March 06, 2008

Nora Ephron, on Deep Throat

Editor's Note: If you're one of the three people who haven't seen this entire blogwar unfold—lucky you! Just know that Rusty's site contained a comparison by Jawa Report co-blogger Ragnar between Madonna and Gollum from Lord of the Rings. I, who usually don't offend easily, flipped the fuck out. There is a handy-guide to this year's gender wars at the end of the post; proceed at your own risk.

"[I feel like I'm] Just a feminist who lost her sense of humor at a skin flick."*

Don't worry, Babe. I've lost it twice today.

What is it with some male bloggers?—"Too fat, too thin. Too out-of-shape. Too fat. Too buff. Too old. Too young." (Oops! That last one never happens. Just trying to see if you're paying attention.)

I mean, I like Ace and his crew. I even like Rusty and (most of) his crew (at least, when they aren't waxing anti-gay). But, WTF? Maybe their fans should be required to post pictures next to their comments—these fine gourmands of female flesh. I'm sure they are all prime beef. Uh-huh.

Bonus question: Which set of commenters is more hostile to women?—Rusty's, or Ace's? I'll go with Rusty's. Your mileage may vary.

I mean, I know everyone's going to get mad at me for this post—and I'm sure that some of my reaction is due to my disconnect from the ruthless, brutal culture of celebrity—but why is it necessary to slam women who are making the best of this whole getting-older thing?

Look, look. I'm sorry. I see that if we can't treat females as if they were sides of beef, the terrorists will have won!

Agent Bedhead, I trust you to adjudicate this matter. (If the ruling goes against me, I plead menopause, and low blood sugar due to overtraining, particularly in the weight room.)

* From memory. Will someone fact-check my well-preserved hyper-sensitive retro-feminist puritanical ass, here?

** UPDATE: No, guys; I wasn't PMSing when I wrote this. I checked the calendar before I hit "publish." In truth, if I hadn't seen two such similar posts in one night I mightn't have lost my temper. And to be fair, one must keep in mind that I'm every bit as crude as the guys are, in my own way. Probably more so.

But my reactions were what they were, and though I'm sorry on a couple of levels for having written it, I'm going to let it stand for the sake of discussion.


Gender-War Chronicles, Early 2008

• John Hawkins runs a Perfectly nice interview with some of the leading ladies of the blogosphere, including Rachel Lucas. This has nothing to do, as far as I know, with whatever followed, but I'm linking it because the article seemed to cast a shadow over subsequent discussions: For one thing, Ace of Spades seemed perfectly convinced that either I, and/or my Cotillion sisters, were somehow disturbed by Hawkins' complimenting other female bloggers, or singling them out for attention. This theme kept coming up, when the "we can't even say nice things about women" meme asserted itself, and some of us kept asking, "um, why? Why do you think you can't say nice things?"

For the record, I—Joy McCann—see no connection whatsoever between that series of profiles on Right Wing News (which I liked, and linked), and the subsequent discussion. Likewise, the feedback I'm getting from other center-right female bloggers suggests that they were not reacting to the Hawkins post, at all, but to negative, offensive, and crude remarks about women at Ace of Spades and The Jawa Report. But since the subject of these profiles kept coming up, it's on this list.

* * *

• Ragnar at The Jawa Report waxes snarky about Madonna;

• Ace at Ace of Spades HQ displays a bad picture of Sarah Jessica Parker, taken from an awkward angle, and makes nasty remarks;

Then came my post above, in which the phrase "childish, hormone-driven pricks" does not appear, contra Jawa's Ragnar;

• Ragnar turns his sights on me in the "Leave Madonna Alone!" post; in the comments section therein, Ace of Spades attempts to engage in a dialogue with some of the eminent women of the rightosphere;

• Joy responds to Ragnar's "Leave Madonna Alone" post—sort of;

• Ace opens a thread for discussion at his site, cautioning his readers to keep their cool; as he predicts, he gets over 500 hits; it is pointed out that a lot of Ace's female readers are bisexual, Catholic, or both; Joy gets edgy with the Uncle Thomasina of the rightosphere;

• Cassandra posits the idea that the Internet is a more "public" place than many men realize;

• Joy riffs off of Cassie's post;

• Joy continues to entertain the possibility that famous people are people nonetheless.

