“Look lady, I just put a trashcan over a fucking rabid raccoon; I don’t know what I’m going to do next. So don’t push me. Because there are other trash cans in this park and one of them might have your name on it.” -from Susan Schorn’s Bitchslap: A Column About Women and Fighting.
I wanted to write about this column in particular simply because of the
rabid cedar-feverish raccoon at its heart. One of the many life lessons I picked from the long dinner table at my Grandparents’ house had to with learning to avoid rabid skunks and raccoons (who make their disastrous, killer intentions known only in the daytime). It was kind of a joke, but not really a joke. It was something caught between alarming reality and family myth. There were others: Figs off the tree can kill you! Snakes and homeless men can often live in attics for years before discovery! If you see a raccoon in the daytime, it’s RABID. Don’t go near it!
Susan Schorn’s Bitchslap: A Column About Women and Fighting is always surprising, funny, and poignant, and it sometimes mirrors my own silent, righteous anger so much that I gotta walk it out. Among my favorites is Fuck the Dude Up, a particularly rage-inducing piece that reflects upon the not-so protective laws centered on violence committed against women and the effectiveness of pacifistic attitudes pressed upon those who take self defense classes in order to avoid victimhood. It’s definitely difficult not to want to quote entire paragraphs of the column here, but I trust you’ll follow the link if this is your thing. You won’t be sorry.
There are a lot of people out there writing about violence against women, but Schorn has not expressly dedicated her column to this pervasive problem. It instead examines a whole host of difficulties that surround women who wish to honestly confront the emotional, psychological, and physical challenges of a daily barrage of images, expectations, and questionable power struggles that have the ability to incapacitate even the strongest of wills.
The fighting in this column is not just physical, though much of her writing does focus on martial arts. It’s not just linguistic, either, though the writing is circular, sharp, and satisfying. The fighting is this undercurrent of control and certainty that leads the way to real, transformative power. Not any hokey-dookey power of the spirit, either. A frighteningly tense, death-grip kind of power that warrants respect. Her book is on the way, from what I can tell.