Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bostonist: Herald discovers that LUPEC ladies drink scotch

This week, my friend Lissa Harris debuted her much-needed media blog, Women Do! Its aim: to catalogue and mock the many pieces of trashy "trend journalism" inflicted on the thinking women of the world these days. Writes Harris:
The true Women Do story is not about medical issues, or gender discrimination, or anything properly related to women qua women. Oh no. It is about the shocking spectacle of women doing stuff that people generally do. At its heart is typically an earth-shattering revelation that some women, for instance, like to drive motor-cars or eat ice-cream. The reporter sets about tackling this topic with all the barmy innocence of a two-year-old child, a Betelgeusian anthropologist or a time-traveler from 1769. (Inside tip: As a rule, reporters and editors are not actually all that amazed that women can do stuff. But they think you are.)

...The perpetrators of the classic Women Do story will inflict on us any number of stale puns, cliches, slogans, witticisms and bons mots. They will lard headlines, subheads, captions and ledes with great glops of insufferable cuteness. They will, in their gormless way, encourage girls to go.
The very next day, a prime specimen of Women Do! journalism appeared in the Boston Herald concerning LUPEC, an organization of women bartenders in Boston that became a household name in 2008 due to its valiant efforts to raise cocktail awareness and money for charity.

You see, now that everyone who cares already knows about LUPEC, the Herald has decided to discover it. Condescendingly and inadequately. From it's pun-rific headline ("Raising the Bar") to its insufferable verbiage (they actually used the word "sassy"), the article was pretty gormless (Later, I learned that the reporter, Kerry Byrne, goes by the nickname of Chief Angry Troll on the football fansite, which does not surprise me at all.) Here you have an article where badass LUPEC president Misty Kalkofen is literally lighting ingredients on fire in a Congress Street basement, and you find it more newsworthy to note that her friend's not drinking a Cosmo?

So by way of introducing the Bostonist readership to Harris' blog and re-introducing them, for the hundredth time, to the Herald's increasingly lazy reportage, I filed this blog post in response. Then I promptly made plans to visit Kalkofen at Drink, where it was confirmed that she's still one of the best bartenders in Boston, double-X chromosome be damned. (Alexis asked her what liquor she was pouring, and not only did she give us the last 100 years of history on the stuff, she also described the way the U.S. product differs from the French product and why it was like a vermouth but not like a vermouth... All while shaking the dickens out of an egg cocktail, filling our water glasses, finding us a seat at the bar, and taking orders from other customers.)

Things got meta when Harris read my piece and decided to quote it on her Women Do! blog. A nice, sarcastic exchange ensued in the comments, and walking-food-encyclopedia-about-town MC Slim JB offered to write an entry just for us (for a story about "women enjoying Vietnamese food", he suggested the headline "Banh mi, bonne amie").


Blogger MC Slim said...

"walking-food-encyclopedia-about-town MC Slim JB": that's the nicest thing anyone's said about me!

I'm also really enjoying Lissa Harris's "Women Do" blog.

Fans of Misty Kalkofen should check out my interview with her over at, the excellent Boston cocktail-scene blog written by LUPEC Boston member Lauren Clark:

9:50 AM  
Blogger Ryan Rose said...

MC, it's a pretty apt description. You've certainly earned it.

I LOVED this interview with Misty! Just passed it along to fellow fans of LUPEC. Great job.

12:47 PM  
Blogger virtualredhead said...

This one isn't female-specific, but I'd like to contribute the gem described here to the pantheon of horrible trend "journalism". This is just the kind of thing that makes me want to throw my keyboard across the room, and i'm tired of buying new keyboards.

9:48 AM  

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