did you hear me on npr?

September 2nd, 2008 | Uncategorized

No? Well, here.

78 Responses to “did you hear me on npr?”

  1. notpeanut says:

    oh, cool!!!

    but the audio isn’t up yet. it says it’s supposed to be up… um, now. approximately.

  2. Deborah says:

    The audio is up now.

  3. wildeny says:

    Ah! You’re in my favorite radio program. I listen to it every day (almost). The audio is already up now.

  4. shadocat says:

    yup, I did. So you’re Alison Bech-DEL now?

    P.s. You have the perfect voice for NPR

  5. kim says:

    I did! While I was stuck in grid-lock traffic. If I hadn’t been stuck in traffic I would have been home by then. Good for you!

    I agree about the perfect voice for NPR.

  6. Christine says:

    Oh my gosh. It totally would have been an NPR driveway moment …except, I was already wiggling because I had to “go.” Will download audio tonight! Yea!

  7. coolmama says:

    Yep, heard it, and sent the link right away to my way-cool animation-making son!

  8. martha says:

    Yes! It began as I was pulling into the grocery store lot, so I had a “parking lot moment” listening to the whole story. It was amazing to suddenly hear your voice; definitely made my day!

  9. K.B. says:

    I also want to know: why does NPR (this isn’t the first time) always insist on calling you Bech-DEL? On your FAQ it says it’s supposed to rhyme with rectal.

  10. Liza Cowan says:

    Any news from Liz Wallace?

  11. The Cat Pimp says:

    I did not hear AB telling them how to prounounce her name…unless she’s gone all *fancy* on us.

  12. Debs says:

    I just stumbled upon it by accident! How cool!


  13. Maria says:

    Yes, I did, it was great!

  14. Ready2Agitate says:

    Fabulous. Bravo.

    On the Monkey See blogments on the show there’s a suggested rule for any show that features a gay male character who: 1. does not die; and 2. was not molested as a child. Ah, the many we could contrive…. Long live the Bechtl/Wallace Rule.

  15. zeitgeist says:

    I heard the story on NPR ( WGBH, the local affiliate here)It’s funny, when the announcer first talked about the ‘Bechdel’ rule, I immediately thought of you and that comic strip about movies. Imagine my surprise when I realized that was what they were talking about!

  16. Roz Warren says:

    I did! i was just driving along and suddenly they were talking about the Bechdel Rule on NPR! The coolest moment of my day, for sure…

  17. Alex K says:

    Some people say the word’s “bahn-AAAHHL”
    and some pronounce it “BAY-nul”.
    I say it rhymes, not with “canal”,
    instead, with good old “anal”.

    Who’s ready to volunteer the “Bechdel” / “rectal” mnemonic quatrain?

  18. NLC says:

    There once was a cartoonist named Bechdel
    Whose last name rhymed with the word “rectal”.
    This started out well,
    but it went straight to hell
    ’cause I can’t think of a rhyme for the last line

  19. Anonymous says:

    Off topic, but I’m very surprised (and very disappointed) that AB hasn’t posted about the death of Del Martin. Or even mentioned it. Unless I’m totally missing something, which is entirely possible.

  20. NLC says:


    For postings by AB (and others) on this topic see the comments for the article “Update from Herring Cove”.

    (One of the clear disadvantages of this type ‘blog-structure is that there’s no way of threading by topic.)

  21. Andrew B says:

    does you squirms
    when she affirms
    that Bechdel
    rhymes with rectal?

    raking in the bucks: Bechtel
    skewering the schmucks: Bechdel
    so now you too can tell
    which rhymes with, um — rectal

  22. rtha says:

    I heard it while I was driving home, and was completely delighted.

    Until they managed to do the whole piece, and talk to you, without actually saying the words “Dykes to Watch Out For.” That irritated me, and prompted me to begin composing a letter to NPR in my head.

    There’s a post and some discussion going on here: http://www.metafilter.com/74592/The-Bechdel-Test

  23. Hey, yeah! I didn’t realize till I was falling asleep last night that they hadn’t said Dykes To Watch Out For.

  24. Noominal says:

    Other than reeeeeeeally get irked with the contsant name mispronunciations, I was delighted to see your simple movie viewing qualifications getting so much scrutiny.

    BTW, “Sex and the City” alternately meets and flunks according to NPR commenters… I could help but out Alison on that one. 😉


  25. Debs says:

    To complete NLC’s with a rhyme:

    There once was a cartoonist named Bechdel
    Whose last name rhymed with the word “rectal”.
    But when for her name
    I found no rhyme came,
    I hit “delete” after “select all.”


