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tv   Book Discussion on The Book of Jezebel  CSPAN  July 20, 2014 5:00am-6:00am EDT

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today we're are coming and homes, founder of the website jezebel and conversation with columnist and novelist john mess tent. john has written for many media
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outlets including the new york times. his novel this is your captain speaking as i high-speed satirical commentary about celebrity obsession and our corporate america has learned to capitalize on a. we asked john to speak to an imperial rewrote a satire about 24 hours a day seven days a week media the 24 hour and seven day a week media. founded the website and 2007 dug deep into our range of nitty gritty subjects that are covered by today's media. this includes everything from conversations about rape on college campuses to scathing criticism on equal pay legislation to the pressing need to know about beyonce is personal life and fashion choices.
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the editors and columnists said jezebel have shattered the tiny glass ball that used to surround the label feminist media. they have no trouble calling themselves ladies well they put the magnifying glass and the way women are portrayed, the reality of what women deal with and how women view themselves. the commentary is sometimes irreverent, sometimes heartbreaking, but all is poignant. a mouthpiece for a generation of women and men use the open discussion on an eclectic array of subjects, normal, intelligent, multidimensional people. the idea is that the voices speaking to us through the media should reflect that the reid and and her coeditors to put together a collection of those voices in a new book called the book of jezebel, and illustrated encyclopedia of lady things. it is not a reprinting of website posts, but an original cultural review in alphabetical order on the state of women's lives today.
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please welcome the founder of the website jezebel, the editor of the book of jezebel has interviewed by john [applause] >> thank you. a pleasure to be here and a pleasure to be with a fellow new york writer. talking about the book of jezebel, we cannot talk about this until we talk about the website. now, jezebel is no longer working there. this month actually celebrates the seven the anniversary. talk to us a little bit about why you started this website and what you hope to achieve. >> i think i have forgotten that it was going to be seven years this month, but you're right. normally i remember this. counting down the days, but i forgot a little bit. to answer your question, why i created it, well, i was asked to
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start a site for the parent company that was a woman's website. celebrity and sex and fashion. i worked for a number of women's magazines throughout my career up until that point. this was in 2006 that i started talking about starting a site. i had been working in magazine since i graduated from college in 1995. a little over a decade. and also worked a number of celebrity magazines and had never really enjoyed working at either celebrity magazines a women's magazines. it was a way for me to make a living but it was not the sort of writing or editing that got me excited. in fact it often got me angry because it was quite patronizing to -- these magazines were quite patronizing to the readers, most for female. they tended to have of very narrow definition of what it meant to be female, and they assumed that women's lives
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revolved around a few things, namely shopping, the acquisition of some eight, mail, dieting, make up, adds that trip. and gossip. and that is not to say that there are members of -- are women who are interested in those things, but we are a lot more complex than the magazine's that i was working for giving us credit for. and so when i was asked to start a website that would cover these topics, because they're known for publishing a site that kind of punches up that institutions, for example, tending to you after espn quite a bit. gizmo has a history of going after apple. the sites are always somewhat scrappy.
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and they pride themselves on telling the truth in many ways about industries that had been kind of glossed over. it felt like it would be a perfect opportunity for me to do it woman's website that would go after women's magazines that i had worked for, but also to of presents an idea of what it meant to be a woman that was more complex and diverse and more reflective of 21st century america. another complaint of mind with regard to a lot of these magazines. they tended to be overwhelmingly -- they tended to feature overwhelmingly white, very thin 22 ewald's. none of the women -- well, far away from being 22, but most of the alumni do did not fit that description. much more diverse ethnically and in terms of the sexual orientation in the media was representing.
