Christopher Hitchens: Minister of Funny

I almost can’t begin to express the intensity of my profound hatred for Why Women Aren’t Funny nor the depths of my wonder that Vanity Fair is willing to dedicate its pages to an article which sweepingly maligns half of the population. And, like any good piece of resoundingly sexist drivel, Hitchens manages to get in his digs at men, too, who, for example “will laugh at almost anything, often precisely because it is—or they are—extremely stupid.”

In the very first paragraph of the piece, the loathsome Hitchens conveys that women aren’t only just not funny themselves; they are also wholly talentless arbiters of what is funny, too.
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 … " (If you yourself are a guy, and you know the man in question, you will often have said to yourself, "Funny? He wouldn't know a joke if it came served on a bed of lettuce with sauce béarnaise.") 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."
Let the men be the judge of that joke, sweetie. You just sit there and mind your praiseworthy attributes.

Mr. Shakes, who responded to my query about whether he’d mentioned that I’m funny to his mates when first telling them about me with, “I honestly don’t remember, babe, but I can’t imagine telling someone about you without mentioning it,” was surprised to hear Hitchens’ assertion that he must be wrong, since bragging that your girl is witty “absolutely never” happens. “That dude is living in 1860,” Mr. Shakes sniffed.

By the time Hitchens gets to his suspicion that women are not funny because “produc[ing] babies” gives them “an unchallengeable authority,” and men, being as they are “overawed, not to say terrified” of women’s baby-producing abilities, use humor to mock that authority, I was ready to have a tumbler of whatever he was drinking. By the painful dénouement, which begins with the dismal observation, “For men, it is a tragedy that the two things they prize the most—women and humor—should be so antithetical,” I was ready to knock him over the head with the closest blunt object upon which I could put my delicate female hands. And I was left with little energy to say much else about this piece aside from the obvious, and admittedly humorless: Fuck you, Hitchens.

It occurs to me that men like him seem to write articles like this just so that women like me can issue stern and unfunny responses, thusly proving his thesis. I’m not particularly good at acknowledging my own attributes, but I’ll be damned if I let someone tell me I’m not funny. I know how to tell a joke, and tell it well; I can deliver one-liners off the top of my head with flawless timing, never regretting five minutes later having missed the perfect rejoinder; I even do brilliant pratfalls. I know I’m funny—but I’m simply not amused by being told by a pugnacious pigass I can’t possibly be simply because I have a cunt.

A cunt which, by the way, is herself a piquant raconteur. You wouldn’t believe the jocose tales that fall from her mischievous lips. Oh, the stories she could tell you, Hitchens—but she won’t. She only regales sophisticates of egalitarian character with her uproarious yarns.

The totally not funny Echidne’s got more.

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