The Writer’s Duty

In Writing by Matthew Hazelwood

The Writer's Duty

More on Damore
He brings up one key point: “biological males that were castrated at birth and raised as females often still identify and act like males. ” This shows there is a biological component to personalities of the sexes. It is not the only factor at play but it IS a factor. The next part, I think, needs to be quoted in full:

Note, I’m not saying that all men differ from all women in the following ways or that these differences are “just”. I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of woman in tech and leadership.

Once again, I do not see the “sexism”. Many sexists would say “women are like this” and “men are like this”. They use generalizations because that is how they think. Such thinking is simple. What Damore is saying is not simple. He is expressing nuance.
Oh, and by the way: BRUH, WOE-MAN IS NOT SMERT! WOE-MAN NO DO METH-I MEAN MATH. WOE-MAN IS NEED BE IN KITCHEN. GIVE ME A BABY AND A SAMMICH, WOE-MAN! WOE-MAN NOT BRIGHT, MAN BRIGHT. AND NO GET ME GOING ON GINGERS. THEY-


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For this piece, I was going to write a dialogue. There is something natural yet stimulating about writing a fictional conversation. It was going to be between myself and a friend. We were going to talk about lost art forms. I had started reading The Odyssey by Homer. This made me wonder: why does an art form die out? Should we do our best to revive them?

That, however, was not going anywhere. I did my best to work on it for a couple of days. I was simply not invested. So, to distract myself, I focused on current events.

You all, surely, have been keeping up on the news (or “fake news” depending on who you ask)…

“Protesters pull down confederate statue in North Carolina” -Amanda Jackson, CNN

“James Damore: Free Speech martyr or sexist tech bro?” -Angelo Young, Salon

“North Korea’s Guam threats can lead to ‘big problem'” -Alexander Gillespie, Aljazeera

“Well Matthew,” you may ask, “you already went over the writer’s relationship in politics. Why must you repeat yourself?”

I should say that I used to be a political junkie. I watched the news every day, read many articles and discussed such questions with as many people as I could. But for some time now, my interest in politics has become less and less. It is not as if society is crumbling. Indeed, the United States, my home country, has always been a little slow with its progress; but it will alway progress–eventually.

So, as a habit, I ended up researching on the Damore debacle. I read numerous articles for and against him. I even watched a debate between Steven Pinker and Elizabeth Spelke on gender’s relationship with STEM jobs. In addition, I wrote 1186 words on the matter. I just needed to cut and edit, and I had my 1000-word article for the week!

I was inspired to do so reading Letters from Ed, a collection of letters of Edward Abbey. He sent to John Gardener on 5 April 1982:

It is the writer’s duty to hate injustice, to defy the powerful, and to speak for the voiceless. To be, as Isaiah was, and St. Francis, and Diogenes, and Rabelais, and Villon, and Thoreau and Mark Twain and Tolstoy, to name but a handful, the severest critics of our own societies.

But right after I wrote all that, I became disheartened. I questioned what I could contribute. After all, I am no psychiatrist or psychologist. I continued to think about what Abbey said. I have a duty? To whom? What does that entail? What is the measuring stick to know you are or are not doing said duty?

There will be disagreements. The novelist Thomas Mann, once said “Everything is politics.” Everything may be politics but politics is not everything. For example, what about our common humanity? Politics can cloud that. “Oh, Trump is a genius.” “Oh, Trump is stupid.” In both instances, you are turning someone into an abstract quality. You forget all the facades of each of us. No one is ever one thing, good or bad.

I feel like someone who has been in a particular denomination of a particular religion my whole life. My family believed a certain way, so I followed suit. But I–and everyone, in all honestly–need to create distance between you and parroted beliefs. It feels uncomfortable, possibly wrong, but it has to be done.

I can understand where Abbey comes from; indeed, I WANT to believe him. In a sense, I do. But who wants to be an iconoclast–contrarian, social gadfly, rebel, dissident–all the time? Sometimes, you have to get away from the controversy. Why do I write, for example? The simple reason is I enjoy writing. That is not deep, or inherently altruistic, but it is the truth.

If there is any “moral” to this “story”, it has to do with how writers view themselves. As writers, we want to be remembered. We want people to read our work long after our death. We want to make an impact. In fact, every human may feel that way to one degree. We writers do not have to be “saving the world” every single waking moment of our lives. We can experiment, and even be plain silly. Silliness is one of the joys of art, and indeed, life.

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