Monday, February 20, 2012

On Aspirin-Gate*

So, there was this:

"I get such a chuckle when these things come out. Here we have millions of our fellow Americans unemployed, we have jihadist camps being set up in Latin America, which Rick has been warning about, and people seem to be so preoccupied with sex. I think that says something about our culture. We maybe need a massive therapy session so we can concentrate on what the real issues are. And this contraceptive thing, my gosh, it’s such inexpensive. Back in my days, they usedBayer Aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.”

So said Foster Friess, some rich white dude I've never heard of who's supporting Rick Santorum for President.

You know, when I first heard about this "joke," I was reminded of some of my embarrassing older male relatives who are utterly oblivious to the fact that, These Days, the public and political spheres are somewhat-more inhabited by people other than straight white men who still think racist, sexist, and homophobic jokes are awesome displays of humor, supremacy, and intellectual prowess.

It's like, dudes, we're not staring silently at you with our WTF-faces on in response to your "jokes" because OMG PC Gone Awry! We're not laughing because your "jokes" just... aren't funny.

As the wonderful Jane Espenson has said:

"Racist/sexist/homophobic jokes in fact tend NOT to be funny not only because they cause pain, but because they are bombs instead of scalpels. A joke that pokes fun at a person is sharpest, funniest, when it finds that perfect detail, the most subtle observation of what sets that person apart. Someone’s race or gender is unlikely to be the most subtle thing about them, and certainly it’s not the most specific."

I think, actually, what is kind of a funny "scalpel" is when corny "jokes" like Friess' backfire. As in, well, I didn't immediately get the joke when I first heard it because [*turning head sideways and pondering*] I'm pretty sure both sex and pregnancy can still occur if a woman has an aspirin between her legs.

What makes it funny isn't that he's a man and he's wrong, but that he's a man who's made himself the big arbiter of what is and isn't an important issue for women to talk and care about while being wrong about the very issue he's so dismissive and flippant about. #LOLMANSPLAINFAIL

Also funny is watching Santorum scramble to say he's "not responsible" for Friess' "humor" in light of this article a few days before Friess' gaffe, that highlights How Hilarious Rick Santorum Thinks His Buddy-Bud Foster Friess Is:

"Sporting a Santorum sweater vest, Friess peppered his brief remarks [at a Santorum rally] with jokes and delivered a ringing endorsement of Santorum's candidacy.

'Life is so much fun and filled with humor,' Friess began, smiling widely. 'There is a little bar a couple doors down, and recently a conservative, a liberal and moderate walk into the bar. The bartender says "Hi, Mitt."' The crowd gave Friess a rousing round of applause....

Santorum began his own speech by saying he wouldn't try to compete with Friess on the humor front. 'Foster cornered the market on that,' Santorum said."

Oh ho ho ho whoooops!

But more to the point, people seem to really be highlighting the aspiring-between-the-knees aspect of the "joke." But, well, what about that contention that birth control is just a silly little issue, one that deserves to be "chuckled" at, in light of other Real Issues like jihadist camps and unemployment?

If birth control were such a non-issue, so trivial, and so very unimportant, I reckon so many powerful men wouldn't be so intent on controlling women's access to it.

[*Yep, I added "-gate" there. It's campaign season! That's what we do!]

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