Death by a Thousand Qualifications?

I recently posted this link to my Facebook page:

I followed it with a series of qualifications. “Yes, this naturalizes sexual difference, normalizes heterosexuality, and reduces women (to some extent) to their genitalia. But it’s STILL FUNNY!”

A friend of mine thought the qualifications were humorous. “Haha! Craig, I love all the qualifiers you added in your comment. I thought something very similar when one of the women said, ‘There’s nothing less hot than a man who doesn’t care about vaginas.’ We’re such nerds.”

To which I responded: “Yeah, I qualify everything. In part for the sake of precision and in part because I want to avoid reproducing or naturalizing domination bla bla bla …”

He joked further about this. “I’d love to see you as a stand-up comedian: ‘Take my wife, please!’ [rim shot] ‘Which is not to say that I necessarily endorse the patriarchal, heteronormative institution of marriage, which, in many ways, reproduces an oppressive power dynamic that perpetuates gender norms and that effectively reduces women to chattel that can be traded, sold, and bartered, but, seriously, somebody take her. Thank you. I’ll be here all week!'”

So this raises the question in my mind—when the things we say need so much qualification, do we end up satirizing ourselves? Have I become a living Onion story?

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3 Responses to Death by a Thousand Qualifications?

  1. “Man who wonders if he has enough qualifications to be a ‘living Onion story’ thinks that in some circumstances, he can’t see the humour in it.”

  2. Cris says:

    I think the answer is yes, and we should do our best to avoid satirizing ourselves, at least under certain limited circumstances which I don’t have time to discuss. But I will get back to you and outline what the conditions precedent are, and then we can begin this discussion without further qualification.

  3. Erin wiese says:

    Awesome! Both the video and your friend’s interpretation of you doing a stand up act!!

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