I thought maybe my philolzing brain had gotten away from me until I Googled it. Seriously, try it. I’m not alone.
I am an avid ‘Jeopardy’ enthusiast and at any given moment have between 10 and 40 DVRed episodes at my disposal. It’s no surprise that women never win (which is probably a criticism better aimed at the question-writers than at Trebek, to his credit), but I’ve grown increasingly aware that when a woman gets an answer wrong—even casually misspeaks—he’s quick to point out her error (in a more critical, callous manner than with a male contestant), and when she does something correct he very infrequently praises her.
All of that being said, I will admit that the product of my “is Alex Trebek a misogynist?” Google search produced different results than I expected. Although a full page worth of bloggers and journalists ‘answered’ in the affirmative, nearly all of the coverage centered on one such instance: the infamous college championship showdown from February of this year (sorry… I’m just a babie bloggie and don’t know how to embed videos).
To summarize for those of you who are too lazy or Flash-deficient to watch the video, Trebek continually refers to a female contestant as a ‘groupie’ when she says that she wanted to become a music journalist after watching ‘Almost Famous’. She insists that she’s not a groupie, he insists that she must be. Allegedly he reiterates this claim after she sweeps the music category.
Listen, calling a woman a slut/whore/etc for any reason, especially without any legitimate ‘evidence’ to the fact, is absolutely unacceptable. However, I’m shockingly left siding with Trebek. Only because I think it’s highly likely that given his age / demographic that he probably thinks a groupie is just someone who loves a certain band / style of music so much that they give up their life to follow that musical trend. Granted, still not a super flattering thing to say about anyone in a culture where work and dedication is valued, but still, not the same as calling someone a whore.
Now obviously this calls to mind this post and maybe I should say that at age 60-whatever Trebek isn’t justified in not knowing that. But truthfully I feel like his ignorance of the topic is more about being an old man who hasn’t kept up with slang than it is about an old man who has turned a blind eye to the social advancement of women.
So as it turns out, Alex Trebek may still be a misogynist, but I still feel like defending him on principle / by implication. I sort of feel euphorically objective, like when Peter Singer defended Michael Vick.
What do you think? Do you think Jeopardy would be a different show without Trebek? Should they hire more female / feminist writers? Is Alex Trebek a misogynist? Tell us what you think.
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