Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll declares that there is NOTHING SOCIAL ABOUT IT. She writes:

Generally speaking, putting the word “social” in front of anything either renders it meaningless or changes it into its opposite. Sometimes, like “social disease,” it is just a euphemism. At any rate, I submit several examples of the uses of “social” for your consideration:

Let’s just skim the surface of the worst of all, though it alone could be a 12-part series – Social Justice. Regular old garden-variety Justice – you remember the chick with the blindfold over her eyes? – was accomplished first with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and then continued with the Civil Rights Act, Title IX, and the usual legislative and judicial channels for righting ancient and very real wrongs. For about 15 minutes, aggrieved groups were satisfied. But certain pathologies seemed remarkably resistant to eradication even with legal impediments removed.

Why, clearly MORE had to be done. It’s not enough to be allowed into college, if it requires studying and hard work to pass the entrance exams. That gives an unfair advantage to…uh…those who study and work hard. Let’s lift that blindfold just a bit and give 400 extra points to those who did neither. Had that blatant discrimination been confined to academia where no real harm could be done by a mental midget majoring in Sociology or Interpretive Feminist Dance, all might have been well. (And I say that as a Sociology major.)

But there were a lot of jobs that paid well whose troublesome requirements could actually impact on life and safety. If firefighters are required to hoist 200 lbs. of chain a hundred feet to simulate the dead weight of a person being carried out of a fire — and no women can do that — then we must figure out how few pounds it takes to guarantee that SOMEBODY without testosterone qualifies. That is Social Justice and we will never learn if people have died because of it. What matters is to get a Somali Muslim cop, or a woman Navy Seal. (IF a woman can meet the real standards for firefighter or Seal training, then I bow low to her.)

Social Media: It’s possible that when dweeby Mr. Zuckerberg came up with the idea of Facebook, he genuinely thought “What a great way for families and friends to keep in touch!” Alas, through several incarnations of MySpace, Facebook and the like, we now see whole families out for dinner, not interacting with each other for even a minute, all hunched over their individual phones. I keep reading that texting drivers are more dangerous than drunk ones.

Social media is now used to summon flash mobs for havoc; it is used to shame teens into suicide and to make sure that anyone who steps outside the ever narrower Straits of Political Correctness never works again. It can magnify the most offhand, casual joke into a firestorm of hatred in a trice. What part of that is “social” or beneficial is beyond me.

Social Studies – I shudder to think what subject matter passes for Social Studies today, but when I was in fourth grade we had an over-sized Social Studies book devoted to other cultures. Two units that I recall from some 63 years ago involved “Juan,” whose father was a burro-riding coffee grower in Colombia and – I am not making this up – Pimwe, the Jungle Boy, who lived somewhere vague in Africa. His mother spent her days pounding cassava roots into a flour for bread. I do not remember what Pimwe did, because that big brown book was a perfect size for hiding smaller books, like the now banned Laura Ingalls Wilder books, inside of it. I hate Political Correctness with the white hot heat of a thousand suns. However, it is remotely possible that there were SOME cultural insensitivities that wanted correction.

Social Dancing in 7th Grade gym was not very social either. The unit went on for half a quarter. The scratchy vinyl record would start – the box waltz, a foxtrot — one of the long-outdated dances we had plodded to mechanically for a couple of weeks without partners (step, two, three, back two three…). Time to try it in pairs. The girls were lined up on one side of the gym and the boys on the other. The music began. And…nothing.

The boys – 12 years old, at the very peak of fragrant obnoxiousness – would simply not go across No-Man’s Land to ask a girl to dance. Short of whips – which, surprisingly, were illegal in middle school even in the ’50s – they just flat-out refused. The boy’s gym teacher tried collective punishment. The boys could choose between asking a girl to dance and running laps around the gym. To a boy, they chose the laps. We girls danced with each other, free from the anxiety of waiting for some little punk to gift us with his invitation to bunny hop.

By eighth grade, more of the boy critters were now taller than the girls and in the grip of powerful hormones. They were awash in the ’50s version of Ax Body Wash and, noticing that many girls had filled out nicely, they were now eager to dance. The same little fella sprinted across the gym floor every week to seek me out, never saying another word after asking me to dance. Finally, in about week six, sweating profusely, he came up with an inspired ice-breaker: “So…what page are you on in Math?”

I answered honestly, “I don’t know the page. Multiplying Fractions, I think.” He persisted. “Okay. Want to go to the school dance with me next Friday night?” “Sure. Thanks.” By that time we had utterly lost the beat. And then his big finish, “What’s your name and could you write down where you live? My Mom will drive us.”

That relationship did not even survive the evening. It was a disaster from the moment he opened his mother’s passenger door for me and then got in first. Let’s mention also that my Ban roll-on deodorant, when activated by perspiration, turned the armpits in my lovely new green satin dress, bright yellow. It’s only been 59 years, so I’m almost over that part.

The evening ended at about 8:30 with the fight my diminutive date got into with another boy who asked for one dance. From the principal’s office, the chaperones called his mother to bring a blood-free shirt and fetch him. I called my Daddy to come get me and bring a sweater to cover up my dress. I’m pretty sure my date grazed my behind once in a slow dance. So he probably can no longer be considered for The Supreme Court by grandstanding sleazebuckets whose august body has a hefty and super-secret taxpayer-funded slush fund to pay off sexual harassment charges filed long after junior high.

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