April 9, 2018

Indulge me for a moment with this separate post that pulls together something from the previous 2 posts (or don't indulge me, just move on!).

In the comments to the post about the word "editrix," Ignorance is Bliss excerpts something from the excerpt I'd provided as I was continuing my reading of Mary McCarthy's 1950 essay, "Up the Ladder from Charm to Vogue":
...there appears to be some periodic feminine compulsion on the editresses’ part to strike a suffragette attitude...
That excerpt sets up IIB's quip: "I'm guessing the period is approximately every 28 days..."

First, I need to say I think Mary McCarthy meant to make you think that, because the very next paragraph is:
And as one descends to a lower level of the fashion structure, to Glamour (Condé Nast) and Charm (Street and Smith), one finds a more genuine solicitude for the reader and her problems. The pain of being a BG (Business Girl), the envy of superiors, self-consciousness, consciousness, awkwardness, loneliness, sexual fears, timid friendliness to the Boss, endless evenings with the mirror and the tweezers, desperate Saturday social strivings (“Give a party and ask everyone you know”), the struggle to achieve any identity in the dead cubbyhole of office life, this mass misery, as of a perpetual humiliating menstrual period, is patently present to the editors, who strive against it with good advice, cheeriness, forced volubility, a psychiatric nurse’s briskness, so that the reiterated “Be natural,” “Be yourself,” “Smile,” “Your good points are you too” (Mademoiselle), have a therapeutic justification.
And that description of the "BG (Business Girl)" is exactly what I was talking about at the end of the previous post, the one about "Nomadland" (a book that describes the RV life as "dark and depressing"). I said:
Perhaps all jobs could be described in words that would move readers to say oh, those poor, desperate people. A journalist can, in words, find what she wants to find. 
And look at those words McCarthy came up with! Office life is like "a perpetual humiliating menstrual period." McCarthy set herself above the women who were writing the magazines for women. She saw the office workers as living dark and depressing lives, and the editors had their own dark and depressing lives, forced to churn out prose to con the BG (Business Girl) into buying another magazine to ease "the pain of... envy of superiors, self-consciousness, consciousness, awkwardness, loneliness, sexual fears, timid friendliness to the Boss, endless evenings with the mirror and the tweezers, desperate Saturday social strivings [and] the struggle to achieve any identity in the dead cubbyhole of office life."

37 comments:

Achilles said...

Our media and popular culture is dominated by people who don’t understand Why you work or what makes modern society function. They believe that everything around them just magically appears and all you have to do is take everything and give it out fairly.

It destroys every society it infests. We all know what it is.

rhhardin said...

They reach the audience that the advertisers want to pay them to reach.

Achilles said...

This goes double for our education system. Every time the fuckhead union walks out because they don’t think they are paid enough and forces us to find a babysitter it does not endear me to their plight.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tcrosse said...

"Up the Ladder from Charm to Vogue"

As she climbs that ladder, there's always somebody looking up her dress.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

In the comments to the post about the word "editrix," Ignorance is Bliss excerpts something...

Wow, some commenters are on fire today!

Trumpit said...

"But we men know nothing, we think that the sexes are different in many ways not visually obvious."

(Backwoods) Tim in Vermont should speak for his parochial, sexist self. He should say, "But I, a man, know nothing (about women), I think that the sexes are different in many ways not visually obvious." He annoys.

In my opinion, it is annoying, tiresome and burdensome when people (like me) try to remove gender from English nouns and pronouns. Shall we rename the movie, The Postman Always Rings Twice to The Postperson Always Rings Twice. Gross. I hate to have say the "lady doctor" to point out that the doctor is a woman. Why do I want to point out her sex? I don't need to give you a reason, if I have one.

When I hear, "Ann or Annie" I know right away that the person is female. "Toby" is ambiguous, but "Tobie" isn't, once you know the (weird) spelling. Most people choose (traditional) names that give away the sex of the baby. It's fine if they don't want to.

