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Christopher Hitchens is no more, yet women remain unfunny: The Spearhead pays tribute

Hitch also enjoyed smoking.

As you may have heard, Christopher Hitchens – writer, drinker, atheist, shit-stirrer – died the other day. He’s gotten tributes from people all over the political spectrum. Over on The Spearhead, the fellows are paying tribute to his life. Well, not so much his life as to his opinion that women just aren’t funny – apparently their vaginas get in the way, or something.

Here a fellow named Rocco offers his fond remembrances of the man:

I applaud him and wish him to be considered by the big man upstairs to have done the world a service by publically opposing the political machine that is feminism by telling a simple truth.

Woman aren’t funny and men do alot of the great stuff they do like music, art and war to impress women.

Maybe this is why women will never invent anything, why bother.

Twenty upvotes and one downvote for that. Presumably that one downvote is from God, who’s probably spent the last couple of days just going around downvoting anything positive said about Hitchens.

Keyster elaborated further:

His point being that not only do women not need to be funny to attract men, they don’t need to do anything else but simply be women; dress nicely, wear a little make up and perfume – – pleasant personality or the ability to engage in substantive conversation is completely optional.

Everything men strive for is to attract more women.

Everything women strive for is to be more like men.

See the conflict?

Attila added this:

This Cuntry has become so PC- that it couldn’t produce someone like Hitchens- as much as I may disagree with some of his views. He had a functioning mind- and an evidently rigorous education. Can anyone name anybody like him in the public arena? The fact he could throw words like “dyke” around with ease in the middle of his perorations shows a great deal of confidence (he wouldn’t let himself be bullied).

Hitch, this part of your legacy lives on!

But it’s a little-noticed comment from Nutz that highlights Hitch’s most impressive accomplishment:

Well, he was drunk in a lot of his interviews. Personally I thought he was great and one of the things that made him remarkable–he’d be drunk in an interview or debate and still soundly spank the other person with his wit.

Whether you loved him or hated him, agreed with him or disagreed with him, you’ve got to admit: he somehow managed to accomplish more while staggeringly drunk than most of us accomplish stone-cold sober. And that’s something, I guess.

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M Dubz
M Dubz
9 years ago

A hilarious feminist making hilarious jokes about rape!

… did the MRA’s heads explode? Did they?

Monsieur sans Nom
Monsieur sans Nom
9 years ago

Alright, I’ll give an inch and admit that wanda sykes is funny(even if she is a feminist). Lesbians generally have much better senses of than straight(or even bi) chicks…Inorite? 😛

Wetherby
Wetherby
9 years ago

Monsieur sans nom:

Yes, cho is funny, and yes I do know funny women. The thing is, you will never find a humorous feminist! In order to be funny, you can’t talk yourself or pretty much anything too seriously. EVEN things that are painful or politically incorrect. Humor and sensitivity just don’t mix.

The career of Germaine Greer alone gives the lie to that. I have very fond memories of the double act she formed with the poet Tom Paulin on the BBC’s cultural review show Late Review in the 1990s, which was frequently laugh-out-loud funny.

I believe she has a certain reputation as a feminist.

Leni
Leni
9 years ago

Yes, cho is funny, and yes I do know funny women. The thing is, you will never find a humorous feminist!

And I know a lot of feminists, male and female, who don’t think she’s funny. *Shrug* There’s no accounting for taste, I guess.

You could say the same thing about black comics. Why how could a black comic ever possibly find humor in the absurdity of racism even while being “sensitive” to issues would have profoundly effected them? Jesus christ, do you live in some sort of comedy black hole? I feel like I should pity you, but it seems like no one has to live in comedy black hole unless they want to. Cause hey, the internet?

And since you brought it up:

Joan Rivers: seriously, this woman could out-raunch any MRA in her sleep on a bad day. And still be both incredibly hilariously mean and yet perceptive and sensitive enough to know where the boundaries are and when and how to cross them. That’s called talent. Generally speaking, MRAs don’t have it.

