Magazine article Herizons

[Creme De la Femme: The Best of Contemporary Women's Humor]

Magazine article Herizons

[Creme De la Femme: The Best of Contemporary Women's Humor]

Article excerpt

A few chuckles and a chortle or two just aren't enough.

Call me a dour and humourless Canadian, but that's the response I had to Creme de la Femme's collection of prose, poetry and cartoons. This anthology has its head and heart in the right place: its material is well-organized thematically and features most of the recognized names in American feminism; part of its royalties and proceeds will go to three worthwhile charities to fight breast cancer, domestic violence and AIDS. Yes, indeed, those feature are laudatory -- but few of the book's selections actually made me laugh.

You know the kind of laughing I mean -- those laughs of startled surprise and those whoops of recognition, those great rumbles from the gut? Alas, Creme de la Femme sparks none of those.

If you have been reading "women's writing" for the past two decades, you will recognize most of the names in the anthology; contributors range from Erma Bombeck and Gloria Steinem to Wendy Wasserstein, Jane Wagner and Terry McMillan. About the only Canadian-made content in this anthology appears in two of Lynn Johnston's "For Better or For Worse" cartoons. Oh, yes, and there are four cartoons by "Cathy" creator Cathy Guisewite, but nothing you cannot see in your local newspaper.

I know I sound churlish about all this, but I think I'm disappointed that so few of the Creme de la Femme articles have any real edge. For instance, there's a dead-boring contribution from the dedoubtable Phyllis Diller about telephone etiquette, for heaven's sakes! Hardly a cutting-edge topic. …

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