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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Misogynists of a feather flocking together

Misogynists of a feather flocking together

What the hell is our problem, feminists of America?

As the hair-flipping, tweeny-bopper-imitating Naomi Wolf giddily claimed on the Teevee, we have instantly achieved all we could possibly want simply by electing Barack Obama to be our next President. I mean, hel-LLLLLOOOOO! What else could we possibly desire? Why don’t we just go away, and stop embarrassing well-behaved womens’ magazines so? Perhaps we should consult with our pastors and husbands before opening our big fat mouths again!

Well, Naomi dahlink, we have ISSUES – and not the emotional kind.

Just as no one in the corporate media or the Democratic Party would admit that the objections of millions of Democratic activists to Barack Obama were based on something other than race, patriarchy-enablers like Ms. Wolf refuse to acknowledge that feminist objections to Obama are based on…anything at all.

But we do object; we object most strenuously. In a year when Senator Hillary Clinton became the first woman to win a primary, and went on to win the most primary votes of any candidate, male or female; in a year when Governor Sarah Palin became the first vice-presidential nominee in 24 years (and the first one from the Republican Party), Ms. Magazine chose to highlight a man on the cover of their magazine – and not just any man: a man that had run a blatantly misogynistic campaign in order to defeat these women, and to win the Presidency of the United States. What woman worth her uterus would not be a tad exercised at this revolting development?

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Smokin’ Hopium, Naomi Wolff puts out for Obama

Ooo, get her some pom-poms! “Obama’s so dreamy. He said he loved me.”

Naomi has her orgasm at about 2:30:

Hey, Naomi, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?


CNN interview: Amy Siskind attempts to educate; Ms. Mag editor uses airtime as commercial

(cross-posted from Heidi Li’s Potpourri)

Watch the video here. Listen to The New Agenda’s executive director Amy Siskind succeed as she raises pertinent, relatively mild objections, to the Ms. Magazine cover for its special inauguration issue.  Then listen to Ms. Magazine’s executive editor Katherine Spillar as she first a) dodges the issue, which is not whether men can be feminists, but whether there is any basis for referring to this man, President-elect Obama, as “what a feminist looks like” and then b) tells people to read the magazine so as to understand the cover (read = buy the magazine) and then c) evidently indicated to the CNN anchors that subscriptions to the magazine are up because of the inauguration cover, and thus the cover was a good idea.

Successful covers do not require a magazine to explain or justify their meaning. For example, most thoughtful criticisms of The New Yorker’s satirical cover of the Obamas faulted the cover for being failed satire: for its failure to broadcast its satire and thus its potential to be taken too seriously. In other words, that cover, in many people’s opinion, failed on its own terms. Similarly the Ms. Magazine cover fails on it own terms. The intention was not to satirize the claim that Barack Obama, who has not one achievement in public life that can be considered as his own contribution to advancing feminism, is the paradigm of a feminist. No, the intention was tell us just what the cover said: that Barack Obama is a feminist, indeed a heroic – if closeted – one (note it is only his undershirt that reveals the truth of his feminism). If the intention was to say that men can be feminists, they should have put Bill Clinton, who put his career on hold to assist his wife achieve greatness in hers, on the cover. Or they could have put Terry McAuliffe on the cover, for his unwavering devotion to a candidate who happened to be female but who also had a record of standing by the once-core Democratic Party principles that have, in the past, made many of us proud to be Democrats. No way was Ms. Magazine’s intent  to suggest that men can be feminists, a point that anybody who has given two thoughts to feminism gets.

Apart from an intent to laud and fuss over President-elect Obama, the intent of the Ms. Magazine cover is the intent of most magazines: to sell the merchandise.  Fair enough, some will say. What’s wrong with trying to sell the merch? Generally, in the case of magazines not much. But Ms. Magazine was founded to lead a cause. If it simply wants to bump up subscriptions – assuming there’s enough data in yet to support the claim that the current cover does that – then Ms. Magazine should, straightaway, start with centerfolds labeling whoever is trendy at the moment as a stealth feminist. For those with more salable physiques, have them pull the over-clothes apart a little more widely; or maybe pose them with the slogan on the back of their panties, briefs or boxers, and wearing nothing else. They can shyly peek over their shoulder, indicating that they themselves are as surprised as the rest of us that Ms. Magazine has singled them out as archetypical feminists.

In the CNN interview, Ms. Spillar says “some people” have “overreacted” to the cover. This sounds an awful lot like the sexist tropes used by the cover subject’s language during the primary season, such as his imagery about Senator Clinton’s “claws” and “fangs” coming out. Just who is Ms. Spillar calling “some people”? Women. You know, the people whose claws and fangs come out when they get periodically down.