  26. Kate L says:

    I can remember watching popular television sitcoms in the early 60’s that featured the likes of June Cleaver, and thinking that television was fake because the women I saw there were not like the strong, independent women I knew in my family.

  27. BDOC1992 says:

    Oh how I wish for the strip that uses this perky NPR discussion of the rule as audio mise en scene.

  28. NLC says:

    OK, Debs; how about this:

    There once was a cartoonist named Bechdel
    Whose last name rhymed with the word “rectal”.
    But it’s much more fun
    to rhyme “Alison”
    Because I can do that correct-o!

  29. Anonny Mouse says:

    Not like anybody asked, but limericks ideally have 9 syllables in the first, second, and fifth lines. Some tiny adjustments:

    There once was an artist named Bechdel
    Whose name assonated with “rectal.”
    But when for her name
    A third rhyme never came,
    I hit “delete” after “select all.”

    Believe it or not, the obvious pun in “assonated” wasn’t intentional, it’s just a convenient 4-syllable synonym for “rhymed.” I guess either word WILL help you remember the other, though…

    Now that I think about it, Berkeley “Bloom County” Breathed once suggested the appropriate name for someone who draws a comic strip is “stripper,” which could easily replace “artist” above, so I suppose the limerick has the potential to be even more risque. 🙂

  30. Anonny Mouse says:

    Off-topic, you know a respected author who compiled collections of obscene limericks? Dr. Isaac Asimov. Imagine that. Or don’t, either way. 🙂

  31. LondonBoy says:

    Meh. I don’t respect Asimov.

  32. LondonBoy says:

    However, what I actually wanted to say was this: Google appear to have put dykestowatchoutfor.com on some sort of “inappropriate website name” filter. I usually access this site by going to Google and searching for “dtwof”, which, until a couple of days ago, gave “dykestowatchoutfor.com” as its top hit. But now the old blog comes up top, and “dykestowatchoutfor.com” is nowhere to be found. I assume some nitwit at Google wrote a little script to exclude “dyke*.com” from its list, for the obvious reason, without bothering to check specific cases.

    By the way, in case you’re wondering why I used to access the site this way, it’s simply that I couldn’t be bothered to type the long name into my browser. My laziness knows no bounds. Unfortunately, I’m also too lazy to write to Google about this. But perhaps someone from the Googleplex reads this and can fix it (well, surely they must employ some smart techno-lesbians – I’m thinking of Sparrow’s ex, June, at this point).

  33. LondonBoy says:

    My favorite limerick:

    There was a young bard of Japan,
    Whose limericks never would scan.
    When told this was so,
    He replied, “Yes, I know
    But I always try to get as many words into the last line as I possibly can.”

  34. shadocat says:

    Londonboy—I’ve been having the same experience with Yahoo.
    What gives?

  35. NLC says:

    Ya’ know, LondonBoy, that’s interesting (about possible filtering of the ‘blog at Google).

    Last week someone asked about searching just this ‘blog for specific strings and I described using the “Search within a site or domain” filter on Google-advanced page.

    At that time it worked just fine. I could get zillions of hits by searching on, say, “shadocat” on “dykestowatchoutfor.com”.

    However when I tried doing a similar (site-specific) search earlier today I suddenly go no (i.e. zero) hits.

    It appears that, clearly, something has changed.

  36. Feminista says:

    What delightful limericks from our literate lot.

    Re Isaac Asimov: he may have been a good sci fi writer,but he disrespected women. A friend of mine from college told a story about him:when requested to be in a photo with her mother,at the last minute he placed both hands on her breasts! This was at a sci fi writers’ conference.

    I’m happy to say that my classmate now is a publisher of that genre,for a company she inherited from her writer father.

  37. Lindsay says:

    Yes! I heard it on the way home from work yesterday. Sure caught me by surprise.

  38. Duncan says:

    I agree with LondonBoy: I don’t respect Asimov. Not even as a writer. Even as a young teenager I didn’t like the way he wrote. Recently I reread the first Foundation novel, for the first time in about forty years, and I was struck by how very bad it was. (Though it was also inadvertently queer, because Asimov created a galaxy with almost no women in it.) Started to read the second one, and couldn’t bring myself to do it.

  39. Jana C.H. says:

    I read somewhere that Asimov said the reason he didn’t often put women in his stories was because he rarely wrote about romance or sex. Nuff said.

