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Pickle Me This

November 7, 2009

Lizzie Skurnick for President

In “Same Old Story“, Skurnick writes: “But that’s the problem with sexism. It doesn’t happen because people — male or female — think women suck. It happens for the same reason a sommelier always pours a little more in a man’s wine glass (check it!), or that that big, hearty man in the suit seems like he’d be a better manager. It’s not that women shouldn’t be up for the big awards. It’s just that when it comes down to the wire, we just kinda feel like men . . . I don’t know . . . deserve them.

The conservatives are right: affirmative action is huge blemish on the face of our nation. And until we stop giving awards to men who don’t deserve them over women who do, we’re sunk. Because our default is to somehow feel like Philip Roth’s output is impressive while Joyce Carol Oates’ is a punchline. Our default is to call John Updike a genius on the basis of four very wonderful books and many truly weird ones, while Margaret Atwood, with the same track record, is simply beloved. Our default is to title Ayelet Waldman’s book, “Bad Mother,” while her husband’s is “Manhood for Amateurs.” Our default is that women are small, men are universal. Well, I know men get sensitive if you call them small. But gentlemen, sometimes you are.”

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