to be an after dinner crowed. Despite the heavy foot traffic, we got fewer and fewer signatures. The darkness and the weather seemed to make everyone walk more and more quickly. My partner told me that I was doing a bad job, approaching people who were obviously not Democrats.

“How can you tell?” I asked.

At that moment, a middle-aged couple who looked like the very image of well-fed Wasp prosperity were walking down the avenue in our direction. The man wore a camel colored coat that looked expensive even a block away. The woman wore fur. “Well,” my partner said, “I would bet anything that those two are Republicans!”

I stood at attention waiting for them to come within earshot.

“You’re wasting your time.”

“Are you a Democrat?” I called out.

The man came to a sudden halt and a broad smile covered his face, “Why, yes I am!”

“Would you like to sign a petition to get Howard Dean on the ballot.”

He smiled even more broadly, “Yes, I would!”

He took the clip board, lifted the pen, wrote his name and hesitated before the space for his address. “Honey,” he said, turning to his wife, “where are we registered to vote? The Hamptons or the East Side.”

“The East Side, darling.”

He finished writing his name and handed the petition to his wife. As his wife signed, the man in the camel colored coat shook our hands enthusiastically saying how it was so nice to meet us.

“It’s lonely being a Democrat.”

We tried not to laugh until they were out of earshot. Then we counted the number of signatures we’d gotten. As the drizzle turned to freezing rain, we decided it was time to get out of the cold.

At the beginning of the week, my internet connection wasn’t working well and, later in the week, I started spending my time doing some reading about freedom of speech, so I don’t have much in the line of interesting links. The one thing I would link to got quite a bit of attention on its own and, if you’re an American, you’re probably already aware of it. That would be Wayne LaPierre’s hysterical rant on the Daily Caller website. (ht Tytalus)

Two students wait for a bus near Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.Until today, I’ve remained silent on the subject of guns. However, Wayne LaPierre would like to impose on me a lifestyle I do not want. I lived in South Brooklyn, an area where a townhouse sells for between one and a half million dollars to three and a half million. I didn’t move there because I wanted to live like a survivalist in Montana. I moved there because I like to go to the theater and the opera. I used to go visit the galleries regularly. The local library was aimed at kids, but the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library is one of the best in the country. I went out dancing and listened to live popular music every weekend. I didn’t move to a city where the biggest struggle is paying the rent by accident. I wanted to be there.

But apparently “live and let live” is no longer a good enough credo for Mr. LaPierre and his minions. He says he wants to “fight.” He’d better watch what he wishes for. I value my elegant, refined lifestyle and if you try to take it away from me, you’ll get your fight. Or, to put it in terms Mr. LaPierre can understand, you’ll have to pry this lifestyle from my cold dead hands. I am not buying a gun, Mr. LaPierre.

With that said, I want to suggest an approach that goes beyond simply passing laws. Much more in line with my own values of self-determination based on education and information, I would like to suggest that we start a series of public service announcements aimed at reducing the prevalence of gun ownership. Guns are dangerous items and if you don’t have a concrete reason to have one, maybe you shouldn’t. Let’s counter the myth of self-defense. Maybe you need a locksmith, not a gun.

We’ve seen PSAs about the dangers of drug use, about cigarettes. I even remember being told not to play with matches and I can remember when the strike strip was put on the other side of the book with a little warning, “close before striking.” Would it be too much to have a public service announcement informing people about the benefits of storing their ammunition and their guns in a separate location and other advertisements that help people make informed decisions whichever way the legislation goes.

When reading LaPierre’s article, I was incredibly puzzled over his weird obsession with New York City’s wealthy Republican mayor Michael Bloomberg. For the record, I was still living in New York City during the last mayoral election and I didn’t vote for Bloomberg. He is far too conservative for me. During repeated natural disasters he has failed to show sensible leadership. Progressives and liberals have regularly opposed many of his policies, so the failure of local government to respond to Hurricane Sandy effectively in New York City was not caused by liberals. When looking for some objective sources for information on gun safety, I came across the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. The research center is part of the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Bloomberg is a graduate of Johns Hopkins and gives a lot of money to the school. The NRA has fought to keep Americans dumb and ignorant about guns by preventing federal money from being spent to study virtually anything having to do with gun violence. So I guess that’s why they hate Bloomberg so very much. He’s opposed to ignorance. Apparently, if you really want to incur the wrath of the NRA, you won’t promote broad gun bans. You’ll promote information.

One last note. If you’re really worried about the collapse of civilization, the silliest thing you could do is send your money to a lobbying organization. In the apocalyptic scenario LaPierre conjures up, Supreme Court appointments won’t matter much.

Now, if you pardon me, I would like to master a piece by Shostakovich before the zombie apocalypse ends my life.

