Comments on: How does this stuff get past an editor? History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Tue, 23 Sep 2014 06:29:39 +0000 hourly 1 By: Historiann Fri, 06 Mar 2009 04:23:04 +0000 JJO–once again, you said it, not me! The thought of sock puppetry once again crossed my mind…(I hope you like the puppet photo! No one has commented on what a stunning likeness it bears to its model!)

Crankypostdoc has commented here before occasionally. Maybe ze just was having a bad day or something.

By: JJO Fri, 06 Mar 2009 03:31:16 +0000 And just so that I’m not simply being snarky, I actually agree that SATC is demeaning and horrifying (although not really due to the sex). I really came to detest that show (and for reasons similar to John S’s, I watched far more of it than I ever wanted to). But Seigel’s piece is incredibly offensive, in part because it isn’t effectively a parody of what was most offensive about the show (shallowness, materialism, stereotypes) but rather a weird fantasy about the sexual humiliation of the characters.

By: JJO Fri, 06 Mar 2009 03:22:55 +0000 Anyone taking odds that crankypostdoc is Lee Seigel?

Well, probably not, but given the history it was something that immediately jumped to mind.

By: Satsuma Fri, 06 Mar 2009 00:34:46 +0000 And then there is this huge elephant in the room– the assumption that all the women are straight, when a certain contingent of the sisterhood thinks it would be great to have shows where men were castrated for raping children, buying sex, or even possessing pornography. Now that’s a T.V. show I would find hysterically funny…
see how the guys like it if women controlled all the TV shows!

By: Historiann Thu, 05 Mar 2009 22:09:59 +0000 Yes, The_Myth: good point. Thanks for your earlier comment–I think that there still is a lot of good journalism, but how a guy like Lee Siegel keeps getting paid is beyond me. Also–I should confess that I like the Daily Beast! It has a lot of junk but it also has a lot of interesting things. It’s got that inimitable Tina Brown sensibility–I thought that the New Yorker was much more interesting, daring, and readable when she edited it in the 90s than ever before or since. I know many will disagree with me…but Brown writes and publishes spanky stuff that gets people reading!

By: The_Myth Thu, 05 Mar 2009 21:53:31 +0000 John S forgot one important premise:

The character of Samantha has long been established as enjoying oral sex, particularly performing fellatio. [She also likes some herself; does that appear in Siegel's script?]

The misogyny factors in by removing her pleasure-in-power-in-giving-pleasure and making a mockery of it as being her new career.

Because, well, it’s all she’s good at in Siegel’s revision, so she’ll be forced on her sexually empowered knees to do it for profit in the sequel.

The dirty whore.

/sarcasm off

By: Historiann Thu, 05 Mar 2009 18:26:51 +0000 No problem, John–I think you pretty much laid it all out. I don’t get at all the notion that we have to love SATC 100% and approve of its portrayal of women in every way in order to find Siegel offensive. If that’s the litmus test for feminists (and somehow only for feminists! funny that), then there are very few books, plays, movies, or other cultural artifacts in this or any other culture worldwide that feminists would be permitted to enjoy.

By: John S. Thu, 05 Mar 2009 18:02:05 +0000 (I really apologize for the overly long post above–I got really angry after reading the Daily Beast essay.)

By: John S. Thu, 05 Mar 2009 18:00:41 +0000 I do not think one has to be a fan of the show to find this parody offensive, nor do I think disliking the show means one would find it funny. (I don’t particularly like the show myself, but I have seen more of SATC than I would like to admit; that is the price of living with someone who *loves* the show, I suppose.) Here’s the question I have for crankypostdoc, however: why is Siegal’s rant supposed to be funny?

I don’t mean that in a confrontational way, but I think answering that question gets to the heart of whether or not this is misogynistic. In order to find Siegal’s piece funny you have to go along with certain propositions:

1) The idea of financiers losing their sexual potency when they lose their money is funny.

2) The idea that when public relations specialists (yes, I know what job Samantha did on the show!) lose their jobs they have to perform oral sex for money.

3) The notion that health care providers cover Viagra (something most do already) is equally funny as a woman getting a tax deduction for her mouth (presumably because her body parts are pieces of business equipment?).

4) The idea that the government would bail out auto-makers by paying women to give them oral sex is funny.

5) The idea that the government stimulus package (get it–stimulus!) would help newspaper editors by paying women to give them oral sex is funny. (This one strikes a little too close to home, maybe, coming from someone like Siegal who was fired from his “old media” periodical job for his unethical interactions with “new media” bloggers.)

6) That a woman selling her body (not herself or her services, crucially, but her entire body) to pay for a prosthetic penis for her friend’s partner is amusing.

7) That the problem with US imperial ventures overseas is that “we” are not sending enough of “our” women over there to give horny potential terrorists sex. (Instead of Israel trading land for peace, maybe the US should be trading women’s sexual favors for peace?)

8) And that all are saved when the Asian spouse comes in and showers everyone with money (making them all dependents!)

Maybe explaining the joke kills it, but to me, pretty much every premise in the “parody” is offensive and misogynistic. (The last two, maybe a little more racist. Two great tastes that go great together, maybe.) And no, if you read closely, they don’t rely our dislike of the SATC characters. After all, two of “jokes” are about how the federal government wants to help business by making sure men get serviced. I presume that according to Siegal’s logic more women than just sex-crazed Samantha would are employed?

I could go on–notice how the ways in which the women get their comeuppance differ from the ways in which men do–but I hope you get my point. It doesn’t really matter if SATC is an empowering portrayal of women or not. Siegal’s rant only works if you accept certain notions that are offensive, no matter who the characters are. Finding the SATC character Samantha shallow doesn’t mean that it’s hilarious to imagine her getting her comeuppance by turning her into a piece of meat–a collection of body parts, really–used solely to service men sexually.

So, crankypostdoc, I think you’ve really posed a false dichotomy here.

By: crankypostdoc Thu, 05 Mar 2009 16:33:22 +0000 You chose this particular parody as an example of how awful and sexist Lee Siegel supposedly is, so clearly, in your mind and in the minds of other commenters, the show itself has some value.
Seriously, make up your mind. These are fictional characters. They are defined by certain attributes mentioned above. Either SATC is an empowering portrayal of women, in which case what Siegel wrote might rightly be regarded as offensive, or it is a demeaning one, in which case he is just following the logic of the people who wrote and produced the show. The comments I am seeing here come down more on the “demeaning” side. There’s nothing wrong with writing ugly things about ugly characters, particularly when they are symbols of the spectacularly ugly culture that inspired the show in the first place.