Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Sense of Humor, Please

Maybe it's just because I'm in a field where people frequently try to show off how smart/connected/snotty they are, but I am sensing a real lack of humor recently. There is currently a thread in the LMDA (Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas) listserv right now debating the use of the word "chick" to describe females. I think this is just ridiculous. The woman who first expressed opposition to the word describes herself as a "broad," which I think to be equally offensive...unoffensive. Personally, I think the word "chick" describes someone who is young and hip and altogether cool. She seemed to take it as a derogatory term, describing someone soft and little and needing to be cared for, which she also admits might be because she is an old "broad" from a different generation. Either way, I think we put WAY too much emphasis on this sort of thing, making the silliest of things into heavy academic discourse (seriously, people were quoting Plato and talking about derivation of terminology and its relation to "chick/chik-lit" and "chick/chik-flicks" etc.). Can't we all just chill out a bit?

This is part of the reason I wanted to do production, rather than academic dramaturgy. Given, many of the members of the listserv and of LMDA in general are not strictly production-based, and everyone has every right to assert their haughty academic selves...but that doesn't mean I have to like it. There is just such a holier-than-thou sense to the world of dramaturgy that I didn't really know existed outside of the scholarly world, and it really frustrates me. It's like everyone with a PhD feels the need to prove themselves to anyone who will listen. Like the PhD isn't enough to prove you're smart. On second thought, maybe it's the non-PhD'ers out there that are asserting their oh-so-wise opinions so heavily. I don't know...I don't have a PhD or even a Masters, and I don't feel the need to name-drop Greek philosophers or paraphrase as many ancient theatrical texts as I can in order to prove that derogatory language should somehow be universally offensive.

Just because one person is so lacking in a sense of humor that they are offended when someone asks for names of "chick-heavy plays" (and it was a woman asking, mind you, not that it should make that much of a difference) doesn't mean that we should change the name of the thread to "plays in which the majority of characters are women." I mean, honestly. I know, I know, I'm spouting my opinions much in the same way this woman was spewing hers, and one could argue that I didn't have to read the thread. And you know what? I stopped reading after the first 40 or so posts. It just became too much about who could babble the most impressive reason for why, historically, "chick" was or was not offensive, the parties it may or may not offend, who was authorized to use the word, and the implications therein. I couldn't take it. So I gave up, and posted to someone off-list who had expressed a similar feeling. Sometimes a little venting-to-the-choir is affirming, or comforting, or useful, or whatever. I'm glad there's someone else out there who thinks people need to lighten up and take things (themselves) less seriously. And I'd like to think I'm a pretty cool chick.

In other news, funny funny: go to Google Maps and get directions from New York to Paris, France. Read them. #23 in particular. All the more reason to love Google. A sense of humor, people. It's a good thing to have. And Jon Carroll talks about missing socks.

Laugh a little, will ya? :)

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