I came across this Atlantic article, The Lonely Existence of Mel Feit, Men’s-Rights Advocate, via Skepchick. Stephanie Fairyington describes her first meeting with a group from the National Center for Men:

My entrance is met with restrained courtesy—and a perceptible cloud of suspicion. Why, they must wonder, would I, a lesbian feminist, want to break bread at their masculinist table? As cautiously as I tread their terrain and as much as I disagree with most of their politics, I believe that some of their views are in the interest of feminism.

A feminist like the writer, I, too, have some sympathy with the arguments put forth by  men’s rights groups. Perhaps I don’t have the instinctive negative reaction that some feminists do towards the men’s rights groups because I was first exposed to it at sixteen by an economics professor who was also vocally a feminist himself. Consequently, it was first presented to me in the context of a more general search for just and equitable treatment for both sexes. Many feminists have long maintained that gender equality would be beneficial for most men as well. Fairyington quotes Amanda Marcotte as saying, “There is already a movement for people of both genders who want to end stifling gender roles: It’s called feminism.” However, feminists, who have often been highly sensitive to the language we use and the implied meaning of words, should be able to see that, while feminism may imply a more liberating role for men, the word itself does not explicitly include them.

But I wonder if feminism’s assumption that being male necessarily situates men at an advantage makes it harder for feminism to address the struggles unique to men. By diminishing male-specific challenges, feminists fail to recognize that women’s progress hinges on understanding that antiquated standards of masculinity hurt both sexes and are linked to men’s unstable relationship with the family.

Although I’m highly aware of the fact that feminism addresses ways in which women are put at a disadvantage, there’s a tendency to ignore the implied corollary, that men therefore benefit from advantages. This dovetails somewhat into my discomfort with the use of the word privilege. (Although, let me be clear I have no problem with the concept.) Is the lack of a disadvantage necessarily an advantage?

A parking lot in a blizzard in New York City late at night.In the mid-eighties, I moved to New York City, the place I had wanted to be ever since I was a small child. At the time, the city was wracked by racial tension. It’s something that no longer seems to exist in the public imagination, sandwiched between the radical movements of the sixties and New York’s rehabilitation as a playground for the rich. New York just past its nadir, the city called “ungovernable” during Ed Koch‘s tenure as mayor, is vividly remembered by those who lived there, a period dramatically rendered by Tom Wolfe in his novel The Bonfire of the Vanities. Robert David Jaffee summarized some of the incidents from that period. (h/t swilliamsjd )

New York City endured a spate of hate crimes in the 1980s, beginning with the case of Michael Stewart, the subway graffiti artist, who by most accounts died from asphyxiation after the police got him in a chokehold. Many other incidents followed, from the shooting of Eleanor Bumpurs, an elderly black woman, suffering from health problems, who was killed by police in her Bronx apartment after she allegedly brandished a knife; to subway gunman Bernard Goetz’s clash with a group of black teens; to the rape and beating of a Central Park jogger; to Howard Beach, where several African-Americans, whose car had broken down, wandered into a white neighborhood before one was beaten senseless and another chased to his death on the Belt Parkway; to the Tawana Brawley hoax, in which a young black woman claimed that white men spread feces over her and raped her, though no evidence of penetration existed, and she had made up a similar story not long before. (links mine – fojap)

I remember well, all those incidents. At the time, I was living with a man who read the tabloids, The Post, The Daily News and Newsday. I read The Times. Between the two of us, our apartment was filled with newspapers. Shortly after leaving him, I remember clearly reading about the Crown Heights Riots and feeling conflicted.

The riots began on August 19, 1991, after the child of Guyanese immigrants was accidentally struck and killed by an automobile in the motorcade of Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

The riot unleashed simmering tensions of the Crown Heights’ black community against the Orthodox Jewish community. In its wake, several Jews were seriously injured; one Orthodox Jewish man, Yankel Rosenbaum, was killed; and a non-Jewish man, allegedly mistaken by rioters for a Jew, was killed by a group of African-American men. (Wikipedia: Crown Heights riot)

The local papers and conversations at work or among friends were filled with opinions. One theme seemed to come up again and again: Who had suffered more throughout history, African-Americans or Jews. I was neither African-American nor Jewish, yet I was a New Yorker. Something inside me rebelled at the thought that suffering should be compared in this way.  It stuck me as a perversion of a leftist vision of the world that puts so much emphasis on the oppressed and oppressors. Previously, I had heard conservatives sneer about “victimization.” I should be clear that I don’t accept their disdain of discussing oppression or injustice. The relief of injustice is a moral imperative. However, the Crown Heights Riot was the final incident that caused me to distance myself from a leftist perception of events. With two sets of victims, two sets of oppressors, the left had, at that time, nothing to offer to make sense of what was happening.

It would be another year before the word “kyriarchy” would be coined.

Returning to men’s rights, several of the men in the group Fairyington met, although it should be noted not Mel Feit himself, believe that feminists are their opponents. It would be nice if there was a men’s movement that did not have so many members who see themselves as in opposition to the women’s movement.