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Forum File

Saturday, February 9, 2013 - 12:01 am

The reading list

“In the first three paragraphs of Thomas B. Morgan's 1960 Look profile of Brigitte Bardot, the writer refers to the actor's 'magpie hairdo,' her 'girl-woman earthiness,' her rich father, her promiscuity (his inference, not hers), and her refusal to embrace a traditional motherhood role. He calls her 'the sassy kitten,' puts her in a category alongside French wine and small cars, and resents her for being so wildly popular. One rather important detail is missing from this heap of vitriol: her name.

“Fifty-three years later, in an Esquire profile of Megan Fox, Stephen Marche (a Walrus contributor who once wrote a piece—for Esquire—about 'the rise of men and the whining of girls') calls the actor 'a screen saver on a teenage boy's laptop, a middle-aged lawyer's shower fantasy,' and 'a sexual prop used to sell movies and jeans.'

“How far we've come.

“The garish similarities between Look's 1960 piece and Esquire's 2013 profile reveal a disheartening lack of progress in between. Male writers have had decades to remedy themselves, but still write jejunely about women, accentuating one isolated, exploitable trait (attractive, rebellious, sweet, rude, slutty, rich) for the sake of producing more easily understood subject matter. Until they learn … how to write about female subjects in a way that does not purposefully weave paternalistic generalizations into every paragraph, I propose a moratorium on this stagnant approach to literary writing.”

– From “Boys” at thewalrus.ca

A quiz

What group of people is least likely to control their weight?

Wisdom of the ages

“It is the dull man who is always sure, and the sure man who is always dull. – H.L. Mencken

Current wisdom

“It has to be in the agenda of this Congress to reconsider the scope of action of drones and use of deadly force by the United States around the world because the original authorization of use of force, I think, is being strained to its limits. – Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., in a recent interview as a growing number in Congress who are uncomfortable with the administration's use of deadly drones look to limit America's authority to kill suspected terrorists.

Quiz answer

White males, according to the research.

Snob words

dyslogistic (dis-luh-JIS-tik), adj. – conveying disapproval or censure; not complimentary or eulogistic, as in: “The politician knew it was pointless to complain about the editorial writer's dyslogistic but accurate account of the council meeting.”

Today in history

On this date in 1885, the first Japanese arrived in Hawaii; peacefully, that time

Now you know

Refrigerators in the U.S. consume about the same energy as 25 large power plants each year, according to RandomHistory.com.