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Archive for March 8th, 2009

greer-funniersexGermaine Greer, author of the 1970 “feminist” classic, “The Female Eunuch,” on whether men are the funnier sex:

“The greater visibility of male comedians reflects a greater investment of intellectual energy by men of all walks of life in keeping each other amused. It is now a truism that men never talk to each other about things that matter. Most of what takes place when men are together is phatic communication, intended to build fellowship rather than intimacy. This kind of communication is sometimes derided by women as meaningless, but it is actually functional, because it draws the group together. Men who drink, play and joke together are boon companions, who hang together for fun. He laughs loudest who laughs last; one joke kicks off another. The man who cannot hold his own in repartee will even learn other men’s jokes off by heart, so that he can fill a void in the general banter. Women famously cannot learn jokes. If they try, they invariably bugger up the punchline. The male teller of jokes is driving towards his reward, the laughter of his mates. The woman who messes up the same joke does so because her concentration is not sharpened by that need. She is not less intelligent, simply less concerned.”

That said, “Given an opportunity to perform a finished comedy routine, a female comedian will make you laugh as hard as any man.” (more @ The Guardian)

RelatedMen can ‘laugh women into bed’ with GSOH, say psychologists

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obama-bushFrom an opinion piece by Jackson Diehl, deputy editor of The Washington Post‘s editorial page, suggesting that Obama may be more comparable to George W. Bush than Franklin Roosevelt:

“So Obama hasn’t strayed far from Karl Rove’s playbook for routing the opposition. But surely, you say, he’s planning nothing as divisive or as risky as the Iraq war? Well, that’s where the health-care plan comes in: a $634 billion (to begin) ‘historic commitment,’ as Obama calls it, that (like the removal of Saddam Hussein) has lurked in the background of the national agenda for years.”

[Forgive me, but I’m having a little trouble accepting a comparison between an illegal war that continues to cost countless billions of dollars and thousands upon thousands of lives, both American and Iraqi, with plans to reform the U.S. health care system, no matter how expensive. There’s more to fume about in Diehl’s piece but I think this gets my point across.]

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marktwain“Almost 99 years after his death on April 21, 1910, Mark Twain will publish a new short story next week in the pages of the quarterly mystery magazine the Strand.

“Discovered in Twain’s archive — reportedly the largest collection of personal papers left behind by a 19th century American author — the never-before-published ‘The Undertaker’s Tale’ is a short tale-within-a-tale about a wretched homeless boy who is taken in by a kindly undertaker’s family. . . .

“‘The Undertaker’s Story’ will be part of a new book, ‘Who Is Mark Twain?,’ that is due out next month. It’s the first collection of his unpublished short works and will include 24 stories and essays.” (via LA Times)

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