And another thing, Baba Brinkman!

Baba Brinkman, The Rap Guide to Evolution

Baba Brinkman claims to have science on his side, but does he?

If you’ve read my review of Baba Brinkman’s The Rap Guide to Evolution on, you’ll know that I didn’t like the show. But I’ve got more to say. 

The guy us clearly very smart but, in my view, his script is maddeningly reductive, especially when it comes to gender.

Brinkman understands things in terms of stable categories of male and female. Although I  understand that biology plays a role in gendered behaviours, I’m much more of a social constructivist: my experience has taught me that society is a huge factor in shaping identity and behaviour.

That’s why I was so pissed off with Brinkman’s dismissal of social constructivism. He evokes his sister, a social constructivist. She cites an African tribe in which the gender roles we accept as normative are reversed. But she cant remember the name of the tribe, she only knows the information must be true because she read about it “in a women’s studies textbook”. By presenting his sister’s argument as ridiculous, Brinkman gets a laugh from the audience—and dismisses both social constructivism and women’s studies. Then he presents his argument—kind of. He says, with great authority, that all sorts of studies that support his few of fixed gender roles. The catch is that he doesn’t tell us anything about those studies, he just projects a wall full of impressive-looking charts. So we’re just supposed to accept his viewpoint as gospel. How condescending—how lazy—is that?

About Colin Thomas

Colin Thomas is a Vancouver-based editor, an award-winning playwright, and an established theatre critic. Colin helps writers unlock the full potential of their novels, short stories, screenplays, and children's books.


  1. […] Thomas who in an Oct. 30, 2013 review for the Georgia Straight which was further elucidated in a Nov. 1, 2013 posting on his eponymous blog, had issues not with the performance (“Smart writer. Handsome […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign up—free!—

YEAH, THIS IS ANNOYING. But my theatre newsletter is fun!

Sign up and get curated international coverage + local reviews every Thursday!