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Wednesday, February 18, 2004

This is from a few days ago, but What Causes Rape? is still a damn good read. Nothing new, but a fairly fresh perspective on it.

Gender issues fascinate me, especially since I'm forever poking at the question of "why can't women be funny?" -- the eternal plight of the female stand-up comic, for example, being jokes about men, followed interminably by "am I right, ladies?" Lucille Ball's pratfalls, Gilda Radner's squeak, Janeane Garofalo's wry drawl -- iconic (or should be), but almost entirely separate from their identities as women. Can you be sexy and funny at the same time? Many male comedy icons aren't, but America has a tolerance for fat men that it lacks for fat women. Which is, needless to say, bullshit. But that's not the first time I've called bullshit on America.

I wonder because I feel better about my apperance these days than I have in recent years, and sometimes it feels like a choice to be made -- be pretty, or be funny. Not that I was particularly funny to begin with, but my lack of self-confidence regarding my appearance felt like a smokescreen, a mask -- camoflage. I blended into the background, I felt, and I could say whatever I wanted as a result. Now, thanks to haircuts and cleansers and three hours a week at the gym, I stand out just a little more. And irrationally enough, I feel like I can say just a little less.

Comedy comes from tragedy, and maybe that's why the fat, squirrelly, balding, unattractive men are so successful at it. They wear tragedy on their outsides, and they tell jokes about it. And we laugh with them, because it's all too easy to understand.

Pretty girls aren't immune to tragedy, I know.

But when you look at them, do you believe it?

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