A.C. Snow

Society’s gender prejudice has some ancient roots

A.C. Snow
A.C. Snow ehyman@newsobserver.com

I don’t really know how the Biblical references ended up in my email inbox.

But there they were: Pure sexism of the worst kind from Proverbs 21.

One version read: “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman.”

The other version declared: “It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop than with a brawling woman in a wide house.”

I vow you haven’t heard many ministers preach on either version.

I emailed Dr. William C. Simpson, friend and former pastor at Edenton Street United Methodist Church, for comment. Dr. Simpson, now retired, lives in Burlington.

“Well, Proverbs (often attributed wrongly to Solomon) is a collection of sayings that form part of the ancient Jewish wisdom literature,” Simpson explained. “They typically have a rather aristocratic and even haughty bent representing prevailing views of their day.

“To answer your question, no, I have never preached on them. I valued my hide too much!

“But there are lots of verses in the Bible that I have tended to avoid because they seem a bit culturally biased.

“For example, slavery was justified by our forebears using texts from the Bible. But when you look at the Bible as a whole, slavery was an evil fostered on one race by another.”

A sad cake

The recent column on family reunions stirred the memories of several of you.

“My first marriage started to come to end when my new bride took a store-bought cake to my family reunion,” wrote a San Jose, Calif., reader who wishes to remain anonymous.

“The cake was placed on the table with the other homemade cakes and pies.

“There was my aunt Elsie’s caramel cake, my aunt Dot’s famous blueberry pie, my mother’s chocolate pecan cake, plus many others that would have put a baker to shame,

“My wife’s store-bought cake sat untouched. When we all were leaving, my well-meaning Aunt Elsie slipped my wife her recipe for caramel cake.

“Trying to comfort my new bride on the way home and trying to stop her tears, I assured her that most of these kinfolk usually did not bake very often and only did it at the family reunions to show off. A few years later we divorced. I think it all started with that store-bought cake.”

Almost obscene

I don’t know what else to call it. It borders on the obscene.

I’m referring to the recent auctioning of a pair of Michael Jordan’s worn-out sneakers for the ridiculous sum of $190,373.80.

Jordan wore the shoes in the game between the United States and Spain in the 1984 Summer Olympics.

A worn-out sneaker under any circumstances is going to stink. So what does the owner of a $190,373.80 pair of Jordan-autographed size 13 sneakers do with them?

Perhaps he or she can launch a street-side business catering to other sports fanatics who might pay $50 or more to sniff a smelly pair of 34-year-old sneakers.

But wait! The news item noted that some of Jordan’s other personal belongings will be auctioned off in the near future.

The possibilities are mind-boggling. Proceeds from the sale of a discarded Michael Jordan pair of skivvies, for example, might easily fund several full scholarships to UNC-Chapel Hill, Jordan’s alma mater!

Only in America!

Be Nice Day

So Congress has set July 12 as “Civility Day,” during which for an entire day our legislators will try to conduct themselves as civilized human beings.

I assume that on that momentous day, lawmakers will refrain from name calling, bickering, backstabbing and going to any length to block the opposition’s pet legislative proposals.

As far as I know, this will be a precedent-setting event, the need for which our civilized founding fathers did not foresee and thus did not write it into the Constitution.

I trust and would hope that the president will also be invited to participate in Civility Day.

If he accepts, it might be a good idea as a precaution to first send him off to one of D.C.’s elite charm schools for a week or so of orientation.

In fact, why don’t we make this a nationwide event in which EVERY American for one day concentrates on being decent to one another.