James Corden: the 2022 Ellen
It has not been a terribly good week to be British, has it? It’s been pandemonium in the country itself and one of Britain’s more famous exports has been making a disgrace of himself. I speak of James Corden, of course. The comedian, an English immigrant in LA, has been making headlines for some egg-ceptionally mean-spirited behaviour. He turned up to eat at Balthazar, a fancy New York restaurant, and was nasty to the waitstaff, according to Balthazar’s owner, Keith McNally. In one incident he was extremely mean after he found a hair in his meal. In another he became apocalyptic because the staff got his wife’s order of an egg yolk omelet wrong. There was a little bit of egg white in it apparently, and we can’t be having that can we?
McNally, who perhaps sensed a good opportunity for some free PR, did not hold back his thoughts on Corden. In an Instagram post he banned the comedian from his restaurant and called him “a tiny Cretin of a man” and “the most abusive customer to my Balthazar servers since the restaurant opened 25 years ago”. Still, that abuse was quickly forgiven after Corden apparently called up McNally to apologize. “Anyone magnanimous enough to apologize to a deadbeat layabout like me (and my staff) doesn’t deserve to be banned from anywhere,” McNally later wrote. Dude, apologizing isn’t magnanimous; it’s the absolute least someone can do!
The story should really have ended there but Corden decided to keep it going by telling the New York Times he hadn’t “done anything wrong, on any level”. Corden said: “I feel so zen about the whole thing. Because I think it’s so silly. I just think it’s beneath all of us.”
It’s not beneath me, mate. I understand that this is just some silly celebrity gossip and there are more important things to be worried about in the world, but that’s precisely why I am so deeply invested in the Corden drama. When the world is falling apart, celebrity gossip provides welcome relief. And there’s a lot of Corden gossip out there. As soon as McNally unleashed on Corden the floodgates opened and lots of stories about Corden being “a tiny Cretin of a man” emerged. Becky Habersberger, who is married to a member of the Try Guys, shared a TikTok video about how she witnessed Corden yell at a busboy in Los Feliz. People started sharing a Popbitch story about how Corden had once ignored his crying baby for the entirety of a flight and left his wife to deal with the kid (grounds for murder). Everyone remembered that time he was seen cozying up to Sean Spicer at an Emmys party. And the time he was rude to Sir Patrick Stewart.
The parallels between Ellen DeGeneres, who fell from grace in 2020 after everyone decided she was a horrible person and her on-screen bubbly persona was a scam, are not hard to see. Indeed there are plenty of people who are already calling Corden the “Male Ellen”. Corden may be the male Ellen but, unlike in Ellen’s case, I’m not sure that the allegations he is a nasty piece of work are going to put a massive dent in his career. Women, after all, are consistently held to higher ethical standards than men and more harshly punished for the same transgressions. Studies have found that people react better to anger from a man than they do from a woman. A 2008 study, for example, called “Can an Angry Woman Get Ahead?” found that “male and female evaluators conferred lower status on angry female professionals than on angry male professional.s” The study found that “whereas women’s emotional reactions were attributed to internal characteristics (eg, ‘she is an angry person,’ ‘she is out of control’), men’s emotional reactions were attributed to external circumstances.”
I don’t know where Corden’s career will go next but I do hope that he is on his best behaviour from now on. The English don’t need any more embarrassment.
Russian feminists help men avoid draft
The day after Russia invaded Ukraine, 57 feminist groups in Russia banded together to form a group called the Feminist Anti-war Resistance or FAS. The movement is active in 100 cities in Russia and abroad and has been helping men avoid conscription. Like Black Lives Matter, FAS is decentralized. “This makes the FAS more adaptable and allows for new tactics and strategies,” a political scientist explained to DW. “The Hydra has several heads, and if you cut one off, 10 new ones grow back.”
What a pregnancy actually looks like before 10 weeks
This eye-opening piece from the Guardian has been going deservedly viral.
The woman hunting down revenge porn
Mia Landsem spends hours a day (unpaid) helping victims of revenge porn track down and remove their images from the internet. I would say she’s doing God’s work but she’s actually doing the work that highly paid tech executives and politicians should be doing.
Female leaders are leaving companies at the highest rate ever
About 10.5% of female leaders (defined as those in senior management and above) left their company in 2021 compared with 9% of male leaders: the highest rate of voluntary departures since McKinsey started collecting data in 2017. Burnout and the pandemic are largely to blame.
America has a Black sperm donor shortage
Black men account for less than 2% of sperm donors at cryobanks, the Washington Post reports. “The severe shortage is forcing Black women who need donor sperm into a painful choice: Choose a donor of another race and raise a biracial child or try to buy sperm from unregulated apps and online groups.”
How a $1,900 stroller became a metaphor for motherhood
“The baby stroller is only the most visible symbol of the ethos of consumer capitalism that saturates American pregnancy and parenthood,” writes Amanda Parrish Morganin this fascinating piece.
Why Bolivia’s lawmakers are 50% women
Quotas requiring half of all party nominees are female were introduced in 1997 when just 9% of the country’s national parliament were women. Now that requirement is part of the constitution.
The week in pawtriarchy
One upside to the brouhaha in Britain is that Larry the Cat, who serves as Chief Mouser of No. 10 Downing Street, has been getting the attention and adoration he deserves. The 15-year-old tabby has now outlasted four prime ministers. “The King has asked me to become Prime Minister because this nonsense has gone on long enough,” Larry the Cat wrote in a viral tweet hours before Truss announced her resignation. Britain has officially gone to the dogs: time to bring in a cat.