A very stupid man (Mads Christensen), whose only real achievement to date seems to have been to upset some survivors of a massacre by suggesting that they should have fought back, was invited to speak at a tech conference for Dell the computer company.
This is bad publicity for Dell, they must be very happy that it “only” happened in Danish.
Why he should be invited to speak at a tech conference I am not sure because he has naff all to do with tech. He is just some wanker. I think he got invited so he could make some jokes. You know, because people who work in tech can’t make jokes, let’s just get any old wanker. And he’s cheap, is he? Great. Book him.
Anyway. The stupid wanker made some jokes. And the jokes were the following (as live tweeted by @christianevejlo):-
“Men have invented everything worthwhile. All we can thank women for is the rolling pin.”
“You are the last bastion in IT, boys. Hiss it through your teeth. Shut your fucking face, bitch”
As is usual in such “jokes”, the reason he was able to make them was total ignorance of the facts. The reason that wankers feel the need to tell everyone to “calm down, it was only a joke,” is because they believe he was making an edgy point grounded in at least a little reality. The reason that the 800 or so men in the audience laughed… well, I will come to that in a minute.
The facts: IT and invention (especially in tech), is not the last bastion of men at all. Of course women have been inventing things since prehistory. I am guessing if Stone Age women were in charge of “gathering” like everyone likes to tell me, then they probably had a lot to do with the invention of agriculture. You know, the invention that kickstarted the Neolithic Revolution. The history of recent tech started out with a lot of women initially but as it became seen as desirable, women got pushed out. How were they pushed out, you ask? The usual. Everyone saying that women cannot wrap their heads around science, maths and technology because of their biology and people “joking” around like this assclown. (Not to mention hissing at them to shut the fuck up and calling them bitches.)
Mads Christensen cannot have known that the inventor of programming, Ada Lovelace, was a woman. She invented COMPUTER PROGRAMMING. The stuff that stops Dell’s products from being a very large paperweight. He also cannot have know that the inventor of frequency-hopping spread-spectrum technology was Hedy Lamarr. Who was also a woman. The invention that makes wireless and mobile phone technology possible. He cannot have known that the original word “computer” meant a woman who worked in a computing department, doing all the computing. Before computing machines existed. He cannot have known any of these things because if he had, he would have instantly known that his joke does not work.
Also, as a purist, I like to insist that jokes are “funny”. Advising a room full of men to hiss “shut the fuck up, bitch” at imaginary women who work in IT because that is where BOYS work; that does not even work on one level. It is just bizarre. Don’t give me the “irony” defence, please. If it was irony, he would tell them off immediately for laughing and THAT would be the routine. Making them question their initial response to his awful joke would be pretty interesting comedically speaking (and also, you know, a use of irony).
My problem with the rolling pin joke isn’t so much the fact that John W. Reed (a man) invented it. And it’s not really so much that the history (and current affairs) of tech has so many important and amazing women in it.
My problem is that he, a failed comic, (for indeed you do not dream of working tech conferences when you first start out in the entertainment industry. “oh boy oh boy, I hope I get to warm up the Dell tech conference! Then I’ll KNOW I’ve made it.”), where was I? ahh yes. He, a failed comic, puts himself in the company of Leonardo, Edison, Bell et al by virtue of his peen.
And the 800 or so men who were entertained by the thought of stupid women inventing only a rolling pin in the couple of million years of all human history, those stupid bitches! What have those men invented?
A couple of elegant lines of code at best. Maybe a new way of arranging something that already exists like computer chips. And good luck to them, keep on keeping on, boys! But despite their lack of straight up inventor creds, they were also thinking in the same flawed way.
Leonardo had a peen. I have a peen. Therefore I am like Leonardo. Because of my peen.
Do me a favour, guys. Go and invent the helicopter and come back, you smug fucks. (Or computer programming, for that matter.)
So, why did they laugh? I have my ideas. Many of them will have been tickled by his jokes. Some of them will have found them amusing but hoped he was being ironic. But a hefty group will have been laughing because to not laugh, well, that is a bit dangerous in a room full of men. What might the man next to you think? You don’t think women are more than just for food and reproduction, do you? What are you, some sort of girl?
This is Tony Porter’s speech at TED women. I think a lot of them laughed because, like Mads Christensen, they are trapped in the Man Box.
Firstly, Mads Christensen says that he actually said “Hold kæft, kælling” not “Hold din kæft, kælling” and that is more like “shut up, bitch”; so not at all like “shut the fuck up, bitch”. He also intended it to be said to the wives of men who work in IT, not to female co-workers.
Secondly, some people don’t think that Ada Lovelace exactly invented computer programming because she only wrote the first ever computer program (or “algorithm”), in the entire history of computer programming. Okay, fine.
Apparently Grace Hopper is a much better example. She invented the compiler and the idea of a machine independent computer programming language; and is now my newest hero, go Grace!
So, you know, we’re still cool. Women have a lot to do with the inception of computer programming.
I think also because Hedy Lamarr didn’t invent the frequency hopping jibjab alone, people are taking that away from her. Shit, son. Is nothing sacred? The guy who invented sellotape is revered in our culture and he didn’t act alone, ok?
Thirdly, Danes are desperately trying to claim it is “Danish humour” and “satire” and “irony” and “Danish culture”. They are claiming that only people who can’t get jokes are “offended”. Let’s be clear, fellas, I am not sure anyone IS offended.
Shocked and disappointed, maybe, like a favourite teacher when they catch you mocking someone for cheap laughs. They make a sad face and they say
“Did you think that was funny, to be so mean? Wow.”
and you go: “Oh man, I should act like a human being in future.”
And you do. And everyone learns something.