Thursday, March 8, 2012

The crusade to end women's suffrage

It's International Women's Day today.  Websites like The MarySue are using the day to commemorate great women in history, like King Peggy, the monarch of a small African village, and Sara Blakely, the lady that invented Spanx.
I am going to go with what they call "counter-programming" and talk about the single greatest prank they pulled on the short-lived Comedy central series, The Man Show.  It was in the first goddamn episode, and if you want to take that to mean that they hit their peak in that episode, I will not attempt to disavow you of that opinion.

The show's hosts, Jimmy Kimmel (who has gone on to great things) and Adam Carrolla (who...not so much) set up a booth at some tochy-feely rally or something, with a big sign reading "END WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE".

I'll save you the time - "Suffrage" is the right to vote.  As opposed to "suffering", which is having to watch all those debates in preparation for voting.

The segment consisted of DOZENS of people, mostly women, coming over and signing a petition to end the right to vote. Proudly.  And for the one or two people who knew what the word actually meant, they got a good laugh out of it.

Well, one didn't.  As Jimmy and Adam were talking to a woman with a thick accent, a finery-clad well-meaning busybody came over and explained to the lady that they were "making fun of her".  The helpful woman did not grasp the irony that she was talking to the lady as one would to a child; speaking loudly and slowly, which is how you can make English understandable to anyone on Earth, including the deaf.  I am utterly sure she spoke the same way to her maid and gardener. It was a perfect example of how most whale-savers think of the rest of us - someone to be talked down to, to be guided, because they Know Better. She did a far better job of making that woman look foolish than the guys ever could.

This prank has been re-done by many people since then - a quick youTube search will find any number of examples...tho sadly, not the original.  It's just one of a larger prank category that shows that  people will sign ANYTHING, no matter what it says, without reading or understanding it, if they think it will Help.  Odds are you've heard about the dangerous chemical Dihydrogen Monoxide?

UNDERSTAND the causes you're supporting.  That's all I'm saying. 

I'll leave you with the words of Stan Freberg, the song "A Guy Can't be too Careful About What He Signs These Days"


  1. Vinnie, I remember those "End Women's Suffrage" and water gags -- they were hilarious! I think Penn and Teller hit the nail on the head when they suggested that it was a "joiners" issue more than an ignorance issue -- but I'm willing to bet it was a combination of both! :-)

  2. Good point. Very good point. We do need to be discerning about how we 'vote' and what we choose to align ourselves with.

    But, to be fair, I guess it's hard for us to resist our need to be part of a social group - without which, in past eons, we would have perished.