Friday, December 21, 2007

Literary vs. genre fiction. And, hitting people!

Two articles of note online today. First, Dave Wolverton writes about the differences between genre fiction and literary fiction. It's worth a read, and I mostly agree with him.

Second, an article in Esquire called, "Why I started punching jerks again". The writer says, essentially, that modern Man is too constrained by a new ethic that says it's more macho to walk away from a fight, and by a fear of the modern legal system. And this constraint lets jerks get away with being jerks, so he's starting to put the fisticuffs back in manliness. It's a funny, short read.

This is a problem I've thought a bit about. What is the proper response if, say, you're at a bar and some guy starts insulting your wife? I don't think the law says you get to hit him. These days, even if a guy picks a fight, if you hit him first you enter the dark, fetid recesses of the legal system. You can go to jail, get sued, and potentially lose your house -- it's a big gamble, and even if you win it you're out a few thousand dollars in legal fees. It seems easier to take the insults. On the other hand, you can insult back; if he hits you first (or makes the attempt), you can hammer him with much better odds in the legal system. Or, if you're particularly manly, just let him hit you and don't defend yourself. Now he's the guy on the pointy end of the legal system. You get hit, while he goes to jail and gets sued. He's even got a chance of getting a felony conviction, which he has to mention on every job application for the rest of his life. Who actually lost that fight? Your black eye lasts less time, and causes you less trauma, than his assault charge will cost him....

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