Christopher Hitchens made some arguments in his article “Why Women Aren’t Funny” that were controversial to say the least, and straight up wrong in some cases. One of the biggest points Hitchens made that I took umbrage with was the pretty vs funny scale, where he basically said a woman being funny is unattractive to men because they feel threatened by it. As a straight dude, I could not disagree more. A funny woman is an attractive woman as far as I’m concerned. For me, and most people I believe, laughter is a primary way to relieve stress and reduce tension, and why would I not want to do those things around my female friends or while watching a female comic?
Another point that Hitchens made that I found to be pretty out there was in the “When Women Perform Charged Humor” reading when Hitchens had responded to a comment by saying “…further adding weight to the argument that perhaps testosterone levels contribute to humour.” So, if this were the case, then why aren’t gyms full of a surprising density of hilarious people?
I also found it noteworthy that in the “When Women Perform Charged Humor” reading, the author states that “Importantly, Dr. Allan L. Reiss, the Stanford University researcher cited by Christopher Hitchens, wrote a letter to the editor protesting that his study was misinterpreted and misused by Hitchens.” The person who made the study that Hitchens tried to use to back his argument literally said he was wrong.
The overall tone of Hitchens articles was extremely condescending as well, particularly the second one where he ends saying “I forgive you for being so slow to see my little joke because—ah well, just because.” I get that he phrased it as such to prove a point he was making, but is that really the way to have an open discussion and promote dialogue about these topics? Hitchens was also fond of using caveats to undermine any counterarguments to his positions. He makes broad assumptions and ‘rules’ such as all female comedians are husky or dykish, and then goes on to say but not all female comedians are husky or dykish.