Thursday, December 07, 2006
Ha Ha Ha, Ha, Ha Ha Ha, Ha, Ha
Now, why is this? Why is it the case?, I mean. Why are women, who have the whole male world at their mercy, not funny? Please do not pretend not to know what I am talking about.
It gets worse:
In any case, my argument doesn't say that there are no decent women comedians. There are more terrible female comedians than there are terrible male comedians, but there are some impressive ladies out there. Most of them, though, when you come to review the situation, are hefty or dykey or Jewish, or some combo of the three. hen Roseanne stands up and tells biker jokes and invites people who don't dig her shtick to suck her dick—know what I am saying? And the Sapphic faction may have its own reasons for wanting what I want—the sweet surrender of female laughter. While Jewish humor, boiling as it is with angst and self-deprecation, is almost masculine by definition.
So, women who aren't desirable, or who exhibit "masculine" traits, are the only ones who can be funny? Amazing.
And don't worry, ladies, Hitch says; you may not be funny, but you make up for it through the awesome power of your vaginas!
I'm so not kidding here:
For women, reproduction is, if not the only thing, certainly the main thing. Apart from giving them a very different attitude to filth and embarrassment, it also imbues them with the kind of seriousness and solemnity at which men can only goggle. This womanly seriousness was well caught by Rudyard Kipling in his poem "The Female of the Species." After cleverly noticing that with the male "mirth obscene diverts his anger"—which is true of most work on that great masculine equivalent to childbirth, which is warfare—Kipling insists:
But the Woman that God gave him,
every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue,
armed and engined for the same,
And to serve that single issue,
lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be
deadlier than the male.
The word "issue" there, which we so pathetically misuse, is restored to its proper meaning of childbirth. As Kipling continues:
She who faces Death by torture for
each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity—must
not swerve for fact or jest.
Men are overawed, not to say terrified, by the ability of women to produce babies. (Asked by a lady intellectual to summarize the differences between the sexes, another bishop responded, "Madam, I cannot conceive.") It gives women an unchallengeable authority. And one of the earliest origins of humor that we know about is its role in the mockery of authority. Irony itself has been called "the glory of slaves." So you could argue that when men get together to be funny and do not expect women to be there, or in on the joke, they are really playing truant and implicitly conceding who is really the boss.
The ancient annual festivities of Saturnalia, where the slaves would play master, were a temporary release from bossdom. A whole tranche of subversive male humor likewise depends on the notion that women are not really the boss, but are mere objects and victims. Kipling saw through this:
So it comes that Man, the coward,
when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council,
dare not leave a place for her.
In other words, for women the question of funniness is essentially a secondary one. They are innately aware of a higher calling that is no laughing matter. Whereas with a man you may freely say of him that he is lousy in the sack, or a bad driver, or an inefficient worker, and still wound him less deeply than you would if you accused him of being deficient in the humor department.
"So, girls, you may not be equal to men-- hell, you may be stuck-up prigs who don't have the common sense to laugh like hyenas at your average Farrelly Bros. movies. But none of this matters, because your lot in life is to churn out babies, and the menfolk will forever tell 'white people/black people' jokes to earn your poony privileges!"
Well, I'll say Christopher Hitchens knows one thing about humor: he certainly knows how to get me to point my finger at him and laugh.