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May 30, 2007

Newsweek Stupid: Beta Males Triumphant (I Mean, Just Look At Jim From The Office!)

And we're losing a war! Yayyyy! Beta males rule!!!

Women in journalism really ought to avoid dopey articles like this if they don't want to be stuck in the Fluff Ghetto and News You Can Use Slum.

On the other hand, maybe Jennie was forced to write this silly little queef of a "story" by a patriarchal editor. In which case, Newsweek is disgustingly sexist and should be subject to an immediate, wide-ranging examination by outside experts.

I'll buy that.

... the new movie star looks less like Colin Farrell than Will Ferrell. Or Steve Carell. Or Jon Heder. Or, if he's animated, Shrek or Homer Simpson. The testosterone-pumped, muscle-bound Hollywood hero is rapidly deflating—this summer, Bruce Willis is the last he-man standing. Taking his place is a new kind of leading man, the kind who's just as happy following as leading, or never getting off the sofa. "He's a guy who isn't concerned with status," says Justin Spitzer, a writer for TV's "The Office." "He's more concerned with getting through the day and not engaging in a pissing contest with the alpha males around him." It makes sense that our culture is embracing the mojo-free man right now. As America comes to terms with our diminished omnipotence in the wake of 9/11, the Iraq War and President Bush's international unpopularity, we're growing weary of Teflon-coated John Wayne stereotypes of masculinity. Donald Rumsfeld, Ken Lay, Mel Gibson, Don Imus—all chest-beating, leader-of-the-pack men, and look what happened to them. The alpha dog doesn't hunt anymore. The new role model is a beta male.

Her evidence for all of this is, need I remind you, TV shows and movies. Furthermore, they're comedies, where absurdity and unlikely triumphs are the coin of the realm.

But, as Otter (a definite alpha male) said, "Never mind, [she's] rolling."

Let's skip a bit as she digests the past two seasons of The Office, claiming Jim "turned down" a corporate promotion. (He didn't -- or at least that wasn't in the episode. What seems to have happened is that he was discombobulated during his interview by a note from his eternal crush, Pam, which wound up tanking him.)

Also, let's not notice that on the real -- British, original -- Office, the "Jim" character is a real beta who turns down even minor promotions which pay more money just because they don't want him. In the American version, Jim is much, much more alpha, who both takes promotions and is one of the firm's best salesmen -- apparently the Office's producers figured American viewers would never take to an honest-to-goodness schlub and slacker.

Stephen Colbert's puffed-up pundit character on "The Colbert Report" also lampoons self-important blowhards. The show takes the joke a step further in a biting segment called "alpha dog of the week"....

The obligatory genuflecting at the altar of Colbert. Let's see if we can get one more liberal cliche in and work Al Gore into this.

Then there's Al Gore. During the 2000 election, the press seized on the conceit that Gore was too eager to please, too deferential, too indecisive. Today Gore is still the proto beta male—the on-again-off-again beard, the belly, the deference to Tipper—but he's also having the last laugh as a movie star, an ecosavant, a best-selling author and a potential dark-horse presidential contender....

There you go.

So, now that alpha-ness has been diminished in importance, that means we can all start eating Funions and playing XBOX all day, right?

Alas, no. For one half of the population -- as usual -- a woman's work is never done:

Still, alphas aren't totally over. Women still have to prove their alphaness—look at Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice and Nancy Pelosi—even though the guys have given it a bad name.


Anyone think that Newsweek reporterette Jennie Yarbroff is herself a fan of beta males, by the way?

Or is she more like Maureen Dowd?

Thanks to Sinistar.

A Newsweek Specialty: Newsweek's male editors seem to delight in assinging female reporters to "I can't believe this twaddle got published" non-stories. Like this ridiculous piece finding out that real criminal forensics is only slightly similar to that portrayed on CSI.

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posted by Ace at 04:55 PM

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