Femmostroppo Reader – June 14, 2009

Items of interest found recently in my RSS feed. Please share what you've been reading (and writing!) in the comments.

  • Student Wins Right to Post Coursework Online
  • – “The convenience of profs must be secondary to the pedagogical value of the university experience.”

  • Memo to the Right Wing: Put Up or Shut Up
  • – “You’ve already admitted your own complicity. When the Department of Homeland Security expressed their worries about right-wing extremist violence last April, practically every conservative pundit in the country went into a righteous fit. DHS never named anyone directly, so it was astonishing how many of you on the right were so quick to step up and claim that that memo was slandering you, personally and collectively. Since you were so eager to claim that that memo was all about you, now that the violence has come to pass, we’re well justified in holding you to that.”

  • Tribalistic self-absorption
  • – “Yet again, it amounts to nothing more than: my group — the one I was born into and trained to love — is being victimized and treated so badly.”

  • ADVICE! For Deleted Commenters! AGAIN!
  • – “My job is to behave properly at all times, or I and all other women will be subject to oppression, which is our fault for not being good girls and laughing at boys’ jokes.”

  • Letterman and Palin: Both jerks!
  • – “Why do you torment me so, Sarah Palin? Letterman said unequivocally offensive things, and he deserves to be condemned for them. But now, so have you, which complicates the matter of defending you as a fellow woman. Don’t get me wrong; I will always denounce anyone who calls you a slut, or any other misogynistic slur. You don’t deserve it, and that crap hurts all women. But if someone wants to call you a liar and a loon? You’re on your own, lady. “

  • David Letterman's Joke About Knocking Up Gov. Palin's Daughter
  • – Marcella notes that conservatives are outraged only by who the joke used for its punchline, not about the joke being inherently toxic regarding sexually active teens

  • What we Missed.
  • – linkfest from Feministing

  • Slipped through the cracks
  • – A round-up from Broadsheet



Categories: linkfest

Tags: ,

4 replies

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed with Kate Harding before, but in this case I don’t think her criticisms of Palin’s criticism of Letterman stand up to scrutiny. First of all she seems to feel that it’s inappropriate to continue to speak as if the jokes were aimed at Willow (age 14) when Letterman has said he meant the jokes to be aimed at Bristol (age 18), but the routine was about Palin’s trip to New York, and it was Willow who was with her on the trip, so whether it was a mistake, or it wasn’t really, or he just didn’t care, Willow was the one who was hit. Secondly, she took issue with Palin’s office calling the jokes “sexually perverted” instead of merely “sexist and tasteless”, but one of the jokes was about Palin’s daughter being a target for Elliot Spitzer, who is specifically known for his hiring of prostitutes, and I see no problem with the suggestion that her daughter is a candidate to be prostituted being called a perverted joke. Thirdly she says “why bring [the even younger] Piper into it?” by saying that it doesn’t matter whether the jokes were about Bristol, Willow or Piper, but this is exactly the point that needs to be made: sexual innuendo about a public figure’s child doesn’t magically become inoffensive the day the girl turns 18. That’s an obnoxious attitude, and Letterman is vile for suggesting that if the jokes were about Bristol that makes it OK. Lastly, she interprets the comment that they intend to keep Willow away from Letterman as implying he’s a paedophile, and therefore being over-the-top and out of line. It reads just as easily as “this is a salacious old man who reduces young women to his degrading take on their sexuality, and no one would want their daughter around that.” To which I say a great big “aye”.
    I think what we’re seeing in this analysis is more about Kate’s admitted discomfort with finding herself on Palin’s side in a dispute, and she would be better served in this case by focussing on why we are so ready to accept the abuse of people we don’t like.
    Sorry for the long.

  2. @ orlando:
    Thank you. Although I agreed with much of the abstract Kate’s post, I felt there was something agley with some specifics but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, and I think you have, although I don’t fully agree with you either!
    I’m sure that the Letterman joke was meant to be targeted at Bristol rather than Willow (just badly researched or not fully thought through), but (a) it was still sexist bullshit and (b) Willow still ended up being hit by it, as you say, and that should have been more clearly acknowledged and apologised for.

    sexual innuendo about a public figure’s child doesn’t magically become inoffensive the day the girl turns 18. That’s an obnoxious attitude, and Letterman is vile for suggesting that if the jokes were about Bristol that makes it OK.

    I’m sure the defence is meant to be that because it was meant to be about Bristol that therefore it was never meant to be about (statutory) rape, “just” about sluttiness. Since most of the howling has been about the joke advocating the rape of Willow, I understand him wanting to strongly defend himself against that interpretation. Jokes about the rape of a teen are universally considered beyond the pale. Slut-shaming jokes about adult women are standard fare.
    If it had been Bristol who was at that ballgame it would probably only have been a few feminists objecting to the joke at all. Slut jokes are supposed to be OK in an “edgy humour” way (you know, that wacko “edgy humour” that just happens to end up totally reinforcing existing social hierarchies instead of examining/challenging them).
    I really, really despise lazy “edgy” comedians.

    Lastly, she interprets the comment that they intend to keep Willow away from Letterman as implying he’s a paedophile, and therefore being over-the-top and out of line. It reads just as easily as “this is a salacious old man who reduces young women to his degrading take on their sexuality, and no one would want their daughter around that.” To which I say a great big “aye”.

    This I’m fully in agreement with. I wouldn’t want my daughter around Letterman either, for exactly those reasons.

  3. TT – I second the hatred of laze ‘edgy’ comedians – those are the very ones who seem to shoot to fame and money and accolades though. Wil Anderson – I’m looking at YOU.

  4. Memo to the Right Wing: Put Up or Shut Up
    Have you read the comment thread for this? Specifically a certain “Bob.” I wasn’t sure whether to laugh, cry, or rage.

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