I’ll confess I associate male dominance (i.e., over women) with arrogance (as with a master over slaves, a controlling parent over children, an expert self-important professor over undergraduates, and the ivory tower tenured over college dropouts). And I connect certain language acts with the kind of arrogance I relate to male dominance.
Yesterday, my son and I watched the film Goodwill Hunting together. Tomorrow, I accompany him to his new college to leave him to start his first semester in higher education. Lot’s of feminist, rhetoric, translation lessons for us, father and son. My son looks a little like Will (i.e., Matt Damon’s character in the film) and, like Will, is the one of all his buddies who’s going to college and, like Will again, is one who has a rare gifting that a college professor has noticed and has offered him money (i.e., a scholarship) for. But my son and I are aware of the risks of ignoring the reality of fiction, the necessities of narrative (and not just someone’s propositional truth). After all, Matt Damon and co-writer Ben Affleck are, in real life, college dropout success stories, largely because of their writing about, but not necessarily developed by, higher education. (Damon was an English major at Harvard, no less; I think Affleck dropped out of community college. I keep hearing Harvey Graff talking about the “literacy myth,” and wonder if I, an academic in English studies, have believed it for my son.) It's tough for me to leave my son. What will he become?