Nigel: the Performance of a Lifetime
August 24, 2007
It has been brought to my attention that once again my suckage as a blog hostess knows no bounds. I failed to discuss my stated objective, which was the intersection of harm as it relates to Nigel, who is unimportant. Can you relate to my despair? Do you see why I so vigorously resisted the temptation to blog? Not only was I attempting to spare you the terrifying exposure to the inner workings of my insanity, but I instinctively knew that in answering one question two more would pop up in it’s place.
Actually, if you’ve been paying attention, you will have noticed that the more accurate subject under discussion for the other day and for which I failed to ever offer up any rumination, was the intersection of harm and Stanley the Strawman, otherwise known as the “war on women”; but fear not, Nigel does indeed play center stage. Sadly enough, chances are good that absolutely no one is bothering to read this, which means I am, in fact, talking to myself. Blogging to self, more accurately. I wonder, does a deaf person sign to themselves when no one’s around?
Anyway, Noble Nigel is a mime who performs street theatre. He doesn’t say much, but he doesn’t have to; his only job is to stand between the audience and the little strawman Stanley behind the curtain. It pays well, and the benefits are outstanding. While emo stoicism is an admittedly tough character to play, the number of groupies who flock to Nigel’s side more than compensates for any hardship.
But where’s the harm? Why be mad at poor old innocent Nigel, who’s just doing his job? After all, it’s really just those few bad boys who gad about from one indiscriminate act of mayhem to another, and we shouldn’t hold the entire cast to blame for the crimes of a few. It’s only the “few” Stanley’s of this world who go around gleefully hacking feminist forums so they can send torquereous misexplicatives to sequestered sullied souls*. It’s only a “few” misunderstood lads causing all the felonious harrassments, ravishings, and assorted double standards. It’s only a “few” who need anthropomorphized displays of caged bunnies to sell skateboards.
Shouldn’t we reserve our displeasure for the few bad boys named Stanley?
Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say we should reserve our displeasure for the root cause of the harm done to women?** Before we do anything else, it seems kind of important to quantify that harm — at least that’s what the scientisty people usually say — and that harm isn’t limited to a few women, now is it? Magically, we are supposed to ignore the painfully apparent reality that every woman is harmed by what “a few” do. Some might even propose that it is Nigel’s passive acceptance of all the misogyny swirling around like fairy dust which makes that magical sleight-of-hand possible. Nigel is Stanley’s accomplice; they work as a team, but because they are never onstage at the same time we’re not supposed to notice how perfectly one compliments the other.
Every time Stanley does something naughty we can point point to Nigel and say, “all men aren’t like that!” while the curtain falls dramatically. With that line suitably delivered in a saucy tone, we can stop thinking and slog back a few mind-numbing drinks at the bar with our date, whom we’re trying really hard not to notice looks an awful lot like one of the lead players. We can trudle back to our pre-assigned seats after intermission and be passive observers to the rest of the play, as if Nigel’s role is settled and there aren’t four more questions lined up in the que right behind the first.
*Sending “torquereous misexplicatives to sequestered sullied souls” is just a polite way of saying “torture porn to rape victims”. I’m trying to shield your delicate sensibilities from excessively objectionable material. Also, I have a dictionary.
**As will be evidenced later, pie-in-the-sky ephemeral concepts miss the mark as an excuse. You might want to rethunk that one.