It helps to read first, then “report”

Boy was I surprised to wake up this morning and read this in a Welsh newspaper:

When John Cleese, in the film Life of Brian, posed the question, “what have the Romans done for us?”, he was quickly disabused of his take on things – nothing – by a long list of benefits their regime had bought. It could be argued that some feel the same about feminism; one post on a blog in response to the NY Times article reads “feminists made their bed. Now they have to lie on it, alone, with their cats.” Ouch.

You might be surprised to know that this was not written by a misogynistic male, but a female called Jill with sound feminist credentials, who blogs entertainingly at feministe.com. Which, apart from the meow factor, lends it a little weight. If the research is to be believed, all the advances the bra burning generation have bought us – equal rights, equal pay, independence and choice – have actually, emotionally, left us worse off.

Confused as to how I could have possibly written anything along those lines, I went back and read the post she’s quoting. And whaddaya know — the quote she attributes to me is, in fact, me quoting a misogynistic male.

She also got the website wrong.

I wrote an email to the news editor asking for a correction. We’ll see if anything comes of it.

UPDATE: They fixed it.


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25 comments for “It helps to read first, then “report”

  1. car
    October 11, 2007 at 9:03 am

    Wow. There’s quote mining, and then there’s quote mining. That really takes the cake.

  2. October 11, 2007 at 9:04 am

    WTF. “The media” is amazing.

  3. preying mantis
    October 11, 2007 at 9:21 am

    Is there a way to ban people who can’t tell quotes from the articles in which they’re quoted from at least a couple of the internets? It’s only a matter of time until they hurt themselves with The Onion’s video segments.

  4. zuzu
    October 11, 2007 at 9:51 am

    You female, you.

  5. zuzu
    October 11, 2007 at 10:07 am

    And yanno, she could have posted a link.

  6. norbizness
    October 11, 2007 at 10:23 am

    I am disposing of my Tom Jones LPs in protest.

  7. Thealogian
    October 11, 2007 at 10:25 am

    I’m glad to know that you’re opinions can “lend it a little weight” when it comes to tearing down Feminism…I wonder, when talking about Feminist issues–such as pay equality, reproductive rights, healthcare, etc.–I wonder then, do your opinions (in this Welsh newspaper’s esteem) then add weight to the arguments? Somehow, I’m thinking credence only is conferred when doing a Coulter impersonation or a Paglia anti-feminist tirade.

  8. October 11, 2007 at 10:28 am

    norbizness: a man of real principle. No sacrifice is too great — or too small — to show his support.

    PS: can I have your Tom Jones LPs?

  9. Betsy
    October 11, 2007 at 10:39 am

    Wow. You really do stay well-informed! I can’t read more than 3 US and 4 European papers per day, and the Welsh don’t usually make the list. ;-)

  10. October 11, 2007 at 10:39 am

    Since it was the title of the blog post it’s mildly understandable that the writer got confused. That’s the danger of being sarcastic on the web. It took me a week to really ‘get’ Amanda Marcotte’s humor at Pandagon and I’m a smart cookie. There are plenty of average folks who simply don’t understand the irony, the sarcasm, much less the etiquette and standard practices of the blogopshere. Looks like this author can’t even figure out URLs (given that they wrote feministe.com which isn’t this site). Annoying, but it is what it is.

    Perhaps that’s where the trolls are coming from? An influx of traffic from searches for “feministe” on Google and Yahoo?

  11. Atalanta
    October 11, 2007 at 10:42 am

    Hee! I keep clicking back here, reading the quote, and giggling. How completely bizarre.

  12. houseofmayhem
    October 11, 2007 at 11:01 am

    Leave my cats out of this. They’re busy trying to grow thumbs…

  13. norbizness
    October 11, 2007 at 11:23 am

    Alpha: OK (here’s a preview), but I get to keep the Dame Shirley Bassey records. Some sacrifices are not worth making.

  14. preying mantis
    October 11, 2007 at 11:32 am

    “Since it was the title of the blog post it’s mildly understandable that the writer got confused.”

    Yeah, but the whole post is what, 5 sentences long? And first sentence directly identifies the title as a response to the NYT article.

  15. RKMK
    October 11, 2007 at 11:57 am

    Wow. You really do stay well-informed! I can’t read more than 3 US and 4 European papers per day, and the Welsh don’t usually make the list. ;-)

    I think there was a trackback on the original post that tipped Jill off. :)

  16. SoE
    October 11, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    That article now has a whopping 1.0 star rating after 6 votes. I know it’s probably even better not to click on their site anyway but I couldn’t resist…

  17. SoE
    October 11, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    1 out of 5 stars, that is.

  18. October 11, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    Quoth Charlie Brown: AUGH!

  19. PG
    October 11, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    Sigh… and the “feminism was supposed to make life *easy*” media myth goes on.

  20. Betsy
    October 11, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    I think there was a trackback on the original post that tipped Jill off. :)

    I figured as much, but the phrasing (“Boy was I surprised to wake up this morning and read this in a Welsh newspaper”) made me giggle.

  21. Tanooki Joe
    October 11, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    Didn’t someone predict this would happen? Eerie.

  22. October 11, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Was it the Western Mail? I do read that from time to time. I love Wales, love the Welsh, but the paper is generally rubbish.

    It is, as others have said, a stunning bit of quote mining.

  23. Laurie
    October 11, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    Leave ME out of this. My cats have already grown thumbs, so I don’t sleep much at all. O_o

    Really, what it takes is to actually READ the damn post rather than just skim the titles. Honestly, I’m pretty much a Luddite from the word ‘go’ and *I’ve* gotten that much.** (I am also a compulsive reader, so that might be the problem right there….)

    Sarcasm? What sarcasm? There’s no sarcasm here! We’re all humourless feminists, remember?

    ** Please note, it took me months and a few tries to figure out the blockquoting function here, and it’s really pretty simple. So, not really a tech-head over here.

  24. October 11, 2007 at 6:10 pm

    I think there was a trackback on the original post that tipped Jill off. :)

    Yeah, I have a Google alert for the word “Feministe,” so that even if we don’t get a link I can see when someone is writing about us. That’s how I found it — I don’t read Welsh newspapers regularly.

  25. Justin Ellis
    October 12, 2007 at 12:39 am

    wow

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