Oh, gag me with a spoon. Sure, girly culture can be silly -- but what does that prove? It's not as though men spend their evenings leafing through the plays of Moliere. Susie whips up doggy treats, Mike surfs porn sites; she curls up with the Friday Night Knitting Club, he watches football. Or maybe the two of them watch "Grey's Anatomy" together -- surprise, surprise, about half the show's audience is male. If you go by cultural preferences, actually, you could just as well claim that women are obviously smarter than men -- look around you at the museum, the theater, the opera house, the ballet, the concert hall. Women read more than men, too, especially fiction, which men tend to avoid. (A story about things that didn't happen? How does that work?) Women even read fiction by men and about men, further evidence of their imaginative powers -- while men, if they do pick up a novel, make sure it's estrogen-free. Who's really the dim bulb, the woman who doesn't see the beauty of "Grand Theft Auto," or the man who thinks Tom Clancy is a great writer?
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say Katha Pollitt doesn't know what she's talking about. She's basically sinking to Allen's level and using the same methodology of hasty generalizations. It's not enough for Pollitt to simply dismiss Allen's thesis on its merits--an easy enough task. She has to argue that it's actually women who are smarter than men, via a highly dubious series of markers of intelligence--opera, theater, ballet etc--and ignorance--video games and football. Does Pollitt even understand football? Has she ever played Grand Theft Auto? The problem with Allen's article wasn't that she argued the wrong side, it's that she reduced really complex observations into a grab-bag of overstatements and employed to make a transparently false argument.
Pollitt ends by asserting that "misogyny is the last acceptable prejudice." Great, the good old "Whose More Opressed Than Who" contest which the left so delights in. Hey Katha, I know a lot of Muslims, Asian-Americans and Latinos who would love to get in on that. I'm glad Pollitt took on Allen for her stupidity--but I wish she had have been more disciplined about it. Instead what we got was piece that was almost as problematic as the article it sought to refute.
That's just my view though. I will say that one my favorite blogs thought the piece was great.