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so it felt like the perfect kind of fit to do a site that would go after women's magazines. in no way its own women's magazine, the one that i would love to have read. i would not call it a woman's magazine. posting 50, 60 things a day. turnover with regard to this sort of stuff we were putting a bomb line. we were all so aggravating things that appear elsewhere. we did do original stuff, but for the most part we were reacting to and commenting on an pointing out things in a marked traditional mainstream media and the ways in which mainstream media talked about women, bought about one, critiqued women. have fun doing a very spirited but also serious site. >> this is from the book of jezebel. this entry is cosmopolitan. this is a magazine. pioneering but extremely
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frustrating american women's magazine that began advocating for female sexual freedom and the late 1950's under editor in chief. but then devolve into recycled sex advice on the ever--- fashion spread and pernod articles that tell your man may be cheating if he talks too much, does not talk enough, sleeps on this side, calls a certain way to more breeds. so that is kind of the voice of jezebel that anna is responsible for, that voice. you brought up an interesting point. putting at 50 to 60 pieces a day a lot of people that start. their dream job is to start a website, start a block. but then when they started or they started and they find it successful, talk a little bit about what that is like. the dream job that would also be a huge grind. >> the job was not my gene -- dream job. at the time i agreed to do it i worked for in style magazine
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which was not one of the women's magazines. it was pretty straightforward. it was not really giving diet tips or instructing its readers on how to keep a man by being good in bed. here is a celebrity's house. here are some outfits for spring, stuff that i did not really find. my dream was not to start a blocked. this is 2006. none of my friends who worked in media were working on the web. they were all working in magazines. i started working in magazines off. a consumer of the internet, read blocks, i used the internet to buy things, but things on amazon and would read the new york times online in the dow was not someone who saw it as a career opportunity. a love that was because websites or not paying very well. i was not making a lot of money, but i certainly did not want to be making, you know, $18,000 a year slaving my off on a blogger
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like some of the bloggers i heard were doing. a lot of them were allowed him to then me. it fell into my lap. and when i was hired to do the side and was told that my salary was going to be matched. so that changed everything. i think that was about when, you know, blog and web sites and -- i hate to use those terms. i think they can be interchangeable, that is, you know, media companies started investing more money in the internet and paying their employees fair rates. i just want to make up -- i had not really dream of working on the web. you know, once the site launched in may 2007 we had '06 months to work on it, applauded out and
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planted out. i hired two people. i wanted it to be successful, but i think i was taken aback by how quickly -- how strong their response to it was and how quickly that came. within two months there were people on the site, readers store in the comments section referring to themselves as jesse's which made me very uncomfortable because i had not predicted that this would happen. i was -- i don't want to say i was flattered, but i was excited at their loyalty and devotion. i was also somewhat terrified because i has not expected that there would be such an immediate embrace of the side and will we redoing. and had no clue as to whether it would work out. the fact is that the site like it had not existed before. there were signs that took a
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critical view of pop culture and gender politics, but they tended to be labors of love. there were not being funded by companies, not for profit, not -- the women who worked on them or not being compensated very much, if at all. so i did not really have a model other than what i wanted his to see to be a lot of my frustrations built up to that point. i did not know if it would succeed. an early version. on the one hand i was grateful for his honesty. i felt like we had a lot to
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prove but we had a lot to lose because i had no indication that it was going to be successful. so website it looks like in style. i put it on the web. i would have felt confident that there would be a for that. to kind of go after that sort of content or to talk about politics, whether gender politics from a racial politics, an electoral politics and the talk about the length and with such consistency, i was not sure there would be a big enough reaction. >> it has grown. the is wrong.
