Jezebel v. Daily Show has been an ongoing internet feud–a cordial feud, but a feud nonetheless–worth watching for some time now. No progress has been made, as far as we can tell. But it certainly is ongoing!
It all started about two weeks ago, when Jezebel’s Irin Carmon posted a long investigation concluding that The Daily Show had a “Woman Problem.” The show was a boys’ club, she wrote, but had been given a pass because of its liberal politics and its host’s reputation as a “lovable mensch.” Readers responded. Carmon rebutted their “unconvincing excuses.” Jon Stewart acknowledged the post on the air (“Jezebel thinks I’m a sexist prick!“), prompting editor Jessica Coen to Tweet “Jon Stewart name-checks Jezebel; cue delighted meltdown” (lovable mensch indeed?), and Carmon to write another followup.
And now, the women of The Daily Show have issued a response:
We must admit it is entertaining to be the subjects of such a vivid and dramatic narrative. However, while rampant sexism at a well-respected show makes for a great story, we want to make something very clear: the place you may have read about is not our office.
The Daily Show isn’t a place where women quietly suffer on the sidelines as barely tolerated tokens. On the contrary: just like the men here, we’re indispensable. We generate a significant portion of the show’s creative content and the fact is, it wouldn’t be the show that you love without us.
Naturally, as they are the women of The Daily Show, they have an advantage when it comes to zippy rejoinders:
PS. Thanks for the list of funny women. Our Nanas send us a ton of suggestions about “what would make a great skit for The John Daley Show.” We’ll file it right next to those.
PPS. Thanks to the male writers who penned this for us.
Carmon linked their letter but wouldn’t give them the last word, calling them out for declining to answer questions when she was reporting the original post. So it goes when you’re cordially internet-feuding. But why bother in the first place?
On Slate, Emily Gould points out that it’s expedient for blogs like Jezebel to gin up reader outrage. She describes the Daily Show dispute thus:
It’s a prime example of the feminist blogosphere’s tendency to tap into the market force of what I’ve come to think of as “outrage world”–the regularly occurring firestorms stirred up on mainstream, for-profit, woman-targeted blogs like Jezebel and also, to a lesser degree, Slate’s own XX Factor and Salon’s Broadsheet. They’re ignited by writers who are pushing readers to feel what the writers claim is righteously indignant rage but which is actually just petty jealousy, cleverly marketed as feminism. These firestorms are great for page-view-pimping bloggy business. But they promote the exact opposite of progressive thought and rational discourse, and the comment wars they elicit almost inevitably devolve into didactic one-upsmanship and faux-feminist cliché.
And the coverage they illicit devolve into arguments about arguing. Which, like, facile indignation, is fun! We should know. We give this round to Gould, for calling everyone out, and the women of The Daily Show, for being funny. Personally? We just can’t wait until Jezebel links Gould’s story.
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