Friday, October 28, 2005

The crap corps

I'd been reading; I'd been listening - with my usual mixture of reactions ranging from 'but how?' and 'don't tell me, not again!' - to the whole French 'women are crap' controversy.

And I was thinking, I'd like to meet Mr French. No, seriously. I would. I have no understanding of how a mind like that works. He is as much a curiosity, to me, as a dinosaur. And I want to see how men like him look; the kind who think - and say - that women are crap.

Then I read about these women. And I thought, maybe Mr French should meet all these women.

Better still, we should let Mr French meet Judith Miller. Or Maureen Dowd.
Or both of them.... Together.

Or all of us. At once. Then, he would truly be neck-deep in shit. Or crap.


On another note, I remember going to the Indian Women's Press Corpsfor a press conference (no, it was not organised by, or for, women exclusively) a few months ago. I was wondering why there should be a separate press club for women. So I was given some literature (they have a library too) to read. Turned out, it was set up more than 10 years ago.

I cannot find links to the essays from the founders, but the idea was to start something that gave women journalists a space to call their own. Their own watering hole. Their own chill zone. Their own cheap (relatively) eatery. Or (what the hell) their own bitchfest, for times when they needed it!

The Press Club - which is to say, THE Press Club - was/is a male bastion.

It needed storming, no doubt, but sheer numbers were not doing the trick. There were too many women journalists out there who felt left out of the 'club', even as they sat there. It was 'not a place for women'. Women journalists drinking/smoking publicly raised eyebrows. Tip-offs weren't shared with women. Women's issues weren't being taken up. There weren't enough women editors around. etc.

Now, I don't know whether all these factors are reason enough to have a separate press club. Nor do I know whether it makes a difference to the profession. But I have to say that I like the place.

There are some 350 members. It is a small-ish place and gets very packed during press cons, but it is cool and smells nice. The garden is well-kept. People are polite. Any random member whom you don't know from Eve, smiles at you. The food is good (so I've heard, with special praise for the biryani.)

A couple of weeks ago, I went to THE press club for another press conference.

And I was appalled!

Everything was falling apart. Spit-marks on the staircases, corridors smelling of sweat and piss, paint flaking off, male journalists talking LOUDLY - not on the phone, mind you, but to each other, across the hall - while the poor panelists (who had paid to use the facilities, incidentally) were trying to ignore them and finish their speeches.

The receptionist downstairs was rude. People hanging around outside leered. Everyone wanted my phone number, and being in the 'fraternity', it is hard to refuse. It is also hard to hang up on the 'fraternity' when they call you late at night on a Saturday. Not to share a tip-off. Not to pass on info. Oh no... but to 'just chat!'

And no, I do not like gender-based segregation. I do not like 'women-sit-here; men-sit-there' kind of places. And I do think that segregation is too high a price to pay for equality.

But if I'm ever taking membership, I know where I'm headed... towards the, umm, 'crap' corps.


Anonymous said...

You just killed another place with nice memories:(

Subramaniam Avinash said...

Oh god!

R. said...

I haven't read beyond the first few para's which I will post this comment, but Judith Miller?!?! That too in the same line as Maureen Dowd?!?! PULLLEEZ!

Judith Miller's reporting on the Iraq war and the 'WMD/WMD Programmes' issue has been questionable. Her showboating with the grand jury (despite having got a release from 'Scooter' Libby the year before) doesn't make her an overnight heroine.

Now I shall go and read the rest of the stuff :)

Subramaniam Avinash said...

You women ought to first read the damn thing and understand what he is saying before reacting. For God's sake...never mind. I'm still waiting for one woman to understand what Mr. French really meant and tell the rest of her kind about it. Sorry but some things just don't make sense to me: like women thinking the whole world is against them.

1conoclast said...

Whoever this French is and whatever he is saying is one aspect of the story. Whether he actually said it or not is another. And if he really did say what is being attributed to him, that is the third aspect of the story; the one I think that is being discussed here.
This is how it works in the corporate world: It's not what you say, but how you say it that matters. If I truly believe that women are incapable of 100% committment and I say it in as may words, it's not the same things as saying "Women are crap!" That kinda remark if proven against Mr. French, would cost him his job. If WPP is an equal opportunity employer, that is.

1conoclast said...

Hey Daily!
Why does you blog not allow comments? I read something there that I'd like to comment on. Nice stuff I promise!

Vikrum said...


I liked the post but Judith Miller is not the best example of a principled woman. Her false reporting led New York Times readers (including many in the US Congress and Senate) to believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and posed an imminent threat to the US. The NYT's assertion that Iraq had WMDs was crucial in garnering Congressional support for the invasion.

Anonymous said...

Good one. I don't like segregation either even though it is unfortunately practiced right from school. "We'll make boys and girls sit together" was a threat the teacher used quite often.

Subramaniam Avinash said...

Hey Opinion, you can always write to me, with yours. My email id is not hidden. And I promise to write back, nicely. Cheers

uma said...

heh. good post :)

Anonymous said...

I just got this news. Is it true? Unlucky the lady missed.


A journalist Emma Brockes working for the newspaper Guardian was arrested following her assasination attempt on well-known author and media-critic Noam Chomsky last Tuesday. The Guardian has issued a clarification that the journalist was hired with no previous criminal history and was sent on an assignment to interview Mr.Chomsky.

Mr.Chomsky appeared to be shaken by the ordeal and he said that he didn't expect an interviewer to be an assassin.

An unidentified source in The Guardian said that Emma Brockes has been previously associated with a right-wing BNP and has been an active member of the Israeli Likud Party. Ms.Brockes was also the guest speaker at the AIPAC convention in Los Angeles last January.

Tweets by @anniezaidi