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Larry Summers said some mean things about the ladies a couple months ago. Something to the effect of them not being equally represented in the maths and sciences because there might be something on the second X chromosome that makes them retarded. (I’m paraphrasing.)
There was a big bru-ha-ha and his stupid comments got lumped in with the even stupider comments of Ward Churchill, who called the WTC victims “Little Eichmans.” In blog time, this was ages ago and I’m too lazy to dig through people’s archives to find the relevant articles.
Why did I do a cartoon about something so old? Because I am one lazy motherfucker. Luckily the faculty at Harvard brought this story back from the dead by giving him an old fashioned “whining dervish,” an ineffective method of intimidation that involves a flurry of bitching followed up by nothing at all.
I have no real opinion on whether or not the guy should go. Apparently he has helped raise a lot money, which is essential to a beleaguered inner city university like Harvard. What he said was dumb, but it’s not like he kicked an old lady down the stairs of the Harvard T-stop. (Secret Hint: Those stairs are long.)
I’m sure you’re not coming to me for the latest opinions on women’s issues, but here is why I think Lawrence Summers was wrong. The reasons why women don’t go into the maths and sciences are all cultural. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s more socially acceptable for a male to be a giant nerd than a woman. Visit any science fiction convention and marvel at a male to female ratio of a dying M-Class planet. (Note how I mock the nerds, yet ingratiate myself to them with a Star Trek reference. I have no shame.)
There’s been little more than a generation for women to pursue the careers men had been hogging for the previous 10,000 years. That means the infrastructure and role models for little girls are still being established. Also, it’s been proven in a study I heard about on the train that male teachers hate girls, and will punch them in the face before letting them do any cool science experiments with potatoes. But within the next twenty or thirty years, I’m sure there will be parity between the sexes in the nerdly arts, assuming Chief Justice Scalia rules 2012’s Barefoot, Pregnant, and Free Act unconstitutional.
I’m all for women joining fire departments, provided they can lift my 145 doughy pounds out of a burning building. I’m also in favor of cat rescue brigades, but they can be made up of both men and women; as long as someone is saving those kittens.
John Belushi made a sweeping generalization when he said women weren’t funny. However, there is a nugget of truth behind it. Statistically, there are less funny women than men, and there is reason to believe it’s biological, sort of.
In ancient times, before mid-life crises and trophy wives, women selected their mates based on physical qualities. This left the weak and nebbish cavemen to develop a rudimentary sense of humor, similar to today’s prop comedy, in order to appeal to the cavewomen who were clearly out of their league.
The cavemen had no such standards and would select anything that was vaguely humanoid. (Did we fuck the Neanderthals out of existence? Gross!) This gave females no incentive to develop a sense of humor.
And so it was for eons, even to this day. Developing a sense of humor is hard work that men and women can both do, but because women experience rejection at a much lower rate than men (Supported by another study I overheard about on the train.), there’s less motivation to be funny. Which makes funny women that much more awesome, their jokes aren’t laced with the salty twang of desperation.
I have no idea what I’m talking about, please don’t hit me.
There was a much better Larry Summers toon in Slowpoke, back when the issue was relevant.