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Irregular verbs change with perspective, as Sir Humphrey beautifully illustrated (well, of course it was Bernard): I give confidential security briefings. You leak. He has been charged under section 2a of the Official Secrets Act. And this piece from the NYT is, I think, a lovely demonstration of irregular verbs in action... it comes from a comparison of US TV channels with predominantly female and male audiences respectively, ending with an extrapolation from the range of programmes on each.

"In the gal’s perfect day she is kidnapped on the way back from putting the kids on the school bus but vanquishes the kidnappers in time to go for a fattening lunch with her single-mom pals, at which they lament their lack of dates before donning designer gowns to go to a school board meeting where they successfully address all major educational problems.

In the guy’s perfect day he awakes and, still sleepy, sticks his hand down a running garbage disposal trying to retrieve the bottle opener he has dropped in it; an ambulance crew made up entirely of strippers rushes him to the Hospital for Advanced Trauma Care and Stripping, where naked but highly trained female surgeons sew his hand back on, then take him home and wash his entire house as well as his car with their breasts while answering questions like: Does being spanked make a woman want to have sex?

So, clearly, members of one sex are living in a sad, unrealistic fantasy world, trying in vain to compensate for the drabness of their day-to-day lives. Members of the other are living a rich life of the imagination, at peace with their self-image and excited by what the future might hold. Which is which goes without saying."

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marypcb
Mary Branscombe
Simon & Mary

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