And to be equitable: Joss Whedon. His shows are consistently funny as hell and sensitive enough to have left me in laughing and in tears at the same time on more than one occasion. And before you cue the obligatory “females cry at everything” joke, it’s not because I have a vagina. It’s because Joss, the writers, and actors are awesome at what they do.

Note: why does Ray Ramano, or that asshat from that worthless King Of Queens show, or that fucking tooltime jackass have/ever have had a sitcom? Not because they’re funny. Because they’re safe. No one’s ever gonna criticize a show for letting a fat ass schmuck marry a woman 4 levels higher than him on the MRA attractiveness scale because That Is How Things Should Be. Women should marry stupid hairy cavemen and we should all laugh about the hijinks that ensue. And only Real Men are hairy jackasses, etc, har har. Har.

Lame.

Leni
Leni
9 years ago

PS that wanda video was hilarious XD

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

You know, one or two King of Queens type shows would be OK, it’s the fact that they sprout like weeds that’s a bit tedious. What TV tells me about men and humor is that they like both jokes and premises to be really predictable and repeated over and over again with very minor variations.

(Not all men, obviously, “men” in the sense that Frenchy et al are using the word.)

Jill the Spinster
Jill the Spinster
9 years ago

Hitchens published a follow-up essay stating that, okay, some women are funny, but only the ones who are ugly, fat, old, gay, or Jewish

Yep, the invisible ones.

M Dubz
M Dubz
9 years ago

@ Monsieur sans Nom: Why do you think that lesbinas/bi women are funnier?

(please note, I think that your assertion is not factually accurate, but I’d like to hear why you think that Kristen Schaal, Samantha Bee, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Sarah Silverman, Kelly Kapoor, Lucille Ball, Joan Rivers et al are all not funny)

M Dubz
M Dubz
9 years ago

And also, what that happens to do with the fact that they all prefer to sleep with dudes.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

It is interesting pyschologically, this idea that women you might want to fuck CAN’T be funny. It seems more proscriptive than descriptive, you know? Why can’t women who you might want to fuck be funny? What terrible, scary thing might happen if they were? Is it that if they were funny they might make fun of you, and that would sting more if you wanted to fuck them? Or can that sort of guy just not maintain his erection unless he pretends that the woman he wants to fuck is essentially a blank slate?

(Hi, Meller!)

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

There’s also an idea floating around that comedians aren’t supposed to be hot in general, which is why a lot of people don’t quite know what to make of Russel Brand. He can’t be funny and smart and sexy, that’s not fair!

(Not so much my type, much too hairy, but objectively speaking he is pretty sexy.)

M Dubz
M Dubz
9 years ago

My personal pet theory is that humor, and being able to create humor, is such a fundamentally HUMAN thing. Most misogynists want to pretend that women aren’t people. The unfuckable ones aren’t women, so it’s okay for them to be funny. The fuckable ones, however…

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

I would actually love to see a female version of Brand, just to see how much it would fuck with people’s heads.

M Dubz
M Dubz
9 years ago

Sub category: most comedians are non normative in some way, which is where their humor comes from (see: jokes about being ugly, fat, awkward, part of a marginalized group). If a mysogynist wants to fuck a woman, he doesn’t want to think about all of the ways that she is flawed, because that would make her human. And the best comedians use their personal insecurities as a platform to build funny.

M Dubz
M Dubz
9 years ago

@Cassandra- does Sarah Silverman qualify? She’s gorgeous and raunchy as fuck. Not nearly as quirky as Brand, and much more polarizing in terms of feminist opinion of her, but I personally find her hilarious.

Quackers
Quackers
9 years ago

Hitchens published a follow-up essay stating that, okay, some women are funny, but only the ones who are ugly, fat, old, gay, or Jewish

Yep, the invisible ones.

That does have a hint of truth to it. As a woman, when you can’t rely on looks as much, you need to spend more time perfecting other talents, or personality to get you noticed. Not to say conventionally attractive women don’t have talents or good personalities, it’s just that their looks will get them noticed more in our superficial society :/

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

I also think that the fact that women aren’t supposed to admit flaws does put some weird constraints on female comedians. Not only is the audience not necessarily comfortable watching a beautiful woman talk about her insecurities in a vulgar, non-cute way, the actual comedians may feel like they’re not supposed to, thus setting up a loop where it just doesn’t happen much. This is why I’d love to see one like Brand – it’s the combination of arrogance and insecurity that makes him fun to watch.

