The Jezebellion Wave

We’re not sure how many FBNY readers have been keeping up with the whole Jezebel kerfuffle — between the July 4 holiday and going Canadian we mostly missed it. However, since it continues to pop up in conversations and online we thought it was worth a mention.

Short version: Jezebel’s Moe Tkacik and Tracie “Slut Machine” Egan appeared on Lizz Winstead’s “Shoot the Messenger: Thinking and Drinking” show a few weeks ago and proceeded to drink (to some excess). Over the course of what was supposed to be a fun(ny) hour, talk turned to rape at which point the host turned suddenly serious (earlier talk of abortion somehow did not merit a finger-waving response). At this point the crowd began to express its displeasure(?) over the fact the ladies were drunk and seemingly making light of serious subjects and/or not as articulate as their writing has lead people to believe they should be. For her part the host appeared displeased that the ladies weren’t kissing either her or Gloria Steinem’s ass (one wonders, does she read Jezebel?). In the words of Karina Longworth “cross-generational feminist chaos” ensued. (Longworth has a great write-up here).

What really caused the fuss, however, was Winstead’s Huffington Post piece, which admonished the women for being bad “role models” and included re-edits of the hour-long video, which showed Egan and Tkacik in the worst possible light (and granted the ladies were drunk, but as many have pointed out the title of the show was “Thinking and Drinking”), completely leaving out some of the more intelligent points that Tkacik and Egan were making (and there were some good ones, go watch the full video, also Egan has posted a full transcript of the misconstrued bits here). Genius PR coup on Winstead’s part, absolutely, but “role model” behavior, not so much.

Either way the flood-gates were opened, resulting in a sort-of apology from Jeze managing editor Anna Holmes, another Huff-post, a Salon piece, and the possible discovery of a new Jeze (the future doesn’t look so bad!). The conclusion? Apart from there not being one (feminism is so messy!), the only lesson we seemed to draw from the whole thing is that no matter how smart and well-articulated you are most of the time “unseemliness” in a woman in any form is not only unacceptable but trumps everything else. One can only wonder what happened to all those poor suckers who looked up to Norman Mailer, or Hemingway, or, God help them, Hunter S. Thomspon.