Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Daddy's Chair

We unpacked the recliner from IKEA this afternoon and moved it into my office. This is yet another rite of passage for me: we have a Daddy's Chair.

Daddy's Chair is one of the universal cultural symbols of Western society, going all the way back to the thrones of kings. As George Gilder tells it, the task of society has primarily been one of women trying to civilize men, to make them believe that they were special and necessary, to get them to hang around, bring home food and take out the trash. Since men didn't have an obvious physical tie to the home (like, oh, say, half a dozen babies, in the case of the women) society needed to create symbolic ways to acknowledge the specialness of men, to make them feel wanted and needed and a part of the home. And one of the universal symbols is Daddy's Chair.

Daddy's Chair needs to be big, the biggest in the room and perhaps the whole house. In America it is invariably a recliner. It is his place of rest, entirely his own, even in the middle of the living room. Unfortunately in modern times it faces the TV instead of the fireplace, but the subliminal message is still the same: "Welcome, o mighty provider! Rest awhile, king in your own home."

Yes, this may sound hokey, and sexist, and a tad silly when spoken of explicitly. But nonetheless, it is the reason for such chairs. I mean, I might have thought the reason I wanted it was to sneak in a nap now and then, and still be in reach of the phone when support calls came in . . . but at some level, the deeper psychology is moving. Daddy's Chair is the ultimate symbol of masculine domesticity. This is what we look forward to when we come home -- happy children at the door, dinner on the table . . . and then, the chair.



Post a Comment

<< Home