A couple of weeks ago NPR Ombudsman (ha) Alicia Shepard became a hero of mine when she ripped her own institution a new one for its lopsided representation of women’s points of view.
NPR’s On The Media took up the meta this weekend to discuss the issue. Their guest? Clay Shirky, assistant teacher at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. You may remember him from his Rant About Women, in which he helpfully mansplained that these kinds of institutional sexism are all our own fault really, because we’re just not prickish enough in advancing our own agenda. The fact that women can face much worse consequences than men do for behaving in the same ways – that a man gets called a prick for it, but a woman gets called a cunt – is apparently immaterial. At least to him.
The host said something like: “Let’s start by acknowledging the irony of having a man on the program to discuss this issue…” at which point, dear reader, I swore fluently, reached over and turned off the radio. No link, because GRAR. Helpful note to On The Media and to Professor Shirky: that ain’t irony. That’s malpractice. If you give a damn about women’s voices… oh, for Christ’s sake, do I actually have to spell this out? Maybe invite a woman on the show. Can’t think of anyone to suggest in your place, Professor Shirky? Biella Coleman has some great suggestions, to whom I would add… NYU Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication Biella Coleman.
THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE PEOPLE. I MEAN REALLY.
Shirky is also famous for saying: “Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.” Way to walk the walk, dude!