Say it, Frenchie! Say CHOWDA!

Posted on October 24th, 2005

I have been given a rare gift. It's not every day a copywriter gets to feel superior to someone of Neil French's talent. Like the passing of Hale-Bopp, I don't expect it to happen again in my lifetime.

Because we actually have a few readers who aren't in the business, it's worth explaining that this week's strip is about recent comments made by French, deservedly lauded creative and authour of the 2005 edition of How to Win Friends and Influence People, which resulted in his — how does one say this elegantly? — getting shit-canned.

For the Toronto ad community, it's become the new Woodstock, with more people reminiscing about it than could possibly have been there. That includes the two of us, but even Neil's apologists aren't denying he said what he did, so I feel qualified to rebut. And, as Adam Sandler said in the only watchable movie he ever made: I have a microphone and you don't, SO YOU WILL LISTEN TO EVERY DAMN WORD I HAVE TO SAY.

It's predictable, but still disappointing, that most of Neil's critics have been female and most of his supporters male. It's also amusing to note that many critics, having the courage of their convictions, post to blogs using their real names while the apologists invariably hide behind pseudonymous Hotmail addresses.

Some of his defenders argue French was only saying that caring for children is more important than advertising. Well, no shit. But who says a woman can't do both? Who says, for that matter, that it has to be the woman?

Neil's rant is a slap in the face to every woman who, parent or not, works through nights, weekends, holidays and vacations to get the job done right. I'm not just talking about women in the creative department or even women in advertising. It's also an insult to every father who ever took paternity leave or worked from home with a sick child, participating in a conference call while rocking a toddler with a fever. I know I'm not the only one. And please don't question my work ethic, because it would scare an Iditarod sled dog shitless. Balancing work and family is something both sexes struggle with on a daily basis.


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