September 29, 2016

The real-life feminist bookstore that's the setting for the fictional feminist bookstore on "Portlandia" is mad at "Portlandia."

"Fuck Portlandia/Written by In Other Words Staff."
The Women and Women First segments that are filmed at In Other Words are trans-antagonistic and trans-misogynist and have only become more offensive as the show goes on. ‘LOL Fred Armisen in a wig and a dress’ is a deeply shitty joke whose sole punchline throws trans femmes under the bus by holding up their gender presentation for mockery and ridicule. In a world where trans femmes – particularly Black trans women – are being brutalized and murdered on a regular basis for simply daring to exist, dude in a dress jokes are lazy, reactionary, and actively harmful. They’re also just straight up not funny.

Also: there are no Black people on Portlandia. There are a tiny number of people of color on Portlandia. Portland is white but it’s not that damn white....

79 comments:

holdfast said...

Lighten up Francis. Can't xu take a joke?

LordSomber said...

First! World Problems.

Jupiter said...

"Portland is white but it’s not that damn white...."

Oh, yes it is.

Joshua R. Poulson said...

I escaped Portland and I've been to that store. They didn't think it was as hilarious as I felt when I pointed out that the New Age section was five times the size of the Science and Math section.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Let me get this straight. Trans people are in, but cross-dressing is right out? I think some of these activists would've walked out on M*A*S*H because, Corporal Klinger. If he were serious, he'd've gone for the surgery. Though St. Caitlyn, I notice, has not.

A decade or two ago, cross-dressing was fine, the bees' knees in fact. But now you can't cross-dress unless you mean it. This despite the approx. 32 genders now on the menu. "I just like to dress up as a girl sometimes" is evidently not one of them. "I just like to dress up as a guy sometimes" isn't either, because no one could distinguish much of women's formal wear from men's anyway.

Ann Althouse said...

They are playing into the joke that the essence of feminism is: It's not funny.

Mary Beth said...

Will complaining about a TV show prevent people from being "murdered on a regular basis" simply for daring to exist?

tim in vermont said...

Is Fred writing this stuff for them? Because it's damn funny.

Unknown said...

Actually, Portland is that while.

buwaya puti said...

The black guys that murder black transsexuals probably don't watch Portlandia.

Kevin said...

Puritans gonna purify.

Maguro said...

+1 for the non-ironic use of "reactionary".

Brian McKim & Traci Skene said...

If I may translate: Here are the people/groups no one may joke about. It is a cultural crime to "hold up their gender presentation for mockery and ridicule." (Not sure why. No reason given. I suspect they need not supply a reason. "Reasons" are, I don't doubt for a second, tools of the patriarchy.) And comedy moves people toward violence, not away from it. (No studies need be cited.) And humor is/can be/will be objective. And soon. And our culture will be richer for having hampered humor. Have a swell day.

Sounds like business as usual.

Kevin said...

I mean seriously the lefty pedigree of the show is utterly beyond reproach. It's like Leftwing Superfriends. It starts with a founding member of one of the most influential feminist punk bands in history, and only snowballs from there. If the creators of Portlandia can't meet the exacting standards of leftist purity, who can? Are you going to put the whole human race in the gas chamber, to reach the levels of leftwing devoutness you require?

mikee said...

There is a show called Portlandia? About Portland? In Oregon?
Why?

Laslo Spatula said...

(Deleted and re-posted for corrections)



Okay, the jokes are easy on this one. So I want to look another direction.

I'm going to say that the In Other Words staff is right.

What is 'Portlandia'? A hipster show that pokes gentle fun at hipsters, so those viewing -- and those that created the show -- can all nod knowingly about just how hip they are.

Self-infatuated, they know they cannot be Haters -- they know people of all colors, identities, etc who talk just like them, dress like them and laugh at the same things. But even nerds and geeks have a pecking order in their societies, and the artists of the show Portlandia are keen to show their dominance in theirs.

