Monday, February 27, 2017

The mother of all men

Jeannie and Jim Gaffigan
Jeannie Gaffigan co-writes and produces her husband's comedy shows, including most recently the Jim Gaffigan Show for TV, which they have just stopped making after the second series to spend more time with their kids - they have five under the age of 12.

I was a fan of the Gaffigan even before I read this statement of his on the measure of manhood (now I want to marry him; move over Jeannie. Kidding, sort of). He is generally a very funny man, but his meta appeal is that unlike so many male (and some female) comedians, he doesn't mock and degrade women in his comedy.

In fact when I found this statement and podcast from Gaffigan I had just come from listening to two stand-up comedians, like him, played on our local RadioNZ (public broadcaster). One was from Bill Burr, the other from Ali Wong and both shamelessly mock motherhood as non-work. Wong does this while she is heavily pregnant with her first child so not really in the know yet as to what motherhood entails, and Burr does it because he doesn't need to be a woman - or even a parent - to know how pathetically easy motherhood is, he just uses his all-seeing, not at all man-biased, eyes.

Burr says it's not work if you can do it in your pyjamas. But he's wrong about that, because I can give a blow job in my pyjamas, and that's work; the clue's in the name 'job', Bill. Wake up, buddy.

Wong says feminists have ruined everything for women - while she's enjoying the rewards of feminist battles fought for her freedom to earn on a living on the stage (heavily pregnant) - because before feminism women never had to work (she actually says those words) and now they do, and that the reason she got pregnant was so she could put her feet up and relax and not have to work.

Good luck with that, Ali. I wonder if you will pay a woman (or a man as it always used to be when women didn't work) to help you raise your child and do the housework? Most 'career' women do, though not all. The key is we now have the choice to work at home for no money or on the stage for a lot of money, before we didn't. Stuff feminists for giving us that choice. The bloody bitches.

Indeed Burr and Wong are altogether so right and astute in their commentary on the state of our world. I mean what the world clearly needs is for women and motherhood to be respected less, because what's gone wrong so far is that women's 'work' throughout history has been way overvalued and men's work (golf) has been way undervalued. Clearly Donald Trump doesn't think enough of himself and doesn't get enough credit or power or success for all the WORK he puts in; that's clearly the problem.

The online backlash of comments from men to Gaffigan's podcast in which he expresses the above, deeply controversial sentiment that if men don't respect women and what they do they are not true men, is so telling of men's need to define themselves as better than women. Without that innate superior status, they're just people, like women - yes, women are people - and many men can't live with that. Here's just one of the comments in response to Gaffigan's radical feminist (not) statement:

‘Well in most developed countries a third to a half of men are not even interested anymore in chasing women and the number will keep rising. Men has realise it is not worth the effort anymore. In two/three generations only a small portion of people will marry/have children, wake up grandpa.’ 

Men really are so astute, factual - and grammatical.

It is no surprise to learn that Bill Burr, who is nearly fifty, has only recently (2013) married for the first time and that his fans are outraged that he married at all. This from one of them:

'I don't care if people get married or who they marry, but when your entire career revolves around making fun of marriage, gold-digging women, the unfairness of divorce laws, and then you end up marrying a pc woman with an attitude it just seems like a bad decision, lol. I also read that he said he doesn't have a pre-nup, he's worth around 4 million dollars, and if she divorces him, he'll just give her everything.'

Sure he will.

But he has a point. Burr's comedy career has been built on belittling women, so why marry one? His fans naturally see this as hypocrisy and they're right, to a point. But the simple truth is that the man, at 45, has finally grown up and seen the light beyond his cheap and nasty prejudices, just as Gaffigan did, only rather sooner on in his life. Gaffigan, a bit younger than Burr, married in 2003. Before that his comedy was less respectful of women, too; though it was never as shamelessly sexist as Burr's.

There's a pattern forming, folks: men need to love and respect (not merely lust after) a woman to figure out what it means to be a man, at least het men do. Gay men seem to know anyway; they typically respect their mothers a whole lot more than het men do, which no doubt makes a significant difference to their attitudes towards women.

Women, on the other hand, most of us at least (don't know about Ali), already know the importance of love and respect and family, etc, we don't need a man to teach us that. We just need men to let us teach them, and to do that they need to respect us enough first to be prepared to learn what we've got to teach them about the important things in life.

It's a Catch 22: many men can't learn respect for women without loving a woman and they can't really love a woman without first respecting us. No wonder there's so much domestic violence, divorce and cheap sexist comedy. It's something of a miracle it ever works between men and women.

So when it does, as in the Gaffigan case, it's an occasion to celebrate. I'm glad Gaffigan has five kids. If only he and the other guys capable of respecting women could father all the kids; the world would be fixed in no time at all, and we'd have better comedy to boot.

No comments:

Post a Comment