December 29, 2014

"I was discussing this topic, specifically in reference to The Comeback with a friend of mine who is a straight, male television critic."

"I said to him that I feel like with straight white men, it does not occur to them that maybe not everything in the world is for them. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t plenty of straight white men who love The Comeback, because there are.... But when you’re a woman or something other than a straight, white man, you actually do get — because you must — that not everything is for you. And that’s OK. You’re used to it. The Comeback is not more dark or unrelatable than Breaking Bad. But a high school teacher who becomes a crystal meth kingpin? That is unrelatable. And that is dark!"

From "'The Comeback' Completes Its Perfect Comeback/Lisa Kudrow discussed the finale, the second season as a whole, and addressed important questions (i.e., is Valerie Cherish Jewish?) with BuzzFeed News."

ADDED: For those who don't click through, the quote comes from the interviewer, not Kudrow.

60 comments:

Shanna said...

I feel like with straight white men, it does not occur to them that maybe not everything in the world is for them.

Yes, I'm sure men have spent a lot of time being confused thinking rom com's and hallmark movies were made for them.

robinintn said...

"with straight white men, it does not occur to them that maybe not everything in the world is for them" and "when you’re a woman or something other than a straight, white man, you actually do get — because you must — that not everything is for you" - See post below.

Nonapod said...

I'm not sure where this writer got that impression. I can say as a straight white male that I have never, at any point in my life, felt that "everything in the world is for me". I have never felt that if I didn't like something that other people liked then it shouldn't exist or whatever.

n.n said...

A bad effort to obfuscate projection and conceal a sincerely held prejudice.

Ann Althouse said...

The Buzzfeed interviewer doesn't say how the straight white male critic responded, but a standard critic's response is: I say how I reacted, and I only purport to be me, not to try to figure out how someone else might respond. My readers are those who want my opinion as input when they're thinking about what they want to see or because they just enjoy my perceptions.

Bob Ellison said...

You mean "chick flick" doesn't mean poultry porn?

Sebastian said...

"it does not occur to them that maybe not everything in the world is for them"

Huh? In a world that contains Rolling Stone and The View, Bieber and Barry, Oprah and female Episcopalian drug-using bishops?

After the man-steering Tea-party, is projection the theme of the day?

Men assume the opposite of what's attributed to them.

Nonapod said...

One can only speak from one's own experience and can only guess what lies within another's heart, but I believe if you're going to make broad sweeping negative generalizations about a specific group of people you should probably be ready to defend those assertions. Like if I said "All liberals hate cops" I would fully expect to have to justify that statement.

Ron said...

Let's get the gang from that '90s TV show to be meth kingpins: Breaking Friends!

campy said...

"... if you're going to make broad sweeping negative generalizations about a specific group of people you should probably be ready to defend those assertions."

Even straight white males? That's crazy talk!

Bruce Hayden said...

I would suggest that a decent majority out there on TV and the like was not aimed at straight males. Much more, it seems, is aimed at straight women. They seem to have more leisure to watch during much of the day, and are the ones who primarily decide to buy much of what is advertised on TV.

Still, if you want an over represented group on TV, look no further than gay males. Straight guys tend to be turned off by gay guys kissing, etc. Far more gay guys though portrayed these days than lesbians (ok there is Ellen...) Straight guys don't tend to have problems with lesbians kissing. So, why the imbalance between male and female homosexuals represented on TV? My guess is that a lot of it might be gay guys writing for straight women.

Roger Sweeny said...

Racist. Sexist. Heterophobic.

Now that's the RIGHT kind of bigotry.

Henry said...

The title "television critic" implies someone who watches television.

If you don't watch television, no matter your race or gender, you know very well that not everything in the world is for you, given that almost all small talk everywhere is about who watched what last night. It's a social convention as exclusive as Jane Austen characters namedropping in Bath.

To put it another way, it's all dark and unrelatable. Or froth.

* * *

That said, I think Kudrow has a point. Popular entertainment is very much oriented toward the average male viewer. This is made perfectly clear as my son and daughter alternate movie choices. There is simply a huge quantitative difference between categories.

Yet we're still talking entertainment. Dark or froth.