So what the staff may have initially perceived as kindred spirits has turned into watching their social superiors benefit by making fun of them, publicly. Yes, it is a very high-school thing, but for a lot of people High School HURT -- especially when mocked by friends. Which is kinda the underlying current of that bookstore, really: a hurt geek's sheltering basement.

Meanwhile, Portlandia is cross-dressing with little more subtlety than Milton Berle over a half-century ago.

Yes, I said it, Portlandia: Milton Berle. Make yourself hip using THAT..

I am The Replacement Laslo.

Mr Wibble said...

I escaped Portland and I've been to that store. They didn't think it was as hilarious as I felt when I pointed out that the New Age section was five times the size of the Science and Math section.

My sister volunteered at that store at one point in her life. She and her now husband recently moved from Portland to Iowa for his work. They were happy to leave, and were sick of the pretentiousness of the city.

William said...

I read Milton Berle's autobiography. It was very haunting to read. This was a man who lived a long life without ever once realizing what made him tick. On the day of his mother's death, he dressed up in women's clothes and made a public appearance. He claimed that the show had to go on. It seems that he was a full on transvestite without realizing it and while also profiting from it......I don't see how a guy can dress up in women's clothing without appearing at least faintly ridiculous. I guess it's possible to describe a man's quest to wear women's clothing as some kind of noble struggle, but the Portlandia bookstore hasn't quite got the back.

Mr Wibble said...

There is a show called Portlandia? About Portland? In Oregon?
Why?


Because the city is so full of itself that it's a perfect target for mockery. Seriously, watch a couple of episodes. Basically the show points out how absurd many of the attitudes are.

mockturtle said...

Feminists have no sense of humor. Portlandia is very funny--and very close to reality.

Laslo Spatula said...

My 9/29/16, 9:42 PM comment is begging for Althouse to update this with a Milton Berle-in-drag clip.

I suspect this will go unanswered.


I am The Replacement Laslo.

JaimeRoberto said...

Fred Armisen is part Japanese, and a quick perusal of IMDB shows plenty of non-whites who have appeared on the show. But let's not let facts get in the way of whining.

Laslo Spatula said...

JaimeRoberto said...
"Fred Armisen is part Japanese..."

I just thought he looked that way from masturbating a lot.


I am The Replacement Laslo.

Paco Wové said...

"Are you going to put the whole human race in the gas chamber, to reach the levels of leftwing devoutness you require?"

Wouldn't be the first time.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Are you going to put the whole human race in the gas chamber, to reach the levels of leftwing devoutness you require?"

"Wouldn't be the first time."

The Meek Shall Inherit the Gas Chamber Controls.


I am The Replacement Laslo.

Jupiter said...

"...a deeply shitty joke whose sole punchline throws trans femmes under the bus by holding up their gender presentation for mockery and ridicule."

Wait, "gender presentation"? How does that differ from "gender appropriation"? Is it OK for men -- who aren't, actually, women -- to dress the way women traditionally dress? Isn't that disrespectful, or othering, or something? Can I get a ruling?

Phil 3:14 said...

Well someone loves Portland.

exiledonmainstreet said...

" In a world where trans femmes – particularly Black trans women – are being brutalized and murdered on a regular basis for simply daring to exist"

Oh, really? I won't say that it has never happened - but "regularly?" Where?

exiledonmainstreet said...

"I don't see how a guy can dress up in women's clothing without appearing at least faintly ridiculous."

Billy Wilder made a classic comedy about 2 men in dresses. A reviewer recently called for the banning of "Gone With the Wind." How long before SJWs take offense at "Some Like It Hot?"

Jon Ericson said...

A Link
To Uncle Miltie.

Jon Ericson said...

Hi mockturtle,
Been on the road the last coupla days?
I missed you.
Where you at?
Headed to AZ?
Happy trails!

David said...

When they start to make a TV show about you, you are not hip anymore.

Mom2Es said...

I quit reading after the point where they called their place of commerce a "community" instead of a store.

mockturtle said...

Jon, yes, I often boondock in areas with no cellular, so no internet. Currently in Utah and moseying down toward Arizona. Thanks for asking, Jon! :-)

mockturtle said...