And, Incidentally:

• Joy remarks on the Beatles' sex appeal;

• Joy on Dr. Helen's most recent column regarding the deplorable habit of "male-bashing";

• Joy on the tangentially related "Women and Humor" issue.

Posted by Attila Girl at March 6, 2008 12:16 AM | TrackBack

Frankly, I wouldn't arm wrestle Sarah Jessica Parker. I'm afraid she'd kick my ass. I'd have to resort to other methods to win.

Now, the divine Ms. Renee Z looks pretty good. There's a difference between being fit and being fit to join the UCF cage matches.

Posted by: I R A Darth Aggie at March 6, 2008 06:43 AM

Which set of commenters is more hostile to women?—Rusty's, or Ace's?

I don't know that it's a question of hostility, Attila, though there have been times I've seen open hostility to women at Ace's. I don't hang around Rusty's so I can't comment.

I think it's more a question of not thinking/being wrapped up in themselves. Lots of people are like that - not just men. They only see things from their own point of view.

There's no particular reason for them to change, either. There's really no penalty for being that way, except the obvious problem of thinking all women are shallow and vain b/c no intelligent women will have anything to do with a man who talks and acts that way. It's a self-reinforcing philosophy, with the bitter satisfaction that you can tell yourself, "See? I was right all along".

Posted by: Isn't it Ironic? Yeah I really do think... at March 6, 2008 06:48 AM

I think it's a tossup between the two, IMHO. The "bangable" stuff just gets's like listening to a bunch of pimply 14 year old boys who's closest brush with female breasts is seeing their mom's bra in the dryer holding forth as sage judges of who should be the next Victoria's Secret top model.

Posted by: Darleen at March 6, 2008 06:55 AM

I stg I'm forcing myself to not click the links, because I know my head's gonna essplode.

In general, I despise the comments at Rusty's, which are a disgrace to a really good site. I adore Rusty, Vinnie, and the others (except Ragnar, who's a stupid f'ing tool, and I don't care if he sees this because I'm sure he's in the anti-female chorus at the link. He knows I'm no fan of his). The commenters at Jawa are almost as bad as the ones at Hot Air, though, and often worse. Not just on stuff like this--on everything. Thankfully, they got rid of one who was especially vile, although he's apparently been a tough cockroach to kill. (I only know this from Vinnie--I don't bother going to see for myself.)

I guess that's the drawback to having a ton of traffic--you get all the nutters along with the normal people. Of course, not ALL big blogs have that problem, so...

Posted by: Beth at March 6, 2008 06:57 AM

This coming from someone who has a cartoonish picture to represent themselves?

To quote GOB Bluth: COME ON!

Posted by: gabriel at March 6, 2008 07:24 AM

Too fat, too thin. Too out-of-shape. Too fat. Too buff... You're hearing from different men with different likes and dislikes--there's no contradiction here. Whatever your condition there's probably someone who is going to find you hawt.

I prefer a bit of cush (as my dearly beloved happens to have) and never did care for the bone-thin look. The thing is, these in question are not making the best of it. SJP is scary, and Madonna twice so. You want someone aging gracefully? I give you Sharon Stone. *There* is a woman who is making the best of getting older.

And yes, at 44 I have a belly that has not quite (yet) overshadowed my shoulders, and my 'member' doesn't always cooperate. Such is life. If I wanted to be more attractive, I know what I'd need to do. As it happens, there's only one person who needs to find me attractive, and she has no complaints.

You're not going to change men, especially not this way.

We're just supposed to **shut up** and not discuss likes and dislikes, preferences and turn-offs because it makes some of you ladies feel insecure?


Posted by: Desert Cat at March 6, 2008 09:24 AM


I don't feel insecure, just annoyed. And it hasn't anything to do with discussion, but everything to do with judging a woman's worth on whether or not a man would "do her".

I'm as apt as anyone else to look at extremes and make a call that maybe the person has issues ... but I don't judge their basic human worth based on looks.

Posted by: Darleen at March 6, 2008 11:13 AM

DC, I usually have a really high tolerance for that sort of thing. And I really get the "men like different things" issue. But the posts were just mean, and the comments were even meaner.

Don't get me wrong: I'm perfectly happy with the way I'm aging. But aging is inevitable, and I can definitely see getting into weight-bearing exercise as a hedge against bone loss/osteoporosis.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 6, 2008 11:21 AM

uh oh... AG, I may have posted twice...and they've both disappeared.