Ms. Spillar, you are completely correct that a man can be feminist. And in your interview today you demonstrated the corollary, that a woman can be a misogynist, belittling the concerns of those who once depended on publications like Ms. Magazine to give voice – and the front cover – to matters central to equalizing opportunities for 51 percent of this country’s population.

Amy Siskind on CNN re: Ms. Magazine

(h/t Egalia at TGW)

Wednesday: Q & A

I have been preoccupied by a number of ponderables in the past couple of days.  These questions have no clear answers so I’m putting them up with my preliminary speculation for the rest of the Conflucian community to complete.

1.) The Correntian crew has been musing over the interview that Barack and Michelle Obama gave Le Monde about their lives, personalities, ambitions and how they plan to keep their public and private lives separate.  So what, you say, it goes with the territory for a candidate and president elect.  True.  Except this interview was given in 1996.  Why was Le Monde interested in the Obamas in 1996 when he wasn’t even a blip on the radar screen and hadn’t won anything yet?  Let’s think about the implications.  Le Monde would have had to have known he existed.  He was just an obscure Chicago lawyer with no major accomplishments and no election victories under his belt.  Who the f%^* would have cared?  *I* had won more public offices by 1996 than Obama.  Le Monde wasn’t beating my door down for an interview.  So, the question is: who has been grooming him and for how long?

2.) It has come to my attention, don’t ask me how, that Gloria Steimen and Eleanor Smeal are none too pleased that some of us are not embracing the true feminism of Barack Obama.  We who have vigorously protested the amazingly moronic inaugural edition cover of Obama as Superman are making them angry.  And you don’t want to see 20th century superstar feminists angry.  They might just set out to teach us a lesson and elect someone like Myi2xu as the new president of NOW.  But seriously, what do they care whether some of us speak out?  What exactly is their problem?  Leaders lead.  They don’t cave to the gushy enthusiasm of their younger kool-ade drinking staff.  They don’t let mean spirited and spiteful Donna Brazile types wipe women’s accomplishments off the map in order to glorify one of her male proteges.  The pressure they are applying is really sickening and even less likely get them what they want.  Here’s the deal, get Obama off the frickin’ cover and stop acting like fragile flowers who now need a man to save your magazine.  And get rid of your Women’s Studies Scholars.  When it came to trolls, they were the worst.  We still have their email and IP addresses dredged up from our spam filter.  Talk about stupid elitists, they can’t think themselves out of a paper bag and your magazine is full of them.  Get some women from the hard sciences, who really know what it’s like to get through the obstacle course of male academia and industry.  We took out prerequisite Women’s Studies courses *and* calculus.  Ms. needs balance, not more humanities majors with affluenza.

3.) Barbara Boxer, bless her heart.  I don’t know the whole backstory of Boxer’s relationship with Hillary.  It could be that the messy divorce between Boxer’s daughter and Hillary’s brother have given each of them time to see each other off stage more often than working colleagues might otherwise have an opportunity to do.  But, seriously, WTF was that little speech about Hillary putting aside her ego all about?  Like, Obama doesn’t have an ego?  (Go back to item 1 in this list.)  He was giving an interview to Le Monde before he had screwed Alice Palmer out of her Illinois congressional seat or had won a single thing.  *THAT’S* ego, or the mighty hand of someone powerful working on his behalf.  Then Boxer goes on about the plight of women and she makes many good points.  But she has completely undermined Hillary’s ability to do anything about it because she has refused to let Hillary have an ego.  An ego is necessary if you want to get things done, Barbara.  You have to believe you have the abilities and can do it better than everyone else or who is going to listen to you?  There is such a thing as false confidence (see item 1 above) that comes with a personal belief in oneself when there is no evidence to back this up.  Such is not the case with Hillary Clinton.  Time and time again, she has proven herself to be the smartest, most diplomatic, most prepared person in the room.  We saw it again yesterday.

Over the past year, I have struggled to figure out just what it is about Hillary that drives most normal people to absolute paroxysms of spittle flecked insanity over her desire and ambition to pursue a higher office.  If it were really megalomaniacal egotism and  arrogance, I think we would have seen hints of diva like behavior in public.  But what I see, and many of us see, is a woman who is possessed of healthy self-confidence and who doesn’t really give a flying fig what you think of her.  That seems to be the trigger.  She is behaving exactly like a man would behave if he had the heart and mind of a president.  It’s disconcerting to the men, and particularly women like Boxer, Steinem and Smeal, who don’t know what their looking at.  What did they think they’d see when the first woman president presented herself?  Did they think she was going to be more nurturing, her voice more lilting?  Yeah, like that would have gone over well with the Obots.  Maybe it’s a generational thing for the Maureen Dowds, Sally Quinns, Steinems, Smeals and Boxers.  They were raised in a generation before mine and conditioned to think that women were not leaders.  That kind of conditioning can be hard to overcome even if you’re the head of a feminist movement.  It *feels* like the self-doubt you get when you think you’re a fraud and it’s only a matter of time before everyone figures it out.  Were they projecting onto Hillary in spite of all of the evidence they saw before them?  Whatever it was, Hillary Clinton did not meet with their mental images of a president but not because she doesn’t possess those qualities and characteristics essential to the presidency.  It’s just that they never thought that those things would look like Hillary Clinton.