This Portlandia episode features the public shaming of a hapless grocery customer who FORGOT TO BRING HIS OWN BAG! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VX5Nf-BiOQ4
This happened to me in Ashland, OR, which is even more PC than Portland. If you have even an ounce of common sense, avoid these places.

PBandJ_Ombudsman said...

"In a world where trans femmes – particularly Black trans women"

Come on! I'm trying to be up to date. But, honestly, it took me a bit to realize that a "trans woman" means someone who had/has boy parts but gal insides. This is not a person who had/has gal parts but guy guts, that's a a "trans man."

Then I'm reading this post and thinking that maybe "trans woman" is dated terminology. As I read I'm thinking that now we're supposed to say "trans femmes." Then I run into the sentence I pasted in this comment: both "trans femmes" and "trans women."

When the hell am I supposed to use "trans femmes" vs. "trans women," what's the difference? Is one the plural of the other? WTF?

Does anyone have a link to a spreadsheet for this stuff? I'm lost.

PBandJ_Ombudsman said...

Is the difference related to race?

Sheesh.

YoungHegelian said...

In a world where trans femmes – particularly Black trans women – are being brutalized and murdered on a regular basis for simply daring to exist,

Well, black trans-women in the DC area seem to get murdered out of proportion to their numbers in the population, but it's not because they are "simply daring to exist".

It's because the transwomen in question are turning tricks & not always being real honest about their gender status with their johns. When you're turning tricks in black inner city neighborhoods, the probability that said transwoman lied to the wrong sociopathic thug about being a chick with a dick instead of a "real" woman in a relatively short period of time approaches one. The mayhem that results is sadly all too predictable.

Paul said...

"Currently in Utah and moseying down toward Arizona."

Don't get much better than that. Beautiful country, and the gypsy-RV approach is the way to experience it.

PBandJ_Ombudsman said...

YoungH,

Why don't you take your race based analysis to the next level of lameness? That is, why don't you theorize that these tricky trans trick turners are the least likely to be in danger because of the high percentage of black folks who have done time? These cons may be familiar w/ getting by when guys fill in for gals. The earliest bird to drop the soap gets the worm.

PBandJ_Ombudsman said...

Doc Ben says it, so it must be true.

holdfast said...

When you're turning tricks in black inner city neighborhoods, the probability that said transwoman lied to the wrong sociopathic thug about being a chick with a dick instead of a "real" woman in a relatively short period of time approaches one. The mayhem that results is sadly all too predictable.

Ted: "There are no chicks with dicks, Johnny! Only guys with tits!"

Jon Ericson said...

mockturtle,
You missed it.
The Althouse woman was giving me shit!
I may not be here tomorrow!

Jon Ericson said...

I was garnering bad vibes.

Birches said...

The women and women first bits are my favorite part of Portlandia. I was never sure if Armisan was playing a trans woman or just a woman. They occasionally switch genders on the show.

YoungHegelian said...

PB&J,

Why don't you take your race based analysis to the next level of lameness?

What? Do you think my "experience" is based merely on personal observation?

No, I am repeating what the DC police have publicly stated is often the cause of violence against transsexuals/transvestites in DC. Now, you may, as some local trans activists do, disagree with that analysis, but I tend to trust the DC police on this matter more than expecting trans hookers step up to the microphone & give the straight skinny on their activities.

Kirk Parker said...


exiled,

Oh, really? I won't say that it has never happened - but "regularly"?

Well, how many Black trans women do you see in your daily travels? Something is obviously happening to them...

Laslo Spatula said...

In 'Smokey And The Bandit" Burt Reynolds drove a Black Trans Am.

That was a car that Dared To Exist.


I am The Replacement Laslo.

Clyde said...

Q: How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: That's not funny!

jrapdx said...

I live in Portland, and I guarantee "Portlandia" isn't a documentary. From the little I've seen of the show, there's a kernel of truth in it, if wildly amplified. No shortage of trans- people and every variation anyone would think of, but so what? We've always had the hyper-liberal contingent, though it's grown somewhat noisier and more annoying, hardly a crisis.

