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Deborah Solomon: Would Her Shtick Go Over Better If She Were a Man?

By Sarah Seltzer

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While Deborah Solomon’s edgy Q&A sessions that grace the front section of the The New York Times Magazine are neither shy nor boring — some reports have indicated they’re not 100% faithful to the conversation that occurred. Regardless, the column has been attracting more than its usual share of attention lately thanks to Solomon’s extra-confrontational chat with “Family Guy “creator Seth McFarlane, right. Solomon chewed McFarlane out for the use of rape jokes, a regular “Family Guy” feature which has offended more viewers than her. And she didn’t stop at ideological jabbing; she also got in a nasty dig or two about the show’s animation and color quality relative to “The Simpsons.” But beyond snark, as Gawker reports by tabulating the word counts of her recent columns, this interview marks the first time that Solomon has printed her column having given herself more words than her interview subject, though she’s edged close before.

Essentially, the space on the page has been granted as Solomon’s territory — abandon all hope, ye who who enter there. And it makes sense that she would get free reign from the Times’ perspective, as in her hands, the section inevitably generates a buzz.

On some level, it’s good to see a feisty, take-no prisoners woman (Jewish, too) with strong, nay limitless, faith in her own opinions, grill those in power. But do the celebrities and politician she tackles deserve to get taken down a peg or six, or has Solomon out diva’d them all by turning her column into something that’s as much about her as anyone else? Do you turn to “Questions With” when you open your Sunday Times, or skip it because it makes you cringe? Personally, I’m often in the cringe category, but I wonder how much of that is due to my own ingrained notions about gender. I wonder if I’d feel the same way if Solomon were a dude, or perhaps then it would be easier to find the humor in her shtick. I must admit, it’s certainly satisfying to see Solomon take down people that I don’t like.


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Comments
Eliezer Pennywhistler Sun. Sep 20, 2009

Hard time finding any Jewish content here.

And when I went to your "(Jewish, too)" link, all I found was: "She admits that at her own chaotic family seder ... “We’re more likely to argue over which of the girls dented the fender on my father’s car in 1973 than debate contemporary interpretations of freedom and slavery.”

Eh.




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