The Sports Gal/Courtney Love

I’m a big Sports Guy guy. I enjoy wagering on football and The Karate Kid, and I’m even kind of a Celtics fan (before the Timberwolves existed, my middle school era bedroom was croqueted with Larry Bird posters). But it’s not just subject matter that draws me to Bill Simmons. I love his geeky frat boy style–he’s as hilarious as my stoner Sega Genesis hockey addicted college buddies were back in the day.

This year, the Sports Guy challenged his wife, “The Sports Gal,” to pick football games against him–in order to prove his point that the NFL is getting impossible to handicap in the era of relentless parity. In exchange for her picks, he “allowed” his wife to write a short weekly column that usually comments on chick stuff, like the US Weekly cognoscenti. It’s been as sharply written as Bill’s stuff.

In fact, so sharply written that I think it has to be written by him.

I don’t mean to be one of those chauvinist assholes that relishes pointing out the influence of a good man behind a good woman: Kurt behind Courtney, Lindsay behind Stevie) while never quite recalling the importance of a good woman behind a good man (Diablo behind Johnny. But, of course, I am one of those chauvinist assholes. I mean, other than Diablo behind Johnny, I can’t think of another example of good woman ghostwriting for a good man. At least, I can’t think of one off the top of my chauvinist head. I can think of amitious shrews like Lady MacBeth or sexpot muses like Dante’s Beatrice. Anyway, here’s my thesis: when Bill wrote his US Weekly fantasy league piece last May, I think he unearthed a compulsion to write about the frivolousnes of the female pop culture world, in the same way he writes about the frivolousness of the male pop culture world. I think he’s also interested in the ladies’ benign (even cutesy) annoyance with jock types like him. So he wanted to find a way to write about this stuff without coming off like, well, a woman, and alienating both his male readers and his female readers. It’s almost like he wanted to cross-dress publically, but figured that society wasn’t ready for it, so he invented the Sports Gal’s persona. Now, the Sports Gal’s real life attitude and personality have probably influenced the character of “The Sports Gal,” but I find it hard to believe that she’s as adept with a pop culture joke as her husband. And I know that pop culture jokes aren’t high literary style or anything, but there is a certain timing and rhythm to The Sports Guy’s writing, and The Sports Gal seems to share too much of it.

Not that it matters. “Her” columns are amusing, and sometimes, even serve as PSA’s for dudes, who can read them, especially when they’re properly ghettoized instead of potentially taking away from their beloved Sports Guy’s column inches. The real question is why do I care enough to point it out that the Sports Gal is the Sports Guy? I mean, it’s not like she has a hit record out and faked her husband’s suicide in order to obscure her jealous hubris. Why is there this perceived male/female we-ghostwrite-them-and-they-never-ghostwrite-us paradigm out there? Is there a women’s studies major out there that can clear this up for me?

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10 Responses

  1. i’ll post a comment– you are looking through your male “chauvanistic” glasses.
    It’s done in such a way as to make your opinion seem SUPERIOR…
    go for a jog fatty, it’s time to log off and “shut-down”…

  2. i’ll post a comment– you are looking through your male “chauvanistic” glasses.
    It’s done in such a way as to make your opinion seem SUPERIOR…
    go for a jog, fatty, it’s time to log off and “shut-down”…

  3. I’ve read The SG regularly for 5+ years, and I think you’re on to something. In a related story…

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/25504

  4. Why the quotation marks on “shut down”? Must be some dumb bitch.

  5. Did she put quotes around chauvinistic because she spelled it wrong? You should probably get a man’s help. And aren’t the “fatty” jokes usually reserved for the more prosaic male mind, or do I detect a bit of penis envy…or craving. Sadly, she is right about the blog. Terrible.

  6. dude…seems this e character really wants you to be her daddy.

  7. I wasn’t a women’s studies major (not even a minor!), and I have on occasion called other women dykes, cunts, pussies and other less flattering phrases–so perhaps I’m not the female spokesperson you’re looking for. But I have a couple of ideas.

    #1) This isn’t an idea, but I thought I should point out that one of the highest profile ghostwriters of the past few years was in fact a women writing in the voice of a man (Laura Albert as JT LeRoy).

    #2) I’d argue that fewer women “ghostwrite” because it women still don’t have the opportunities that men do–I’m not going to be vehement about this, but it’s undeniable that men still have an easier time breaking into and becoming successful at careers as writers. In fact, though media, arts, film, writing, etc. are perceived to be liberal and ahead of the curve compared to many fields, they often have a higher old boys club mentality than many other less progressive fields. So there are a lot more male writers, period (I’d guess).

    #3) Because men still (to an extent) define the standard, or normative, experience (in the same way that white people do), I therefore suspect that women feel more defined (necessarily) by their gender. We still feel somehow that our gender inherently affects our world view–I’m sure that men also feel this way to a degree, but I think women feel that they have to both address it and compensate for it more. So they write as women rather than ghostwrite as men.

    Of course, I could totally be wrong. I mean, I am just a girl.

  8. Whoa, smart chick on line 1.

    I think you’re pretty much right, but aren’t there more women readers than male readers now? Publishing is dominated by books by and for women (O’s book club, chicklit) and there are all those glossy magazines. But as far as “serious writers” (of which the Sports Guy probably isn’t), yup, you’re right, there are more opportunities for men.

    One more thing: why don’t women read the newspaper?

  9. That one’s harder for me to answer, especially because I’m atypical (I’ve read at least one newspaper a day every day for as long as I can remember). But here’s a shot (and ladies, by all means, speak up for yourselves):

    Women have significantly greater responsibilities in terms of family life–they’re still the primary caregivers, but they’re also back in the workforce like never before. So by the time they work, schlepp the kids around, cook dinner, clean the house, bathe and bed the kids, they’re reading O either for escapism value or for practical pointers on how to more efficiently run their family(e.g. how to best pack a lunch box more or how to organize their closet).

    Of course, we’ve just learned that now more women are unmarried than married–but a significant portion of those unmarried women still have kids. And, of course, we haven’t been allowed to particpate at the same level, so some women have likely internalized the feeling that they don’t need to be as informed (which they need to get over, immediately).

    One could also argue that newspapers’ pandering to women (see yesterday’s Strib and its 1800th “how to dress for your body type” article) is insulting and they are too savvy to respond, but then again, there’s the popularity of Oprah, beauty magazines, chick lit, and US Weekly, so there goes that theory.

    Either way, I don’t think it suggests women don’t care as much about world events–if you look at the Peace Corps, for instance, and increasinly political activist groups,environmental groups, the anti-war movement, etc. etc., female participation significantly surpasses that of male. I believe that women vote in higher percentages too, though I’d have to look that before I went on record.

  10. I love it that women’s lit is being discussed on Marsh’s website. The irony is so thick I can only cut it with a chainsaw.

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