September 19, 2006

"Despite its pedigree, the programming remains anodyne and apolitical."

Writes Ginia Bellafante about that Gloria Steinem/Jane Fonda radio project (called GreenStone):
To listen to it in anything but thick wool socks and toasty pajamas seems a betrayal of its comforting purpose. Thus far all the hosts are genial female comics — Lisa Birnbach; Mauren Langan, Cory Kahaney and Nelsie Spencer, who make up “The Radio Ritas”; and Mo Gaffney and Shana Wride, who call themselves “Women Aloud.”

But a humor of complacency stands in for a language of subversion, and the extent to which you will find the shows funny seems dependent on how seriously you ever considered buying tickets to “Menopause: The Musical.”
Ooh, that's mean. Delightfully so.
... GreenStone too easily obliges the idea that debate is just a synonym for bad manners, and in doing so suggests that the only corrective to invidious discussion is no discussion at all — or, rather, lots of little discussions about hosiery and slumber parties....

At one point during “The Radio Ritas” last week, I found myself wondering if I were actually listening to Phyllis Schlafly radio. Ms. Spencer, talking about a study indicating that there were possibly negative effects to having children too young, remarked that maybe it was a good idea to wait after all.

Ms. Langan responded emphatically: “Let me tell you, it isn’t. Listen to Aunt Maureen, it isn’t. Get married at 30, have fun in your 20’s and have kids between 32 and 35. Don’t wait until your late 30’s or early 40’s, because you’re going to have somebody else’s egg, you’re going to have to get an Asian baby, which is fine,” she said before pausing. “I’m just saying there are different options.” It was at that moment that I recalled that Mrs. Schlafly had a daughter at 40.

GreenStone is not a renunciation of Ms. Steinem’s beliefs, as some will surely suggest, but an apt expression of the convalescent feminism she has advocated for nearly two decades: the idea that a better world can be achieved by feeling better. In her view epistemology is no substitute for emotion.

Ms. Steinem always disdained intellectualism, saying of academic feminists, in a 1995 interview with Mother Jones, that “nobody cares about them” and that their work was “gobbledygook.”
This rings true. The academic feminists I have known snorted in derision at the name of Gloria Steinem. She was just working on a women's magazine after all. I remember seeing the first issue of Ms. magazine, displayed by a not-too-hip girlfriend of a friend's father. After she left, we made fun of her for thinking some dorky women's magazine would mean anything to the new generation.

UPDATE: Here's the GreenStone website, where you can see what's on and also listen to the shows. For example, the Radio Ritas have these signature segments:
Trendspotting – Where they, get this, spot the trends!! So you can be … trendy!!!

Shallow Corner – Do you have too much self esteem to read those heinous women’s magazines? Have no fear the Radio Ritas are here and to catch every vain, vapid moment in the fashion and beauty.

Foodie at Large – The Ritas span the globe for the cheesiest news in the world of food.

Whad'ya Do??? Moral dilemmas, etiquette faux pas, or everyday advice...there is no need to look any further, The Ritas know what’s best for you.

What’s Up With Guys? The Ritas invite men to weigh in on what matters to them…sports, breasts, size and panties.
Hmmm.... don't get me started! Breasts are a big topic? Who could have imagined! Anyway, I love the idea that they have a special "shallow" segment as if it's in relief of... of what?


Hamsun56 said...

If my memory serves me well, up until the late 60's, Miss and Mrs. were the standard forms of address for women. There was a quick change to Ms. right about the time that Ms. Magazine came out. To what extent was the magazine riding that wave as opposed to causing the wave?

George said...

This past summer Steinem signed a full-page NY Times ad, calling for the complete redefinition of marriage. It said that the definition of marriage should include:

"...Senior citizens who aren't married but live together; single-parent families; blended families; "committed, loving households in which there is more than one conjugal partner"; "queer couples who decide to jointly create and raise a child with another queer person or couple, in two households"; and nonsexual cohabiters, such as friends or siblings."

How utterly, utterly bizarre. Give me Phyllis Schlafly any day of the week.

Preposterous dystopian fevers like the one above are no way for the Democratic Party to win elections.

knoxgirl said...

Ms. Steinem always disdained intellectualism

This is consistent with her performance on "Real Time with Bill Maher" last night.

Joan said...

The description of this radio show sounds scarily like "Delicious Dish", that Saturday Night Live skit with Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon. The hosts both sounded zoned out on tranquilizers, and everything provoked the comment, "Good times. Good times."

Is there really an audience for this? The SNL skits could be funny, but almost always went on too long. I can't imagine an entire 3-hour block of this fluff.

Pyrthroes said...

We recall Mde Gloria from (of all things) her involvement with Norman Mailer's campaign for Mayor of New York City in the glory days of the late 1960s.

Then and now, you could not get this feminist exemplar to rationally discuss specifics. Attitudes were all. Mailer was a zonked-out mess, but Steinem boasted publicly of her zero-interest in anything but the most superficial gloss.

In "Jude the Obscure", Thomas Hardy renders High Victorian females of his day in a prescient light: Appearance, pretense, horror at "dirtying their hands"... above all, an obsessive-neurotic air of moral superiority, paradoxically so fragile it could not be questioned.

These phonies fool nobody. The fact that they purposely exclude half their potential demographic (males) means that no advertising manager will touch this sorry pretense with a pole. When Hanoi Jane and her Heinz ratlines give financing a rest, it's over, Sisters! If you can't stand the heat, get back in the kitchen.

Susan said...

Perhaps like the Delicious Dish, GreenStone needs Pete Schweddy to liven things up.

Fenrisulven said...

But a humor of complacency stands in for a language of subversion

Pure artistry. I am so jealous.

JohnF said...

"Ms. Steinem ...saying of academic feminists, in a 1995 interview with Mother Jones, that 'nobody cares about them' and that their work was 'gobbledygook.'"

And for many other academics, too. No need to single out feminists here....

Revenant said...

How did "panties" make the list of things that matter to men? All I care about is whether or not any given woman is wearing them. :)

Pat Patterson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pat Patterson said...

Is it safe to say that the old suffragette slogan of "Deeds not Words" is now passe?

Dawn said...

If I want to listen to some 60's throwbacks whining about those evil white males, I can sit in the library at school and listen to the female employees yabber onandonandon.

Besides there's already the Satellite Sisters - at least they have some balance to their show.

dave said...

OK, Ann, we get it - you're a misogynist.

Give it a fucking rest.

Revenant said...

OK, Ann, we get it - you're a misogynist. Give it a fucking rest.

Do you use a Non-Sequiteur Insult Generator, or do you manually come up with them on your own?

Just curious. :)

Maxine Weiss said...

Off Topic: (Or, is it?)

Hey everyone, I was just in Macy's this morning, and I saw some beautiful silk blouses on sale.

Let's all chip in and get poor Jessica a nice silk blouse...

....and then she won't have to wear wet T-shirts anymore, when she goes to visit the President!

Peace, Maxine

Kevin said...

mmm the Schweddy weiner

NoAcuteDistress said...

For the record folks, this is the same Dave who posted the pithy invitation on the Feministing thread to see a "filthy slut" in a t-shirt- it was Glen (instapundit) Reynolds' wife Dr Helen Smith (of Dr. Helen fame).

Keep up the good work Dave. Or should I say Karl Rove?? (wink wink/nudge nudge)

Anonymous said...

Is GreenStone Media popular? In a very unscientific analysis, I note that on the home page of the GreenStone website the media group links to "Gloria Steinem and the Bloggers". I checked the traffic for the first feminist blog listed, expecting to see a surge in traffic directed from GreenStone.

Nothing. Nada.