Quick question: what was the Human Torch’s defining feature - his race, or his ability to light himself on fire and fly around? Pretty sure it’s the fire one.
Nope! Black Panther’s race actually IS relevant to his character. Glad we could clear that up for you.
Has anyone actually seen that dude act? He’s great! Way better than the last Matchstick
The New York Times Magazine discovers Wendy Davis is a woman
I’m about to be unscientific in my expression of disappointment with the NYT Mag’s recent profile of Wendy Davis, the Texas State Senator who is running for governor. I’m going to offer anecdotal evidence. I’m going to commit data-poor opinionating. But I think you’ll agree there might be a tonal problem with the NYT.
Here’s the first 260 or so words of the Davis profile:
One sunny Friday morning in late January, Wendy Davis took me on a two-hour tour of the life she led just a decade or so ago, back when she was a city councilwoman and the world knew nothing of her or the pink running shoes she wore during her epic filibuster, or her ambition to be elected this November as a Democratic governor in the deeply Republican state of Texas, or the way her parenting has become a point of debate in whether she’s a suitable candidate for that office. We were in Fort Worth, where Davis, who is a state senator, has lived for about 35 of her 50 years, most in utter obscurity. When she joined the City Council in 1999, she was only the third-most-prominent Wendy Davis in town (the other two were socialites), and to the extent that community leaders knew her at all, it was as the wife of Jeff Davis, an attorney and former city councilman, whose civic passions would spark her own. Once that fire was lit, everything would later change for her — for her marriage, for her city, for Texas and, who knows, perhaps even for a national Democratic Party in search of a post-Obama non-Hillary superstar.
Seated behind the wheel of her black Tahoe hybrid S.U.V., Davis was wearing a fitted black dress and high heels and an omnipresent half-smile that could be interpreted as both drowsy and sly. She slowed whenever we came upon a structure or a street that bore her imprint, which seemed to happen every two or three minutes.
OK. So, all the bolds are references to her appearance, her apparel, her family life, or her political career’s owing everything to a man. The headline of the piece is the first crack at defining Davis, first and foremost, as a woman: Can Wendy Davis Have It All?
Contrast that to this recent story on John McCain, who is, admittedly a more well-known figure: It’s all about his crackling wit, his aggressiveness as a man, nothing about his appearance or dress. OK… we’ll give that a pass, let’s find another profile of an up and comer.
Let’s go back in time to a profile on up and comer Paul Ryan, equally obscure to a national audience, here’s how often family, appearance and gender things are mentioned in the opening:
On a Monday night in late September, Paul Ryan sat on the edge of a couch in his suite at the Cincinnatian Hotel, his left fist clenched so tightly around the neck of his bottle of Miller Lite that I could see the veins bulging in his hands. It was the end of a long day that began at Ryan’s home in Janesville, Wis., where he’d spent the weekend preparing for the vice-presidential debate. Early Monday morning, he flew to the first of two fund-raisers, on top of which he did three local TV interviews and a brief chat on Fox Business Network and also a town-hall meeting, plus a half-hour phone call with Mitt Romney, after which he finally settled in on the couch to watch his Green Bay Packers play the Seattle Seahawks on “Monday Night Football.” A few minutes after kickoff, Ryan’s traveling press secretary, Michael Steel, led me into the suite where Ryan was watching the game with his older brother Tobin, his campaign adviser Dan Senor, the Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus and Senator Rob Portman of Ohio
¶ “Is this the guy who’s writing that hit piece on me?” Ryan said, rising to shake my hand. He’s adept at wielding sarcasm in a way that can both disarm and manipulate — signaling a likable, faux-fatalistic awareness of How the Game Is Played. At 42, Ryan looks even younger and more angular in person than he does on television. He says he was teased as a child for looking like Eddie Munster, because of his black widow’s peak, and in the course of reporting this article, I also heard people liken him to Greg Brady; Will Schuester, the music-club director in “Glee”; Kyle MacLachlan, who played Special Agent Dale Cooper on “Twin Peaks”; a bat; an owl; an eagle; and Boner, from “Growing Pains.”
Admittedly, being compared to Boner and an Owl are not awesome. And the piece, titled “Paul Ryan Can’t Lose”, talks about his youthful good looks in a way that’s clearly an attempt to question his experience. But his family life, the sacrifices he’s made as a parent, his ambition in contrast with his wife’s? None of that in the opening paras. Both stories go on to get deeply involved in the subject’s lives, Ryan’s is quite personal. That’s the nature of a profile, you’re getting to know details about people that are not evident from a press appearance.
But, for the umpteenth time: Do we have to define Wendy Davis as a woman in politics first, and politician who is a woman a distant second? And can we lay off on what she’s wearing? For, like, at least the first 300 words?