Monday, July 28, 2008

"Where's my Money?" MacFarlane on Women and Tenure

"Mmm, that's good OJ ..."

What follows is Sokalian satire fit for the pages of Indulge yourselves, bitches:

You guys ever see the Family Guy bit where Stewie breaks to OJ glass over Brian's head and beats the dog (pun intended) out of him for like 5 painful minutes while screaming "Where's my money, man?"

Stewie punches and kicks Brian 13 times, beats him with a towel rod six times, then slams his head in the toilet twice after bashing him in the face with an orange juice glass. 1-13-2-6.
Then, Stewie kicks him down the stairs, hits him 13 times with a golf club, shoots him twice, then pistol whips him six times. 1-13-2-6.

Macfarlane is a nutty guy, probably both ADD and OCD to boot, but I bet there's some kinda interesting secret here. My best guess is that the 1-13-2-6 is a date - January 13, 1926. Which is the birthday of? You guessed it, Carolyn Gold Heilbrun. Most notable for authoring Lady Ottoline's Album, but also known for penning a series of fictional, semi-biographical criticisms of her life in the academy (she was an Ivy league professor for many years). Her most famous of this sort is Death in a Tenured Position.

So perhaps what MacFarlane is telling us is that women in the academy who seek tenure are often denied it by men in power; their wishes and desires for reasonable compensation and respect for the work their teaching and research often deferred, postponed, and overlooked by the tenure process. And that if they continue to wait patiently for their due without demanding it, they are likely to die before they are given the respect they deserve.

In this instance, Brian, the Ivy league educated aesthete of the family, denies Stewie the respect he deserves. He has tenure over Stewie (Brian has been in the family 6-7 years, Stewie is only in his second year) and Stewie is a minority in the family, as no one ever hears his voice (Meg is also a minority, and she is so deluded by her experiences in this family that she later becomes a man named "Ron" in "Family Guy Presents Stewie: The Untold Story").

Perhaps Macfarlane is both advising women in the academy and praising those who have come before them ... to destroy the system that oppresses them and persistently dog the individuals and departments who have denied them what they have earned until they relent.
They work hard for the money. Run that before they break a towel rod across your head. Hell hath no fury ...

Or maybe its not January 13, 1926, but January 13, 1962 and Macfarlane is signifying on a London Daily Mirror article that ran on the same day, featuring a story entitled "Death of a Hero," about a dog that tried to rescue a human from a burning building. Clearly, that's why Stewie inexplicably sets Brian on fire at the end.

Either way. I like the first one better.

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