Monday, June 06, 2005

We're Right Here, You Narrow-Minded Little Twit

A little jello wrestling, a little cheesecake, and, voila! Problem solved. Lance's answer to the eternally irritating question, "were are all the women bloggers?"

"That question, 'Where are all the women bloggers?' a babelfish would translate as 'I only know the names of four or five bloggers. You, the guy I'm interviewing right now, and I just learned your name from my producer. Matt Drudge, Glenn Reynolds, and Mickey Kaus. Frankly, that's more names than my head can hold and I'm really not interested in reading any blogs. Can you please say something that will stir up a little controversary on the subject and help keep me awake through the rest of this interview?'"

Lance notes, as we all know, that there are, in fact, plenty of women bloggers.

(Given how chatty we dames are, how could you doubt this? I mean, really. Men tell us we never shut up. You think the Internet would be any different? Ha. And ha, I say, ha-ha, again.)

What there are not are any who are regularly linked to by the top five or six male bloggers...who are the only ones the producers who book slots for talk shows care about.

YEP. Lance goes on,

I don't think the reason for this is sexism, although sexism always seems to come into play when those top male bloggers try to explain why they don't link to more female bloggers.

No, he thinks the reason is an extreme narrow-mindedness.

The trouble is that the top dog male bloggers are just not as interested in the wider world as most women bloggers are.

I think he may be right.

The practical effect of this narrow-minded obsession is that male political bloggers only link to female political bloggers, and since female bloggers talk about more than just politics, there "are no" female *political* bloggers, ergo, no women bloggers for these narrow-minded types to link to!

You know, this makes a hell of a lot of sense.

Shall I drag in some biological determinism while I'm at it? Sure, Sid, give it a whack! Women, being the gurus of multi-tasking that we are, are actually capable of paying attention to more than just politics or any one single subject.

Naturally, our blogs would reflect that.

But a narrow-minded, single-issue kind of guy isn't going to take seriously what a woman blogger says in her blog if her remarks about, say, George and Vlad's latest adventure are preceded by an entry about something "non-political", because, being narrow-minded, all that other stuff is viewed as worthless.

I could also throw in a bit here about how women's lives are de facto politicized, because of our being second-class citizens in America, so that even our more "personal" discussions are in fact political.

Regardless. We just don't spend *all* our time talking about George's latest gaffe. We think faster than that. And in parallel[*].

You could, and god knows people do, ask this question in a variety of other arenas, like, say, science. Where are the women scientists? At one point the burning question of the day might have been: why didn't Sidra go to grad school in physics? She's bright, good test scores, loves cosmology and astrophysics, gets all excited talking about black holes, enjoys the good crunchy math...

The answer to that question (one answer of many to that question) is that Sidra didn't want to spend the next 20 years only doing one little slice of physics, only becoming an adept at one tiny, little, narrow, thing, when there was a whole, immense, broader *world* to explore, as a scientist and as a person. And a particle accelerator, let's be honest, ties you down even more than kids do.

Hell, kids, if I can't do more than seven or eight things at a time, I'm liable to get BORED.

[*] I've discovered the difference between men and women. Women are parallel, men are serial.

Now, there are two solutions to this problem, off the top of my head. One, if you're a woman blogger, keep two blogs: one for politics, and one for everything else. This is actually a pain in the ass and may be quite difficult because, as a woman, the personal is political. Whether I get a raise at my job touches on issues of sexism or racism or even religious fundamentalism, all of them political in the sense that they reflect the same cultural stressors that shape the decisions of this nation as they are being made right now and hence may provide great insight into them. The second is to just keep on answering this question until every man on the planet has been personally educated by having 15 women bloggers email him every time he asks theis. If you take the second tack, be sure to inquire if he's going senile, because this Q has already been A'd before. Then suggest gingko biloba or fish oil supplements or something, to keep his memory sharp.

Now, my mention of the first tack makes me realize that male political bloggers are not actually political bloggers, at least not in the sense of people who might want to talk about the underlying currents of American society and its affect on the various branches of government and their actions. Washington DC's actions don't exist in a vacuum, but in a social and historical context that should always be considered.

No, what *they* are, is current affairs junkies with the memories of a desiccated cactus, who perform the same sort of 'shred and move on' analysis that some people perform on icons of pop culture. It's a surficial kind of discussion that doesn't try and address any issue in great depth, doesn't look at any underlying trends -- like, say, the rise of American capitalism, robber barons, laissez-faire economics and the Supreme Court rulings of the Lochner era -- because that would require real thought on the connections between *surficially* diverse topics, which these single-issue guys are not well-equipped to perform.

Sigh. As Lance put it, these guys are "[d]umb in the way anyone who becomes too specialized is dumb".

Now, Lance suggests the issue is between wonks and writers. Above, obviously, I have framed it as a fundamental difference between men and women. Are either of us right? Maybe, maybe not.

But I love the cheesecake idea.

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