I love his books. But there he goes, getting all naive and narrow:
Novelist Ian McEwan recently summed up the impulse to see two categories: “Call me old-fashioned,” he told an audience, “but I tend to think of people with penises as men.”
I’m 9 years younger than McEwan, which I guess makes me one of those young whippersnappers. I’m still kind of peeved at this tendency to ascribe certain regressive views to entire generations, as if old people get excused from simple humanity, and are all done with learning and growing. I’m not planning on turning into a simple-minded fool in the next few years (not that it can’t happen!).
But right now I can say I don’t think like Ian McEwan.
I tend not to think about people’s penises, or lack thereof.
I’ve met thousands of people, and so far, none of them have introduced themselves by showing me their genitals. I don’t think that would be a particularly helpful revelation, anyway; I’ve found a bit of conversation to be far more revealing.
I tend not to characterize people into one of two groups by the degree of enlargement of their embryonic genital tubercle, either. That seems a kind of crude and useless taxonomy. In general, lumping humanity into men on one side and women on the other seems like a useless distinction that ignores a tremendous amount of nuance.
I’m going to start thinking of people in terms of their blood groups. I really should start hanging out with more type O people, in case there is a tragic accident and I need a transfusion. I’m incompatible with those A and B people, and those ABs, just forget it. But at least I’ve divided humanity into four arbitrary subsets, rather than a mere two.
Call me old-fashioned, but I tend to think of type O people as potential blood donors.
That’s not dehumanizing, is it?