As a male who (by choice) spends the vast majority of his time surrounded by women, who uniformly share an unshakeable conviction that the world would be a much better place if run by their sex rather than blokes, I can’t resist sharing this passage from Kundera’s Immortality. I promise it will be the last extract I blog (not least because I’ve finished reading the book):
Paul ignored me. He had just noticed his image, multiplied twenty-seven times in the mirrors, and couldn’t tear his eyes away. He turned, back and forth, to each of his mirrored faces and spoke with the high, feeble voice of an old lady:
“Woman is the future of man. That means that the world which was once formed in man’s image will now be transformed to the image of woman. The more technical and mechanical, cold and metallic it becomes, the more it will need the kind of warmth that only the woman can give it. If we want to save the world, we must adapt to the woman, let ourselves be led by the woman, let ourselves be penetrated by the Ewigweibliche, the eternally feminine!”
As if these prophetic words had completely exhausted him, Paul was suddenly older by another ten years, he was a weak, completely enfeebled old man, between one hundred and twenty and one hundred and fifty years old. He was not even able to hold his glass. He crumpled into his chair. Then he said, sincerely and sadly: “She (KAP note – Paul’s daughter by his first marriage to his second wife Laura’s older sister Agnes) came back without a word. And she hates Laura. And Laura hates her. Maternity has made both of them more pugnacious. Once again, Mahler blares from one room and rock from the other. Once again they they want me to take sides, once again they’re giving me ultimatums. They have started to fight. And once women start to fight they don’t stop.” Then, with a confidential air, he leaned towards us: “Don’t take me seriously, friends. What I am about to tell you is not true.” He lowered his voice, as if he was about to impart a great secret: “It has been extremely lucky that up to now wars have been fought only by men. If they had been fought by women, they would have been so consistently cruel that today there wouldn’t be a single human being left on the planet.” …
I think I’ll ring Suzy and read it to her. I need a bit of entertainment to lighten the tedium of marking student exam answers.