By Dr David Laing Dawson
Some years ago the person who oversaw both the men’s and women’s shelters in this city expressed his surprise that far more actual physical fights broke out in the women’s shelter than in the men’s.
But it did make perfect sense after we discussed it.
Some irritation would occur, expected when living on top of one another, and a man would verbally insult another man. Then a pattern of behaviour would unfold that was learned on the playgrounds of every public school, playing field and back alley, one that probably has genetic roots we can observe with our cousins, the apes and chimpanzees.
“Yeah, and who’s gonna make me?”
“You and who’s army?”
Chin thrust forward, the baring of teeth, the snarl, the threatened encroachment on the other’s space, insulting the other’s sexuality, his courage, his birth, his mother, name calling, dire threats for the future, the unfurling of plumage.
Other men (boys) would intervene pulling the two apart as they hurled their last insults at one another. Their assuaging words were always of the order of, “He ain’t worth it.”
This last part is important, for it is face saving for both antagonists. And an actual fight is averted. Life goes on.
In the women’s shelter, one would insult the other, and the recipient of the insult would hurl herself at the antagonist. They had not experienced the same playground socialization.
I am thinking about this because of Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump and the way war begins, and even those words of Tillerson and others, “It’s the only language Kim Jong Un understands.”
No. No. No.
Tillerson, your job is to put your arm around Donald Trump, pull him aside and say, “He ain’t worth it.”
Maybe no one can do that with Kim.
It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that one of the protagonists, these blustering would-be alpha males, especially the stronger of the two, gets pulled back.
“Donald, he ain’t worth it.”
Now if American leadership really was smart and confident, it could offer Kim some face saving device. “But we will look weak,” American leadership will scream. This despite the fact they have the capacity to destroy the world and we all know it.
Tillerson, you appear mostly sane to me, and a man who understands a few things. It is your job to pull Trump aside and tell him, “He ain’t worth it. You could take him easy, but it ain’t worth it.”
And would it kill you to promise Kim that you will stop flying B 52’s over North Korea and stop practicing war in South Korea if he stops testing A bombs?