Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better
— The Beatles
I watched part of the opening ceremonies of the London Summer Olympics: the End. Sir Paul McCartney at 70 years of age, ever the consummate performer, performed “Hey, Jude” to a thrilled crowd.
He got the audience involved. They were singing along at his invitation and then he said “Just the boys now” and then “Just the girls.” Finally he said, “And now, together.”
I have to admit my heart was soaring at the joy of it as I saw (and heard) boys and girls from all over the world, of every color, singing along.
I was surprised that he split the group by sex. I don’t know why I was surprised. It is a natural thing to do. It is a quick way to divide any sufficiently large random group approximately in half, but there is more to it than that. The male and female voices have different qualities. Separate, they are each pleasant in their own right, but brought together something that is more than the sum of the separate parts emerges.
Much less happily, I was reading the other day about the shooting in Aurora, Colo. There was a story online wherein the writer was expressing surprise that some of the men were protecting their wives and girlfriends. Some had even given their lives.
On the day I married Jean, I was as nervous as I’d ever been in my life. I waited for her at the front of the church and my hands were as cold as ice. I stood there as the pastor gave a little homily before the vows. There was the usual part about being poor and sick, but he also mentioned something that I’d never thought of until that time. As a husband, it was my job to protect my wife and family and to give my life for them if necessary.
I remember nodding my head. I don’t know whether it was just because I agreed or because dying looked pretty good when compared to being up in front of the church like that.
These years later it makes me think of the movie Cold Mountain wherein Inman, the male lead, makes a long journey and returns to his woman, living just long enough to make her pregnant and die while protecting her and their unborn baby.
In the Sixties there was an examination of traditional sex roles. Some rejected tradition and some held to it. I suppose that, if you believe in freedom of thought, there is room enough for both of those.
During those days of experimentation, an idea came into the mix that there was really no difference between men and women. That is one of those ideas that only a real smart person would be dumb enough to believe. I once had coffee with a PhD who said, “Putting aside the physiology and anatomy associated with childbirth, there is no difference between men and women.”
Okay, even if I believed you, that is a hell of a thing to put aside. If you think it’s little, then you have a baby. For my part, I’ve seen it done, and it makes dying from a bullet look pretty darned easy.
We, the sexes, are different from each other, and, as the French say (and they can’t say it too many times) vive la difference!
We come into the world like pieces in a kit. We each have a place we are supposed to go, but in most cases there has to be a bit of preparation before all of the pieces fit together smoothly. We have to be taught how to take our places in the world. Men have to be
taught how to be men and women to be women. This is done differently
in different cultures, but in those cultures that thrive there is a
certain qualities that are common.
Those qualities are good by themselves, but more emerges when they are
combined in complement to each other.
Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, is Assistant Dean
of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Mathematics at
Pittsburg State University. He blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and
okieinexile.blogspot.com. You may contact him at