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abcatoo deasy that? >> it's almost expected. >> it would have lost independent. a stable of sites that were beloved and fairly well known. we were able to at times do content on jezebel that would then be riposted on sister wore brother sites when it related to the sort of content that they published. and so that would bring in at or at least expose us whole other to what we were doing. and so i do think that if we had not been part of the media network we would have had a harder time building an audience that quickly. i could be wrong, though. maybe it was that we were the first to use something in a particular space or at that level. it is hard for me to remember
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exactly the audience numbers from back then and how they grew . i a good, you know, print out something that would show exactly how it grew. and it grew pretty rapidly. .. >> if you worked at an even a highr
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level, we would get an even better result. and i think there was also the fear that it was all going to be taken away. so that the success didn't lead to complacency. and i'm not saying it should have. i think we were very competitive, and there started to be sites that were popping up within about a year, year and a half that were very obviously meant to compete with jezebel and that made me feel even more competitive. and, again, these are not, i'm not making judgments. these are not good or bad things, but there was never a moment when i sat back and thought, wow, we're successful, and i can relax. or felt that -- i think it was only in retrospect, i think it was after i stopped running the site that i was able to look back and maybe enjoy some of the narrative that had been playing out for three-plus years. >> and not all the feedback was positive. so you guys have been, the writers have been called everything from lesbian shit
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asses to hijackers of the feminist movement. i'm going to read -- this is a quote from a review in the daily caller called "angry ladies of jezebel." this is about the book. when reading the book of jezebel, you are confronted not just with humor, but deep, deep rage. not anger, rage. it goes much deeper than politics, although this is where this rage finds its expression. that's okay. >> pollen. >> pollen, yeah. what's your reaction? why are you so angry, and why are you so full of rage, anna? [laughter] >> i love that review so much. i really do. it was, i actually told jon on the phone before this event that if you'd asked me to write a review of the book by the daily caller, like a parody of what they would write, that would be it. [laughter] so when it came out, you know, i started sending it to all of the
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other writers in the book and the staffers and my friends, because it was so funny. it was predictable. women who are full of rage or i think there's something in his review about daddy issues. >> yeah. it goes for a long -- [laughter] >> i mean -- >> i just read a little bit. it gets into it. >> it's very predictable, you know? i wonder whether the writer of that review wasn't having some fun in some way, just kind of hitting all the notes you'd think he'd hit when talking about women of opinions. who he, obviously, doesn't like. but it's funny that he would describe the book that way because i think the book is very pointed and very upon nateed just like the -- opinionated just like the site was. there are definitely things for women and men to be irritated, frustrated, outraged about. and some of those are, you know, there are topics in the book that definitely touch on some of those things. but i wouldn't, you know, like my reaction to that review is
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that he's kind of selectively reading it or -- i mean, i think he did say it was funny. >> he complimented it. it was a backhanded compliment. >> yeah, that's okay. >> he said it's intelligence, but they're so angry. >> i don't know that i would describe the "they," meaning the staffers on the site and the writers of the book, as being angry. i would describe, i would say a lot of us are probably frustrated by the lack of discussion up until very recently about issues like pay equity, the assault on abortion rights. i mean, you know, i can tick off a list of things. but, yeah. i guess i also kind of reject the idea that there's something wrong with being angry, and i don't think that anger's a permanent state. i think you can be irritated and frustrated and angry about things but also not live your life in which you're walking
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around curled up into a ball of fury, which is what i think he was kind of accusing us of. so i'm not really sure how else to respond to that, because it was a somewhat predictable sort of review, and i was kind of tickled by it. also we've heard that stuff so many times before that it doesn't bother -- >> yeah, of course. >> you know? >> i mean, my perspective of -- if you haven't read book, my perspective of it is i didn't know if it was going to be for me, but i found myself laughing through a lot of it. it's almost an encyclopedia of pop culture with an edge. and i wouldn't say rage, i would say it has an edge to it because you're talking about issues that are dear to everyone's heart, and you have a very pointed, you know, you have a point of view that you're expressing. >> just, you know, part of the point of the site or what i wanted to do was to use pop culture as a entry point to talk about gender politics. because i was born in 1973, so i
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was an adolescent in the '80s, and certainly pop culture was important in the '80s. we all watched john hughes movies, but it didn't seem to have as much power over me and my peers as celebrity and pop culture do today. and i do think that a lot of celebrity culture is very disturbing in the messages that it sends to young women. again, i didn't grow up ignorant of the fact that young women are expected to be so many things to so many different people and that in many ways sometimes their sexuality is valued above all else. but i feel that it got, it became a somewhat insane level in the early part of the 21st century. and it was very disturbing to me to think of 14-year-olds whose only content and only content
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that they were subsisting on was celebrity gossip that reveled in pointing out cellulite, you know, on a 40-year-old actress. so in a way we could attract young women as readers with celebrity news or discussion, but in a way that wasn't denigrating of females. but also in a way that would kind of expose them to media literacy and gender politics. then we could have some substantive discussions about superficial things. but also just have, you know, serious discussions about sub instant i things as well -- substantive things as well. these things could coexist. so that's what we were trying to do with the site, and i think it's what you see in books a well. i don't know that i'd call it a pop culture book. i guess i feel there's lots of women's history in there too.
