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So, Jezebel, also known as the most rapidly jerking knee of internet-era feminism, recently published a story, based largely on a few unsourced quotes and one former staffer, that The Daily Show is a boy's club/hotbed of reactionary woman-hatred. It contained some pretty egregious shit: pointing out that there are only two female writers on staff, as if having a quota would make for a better show, is pretty low, but even worse is how they first complain that there aren't enough female on-air correspondents, and then dismiss the new female on-air correspondent, Olivia Munn, because she's pretty and has a lot of male fans, as if that renders her not female enough.

Anyway, the female staffers at The Daily Show -- who represent 40% of the people employed there -- wrote what seems to me to be a fairly reasonable response. The Jezebel writer harrumphed that if they really feel that way, they should have responded to her request for interviews, as if they're under some kind of obligation to talk to any shithead who pesters them lest they be accused of sexism. But even more hilarious is the perpetually clueless Amanda Marcotte's reaction to the response via Twitter:

Wait, did they really dig out the hairdressers and make-up artists and make them do this? Pathetic.

Which is, you know, pretty much the most sexist possible reaction to the response, implying that the opinion of all the female writers, correspondents, producers, assistants, tech people, and accountants are worthless and that the women on the show must be make-up artists and hairdressers. (Only one person signing the document fit that job description.) And were forced to sign the response.

And, to make it even better, Marcotte goes on to recommend this piece at Jezebel, which is a video clip of the sexist pickup lines used on Mad Men, and a recommendation -- from the author of the post -- that people should emulate Don Draper instead, as if Don Draper were not an anti-Semitic, alcoholic, neurotic, identity-stealing, nakedly ambitious serial lecher who treats his wife and kids like crap and punches women in the vagina. (But he's so HANDSOME! And CHARMING!)

Although I've been an advocate of women's equality, and an opponent of sexism, for a long time, I've never really been comfortable identifying myself as a feminist. I figured it was up to women to grant me or not grant me that title. But, Christ, if this is what passes for it these days, I wouldn't take it if it came with a monthly stipend. This doesn't have anything to do with liberation, or equality, or justice: it's just another species of upper-middle-class neurotic whining combined with boosterism disguised as advocacy.


Jul. 7th, 2010 02:13 am (UTC)
Oh, I don't think Jezebel is the greatest bastion of internet feminism. It's much more Gawker (its parent brand) than anything, which is to say that being sarcastic and snarky is always the most important quality of its posts. Feministing.com is much more serious and is kind of the Talking Points Memo to Jezebel's Wonkette.
Jul. 7th, 2010 02:13 am (UTC)
this piece pretty much sums up my feelings about Jezebel. With friends like these, etc. I'm kind of glad they are out there for certain issues, but overall the whole thing is so scream-y and prone to shutting down debate, it makes me roll my eyes and think "oh, KIDS," not "oh, FEMINISTS."
Jul. 7th, 2010 03:03 am (UTC)
On the one hand, she makes some valid points.

On the other, it's Emily Gould the former archetype of the exploitative Gawker poster she now criticizes, while at the same time publishing a memoir full of more dish. Gould once responded to criticisms of Gawker Stalker by saying celebrities have all this money so they deserve it. Now she says "readers are responding with naked bitterness" about thin, pretty people.
Jul. 7th, 2010 03:17 am (UTC)
oh totally. that whole world is a bunch of people who don't know that you need to breathe a bit before you hit "post" sometimes. But she does articulate what I have a hard time with on Jezebel - somehow it is harder to read things that are like "Look! sexism! bodysnarking!" to the point where those words stop meaning anything (not that bodysnarking meant anything anyway, but you know) than the regular old terrible ladies' mags that spew the same surface beauty and dating BS. A reminder that it is all for business is kind of refreshing.
Jul. 7th, 2010 03:44 am (UTC)
Tis true, Gould has points about echoing what you criticize and clearly she's able to be more than her usual persona. Also Jezebel often makes valid points. If I didn't admit these things, I'd be as bad as Gawker's bottom line attitude.
Jul. 7th, 2010 02:52 am (UTC)
Wow, no words, just reading background.
They blew it.
I do love reading your writing.
Jul. 7th, 2010 03:06 am (UTC)
Amanda Marcotte is an interesting commentator - she incisively dissects some bad faith argument one moment, then makes a similar one later on.
Jul. 7th, 2010 09:44 pm (UTC)
Amanda has notions she clings to from which she will NOT be dissuaded.
Jul. 7th, 2010 03:29 am (UTC)
Jezebel, also known as the most rapidly jerking knee of internet-era feminism

I don't know, at its best Shakespeare's Sister could give them a run for their money.
Jul. 7th, 2010 04:11 am (UTC)
In Salon Tracy Clark-Flory's reaction was to call the women of the Daily Show "traitorous" for daring to sound a bit defensive about being framed as not female enough to count.