You say "comic," and I say "comedian/comedienne" if I'm feeling French. I dislike the word "comic" for some reason. Perhaps I find it to gender-neutral when a good alternative exists. Stop pressuring people (like me) to obey the latest of society's attempt at conformity. Gay used to mean happy or colorful in the recent past, but no more. What was wrong with the word "homosexual?" So what if we'd use the acronym HLBT instead of GLBT. They're one letter in the alphabet apart. No one is going to think the H stands for "heterosexual" in that context.

traditionalguy said...

She seems to be complaining that publishing interesting material every month whether you have any or not is tedious and not fulfilling enough for female workers. That is true. But trying to make that into a Victimhood status is a reach.

Bay Area Guy said...

I think a caller on Rush Limbaugh about 25 years ago, referred to the feminist movement as one giant, collective, menstrual cramp.

That seems kinda accurate.

Rick said...

We can interpret her commentary as an accurate general observation which just happens to not match our experience either direct or indirect. Or we can understand it as a dear diary confession. The interpretation she's pushing is not the most likely.

MadisonMan said...

I think that a menstrual period is only humiliating if you judge your worth by an ability to become pregnant.

n.n said...

It's not the ability to become pregnant, which is well regarded in human societies; but, rather the maturity to care and carry the child to term, which is not limited to the mother, but requires the father to embrace adulthood, his wife, and child.

As for menstruation, it's a reminder, and a cleansing. Mother Nature cares.

And office life... Well, women often have a choice. Men and women need to reconcile, over several trimesters, once, twice, or more; over a decade; over a lifetime of marital fusion.

rhhardin said...

Every month for women is a new defeat of the will Paglia, read a page.

Unknown said...

Sorry, I usually see the Althouse aim but this post, not sure of the purpose or point at all.

JLScott said...

“Indulge me for a moment...”

Interesting thing to say. Why would anyone read a blog if they weren’t willing to indulge the blogger?

tim in vermont said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim in vermont said...

Try harder Trumpit. If you have a degree, you should sue. <<-- There’s a joke in there Trumpit, if you just think hard enough! You can do it!

Henry said...

The Stones of Florence.

This is the one thing I've read by Mary McCarthy. It's a wonderful book.

tim in vermont said...

Thirty, flirty, and thriving! That’s what editrixes are! It’s all in the definitive editrix movie 13 Going On Thirty.

It had some good lines.

Young Jenna Rink: I don't want to be beautiful in my own way. I want to look like these people.
Beverly Rink: Oh those aren’t people honey, those are models.

tim in vermont said...

Come to think of it, the grownup job part of 13 Going On Thirty was one big cat fight between editrixes. How retrograde!

Inga said...

“I think that a menstrual period is only humiliating if you judge your worth by an ability to become pregnant.”

Hear hear!

Having said that, I’m relieved to be post menopausal.

Nonapod said...

"the pain of... envy of superiors, self-consciousness, consciousness, awkwardness, loneliness, sexual fears, timid friendliness to the Boss, endless evenings with the mirror and the tweezers, desperate Saturday social strivings [and] the struggle to achieve any identity in the dead cubbyhole of office life."

That's quite the melodramatic imputation. I'm not saying she's wrong... how in god's name would I know? But I've always been puzzled by people who seem to be able to create whole stories out of virtually nothing like that. If I see a person who doesn't look happy, I tend not to assume too much beyond what I see on the surface. I guess that's one of the many reasons I'm not a professional writer.

Qwinn said...

I've always suspected Trumpit must be a Moby working against the Left, and he probably has another account where he posts his real right wing views. This is because his usual posts are so mind numbingly insane. His post above, which could be written by any conservative here, looks to me like he accidentally posted it under Trumpit when it should've been under his "real account.

Molly said...

Perhaps this has already been covered by other pedantic commenters: the plural of matrix is matrices, the plural of aviatrix is (usually) aviatrices; the plural of actress is actresses. So editress and editresses is okay; editrix goes with editrices. My point is?? I don't know. Sometimes I hear people working backward and using matrice as the singular of matrices.

