Sunday, December 19, 2010

Nicole Colson forgot to write Third

In Monday's "Iraq snapshot," C.I. quoted in full faux feminist Nicole Colson's ridiculous attack e-mail for C.I.'s observing Nicole was a faux in a previous snapshot. C.I. stood by the call and noted that Nicole must have missed the piece she and Ava wrote last Sunday entitled "TV: Saboteurs." While Elaine penned "That liar Nicole Colson," we all eagerly awaited Nicole's next missive. It never arrived.

Maybe she had trouble finding the address?

Nicole, the e-mail address is

We were looking forward to responding in detail to any new e-mail she might write. Not only had Betty asked that we carve out time for a response piece, Ava and C.I. were asked about it Friday at Trina's Iraq Study group and did a 20 minute riff on Nicole that had everyone laughing.

For starters, Nicole responds to C.I. noting her sexism aimed at Hillary by insisting, "In fact, the paper I work for published an article AGAINST the sexist attacks on Clinton during the campaign." We're confused. Is Nicole a writer? Then why didn't she write in protest of the sexist attacks? Oops, that thought never entered her sexist mind.

And as we examined Nicole's work in detail throughout the week, we kept coming back to just how anti-woman she is.

Rebecca and Elaine went to college with C.I. and what stood out the most to them about Nicole's body of work was the absence of women. It's not just that she appears only to mention women when she's attacking women, it was the fact that women don't really exist in her writing as reference points. (It's what Ava and C.I. called the Deanna Durbin Syndrome: 100 Men and a Girl.)

By contrast, at The Common Ills and as far back as college, C.I. always references women. Rebecca and Elaine remember a class syllabus was always met with the question (from C.I.) of, "Where are the women?" Political theory, philosophy, World lit, what have you, where are the women? And the bulk of professors felt they'd done nothing that required altering. (Elaine: "One professor responded, 'This is an economics class.' C.I. countered, 'Exactly. So where is Charlotte Perkins Gilman? Or is it normal practice to leave out one of the most well known economists in this country in the first part of the century?' She always knew her facts and she was never afraid to stand up. All these years later, nothing's changed on that front.") And refusal by a professor to include women in the scope of study just meant C.I. brought the women in via presentations, papers and class discussions.

That's why, at The Common Ills, you will regularly and repeatedly find female artists referenced. And it's what Nicole Colson never grasped, you really can't be a feminist when your reference points are always male.

Here, it was Ava and C.I. who suggested early features focusing on the work of women -- such as Anne Sexton, Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, etc. And they were the ones who noted every outlet in the world quotes and references men and male created art. We can take part in reinforcing that or we can do our part to build a bridge to another world.

Nicole Colson wouldn't grasp that.

She wouldn't look at the work Ava and C.I. have done here and grasp the use of Mary Tyler Moore and Rosanne as reference points (as opposed to the male-centric All In The Family or M*A*S*H that so many use) for comedy or Jennifer Jason Leigh as one of the most talented actors in film. Or why they're the only ones celebrating women and pointing out that, if it were men, everyone else would be in praise mode. Which is how you get this from March 30, 2008:

We remembered Medium and that made us think of Agnes of God. In that film, method actors Jane Fonda and Anne Bancroft gave tremendous performances, not just individually; in fact, it was the matchup between the two actresses onscreen that was most riveting. And we thought about how two Method actress co-starring wasn't something that garnered endless exploration; however, let Lee Strasberg students Al Pacino and Robert De Niro appear in the same film and it's 'news!' The way the no-sparks-on-screen in Heat qualified as 'news' and something to still reference and the way advance publicity on Righteous Kill has done the same. Fonda and Bancroft, two Academy Award winning actresses team up and most of the gas bags on acting still act as if it never happened. Kind of the way they can never shut up about Rober De Niro's weight gain (so committed!) for Raging Bull while acting as if they're unaware that Fonda put on many pounds to play the lead in The Dollmaker. This seaon, Medium's offered sparks between Patricia Arquette (who stars as Allison) and Academy Award winner Anjelica Huston. It's provided tension and levels that have taken the show in an entirely new direction and Huston's giving the best performance of any guest actor on a series this decade. That's a credit to both women but let's focus on Houston for a minute because her incredible performance has received very little attention.

