It’s the comma that makes it art

6 04 2009

To continue our theme from Friday’s ‘Women, Know Your Limits’ video, we turn to the Women’s Interest Lifestyle section of CNN.com, where we find this gem:

cnn

Plus, Michelle Obama knows just what to pack!! I think I’m getting the vapors.





I’m not funny.

2 03 2009

The tired theme that women aren’t funny gets some new life in today’s Guardian, with Germaine Greer trying her hand at the famously explosive topic. Greer’s strategy seems to be to mitigate the objections of ladybloggers and assorted other wimminfolk by following each absurd assertion (“Women are about as funny as a botched colostomy”) with some half-hearted apologia (“But that’s only because they don’t want to be!”).

“Women famously cannot learn jokes,” Greer writes. “If they try, they invariably bugger up the punchline. The male teller of jokes is driving towards his reward, the laughter of his mates. The woman who messes up the same joke does so because her concentration is not sharpened by that need. She is not less intelligent, simply less concerned.”

Oh Germiane, you caught me. Try as I might to tell a good chuckler, my lady brain invariably gets distracted by more pressing issues, like hairstyles and sewing notions.

Wait, though. Greer then backpedals a bit and asserts that women actually can deliver jokes, we just can’t think them up:

“Given an opportunity to perform a finished comedy routine, a female comedian will make you laugh as hard as any man. Put her in an improvisation situation along with male comedians, and she is likely to be left speechless.”

Where the logic of Greer’s argument falls apart is when she moves from moderately fact-based Assertion One, “There are more funny men in entertainment than there are funny women” to unsupported, overreaching Assertion Two, “Men are naturally funnier than women.”

I think that if it is true, at least on average, that a woman is less likely than a man to get a laugh, it’s because boys are raised to attract attention, while girls are brought up to deflect it. All jokes, gags and innuendos basically say the same thing: Look at me. And on the whole, men are more comfortable in the spotlight, possibly because they don’t have an entire entertainment industry firing mortars at their self-worth from the time they pick up a crayon.

I wish there were more funny women. There certainly are a few. It isn’t easy being a woman who’s more piss and vinegar than sugar and spice in a society that still values doe-eyed deference far more than we’d like to admit, and given the choice, I’d much rather laugh than drink, cry and cut myself.

I just hope I won’t be laughing alone.





I’m back (sort of)

15 02 2009

O HAI.

So apparently I write a blog here or something?

Sorry about the lack of posts lately; I’ve been dealing with some stuff in the past week. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming soon.

On the bright side, Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish blog on TheAtlantic.com referred to this post on Saturday. Neat!





Will BS for Bylines

3 02 2009

Look, I know I’m not a journalist. I know that. Heck, I’m barely even a blogger, and while I do get paid not terribly poorly for my ability to string together a coherent English sentence, I have no illusions about being a media expert of any kind. So, please, take what I’m about to say with a huge hunk of salt.

Also, you should know that I love journalists. I do. They perform an essential service for practically no money and even less respect and can drink any other profession under the table with cirrhotic liver to spare. Hell, I even wanted to BE a journalist once, before I realized that I could probably make more money smashing my face against a wall and posting the video to YouTube.

But there’s one kind of journalism that makes me want to throw my borrowed MacBook across the room: The “trend story.”

I hate trend stories. I hate them.

Whether it’s the perennial report on female sexual desire that’s invariably written by a dude, or the assertion that legions of Ivy League women are forfeiting careers to care for their families based on one personal account and no research, the trend story is one-third speculation, one-third arrogance and one-third ham-handed obfuscation.

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