I'd argue this isn't a feminism thing as much as certain blogs forming a new beltway nearly as annoying as the one in DC which spews all sorts of received wisdom.

For me, this indie insider attitude was in evidence after Weigel got burned by leaks from a media insider listserv. Had it been a right wing discussion group, the leaks would have been deemed relevant to public discoursr, with musing on how prominent yet exclusive communities in which the chosen can rant away from the plebes is problematic. Since it was Ezra Klien, however, we had Amanda Marcotte ranting about the "haters" who violated the exclusive club to share information. I do think the leaks and response were questionable, but dismissing it as mere hating is as well.

I wonder if The Daily Show had been responding to a less popular, more right leaning blog or male critic, would responses been a bit more evenhanded? Alas, Jezebel is a blog while those ladies are just makeup artists.

Edited at 2010-07-07 04:14 am (UTC)
Jul. 7th, 2010 07:21 am (UTC)
I'm a long-time reader of Jezebel and also a self-proclaimed "feminist" and my first reaction to the TDS article was similar to yours. But I do think that comedy in general is dominated by onscreen men and only a few women in the creative roles-- one of the points of the original article was that TDS, a bastion of liberality, doesn't look much different than Conan O'Brien in terms of writing and talent. And this remains true. They did point out Olivia Munn but also that she was one in what seems to be revolving door of female corespondents (the only exception being Samantha Bee.)
I'm glad TDS responded that they were proud to have so many women on staff, but I'd have appreciated an acknowledgment of how their creative end is rather male dominated, no matter how many PAs they claim write jokes.

Also, Jezebel is often silly, the Don Draper video was tongue-in-cheek, and you shouldn't ward off feminism just because you disagree with one overzealous article.
Jul. 7th, 2010 04:02 pm (UTC)
Personally, I feel there aren't enough men in the makeup department.
Jul. 7th, 2010 01:00 pm (UTC)
eatsoylentgreen defends the... um, the no side
I thought that the criticism, and the criticism of the criticism, both had some good points.
Jul. 7th, 2010 01:01 pm (UTC)
Re: eatsoylentgreen defends the... um, the no side
meaning, Olivia Munn was probably hired because she's sexy, first and foremost. And, if she's not funny, she'll be out the door very fast.
Jul. 7th, 2010 04:30 pm (UTC)
Re: eatsoylentgreen defends the... um, the no side
I would like to think that Olivia Munn wasn't chosen just because of her prettiness and popularity, but because she does have a lot of knowledge and ability to research stuff--or at least present herself and knowledgeable and prepared.
Jul. 7th, 2010 05:24 pm (UTC)
Re: eatsoylentgreen defends the... um, the no side
I would like to think that too. We'll know soon.
Jul. 7th, 2010 02:34 pm (UTC)
I never go to Jezebel and instinctively wince whenever something I'm reading links to it.

When my ladyfriends talk about stuff they read or wrote on it (via comments) they're always angry. NO SHIT, Y'ALL.
Jul. 7th, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I heard about the Olivia Munn thing. I totally love that attitude, BTW. She doesn’t count as a woman because she’s pretty. Okay. So, basically, fuck if you if you want to break into the entertainment industry and you’re a woman who isn’t attractive enough, but also fuck you if you’re a woman and you want to break into the entertainment and you’re too attractive. (And yes, it is pretty much the same even if you work off camera/stage.) I predict the next big breakthrough in cosmetic surgery: the procedure that will make any woman “just right.”

Oh, and also? I didn't think he was punching here there. So much as … kind of … the opposite.
Jul. 7th, 2010 08:24 pm (UTC)
Feminists: we are not all the same. Trufax.