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we knew he could do it, ladies and gents!

Posted by pocochina on April 8, 2008

Today’s All-High Bad-Ass Dick-Swingin’ Motherfucker is, in a long-awated performance:  Matthew Yglesias!

Folks, I’m going to mention intimate partner violence in this post, so please, trigger warning.

This is actually based on two sequential posts, one of which is illustrated by a comment made by Jeff at Shakesville.


Title selection generally connotes what’s most important about the information to come.  Some people, children, sadly misuse their titles by just choosing funny-sounding words, which has the unfortunate (intended or otherwise) effect of causing the reader to sometimes miss or underestimate the urgency of some of the information to come.  Not that any of our AHBADSMoFos do that, because that would just be too far below Worthy Young Librulz.
It seems that John McCain is the kind of straight-talker who lets his wife know how he really feels, describing her as a “cunt” and a “trollop” when he’s displeased.

See, at first glace, this looks like underestimation for dramatic purposes.  Actually, what happened was that the douchebag McCain said this to his wife:  “At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt.”  There’s actually quite a bit more going on in that statement than just the obscenities.  First of all, they’re heavily gendered obscenities, and they are couched in an unmistakably gendered insult – you’re wearing too much makeup – which leads to another heavily gendered insult – you’re ugly.  And these statements, which we nearly universally consider insults because they connote poorly-performed femininity and thus, are meant to be deeply humiliating, were delivered in front of three local reporters.

As some commentators at Shakes have pointed out, men who speak this way so casually to their wives may do so to verbally express the abusive component of a relationship.  While this may or may not be true in this case – and I hope to God it is not, because nobody deserves to be a victim of intimate partner violence – we should acknowledge the possibility, and moreover, be aware the chance that this information is statistically likely  to trigger a female victim, and you know, treat it with a little respect?

Particularly, Yglesias uses the word “displeasure,” allowing the mind to draw a picture of the Lordly McCain taking out his wrath on an underling.  Which is probably the picture he meant to draw, and for all intents and purposes, what McCain meant to convey, but if so, to Mrs. McCain, that conveyance was “you are worth so little to me that I will embarrass you using your body and sexuality, and I will do it in front of reporters, because I would rather attempt to diminish your personal integrity than create a professional image for the press.”  As everyone – Yglesias included – knows, the press eats this shit up, calling McCain a “straight talker,” which says not only that the press is currently failing miserably to do its job, but also that hate speech towards his wife was an acceptable, just-between-us-fellas type of behavior, when for far too many American women, it is signatory of at least emotional abuse, if not physical abuse.

I don’t know if that’s what’s going on between the McCains, although I do hope that the next person who makes a “gold-digging/pill-popping/frigid/Republican bitch” joke considers the possibility.  What I do know is that Matt has female readers, and he’s totally ignoring the possibility of the triggering effect this language may have on them.  I know he’s totally ignoring it because of the next sentence.What do you think the age cutoff is below which it becomes utterly implausible that someone would use the term “trollop” in a non-ironic context?

See, you guys, his title was appropriate, because what was most important was that he used a funny word.  Trollop.  HAHAHA.  ‘Cuz McCain is, like, OLD.  Good thing OLD people can’t be discriminated against, because otherwise we’d be laughing at a group of people that take so much crap they get legal protection.  Except wait, they do, and ageism is a factor in our society which physically, socially and economically harms a person because of his or her age.

Again, McCain has far more power or privilege than Matt or myself, even with our youth privilege, plus McCain is a fucking douchebag, so it’s hard to have a lot of sympathy.  But just as I didn’t really wanna defend Cindy, I felt I should because allowing what’s at best sexism and at worst abuse is wrong; I also feel that mocking McCain’s age is inappropriate, no matter how much of a jerk he may be.

I don’t think the writer meant any ill will with those two sentences.  But the refusal to even think about those issues, just breezing through two sentences for a joke, is a little irresponsible.  He’s smart enough to know that all those issues are at play.  Especially considering that, involved in this whole electoral mess, is a candidate who stands at the crossroads of “not-male” and “not-young,” and Matt hasn’t been particularly keen to show her a lot of good will.


And speaking of Cindy McCain, folks.  You know how I feel about defending Republicans, so I’m a little annoyed with Jeff Fecke (again) for this zinger (in comments at Shakes): 

This is what I can’t understand. If you feel that way about your partner why the hell is the person your partner??

Because the McCains are married in the sense that my ex-wife and I are — i.e., they aren’t. It just would hurt John-Boy’s career if he got divorced, and she hangs on for a chance to be First Lady.  (Jeff)

The commenter he was quoting – allegedly attempting to answer – seems to be asking “if John McCain (subject) doesn’t particularly care for Cindy McCain (object), then why doesn’t JMC divorce CMC, because people who dislike each other are often better off not being legally obligated to each other?”   This is an eminently reasonable question.

Jeff’s answer was:  We can clearly deduce, from what we know of their relationship, that they are only in it for personal aggrandizement.  We have never met, but I am sure their sex life is nonexistent and they have no emotional or intellectual connection, so this partnership must be about material gain.  He doesn’t want to be divorced (again) because it could potentially harm his career and she wants to be the prettiest princess in all the land.  Also, she “hangs on” – we assume she is a passive actor in this, even though we have seen her do work on the campaign trail.



And that framing wasn’t in any way misogynist or politically motivated the first time around.

Look, I know Hillary Clinton is not Cindy McCain.  Hillary Clinton is made of fabulous.  Most of us are not.  But the fact of the matter is, nobody deserves to have those types of assumptions made about our characters and marriages.
ACT II:  Back to Yglesias!

The Rankin Factor

Hillary Clinton tries out some Girl Power

Running for President is totally like making your audition tape for a bit part in Spice World, apparently.

but Holly Yeager has the facts:

Matt’s not going to prove HRC wrong, he’s going to have a girl do it, because he’s just chivalrous like that.

“Remember, Jeannette Rankin was elected before women could vote … so who says men won’t vote for a woman?” Clinton asked the crowd. It’s true that women across the U.S. didn’t get the right to vote until 1920. But in Montana, thanks in part to Rankin, women got the right to vote in 1914 (which anyone who has ever played “Where in the World is Carmen San Diego” would know).

Sigh.  Okay.  I don’t mean to get all show-offy did-I-mention-I’m-in-law-school on you nice folks, but just as a quick recap, there’s a world of difference between the ratification of a federal constitutional amendment and a state constitutional amendment.  It depends on the state government, but the amendment may only need majorities (simple or super) in referenda and in the state legislature to pass, which means it can be overturned just as easily (I believe, though I am not a “federalism as practiced in the early 20th century” expert).  The right to vote in Montana, was guaranteed only insofar as Montana kept it, and only insofar as the individual woman in question stayed in Montana.  The passage of a constitutional amendment is a much more complicated process (and the overriding amendment to repeal even less likely), as well it should be, but it means that enshrined in the document on which our democracy is founded, is the statement that women are humans and citizens who participate in our democracy.

Senator Clinton, when she speaks so passionately about the myriad ways in which women’s suffrage relates to her historic candidacy, is speaking about the Nineteenth Amendment, indeed ratified in 1920, which states that wherever she goes, an American woman is an American citizen and must be allowed to exercise the rights which that entails.  She is, indeed, part of a literally earth-shaking movement, one that reminds the world that citizenship is the right to participate not just at the ballot box but at the highest level of civic activity.  So pulling an only sort of true “gotcha” looks kind of petty, and quoting an only sort of true “gotcha” looks even more petty.

I miss that game.

You know, I thought at first he was referring to researching dates, or comparative historical legal systems, and then I realized he meant Carmen San Diego.  See, he likes some of the ladies!  Good thing there are no fundamental questions of what it means to create a truly representative democracy touched on in this post, because that would just look unconscionably trivializing.

This is a reminder, however, that I think you can’t talk about flaws in Hillary Clinton’s campaign without mentioning the collapse in her support among African-American women. Clinton started the campaign very well-regarded in the black community and doing extremely well among black women but eventually lost the vast majority of that support.

In NO WAY can you speak of the Clinton Campaign without mentioning something you think she’s done wrong!  It’s like turning off all the lights and fucking well daring Bloody Mary to show up in your mirror.  OMG YOU JUST GAVE US AWAY TO VOLDEMORT RUN!

In retrospect, the collapse of Clinton’s black support sometimes feels obvious, but if you’d predicted in advance that white women would back Hillary, black men would back Obama, and they’d both split white men and black women and then Clinton would win because there are many more white women than black men in the electorate I think people would have considered that a reasonable-if-crude assessment of the situation.

See, ladies, you might have been thinking there that wow, XIX wasn’t actually passed that long ago, and Senator Clinton is in a way that we’ve been waiting almost a century for, fighting a particularly critical stage of that fight that literally, whether we like it or not, defines our lives, and she’s doing so on a platform that is explicitly feminist.  But what’s really important is how to whup her ass back to her coven in New York where she can continue to plot the downfall of the Democratic party, and thus, civilization as we know it.

In retrospect, brushing over that dizzying sweep of social history in order to make hypothetical assumptions based on race and gender pretty much makes you look like an enormous douche.  I think that’s a reasonable-if-crude assessment of that statement.

* * *
Your Honor, I have a short closing statement, if you’ll allow.

These assholes are the liberals.*

Footnote:  MY and JF, you will be forever associated in this journal as being tagged with the first McCain post.  Hope it feels good, fellas

*Liberals whose blogs sometimes have comment sections.  For polite yet firm registration of your displeasure.  You know, if you’re bored.

ETA:  Un-fuckin’-believable. I have to stop reading Liberal Dood blogs.  A poor report about McCain deserves some skepticism, for something for which there are only three sources whose veracity he does not doubt.   HRC, needless to say, deserves no such logical critique of media bias, even though MY is grudgingly willing to admit that she is “Not A Monster” and is starting to think he – you can’t make this shit up, folks – might be affected by “subconscious prejudices [he] may or may not have.” I swear to God.

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