Monologue: Lois Lane Explains White Male Privilege to Superman – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
You walked into the Daily Planet with a résumé listing only the name of your high school and a weekend job helping out your dad as a “farm hand.” Perry White offered you a job as a full-time reporter on the spot.
I went to a four-year university and was managing editor of the school paper when it won a Pacemaker award, and I had to interview with Perry three times. It wasn’t until I handed him a story I wrote on spec detailing an underground dog-fighting ring run by a powerful Metropolis alderman, one that I went undercover for two months to break, that he agreed to give me a three-week tryout.
After a while, watching you with newspaper ink stains on your face, bumbling your way around the halls of the Daily Planet, constantly spilling hot coffee on yourself, I felt sorry for you. Maybe I had been unfair. So I worked hard on myself. I spoke to a therapist, took up meditation. At last, I found I was able to stop resenting you and just accept you as a sweet, wholesome guy. You couldn’t help it if you were a dopey hack reporter.
Then, when the mine explosion happened last month, I watched as Superman arrived to save workers from under the collapsed mine. I cheered along with everyone else in the office. The next morning, you — Clark Kent — miraculously have a front-page story so detailed it could only have been written by someone who witnessed the event firsthand.
“You saved us, Superman,” the chubby one shouted. Another, less chubby but still out of shape Chileen (sic) miner said, “I apologize if we smell, Superman. We were down the mineshaft for quite a while.” Superman thought that yes, they did stink, but he was too polite to agree. Superman momentarily fought off a sneeze. That’s how dusty these Chillenes (sic) are he thought, dusty enough to tangle with my super nose.
Also, there are other sections where you literally slip back and forth between the tense of the first and third person.
Suddenly, it’s all right there for me, the barefaced truth. You are Superman. Your story with poor grammar and weak sentence structure is on the front page, and my piece on Lex Luthor’s corrupt Presidential campaign, one that I spent eight weeks fact-checking and verifying as staffers kept popping up murdered, is relegated to below the fold on page four.
I chose this career because it allows me some independence. I can work a story like no one else, mine those details for the big picture, and knock a powerful company, politician, or special interest on its ass… but sorry, I can’t fly! I can’t simply turn on my super hearing and listen in on a conversation between hired goons. I can’t dangle thugs from the side of a building, drop them, and then fly quickly to catch them before they hit the ground and repeat the process until they give me the vital information I need for my report. If I want to get a story on nuclear arms trafficking, I have to find a source willing to go on the record, risking their life. My God, do you know how many people I’ve lost, people who trusted me, who put their lives on the line because they believed in something greater than themselves? I don’t sleep at night thinking about all of those I’ve lost.
Look, no one is saying you’re not a hero, Clark. You certainly are. But you benefit directly from the advantages you have been given by a patriarchal society that values a white male voice above a woman’s, and also from the Earth’s Sun from which you derive all your extraordinary powers. And I have much more to worry about than some green, glowing rock. I’m the same bad-ass bitch, glasses on or glasses off.