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>> there is a lot -- i shouldn't have -- >> i haven't actually counted up number of entries in the book that fit into one category versus another. i think pop culture is definitely the driving force behind the book, i think it's definitely the driving force behind the site. >> well, talking about that, when you're trying to put together the book of jezebel, how do you decide as the editor, how are you deciding what goes and what stays? because there's so many varied things, and one of the things i admired about the editing process is that you're linking, you're linking something like the movie "dirty dancing" to ayn rand. and how you do that is, it's really interesting because i actually, you know, as you're reading through this stuff, i had to google what the fountainhead had to do with "dirty dancing," there was a connection, but i wouldn't have known about that. >> well, i can't take credit for that. i oversaw the book, and i -- but the individual writers of those entries were, you know, they share a sensibility with me, but
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their sensibility is also very independent of mine. i just happened to admire their sensibility. and so, for example, that entry -- which i believe was written by a former staffer -- she was very obsessed with the film "dirty dancing" and its commentary about, you know, all sorts of things, class, race, abortion, politics, and there's a scene in the book in which one of the sharkier characters is toting around an ayn rand book. so, you know -- >> [inaudible] >> yeah. it was the collective, it was the collective intelligence and wisdom of the writers of the book and on the site who brought owl those little nuggets in there. i mean, certainly i asked them to not just write entries that would sound like they'd been pulled off wikipedia, you know? somewhat dry and overarching. but that had a point of view. but, yeah, i can't take credit for, like, those little gems so
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much as i'd like. a lot of that was really the brilliance of individual writers. >> now, you don't, i describe this as a pop culture book, and you corrected me, you know? it's, but it's, you know, it's -- the me, a coffee table book, something that i would keep out and look at similar to like what "the daily show" has done. they have books -- >> yeah. same publisher. >> and also mcsweeny's does this, and i collect all of this stuff. and i keep them around. and it's not something i would sit down and necessarily read the way i would read a novel, but i would keep it around and read it. how do you describe this book? >> i just describe it as a kind of very opinionated reference book. if -- opinionated and noncomprehensive reference book because it doesn't cover everything. and, actually, that goes back to your earlier question. how we decided what was going to go in the book was really, it was, it wasn't a particularly,
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it wasn't a particularly great way to go about it, but it was really the only way i knew how to go about it because i'd never edited an encyclopedia-type book before. so what i did was make a list of people and things and ideas that should be in the book. i put them in alphabetical order, and i asked all the writers who were going to be working on the book to tell me what i might be missing in that list, and they suggested things. and then i read the dictionary, literally opened the dictionary and went through it to make sure we weren't missing words or ideas. but we missed a lot of things. in fact, after the book came out i was the recipient of me mails. some of them -- many e-mails. some of them mildly annoyed, most of them friendly just asking why this wasn't in the book, why that wasn't in the book. there were readers that were confused as to why taylor swift wasn't in the book. and this is where my biases begin to show, because taylor swift is not someone who i pay a lot of attention to. even though i know she's a big
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star. at the time the book was being written and edited, she was less of a big star. she was still a star, but she just wasn't really on my radar that much. and i didn't think that she needed to be included in the book. but, you know, there are readers who felt differently. so a lot of the pop culture you find in the book really feels somewhat specific to, i'd say, an age rage of between mid 20s to early 40s. certainly, there are john hughes movies references in there, there's also a reference to "clueless," but a lot of the pop culture, i think if you look at it, it does seem very firmly rooted in the nostalgia of a certain generation. women who are older than me, you know, would probably read the book and wonder why there aren't certain movies that were so informal or so important to their development and their, and