To consider Kudrow's statement a different way, it's a commonplace observation by conservatives that conservatives get liberals at a level liberals can't reciprocate. We can replace "straight white men" with "liberals" and "women" with "conservatives" and make a valid statement about the political culture (validated by Jonathan Haidt!):

with liberals, it does not occur to them that maybe not everything in the world is for them.... But when you’re a conservative or something other than a liberal, you actually do get — because you must — that not everything is for you. And that’s OK. You’re used to it.

Larry J said...

I feel like with straight white men, it does not occur to them that maybe not everything in the world is for them.

At no point in my life has anyone (other than some old Michelob beer commercials) told me that I could have it all. Even if someone did tell me that, I would not have believed them. It seems that women - especially white women - were not only told that, they believed it. Hence their anger when reality doesn't live up to their fantasies and delusions.

Ron said...

Breaking Bad is unrelatable?

Every Walter has had to deal with a lazy punk like Jesse.

Every Jesse has had to deal with a stick in his ass tool like Walter.

A world where a sleazy lawyer is comic relief? Totally relatable!

"Say My Name" "I AM the one who knocks!" -- who can't relate to that?

But six barely employed people in two huge adjacent apartments in NYC? Sorry....can't relate to that.

Chance said...

I think Althouse's perception of the critic's role isn't the ideal. Rather than present their unfiltered subjective critique, I think the most successful critics come across as evaluating the movies objectively. The paragon for this was Roger Ebert. His reviews always came across as objective and fair across all movie genres. When you compare that to his year-end best lists, which he'd admit we're subjective, you'd often see movies he objectively rated at 3.5 jumping ahead of movies rated 4 stars.

MayBee said...

I think a lot of women and minorities think straight white men think this. I think they also think straight white men pretty much always get what they want and don't have unpleasant interactions with other people.

That's why so many really normal life experiences get labeled as racist or sexist when they happen to women or minorities. People thinking, "oh, this would never happen to me if I were a straight white man". But of course, it does!

Scott M said...

Oh, FFS!

Most of the mall, almost all of it, are areas most men don't tread. Number of magazines aimed and men vs women? Not even close. Is most media advertising aimed at men or women? Again, not even close.

#whitegirlproblems.

TCR James said...

>>with straight white men, it does not occur to them that maybe not everything in the world is for them.

Oh, we know that alright. We just aren't allowed to say it out loud.

Bobber Fleck said...

I feel like with straight white men, it does not occur to them that maybe not everything in the world is for them.

I've not lived up to the characteristics of my identity group in this important aspect. I'll add this to my New Year's resolutions. Going forward everything is for me.

MadisonMan said...

How do we know he's straight? Does he drive a Subaru?

Paco Wové said...

This particular straight white male hasn't thought that anything emanating out of Hollywood was "for him" for at least the past 15 years.

damikesc said...

OK, so we need to make everything OK for women --- but expecting similar treatment BY women is a bridge too far?

Feminists are trying to fuck up video gaming and heavy metal. SJW already tried to fuck up atheism.

I'm willing to do the live and let live thing --- but the OTHER side isn't.

Anglelyne said...

I said to him that I feel like with straight white men, it does not occur to them that maybe not everything in the world is for them.

Straight white men may be the only group in the world not pissing and moaning about the existence of things that are not about or for them. When they want things that are (movies, books, music, sports, clubs, whatever) they go out and bloody create them. They don't sit around pissing and moaning when other people are making things to their (other people's) own preferences, instead of straight white guys' preferences, and they're not the ones whining "oh why oh why aren't those other people making stuff for me?"

tim maguire said...

Et tu, Lisa?

(Damn! Even my favourite "Friend.")

JSD said...

Isn’t the entire comedy of Louis CK based on his observation that white middle-age bald fat guys are destined to a life of never ending humiliation and diminishment?

richardsson said...

It does too "...occur to 'them' that maybe not everything in the world is for them." At least to me. I stopped watching television and cancelled the dish years ago because there didn't seem to be anything on there for me. Fortunately. The waste of time watching television can add up to years in some people's lives.

CR said...

There is a fragment of truth in what LK says. As a straight white male, I likely have faced less adversity than, say, the black man who operates a convenience store I stopped at today. He has known American culture in general as less for him than I have known it as for me, and it doesn't diminish me to acknowledge this.

At the same time, though, I also know I'm not in the target audience of every TV show.

