Marriage, in what is evidently its most popular version, is now on the one hand an intimate 'relationship' involving (ideally) two successful careerists in the same bed and on the other hand a sort of private political system in which rights and interests must be constantly asserted and defended. Marriage, in other words, has now taken the form of divorce: a prolonged and impassioned negotiation as to how things shall be divided. During their understandably temporary association, the 'married' couple will typically consume a large quantity of merchandise and a large portion of each other.The modern household is the place where the consumptive couple do their consuming. Nothing productive is done there. Such work as is done there is done at the expense of the resident couple or family and to the profit of suppliers of energy and household technology. For entertainment, the inmates consume television or purchase other consumable diversion elsewhere.There are, however, still some married couples who understand themselves as belonging to their marriage, to each other and to their children. What they have they have in common and so, to them, helping each other does not seem merely to damage their ability to compete against each other. To them, 'mine' is not so powerful or necessary a pronoun as 'ours.'This sort of marriage usually has at its heart a household that is to some extent productive. The couple, that is, makes around itself a household economy that involves the work of both wife and husband, that gives them a measure of economic independence and self-employment, a measure of freedom, as well as a common ground and a common satisfaction. (From Feminism, the Body and the Machine)
Wendell Berry
Here’s the thing, people: We have some serious problems. The lights are off. And it seems like that’s affecting the water flow in part of town. So, no baths or showers, okay? But the situation is that we think Caine is short of food, which means he’s not going to be able to hold out very long at the power plant.How long? someone yelled.Sam shook his head. I don’t know.Why can’t you get him to leave?Because I can’t, that’s why, Sam snapped, letting some of his anger show. Because I’m not Superman, all right? Look, he’s inside the plant. The walls are thick. He has guns, he has Jack, he has Drake and he has his own powers. I can’t get him out of there without getting some of our people killed. Anybody want to volunteer for that?Silence.Yeah, I thought so. I can’t get you people to show up and pick melons, let alone throw down with Drake.That’s your job, Zil said.Oh, I see, Sam said. The resentment he’d held in now came boiling to the surface. It’s my job to pick the fruit and collect the trash and ration the food and catch Hunter and stop Caine and settle every stupid little fight and make sure kids get a visit from the Tooth Fairy. What’s your job, Zil? Oh, right: you spray hateful graffiti. Thanks for taking care of that, I don’t know how we’d ever manage without you.Sam…, Astrid said, just loud enough for him to hear. A warning.Too late. He was going to say what needed saying.And the rest of you. How many of you have done a single, lousy thing in the last two weeks aside from sitting around playing Xbox or watching movies?Let me explain something to you people. I’m not your parents. I’m a fifteen-year-old kid. I’m a kid, just like all of you. I don’t happen to have any magic ability to make food suddenly appear. I can’t just snap my fingers and make all your problems go away. I’m just a kid.As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Sam knew he had crossed the line. He had said the fateful words so many had used as an excuse before him. How many hundreds of times had he heard, I’m just a kid.But now he seemed unable to stop the words from tumbling out. Look, I have an eighth-grade education. Just because I have powers doesn’t mean I’m Dumbledore or George Washington or Martin Luther King. Until all this happened I was just a B student. All I wanted to do was surf. I wanted to grow up to be Dru Adler or Kelly Slater, just, you know, a really good surfer.The crowd was dead quiet now. Of course they were quiet, some still-functioning part of his mind thought bitterly, it’s entertaining watching someone melt down in public.I’m doing the best I can, Sam said.I lost people today…I…I screwed up. I should have figured out Caine might go after the power plant.Silence.I’m doing the best I can.No one said a word.Sam refused to meet Astrid’s eyes. If he saw pity there, he would fall apart completely.I’m sorry, he said.I’m sorry.
Michael Grant