It's why, when everyone was going sexist on Cougar Town and misrepresenting the show (The New York Times never ran a correction for their own error-riddled piece), Ava and C.I. were serving up "TV: Cougar Town Roars" and breaking down for you what was really going on:

ABC's under pressure to cancel it. Already. It's the same pressure that led to the cancellation of
Emily's Reasons Why Not. You may not remember that show. We'd planned to review the Heather Graham sitcom that debuted in January 2006 but it was cancelled upon airing. There were many laughable reasons given for the cancellation but the reality was right-wing groups launched a campaign to kill the show before it aired and ABC suits were overwhelmed by (and scared of) the protests that came in. ABC was afraid of offending anyone? Please. Taste has never been a concern at the network which launched T & A TV in the seventies. Running scared, however, has always been ABC's natural fall back position. So when the complaints came in this week, the fact that Cougar Town's debut was watched by over 11 million viewers mattered less and less to the network. They were scared and convinced that no one would watch again. They were convinced no one would watch again because the e-mail campaign to kill the show (participants were advised to e-mail the network after the show began airing Wednesday night and to use the words "I will never watch this show again") made it appear that a good chunk of the 11 million were so offended they were boycotting.

Where was Nicole Colson? Probably attacking another woman and referencing and praising 20 men in one article. Or take last month's "TV: Comedy dos and don'ts:"

This week, Meryl Streep continued her performance as Camilla Bowner. At the
2004 AFI Tribute to Meryl, Goldie Hawn likened the sixteen times Academy Award nominated actress to a Stradivarius, Shirley MacLaine hailed her as "other worldly," Diane Keaton used the term genius -- and those were just some of the sung praises. In the current issue of Vanity Fair, Cher takes her turn praising Meryl. Meryl's considered one of the finest actresses of all time and we're rather surprised that when she wades into new waters, the press shows so little interest. Camilla Bowner is Meryl's first online role, therapist to Fiona Wallace's politician husband whose in the midst of a sexual scandal being the latest in a long line of conservatives outed as gay. Camilla is practicing "aversion therapy" to "cure" Kip Wallace -- in part by having sex with him.

It's why they -- and not Nicole Colson -- wrote "TV: Women and sitcoms" which included:

This decade has been horrible for women -- on the big screen and on the small. It has rendered them invisible, reduced them to nags, undercut them at every step of the way. And, amazingly, TV sitcoms have been the worst offenders.
"Amazingly" because they can try their revisionary nonsense all they want, the world knows and will always know that Lucille Ball made the sitcom. She took a format and made it one of the formats, a TV staple. She took a format and became, some say, the "queen" of it but, reality, she was the finest of it for her era, male or female. Lucille Ball defined sitcoms success. In the years since, Marlo Thomas, Mary Tyler Moore, Elizbeth Montgomery, Nell Carter, Bonnie Franklin, Mackenzie Phillips, Valerie Bertinelli, Bea Arthur, Betty White, Marla Gibbs, Jackee, Valerie Haper, Cloris Leachman, Isabel Sanford, Ja'net Du Bois, Dixie Carter, Annie Potts, Delta Burke, Judith Light, Danielle Spencer, Jane Curtain, Susan Saint James, Belita Moreno, Constance Marie, Candice Bergen, Faith Ford, Fran Drescher, Cybill Shepherd, Queen Latifah, Kim Coles, Rue McClanahan, Estelle Getty, Jasmine Guy, Shelley Long, Helen Hunt, Ellen, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox-Arquette, Debra Messing, Judy Reyes, Christa Miller, and many other women -- not the least of whom is Roseanne -- have delivered the belly laughs and left their mark on the genre. But other than the women currently on the air that we've already praised, there's not been much worth noting for women in this decade. In fact, the only sitcom in the first half of this decade that lasted more than a season and is worthy of praise, Still Standing, offered one of the strongest roles for women with Jami Gertz' lead performance. Otherwise, the women did nothing over and over and over.