Maybe Obama was on to something when he made that crack about him not looking like the dudes on the paper money.

In other news:

  • Tim Geithner, the incoming Treasury Secretary nominee who for some peculiar reason doesn’t like Sheila Bair, has failed to pay his taxes for several years.  Maybe my ex-SIL, the IRS agent could speculate why someone with Geithner’s money acumen would fail to pay his taxes.  But it sure doesn’t look good for this partiular nominee since all of our taxdollars, but not his apparently, are going to be riding on whatever decision he makes about the worst bailout bill ever.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that powerful Democrats in Congress, who like Sheila Bair and accountability, are starting to balk at Geithner and are threatening to give him a hard time during his confirmation.  Willie Makeit?  Betty Dont.
  • Glenn Greenwald is trying to talk sense into all of the Obots who are ready to slit their wrists over Obama’s “centrist” policies.  Glenn is being a bit disingenuous about it though.  He thinks that Obama signalled to everyone that he wasn’t going to govern as a lefty.  That’s true.  But most rank and file voters missed the part where he said he wasn’t going to govern like a Democrat.  The whole reason he was elected was almost exclusively because he was a Democrat and *not* a Republican.  If he starts to act like a Republican now, with stupid tax breaks and bailouts that favor the bankers and policies that say torture is Ok in moderation, then he is much less like a Democrat and voters will get antsy.  Of course, the Obots had it coming to them for being such belligerent assholes whose candidate could do no wrong.  But the average voter doesn’t deserve four years of Republican Lite when they voted for a revolutionary Change!™ agent Democrat.  (Note:  pay particular attention to the veto threat Obama has issued if the Congress doesn’t approve the next tranche of bailout money.  Overcoming the veto has to be done in a short timeframe with a supermajority.  And Obama was O. K. with this bill when it passed.)

America Jumps The Shark

10-obama-meets-spiderman-100109I’m beginning to think that the art of politics (if there is such a thing) is the ability to get strangers to pretend to understand when you talk nonsense out of both sides of your mouth.  Unfortunately, that is also today’s definition of journalism.  That makes looking for turds of political wisdom among the media bullshit as much fun as a scavenger hunt in a sewer.  And just as obvious.

Politico is reporting that there are landmines ahead for ever-prepared policy wonk, Hillary Clinton, in her upcoming Senate confirmation hearings because she’s married to Bill and she ran against the man who appointed her, while at the same time (same article) reporting that her confirmation hearings are scheduled for only one day and everybody thinks she’ll be confirmed “speedily.”

Rasmussen Reports tells us that “lots” of people, 75% in fact, plan to watch at least “some” of the first black president-elect’s upcoming inauguration, with 28% planning to watch it “all,” while you couldn’t pay 21% to watch “any” of it.  They don’t tell us how many people plan to watch “for sure,” but 61% of black people will watch “all” the festivities, because he’s black, too, while only 22% of whites feel the same way, because they’re not.  Since the stupid networks show every indication of airing every aspect of the stupid inauguration festivities over and over until we “all” puke, I think it’s significant that 21% obviously won’t be turning on their televisions, reading a paper or surfing the net in the foreseeable near future.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s recent support of Rod Blagojevich’s appointee for Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat, Roland Burris, should score her some major points with black voters and colleagues who pretty much liked her anyway, according to CQ Politics.  Fienstein’s support registered well with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, though her reasoning had nothing to do with his skin color; rather, she cited a quaint little concept known as “the law.”

Feinstein’s bold stance on a no-brainer issue nonetheless puts her at odds with her Senate colleagues intent upon prolonging what amounts to a pissing contest during a circle jerk.  Those opposing Burris’ seating because he was appointed by a guy they consider to be a slimeball, (presumably not because he was involved in shady pay-to-play scams, but because he got caught; nobody’s calling for Bill Richardson‘s head or for his duties to be suspended; probably because he doesn’t have a Senate seat to sell like Blago and barely Governor Patterson) are suddenly trying to figure out how to zip up their wet pants and look presentable without washing their hands now that they realize that the curtain’s open and people are watching.

What do you do when you pick the guy you like to give the invocation at your inauguration, in order to make nice with the people who didn’t vote for you, if the people who did vote for you hate him?  Why, you find somebody the people who like you will like, too, and invite him to speak at another event, call it an “inauguration…something” and, sell it on EBay the internet.