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the fond memories they carry of adolescence. so it's a biased book in that it's, you know, from certain women and the certain point of view that they carry. but to go back to the other question about -- i see it as a coffee table book, i see it as the sort of book, someone told me that she keeps it in her bathroom which i didn't find to be insulting at all because it's the sort of book that you flip through, you don't read it front to back, although my sister did. [laughter] >> i did. i read it front to back. >> you did read it front to back? i never thought anyone would actually do that. i figured they would kind of browse -- >> that's how i think. >> but, yeah, a couple of people have read it from beginning to end. and, you know, ideally there'll be another edition of it someday that, in which the entries that we've overlooked are put in there. and then there are also people or things that happened as the book was in production that couldn't make it in the book that now seem like kind of
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obvious choices, for example, wendy davis who's now running for governor of texas. you know, her filibuster on the state senate floor happened when this book was already being copy edited, but she seems like she would be a natural fit into the book in terms of what she did and what she's doing currently. so, you know, unlike a blog which you can update whenever you need to, a book is really a more the sixth object, and that can be somewhat frustrating when you want to keep up with the times. >> yeah. we talked a little bit about there's a lot of references to movies and tv. a couple shows that i haven't thought about about in a long time are rhoda and murphy brown. even cheers is something i was brought up on. these are all movies and tv with strong female leads. but as i'm thinking more about movies, what about, you know, you took a web -- you took a blog, and you turned it into a
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book. what about taking a book and turning it into a movie or a tv series? >> this book, you mean? >> this book, yeah. >> someone else asked me that. i'm not sure how that would work, honestly. but, you know, there have been plenty of other books that you can't imagine being turned into films like "what to expect when you're expecting," you know? i think the only reason -- i haven't seen the movie, so maybe it's really -- >> is it out? is that movie out. >> >> oh, yeah, it's been out for, like, a year and a half. maybe it's very close to the pregnancy guide. i doubt that it does. but it was a brand name, and i'm sure that's part of why the producers bought the rights to it. u%-f book would be turned into a film. >> it's almost like sex and the city with rage. [laughter] but i would almost see it as it would have to follow the development of a character, being you, and starting this
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blog. >> ah. yeah, okay. well, maybe you should write the script for it -- [laughter] >> i think i just got offered a job. >> i think you did. i kind of blanch at that idea of it being sex and the city like only because sex and the city -- which i thought was a fairly fun show -- >> much different. >> was not realistic. >> right. >> in any way, shape or form. >> and you get to that in here. >> yeah. it may have been realistic to the lives of 700 women who live in manhattan, but that's about it. and in terms of, you know, the whole world that they inhabit which just doesn't reflect reality. and, yeah, there's a somewhat critical entry in the book abour the show which is more of, again, it's more of a fantasy than anything. so, yeah, i wouldn't -- if anyone ever compares the site or the book to sex and the city in any way, i -- >> well, i would think it would be almost the way the antithesis
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of can cosmopolitan magazine, the antithesis of sex ask the city. >> okay. but the funny thing about cosmo, and actually i was going to say this when you brought it up earlier, cosmopolitan, as have a number of women's magazines, have become much better over the past couple of of years. i think women's web sites have really challenged them in terms of their relevancy. cosmo, for example, has become much more explicitly feminist. they just hired a writer and reporter who came from the feminist blogosphere as one of their senior writers. and so that entry about cosmo's in the book and all of the kind of pot shots that we took at cosmo on the site in the early years we could never, we could merv do those now because -- never do those now because it really has gotten much better. the editors or the publishers or a combination of the above have seen by example of women's web sites like jezebel and many
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others that women don't really need 20 sex tips for, you know, how to get -- yeah. i just, they, they now see that they can appeal to a broader, more diverse range of women with a broad arer, more diverse range of interests beyond diet tips and sex tips. >> there's an entry in the book for yun -- countryniling gus which just has one word. [laughter] >> yeah, we didn't really want to be publishing, at least i didn't want to be publishing advice. i felt that -- which was a mainstay of a lot of women's magazines. and having worked at women's magazines and written stories about sex and relationships and not, you know, i wasn't someone who knew a lot about sex and relationships, i mean, i was well aware of how bogus, bunk a lot of the advice in women's magazines was, so i didn't want to be repeating that on the site.
