Monday, January 5, 2009

Is This So Shoutable?

I wanted to write something about this Shouts & Murmur's column from the January 5th New Yorker. I wanted to write something because the essay, called "Looking Your Best," is by a woman named Amy Ozols and I get that it's supposed to be funny. I understand that lines like this one are meant to be ironic and hence humorous: "Self-confidence is the most attractive trait a person can have. For this reason, strive to love yourself and accept yourself exactly as you are. This will be difficult if you are overweight, on account of your loathsome physical appearance and compromised value system, but do your best."

But it's not funny. It's kind of, what's the word? Smarmy?

Now, I know, I know the editors and the writer were trying to subvert the whole New-Year-New-You-let's-get thin-talk. I bet Ozols thought she was skewering how people talk about losing weight by pointing out the inherent contradictions and self-loathing that lace food/body writing, but it gets a knowing grimace and maybe a "yeah I'm in on that one" chuckle.... at best.

And you know what? It turns out it's unfunny to write a post about an unfunny piece. But I was so annoyed that in one of the few instances when a woman was actually writing the Shouts & Murmurs (not that I keep track of such things, but it's hard not to notice most of the column's writers are men) she's writing about how people talk about getting thin. I just wish if they were going there it had been, you know, funnier.

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