A Note to Lindy West: You’re Not Helping

Humor: A Public Scourge?Poor Lindy West.

No, no. It’s just that as much as I sympathize with feminist issues, her whine—along with the rest of society’s apparent shock and horror—about Seth MacFarlane’s performance as host of the Oscars just doesn’t sit right.

West’s rant at Jezebel, titled, “Sexism Fatigue: When Seth MacFarlane Is a Complete Ass and You Don’t Even Notice”, is the sort of thing that really doesn’t help anyone or anything:

A strange thing happened on Sunday night when I watched Seth MacFarlane joke that Zero Dark Thirty is a movie about how bitches be naggin’, and listened to him croon about how lovely Jodie Foster’s naked boobs looked mid-simulated-gang-rape. I felt…nothing. Just nothing. Nothing beyond exhaustion and an extreme desire for wine, anyway. I wasn’t happy about it, but compared to what I was expecting from MacFarlane, it was a yawn. Compared to the sheer volume of hate and misogyny I filter every day for my job, it was a sneeze.

So I wrote happy jokes about other stuff instead. I bowed out, essentially. And I was thrilled to read and disseminate smart takedowns of MacFarlane’s primetime misogyny on Monday morning, letting other people do the heavy lifting that I was too fatigued to engage with. Because this fatigue—it’s really something.

My struggle as a feminist and a critic isn’t to contain my outrage—it’s to remind myself to feel anything at all.

This fatigue is self-induced. There’s no other way to put it: You’re doing it to yourself, Lindy!

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Random Family Guy question

A random Family Guy question.

Recently I’ve been going back and watching as many of the Family Guy episodes I’ve missed as possible. And now I find myself scrambling to pick up a joke that blew right by me the first time because my viewing habit had grown, for various reasons, somewhat spotty.

I’m pulling up old episodes to find the gag, a play on words and accents that Generation X, at least, might remember from school days. The main focus of the joke is words starting with the consonant blend wh-. And it’s true, for those who have never heard the lesson before. Listen to how people say these words, and where the h occurs.

But they’ve done it with a couple other words, too:

  • 6.08 (5ACX03) — “Barely Legal”: Brian and Stewie, “Cool Whip”; Brian and Meg, “a while” and “weird”; Quagmire and two women, “whip”.
  • 7.11 (6ACX03) — “Love, Blactually”: Brian and Stewie, “ruined”.
  • 7.11 (6ACX17) — “Not All Dogs Go to Heaven”: Patrick Stewart and Stewie, “Wil Wheaton”.

Mostly, I’m curious as to how many more times they tried this bit. They ran the legs off the gag in “Barely Legal”, and one thing I adore about McFarlane and company is their ability to beat a dead horse until it’s funny. I tend to think one of the merits of Family Guy is that they learned the applicable lesson from that legendary Simpsons episode, “Cape Feare”: If you do it right, there is no such thing as doing a joke to death.

(Kudos, however, are in order for the death of Vern and Johnny—”The Vaudville Guys”—in the episode, “Saving Private Brian”, even if they did bring them back as ghosts a year later.)

Anyway, yeah. Any clues on how many episodes they’ve worked this bit into?