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i just didn't think that we had anything of value to say on that front. since we were all figuring out life as well. we did have one advice column, but it was a fake advice column, and it was called pot psychology. >> oh, yeah. videos, right? >> the yeah. the conceit was that the two stars of the series, one of them was a writer on the site and one of them was her best friend, were answering reader advice questions on video while stoned. now, they were not smoking pot on camera, so only they know whether they actually were stoned around, but it was try -- obviously, but it was trying to make fun of taking advice from anybody else, because why would you want to take advice from a bunch of cheetos-eating potheads? and it was a very successful video series and was very funny because they were very funny. and, in fact, a book based on that feature came out about a
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year before this one did. so that was actually, that was actually the first jezebel book. but it was very much about that conceit of giving advice while inebriated and why no one should really take anyone's advice. >> nice. you want to read a little bit? >> from the book? >> yes. >> sure. do you have entries you want me to read? i'd be happy to. >> i went through and found some entries that i think kind of give the perspective of jezebel and also the voice that you got, that you and the writers developed both on the web site and also in this book that i think makes it so edgy. >> okay. >> so the first one we're going to start with religion is the vatican. page 273. >> some of these i read aloud before, and some of them i haven't. so bear with me, because i -- there were so many entries in this book that i've forgotten a lot of them. the vatican. governing body of the catholic church that resides in a walled,
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landlocked city-state, population 800, ruled by a spiritual authority who's secretly elected on ballots that are burned into white smoke, wears gold shield hats, travels in a glass case on the back of a mercedes benz suv and decrees whether billions of women should be forced to carry women against their will. if gay prostitutes should die of aids, how to resolve the energy crisis, etc. see, that would piss a lot of people off. [laughter] >> well, the next one will too then. page 274, the virgin mary. >> why are are you doing all the religion ones? [laughter] >> i liked the religion. >> okay. i'm really going to get it for this. >> virgin mary. physical mother of jesus christ and proud winner of the miss impossible female standards of virtue contest. for the past 2,000 years running. according to the catholic church, mary of nazareth was a virgin when god placed a fetus in her uterus. was accused of promiscuity, most notably by her husband, joseph,
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after she showed up pregnant. the point being, if even the virgin mary got slut shamed, there's no way you're getting through life without receiving some of the same, sorry. [laughter] >> and the next one is page 242. this is jezebel takes on the secret series, the series of books called "the secret." and i've never really heard, you know, i've never really heard this perspective, actually, but i thought it was kind of an interesting take. [laughter] >> the secret. creepy, worthless enterprise run by charlatans trying to use the law of attraction to attract scholars to their finish dollars to their pockets. first gained notice as a 2006 self-help book, suggested that if you had fought hard enough about a lamborghini and acted like you had one, that a lamborghini would literally appear in your garage. which means people could change their lives, but they just don't want it enough.
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haha, suck it, poors. the author of the secret once implied that natural disaster victims are losers who could save themselves if they knew how to attract rescuers. ignore, ignore, ignore. >> nice. feminism, page 99. >> he's picking all the ones i've never read aloud before. feminism. according to merriam-webster, one, the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes. two with, organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests. period. that should be it. in reality, the word feminism and the mood it represents has a bunch of con no nations. the 1970s stereotype of the man-hating bra burner persists today even though it was always bull. well, not always the hairy legs, but, seriously, that's what we're going to get hung up on?
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yet legitimate criticism of second wave -- chiefly that it centers on white, straight, middle class women at the expense of everybody else still goes ignored all too often. >> and fashion week, page 96. >> how come you picked these? i'm curious. >> you read and then i'll -- >> okay, okay. fashion week. semiannual trade show for the garment industry that currently takes place over four successive weeks in new york city, london, milan and paris. and throughout the year in other cities. fashion week is probably more exciting than spending a week at the dmv, although the lines are just about as long, and the people behind the desks just as skeptical. but only because there's often free champagne and very expensive drugs. basically exists so that designers can display their new seasonal collections to an invite-only crowd; critics and reporters, runway photographers, buyers for major retailers, event sponsors and their
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closet -- closest celebrity friends -- [laughter] when they pay to show up. seating is based on a guest's position in the industry's archaic, yet constantly shifting pecking order. dozens of shows take place each day. new york fashion week, for example, plays host to over 900 shows, and every -- 300 showses, and every night there are parties where the same celebrities step and repeat and drink cocktails with the sponsor's logo pacing outwards like -- facing outwards. it sounds horrible, isn't it? it kind of is. and i used to go to fashion week shows a long time ago for a job i had. >> i picked those because, you know, the secret and fashion week are big topics in the magazines that, you know, your web site is kind of a different brand. >> uh-huh. >> and i thought that they were very unique takes on those topics. >> yes. yes, yes. >> there's another unique one in