(I wasn’t that into his stand up, he gets tedious after about 10 minutes, but then I saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall and as many flaws as that movie has, he absolutely nailed that part. I work around the music industry a lot and seriously, that performance was spot-on, and very funny.)

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

I find Silverman kind of grating, actually. I tend to find people who’re offensive just to be offensive boring, and her version of raunch seems a bit pandering. I’d like her better if she was much more in your face about sex, but in a slightly different way.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Part of this could be cultural too. Brand is very, very British, and Silverman is very American, and my sense of humor is definitely much more British.

VoiP
VoiP
9 years ago

Yes, cho is funny, and yes I do know funny women. The thing is, you will never find a humorous feminist! In order to be funny, you can’t talk yourself or pretty much anything too seriously. EVEN things that are painful or politically incorrect. Humor and sensitivity just don’t mix.

I look funny, does that count?

Quackers
Quackers
9 years ago

just out of curiosity, how would you define British humor Cassandra? more sarcasm based?

I gotta admit, I like raunchy, slapstick type humor. But yea, I do get uncomfortable with misogynist or racist jokes. Maybe its because you know there are a lot of people out there who don’t take what the comedian is saying as a joke, but as actual truth.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

I don’t actually know how to define it, it just feels very different. Definitely Brits are more sarcastic, and drier. I think we tend to be raunchier too, not just comedians but Brits in general – I know that I often find myself cracking sex jokes over here and getting startled, shocked “omg did she really say that?” responses, whereas in the UK the same thing would have barely raised an eyebrow.

Quackers
Quackers
9 years ago

I’ll have to sit down and watch Monty Python one of these days to really get a feel for it.

I also used to watch this British sitcom called My Family. Hilarious.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Actually that is a significant cultural difference – I feel like the prohibition about women talking about sex in a casual way that indicates that they don’t take the whole thing all that seriously is much stronger in the US. I feel like I have to self-censor around Americans a lot more. My bestie and I nearly got thrown out of a restaurant once for making a series of oral sex jokes about a celebrity who I’ve worked with and she’s a fan of. I didn’t think any of it was particularly shocking, but the people next to us did, and even the bestie nearly choked on her drink when I made the first comment that started the whole thing. Maybe it’s the British tendency to be very deadpan when saying arguably shocking things?

Leni
Leni
9 years ago

I don’t know who this Russel Brand is :/ I feel a you tube search in my future…

Sarah Silverman sometimes grates on me and sometimes slays me. But I think I feel that way about all my favorite comedians.

Eddie Murphy, for example, had so, so many good moments. He also had some really cringe-worthy ones. And Doug Stanhope, who by all rights could be an MRA hero… I saw him have a drunken meltdown live about his girlfriend’s abortion and then pull it together and go outside and utterly disarm some feminist protestors, who ended up laughing with him and hugging him because he really is a funny, likeable guy. Or at least can be.

Hitchins was that same way. He wasn’t awful, or a horrible person. He was human and he failed sometimes. And he succeeded where a lot of us didn’t. And he is one of the few public figures who looked Mother Teresa in the eye and said “Bullshit”.

Sorry, but I don’t think this point can be made loudly enough, even if it’s by a crusty old British bastard who couldn’t have been more wrong about the Iraq war or female comedians.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

I think Hitchens was brilliant in some ways and fatally flawed in others. He created this persona for himself as a provocateur, and I think it was a trap in some ways, because if that’s your persona you can’t break character and you have to keep trying to top the last thing you said. He was spot on about Mother Theresa though, and he was really really smart, and a good writer. Shame he could be such a narrow-minded ass sometimes.

Wetherby
Wetherby
9 years ago

Actually that is a significant cultural difference – I feel like the prohibition about women talking about sex in a casual way that indicates that they don’t take the whole thing all that seriously is much stronger in the US.

