Just had an interesting conversation with a journalist about something Gerrmaine Greer is reported to have said in a documentary about Cambridge footlights, along the lines of men being funnier than women. He (journalist) and I had a splendid chat about how Germaine’s argument was much more complex than the soundbite, to do with the socialising/socialisation of those men at that – TW3 – time (and, I’d maintain, much more about their class backgrounds than their gender – what better place to learn the joys of status games than Oxbridge and the schooling that comes before it? especially back then), and about how women tend towards story with comedy and men tend toward gags and punchlines and that it’s all very general and non-specific, but often/sometimes/on the whole women don’t like (or write or get or enjoy) jokes in the same way men tend to, and – I’d maintain (especially from years of teaching impro) that women, particularly when they’re learning, lean more easily toward story than men, men tend toward action-breaking gags etc etc. I further cited a bunch of brilliantly funny women and men who defy those stereotypes, and talked about Lucille Ball and Elaine May and Pat Coombes and Beryl Reid, and the standups I know now who are keen to make whole shows of comedy stories with gags, rather than ‘just’ a gag every 30 seconds. And yet, and yet, because journalism is, by its nature, the reduction of a whole paragraph to one or two lines, because there is no real interest in nuanced and uncertain and non-definitive views, and because the subs will have a go once the journalist is done anyway, I find myself ‘interested’ in how it will be come out. And if I’ll be called a stand-up comedian. Incorrectly. Again.
Still, better than the Guardian sub, some years ago now, changing my name to Carol Ann – in an article written by my Mrs. Who clearly wouldn’t know her own wife’s name! (The world’s wives names maybe, but not mine …)
In writing news, Editor likes book! Big yay. Editor has brilliantly useful notes to make liked book better. Huge yay. I start re-write on Monday. Massive yay.
I cannot say that I know much about journalism, but from what you say about it makes me wonder why anyone would be interested in it. I understand the need to be succinct in their approach to article writing, but to dismiss nuanced and uncertain views to me is sacrificing a palate that colours our world, for it is the individuals idiosincratic nature that makes debate so interesting and engaging.
Excuse my ignorance but what is a sub? (apart from an expensive, deliciously naughty sarney!).
Hurray for the end of waiting!
oh I’m not saying all journalists deny the possibility of nuance. just that, necessarily, when you have to reduce a long and interesting conversation to a few lines, that’s what tends to happen.
subeditors do a whole lot of complicated things that I don’t really understand, but they also, on occasion, tidy/proof/shorten if paper needs things changed at last minute when other news takes precedence. and sometimes change my name from Stella to Carol Ann.