Ann Althouse said...

The quote isn't from Kudrow!

Bob R said...

Straight, white, male (fading), coastal, urban, ivy/elite college, liberal, etc. If you are part of any of the groups that control the media, there is a layer of the media cocoon - a layer of web that surrounds you. The more layers there are, the harder it is to see out, and the harder it is to see that you are in the cocoon. Add being 20-50 (the group the media targets to) and that adds another web. So, I think there is some truth to what Arthur is saying, but she doesn't show any awareness that she is living in a pretty tight cocoon herself. (And as the number of women in media grow her web gets thicker.)

Terry said...

Go into a working class bar full of straight white men and ask yourself if they look like everything in the world was made for them.

Beldar said...

I've seen every episode of "Breaking Bad" at least twice, most of them three times.

I've seen ten minutes of one episode of "The Comeback," and that's more than enough to convince me that it has nothing whatsoever in common with "Breaking Bad." Talk about an over-reach.

Fernandinande said...

MayBee said...
People thinking, "oh, this would never happen to me if I were a straight white man". But of course, it does!


I've never been asked to get something from a high shelf at Target - Wal*Mart, yes - or been mistaken for someone with an honest job.

Anglelyne said...
When [white men] want things that are (movies, books, music, sports, clubs, whatever) they go out and bloody create them.


Which is considered shameful and appalling in some circles...like the NY Times:
"This summer, Jesse Jackson shamed a number of important Silicon Valley companies, including Google, Facebook, Apple and LinkedIn, into publishing a breakdown of their employees by race and sex. The numbers are appalling - "

...because: Too many white (and Asian) men doing and making stuff!

Terry said...
Go into a working class bar full of straight white men and ask yourself if they look like everything in the world was made for them.


Nearly all straight white males - even kids - are Silicon Valley millionaires, CEO's or bank presidents; those three guys in that bar don't count.

David said...

Is Lisa Kudrow the most beautiful and talented of the "Friends" women?

Why, yes she is. The photo at the link proves the beauty part.

Fernandinande said...

everything in the world is for them.

This land is my land, this land's not your land.

From California to the New York island,

From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters,

This land was made for me.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Ask a divorced man with kids how much everything in life is designed for his benefit.

Terry said...

Fernandenande wrote:
"Nearly all straight white males - even kids - are Silicon Valley millionaires, CEO's or bank presidents; those three guys in that bar don't count."
Kind of ironic, isn't it? Arthur is projecting. She is the one making wild gneralizations and assuming her POV has a validity that the POV's of others lack.
There are a heck of a lot more white working class guys than white ivy league grads and corporate execs.

CWJ said...

Althouse,

RE: quote not fron Kudrow.

Noted. But truth be told, a lot of your post quotes are too eliptical regarding author. Yes, people should click through if they are interested, but they shouldn't have to click through to understand the post itself. I don't think "trap" is too strong a term from time to time In how you frame your posts.

kcom said...

"People thinking, 'oh, this would never happen to me if I were a straight white man'. But of course, it does!"

Straight white male here. I was at JCPenney the other day in the shoe department and a black woman turned to me and asked if I worked there. Of course, I couldn't help laughing inside. I was Michelle'd. The horror. The woman realized almost right away that I didn't work there (I guess cause I looked surprised maybe) and we had an out loud laugh together and we both went on our way. Perhaps the fact that I had come directly from a funeral made me look like I belonged to Penney's.

CWJ said...

Althouse,

Seriously, this post is classic misdirection or at best lack of direction. The title is an unattributed quote. The body is an unattributed quote. The only person mentioned by name in the "from" is Lisa Kudrow. It's an interview of Lisa Kudrow. Who would think the interviewer would be the source of the quotes rather than the person interviewed? Much less care about some buzzfeed interviewer. Even if you click through, the article is a jumble of photos and interview with the actual Alhouse quotes not appearing until the end.

So forgive your commenters for not seeing through that thicket.

mccullough said...

The Democratic Party is not for SWMs

Larry J said...

"Blogger mccullough said...
The Democratic Party is not for SWMs."

At least not the ones with private sector jobs.

chickelit said...

Were some comments deleted from this thread? It has a strange flow.

In any case, the person quoted sounds like a bigot.

EMD said...