But, all of that is just business as usual.  Sure, the outgoing Republican president turning over 350 billion taxpayer dollars to the incoming Democratic president is a little unprecedented (like being a little pregnant) but, not eyebrow-raising in today’s Obamacan political climate.  And, so what if people who read Politico think that MSNBC’s Chuck Todd is a latter-day Walter Cronkite?   Who cares if the FISA guy wants to digitalize medical records?  Multiple wars, impeachments, Gitmo flip-flops, unemployment, sucky economy, scandal, we’re used to all that stuff.

No, what has sent the country into a Happy Days-inspired leap from reality is the recent propensity of popular culture icons to embrace the ridiculous as it relates to Barack Obama.  You’d think they’d never seen a black president before, or something.  First Ms. Magazine, in a move that makes6a00e553cca69a8833010536c23492970c-800wi “The View” and “Playgirl” seem radical by comparison, boasted an improbable cover touting Obama’s non-existent feminist creds, going so far as to depict him as the women’s movement’s very own super hero, a giant leap up, in the wrong direction, from Prince Charming or Barbie’s Ken.

But the “fridge was nuked” waaaay over the rainbow shark when Marvel Comics equally (more) improbably paired Obama with a real-as-it-gets superhero, Spiderman, in it’s latest edition, because the future Geek-In-Chief was once a collector.  I shit kid you not.

The Barack Obama rage has now taken the comic world by storm. Reportedly the president will feature along with the superhero ‘Spiderman’. The fact that the US-president elect was a Spidey collector as a kid, has inspired the Marvel Comics to feature the ‘icon’ for the children’s book.

“When we read that we thought, ‘Oh my God the future Commander-in-chief is actually the future nerd-in-chief,’ the New York Daily News quoted Joe Quesada, Marvel’s top editor, as saying. “With a geek in the White House , we just had to give him a shout back. It’s just the coolest thing ever,” Quesada added.

Unlike Ms., at least they didn’t give the Obamessiah undeserved super powers.  Maybe by this time next week, or more likely, the week after, since “lots” of us will be eating nachos and watching the Super Bowl of Politics on cable next week, (I wonder if they’ll have cool new commercials?) we’ll find out that the wheels on the Obabus are actually jet-propelled wings or something.  I’m sure a rocket fueled, Acme Co. E-ject-O driver’s seat is too much to ask for.

And, the wheels on the bus…

*X-posted over at my place, Cinie’s World, as you would expect.

Women First

“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

Madeleine Albright

By now, we have all seen the infamous Ms. Magazine cover of Barack Obama in Clark Kent drag, opening his jacket to reveal a T-shirt where the Superman “S” should be. The T-shirt proclaims, “This is what a feminist looks like.” It was a shocking, and yet predictable, hommage to a richly undeserving male by a so-called bastion of women’s liberation; the ultimate poke in the eye after the endorsements of NARAL and NOW for the all-male Obama-Biden ticket enraged us in the general election.

There are so many reasons to be horrified by this cover art, but the one that really strikes me is that the meaning of the word “feminist” is going the way of the word “liberal.” Just as some of those on the leftish side of politics took up the mantle of “progressive” in order to avoid the increasingly negative connotations of the “liberal” label, some female activists are wondering if the word “feminist” should continue to be used to describe us.

I believe, however, that allowing one’s enemies to control one’s language is a huge mistake. Instead of dropping the word “feminist,” we should restate its meaning in the strongest and clearest of terms:

Women first.

For example, this year, two women made history in a spectacular way. Senator Hillary Clinton was the first female candidate to win a primary election, then went on to win more primary votes than any candidate had ever received, male or female. Governor Sarah Palin became the first female Vice-Presidential nominee in 24 years. Yet who did the “feminist” organizations of our time endorse for President and Vice President? On whom did the “feminist” pundits lavish their praise? And whom did Ms. Magazine choose for its cover?

A man. A demonstrably misogynist man, who surrounds himself with people like Larry Summers and Rick Warren, and has only half the women in his Cabinet as the last Democratic President, Bill Clinton.

After witnessing more virulent and naked woman-hatred than I ever thought possible this year, I have realized that “Women First” is what the patriarchy fears. It fears that we will finally throw off our culturally-ingrained desire to erase and abase ourselves for men; that we will use our power of refusal for more than just sex; and that we will take away the advantage that every male child enjoys over every female child simply for being born with an extra scrap of flesh hanging off of his pelvis.

The knowledge of the possible loss of power and privilege is the origin of all the terror that the punditry and both Parties expressed when Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin loomed large on the horizon. No wonder Tucker Carlson said that he wanted to cross his legs every time he saw Hillary – in a very real sense, she would have castrated him and his fellow members of the partriarchy, by rendering his penis less significant in society.

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