“Why Women Aren’t Funny”

12 December, 2006

Christopher Hitchens asks the question: why do men make more jokes, and why are they quicker to laugh?

His answer – that women are more serious about life because they are biologically responsible for perpetuating it, and men, as slaves to the sexual choices of women, undercut their mistresses and their sense of inferiority with humour (phew!) – sounds true enough. It might be more persuasive, however, if his attempts at humour throughout the article weren’t so painfully inept!

Sample: a doctor telling his patient, “There’s no cure. There isn’t even a race for a cure.” I’m not saying I could do better, but that is definitely feeble.

An observation Hitchens doesn’t make: men are more interested in brutal wit, whereas women are more interested in character humour. A stereotype? Feel free to comment.

One thing I definitely disagreed with: women “are partly ruled … by the moon and the tides”. What is this blithering nonsense? For once and for all, the menstrual cycle is not determined by the phases of the moon. I knew one woman whose cycle was every five weeks, and another whose cycle was every three (very inconvenient). So perhaps they were starchildren who were being affected by the moons of distant worlds? A good idea for a science-fantasy story, but still bullshit.

Or maybe I should have a sense of humour about it?

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