Roseanne Barr hates men, and that’s fine. She’s also a decent writer. Put the two together and you have her latest piece, And I Should Know. One can’t help but nod in agreement as she recounts her groundbreaking, eponymous television show, and the “sexist” jerks who tried to steal her thunder. But then you remember that the real reason she hates men is because a.) Guys like Ted Nugent are willing to stand up to her, and b.) We tend to read the fine print, whereas she, her agent, and her female-confidant producers do not:
It didn’t take long for me to get a taste of the staggering sexism and class bigotry that would make the first season of Roseanne god-awful. It was at the premiere party when I learned that my stories and ideas—and the ideas of my sister and my first husband, Bill—had been stolen. The pilot was screened, and I saw the opening credits for the first time, which included this: CREATED BY MATT WILLIAMS. I was devastated and felt so betrayed that I stood up and left the party. Not one person noticed.
I confronted Marcy under the bleachers on the sound stage when we were shooting the next episode. I asked her how I could continue working for a woman who had let a man take credit for my work—who wouldn’t even share credit with me—after talking to me about sisterhood and all that bullshit…
I went to complain to Brandon, thinking he could set things straight, as having a robbed star might be counterproductive to his network. He told me, “You were over 21 when you signed that contract.” He looked at me as if I were an arrogant waitress run amok.
I went to my agent and asked him why he never told me that I would not be getting the “created by” credit. He halfheartedly admitted that he had “a lot going on at the time” and was “sorry.”
So was it “staggering sexist bigotry”, or liberal Hollywood being liberal Hollywood that was the cause of Roseanne’s woes? When I enlisted in the military at 18—without an agent—I did this really weird thing called reading the contract. I knew that even though I signed up for three years I was really signing a contract for eight (as part of the Inactive Ready Reserve). When 9/11 happened I wasn’t surprised when it became a real possibility that I’d be back working for Uncle Sam. Thankfully (at least from my mother’s perspective), it never came to that. If I was like Roseanne I suppose I would have complained about the “warmongers” in DC (not the guys actually flying jetliners into buildings) who didn’t care about “the little people” like me.
Even more interesting is that in Roseanne’s world, other women are “tools” of men. Disagree with her and you’re not a “real” feminist or even a person; you’re the “ultimate weapon,” and must be subjected to psychotic scissor-assaults.
Eventually she told me that she had been told by one of Matt’s producers—his chief mouthpiece—“not to listen to what Roseanne wants to wear.” This producer was a woman, a type I became acquainted with at the beginning of my stand-up career in Denver. I cared little for them: blondes in high heels who were so anxious to reach the professional level of the men they worshipped, fawned over, served, built up, and flattered that they would stab other women in the back. They are the ultimate weapon used by men against actual feminists who try to work in media, and they are never friends to other women, you can trust me on that.
I grabbed a pair of wardrobe scissors and ran up to the big house to confront the producer…I walked into this woman’s office, held the scissors up to show her I meant business, and said, “Bitch, do you want me to cut you?” We stood there for a second or two, just so I could make sure she was receptive to my POV. I asked why she had told the wardrobe master to not listen to me, and she said, “Because we do not like the way you choose to portray this character.” I said, “This is no fucking character! This is my show, and I created it—not Matt, and not Carsey-Werner, and not ABC. You watch me. I will win this battle if I have to kill every last white bitch in high heels around here.”
At one point in Roseanne’s article she mentions that once her show became a hit people saw her as an eccentric genius rather than a “stupid bitch.” Nothing says “genius” like barging into someone’s office and threatening to kill them with a pair of scissors, right? Someone should tell Roseanne that the only people who are that into cutting others are Sharia Law Islamic nutcases in the Middle East—the real threat to women around the globe, acting out Allah Akbar style while “actual feminists” opt for the Slut Walk protest against…Toronto police officers.
I highly suggest reading And I Should Know. You’ll have a deeper appreciation not just for her body of work, but for her amazing ability to see boogeymen where only XY chromosomes reside.