Oct 21 2005

Friday Leaf Report


As you will have no doubt surmised without any help from me, I have taken a couple of days off to watch the leaves turn.

I kid! The leaves don’t turn in Austin! They just evaporate! My neighbor helps this process along by running her leaf-blower, which sounds like a dentist’s drill, from dawn on Saturday til dusk on Sunday. Fuck that skank!

Anyway, in lieu of a cohesive patriarchy-blaming essay and a propos of nothing, behold my current report:

• At the campusy coffeejoint Spider House two nights ago, bathed in the azure emanations of a thousand laptops glowing, I espied a woman knitting, and wondered if she were one of our patriarchy-blaming knitters. I gave her a knowing smile, to signify that I am privy to the secret world of knitters, but she mistook it for a leer, and gave me the stink-eye.

• I consumed with gusto at Asti in Hyde Park last night and can vigorously recommend the linguine with sausage and clams. In fact, I am eating the leftovers, cold out of the box, for breakfast at this very moment.

• I just saw an ad for a Volvo. The slogan: "because life happens all at once." What the heck does that even mean?

• Another argument against letting teenage boys loose: the incessant, noisy, and graceless foot-fondling of skateboards at bus stops.

• Who among you has seen The Colbert Report and determined that more than five consecutive minutes of Stephen Colbert is perhaps, how you say, gilding the lily?

• Not a few of you have written to tell me that your workplace porn-blockers now prevent you from reading I Blame The Patriarchy while on the job. Reader Sarah surmises that it’s because the word "breast" has recurred with some frequency of late, turning cancer into "Adult Content." Ironical, ain’t it, that these same porn blockers have consistently, for the past year, ignored the fact that "fuck" appears about every third word on this site?

• Meanwhile, Tom Speranza, who notes with horror that the kid involved is named "Campbell Supon," sends in this charming story from Wilkes-Barr PA:

MOOSIC — What started off as a friendly exchange between two TV staffers on a WNEP early morning newscast Friday took a nasty turn, sparking a debate among viewers over the rights of working mothers.

WNEP morning anchor Kim Supon was chided by meteorologist Joe Snedeker for having called off the previous day when her 9-month-old son was sick.

His comments that she should choose between being a working mother or a career woman got the ire of many viewers who called the station in protest.

“I’d rather try to take the high road on this, work through it and try to put it behind us,” said Ms. Supon, when reached at her home late Friday afternoon.

“It was just something taken out of context and blown out of proportion,” said Mr. Snedeker, declining further comment.

Neither WNEP General Manager C. Lou Kirchen nor News Director Dennis Fisher would comment.

More than 100 people used WNEP’s Talkback 16 phone and Internet lines to voice their comments about the disagreement.

Before the start of his weather forecast, Mr. Snedeker, known for his sense of humor, at first joked about staffers taking days off.

He then told viewers that Ms. Supon used up all her 10 allocated sick days for the year. The meteorologist, whose wife stays at home with their three small children, said he still had eight of his days left.

Ms. Supon explained that her son, Quinn, had been up sick three times during the night and she only had 15 minutes of sleep. She also has a daughter, Campbell, 2½.

Mr. Snedeker then told Ms. Supon that if he were her boss, he would have her choose between being a mother or having a career.

The anchor responded by telling him: “Joe, you’ve stepped over the line.” Ms. Supon, who was visibly upset on the air, finished the rest of her news report before breaking to a commercial.

After several ads, “Newswatch 16 This Morning” came back with reporter Ryan Leckey finishing the newscast at the anchor desk. Co-anchor Tom Williams was off Friday. Ms. Supon never returned for the rest of the morning show.

Mr. Snedeker, who does weather reports on radio stations WKRZ and WILK, told one morning talk show that Ms. Supon left the TV show abruptly because she was ill. He attributed her tears to having something in her eye.

WBRE News Director Paul Stueber hired Mr. Snedeker as a full-time meteorologist when he was news director at WNEP, and worked with Ms. Supon.

Mr. Stueber, who did not watch the show but heard what happened, said the pair has been on friendly terms for many years.

“If I was still in charge over there, I would get them both together and have them talk it out like brother and sister,” he said.

“They really do get along. They have been like brother and sister for years. It’s a big misunderstanding and I’d hate to see their friendship end because of this.”


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  1. Dim Undercellar

    /I just saw an ad for a Volvo. The slogan: “because life happens all at once.” What the heck does that even mean? /

    It’s obviously a reference to the relativistic (or is it quantum?) idea that the human brain is the only thing that “produces” the concept of “time” – in objective reality, all events happen simultaneously.

    Or something like that. Damn those advanced-physics-degree-holding TV Ad execs trying to make us think deep thoughts via Volvo commercials!

  2. Sylvanite

    It’s nice that Mr. Snedeker can afford the luxury of a stay-at-home spouse. Perhaps Ms. Supon should persuade her husband to quit his job? This stuff drives me nuts because I see glimpses of my future should I have kid(s). I know I won’t be able to afford to quit my job, and my earning potential is greater than my boyfriend’s to boot, though we currently make about the same amount of money.

    Can I move to the Netherlands already? I hear that you get a year of paid parental leave there (both parents can take off).

  3. wordgirl

    Snedecker must be one of those ignorant blowhards who hasn’t figured out that his eight days of unused sick leave are due only to the fact that he has a slave who stays home with children…even when they’re not ill. Ms. Supon apparently has no slave who is able or willing to do that for her.

    So they fight like brother and sister, do they? Sounds like little Joe needs a time out.

  4. nicky

    Note how the issue comes down to the necessity of the two grownups to play nice and get along (translation: whazzamatter, bitch, can’t you TAKE it?), rather than addressing the total inappropriateness, not to mention pig-tardedness, of Mr. Meterologist’s on-air taunts. Someone should fire his pompous ass. I can’t believe we’re STILL dealing with this shit.

    And Twisty, I confess, I agree with you about Mr. Colbert. A little seems to go a long way. I think he’s just not being faux-obnoxious enough. Perhaps he’ll become more O’Reillian with time.

  5. Sara

    I hate car ads. Who the hell are these people talking to? I mean, ever? I can’t remember ever seeing a car ad that appealed to me. Never. Maybe that’s why I don’t own my own car. (Or maybe it’s the fact that most new cars cost at least twice what I take home in a given year.)

    Oh, wait, I take that back. Martina Navratilova (who kicks ass) advertised for Subaru once, well after she’d come out, won Wimbledon six or seven times and then retired, and Subaru also sponsors a travel show on PBS called Globe Trekker with a line to the effect of “Who else would you expect to sponsor this show?” And hey, my boyfriend owns a Subaru, just like a third of the rest of Massachusetts seems to. But then, he already owned it by the time these ads began appearing. So there you go.

    I just want to know who the rest of these ads, which irritate me or knock me senseless with boredom, really talk to. We are talking about close to 100% of all car advertising. Whom are these ads reaching? Does as big a proportion of the American car market really respond to these ads as ad/auto people think?

    On other topics, yes, an odd assortment of things will get your site blocked, though having been well away from office work for some time now I have to admit I never really thought about companies employing filters. My boyfriend looked into the home version of this stuff at some point (out of political curiosity; we were not thinking of buying any) and discovered that talking about feminism will also get you blocked via several different brands of software designed to make the internet “safer” for children. This immediately made me link to the Guerrilla Girls and a long explanation about who they are on my art site (which link is temporarily unavailable due to a long overdue site overhaul currently underway, but can be clicked here). I have no idea what effect this had on my traffic, since I don’t really worry about such things, and I’m bummed that putting information out there is now often the surest way of keeping it from getting into the minds of people who most need it. On the other hand, knowing that enough people consider feminism “unsafe” for children to block sites which use the word makes me want to talk about it all the more, just in case sheer volume can overwhelm their systems of protection and break down some walls.

  6. alex

    Mr. Snedecker needs a week of unpaid leave, during which he can reflect on the meaning of the word “professionalism”. He might have a real point–Ms. Supon may be receiving preferential treatment–but none of us knows that. What should be obvious to anyone over the age of five, though, is that this isn’t the way to go about solving any problem he might have.

    If he doesn’t come back with a groveling apology for his rudeness, I’m sure they can find a nice cardboard box to put his career in, along with everything else in his desk.

    Well, enough wishful thinking for one morning.

  7. gigi

    What do you make of this?

  8. mary tyler gore

    it was my understanding that personal information such as number sick days used/available, vacation time, etc. was confidential HR information? obviously, it is fodder for laughs at the expense of working mothers.

  9. Ledasmom

    Talk it out like brother and sister? What, screaming “He started it!”, punching, kicking, and being sent to their rooms?
    Okay, but I don’t think that’s gonna help.

  10. norbizness

    I like the car ad where, upon touching somebody else’s Nissan or Hyundai, you immediately become privy to the car owner’s inner life, which involves the white slave trade or something.

    Least favorite line, ever, from a hypershrill yuppie banshee in a Dodge commercial: “I’M just TELLING little JOEY about the new DURANGO!”

    P.S. You can’t gild the lily in Texas, the last Legislature made that a Class B misdemeanor because it sounded dirty.

  11. Q Grrl

    Methinks that Mr Snedecker would not pose the same question to his staff assistant if she were to be using her sick time on her children.

  12. Tony Patti

    I’d like to think that ad execs are current on the state of time-theory myself, but, alas, a lifetime in the business makes it too unlikely. One of my favorite books is the entry-level “Time, the familiar stranger” which explains the differences between our perception of time and other perceptions of time, including the “everything at once” perception of time, which is quantum, I think.

    A sample thought is the beautifully expressed idea that there is no yardstick for time. We have tried, in the physical world, to develop yardsticks to measure time. Up until recently, it was the radioactive decay of some element or the other, and they’ve come up with something else lately that is related to light. I should proabably google it. But, still, there is no universal constant of time, like there is for mass.

    Any ad slogan referring to things happening at the same time is proably reflecting the insane amount of stress felt by some genius on a tight deadline trying to juggle an e-mail avalanche with a hip-hop jangling cell phone and five IM windows filled with co-workers and a stream of similarly stressed people careening past his cubicle barking demands, orders and imprecations as if they were actually being understood through the tightly-plugged ipod buds in his ears.

  13. nina

    Leaf blowers are the spawn of the devil. I blame the patriarchy for them.

  14. Ron Sullivan

    Wilkes-Barre with an “e” that gets pronounces as a schwa, except that locally it’s called “Wukspur.” Or “Shithole” by some few. And Moosic is up closer to Scranton, and is as I recall famous for having a bazillion-year-old pothole. Really.

    And if Mr. Snedecker (now that sounds more like a Harrisburg name; gods help him, I wonder if he’s an import) were Ms Supon’s boss and had Word One to say about her “having to choose whether to be a working mother or a career woman” whatever the fuck that means, he’d be looking at his ass in a courtroom because she could have him there faster than the speed of light.

  15. Dim Undercellar

    I tried to read “A Brief History of Time”, but got lost about 3/4th of the way through. It was like:

    “Ok… with ya… ok… yeah… got that… wait, what?” *flips back six pages* “Ok… with ya… got that… wait, what?” *flips back six pages*

    Repeat for about an hour before I give up entirely.

  16. Elise

    Leaf blowers are instruments of the devil.

    And Stephen Colbert … well, he’s under a lot of pressure to be as good as Jon Stewart right from the get-go, which even Jon Stewart wasn’t. Maybe, given time, he’ll find his niche?

  17. Steph

    Leaf blowers, blow. Crunching through leaves is one of life’s great pleasures.

    And that weather guy can bite me. In Canada we have 1 year paid parental leave benefits (which aren’t perfect but really help) but it’s what happens after that, that is the issue.

    Kids get sick. Someone has to stay home with them. Workplaces don’t know how to deal with it nor do most men. They’re lucky they get sick days. Many people stay home with sick kids and don’t get paid, get flack at work and feel guility about the need to be with their children.

    Reminds me a story a co-worker told me. She has six kids and when she was a stay at home mom in the 70s they were all sick at once and she was sick and the house was a mess. Her husband came home, ate his dinner (prepared by his harried, sick wife) and when he finished told her: “Don’t worry about the dishes dear. You can do them tomorrow.”

    Same shit, different location.

  18. bitchphd

    Good for Ms. Soupon for telling the asshole weatherman, ON AIR, that he’d crossed the line. Love (not) the whole “they’re like brother and sister” routine. Yeah: the kind of siblings where the brother sits on his butt playing video games while his sister does the dishes and laundry….

    Oh, and welcome to the world of the inappropriate and therefore blocked feminist web sites. Apparently there are also libraries where we cannot be read.

  19. Carol

    That’s my hometown (believe me, it took me no time to get my patriarchy-blaming ass outta there) and it’s pronounced Wilkes-Berry. Only K-Tel announcers say “Wilkes-Bar-uh.”

  20. kathy a

    having been blessed with a skateboard-in-residence for some years, i can only say: better the bus stop than the kitchen. i’m also in favor of your diligent leaf-blowing neighbor doing some community service leaf-blowing several miles away, or even better, in a needy state in the northeast. maybe the ad execs can set something up.

    mr. snedeker is a victim of the perky news syndrome, plus blindness in a few areas [that he is lucky to have a stay-home spouse to deal with emergencies; that someone else’s sick days are personal, and out of bounds; that on-air comments are seen by a whole lot of other people; etc.]. apparently, he thought joking about sick days and how his colleague should find another career was on par with joking about something inconsequential, like whose team was losing in the playoffs.

    let’s just suppose roles were reversed, and she made on-air jokes about him using all his sick days for, say, a prostate problem, or a heart attack — so maybe he should find a new career. ha, ha. i’d guess she’d be fired for unprofessionalism, instead of counseled to kiss and make up.

    [i know this isn’t an exact analogy, but 2 career families and single parents are in a box — when something happens with the kids, especially very young kids, it has at least the same career impact as a personal illness requiring immediate attention. nobody else can do what has to be done, and trying to juggle the responsibility is a superhuman task.]

  21. beth

    //Mr. Snedeker, who does weather reports on radio stations WKRZ and WILK, told one morning talk show that Ms. Supon left the TV show abruptly because she was ill. He attributed her tears to having something in her eye.//

    *mouth hangs open*

  22. laughingmuse

    “Mr. Snedecker needs a week of unpaid leave, during which he can reflect on the meaning of the word “professionalism”. He might have a real point–Ms. Supon may be receiving preferential treatment–but none of us knows that. What should be obvious to anyone over the age of five, though, is that this isn’t the way to go about solving any problem he might have.

    If he doesn’t come back with a groveling apology for his rudeness, I’m sure they can find a nice cardboard box to put his career in, along with everything else in his desk.

    Well, enough wishful thinking for one morning.”

    Wordy McFucking Word, Alex.

    This guy is either so clueless – or so callous – that he needs a professional-level “intervention”… and perhaps his wife could job-swap with him for a few weeks to see if he enjoys “the other side”.

  23. Meribeth

    Mr. Snedeker needs to have a serious reality check. It’s pathetic that the station does not insist on an on air apology. He demeaned her and made a complete ass out of himself and it certainly does not reflect well on the station.

    I DO blame the patriarchy.

    And “the secret world of knitters” is very very democratic. Snots knit too.

  24. Hattie

    Leaf blowers! TV weather! Spats about child care! People are spending too much time on crap. We can’t afford this shit any more. We’re at war. We’re running out of resources. People are sick. Wake up, America!!!
    The above is not meant to be taken seriously. Can’t we all just get along?

  25. Angie

    OMG! “Wordy McFucking Word”! — ROTLF— LM, can I use that if I give you credit?

  26. DivorceDiva

    “Methinks that Mr Snedecker would not pose the same question to his staff assistant if she were to be using her sick time on her children.”

    No, he pretty much said he’d fire her too.

  27. DivorceDiva

    “Meanwhile, Tom Speranza, who notes with horror that the kid involved is named “Campbell Supon,””

    Now this, if true, is actually almost as offensive as the blockhead weatherman. Why don’t people THINK when they name these poor children?

  28. k

    Just for the record; I knew a woman who came after two weeks of sick kids and 57-hour work weeks, even though she was sick herself and exhausted, so she wouldn’t get fired. She ended up leaving work and fell asleep driving home – in front of a pulp truck, with her baby in the back seat.

  29. Kyra

    If I were Ms. Supon, when the other guy said he would make her choose between being a mother and having a career, and the second guy said he went over the line, I’d have said, “It’s all right, I don’t think he understands how offensive that is, I mean he OBVIOUSLY found it very easy to decide not to be a father.” And then added something about how *I* was an equal parent rather than selfishly leaving my spouse to give up his career goals and financial independence to pick up my childcare responsibilities because I was too busy for my kids. And implied that he was taking his family for granted, or buying them with his fat paycheck, or something.

    If I ever get fired from a job, this will probably be why.

  30. Steve Pick

    I just want to jump in and defend Stephen Colbert’s honor for a minute. So far this week, I’ve laughed more per half hour of the Report than per half hour of the Daily Show, though I will admit my most riotous laughs have been triggered by Mr. Stewart.

    Is it just me, or is the Daily Show upping the quantity of “pussy,” “gay,” and other patriarchy-affirming insults of late? Most of the new guys – and why are they always guys? Is Sam Bee the only funny woman in the world? – are pretty weak, although the guy who did the bit on women presidents had some fresh angles that worked.

    I still refuse to miss the Daily Show, while I only try to watch Colbert (which has been easy three of the first four nights), but he ain’t a waste of my time.

  31. Kyra

    Last I checked, they’re measuring time by the speed at which the electrons in a certain atom oscilate; i.e. a second is defined as the time it takes for it to oscillate a specific (large) number of times.

    The problem with measuring time is relativity: as you get faster, time slows down. Also we’re caught up in it, making it moderately less than possible to observe it objectively.

    Car ads are inherently boring. Car on a road. Some interior shots. It’s fast. It’s pretty/luxurious/macho, depending on the target market. Whoop-de-doo, so are the rest. Get a new one and dump your old one, if it’s more than three years old it’s worthless, so why don’t you just lease it (so we can get the same effect as if you’d bought it and defaulted on your payments: once you’ve got it half paid for, we get it back). Grrr.

  32. Kyra

    If Mr. Snedecker thinks Ms. Supon is getting preferential treatment by getting the option to stay home and clean up her kid’s vomit instead of coming to the station, why doesn’t he go be a stay-at-home parent?

    Oh, wait, he’s objecting to the fact that she got paid. ‘Cause cleaning up after a sick kid is a slave’s job. How dare a *mother* actually get paid.

    Dipshit, that’s what sick days are FOR! They are part of your salary; the company OWES everybody those days off. Doesn’t matter what you use them for, as long as you don’t go over your limit; you have a right to them.

  33. rose

    On the second night of Colbert report I came to the same conclusion you did, a little bit of Colbert goes a long way. I’m hoping they will rework the format.
    I am so way tired of this shit about how co-workers are supposed to be a family. No wonder idiots like this think it is appropriate to be an asshole on the public airways. Discipline, termination.

  34. BuxomBroad

    “because life happens all at once.” What the heck does that even mean?

    It is polite adspeak for “because shit happens all at once”

    That, however, would be simultaneously too dated and too profane for general consumption, so it has to be watered down to a Zen consistency. Or at least what the baby boomer targets will THINK is Zen-scented or Zen-flavored or otherwise Zendy, which rhymes with trendy, which they will then rush out and buy.

  35. Cathy

    Re your site being blocked for “breast”: Many years ago, when I was clueless and therefore using AOL, the members of a breast cancer discussion group discovered we could no longer use “breast.” For example, we couldn’t open a chat room called “Breast Cancer,” because, as we all know, breasts are indecent. We could, however, discuss “jug cancer,” “melon cancer,” etc.

  36. nicky

    Cathy: Your post made my day. I’ll keep “melon” and “jug” in mind the next time I’m posting about (gasp) BREAST cancer.

    What a world, what a fucking world.

    By the way, until the dreaded “feminists” and other activists pointed it out, up until the 1980s (if memory serves, can’t promise) breast cancer research was conducted on MEN, not women. Duh-uh-uh.

  37. FlippyO

    My girlie and I were discussing the The Colbert Report yesteday and thinking it needed some retooling. It’s a bit too much of Stephen (whom I love) for me and it seems like a bit too much for him too. I’m hoping that we’ll see some improvement next week, because generally I do like the show.

    I sure hope little Campbell’s mother uses her maiden name for work and that Campbell goes by his father’s name. Campbell Supon is just totally cruel.

  38. Sarah Ennals

    about how co-workers are supposed to be a family

    A friend of mine once said that if the workplace were a model for family, it would be the most horrifically dysfunctional family in the world: “I’m sorry, kids, you won’t be seeing any more of Uncle Dave – he wasn’t working out, so we got rid of him.”

  39. methea

    This reminds me of when AOL started seriously
    censoring content and blocked all instances
    of the word “breast.” Their large breast
    cancer survivor forum had to rename themselves
    the hooter cancer survivor group in order
    to not get blocked. This happened in 1995,
    I think

  40. Kate

    In Australia, we don’t have much of an autumn so leaf-blowers aren’t all that common. What we do have (in the driest continent on earth) are dickwads who hose down their driveways. This has led to many incidents of hose rage where do-gooding greenies such as myself abuse and harangue those ignorant wastrels we see watering leaves into the drain. My favourite line is “concrete doesn’t grow when you water it”. Not very original but it gets the point across.

  41. manxome

    I just saw an ad for a Volvo. The slogan: “because life happens all at once.” What the heck does that even mean?

    It means impulse buy now, because the quarterly reports come in next week and we’ve been eyeing a politician we’d like to add to our collection.

  42. J. Ascher

    Imagine the mind set not just of a man hating a woman such, but also of a person denouncing another for not fully submitting to an authoritarian corporation. I wonder if the CPSU hacks had similar thoughts about sick leave. Sure, they might have taken a long, deep swing at your skull with a pick-axe for betraying the Party, but would they have publicly mocked you for a sick day? Doubt it.

  43. Lil

    Twisty, I’m not sure where you got this picture of me, but I believe I have some copyright priviledges, which are being ignored here.

    If you really want to know what exactly I was doing, it wasn’t leaf-blowing. Well, okay, I blew some leaves, and when the job was finished, I headed over to station WNEP, and I blew some mustard seeds up Mr. Snedeker’s nose. I was lenient. But next time …

  44. julia

    What is the deal with knitting? Why are all these women doing it? Am I missing something? Oh I hate it when I’m out of the loop!

    As for Mr. Snedeker, didn’t he ever hear of family leave? I remember when you weren’t allowed to take sick days for a child’s illness. You could lie, or go to work and have the daycare call and say your kid was sick. The latter worked best, because no matter how misogynistic or anti-family your boss was, he was afraid that is something serious was wrong with your child, he could be sued.

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