The quote certainly doesn't sound like it would be from Kudrow, who seems too smart and normal to offer up such calumny.

William said...

I only saw the briefest snippet. It looked masochistic and not in a fun way......I like Veep and 30 Rock. The women on those shows have their problems, but their lives are not an unbroken string of humiliating moments. Plus the jokes are funny.......I saw the first season of Girls. Dunham seemed to go out of her way to land in embarrassing situations and to present herself in an unflattering light. Women really like to dump on themselves. It's no fun to watch.

rcocean said...

A Funny quote since almost all fiction, TV, and movies are aimed at Women. They read 90% of novels and watch most of TV, where they are the most desired demographic - since they buy stuff.

Even "guy" genres, like sports or Sci-Fi are under pressure to appeal to women, since they want the female eyeballs or $$$.

CR said...

I wasn't able to click through to the link earlier, for some reason, but this time I could, and I see now it was the interviewer who was pushing the SWM theme. Ok.

somefeller said...

ADDED: For those who don't click through, the quote comes from the interviewer, not Kudrow.

Don't stop 'em, they're on a roll!

sean said...

Whatever. The problem I have is that other people are perpetually asserting their right to things created by straight, white males (e.g., Yale, the Constitution), and they never create anything that we want. The Henry Louis Gateses and Ann Althouses of the world are just parasites.

Anonymous said...

Let's talk about how sad the female parental and teen gen of my family were when it turned out the news of Hugh Hefner's death was a hoax instead. (And all I these years I thought it was just me who'd be popping the champagne.)

Achilles said...

"I said to him that I feel like with straight white men, it does not occur to them that maybe not everything in the world is for them."

I didn't, and wont, click through.

But I am guessing that this sentence was written by a middlish age white woman.

More specifically one who stayed in school and got a communications degree.

She spent the first 25 years of her life as a coddled upper middle class bitch.

She took classes in college with virtually no academic rigor.

She had enough connections and attractiveness to marry some guy who probably makes a decent living and now she writes part time for Buzzfeed.

She spends her life projecting all of those things she "learned" in college about "men."

Terry said...

"The problem I have is that other people are perpetually asserting their right to things created by straight, white males"
What have you created that parasites want, sean?

Skeptical Voter said...

As a straight white male in his early 70's I find much of popular culture (TV and movies) virtually unwatchable.

The lady who's complaining can have my share of it all. No charge. I don't even expect a thank you.

Henry said...

It's always annoying when interviewers go on for paragraphs between questions.

That said, Ms. Arthur has a point.

EMD said...

Dunham seemed to go out of her way to land in embarrassing situations and to present herself in an unflattering light.

When Larry David does it, it's funny, though.

Bob R said...

"Go into a working class bar full of straight white men and ask yourself if they look like everything in the world was made for them."

But if you look up to the TV and see ESPN and the beer and truck commercials, you might answer, "yes."

Shanna said...

But if you look up to the TV and see ESPN and the beer and truck commercials, you might answer, "yes."

The TV channels chosen for the gym do not seem to be for me (mostly, if it's football season I like sports). 12 channels and all but two were sports and news. Those two had reality shows. Ugh.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

After several frustrating hours ( and one significant wrong turn ) attempting to follow the directions on the box of tampons, I, as a straight white man, am well aware that not everything in the world is for me.

Larry J said...

Terry said...
"The problem I have is that other people are perpetually asserting their right to things created by straight, white males"
What have you created that parasites want, sean?


As individuals, not much. However, if we're supposed to play identity politics, then the broad list of white men have created many desirable things, such as the entire utility infrastructure, transportation networks, mass production, modern medicine, computers, the Internet, and much more. Without us, the parasites would likely still be shivering in the dark, cold and hungry, living lives best described as "nasty, brutish, and short."

ken in tx said...

Madisonguy,gay men don't drive Subarus. They drive Mini-Coopers, pink Miatas, and yellow VW convertibles.

Actually, the most flaming professor I had at the University of Alabama drove a pink Pontiac convertible and drove with two standard sized pink poodles on the seat beside him. He brought the poodles to class with him and they sat on each side of his desk like bookends.

What? You didn't know we had out-of-the-closet flaming professors at the University of Alabama in the 60s. We were very advanced in those days. We even had paved roads.