IN his 1970 three-act play, Happy Birthday Wanda June, Kurt Vonnegut Jr has one of his characters – a despicable sexist moron named Harold Ryan – utter these words after discovering that his wife had earned a Master’s Degree: ‘Educating a beautiful woman is like pouring honey into a fine Swiss watch: everything breaks.’
I was reminded of that line when I read that Edir Macedo, above, a billionaire evangelical bishop in Brazil who enjoys sitting in young men’s laps while preaching, holds precisely the same view.
According to Church and State, the 75-year-old bishop and founder of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in Brazil, claims that women should not be allowed to go to college because if they do they’ll turn out smarter than their husbands.
In a recently recorded speech, the prosperity preacher explained that he forced his two daughters skip college so they wouldn’t become smarter than their husbands-to-be.
When they went out, I said they would just go to high school and they wouldn’t go to college. My wife supported me, but the relatives found it absurd. Why don’t you go to college? Because if you graduate from a particular profession, you will serve yourself, you will work for yourself. But I don’t want that, you came to serve God.
Because if … she was a doctor and had a high degree of knowledge and found a boy who had a low degree of knowledge, he would not be the head, she would be the head. And if it were the head, it would not serve God’s will.
I want my daughters to marry a male. A man who has to be head. They have to be head. Because if they are not head their marriage is doomed to failure.
Macedo also suggested that a woman’s happiness is only possible through submission to a man and sending his daughters to college does not help them to submit.
What do we know about Macedo, apart from the fact he’s a sexist twat?
Well, he’s the owner and chairman of the second-largest television network in Brazil, Rede Record, and in 2017, according to Wiki, was blasted for writing an article opposing interracial marriage. He tried to justify his views claiming that multiracial children should be avoided because they will suffer discrimination. This led to several accusations of racism and misogyny.
He also authored a book called Orixás, Caboclos and Guias in which he attacks Afro-Brazilian religion, accusing it of Satanism and “the root of all of Brazil’s troubles”. The book was first prohibited as hate speech, but after legal efforts from Macedo’s church it was allowed for the sake of free speech.
His net worth is $1.1-billion – and he revealed in his 2012 biography that he spent 11 days in jail in 1992 after being accused of being a charlatan.
Note: Unfortunately the “fine Swiss watch” quote is widely attributed to Vonnegut himself. A few years back someone posted on Reddit:
I have read probably five or six Vonnegut books, and am trying to read them all, but from what I’ve read so far I cannot even imagine Kurt Vonnegut writing or saying something like this. All of his characters – male and female – are written sympathetically, even when they’re stupid or neurotic or selfish or otherwise flawed. He has never struck me as having a misogynistic bone in his body.
I looked around on the Internet, and found that there are a lot of sites out there attributing this quote to Kurt Vonnegut.
I should point out that Vonnegut, who died in 2007 aged 84, was an atheist and a humanist, serving as the honorary President of the American Humanist Association.