Thursday, December 07, 2006

A serious rebuttal to Mr. Hitchens

This I find annoying: here's an article that pretends to offend women by saying we are inferior in the humor department, while showing how truly heroic and superior we are in the life department in general. Thanks for noticing, Mr. Hitchens, but you can't eat your cake and have it too. We may be very superior in many departments but we happen to be funny too.

Women are not less funny than men. Some women are a hoot, and they are not relegated to Lucille Ball or to Jews, fatsos or dykes. Humor is a universal human trait, and just as there are countless humorless pricks out there, there are equally countless hilarious women. I grew up surrounded with women who had a great sense of humor. My mom, my aunts, my sisters. Yes, I am Jewish, but you can't blame everything on this. I know many non-Jewish women with wicked senses of humor. I know married women, with children, gentile, good-looking, straight women who can be very funny. My friend Gloria is one of them. My aunt Maria Elena, who was Catholic and very attractive, was a really funny woman, with a sharp wit, perfect timing and dead-on delivery.

I think of a girl, Jahaira, who used to work at the ad agency where I used to work. She was a cross between Lucille Ball and Judy Holliday, a most naturally gifted funny person. Her wit wasn't razor sharp, a la Dorothy Parker, but she was just naturally expressive and funny and smart and alive and always making sweet fun of everything. She did not behave like a ditz only to curry favor with men, as some do. She was funny whether people were watching or not.

Humor is deployed many times to deflect human shortcomings, and I think this happens equally to men and to women. I learned to use humor often to try to belong, to try to survive, at school. What I lacked in motor coordination or in looks, I made up in wit and sass. I was then a Jew among Jews, so I don't think that this was a function of deploying humor because of the Jewish shortcoming, but of the human one: bad at sports, no tits; good at jokes. Period.

I defy anyone to find a woman who thinks the Three Stooges are funny, an argument that supports Mr. Hitchens' contention that men laugh at stupid things because they are stupid. But women laugh and make fun of all kinds of other things. Many of us are great at making others laugh. The problem is not that we are not funny but that this is not a trait men look for in women. According to the personals, which I have perused widely, believe me, men look for a sense of humor in women (they need someone to laugh at their jokes and validate their wit); but I don't think many men are looking for women who can compete with them in the humor department. Men don't like to compete with women, in case they are found wanting. They look for attributes where there is no competition, such as a good pair of tits. Still, some smart men like women who make them laugh, and who get their jokes. I can safely say that I have seduced more than one guy by brandishing my wit at them. They find it disarming.

Here's one paragraph that made smoke come out of my ears:
I am certain that this is also partly why, in all cultures, it is females who are the rank-and-file mainstay of religion, which in turn is the official enemy of all humor. One tiny snuffle that turns into a wheeze, one little cut that goes septic, one pathetically small coffin, and the woman's universe is left in ashes and ruin. Try being funny about that, if you like. Oscar Wilde was the only person ever to make a decent joke about the death of an infant, and that infant was fictional, and Wilde was (although twice a father) a queer. And because fear is the mother of superstition, and because they are partly ruled in any case by the moon and the tides, women also fall more heavily for dreams, for supposedly significant dates like birthdays and anniversaries, for romantic love, crystals and stones, lockets and relics, and other things that men know are fit mainly for mockery and limericks.
Jesus H. Christ! The Victorian era has been over, what, for over 200 years? I agree that religion is the official enemy of all humor (and a very good source of it too), but if women are the mainstays of religion, who the fuck are the purveyors of religion? ALL MEN. Rabbis, Popes and Imams, they really have a lock on that one. Somehow, I don't think it is only for the purposes of influencing gullible, sentimental women who consult horoscopes. One word: Islamists.
As for the untimely death of a child, is that funny to anyone? The rule applies: you can tell Jewish jokes if you are a Jew, use the word nigger if you are black, make fun of your own, but others can't.
Crystals and stones? Lockets and relics? What are we, Wiccans?

I don't know what world Mr. Hitchens lives in, but last I heard, women still don't rule this world, and at this late point in time I'm not holding my breath to wait until we do. We still make less money than men, we still are judged by inferior standards, and in many places we are stoned to death, declitorized, sold to white slavery, abused, and generally manhandled because of this neverending, pathetic male inferiority complex. Get over it already and admit it: we are equals at least, or even slightly better.
After all the calamities we've had to endure from men through the ages, you are lucky we still have a sense of humor.

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