I think that’s very true. A case in point: Jennifer Saunders’ sitcom Absolutely Fabulous was a massive peaktime hit on BBC1 (one of the main network channels in Britain), but it’s hard to imagine any US network channel showing it uncut at the same time – the casual swearing, smoking, drinking and sex references would probably be too much anyway, but the fact that they’re uttered (and written!) by women might be even more so.

Talking of British comedians, Julia Davis and Miranda Hart are worth mentioning too, but for very different reasons. Davis’ Nighty Night is, without any exaggeration, one of the blackest and sickest comedies I have ever encountered in any medium, and makes Swift’s ‘A Modest Proposal’ seem… well, modest by comparison. In fact, to stay firmly on topic, I read a very funny interview with her former co-star Rob Brydon who said that he was the one who got sent most of the complaints about their previous, often similarly dark, collaboration Human Remains because they assumed that because he was the male half of the writing team, he was the one who must have come up with all the really sexually deviant material. In fact, Davis generated most of it, as she went on to demonstrate.

Miranda Hart couldn’t be more different: her sunnily upbeat sitcom Miranda deliberately harks back to the 1960s and 70s where you could build a vehicle around a single character that was essentially an exaggerated version of herself. Like Davis, she divides audiences, though she seems to have an unusually large female following, possibly because she’s so good at writing material that triggers hilariously uncomfortable memories of what it’s like growing up female and British. (I’ve seen my wife and her best friend laughing so hard at her that they had trouble breathing).

Leni
Leni
9 years ago

I guess I have yet to meet a person who wasn’t fatally flawed 😉

Wetherby
Wetherby
9 years ago

B____don would be a terrible comedian (as he’s proved time and time again) because he so clearly thinks he’s flawless.

In fact, some of the least funny people I know are the ones who seem the least capable of self-deprecation, and really lacerating self-criticism (whether overtly autobiographical or underpinning the creative treatment of fictional characters) is at the heart of a vast amount of truly great comedy.

Joanna
9 years ago

While I don’t believe that there are no funny women in the world ever, I generally don’t find women stand-ups all that funny, mostly because of their material. I find Jo Brand hilarious just being herself on QI or that.

My all time fave comedian is Dara O’ Briain. Not only is he extremely Irish and fantastic at improv., he’s also a great big nerd. There’s something special about a comedian who makes jokes about neutrinos and video games XD

Wetherby
Wetherby
9 years ago

Sarah Millican is a genuinely funny stand-up, and another one who’s also entirely (and alarmingly) relaxed about sex.

But I daresay her Newcastle accent is a fairly major barrier towards Stateside success anyway.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

America is oddly prudish about a lot of stuff, really. American prime-time TV is laughably unrealistic in all kinds of ways, but the tendency to make characters almost cartoonishly simple is one of the worst. I can’t imagine a Brookside or an EastEnders working here either – gritty and grimy just doesn’t seem to be something that American TV networks are willing to show. The attitude towards sex is especially wierd though. It’s like you can show vaguely porny performative stuff as much as you like as long as you hide most of the dangly bits and the boobs, but the slightest hint of realism and people start clutching their pearls. You can show as much violence as you want, but no orgasms please! It’s very odd. I’ve had basically the same conversation with friends from all over Europe, Russia, and Japan, in which the underlying question is “why is American TV so scared of boobs but so in love with guns?”, and I’ve never been able to come up with a better response than “it just is”.

Quackers
Quackers
9 years ago

I think it’s because the US has always had very puritanical beliefs about sex, mainly due to how Christianity shaped the county. Sex is immoral and must be saved for marriage, blah blah blah. That usual stuff. Not that I’m bashing people who believe in that, it just sucks when those beliefs are forced onto everyone else and become deeply ingrained into the culture.

On the other hand though, women are very sexualized in Hollywood and in the media, and it’s starting to with men as well.

Ullere
Ullere
9 years ago

@ katz

‘And man sprang fully-formed from the earth with the innate willingness to laugh more at men.’

Well thats biblical and all, but the points I mentioned were from the QI clip I linked.

