Do feminists have a sense of humor?
By Bernard Chapin
—Station WODD, Chicago, USA.
Broadcaster: "Hello everybody, I'm William Slatterby, host of the show everybody's talking about, "The Why Behind the Why." This week we'll be looking into a question that has confounded citizens since the beginning of time, or at least since the 1960s. Our 20 dollar question today is, "Do feminists have a sense of humor?" Assembled to my right is a wonderful panel of experts to address the issue. We have Amanda Wazelstein, scholar, performance artist, exotic dancer, and Vice President of Feminists for Inequality and Female Privilege. Next to her is Teesa Turner of Feminists for More Government. Ms. Turner is a—"
Teesa: "Excuse me, William, its Misses."
Broadcaster: "Oh right, I see. Who isn't married nowadays? Heh, heh, heh."
Teesa [outraged]: "What are you trying to say?"
Broadcaster: "Hey Misses, relax. At any rate, Mrs. Turner is a lesbian activist with over twenty years of fundraising experience under her belt. Lastly, to round out our panel and provide us with a little diversity, we have Oral Johns, Ataman of the Gay Men's Feminist Alliance. Mr. Johns, you're first—"
Amanda: "Why is he first? Is it because he's a man?"
Broadcaster: "You people are a riot. Okay Oral, what do you think?"
Oral: "About what? What was the question?"
Broadcaster: "Well, do feminists have a sense of humor?"
Oral: "Of course we do. Thinking we don't is proof of your own sexism. Why would you even worry about something like that anyway? Believe me, you're the only person who cares. The television audience knows better. They see through your faux inquisitiveness and know that hate lurks behind it."
Amanda: "Yes, I think we know what's really at issue—Bob's inadequacies. Did you bring this up to teach children how to hate? What's missing inside you? Why are you attacking feminists?"
Broadcaster: "What? This isn't about me."
Oral: "Oh, yes it is."
Teesa: "You got it, Amanda. He's got nothing better to do than hunt women to make himself feel powerful. Well, how does it feel Bob? Do you feel like a real man?"
Oral: "She's a mess."
Broadcaster: "Umm, hold on everybody. I'm the host. Our producer picked this topic. I had nothing to do with it."
Amanda: "Ah, the Eichmann Excuse. That's the type of thing the Nazis said. They were just following orders. Don't you have a conscience?"
Broadcaster: "Let's not blow this out of proportion. Asking if feminists have a sense of humor is not the stuff of concentration camps."
Oral: "Programs like yours put us on the road to Auschwitz. The connection is clear to everyone here except you. No one wonder you're stuck doing a cable access show. You're a hack."
Broadcaster: [Heavy sigh] "Okay, let's try again. Teesa, do feminists have a sense of humor? Yes or no?"
Teesa: "You know, I agree with Amanda. Even dreaming up a question like that suggests that you're disturbed. Bob, do you beat up your wife at night? How about your mother? Honestly, how much pornography do you consume in a week?"
Broadcaster: "Well, that depends on how its cooked." [Giggles heartily but no one else does].
Amanda: "You are one sick guy, Bob. Even if it is cable access, I can't believe you're actually a [makes air quotes] talk show host. Who is Bob Slatterby? Now that's a topic that would make for a good show."
Broadcaster: "This character assassination is very fascinating, but I guess I'll have to accept that none of you are going to answer the question."
Oral: "We answered it like five minutes ago, Queen Bobby. You know there's medication available to help with your inattention."
Amanda: "Look, I'm a feminist and a perfect example of feminists in general because I spend the whole day laughing. Often I have to stop myself after realizing how terrible guys like you have made the world, Bob Phillip Slatterby. That's right, I know your middle name. I did a search yesterday and found lots of compromising things.
Teesa: "Speaking of Bob, why is HE hosting this show and not a woman? I notice both of the camera operators are male as well."
Oral: "It's clearly a pattern with these guys. They discriminate against women to feel powerful. No women, gays, or blacks need apply. It's a racist television station."
Broadcaster: "Well friends, thanks to our panelists we now know that feminists do have a sense of humor."
Teesa: "Of course we do, look at the satiric brilliance of Ani DiFranco. What more needs to be said?"
Oral: "Yes, that's the end of the discussion. If you want to ask me about something meaningful like the parade in June then I'll be happy to elaborate, but until then I'm done talking."
Amanda: "One more thing, Oral, I dispute the whole idea of humor anyway. Humor, in itself, is constructed upon cruelty, so who wants it? Regardless, we have it and that's all that counts. Besides, how can you tell when somebody has a sense of humor? You can't. What's the criteria? The signifier of the rhetoric?"
Oral: "You want to know what's funny, Bob, your little show. Who hired you in the first place? Bob Slatterby, 50 pounds overweight and as old as gay bashing."
Broadcaster: "I weigh 160 pounds."
Oral: "Umm, yeah, that's what I said, Fatty Arbuckle."
Broadcaster: "Good night everybody. Join us next week when we'll address the topic of ‘How Racist, Sexist, and Classist is your university? Until then, I'm Bob Slatterly on cable access station WODD."