My reaction thus far to the announcement that Viacom will be launching the first "men's television network" has been: "whatever."
In my social calculus, the men that really want to watch a cartoon pamela anderson fight crime all day are roughly equivalent to the women who want to watch cancer survivors crying on Oxygen all day. There's your network, go have fun. I'll be over here watching America's Next Top Model.
But, seeing how I'm all testy these days, it was only a matter of time before something about the whole endeavor annoyed the crap out of me. And voila! According to Kevin Kay, an executive at the new Spike TV:
"There's this resident, I don't want to say anger, but it's a feeling of disenfranchisement" among men about TV these days.
Even the NYT couldn't swallow that one without a choke. The article couldn't help a brief editorial line: "That may seem less than just, given dude-zones like ESPN, CNBC and the Playboy channel."
Look, if you want to build your little "No Girls Allowed" treehouse, more power to you. I have bigger fish to fry, and you'll probably flop in 3 months anyway. But do you really have to justify it by assuming this retarded persecuted man posture? Have you ever SEEN a beer commercial? It is nothing less than an assault on my already beleaguered intelligence to suggest that men are somehow underrepresented on television. And to claim that the 3 women's networks that you skip over religiously are somehow disenfranchising you? To paraphrase Chris Rock, "If you're losing, who's winning? Cause it sure ain't us!"
Finally, I have to say that this balkanization (sat word for me!) of television is a bit discouraging. I understand the purpose of special-interest networks for different races, languages, etc.--they probably make good profit sense and community sense. But now we're even dividing men and women apart on TV. Can't there be something to highlight our shared interests? Do we really have to re-hash this whole "Men and Women Sure Are Different!" point over and over? I wish we could concentrate more on emphasizing aspects of our shared humanity. In other words, more Daily Show!