‘Every time Ullere posts’ – clips from QI? Being open to the possibility that women laugh less at other women isn’t a radical thought, it’s been addressed on QI with many possible explainations, from women comedians treating themselves as a minority, to women not having a history in silent comedy. ‘I also think that the fact that women aren’t supposed to admit flaws does put some weird constraints on female comedians’ Is also mentioned in the QI video. Your ashamed of me posting a video that makes one of the points that you also made? You must be filled with shame at times.

@Nobby So the one study you sourced shows that women don’t find other women as funny as they do men, though to a small degree. Then you try to equivocate the study by saying it has a small sample size, and the findings of the study are an anomaly. But why does the small degree matter then? If it is but an anomaly. Sourcing studies to prove your point then denying the findings of the study is bizarre.

Now the idea that there are no funny women is ridiculous as you only need find a single woman funny, which is very subjective but pretty easy, see ‘no feminists are funny, except’ earlier in this thread.

But the idea that women find men funnier than they do other women does seem to have some validity, seeing how the only study cited in the thread so far does support this claim (along with the QI clip). The study linked here shows male comedians are 2% funnier, a huge and uncrossable divide of laughter…

blitzgal
9 years ago

I’ve had basically the same conversation with friends from all over Europe, Russia, and Japan, in which the underlying question is “why is American TV so scared of boobs but so in love with guns?”, and I’ve never been able to come up with a better response than “it just is”.

Network television is terrible. That’s why you have to go to cable to watch things like The Wire, The Sopranos, Deadwood, Justified, Breaking Bad, etc. Boobs, dicks, and everything else, if that’s your standard of “good.” But it’s known here in the states that the best television series are on cable.

I’m currently watching the UK version of Shameless on Netflix streaming, and I’m sorry, but to me that show is simply being crass for the sake of waving your arms and screaming, “Look how naughty I am.” The main character gets raped by a woman using a giant black dildo in the first episode.

Sorry to get my back up, but I can’t stand sweeping generalizations of how terrible my culture is. Also, if I was trying to eat my dinner and the people in the next table were going on and on about oral sex, I’d think they were assholes who were just trying to get a rise out of everyone.

blitzgal
9 years ago

Sorry, missed the blockquote. The first paragraph is quoted from Cassandra’s post.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

It’s interesting that you’d assume that people at a different table (in a very casual place btw, very late at night) were attempting to get a rise out of you by having a conversation with each other, but not very realistic. You’re always welcome to tell your neighbors to pipe down a bit, but to assume the conversation they’re having must be about getting attention from you is really rather silly.

blitzgal
9 years ago

And seriously, while we’re making sweeping generalizations, Japan mocking us for our hangups? The land of tentacle sex, rape comics and a schoolgirl fetish that makes the American fetish pale in comparison? I was watching a recent anime about zombies, and the camera kept zooming up the girl’s skirts to show extreme closeups of their underwear, including the folds of their labia and their asses, while they were running for their lives. I couldn’t even get through one episode. I’d already seen the color of every female character’s underwear.

blitzgal
9 years ago

It’s interesting that you’d assume that people at a different table (in a very casual place btw, very late at night) were attempting to get a rise out of you by having a conversation with each other, but not very realistic

You expressed shock that someone would tell you that you were being inappropriate and decided that it was illustrative of America’s sexual hangups. That’s quite an assumption all its own.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

More amusement than shock, really, especially given that it was after midnight. But hey, feel free to carry on with the defensiveness. I’m just waiting to see if you have anything to say about Russia or the rest of Europe and how crass their media is (and I guess how they therefore have no business having any opinion about American media? not really sure where you’re going with that), since you’ve already covered the UK and Japan.

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

I can’t imagine a Brookside or an EastEnders working here either

Every episode of EastEnders ever:

“Good morning.”
“IS IT?”

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

East Enders may have taken the whole gritty urban thing a bit too far sometimes (maybe the writers wanted to be Ken Loach when they grew up), but I always did like the fact that everyone in it looked so normal and so did the houses they lived in.

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

I used to get sucked into the marathons of EE that the PBS affiliate in Seattle would show.