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there that they actually talk about mrs. claus. and it's kind of, it's just an interesting thing to me because it sort of gave a new face on a holiday that is predominantly male, you know? that santa claus rides in and saves the day, but nobody really ever talks about mrs. claus. >> what are your thought on that? >> on mrs. claus? >> yeah. [laughter] >> i can read the industry. it might be under claus, mrs. . >> it's right here. >> all right, here it is. it's a short one. long-suffering wife of a man who takes all the credit. wasn't even featured in the movies until the 1960s. we picture her at night kicking away anxious elves and listening to tammy wynette. [laughter] >> i like that. >> i like her. >> now, i mean, do you think that there's, are there more, you know, folk tales or myths in our culture that you would have a different perspective of or the jezebel january voice would
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kind of look at differently? >> yes, although i can't think of any off the top of my head. but i, you know, part of what we wanted to do when we talked about culture whether it was contemporary culture or ancient history or religion or really anything was to look at it critically which isn't to say to be critical in a negative way, but to look at the gender politics of it. so even santa claus is not immune to that. i'm not even sure who wrote that industry, and i feel like it was probably one of those entries that was more, more interstitial to provide some breathing room and some humor between more serious entries. i don't really think that anyone's trying to take christmas away from santa claus, just in case -- [laughter] >> and, you know, you did mention this, but there is a lot of women's history and a lot of very serious entries. the ones that i brought up are
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kind of, you know, shorter ones that are easy to read and easy to joke about and have fun with. but that brings us into your writing. >> uh-huh. >> and what you're doing now and what you're, where your life as a writer has expanded. a lot of what you do online has nothing to do with what's in this book or it's just a different, different tone, and it's a lot more essay writing and, you know, really talking about gender politics. >> yeah. the thing about the book and i think the thing about the site as well when i ran it was that i was good at directing the writers and finding good talent and nurturing them, but i don't know that i could have done what they were doing. ..
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i work dreary hard in a different way than they did, but that was not the sort of writing a am able to do. i cannot just have an opinion expressed it. well, not in writing. so from the writing is something that's is of much slower process. and i don't have a problem with the word blogger.
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use in the pejorative. i was not actually given that sort of heavy lifting in that particular way. in the same thing with the book. the book, again, we had -- we had about two years to do it, but we have some breathing room. i was not as talented at riding injuries in this book as a lot of the writer's work in terms of distilling things down to their essence in keeping facts and humor and so on and so forth. i think i am much better to follow would not say long form wire, but when i went to weigh in on something after think that i have something unique to say about it, especially in the kind of hyper reactive internet world the we are now. something happening. that is not something that i can do. >> something that we should have. >> i don't know that i have an
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opinion about it. hello, i personally find it tiring and nothing that it will continue at the level that is right now. i think a lot of people is finding it tiring. even when i am fascinated by story, for example, last week, the dismissal of joe abrams from the time at this point i read, i don't know, 12 to 15 pieces on it. i still find the story fascinating. i don't think i quite understand everything that went on. i don't need to hear another five peoples take on one of all means. i feel like we're in this time right now off perpetual op-ed or hastily written of bed. i am as a writer not so much interested in executing hastily written op-eds. when i write of eds are essays
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are criticisms i like to take a little time with them which is to say maybe a couple of days which seems like an eternity in the media economy that we are in right now. and i think that even though oftentimes i wish i was a faster rider, i would get a lot more done if i could white stuff out. you know, a lot of this because i am a bit older than some of the writers that i was ever seen . came of age in a more -- in an era that had to hire metabolism for this sort of stuff. it is easier for them than it is for me. 19951 weekly magazine things like a crazy place to work that because it was so busy. and that did work. i could never have imagined blancs, which i guess being my
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dream job, it was a great job. i wish i could have predicted the internet. i would have bought facebook stock for something. >> talk about some of the writers you admire, riders that the doing the same thing that you're doing. >> i tend to pay attention to theme no more than mail because it was my job for a long time. just the opposite. this is non the list of people in any particular order. an hour from now will be mad at myself. roxanne day here just that a novel, out last tuesday or the tuesday before, a book of essays which i read, which is great.
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and free men who contributed to this book. the list of women in the book are in many ways the list of writers that everybody likes. one of the main riders on the box who is finishing her own book right now. i tend to be attracted to riders sure to a little bit of water want to do with the site. i think we did in many ways just to talk about culture and a critical way. not negatively, but sometimes negatively. well, who represents voices that have been kind of historical marginalized whether it is because they are gay women, women of color, those of the sort of writers i am interested in reading.