    I had an idea long ago about how Asimov could have written women into his romance- and sex-free stories. All he had to do was write his all-male stories as usual, then write the names of all a story’s characters on slips of paper and put them in a jar. His wife could draw at random anything from a third to half the names, and all these characters would become female. Asimov would change the names and pronouns, and any existing physical descriptions, but no new physical descriptions could be inserted, nor could any references to flirting or sexual attraction. His editors might even have put up with it, if it were only one character per story rather than half.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith WSG: Nothing is so conductive to toleration as the knowledge that one’s bread depends upon it.

  40. Ted says:

    If you’re having Google trouble go to preferences and check the “do not filter box”. There is also a box for no filters except for pictures. DTWOF still comes up first on Google for me.

  41. Aunt Soozie says:

    Even with the filter off, no matter what I search for in google,
    Alison Bechdel, dtwof, dykestowatchoutfor, Fun Home..
    I’m not getting this blog… it just doesn’t come up??
    hmmm… what’s up with that??

  42. Anonny Mouse says:

    Well, I said *a* respected author, not necessarily an author who was respected HERE. 🙂

    I agree that his science fiction (and regular fiction) definitely had weak areas. Some writers who got started in the 1930s were able to adapt to later conventions, him not so much. We’re all products of our pasts, and some of us do better jobs of transcending our pasts than others.

    Anyway, I was thinking more in terms of his books on history, literature, science, etc. I only brought him up because the topic was limericks, which made pop into my head the only author of books on limericks that I recall by name, and I thought maybe some people might find it interesting that the same author who annotated Shakespeare, the Bible, Paradise Lost, Don Juan, and the entire works of Gilbert and Sullivan also compiled obscene limericks. That’s all.

  43. Jain says:

    Jana, I used to do that with Tolkein. I just changed the pronouns in my head. Gimli, Frodo, and Sam were girls, I remember, Merry, Pippin, and Legolas stayed boys. I forget what I did with Boromir & Gandalf. It was very satisfying.

  44. Ginjoint says:

    Anybody watch Palin’s “speech”? It was just more Dubya – snide, snarky, and smug. She also didn’t touch the issues of abortion or gay rights – her camp knows her extremist views will alienate the independents & moderates that they’re after.

    She repulses me.

  45. NickelJoey says:

    Ginjoint — I couldn’t bring myself to watch. (Well, I actually had tickets to The Lion King, but had I been home, I wouldn’t have been able to bring myself to watch. Watching Julie Taymor’s work on stage was a much better way to spend the evening.)

    Having come from a conservative Christian background myself, I’ve been alternately fascinated by and sick to my stomach about it. And I can’t stop reading the press coverage.

    Her addition to the ticket has certainly energized a good contingent of the Republican party. It’s downright frightening to think that she really could be a heartbeat from the highest office in the land.

  46. NLC says:

    re: Palin

    Listening last night, I was repeatedly struck by one thought: This is Aunt Pat.

    I love my Aunt Pat. She’s funny, caring, thoughtful of everyone around her; a lovely, lovely person. She’s on the short list of the favorite people of everyone who knows her.

    But I wouldn’t for a minute consider making her Vice President.

  47. Duncan says:

    Agreed, Jana, but if you can bring yourself to reread Foundation, you’ll see that he could put romance (of a kind) between males into his fiction. Not that I want to claim the old tit-grabber for one of us. So all he would have had to do, as you suggest, would be to randomly change some of his characters to female.

    Anonny Mouse, Asimov’s non-fiction was competent, but he wouldn’t be nearly as well-known as he is if he weren’t a Golden Age SF grand master. That’s what made him famous. And as to where he’s respected, well, the fact that he was so well-respected in sf circles is one reason I never fit in with sf circles. Not that I disliked sf — I read, and still read, large amounts of it with great pleasure. But that writers like Asimov, Herbert, and the like could be *honored* by the sf fan community indicates just how low their standards were/are. I grew up reading a lot of Golden Age SF, and Asimov was always my least favorite among the big names.

  48. Ready2Agitate says:

    Oooh Al et. al., great link – thanks!

    I heard that what excited/galvanized the RNC audience was not Palin herself, but the pokes made at Obama (“hmmm, let’s look at his resume… ‘community organizer’ — laughter erupts from crowd). Bleh. Glad I missed it.

