Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Idiot Outliers: How My Graduate School Sorta Explains Why Charlotte Allen Is A Dipshit, Featuring Amanda Mattos

[Also: see here and here for another round of Charlotte Allen bashing. I am on this bitch like she was the new black.]

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Amanda Mattos: have you seen the post's chat with charlotte "queen of all things stupid" allen?

DCeiver: NO!

Amanda Mattos: it's just as enlightening as you'd expect it to be.

DCeiver: "Women aren't a historically oppressed minority." ?! Give unto me a break! That is a craZy worldview.

Amanda Mattos: i keep having to take breaks reading in it, because I'm ODing on crazy. "Charlotte Allen: I'm not sure which articles you're referring to. Isn't it obvious what's funny and what's not?"

DCeiver: Comedy, strictly defined, is the justaposition of the less-than-ideal against a collectively-agreed upon ideal. There's no juxtaposition here. She begins with the premise: "Women aren't a historically oppressed minority" and then juxtaposes her own prejudices. This is not funny.

Amanda Mattos: charlotte allen as Ron Burgundy: "My friends are highly intelligent and read highly intelligent novels. Sure, a lot of women lead tough lives and run themselves ragged--I'm very sympathetic to their plight. But I don't see what that has to do with my article."

DCeiver: the whole thing is preposterous. Women are "oppressed" even still, in many ways. Oppression doesn't have to mean footbinding.

DCeiver: An example:

DCeiver: When I was at VCU, our acting pool was a pretty constant 75% women, 25% men. But when you counted up all of the available mainstage roles, the ratio was flipped. Around that time, I became a teaching assistant to our Voice teacher. My responsibility was to coach the students and evaluate their progress. I had a say in what grades they received. And time after time, we were giving high marks - A pluses - to women who had NO SHOT of getting on stage. So here's the hypocrisy in Allen's "opportunity" argument. These women were getting the "opportunity" and they were doing well on paper, but their gains were not reflected in any practical sense. There was something false and hypocritical about it. I felt that this was, by definition, a sort of soft "oppression." And how did it benefit the men? They were winning a competition that was stacked in their favor! The whole thing really did not sit well with me, so I began lobbying the program for a change.

Amanda Mattos: Wow! That is so great.

DCeiver: When I presented my argument to the chair of our department, his response was: "Look, it's very hard out there in the marketplace for women. They benefit from learning this now."

Amanda Mattos: wow.

DCeiver: To which I said: "Due respect, but I think you are being really naive if you think that YOU are HERE AND NOW teaching that lesson to these actresses. I feel that they come to this program aware of this, and are seeking an opportunity from us to give them some sort of advantage. Even if the outside world is hard, if we can do better, shouldn't we?"

Amanda Mattos: PREACH ON

DCeiver: I said: "Just this season, we had an actress get a role at TheatreVirginia, a professional gig. She was going to get paid for that role. She was going to get that credit on her resume. But one of the graduate students wanted her for a show here, and this department insisted the rules be enforced and she had to forego doing that show. THIS MAKES NO SENSE TO ME. You passed on the opportunity to give one of our actresses a pro credit, AND passed on an opportunity to give a role here to another actress!"

DCeiver: I felt that I was using very precise, penetrating logic, but as you might expect, my words fell on deaf ears, except for our voice teacher, A WOMAN, who suddenly started submitting her name direct shows so that she could call some more shots. Which was awesome in a limited way. For my part, I used what leverage I could. When one of the grad students asked me to be in his show, I said, "Sure, but you have to cast my scene partner in the female role." The actress in question was a very shy but super-talented sophmore who just needed some exposure. She did the part, everyone loved her, and she straight BLEW UP and got a ton of roles after that.

DCeiver: All of which speaks well of my judgement, but the sad thing is, IT TOOK THE PATRIARCHY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. And that's why you just can't win with dumb motherfuckers like Charlotte Allen.

Amanda Mattos: And, hey, Charlotte Allen? Just so we're clear, what Jason just wrote -- not comedy.

DCeiver: No. That's tragedy. Have yourself a fucking catharsis on me, asshole.

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