It has been many, many years — like 20 of them, probably? — since anyone asked me to complete a Reading Comprehension exercise. Maybe that explains my utter bewilderment in trying to parse the NY Daily News today, but regardless, I need help. I don't get this op-ed. Could you please rephrase it for me?
From scanning the title — "Can we talk about womanspreading?" — I gleaned that the copy would outline an extended claim of reverse-sexism; something about how hypocritical it is for women to get worked up over men spreading their thighs wide on public transit, even as those same ladies kick up their filthy shoeless feet to enjoy a cold one on the L train. And maybe it is about that; I cannot confirm, because I can't for the life of me tell you what most of the sentences are supposed to say. I called up my thesaurus in the hopes of reverse-engineering a legible piece, line by line, but still I am at a loss. Based on an all-caps note left next to a real Gordian knot of a statement ("People are a great deal bothered when the people they wish to castigate are, in fact, not incongruous at all with their given group"), it seems the editor felt similarly stumped.
"I DON'T GET THIS SENTENCE. CAN YOU REPHRASE?" read their shouted plea to the bot that composed this. The perplexing sentence has since been revised, and everything is simple and clear now right? Right: "People are a great deal bothered when the people they wish to castigate behave, in truth, as they themselves often behave."
That's just one example culled from a large herd of brain teasers, and it may not even be the most confusing of the bunch. Please see: "The chopping block will be polished for the lopping off of your head. To which I say: Eh, that’s fine. Still not going to make me blind. Or pluck out my tongue"; "A vogue is not a truth-laden reality, often. It's a cherry-picked selection from a mosaic of evidentiary truths"; "A cynic might say 'we’re all pretty rotten' now, when it comes to basic respect and courtesy, though that’s a cynic I would term an observant non-dullard"; "if you’re a woman, I bet there’s a good chance you’ll see one more chair in your possession than you ought to." As a woman, I am unclear on how many chairs I ought to possess; as a literate person, I am unclear on what most of these words mean in sequence.
I get that the argument is supposed to prove how people, regardless of gender, are assholes who prize their own personal convenience above consideration for others. And sure, sometimes this is true — a person using the last chair in a crowded coffee shop to store their overstuffed coat seems at best oblivious, at worst selfish, and probably both. But what's also true is that historically, men have been the group in power, the group making the laws. They have not had to spend much time thinking about how they occupy space, how they should conduct themselves so as not to set off strangers and place themselves in danger. It's the not-even-noticing-they're-doing-it thing that's really telling, in thinking about manspreading as a symptom of male entitlement: What a luxury it must be, not to have to constantly consider and calibrate your public behavior.
Is that what this op-ed is saying, when you sift through the many layers of word salad? Is it just one miffed man's jumbled rejoinder to PC culture, basically a big NOT ALL MEN? Can you run it back through Google translate and let me know what comes out? I will be busy for the next few hours, stealing my female's allotment of chairs from the nearest coffee shop. I have been made to understand it is my right.