Readers of this blog will be familiar with the author Julian Ruck, who has darkened our hallways before. Ruck now has a newspaper column, for the Llanelli Star, and has even promised to write – at some point – about myself and David Hewson, presumably because we were both outspoken about the failure of his ebook festival, long after he’d privately exasperated at least me with his offensive and unprofessional antics.
Anyway, he has his column. His latest is called “Why aren’t women funny?” – and you can read it online here. From the title, you can imagine that it’s awful, and it is. But you can then read the article “Why women aren’t funny”, by Christopher Hitchens, here. It is also awful, although at least it has, in common with most of his stuff, a little flair. Hitchens’s article was written over five years ago, and is reasonably well-known. Let us compare it with Julian Ruck’s article, published two days ago.
“ARE women funny?
One often hears women saying: “Oh, he’s a good laugh” or “He’s so funny”, but does one ever hear men saying the same thing about women?”
“Be your gender what it may, you will certainly have heard the following from a female friend who is enumerating the charms of a new (male) squeeze: “He’s really quite cute, and he’s kind to my friends, and he knows all kinds of stuff, and he’s so funny … However, there is something that you absolutely never hear from a male friend who is hymning his latest (female) love interest: “She’s a real honey, has a life of her own … [interlude for attributes that are none of your business] … and, man, does she ever make ’em laugh.””
“So why then do women, who have all us men at their mercy, struggle to be funny?”
“Why are women, who have the whole male world at their mercy, not funny?”
“It’s probably just as well I suspect, because let’s face it, these days all we men have left, is our sense of humour. At least, when it comes to impressing the ladies.
Make no mistake, women have out-careered us, out-moneyed us and outsmarted us.
The thing is that women, have no corresponding need to “pull” men in this way.
They hold all the cards, whether men like it or not. A shapely bosom, a fine pair of legs and even a pretty smile (in that order) and we men are off with the fairies!”
“Women have no corresponding need to appeal to men in this way. They already appeal to men, if you catch my drift.”
“Scientific research would have you believe that women have less expectation of a reward, which in this case is the punchline, so when they finally get the joke they are apparently more pleased about it. Yes I know, don’t we just love our modern “Cosmo” little insights!”
“”Women appeared to have less expectation of a reward, which in this case was the punch line of the cartoon,” said the report’s author, Dr. Allan Reiss. “So when they got to the joke’s punch line, they were more pleased about it.” The report also found that “women were quicker at identifying material they considered unfunny.””
“An average man then, has only one weapon left in his masculine arsenal — he sure as hell had better be able to make the lady laugh! If you can make ’em laugh, and I’m talking here about the peals of delight, head-back, every tooth on show, and deep-throated mirth variety, then nine cases out of 10, you’re onto a winner.”
“An average man has just one, outside chance: he had better be able to make the lady laugh. Making them laugh has been one of the crucial preoccupations of my life. If you can stimulate her to laughter—I am talking about that real, out-loud, head-back, mouth-open-to-expose-the-full-horseshoe-of-lovely-teeth, involuntary, full, and deep-throated mirth; the kind that is accompanied by a shocked surprise and a slight (no, make that a loud) peal of delight—well, then, you have at least caused her to loosen up and to change her expression. I shall not elaborate further.”
“I’m not saying there are no decent female comedians about the place, but there are without doubt, more awful female comedians than there are male, and like it or not the good ones are usually either boiler- suited or Jewish — or a combination of the two.”
“This is not to say that women are humorless, or cannot make great wits and comedians … In any case, my argument doesn’t say that there are no decent women comedians. There are more terrible female comedians than there are terrible male comedians, but there are some impressive ladies out there. Most of them, though, when you come to review the situation, are hefty or dykey or Jewish, or some combo of the three.”
“Finally then, quick witted and incisive humour is I am told, a sign of intelligence, and many women (at least those of more mature years) still believe that appearing to be too bright can be rather off-putting to those men showing an interest as it were.
Either this, or men just simply don’t want women to be funny.”
“Precisely because humor is a sign of intelligence (and many women believe, or were taught by their mothers, that they become threatening to men if they appear too bright), it could be that in some way men do not want women to be funny.”
Ruck ends his piece with a plaintive “You decide.” All right – I will. I decide that, aside from being sexist and unpleasant, Julian Ruck is a plagiarist. I look forward to reading whatever he eventually writes about me – assuming, that is, I haven’t read it somewhere else before.