So I alluded to the whole “Mitt Romney was shocked at a binder full of women” stuff this morning, but mostly because everyone else was and for some reason people were like OMG! That’s SO FUNNY! But to tell the truth, the whole kerfuffle is sort of confusing. I don’t…I mean…Look. This is what Mitt Romney said that made half of the Internet melt down.
And I — and I went to my staff, and I said, “How come all the people for these jobs are — are all men.” They said, “Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.” And I said, “Well, gosh, can’t we — can’t we find some — some women that are also qualified?”
And — and so we — we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet.
I went to a number of women’s groups and said, “Can you help us find folks,” and they brought us whole binders full of women.
See, the problem here is that there isn’t actually a joke here…at least not one that the context seems to indicate. It’s a little like Joe Biden just laughing at whatever he happened to think was funny. I guess you had to be there. Or be a little overly desperate to turn something into a gaffe. The underlying story seems to be that Mitt Romney noticed that the people filling the vacancies seemed to only be hiring men, so he made a concerted effort to find qualified female candidates. Since most corporations put things in binders when they want to organize said things, I can only assume the women’s groups were, you know, sticking to the plan.
First of all, let me just say a Trapper Keeper is not a binder. Did you not watch those commercials in the 1980s? Also, who the hell taught you to use spray paint? Actually, never mind. Your kid. Your kid taught you to use spray paint. Your kid who gets participation trophies from his public school 2nd grade Whole Language teacher in order to preserve his self esteem. Also, as Twitchy notes, please keep doing this.
The problem, though, is not that people paid twenty bucks an hour are adopting the phrase to “stand up” for women’s rights dressed as cardboard school supplies, but perhaps the fact that no one can explain whatprecisely is (1) offensive or (2) funny about the actual quote. I mean, it’s sort of funny to say and the visual of women, dressed as representations of various multicultural units organized into those plastic report sheets is kind of hilarious, but the most anyone can give to back up the outrageous outrage is that it’s “emblematic” of “how Romney views women.” Which is to say, from the story, as “underrepresented in the cabinet of the governor’s office of an East Coast state in the early 2000s.”
But yet everyone finds it to be pithy, hilarious, timely and intelligent commentary. I suspect this may be because this is like the David Sedaris of political comedy memes. It’s not actually funny, but all the right people think it’s funny, so people keep saying it’s funny because they think it’ll make them sound smarter. In the end, I guess, the main reason any joke is funny is the main reason this one is funny: the audience finds it funny. What you think of the audience is a whole ‘nother story. For the liberals, I suspect it plays into a couple of pre-conceived notions they have about Mitt Romney – that he’s somehow anti-women, that he’s the product of a gentler time in which people used office supplies as office supplies and not as ironic paperweights – and in some way must allow them to feel superior to him, as though selecting from qualified female candidates rather than depending on affirmative action to drop them in his lap makes him an idiot.
But whatever. Maybe I shouldn’t tell them it’s not funny and just wait until they move on to it’s ironic value.
UPDATE: Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks this is an indication things have jumped the shark.