I was poking around on Twitter today when I came across news of The White Man’s Guide to White Male Writers of the Western Canon by Dana Schwartz, which is soon to be released.
At first I groaned, thinking that this was another bitch-fest about white people, white males, blah, blah, blah. (Think Sarah Jeong…)
But as I dug a bit deeper, I discovered that it might be something rare in these humorless times: an unabashed book of satire.
And here is where Dana Schwartz parts ways with the likes of Sarah Jeong. Whereas Sarah Jeong made nasty tweets about inflicting pain on white men and white genocide, Dana Schwartz is making Dave Barry-esque puns on F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Shakespeare. Her sales pitch, “Whether you love the big White Male Writers, or you love to hate the big White Male Writers, you’ll enjoy this book…” suggests to me that she’s all about humor, not hate. I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt until I learn otherwise, anyways.
I’m from the 1980s. We aren’t sensitive back there. The 1980s was the era of Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche (a parody of stereotypical masculinity) and Robin Williams uttering the memorable line, “You are in more dire need of a blowjob than any white man in history,” in Good Morning, Vietnam. The 1980s was the era of Jeff Foxworthy’s You Might Be A Redneck If…
But it was also the era of Eddie Murphy satirizing gay men in Beverly Hills Cop. There were jokes about Young Outraged Militants and Minorities (YOMAMas). There were jokes about women, and yes—gasp!—transgenders.
Everyone—straight white men, African Americans, women, gays, etc.—were fair game in the 1980s, as long as the gags were done in a spirit of humor, not hatred.
And that’s the way it should be.