Much digital ink has been spilled on Ross “I Would Do Anything For Love, But I Won’t” Douthat’s review of Helprin’s “Digital Barbarism”, but no one—except sage Unfogged commenter Witt—has noted what may be the very most annoying part: the insertion of pointless sexism into a fine xkcd cartoon. A cartoon, I might add, that Douthat does not even bother to actually cite by name. Read the comic here. Now feast your eyes:
One of the more trenchant cartoons of the Internet era features a stick-figure man typing furiously at his keyboard. From somewhere beyond the panel floats the irritated voice of his wife.“Are you coming to bed?”
“I can’t,” he replies. “This is important.”
“Someone is wrong on the Internet.”
How, might I ask did Douthat know that the voice in question is that of an irritated wife? And what marks the stick figure as that of a man? Oh, right, the unmarked is always male, right? It’s true that xkcd often depicts female stick figures as having longer hair, but this is not invariably so. Verdict: douchebag.
UPDATE: my husband informs me that brilliant unsung CT commenters have been all over this is comments to his post. But the point stands.