I’ve been watching a lot of “Cutthroat Kitchen” lately, which is a great show. If you’ve never see it, it’s a cooking competition where contestants can use their potential prize money to bid on sabotage items to give to their competitors while they cook. Someone might end up having to cook with a potato masher taped to their hand, or using pickled ginger instead of the real stuff in ginger snaps. It’s one of my favorite shows, but I’ve noticed a strange trend: male competitors almost always sabotage other male contestants in the first round. They ignore female competitors and refer to the other men as “my biggest competition.” Sometimes a woman is eliminated in the first round, showing that maybe she wasn’t major competition. More often, though, the women (or woman - it’s usually just one) last to cook into the later rounds, showing that the men maybe should have taken them more seriously.
Let me be clear: I adore this show. This is not a problem with the writing or hosting, but with the culture of the contestants.
Historically, women could be cooks but not chefs, seamstresses but not tailors, nurses not doctors, teachers not professors. They could learn to paint, write and play music as young ladies but were rarely encouraged or allowed to make a profession of their art. When they did, they would often take on the identity of a man in order to publish, until they were confident that their work could stand on it’s own merits.
So it follows that when a woman is competing with men in an arena that has more men in its highest echelons, she will be treated more as an amateur than as an equal. Just because it follows, though, doesn’t mean it isn’t gross.
Thanks for your show. I am very much a regular listener now on WNYC in New York (Sunday at 6:00).
This might sound offensive, but I mean it in the best way: I hear the promo for your show, and I often say to myself, “I don’t give a shit about this.” Then I listen to ten or so minutes of your broadcast and I find myself totally engaged and totally drawn into whoever you are talking to, or whatever you are talking about. Your program has the ability to make me care about subjects that I was 99% sure that I wasn’t interested in. An odd compliment I’m sure, but it is a compliment I assure you!
Best to you and your colleagues at Bullseye. Keep at it.
A specific instance, delivered earlier today via email, of a sentiment I hear a lot about Bullseye.
It’s great fun for people who are already on board with the show (or who are listening on the radio and simply don’t change the channel). For us, though, it’s a pressing problem.
What’s the hook when the premise, essentially, is “trust us?”
We don’t do SHOCKING BOMBSHELLS, we don’t do CRAZY CONFLICTS, and no boldface name we book seems to have more than about a 10-15% impact on our numbers.
So… I dunno. Just throwing it out there.(via jessethorn)
This so much. I started listening because I already loved Judge John Hodgman and JJGO and I saw that Nico Muhly was doing a segment on Bullseye. After that, I went through the entire back catalog, including the college years, and haven’t stopped listening since.
If you like to enjoy things, you will probably love Bullseye. Jesse Thorn is a wizard who can make you care about things you’ve never heard of, and that’s the whole point - new things are scary but Jesse only chooses things that are scary good. It’s the best of the best and so much of what I love now has come from listening to Bullseye.
Kasper Hauser represents the brightest and best things in this world.