David Brooks Writes a Sestina About Misogyny -The Toast

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Today’s Misogyny Is Not Ideal

I would once again like to use history
To examine the present.
Donald Trump’s popularity makes it clearer than ever that many Americans
Are not terribly well educated.
And this is unfortunate
(Not ideal). It also provides an opportunity.

I can get a little giddy reflecting on all the times I have taken the opportunity
To explain things with history.
But today I must soberly discuss how unfortunate
It is that Trump’s popularity brings to the fore just how many men present
Their misogyny in a way reflects how grossly uneducated
They are. You see, there was a time when male Americans

(Understand this was in the past, when said male Americans
Thought that they might have an opportunity
To become educated
And successful, unlike at this point in history
When it’s clear that what presents
Itself to them is a future among the unfortunate)

Were nicer about misogyny (though we know all misogyny is unfortunate).
Now, these men’s sons and grandsons are confused. “I’m American,”
They protest. “I really thought the universe was going to present
Me with a great life. Or, failing that, some fun, like when I got a jet ski, along with the opportunity
To use said jet ski at Lake Havasu — which now seems like ancient history.
This is bullshit. I think I will just stay uneducated.”

So their misogyny — previously tempered and cinematic — reflects that they’re poorly educated.
And love pornos. Still. The most unfortunate
Thing about history
Is not pornos. No, it is how Americans
(And we were talking about men but may I take this opportunity
To be more inclusive, because inclusivity is in!) were once better than they are at present.

So what I humbly (LOL) present —
(Is that how you use LOL?) — and what I hope you’ve become more educated
About — is the fact that even though most men have finally taken the opportunity
To grudgingly follow women’s orders, many others resort to misogyny of the more unfortunate
Sort, egged on by pornos. Ah would it be the sort once embodied by robust, ideal Americans.
Sad, yes. But such is the porno-benighted, not ideal, march of history!

If I could get you all a present — and it’s so unfortunate
That I can’t — it would involve everyone being educated so that all Americans
Could enjoy the opportunity I’ve had to fully comprehend misogyny’s rich history.

Sarah Miller is the author of the novels Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn and The Other Girl. She has written for many publications and lives in Nevada City, CA.

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