Monday, April 25, 2022

Female Comedians Again

I have mentioned before how they seem to get steered into only talking about sex, which started generations ago with Sophie Tucker and Fanny Brice, and continued through Joan Rivers and is still prominent today. My previous interpretation is that however much they cooperate with this, they are trying to make a living, and by trial-and-error audiences male and female seem to want them to go in that direction. I also detect some who were quite funny on other subjects when younger, but because of their innocent good-girl appearance seem to increasingly rely on the fairly automatic humor of the mild shock value of "nice girl saying outrageous things." Esther Povitsky and Taylor Tomlinson would be examples of this. They are more polished but less funny now. That those audiences are largely young, single, late-night, and drunk likely influences their material. Nothing is going to push them in another direction.

I have no doubt that many of them think of themselves as brave for being more sexual.  The word "daring" even communicates that. The same thing comes in for rock criticism.  Madonna was so brave, Lady Gaga was so brave, as if this was something modern, rather than a reversion to what women have always been pushed into for entertainment. I saw an article that Nikki Glaser (I caught a clip and thought her more than I can take, though I agree she's funny) has gotten sober and has now reversed course, not stating that her own material was degrading to her personally, but coming darn close. (I'm not linking because of other things there.  But if you follow these things I imagine you can find something like it pretty quickly.) A lot of the rest I can't even identify, because they seem on youtube so clearly too raunchy for my taste that there's no point in clicking and remembering.  It sure looks like a lot of them.

I confess that I do like watching Iliza Schlesinger, even though she is quite profane, because she does hit a variety of topics, and does them well. 

All this was prologue. I had a new thought while watching Schlesinger. She repeatedly makes large claims that "Women are..." and I think "Hmm. I can't think of any like that myself." Yet I don't think she is wrong, I think she is just describing a subset of women that I have little contact with and I suspect she is spot on, judging from the audience response, especially from women. The audience scans suggest her audiences are weighted strongly female. The female academics (as in linguists and archaeologists, mostly) and church women I encounter aren't like that, but I couldn't begin to tell you numbers whether Iliza's audience is a greater percentage of women. But they are clearly making their own decisions, making their own money to spend on entertainment, not beholden to anyone. I don't see how one makes the argument that they aren't independent and aren't representative of women at some level.

I contrast this with the academics, and a tone I have detected and mentioned before. They do not say it outright, but their implication is clear that they believe they speak for women in general about what is offensive and what is desired, what is supposed to be important to them. Odd, because these popular comedians would appear to give the lie to that.

Then the penny dropped.  I have actually witnessed this contrast for decades by working in primarily women's professions. The social workers my age and older resemble the academic women much more.  The younger social workers are much more like the comedians' audiences. It used to be an academic profession with lots of theory and history - most of it complete crap and now discredited, but still - and favored by women who were more academic.  It used to be a bigger deal to go on and get a Master's degree in anything, especially for women. But it is much less intellectually demanding now (as evidenced by MSW's having the lowest GREs of any graduate programs). It's a different field. The psych nurses have reversed the old model and are clearly, sometimes stunningly, brighter and better trained. Not like 1980 at all.

There is a split I hadn't noticed in the younger generation of social workers (and psychologists, etc) until now.  A few are insanely woke, turning in mentors and senior staff during their internships for supposed offensive statements that just take your breath away - but most of the other young women have just learned how not to misstep on those things, pretend to go along with them*, and just go about their jobs.  At lunch with each other, they sound like Iliza's audience. They didn't marry professors, they married policemen and restaurant suppliers. They are sort of blue-collar. And they are mostly fine, very competent at what the job now is, which is navigating idiotic bureaucracies rather than having knee-to-knee discussions with Troubled Persons, as in the past. 

I think the PhD podcasters, male and female, need to understand them as a counterweight to what they believe is the reality. The comedians might be a more fun way to do that. The academic group is less often married, less often have children, and less often have any ongoing religious connection, so they are often contrasted with a middle-American group of women that has those characteristics.  That they vote differently is considered important, and troubling.  But this other group?  Who the hell knows if they vote at all, and who they vote for? Even if pollsters might be able to divide them along similar lines as the exited the show...

(...okay, it would probably be better to check in with these young people before they went into the show to find out who they are voting for and which way they break on marriage/child/church attitudes.  Less entertaining, though, if you remember the "Jay Walking" segments from Leno's show.  Even I saw a few of those...)

...yet they are clearly numerous enough to support many comedians. Maybe the church people need to be aware of this counterweight group as well. Yet I will bet they recognise the entertainers' generalisations more easily. They have grown daughters, after all. Though I am in a pretty specific sector of that crew as well, so my intuition is likely useless. Pay no mind.

*I went about in disguise there, as I used to at church as well, and maybe everywhere I go.  I don't mean to.  I'm not trying to be tricky or deceitful.  It just seems to play out that way.  This goes way, way back. Anyway, you hear a lot when you share an office with these young women for more than an occasional day or two and they figure out that you are actually not a liberal, and are an actual religious person. Lesbians tell you how crazy the trans people are. Quiet Catholics who wanted to smack the head of the department and the invited speaker for their bigoted comments about them last month. (It's nice to be old and on your way out.  I would just call those people out at the meeting. Their amazing bigotry. It happens because they think it is just normal behavior to say these things. It's a belief that NPR is the universe, because it's got "public" right in its name.) Sometimes I will give correction and alert them to realities that even I would not be very public about. "Wait until you see how they try to chew your son up at school over the next few years while the girls are treated like little treasures. You will have to learn the skills of redirecting the teachers and protecting him until he can deal with it." And then work with them later and have them tell me that's just about the way it went down, but they think they have steered the boy through it. Yes, you thought I was crazy at the time, and a little prejudiced.  And now you know I'm right. Some have quietly dropped the same news to other mothers. Given the suicide rate and dropout rate of boys, who get little attention, I consider that a victory. 

Update:  In contrast


Christopher B said...

As to their politics, Trump had more support among working class white women than either Hillary or Biden. Trump's fall-off in 2020 was among white men.

Interesting post tangentially on the politics from Steve Hayward at Powerline. David Shor says his data is showing a bigger shift among Hispanic women to Republicans than Hispanic men.

Grim said...

I well-spent $750 defending my son against actual charges brought against him by the school for hitting a bully who had shoved him into a locker. The bully had been cautioned against engaging him by the teacher, but there was a substitute that day. She freaked out, called the school resource officer, and they by policy were required to charge him with assault and battery.

The court threw it out. But it cost me $750.

Grim said...

Also, Iliza Schlesinger has a real thing going of her own. I don't see a lot of this stuff, but what I do see seems pretty standard-issue. She's not that for sure.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

She does lots of voices and face. Old school