Getting to Yes, And

Dana Schwartz: The White Man’s Guide


Dana Schwartz

Subscribe on

Kelly rings in the new year with Dana Schwartz, the writer behind @GuyInYourMFA to talk about her new book that satirizes a bounty of white, male writers.

I was reading an article that you wrote in The Riveter and you wrote ‘There's a deep-seated cultural bias in favor of male writers that their stories are important and universal and women's stories are frivolous or niche.’

"Yes and I was kind of shocked at how mean and ‘controversial’ that article was. And by controversial, I mean how angry people got at me because I thought this was basically understood. People are inherently biased to the stories that look like them. People will relate more to characters that look like them and are going through experiences similar to theirs. But women and minorities are trained throughout their entire lives to see ourselves in male characters. It's why when people at a movie they will say, ‘Oh I'm such a Captain America.’ But very few men would be like, ‘Oh I'm a Black Widow.’ Women are trained to be able to see ourselves in male stories when the opposite isn't true. So that bias, I mean it's pervasive in everything from literature to comedy."

So the book is written in a voice that is strikingly similar to the Guy In Your MFA’s voice. So I'm wondering, is that the same guy or is it a conglomerate?

“Yeah, it's the same guy. The guy from the beginning is a conglomerate, right? He is, you know, less the fact that he doesn't have a name. He's less of a singular specific character and more just every shitty ex-boyfriend and condescending college guy that I went to school with.”

One of the writers you profile is Lord Byron, who is a colorful figure to say the least.

“He's sleeping with everyone and he knows. I just love his gumption. He wants to drink out of goblets made of human skulls. He wants to seduce literally everyone. And then once he seduces them, he doesn't want them anymore, which is a very human and relatable thing. You know, he inspired the original vampire character. He went to war to fight for a revolution in a country that he had no ancestral tie to and then died just by getting sick. He's just like the best. He's my favorite. I have so much love for Lord Byron, an absolute monster.”

Related Episodes