    But isn’t Antonia’s Line one of the best films ever? And it won best foreign film that year at the Andrews (er, the Oscars – am tying to spoof on medusa.com)

  49. Ted says:

    If you are having trouble with the site and have no filter turned on then check your browser filters. Maybe you wont accept a cookie or something. By the way what happens when you type in the full site name in your browser address bar?

  50. NickelJoey says:

    NLC: Brilliant. I have relatives just like that, too.

    Duncan, Jana, et al.: Asimov was my favorite author when I was a kid, and I devoured his books. But my standards were different back then. For me (see earlier post about conservative upbringing), his ideas were fascinating and the worlds he described were titillating. And I doubt my parents knew that the books they were buying me contained “dirty words” and sex scenes. So Asimov was good for me at the time. I suspect that my reaction might be similar to Duncan’s if I picked up his stuff today. But I’ll always love R. Daneel Olivaw, R. Giskard, and the Zeroth Law of Robotics.

  51. notpeanut says:

    oooh, antonia’s line. i was just thinking about that earlier today, for some reason. i agree, fabulous movie!

  52. crabgrass says:

    yes I did hear you on the radio, ma’am. and interviewed by my favorite NPR-er, too – Neda of the voice like honey. yum!

  53. cybercita says:

    i wonder if the browser people are using is part of the google problem? out of curiosity, i typed “dtwof” into my search engine, which is google, and got this blog as the first hit.
    i use safari, fwiw.
    londonboy, don’t you have bookmark capability?

  54. June says:

    The Bechdel Rule discussion also got a shout-out in this week’s Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. Check it out here.

  55. Aunt Soozie says:

    Cybercita, I use safari too. Double check. When I type in DTWOF I get what appears to be this blog because it says… DTWOF:the Blog… but it is Alison’s old blog, not this one. Click on the link to see if you are indeed being directed here. I find that no matter what I enter into Google this site does not come up.
    It’s very strange. Even if I type out Dykes to Watch out For I only get wikipedia, planet out and alison’s old blog, not this site. Some kind of censoring is going on but I don’t think it is localized to my computer as I have turned off any filters that I am aware of… dunno what’s up??

  56. Aunt Soozie says:

    Also, if you don’t mind, try searching Alison Bechdel with google and see if this site comes up… it doesn’t for me and I’m annoyed by that…

  57. Aunt Soozie says:

    Unless the person that is working on Alison’s blog somehow did something that made it unsearchable? Katie, Gaylord?? who is that techie?

  58. ksbel6 says:

    Re: Palin

    I’m worried she will decide we have too many F14s hanging around and she will put those on ebay 🙂

  59. notpeanut says:

    I tried searching for both “dtwof” and “dykestowatchoutfor”. Neither worked on Google, just like Aunt Soozie says. BUT, both worked on Goodsearch, which is better anyway b/c they give a penny to a charity (you choose which) for every search you do.

  60. NLC says:


    If folks haven’t seen it, some dates for the “Essential Dykes To Watch Out For Tour” are listed on the “Appearances” page. Also, more dates for the “State By State” tour.

    (Although I notice that, somehow, the listing for Guilford didn’t get included…)

  61. Maggie Jochild says:

    Aunt Soozie, and all — ditto here. Two possible explanations I can think of, one being the new Chrome and other changes at Google leading to some wacky change there or the new design here removing it (temporarily) from having been catalogued by Google. We’ll find out eventually. In the meantime, I couldn’t live without my bookmarks.

  62. Riotllama says:

    a recommendation:
    Love’s Body, Dancing in Time
    offers five love stories by the critically acclaimed L. Timmel Duchamp, stories only she could tell. Carnal and queer, intricate and involved, they range from the heart-breaking Sturgeon Award finalist “Dance at the Edge” to the historically authentic, Tiptree short-listed “The Apprenticeship of Isabetta di Pietro Cavazzi,” to the subtle, original “The Heloise Archive,” in which the rewriting of the eleventh-century abbess’s life story dramatically alters the course of European history. Like all of Duchamp’s work, this fiction is passionate, feminist, and intelligent.

  63. Ginjoint says:

    Riotllama, I put it on my short list.

    And NLC, thanks for the reminder to check the Appearances page! I meant to the other day, to see if Alison would be coming to Chicago, and I forgot. So I just checked…WOO HOO!! Women & Kids First, and the Art Institute – I wonder if the Art Institute is a lecture to students only (there’s the School of the Art Institute) or open to the public.

