Archive - Jul 16, 2007

Jolly Old Dumbasses

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Memo to the BBC Magazine: FECK OFF, ARSEHOLES.

Of all the comedy in the world, no comedy is more irritating than your basic, standard-issue gender stereotype comedy. The instant the phrase "What are you thinking, honey" leaves a comedian's lips, you know you are in the presence of Hackery Supreme, and should remove yourself from the premises posthaste. And it's your own goddamned fault for tuning in to the Bill Engvall Show in the first place.

Which was why it was so goddamned maddening to see all the news stories that seized on some stupid study that analyzed how much women and men talked. Turns out they talk about the same amount, which came as a surprise to anyone who's never watched Bill O'Reilly. But that didn't stop the BBC from taking the 546-word difference per day and, using that dry British wit of theirs, suggest what some of those 500 words were that birds used while blokes eschewed. It's an awful premise, made ineffably worse by the execution, which featured such entries as:

"Accessorise: If men were ever to use this word it would only be in the context of cars." Here's an important comedy tip. I cannot stress this enough. I don't care which side of the Atlantic you're on, if your comedy premise is a list of words women use and men don't, it's a BAD IDEA to start your list with a word that you have to make an exception for.

Burlesque. Well, first of all, NOBODY uses "burlesque" anymore outside of its specific cultural context. But back when burlesque was a going concern, you know, in olden days when you had to leave your house to see nipples, it was a form of entertainment aimed squarely at men. So I'm not even sure why it's in this list at all, unless it has something to do with that goddamned "Moulin Rouge" movie.

Pomegranate. What the fuck? The BBC uses the excuse that real men can't grasp the concept of "superfoods", which is just sad. I mean, assuming you made the awful choice to go with "pomegranate" to begin with, for fuck's sake, it's a reddish-pink sack full of seeds that exists solely to be PULPED AND JUICED. If you can't find a way to make a male insecurity joke out of that, you have no business trying to be funny in print.

Conventionally attractive HA HA AVERAGE WOMEN ARE JEALOUS OF AND THEREFORE HATE PRETTY WOMEN HA HA.

What are you thinking? I mention this not to knock down the pin I set up in the second paragraph. No, I mention this because, well, this is four words. And thanks to the magic of counting, I have determined that the author of the piece does in fact count this as four of the 46 words women use that men don't. Which is another epic failure of premise. I can suspend my disbelief long enough to see how men might use neither "conventionally" or "attractive", for example, as separate words OR as a phrase. Applying that same logic to the words "what", "are", and "you"? Not so much. And certainly not for a joke that's as saggy and worn out as the Queen's panties.

"Afghanistan: A place where the debate is rather starker". Um, I hate to use up my "what the fuck" quota this early in the week, but what the fuck? This doesn't parse as comedy, so all I can figure is it's a horribly injected bit of social commentary. A sort of "hey, we're all having a bit of a laugh about gender differences, but let's all take a moment to remember that things are really bad for women in some parts of the world, and that's why women mention those parts of the world and men never do. All right. HEY, MEN HATE BABIES! HA HA HA!"

Ms. and feminism. Because, you know. It may not be 1972 right now, but it's 1972 somewhere, right?

I was THIS close to giving the BBC credit for avoiding one of the most trite, bullshit tropes of gender stereotype comedy. I even did a search to make sure the word didn't appear ANYWHERE in the article. But then, in mid-kudo, I noticed the illustration that accompanied the piece. If a picture is worth a thousand words, all 1,000 of those words were "shoes". Congratulations, BBC-Magazine-writers-too-ashamed-to-attach- your-names-to-this-piece. You left no lame, sad-ass, moronic stone unturned.