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i am not particularly interested in reading the musings of david brooks. you know, i feel like that has been played out. i am really kind of excited by the way of the internet has given platforms to writers of the don't think we would have heard from necessarily of this was ten years ago. she writes for the new yorker. doing hilarious stuff on twitter. it is not always in the pages of a magazine and newspaper. often times it is on people's tumbler's or twitter those are
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some, but if you look at the list of writers. >> we have about ten minutes left. if anyone has a question in the audience. we just have to use the microphone in the back to be blood on listening. could you use the microphone. >> the writing and florence. >> the mainstream sources the people listening to to cover the
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issues. >> sometimes i get the sense that it has. i would not say my riding, but the of times in my get the sense that something has been happening. i have no proof of that. i am seeing conversations reflected on television, cable news shows and also scripted narratives, half-hour's accounts . there seems to have been a sort of opening up the find very exciting. i don't know that it has anything -- i can't prove it has anything to do with sites like jezebel but i definitely see
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newspapers as rob. they came from blocking. extremely talented and have gone much deserved attention but not get regular gigs in more traditional places. then might it asks to read op-eds of the new york times. rights and politics whereas 15 years ago she would have been writing about the number of subjects i have already gone over. i can't prove it. i am always hesitant when i get asked that question. i don't know that i can draw the direct line.
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>> knowing the we are here in gaithersburg more diversity of content. another shot i had was, you did this for thinking perspective of the women's views at a time when we were not really getting the kind of attention we need. now i kind of feel that there are our group of men out there who are playing more the roles of the homemaker child-rearing men out there who may be are not getting the focus from the male writers. they are not fitting the stereotype of the typical male. could you see yourself or, you
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know, have you heard people driving to try and reach? >> i guess i have seen a somewhat anemic at times at bat in different places. it is our something of i would take down because i would feel -- i would not feel informed enough or interested enough. that is not to say that those are not legitimate issues. i followed things that make me passionate. i feel like i know something about. did i run a set for man? no. a lot of sites that i would describe. it is not something i think i would be able to execute well.
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>> i may have missed what you are doing now. did i? >> since i left i have been free-lance writing. working on the buck. freelance. i read a column for the new york times book review which comes out once a month or so about whatever subject the want to provide me. it is always a challenge because sometimes i have to find something that i think is worth sharing with the world and writing. for the most part i am freelancing and try to the side of a want to start another website at some point which would not be anything like jezebel. i feel like i did that already. >> any other question?
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>> they qb here. the was sworn in the 50's. my adolescence was a little earlier than yours, but what i recall, when i talked to younger co-workers they have no clue that when i'm going to school, if the girls check typing. the board took typing you is obviously one of those down of that how you got a job was read the classified ads. the classified ads for employment turmoil when his job and man's job. there were no engineering positions in the women's job pages. and they have no idea this has happened. i was surprised the feminist movement, the younger ones, that
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is not for me. i don't agree with that. what we need to do to make sure we understand the history and to you think that is something that should be brought up? i think they're missing a lot when they don't realize what it was like before and god forbid could be again. >> i think that there are more to embrace feminism than you think there are. certainly i hear young women like celebrities, when asked if she was effeminacy said no i like men. but i think there are a lot more young women who embraces feminism and call themselves willis than you may think. there are definitely more. they found the concept of gender equality to the abhorrent even
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though they believe in it. i think that there is something that happens when you're young, like when i was wrong. socially aware and certainly did not have a problem with feminism . history and what my parents and their parents went through to get to a place where i could be born and thrive. of fields very thought tv. i feel like when you get older you start to realize how quickly time passes, how recent the love of history as. you begin to depend upon your elders for the wisdom that they learned and the things that they have experienced. when i was 22i could have
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pretended i was interested in hearing what a woman 40 years my senior, but it was like for her growing up, and i might have been someone interested in it, but i was too self involved in terms of, you know, 2i have a boyfriend, what is my next job going to be? and those are things that are not -- i do feel that young people my age seemed is interested in history or the history around them, but, you know, we get older, mature, and i think


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