  64. Ginjoint says:

    One heads up, though – Alison, the Appearances page lists DePauw University as being in Illinois, but it’s in Indiana. (In Illinois, we have DePaul University…which is Catholic. So you might want to make sure you’re headed to the right joint.) Am I being nitpicky? Yes. But hey, just trying to help you avoid a potentially awkward scenario. (But it’s one I’d pay to see!)

  65. Jain says:

    November 8th or 9th in Portland sounds great. Or–how about November 8th in Portland, November 9th in Eugene? I’ll contact Tsunami Books.

  66. Ready2Agitate says:

    Cambridge kick-off is on erev Rosh Hashanah – waaaa! (Stuart would probably go, but wasn’t there once a more Jewishly-identified dyke?) 🙁

  67. Ready2Agitate says:

    ps Lotta cowboy messages these days, fwiw….

  68. greeningwood says:

    We’d love to see you in Eugene on November 9th!

  69. Kate L says:

    OFF-TOPIC: Why couldn’t the first Alaskan woman running for vice-president have been more like Maggie, the pilot from Cicely, Alaska, in the early 1990’s TV show Northern Exposure? Just wondering…

  70. Deborah9 says:

    Yes, I heard you on NPR while I was driving, and I was thrilled. I recently read or saw something where you were explaining the “Bechdel Rule”. I guess I’d read it in dtwof so long ago that I forgot where I’d first heard of it. I had no idea it had gone so global! Congratulations and thank you for doing what you do and being who you are.

  71. Ginjoint says:

    Kate L – alas, in real life, the actress who played Maggie is a conservative. Sad but true. But Maggie herself was awesome, wasn’t she?

  72. Ginjoint! Thanks for correcting the IL/IN thing. I don’t know if that was a mere typo, or the more egregious midwestern I-state confusion problem. But Indiana it is.

    Re: the comments on Antonia’s Line, the 1995 film by Dutch director Marleen Gorris. Yeah, that was a good movie. Her 1982 film A Question of Silence was a formative feminist influence on me. Remember the scene in court where all the women, including the defendants, the jury members, and the court-appointed psychiatrist, slowly start laughing together until they’re all hysterical?

  73. Ready2Agitate says:

    Good tip, AB – I’ll look for it! In Al et. Al’s link to the Jezebel article/discussion of The Rule, there’s a link to http://www.moviesbywomen.com – a cool site.

    ps I just saw “Man on Wire” (about Phillippe Petit who tightrope walked between the twin towers in 1973) — doesn’t follow The Rule, but it was delightful in its own way and very Errol Morris-like.

  74. Jenny says:

    This isn’t really related to the post… I totally support your sabbatical, really I do. But I just want to say I miss the strip. Tons. And Tons.

  75. an australian in london says:

    Movies I have seen recently that followed the rule:
    The Edge of Heaven (Auf der Anderen Seite)- female characters include exiled Turkish activist and German university student who become lovers and talk a lot about politics and asylum, and both their mothers, also interesting characters. Some very authentic, turn the knife mother daughter conversations too.

    Persepolis – you’ve probably heard of it or seen it. Marji talks a lot to her grandmother about religion and ethics and politics – they also have a conversation about divorce, which is obviously about a man, but more about divorce, really, and very funny.

    Then there’s one of my favourite Aussie movies, “Look Both Ways”. It is partly a hetero love story, but it’s really about death and the fear of mortality. And the main character talks to her best friend about her dad dying and about work – memorable line “you try being seven months pregnant and…[forget the middle bit]… being told by your supervisor that quadruplegics just lack motivation.”

    Maybe I unconciously loved these movies because they followed ‘The Rule’ – but I don’t think so – they were just generally fabulous. Oh there are so many good movies in the world. Maybe the rule should be “see at least one movie per month that’s not American.”

    I nearly ended there, on that sweeping generalisation, but then I realised – all three of these fabulous movies were directed and/or written by women. Hm. So, fabulous American (or otherwise) female movie directors? Recommendations?

  76. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone brought up “A Room of One’s Own” when discussing this topic? Because “the rule” seems a permutation of Virginia Woolf’s observations about the state of literature at that time and her surprise at reading Mary Carmichael’s novel, when “Chloe liked Olivia”. Although she goes further and stipulates that the women have to be named– which usually means they aren’t just walk-ons/extras that are needed to advance the plot or set the scene. Anyway, how little has changed since the 1920s…

  77. Confused says:

    What is the Bechdel rule?