Thursday, April 30, 2009

Women Are So Much Better Than Everybody Else And Should Be In Charge Of Stuff

Is it possible that the last op-ed ever to appear in the Boston Globe could be a golden paean to the loving maternal arms of the Nanny State?

Apparently without a shred of irony, editorial-page editor Renee Loth has taken up her silvered quill and penned a rather quaint Victorian essay on the Virtues of Womankind. Specifically, the women of New Hampshire. It seems that in New Hampshire, serving on the state legislature has become one of those tainted women-jobs, like cleaning toilets and fixing hair. The result? Gas tax! Gay marriage! Liberals! Hooray!

Loth attributes a recent leftward shift in New Hampshire politics to the superior ethical powers of women, who are increasingly taking up the mantle of public service out of their vast selflessness, and deciding what's best for everybody else. I wish I were making this up.

This is the more interesting question about women in power. Sure, women should be heard more in government - and the law, and science, and journalism - as a matter of sheer equity. But it's not the quantity of women so much as the different quality that can bring real change.

That last sentence. It appears to mean something. But what? What?

Women see the world as a web of relationships. They are more communitarian and less individualistic. They are less ideological and more practical. It's hard to imagine a better set of qualities for solving the intricate problems that face our world.

Naturally, all this female-superiority talk is playing straight into the grubby hands of the live-free-or-die-ers. The commenters on the Globe board, most of whom appear to be a bunch of third-generation Xerox copies of Howie Carr's mugshot come magically to life, are loving the hell out of it. A sample:

Let me summarize the article: Men are stupid, Women are reshaping NH (and the world) for the better.

Reverse all of the subtle and no so subtle points in the article and you have outrage from the liberal media and feminazis. Bashing men is so 21st century!

Well, Renee Loth, if you set out to prove nutjob libertarian gazillionaire Peter Thiel right, you're doing a hell of a job. Clearly letting those women-people vote is the first step down a nasty slippery slope of some sort.

But don't worry. Mommy is waiting at the bottom to catch all her wayward children, and gather them up into a bright and glorious future.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Don't Be Talkin' Down To Me, Math Lady

I cannot really argue with the benevolence of a nonprofit that helps math-challenged po' women learn to add. Math-dumbness is rampant (especially among journalists!), and any effort to raise the basic numeracy of the American people is good by me. Still, there's a stench of condescension about the whole thing.

What often holds girls back is self-confidence; it drops sharply in middle school and is considered a reason that so many women don’t choose math-related fields, she said. But “many girls and women have the potential to improve their spatial skills to the point of being very successful" in fields that require those abilities, she said.

Buh. Call me when somebody founds a really sappy institute for reaching out to engineer dudes who break out in a cold sweat when forced to compose a few sentences in basic English.

We Shall Overcome (Our Pants)

Women in law enforcement have long been held back by antiquated attitudes about female perp-busting prowess. And pants. Pants, once hailed as the harbingers of a new era of female empoweringfullnessment, are actually holding lots of women back. Literally.

Well, Female Law Enforcement Professional, no more shall you be detained by the cruel shackles of your own pants. I give you QuickPants.

“QuickPants are for those of us so tired of shucking off all our duty belt gear just to go to the restroom,” says Officer Becky MacLean of New Hope, Ala.

“No more having to take off the heavy gun belts and then figuring out what the heck you’re going to do with the darn thing. You don’t want to put it on the floor (of the restroom) do you?"

Also useful for sea captains and mountain lion hunters, the article notes.

Women: They Are So Very Compassionate

Psychology professionals agree: Women are too compassionate for their own good. That's because they're "biologically programmed to be caretakers." It's a fact: Women have tiny little mind-control mechanisms embedded deep inside their brains that force them to care hard at all times.

Which explains today's Condi Rice news.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The P-Word

To be added to the list of banned words: "plucky." How much of Mesopotamia do you have to reign over before they quit calling you that?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Women Do! Hero of the Month: Deb Harkness

Kudos to Serious Eats for running this very Women Do-esque riposte to a recent marketing study on women and wine. It seems that in Obvious Town, women sometimes drink wine, kind of like men do.

What's the wine industry to do, now that they know that women aren't a specialized market?

Well, I'm hoping the study's findings makes executives think twice before they pay for an insulting advertising campaign directed at women that makes us out to be clueless, waistline-obsessed wine-swilling divas. I hope we see less cutesy wine labels with cuddly animals. And I fervently pray that the next time I order the wine in a restaurant, I'm the one offered a taste of it, instead of the waiter pouring it into the glass belonging to the man at the table. And I really hope this is the last study of this kind I see.

Bravo. My only quibble: I wish Harkness had linked to the study.

Women Destroy The Environment

Dear URI undergraduates: Please stop destroying everything we hold dear with your constant showering. As a source of potent greenhouse gases, hot showers are up there, er, somewhere behind manufacturing, agriculture, poorly insulated buildings and the driving of big smokin' American cars. So cut it out. Especially you women. You soapy, soapy women.

"Shower length is the most difficult behavior to change; it seems to be ingrained in people as a right," said Scott Finlinson, coordinator of the project for NORESCO, the energy services company hired by the University.

"While men tend to be willing to reduce the length of their showers, women say that they have too much to do in the shower to cut back on the time spent there."

Also. Undergrads shower eight times a week? Not in my day, bub.

Whores In The Newspaper

Recently, Universal Hub--where they care as hard about newspapers and their verbiage as we Women Do-ers do--got its knickers all in a twist over whether a Proper Newspaper would use the word "whore" in print. I am pleased to report that the answer is Yes. And in the New York Times, no less.

Quote of the year:

"“If I had my way, I’d destroy all the mosques and spread the whores around a little more,” the detective said. “At least they’re not sectarian.”

Thanks to Joe for passing that on, in the hopes that it would galvanize me into blogging afresh. It did! And thanks to everybody else who sent me a virtual kick in the pants over the last couple of weeks. I am sorry I did not get around to that Metro story, in which it was revealed that, gasp, women are also affected by the economic recession. I regret not doing a full autopsy on the Biker Babes of Bellingham. I am kicking myself for passing up the opportunity to slice up Newsweek's take on Understanding Male Post-Partum Depression.

I hope you will forgive me. April is indeed the cruelest month. There were taxes. There were family medical emergencies. There were exploding water heaters in the basement. Oh, and I got engaged. Which you would already know, if you were a regular watcher of Jim Braude's news quiz show on NECN. Check it out and see if you can guess which of these three fine Stooges I'm going to marry this summer. (Hint: Not Jim Braude.)

Friday, April 3, 2009

In Which A Rumor Is Dispelled

I am not Fake Marty Baron.

Piling On

It's a painful exercise, making fun of the Globe in its hour of doom. Some days, I wonder if there is any point in doing so. For the record, in case anybody is confused: I'd like the paper to live, breathe, thrive, kick ass and take names all over Boston.

But they're not helping themselves with running stuff like "Where the boys (over 35) are."

Trees died to bring you this vital news. Pulitzer-finalist photographers were laid off so it could continue to run. City Weekly was killed so that...I'll stop now, I can feel the earnestness coming on. Nobody wants to see that.