LETTER: Bratcher’s ‘equality’ is a joke

I was pleasantly tickled by Nick Bratcher’s column Common Ground in the Nov. 20, 2013 edition. I found it a rollicking satire, and I’ve got it taped up on my dorm wall alongside a few of Mr. Vogt’s strips.

Admittedly, it caught me off-guard—I’m so used to such seriousness when discussing equality that I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to such a sly little bit of genius.

My first clue of the piece’s true nature came with the definition of equality as “the promotion of equivalent portions of some good thing.” By starting off with the idea of equality as quantifiable, Mr. Bratcher manages to jump right over the notion of qualitative with regard to the same subject.

The vague definition of good as love or opportunity may leave a bad taste in one’s mouth at the outset, but bear with the analysis—it all becomes clear, I promise. Mr. Bratcher makes a nice aside to implicitly remind us of the tired dominant schemas he heroically tethers himself (or, at least, the voice of the piece) to before deftly maneuvering himself into the part of the devil’s advocate.

He then gets to the punchline: “I don’t actually want equality.” Stunningly beautiful! Prior to that sentence, I wasn’t entirely sure of the author’s intention, but from that juncture forth it became a decadent, naughty little jaunt I feel only slightly ashamed to say I enjoyed.

We soon get to “think about what being equal gets you.” By demonstrating the extremes that thinking about equality not in terms of changing the self or those surrounding but rather in the sheer numerical, Mr. Bratcher manages to catch us off guard.

And what terrifying results! A wholly misguided utilitarian system of disappointments and terrifying interaction is the natural conclusion, a world of people bent on hurting each other for perceived injury to their personages (and, of course, revealing that the reality of an injury doesn’t matter so long as somebody gets hurt).

Naturally, we need grace and forgiveness—but implicitly only on the part of the male, of course. Men should always be the first to forgive, sacrifice, love and not judge.

Admittedly, from there it gets a little bit silly—Mr. Bratcher, by excluding grace and forgiveness from the components of equality— which we must be reminded is equivalent portions of “really any good thing people desire in general”—eases us in to the faux-apocalyptic finale: “What’s left to gain from your wife of 20 years if there’s someone younger, hotter and shares more of your interests? If equality is your guide, the answer is nothing.” 

I feel I’ve gone on too long. In summation, I find myself forlornly reporting a friction fire in Jonathan Swift’s grave.