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We’re going to need a new internet

May 31, 2012

….because this one is too far gone to be saved, as evidenced by the existence of sites like this one: While the Men Watch, a website and live talk show in which Lena and Jules, two female friends with sports-addicted husbands, “follow sports from a woman’s point of view including everything from interpreting the rules of the game to coaches in need of a makeover.”

The long wait is over, ladies! You’ll never have to wonder what “RBI” stands for or whether Ozzie Guillen needs a good manscaping again! At last, for your listening and reading pleasure, it’s “sports commentary that women actually want to hear,” including online features such as….

    • 10 Fashion Fixes for Major League Umpires (“Would it kill these guys to wear red, or stripes or something other than funeral attire?” Here and elsewhere, you’ll note, Lena and Jules have a somewhat casual relationship with commas.)
    • Win a Pendant for Surviving the [NHL] Playoffs (Enter by tweeting the phrase “score with the girls”!)
    • 10 Things Every Woman Should Know about the Super Bowl (“The only two things that you really need to watch for are running and catching in the end zone. Everything in between is a convoluted series of stops and starts.” Hmm. I always thought football was designed to be accessible to a demographic we might describe as “lowest common denominator plus or minus several Coors Lites.” It’s not cricket, people.)
    • Sex on Game Day: Does He Lock It Up or Love You Down? (Too vomitous to quote.)
    • 6 Things NOT to Say If His Team Loses (“#6: ‘Sorry, not tonight, I have my period.’ Make it happen girls—under any circumstance. Take one for the team.” Yeah. It says that.)

Should you feel moved to comment on any of these articles—say, to point out that Jules and Lena have an uncanny knack for hitting the “stupid, insulting, and oh, by the way, not even funny” trifecta—you’ll find that even the commenting function is infantilizing, designed as it is to un-capitalize the beginnings of your sentences to give your prose the flavor of seventh-grade notebook marginalia. You’re unlikely to see this feature in action except in the “your comment is awaiting moderation” preview panel, though, since it appears that Jules and Lena do an exceptionally thorough job of ensuring that only fawning, frothy responses appear on their site.

The real problem here isn’t that Jules and Lena think, say, and write such idiotic pap. It’s that they’ve been richly rewarded for it. Check out the collage of major media outlets that have featured their work, and consider with horror that CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Company, has recently enlisted them to offer “streaming live commentary….from a female perspective” during their hockey broadcasts. That’s right: While knowledgeable, articulate, passionate women continue to bash their heads against the glass ceiling and walls of sports journalism, Lena and Jules have scored themselves a regular gig “recount[ing] silly stories of what their husbands do in the name of sports,” “discuss[ing] whether it is better to have sex or abstain from sex on gameday,” and “look[ing] down the roster to find players who look like their favourite celebrities.”

Worst of all, they’ve co-opted me, and perhaps you, and a whole stinking lot of us into their nonsense by billing their babble as “a female perspective” and “sports commentary for women.”

Look, Lena and Jules, if you want to be shallow and silly, knock yourself out. If you’re charmed by your own inability to understand ERAs and OBPs, vaya con Dios. If your relationship to a game extends no further than your capacity to imagine making out with the players and/or their celebrity lookalikes in your husband’s man cave while he’s away, well, have fun with that.

But leave me, and all the other women who didn’t sign up to be your giggly buddies, out of it. We’re having a tough enough time being taken seriously in the world without your help.

[REQUIRED READING: Ellen Etchingham's devastating, hilarious, and poignant takedown of "While the Men Watch." It was actually this piece that introduced me to the horrors of WTMW, and Ellen has done such an outstanding job of explaining why and how Jules and Lena's Sex-and-the-City-meets-ESPN act is harmful that I'm not going to bother going into any further detail here. Anyway, there's a Dodger game on soon, and I'm going to be VERY BUSY figuring out which celebrity Matt Kemp's AAA replacement looks like.]

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 3, 2012 9:03 am

    This reminds me of when I was in junior high, and a local radio station would feature the boss’s wife doing “commentary for the ladies” for upcoming football games. “OK, ladies listen up!” and then she’d talk about which tight butts to watch. Because, you know, women only watch sports so we can objectify men? Because that’s totally feminist and stuff? Right?

    Anyway, that was back in the 80s…too bad this crap is still going on.

  2. June 7, 2012 5:44 am

    UGH. Not going to look at their Web site; I’ve seen enough here.

  3. June 7, 2012 5:49 am

    Just read Etchingham’s post, and wow! She is an outstanding writer. Not a hockey fan, but I’ve got her blogge in my reader now.

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