1.29.2007

Letter to Vanity Fair and Christopher Hitchens

In the last issue of Vanity Fair, the one with Dreamgirls' Eddie Murphy, Beyonce and Jamie Foxx on the cover, there is an article by Christopher Hitchens titled "Why Women Aren't Funny". If you haven't read it, the following may not make sense to you. It rankled me, so I sent them this letter:

"Dear Vanity Fair and Christopher Hitchens:

I have just finished “Why Women Aren’t Funny”, by The Jackass Formerly Known As Christopher Hitchens (TJFKACH). Well, that’s not entirely true. I finished it weeks ago, but I was so mad I couldn’t write a response that was funny. And I knew it HAD to be funny, because otherwise TJFKACH would be able to disregard it entirely as some woman being irrational. You know how men like him can be.

As soon as I read it I went to my Myspace page and immediately changed all my top friends to funny women I know. Which, by the way, is most of the women I know. And many of them are funny professionally, as am I, and while a few of them fall into the “hefty, dykey or Jewish” categories TJFKACH so narrowly dumps us all into, most of them manage to be hilarious without having any of those traits. (Okay, okay. I admit it. I’m Jewish. And I even tell a few jokes about it. I’m not going to argue that point. Jews are funny. And so are Canadians. And I’m one of those, too. But Jewish humour is essentially male? Come ON, man.)

It took me quite a while to figure out why on God’s Green Earth TJFKACH would even bother to write this piece. At first I gave him some credit. Oh, I thought, it’s going to be an article about how funny women are, or about how few women there are in professional comedy, and why, (that is a much discussed topic in my circles lately, and the basis for a smart and insightful piece of writing), or about how women have a tough time in comedy because of the maleness of the field, or some such thing. But then, it was actually an article about women not being funny. No, no. This is not possible. I looked and looked for the thing I missed, the thing which said, this is tongue firmly in cheek. Not one redeeming thing came of my search. TJFKACH’s ideas are unformed, his arguments weak and not thought through. He. Is. Dead. Wrong.

And then it struck me. I know why he wrote it! I get it! He came home one night a teeny bit tipsy, having stayed at the bar a bit late so as to avoid his wife’s monthly book club meeting, knowing how women can be when they get together like that. Knowing their penchant for white wine and witty banter. Sadly for TJFKACH, though, the ladies had not nearly wrapped for the evening. Having chosen Notes On A Scandal as their book for the week had led them to discuss the undeniable attractiveness of younger men, of VERY young men, and the conversation had become downright bawdy, eventually coming down to circumcision versus not. All were most certainly in favour. It’s prettier, you know. It was at this raucous peak that poor Mr. Jackass decided to return home and was blindsided by the rowdy girls. For a few minutes they were amiable, and Jackass, in his mildly drunken state, was amused and even touched by their flirty attentions. But then. THEN. Somehow Mrs. Jackass got the idea to pants him in front of the group. And there he was. His foreskin gloriously displayed for all to see, and the girls, well they couldn’t help themselves. They pointed and laughed, and some of them even asked if they could touch it. The Jackass blustered and yelled, tried to leave the room but tripped over his pants, still around his ankles, and was sent crashing to the floor, his aging buttocks jiggling from the impact. Red faced and full of the fury of the belittled man, Formerly Hitchens yanked himself to his feet, pulled up his trousers, grabbed two bottles of wine, and retired to his study to get very, very drunk and write what at the time must have seemed like a scathing missive. A dressing down of all the women he knew who thought they were so damned funny.

Sadly for the esteemed Ass of Jack, this is the age of email and he unwisely hit send and the whole mess went off to Vanity Fair. The editors may have thought he was slipping, but were too giddy over Jennifer Hudson’s usurping of Beyonce’s thunder to really notice and just printed the thing anyway.

That is the only plausible explanation I could formulate. What else could possibly have driven him to such depths?

Yours,

Riel Hahn
Funny, Jewish, Canadian Woman"

I think that's the first letter I've actually sent to a magazine.

I have been oddly struck down with intense melancholy this evening. Nearly had a bout of tears while chopping garlic for the salad. I don't know what's going on. Except, I guess, that it's part of this whole process. It came on really suddenly, and I am almost desperate to cry, but can't seem to. Wish I had a copy of Beaches, or Terms of Endearment, or Steel Magnolias. Something cancery to really induce tears. No such luck. What's here. Spinal Tap and Mission Impossible 3.

Before the human race coined the term "depression", all forms of the mental illness were referred to as "melancholia", so I guess I'm right on track with it. I'm sure tomorrow will be better. It kind of started this morning when I woke up and there was MORE snow falling. In some places it is actually up to my ass now. That's a lot of snow. I like snow. So why did it make me so leaden? I am not sure. I think I might be a bit lonely. Hyup. But, as I said, it's likely just a down day, which I have been warned would happen. Managed to cook a gorgeous dinner, anyway, for all of us. Steak, green beans, baked potatoes, sauteed onions and salad. Simple, but very fortifying. Also did some work for my mum, sewing snaps on the little dress that the baby for which I was making baby heads wears. And playing with the cats. So you can see, it's not dire. It's just...blue.

Mission Impossible 3 it is. Maybe I can make myself feel better hating Tom Cruise.

Be careful and kind.

xo
r.

2 comments:

melons said...

cutting garlic makes me cry too. try using the entire clove without cutting it. that tends to work better.

miss sara said...

melons is funny! anyway--hope they publish your letter (they always edit them so it is a good thing you made it a long letter!