Friday, December 10, 2010

"And then I dropped a stitch!"

Take two people who are intelligent, witty and outgoing. Both can tell an amusing story to a crowd with ease and have everyone laughing. Both can conjure up quips and one-liners on the run in a conversation by reading the situation and understanding the rules of humour and good timing.
One is male and one is female.

Why is the male then referred to, and remembered as, "a funny guy", and the female is always "Crazy!"?

I know the answer, it's a rhetorical question: it's because we still, as a society, fear and mistrust intelligent, outgoing females. Look at the etymology of the word "hysterical". Essentially, having a womb was thought to make you insane. This meant that hysterectomies were originally performed to treat female insanity - which itself was a very wide umbrella.

By the early 20th Century, women were allowed to use this word for "crazy" for occasions which were "funny". This was becoming necessary because as (white) women were slowly being allowed to vote and drive, this put them within earshot and they would, inevitably, do this "laughing" thing.
So "hysterical" needed to remain in broad use because it was difficult to tell whether a woman was laughing because she had heard a joke about about washing or embroidery or some such or if it was because she was just crazy as clown-shit and needed her womb removed.
Obviously, being too simple to actually be involved in the sophisticated world of adult male humour, women were not performing the same action as men when something was amusing. The very thought! Thus was the modern usage of "hysterical" born (there's some of that sophisticated male humour we were just discussing).

So remember girls, next time you're laughing at something, be careful, or you'll find yourself straight-jacketed and organ-robbed quicker than you can say 'bum-trumpet'.

And remember, everyone else: next time you think fondly about a female who you find witty and outgoing, are you thinking of her as "funny" or "just so crazy!"


  1. When I make jokes, I'm told I'm funny.
    Does that make me male?
    That could explain why I'm not comfortable in dresses.

  2. I've often thought about this too. I think (like River) that having short hair and sensible shoes makes me less threatening and less obviously an owner of a uterus.....?

  3. Someone said it about Mele recently and something just clicked. I can think of dozens of pop culture examples where 'crazy' is supposed to be complimentary, taking the place of 'funny' or 'fun'.

    I've also had 'crazy' from people who actually just meant 'all the blokes I've ever met think that entertainment begins and ends with crushing beer cans and then falling over'.


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32