If they both reappear, please edit as needed.


Posted by: Darleen at March 6, 2008 11:22 AM

It's all just an excuse to post pictures. Men like pictures. Pictures get blog hits. And human tendencies to critique everything. especially those we will never have. It makes it about us after all. Post a pic of a Bugatti Veyron, a car that sells for $1,700,000, and you'll get a bunch of comments from men picking apart the grille, engine, and everything including the knob on the shifter. But I never suspect that any one of the critics wouldn't be happy to see one in their driveway. I know I just committed a mortal sin with the women and cars analogy: I am so so sorry.

And women don't do this? I missed that, too. And I am as equally sorry for that as well.

It's the Pilates, btw. Resistance training with high repetitions, focused in key areas. Despite what experts say, you can spot reduce fat in key areas, like around muscles. And from personal experience, it all goes away if you don't keep it up-no double entendre present or implied.

And yes, I would like everyone of them in my driveway. Even if I have to pave the whole damned block.

Posted by: Darrell at March 6, 2008 11:25 AM

Well, just to prove to you that we men can take it as well as dish it out, I present to you, from The Jawa Report:


(At least, some of the female readers think so.)

I am impressed by his definition myself, even if the yummy moniker doesn't really work for me.

Posted by: wearyman at March 6, 2008 11:40 AM

I'm not sure that weight-bearing exercise as a hedge against bone loss/osteoporosis is what we're seeing there. That look takes a whole lot more effort than would be justified on those grounds alone.

Let's not forget that these two are members of the celebrity class, the Beautiful People, the Role Models For Us All. And as such, they are quite truly Fair Game For Critique. Thus I think the call for Rusty and Ace and their co-bloggers and commenters to post their own pics prior to commenting is rather moot.

Men and women both look to celebrities to choose their own style and appearance. What I am hearing is people with a strong opinion standing up and saying, "ladies, don't DO this to yourselves!!!11elevensies!11!!"

And re human worth, again these are celebrities under discussion. Celebrities may be human beings behind their persona, but that persona is by nature two-dimensional. If someone in your personal life is objectfying you solely on looks, well you may have a case to take against them.

ok, third try. Someone needs to inform Fluffy that I've got a mag of 7.62x39 with his name on it and a gaggle of cats who are eager for some freshly ground Spamhound.

Posted by: Desert Cat at March 6, 2008 01:06 PM

"pimply 14 year old boys who's closest brush with female breasts is seeing their mom's bra in the dryer holding forth as sage judges of who should be the next Victoria's Secret top model."

That would be me! Have you been talking to my wife?

Posted by: Vinnie at March 6, 2008 03:03 PM

Well, I am prime beef. Just ask Merri.

Posted by: Vinnie at March 6, 2008 03:29 PM

Well, I am prime beef.

Sooooooo.... Vinnie. Would this mean you are volunteering to be next week's Grrrl Pin-up?

/running away before Merri can kill me

And yes, that was just a joke :p

Posted by: Cassandra at March 6, 2008 03:41 PM

I would be honored to be next week's Grrrl Pin-up.

I need to get my ass bleached first.

Posted by: Vinnie at March 6, 2008 04:43 PM

We all are books being judged by our covers every day. Though some of us are left on the shelf.

Where we pick up the fine scent of vanilla pipe tobacco. Or Latakia, Macedonia bright and brown cavendish on top of Virginia leaf.

Posted by: Darrell at March 6, 2008 08:49 PM

Nice callback to another thread!

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 6, 2008 10:50 PM

Hey, Attilla! Let me read up on what's going on at Ace and Rusty's beer shacks, and I'll see what I can come up with. ;)

Posted by: agent bedhead at March 7, 2008 12:09 AM

I need to get my ass bleached first.

OMG. Vinnie, you are a dead man :p

I am dying.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 7, 2008 03:28 AM

Funny, Cass. I thought Vinnie was serious.

Posted by: agent bedhead at March 7, 2008 05:45 AM

Aw, shit. I knew this was gonna happen: now I'm the goddamned poster child for bitter, repressed women. A culture wariorette--but on the opposite side from where I belong.

Ah, well. Happy to be a straw girl, for those who need it.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 7, 2008 10:04 AM

Hey! You actually do have pix of some of us. Which you never sent copies of... Grumble grumble.

Posted by: someone at March 7, 2008 12:02 PM

Okey-doke, S. Consider my ass kicked on that one. I'll send 'em along as soon as I recover the contents of my hard drive on the old machine. So give me another few days, if they can't copy it over today.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 7, 2008 12:10 PM

Not as far as I'm concerned, LMA. I am trying to sort out my thoughts on this and will be linking to your post.

Posted by: Cass at March 7, 2008 03:10 PM

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 7, 2008 05:21 PM

It's red, but it's not a link. Nice to know you still care with everything going on and all.

Posted by: Darrell at March 7, 2008 08:01 PM

Hm. I've fixed it, and rebuilt the site twice, but the fix won't "take." (At least rebuilding the site from my husband's machine doesn't crash the computer, like it did with my old laptop.)

The first link is to the take-off on me over at Rusty's place--and I think that one works. That contains the thread that Ace participated in.

The second one was just a courtesy link to Ace's site on general principle.

The pink type is not a link--it's just a bug

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 7, 2008 09:39 PM

I'm the goddamned poster child for bitter, repressed women.

Nah, can't be true. You're not related to St. Amanda, are you? I thought she was said poster child?

Posted by: I R A Darth Aggie at March 8, 2008 04:15 PM

"Celebrities may be human beings behind their persona, but that persona is by nature two-dimensional. "

Especially when some celerbrities go to great lenghts to sell themselves on the basis of their sex appeal. Why else pose semi-nude for the world? Aren't they inviting evaluations?

If you don't want to be viewed as boobs walking on legs, then why publish detailed photos of them?

That being said--

We aren't going to change male biology, but your point about rational behavior in public is true. We expect them to conduct their locker room discussions in private locations, not in the middle of a restaurant. The fact that they don't do so is evidence that they recognize none of us would date them afterwards.

Ignoring that rule online is based on their recognition that none of the women they might wish to attract know their identity. So- no negative fallout from saying what is on their minds. .

Posted by: Ragnell at March 8, 2008 06:04 PM

It also depends upon the forum in question. Both Ace and Rusty run sites that tend in the direction of the bawdy from time to time anyway. They are more bar-like than restaurantish. No one should be too shocked to hear a group of men discussing the physical attributes of celebrities or the latest political news over a pitcher of Coors in their favorite local pub.

As for their datability, I get the impression many of them take pride in their complete geekitude.

Nothing wrong with that, mind you. I'm fairly nerdy myself.

Posted by: Desert Cat at March 8, 2008 07:23 PM

Yes, a bar hangout is a very good comparison. Just guys hanging out with their buddies. [but I'm not following the reference to being nerdy?]

My point is that the motivation to make a good impression on females doesn't exist in many blog comment sections. I'm speculating that some men don't care because they aren't factoring in any possiblity they might wish to date the women that read their comments. My question is do these individuals need that sort of motivation to restrain themselves?

From the womens' point of view, part of the conflict appears to result from women confusing male reactions offline with online behavior.

Women need to remember how men interpret their reactions offline. For instance, how we act offline if someone offends us?

We avoid the guy like the plague. Particulary if his attentions are unwanted.

In the non-online world, would we follow an offensive creep around, in order to lecture them to change their behavior? He would interpret our behavior to mean we wanted his attention.

Part of female frustration is that we want to be part of the interesting online discussions and accepted as "part of the gang". Yet, to guys, "being part of the gang" means allowing them to let loose their social restraints.

But to many females, the locker room talk is interpreted as "we don't want you here". That may be true. So are we going to nag them into accepting us?

Posted by: Ragnell at March 8, 2008 09:59 PM

No. I'm not going to nag anyone into doing anything. The irony here is that I blew my stack over something that I found offensive, but that few other women do.

And if Ragnar and Ace hadn't both produced smarmy posts about women being "too fit" (or, as they would likely have it, distorting the female form) on the same day, I wouldn't have lost my temper.

But they did, and I did.

In retrospect, I wish I hadn't. But I did.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 9, 2008 06:45 PM

Nice summary, Joy.

I am kind of a submissive female, trying to understand men and their ogre-like behavior, but understanding it and expecting better are two different things. I expect much better of men. And women who continue to tolerate this kind of demeaning behavior do a huge disservice to sophisticated and intelligent ladies everywhere.

Oh and I failed to learn somewhere along the way that "trashy" = "demure." I must have mistakenly thought it meant modest and playful. /snark

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