It's why they, and not Nicole Colson, have made time to celebrate the work of Roseanna Arquette, Martha Plimpton and Patricia Heaton. They were the ones who charted CBS' non-stop efforts to kill off The New Adventures of Old Christine -- a hit sitcom CBS couldn't afford to lose -- as this season's ratings have demonstrated. Repeatedly charted the efforts to kill that show such as in May 2007's "TV: The lows and the really lows:"

When we repeatedly warned that CBS was attempting to pull The New Adventures of Old Christine, Ty noted skeptical e-mails came in. The gist of the e-mails was, "It's a hit. Why would a network mess with their own hit?" If you missed it, the fall 2007 season doesn't include the show (it's scheduled to return mid-season). It does include Rules of Engagement which, we'll note yet again, had declining ratings, week after week. Why would CBS do this? We've noted the whys of that many times. If you weren't listening then, you probably wouldn't now but, again, note, the show is pulled. No one works harder than CBS to disown their female driven hits. Which is why they monkeyed with a successful Monday night line up (at the end Rules of Engagment wasn't just losing viewers each week, it was getting millions less viewers than The New Adventures of Old Christine had in the same time slot) and now are all geared up to return the audience disperser to Monday nights while letting Christine sit it out. The reality is that Fox may, as happened when CBS was attempting to destroy Cybill, steal the Monday night audience away with a new program (Ally McBeal then, K-Ville this fall).

No one works harder than CBS to destroy a female-led hit. And Ava and C.I. have documented it. Repeatedly. They've noted the way Cybill, Murder She Wrote, The Nanny, Cagney & Lacey, Designing Women and Murphy Brown were treated which is why many readers were upset last spring at the news that The New Adventures of Old Christine was getting the axe from CBS (as was The Ghost Whisperer) but they weren't surprised.

And who has better charted media hyped Tina Fey than Ava and C.I.? They were the first -- and for over a year -- the only ones to note that Tina Fey was sexualizing Sarah Palin in her SNL "parody," something that was not done with any male politician -- not even John Edwards when he was twice portrayed on SNL after his sex scandal was public information. They were the only ones who found it strange -- or even noticed -- that to portray Palin, Tina Fey felt the need to lift her skirt.

We should note that Nicole Colson also covers the arts from time to time. For example, she once was so knocked out by a sitcom -- or at least a sitcom performer -- or at least wanting to be noted by a sitcom performer -- that she felt the need to do her one and only Tweet:

  1. @rainnwilson I loved him back when "Dark Matter" was called "Sweetbreads"...and was all about offal. "I could taste what you were thinking."

Ah, yes, a male singer (Andrew Bird) is praised and she gets to note Rainn Wilson as well. What a treat for sexist Nicole.

Nicole Colson is male-defined and male-dominated. She's a faux feminist and her body of work proves that both in terms of scope and in terms of reference points. By contrast, Ava and C.I. made it clear that they stand arm-in-arm with other women and that they celebrate them and they call them out, that they never forget who they are or try to be something else. Nicole's always trying to prove she's 'almost a man.' Ava and C.I. embrace their power which leads to concluding paragraphs like this from 2007's "TV: Aftermath leaves an aftertaste:"

In times of crisis, Jericho tells you, natural leaders emerge and that's based on something other than the ability to lead, it's based on whether or not you've got a Y chromosome. We don't buy into the belief that the dangling Y means extra intelligence or natural leadership but, come the nuclear aftermath, women should keep in mind that the heavily worshiped area, in this society, is also a very sensitive one. Aim the stiletto there as well.

Ava and C.I. did not write this piece. We'll list credits in the "A note to our readers" as always but before Nicole climbs on the cross again -- as we're sure she will -- we hope she makes it to this end note.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }