Exactly. Because human.

From the way you write, you sound so bitter. I hope this is just the way you express yourself and not who you are.

This is an illuminating comment, and not the first time that very word has been used to assess my style. Fair enough.

But I get other comments too. I forwarded the longer post to a woman contact of mine in Canada, and her reply was

Oh that was a great rant! So much truth there! Thanks for sharing it.

Another contact, a rape survivor and rape victims’ advocate, held a long exchange with me last night where we talked some legal theory centered precisely on the horrific crime that had been done to her as a teenaged virgin in her own home, and the continuing horrors she has faced since then (she is now a law school grad in her mid-20s), and her reply was

I mean, if I were grading you on whether I agree with you your theory gets an a+. I can count on one hand the number of other people besides me who have made these connections and understands this

Believe me, the “this” she was referring to had nothing to do with “rape culture” or “teach men not to rape” or “patriarchy” or my valuing her properly as a victim. I had told her early on weeks ago, that one thing I could do for her and her efforts, was not feel sorry for her and that I don’t, for which she thanked me. Remarking in the bargain, that few people male or female got that about her thinking and her work, either.

No, “this” was some rather detailed theory on the role of the States versus that of the federal government, and on how federal blundering plus executive power-grabbing has created and fueled an official rape culture and continues to do so while pretending to be trying to protect women and reduce crime.

That gal also was among the most enthusiastic endorsers of the views I have stated about this Trump-tapes business as held against the ravaging hypocrisy of the Clinton empire and the staggering significance of the presence of four of their victims in the gallery during the latest debate.

So, I’d say, Meg, in all due respect: I accept your assessment of “bitter”, as your assessment. And must assume there is a background to how you arrived at it. But this is the extent of the regard I will give the adjective, when the extent to which I have tested and exposed my views, both publicly and privately, and the wide range of people and their own views held who have made their own assessments of my writing, says that my being bitter has little to do with why or how I write what I write.

Have I had enough of some things and am now stating that I will no longer tolerate them? Yes. Have I learned how far backward I will be pushed away from looking after myself with dignity, once I surrender that dignity to guilt or contrition or ersatz sympathies I owe to no one? Oh yes ma’am. Have I decided I will be pushed back no more without the other party having good reason based in an injustice in my conduct? Yes again.

But I am not bitter about these affirmatives. I am fiercely, and increasingly, proud to have finally made them. If this translates to some as bitterness while to others as refreshing insight, I have decided to rank the latter as of more a priority in looking to how I write in the future.

And whatever it is that has you calling it bitterness, it will probably become more so, not less. And for reasons I don’t generally go into in detail, this is victory, ascendancy, confidence, and hope for me. There is nothing bitter about it, unless anyone has their own reasons to read it that way.

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