I have Downtown Abbey on the instant queue, I’ve heard good things about that.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Brookside OTOT (did that ever make it over here?) was great right up until the point where a perfect good plot about domestic violence and child abuse veered off into stupid soap opera over the top-ness and the abused kid and her mother ended up killing dad and burying him in the back garden, and then paving over him. It’s probably better that the MRM never finds out about that particular set of episodes, or we’ll never hear the end of it and they’ll be putting Anna Friel on their official evil women shitlist for having fictionally murdered her dad.

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

I don’t think Brookside made it here. Usually the only channels showing British shows are PBS and BBC America.

Have you seen Posh Nosh? They’re all on youtube, and hysterical.

Wetherby
Wetherby
9 years ago

I’m currently watching the UK version of Shameless on Netflix streaming, and I’m sorry, but to me that show is simply being crass for the sake of waving your arms and screaming, “Look how naughty I am.” The main character gets raped by a woman using a giant black dildo in the first episode.

When I read that I thought “I can’t possibly have forgotten something like that’ – and, sure enough, this “first episode” turned out to be the first episode of series eight.

Which is a difference worth stressing, because for the first two or three seasons, Shameless was one of the sharpest, funniest things that British television had seen in a long, long time – but the general consensus was that it lost a huge amount of its spark when James McAvoy and Anne-Marie Duff left, and when original creator Paul Abbott got involved with bigger things like State of Play. I was one of many who gave up watching shortly afterwards, as it was already clear that diminishing returns were rapidly setting in.

A quick check on various Wikipedia pages reveals that Abbott (who wrote the bulk of series 1 and 2) has barely written an episode in years, and since it was originally strongly autobiographical, I suspect that’s a reason for its decline: comically grotesque though the early episodes were, there was a real human pathos there as well.

blitzgal
9 years ago

(and I guess how they therefore have no business having any opinion about American media? not really sure where you’re going with that), since you’ve already covered the UK and Japan.

I didn’t say that. Am I not allowed to respond to your opinions? My point is every culture has sexual hangups, and it’s a little hypocritical to ignore your own when you point at other people. It was amazing, for instance, seeing the reactions in France about the Strauss Kahn case, and the attitude that we were crazy for pursuing a criminal charge (I agreed with them that the media frenzy perp walk stuff is in poor taste). But the attitude that “of course powerful men are sexually voracious and try to grab on everyone” was disturbing to me. Do I think it’s illustrative of French culture as a whole? No.

Regarding television, there’s plenty of crap TV in the UK just as there is lots of crap TV in the States. What does it mean? In general, popular culture is fluffy and not that serious, and you have to dig to find the really good stuff. We have a problem here in the States where vocal minorities are able to force ridiculous things, like all the sponsorship pulling out of that American Muslim show because it “humanizes” Muslims.

blitzgal
9 years ago

Bleh, didn’t finish the last paragraph. Our network television has shown itself to be very vulnerable to those vocal minorities in a way that cable television has not, which is part of why network television seems to be very constrained and tamer than network television.

blitzgal
9 years ago

*tamer than cable television. Need coffee.

Ponks
Ponks
9 years ago

@Wetherby, I really like Miranda Hart a lot. I always find it interesting that in Miranda, although it’s a very traditional sitcom, she subverts the whole conventionally unattractive, buffoonish man/hot, sensible woman thing that MRAs often froth at the mouth about. She’s not a conventionally attractive woman and definitely the buffoonish one and her love interest (they’ve got an on-going will they/won’t they plot running through it) is a really hot chef called Gary, who plays the sensible, level-headed character while she’s causing chaos and being silly.

Julia Davis is awesome! That’s really interesting that Rob Bryden got mail assuming he’d written all the dark stuff in Nighty Night- that’s definitely one of my favourite sitcoms!

I think there’s a lot of really good female comedians and I don’t really subscribe to Christopher Hitchen’s views on them. I think The Spearhead are pretty wrong-headed to embrace him as one of their own though – he was definitely anti-misogyny, whatever else you think of any of his other views. I think he just enjoyed being a professional contrarian at times and getting a rise out of people, really. I vehemently disagreed with his Iraq war views, but his atheism stuff was pretty interesting.

Also, CassandraSays speaking about how Americans seem to be a lot more sensitive to bad language than Brits reminds me of this: