‘Scuze me — White Comedy? Your racism is showing. Again.

[CN: sexual assault of young girls, misogynoir.]


POP QUIZ: 

First, take a look at this photograph.

babies
Cute, huh?

Now — which pictured baby would you name “most likely to have a joke about it getting sexually humiliated and assaulted appear as the key element in a new comedy already heralded as potentially ‘the next Seinfeld and executive-produced by a woman lauded for her outspoken feminism“?

[Jeopardy theme music plays briefly.]

If you guessed the Black girlchild in the lavender playsuit, congrats! we have a winner!

Other acceptable answers: the baby most likely to grow up with an 18.8% probability just of reporting being raped (actual risk of assault significantly higher); a 40% probability of experiencing coercive sexual contact by age 18; vulnerable to a higher rate of domestic violence than most other ethnic/racial communities; a disproportionate risk of being killed by an intimate partner; a 4x higher likelihood of being incarcerated than a white woman, at which point her probability of experiencing sexual violence will again increase.

(Or maybe you just went with “baby most likely to enroll in college when it grows up.” That one works too.)

Gentle readers, I am pissed off.

The Deets of Alice’s Frustration

“Difficult People” is a comedy that premiered on Hulu just a few weeks ago. Executive-produced by Amy Poehler — yes, that Amy Poehler — the series stars Julie Klausner (who is also the show’s creator, producer, and writer) and Billy Eincher as NY comedians named “Julie” and “Billy” who both have a penchant for tasteless humor. That “the more taboo the target, the better!”-style of joking.

Get it??! The main characters are just teeeeerrrrrible. (The show is called “Difficult People,” after all.)

Even with only half-paying attention to the first episode, I still noted drive-by snark directed towards: hipsters, fat people, disabled people, gay people, old people, cancer patients, parents of young children, Jews — and all the stick-in-the-mud characters who don’t see humor in such outrageous statements.

Oh. And then there’s this:

At four minutes into the pilot, we get the full hook for a joke about how teeeeerrrrrible Twitter users are, which provides the running gag for the rest of the episode: people tweeting outrageously mean things to Julie in response to an outrageously tasteless joke she herself had tweeted earlier.

The joke? Julie “can’t wait” until Blue Ivy Carter, the 3yo daughter of Beyoncé Knowles and Jay Z, is “old enough” to be pissed on by R Kelly, the R&B singer who was himself raped at age 8 and repeated sexually assaulted as a child and who has an extensive history as an adult (documented on numerous videotapes and in dozens of lawsuits) of committing sexual violence against young teenage girls, including: rapes and other assaults, multiple pedophilic “sexual relationships” lasting a year or more, at least one coerced abortion, and — the best known incident — videotaping a 13 or 14yo girl as he urinated into her mouth and instructed her to call him “Daddy.”

Are we all laughing yet?  Continue reading “‘Scuze me — White Comedy? Your racism is showing. Again.”

Did everybody know this but me?

crisc_short

I remember helping my mother in the kitchen as a kid. She baked a fair amount, which — in the 1970s — meant that there was always a large can of vegetable shortening in the pantry. Seeing a can of Crisco always makes me think of my mom, and pie crusts, and sometimes biscuits.

That is, until today.

Because today, in a blogpost critiquing recent obituaries for singer-songwriter and poet Rod McKuen, I came across this:  Continue reading “Did everybody know this but me?”

One of these questions is more rhetorical than the other.

I’m just not saying which.


Wonder Woman: pop culture's greatest Amazon.  (via)
Pop Culture’s Greatest Amazon (via)

Here’s what I keep wondering about this week:

(1) Why are the most prevalent — and financially lucrative — fantasies produced for women consistently some version of “if I hang around the assh*le who treats me badly LONG ENOUGH, he’ll stop being an assh*le and become the dream lover/boyfriend my mother and I always hoped I’d find”?

[This trope long predates FSoG, obvs. It predates the first Harlequin romance that ever slithered onto land. And the issue is as much about what — and why — women choose to consume as it is about what gets marketed to us; these two factors are always intricately and inextricably related. Duh.]

(2) Given the utter — and annoying — obviousness of Question 1, how is that women have not yet risen up in a violently Amazonian worldwide coup and installed their own matriarchal feminist utopia?

[Please please PLEASE, let this be the plot of the next…uh, I mean FIRST (IF THEY EVER ACTUALLY MAKE ONE) Wonder Woman movie!]


Jeez Louise.

Here’s a key point, though, about all those mega-sales numbers for the FSoG books (and now movie), as Hannah McCann points out: ample evidence suggests that some folks are buying the books to hate-read as ardently as others are to fantasize.

And those hate-readers (plus others) are creating some mighty fine entertainment of their own, in response.

A few of my favorites:

Continue reading “One of these questions is more rhetorical than the other.”

Happy Birthday, Buffy! or, The Strange Case of the Slayer and the Red Sheets

[Content note: Extreme BtVS fandom]


Riley: What . . . ARE you?
Buffy: Capricorn on the cusp of Aquarius. You?

— BtVS, “Doomed” 

* * * * * *

 Buffy Summers — AKA, Buffy the Vampire Slayer; AKA, The Chosen One; AKA, She Who Hangs Out A Lot in Cemeteries; AKA, Slayer, Comma, The — was born in 1981, on either the 19th or the 20th of January.

Making this the week Buffy turns 34.

(And yes, this also means you now feel very, VERY old. Just in case anyone was wondering.)

scooby gifts

For five of the six complete seasons of BtVS (Season 1 was a mid-season replacement), the last week of January meant an episode dedicated to celebrating the Birth of the Buff. These generally went terribly, terribly wrong.

My favorite Buffy birthday has always been — and shall forever remain — the first Buffy birthday: Season 2’s two-parter of “Surprise” and “Innocence.” (Cliff Notes version for any non-Buffy-addicts who might be reading: these are the episodes in which Buffy and Angel first consummate their relationship. . . and Angel loses his soul as a result.)

I’d like to make a few points about that:

  • That must’a been some damn good sex, to provide a moment of such “true happiness” that it manages to suck out the entire soul of one of the participants.
  • This is hands-down the best solution I’ve ever seen for a TV show which derived its narrative tension, up to this moment, in large part from the “will they? or won’t they?” sexual attraction between two lead characters. [Henceforth to be referred to as “The Sam and Diane Problem.”] Once it’s clear the characters not only WILL, they already HAVE, how to keep the tension and interest alive? Turn one of them into AN UTTERLY EVIL KILLING MACHINE, that’s how! And how better to announce the return of Angelus? Why, send him into an alley to suck smoke directly from the throat of a woman puffing on a cigarette, that’s how!
  • While I understand (and to some extent agree with) Jenny Trout’s point about the sex-shaming aspects of how BtVS treats teenage sex, I want to acknowledge how ground-breaking this season was, in terms of both recreating and challenging the Strong Female Character trope, when it aired 17 years ago. Yes, Buffy gets punished 19 ways from Sunday for sleeping with her boyfriend. But she grieves, deals, and moves on. And when Angel’s soul is restored to him in the final crucial scenes of the season finale, Buffy is still able to get her job done. And save the world by killing her true love and sending him to hell. (Of an apparently pants-free variety, based on how he returns from there, slime-slicked and trou-less, in Season 3.)
#likeaBAWSE
#likeaBAWSE

Personally, I have only one gripe about this season’s birthday episodes. They mark the start of THE DREADED RED SHEET TROPE.
Continue reading “Happy Birthday, Buffy! or, The Strange Case of the Slayer and the Red Sheets”

Rise ‘n’ Shine, Alice!

~ ~ A BRIEF MUSICAL INTERLUDE ~ ~

Morning is . . . not always my most graceful time of day.

GPOY
GPOY

So sometime last year, I started using YouTube videos as a method to get out of bed in the morning.

Not for the waking-up part. I mean the actual “if you hit that snooze button one more time, Alice, the moss that has already begun growing all around you will finally just eat your face — SO GET UP BEFORE I MAKE YOU DO SOMETHING WE’LL BOTH REGRET!” moment. The point when I finally swing my feet to the floor and fumble around for my slippers.

I often need a little somethin’-somethin’ to encourage me to open my eyes, too. Yknow, before I begin pouring cereal into my drinking glass and water into my cereal bowl. Or seriously considering just sprinkling ground coffee on my toast, on the theory that it’s less complicated than operating a coffeemaker while still functionally unconscious.

Enter music videos.  Continue reading “Rise ‘n’ Shine, Alice!”

ffs, Bill Cosby fans — are you really gonna make me write about rape culture? AGAIN??

All evidence to the contrary, I don’t enjoy writing about sexual violence and the cultural systems that nurture and defend it.

I really, really don’t.

I keep a file of topics I might wanna blog about sometime — and it’s FULL of ideas that have nil, zip, zilch, nada to do with rape. Honest. In fact, here’s a sampling of items on that list right now, none of which have the slightest rape-y thing going on:

  • A Dyke By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet
  • I Was a Martian Princess with Big Tits (memoir) [I am definitely writing this story at some point. The final title definitely will — or will not — be this.]
  • Squigged Out by an Old Woman Who Held My Hands in the Cold Meats Aisle
  • Let’s Talk About Nathan. Who Lives in My Bathroom.
  • Something about “Claiming a Dragon.” Because dragon. [I’ll be honest: I have no idea what I was thinking when I added this to the list. But I’m keeping it on there. BECAUSE DRAGON.]

So when I tell you I’d rather be writing today about anything other than how, at a performance Thursday night, Bill Cosby made a rape joke when a woman in the audience stood up to get a drink and the crowd gave him a standing ovation — how I’d rather be writing about dragons or deli meat or dyke solidarity or ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING AT ALL THAT IS NOT RAPE — I want to be sure you understand.

I know Nathan does.

ffs_nathan in the sink

And he’s rooting for dragons. Continue reading “ffs, Bill Cosby fans — are you really gonna make me write about rape culture? AGAIN??”