Ann Althouse said...

“Sorry, I usually see the Althouse aim but this post, not sure of the purpose or point at all.”

I’m sure I could list 10 things, all of which are interesting to me.

madAsHell said...

“Sorry, I usually see the Althouse aim but this post, not sure of the purpose or point at all.”

You are dealing with emanations from a penumbra, and you're going to need a bigger penumbra.

Bad Lieutenant said...

I also don't get it, and I'm pleased to say that I didn't try very hard, which apparently would have been a waste of my time. So let me ask this which may be as relevant as anything else to the Post.


Do any of you ladies have narrow feet? Who is a good maker / seller of women's narrow shoes and sneakers? My mother is very difficult to shop for these days.

jaydub said...

Movin on here.

langford peel said...

This is just another example of the contempt the elite has for working people. Even the people who work on magizines.

Back in the nighties my brother worked for a couple of big magazines in the Conde Nas umbrella. He would get me invited to the parties they used to throw. It was full of young people who moved to New York to work on these mags. They worked for peanuts. Drank and drugged a bunch. Fucked like bunnies. At these parties you would always meet the editor chicks. They were all in their late thirties or early forties and were all without exception hot messes. Their biological clock was not ticking...they were screaming like a banshee. You have to go a long way to find a more miserable bitchy bunch of losers.

But they usually could give a really good blow job so there is that.

langford peel said...

Now the magazine industry is dead. I think Newsweek sold for what.....a dollar?

Good riddance.

Unknown said...

"I’m sure I could list 10 things, all of which are interesting to me."

Once upon a time, I had an old retired army staff sergeant working for me. Whenever he started speaking with 'Now this is interesting' it wasn't. If it was, he didn't have to tell us first. The word 'could' means you haven't, but you could make something up.

Jim at said...

Having said that, I’m relieved to be post menopausal.

Good for you.
Maybe you could start acting like it.

madAsHell said...

The FBI has raided the offices of Michael Cohen Trump's lawyer. Trump is being baited into the obstruction of witch hunt.

Rabel said...

I read the McCarty article. Her primary point, if I understood it, is that Vogue magazine at the time presented a view of life to women of the day that was unrealistic and she would like to see the "perfect" lives of upper class, fashionable women featured in the magazine presented in a way that revealed the difficulties and unhappiness that those women faced in the real world so as to provide comfort to the more downscale women who were the majority of the subscribers to the magazine.

It was long (Mary do go on) and had a lot of French words and extended sentences with many commas, so I might have missed the point.

If I'm right, then I would note that whatever gaping hole is left in the lives of women seeking to mimic their betters in the world of fashion absent a 1950's Vogue magazine is well-filled by the NY Times Style section of the present day.

It's current leader is "Imagining a World After Anna [Wintour]."

Howard said...

nice pull, rh

Anonymous said...

Office life is like "a perpetual humiliating menstrual period."

Yes, this wage slavery of the vast majority of "career women" is what Dem Feminists want for women.

Wage & rat race equality with men.

Instead of a happy husband and and a happy home life and lower pressure, lower paid job that comes second after a happy marriage.

The happy women, mostly those in happy marriages, know the Dem Feminists have some truth about unfairness. But that's science, er, reality - women menstruate, men don't.

Being unhappy about reality is no way to become happy.
Married women are, usually, happier women. Also Trump-voting women.

Dems hate that.

tim in vermont said...

I remember picking tomatoes, zukes, and cukes for a living. Those tiny burrs on the vines of the zukes and cukes, like a cat’s tongue? They really scratched up your arms. The black whatever it was from the tomatoes? Hell to scrub off. But since stoop laborers are basically invisible, it was no problem at all and worth nobody’s time to read about it.

What’s needed for these magazine workers is a new Harriet Beecher Stowe to document the horrors they experience so that the nation is finally energized to fix their problems. Hey! I’d settle for a new John Steinbeck! The Drapes of Wrath!