However, the city has real problems, like ridiculous traffic jams, homeless people everywhere, incompetent city and state leaders, high taxes and other "big city" issues none of us long-time denizens relish having to contend with. All I can say is the bookstore business must be very robust if the biggest problem of the owner is a guy on a TV show acting goofy.

BTW a year or so ago when taking a walk in northwest Portland we ran into Fred Armisen on location. He was friendly enough, we chatted for several minutes—my wife is a fan of the show. Very unmonumental, but that's the old Portland, it wasn't a big deal, TV stars are like anyone else, and actually I think he liked it that way.

Wilbur said...

From Phil 3:14's article:
"Japanese are interested in Portland not just because of its nifty gadgets or funky food, but because of its “future vision”—a combination of individualism, enterprise and greenery. For those who chafe at Japan’s stale economy and hidebound culture, the image of young creative types, knitting old inner tubes into dog collars before cracking open a local brew, holds great allure."

Those Japanese ... what a bunch of kooky folks. Kookolas is what they are.

robother said...

So, the flat fee paid by HMO didn't cover the lost book sales and the tourists flocking to the site only took selfies and never came inside to buy books. Sounds like they made a bad business deal. But it took them how many years to realize that HMO was making fun of them and that they were losing money on it?

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

News from another planet.

rhhardin said...

It's a sitcom in a dress.

Moneyrunner said...

It’s a cry of anguish from mentally ill people who want you to pretend that they are really not crazy.

tim in vermont said...

But anyways, the only "gender presentation" that isn't allowed is "Lesbian in a man's body" so many of us are forced to hide our true selves. I have such a crush on Carrie.

MadisonMan said...

" In a world where trans femmes – particularly Black trans women – are being brutalized and murdered on a regular basis for simply daring to exist"

I always read In a world clauses with a voice like the (RIP) movie preview clip guy.

MadisonMan said...

From the link, where they're discussing fans:

The vast majority of them don’t come inside.

Hmm. Maybe this is an indictment on the book selection you have? Or the vibe of the place?

Still, let's say vast majority is 95% -- that's still 5% of a group of fans you have that wouldn't otherwise be customers. I would think you'd be able to monetize that group in some way to make up for any lost filming-related revenue unless you're too busy writing complaints for a blog posting to figure out a way to do that.

Way to be so virtuous though...turning down money because some guy is in a dress. That's so brave and courageous!!!

mezzrow said...

Hey Lazlo,

When you're "equipped" like Uncle Miltie, you can put on a dress and be a man every minute of your life.

Without apology. He stole your joke about Trump, too. The one last August? That one.

Of course it killed.

Bad Lieutenant said...

When the hell am I supposed to use "trans femmes" vs. "trans women," what's the difference? Is one the plural of the other? WTF?

Does anyone have a link to a spreadsheet for this stuff? I'm lost.
9/29/16, 11:00 PM


I guess "freaks" was already taken?

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I'm glad I stuck with Jonathan Franzen's Robinson Crusoe essay long enough to hear him eulogize David Foster Wallace. It's not easy to know what's contained within the intersection of one's feelings and one's thoughts. It's even harder to communicate that perception to others in words. Apart from that, the guy writes for money -- despite his pretensions -- so I ought not anticipate being able to close my eyes and see the guy crying, or to cry along with him, vicariously.

I'm glad I kept with it.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...They are playing into the joke that the essence of feminism is: It's not funny.

Joke?
I wouldn't say "essence" but something like "fundamental characteristic of" is probably accurate.
If you want to get serious about it you'd talk about how feminism as a social movement uses different aspects of social interaction to advance its cause, and how humor is a potent social tool/weapon, and then you'd need to think deeply about why feminism is more comfortable with ostracism/shaming than it is with humor/mocking (in contrast with other social movements/interest groups, even other Leftist groups). I would probably try to dovetail that into a discussion about how the promotion of victimhood (as a social tool) has been harmful to comedy as a whole and then work in examples of feminist comedians (comediennes?) struggling to reconcile their professed social beliefs & attitudes (esp. w/r/t victim groups & "oppression"/victim relationships) with the practice of comedy itself.

But, honestly? Both NPR and CNN were talking about Donald Trump's comments about a Miss Universe contestant this morning and how much that's helping Hillary Clinton, and I feel so damn depressed when I think about our culture and politics and nation that I'm not sure what the point of thinking deeply about feminism would be. These people won--the Womyn & Womyn First people steer the culture and nothing I can say or do will change that. This is what people want.

Lost My Cookies said...

There's an epidemic of Black trans femm murders?

Eric said...

Portlandia is only funny if you haven't experience the reality of Portland.

Rusty said...

"hold up their gender presentation for mockery and ridicule."
In most of the country you can get arrested for doing that.

Meade said...

"Being on Portlandia Doesn’t Make Us Money"

Have you considered putting a bird on it?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

"Being on Portlandia Doesn’t Make Us Money"

Capitalist concepts like property rights matter quite a lot when we're talking about things that might benefit or harm me; it is only your alleged rights that are merely abstractions and ultimately meaningless compared to the collective's/society's needs.

pst314 said...

"Q: How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: That's not funny!"

Yes. The essence of feminism is hate and a lack of a sense of humor.

TosaGuy said...

They said the F word in their angry missive. They are edgy and hip....because....F word.

Paul said...

"But, honestly? Both NPR and CNN were talking about Donald Trump's comments about a Miss Universe contestant this morning and how much that's helping Hillary Clinton:

That may backfire:

Alicia Machado's life has been turned upside down after Hillary Clinton used her to show Donald Trump's sexism for 'fat-shaming' her in 1996
News reports in Spanish indicate that she fathered a child with a notorious Mexican drug kingpin, something she denies
The witness who testified about that relationship was killed by a hitman
Venezuelan judge accused her of threatening to kill him for charging her boyfriend with attempted murder in a case where she drove getaway car
Machado wouldn't deny that on CNN Tuesday night: 'I'm not a saint girl. ... that happened 20 years ago'
She also appeared in a 2005 Spanish reality TV show, having sex with a fellow contestant on-camera
She moaned: 'What a tasty d***' as she was seen having sex with a Spanish actor; she was engaged to Major League Baseball player Bobby Abreu
Shuttered her Twitter account in 2010 after wishing for 'peace between the Chinas' – mistaking China for North and South Korea

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3812212/I-m-not-saint-girl-Sex-reality-TV-Playboy-photo-shoot-threat-kill-judge-claims-drug-lord-fathered-baby-haunt-Alicia-Machado-Clinton-campaigner-fat-shamed-Trump.html

Paco Wové said...

"I always read In a world clauses with a voice like the (RIP) movie preview clip guy."

Ah, an excuse to link to this oldie but goody.

EMD said...

" In a world where trans femmes – particularly Black trans women – are being brutalized and murdered on a regular basis for simply daring to exist"

Citation needed.

Roy Jacobsen said...

Ann Althouse said...They are playing into the joke that the essence of feminism is: It's not funny.

No. Feminism is hilarious. But feminists have no sense of humor whatsoever.

Michael The Magnificent said...

Having never seen Portlandia, I pulled up some scenes on Youtube. How does a show this lame ever get funding to be produced?

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bad Lieutenant said...

Dear coupé,

For the love of God, drink your goddamnned prune juice.

Unknown said...

Is Armisen's character supposed to be seen as a trans femme, or an actual lesbian woman?

Bill said...

As my sister put it, these folks need to spend some time in Haiti.

Mark Jones said...

"There is a show called Portlandia? About Portland? In Oregon?
Why?"

Because the city is so full of itself that it's a perfect target for mockery. Seriously, watch a couple of episodes. Basically the show points out how absurd many of the attitudes are.


I live in Portland, and I didn't find Portlandia funny because it doesn't go far enough. Their mockery is so gentle that it doesn't exaggerate enough to make me laugh. (Or it didn't in the beginning. I haven't watched it in years now.)