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i can’t leave you people alone for one second!

Posted by pocochina on June 24, 2008

I can’t leave you people alone for one second! THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!

Leaving aside my perpetual astonishment that the world, in fact, goes on when my internet goes down and I spend the weekend engrossed in third wave theory and Japanese feminist crime fiction, oh, sweeties, I didn’t think anyone would actually pour a whole bottle of detergent into the dishwasher, but now you’ve gone and done it.

Link Lovin’!

First of all, excellent news via Jack at Feministe, the convictions of two of the NJ Four have been overturned.

Q: Did Karl Rove us? A: No more than usual.

The Prospect has decided that the witch is dead, and so now they can get “Beyond Hillary” (no, no, I would never knowingly subject anyone to that level of annoying) and talk seriously about women in politics. One of these articles, about how one of the major barriers to women’s participation in politics is that women aren’t asked, and whew, now we’ve got that sorted, written by the original AHBADSMoFo, Ezra “too cool for universal health care if it means giving up a lie about That Bitch” Klein, unironically hosts a sidebar which proudly displays an article about how Jim Webb’s manly, handsome loose-cannon all-‘mukin sexy* beefiness makes him just too good to stand a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Meanwhile, Ann Friedman (of Feministing fame) writes on how to increase the numbers of women in government. The article is well worth a read, but I do have a couple of bones to pick. She mostly mentions women in legislative positions, though, and then HRC as an “exceptional” case – but, well, that’s the rub. Any woman willing to run for president – especially after seeing the shit that got thrown Senator Clinton’s way – is going to be exceptional in a lot of ways, and therefore there will be lots of grounds for “it’s not women, it’s just that BALL BUSTING BITCH.” To our sad detriment, we consider masculinity apart of power, and especially of the kind of power that comes with being Badass in Chief of the biggest bunch of tanks in the fucking world. (No. That is not how I think of our armed forces. It is how people with gender issues think of the presidency.) We don’t, as she suggests, need to “move beyond the exceptional Hillary Clintons.” Exceptional is not a bad thing. Only an exceptional person runs for the presidency, only an exceptionally talented exceptional person gets as far as Hillary Clinton did. [*For the record, I don’t think fiction should be held against anyone seeking office unless it shows a propensity towards violence; however, I haven’t read the books in question, but I do know the RNC and exactly what they have to say about the books.]

My co-blogger, Red (I say that a lot about the H1K ladies because it makes people think I’m as awesome as they are. It’s the transitive property of “seriously, go read her now”) follows Obama’s speeches to working women and mayors. Unsurprisingly, he is sooooo much better than that John McCain, who, don’t get him wrong, he would never talk trash, but Jasmine in band said is tooooootally going out with that nerd from the quiz bowl team. (Shut up, I’m allowed, I was the queen of Shakespeare trivia at Quiz Bowl! And we totally made it to semifinals because I nailed a math question. Arrogant Math Guy was so embarrassed.) Equally unsurprisingly, some good ideas couched in lots of conservative pandering and avoidance of important issues.

And oh, the weekend of the ill-fated Obama seal, which has already mercifully been yanked (h/tlady_jane). I have a couple problems with the seal. First of all, of course, it’s utterly ridiculous. “Vero possumus?” As morpheus0013 was kind enough to explain to us, it’s not even good Latin, but that doesn’t matter so much as – really? Was he pandering to his anti-Carthaginian hardliners? He’s tough on Gauls? Whatever, dude, we get it. What really bugs me about it, though, is the conflation of the person with the office. I’ve spent the last eight years of my life furious about this, and it’s only been exacerbated by spending the last ten months of my life immersed in constitutional theory. George Bush is POTUS; it does not mean that he is the office of the presidency. For example, though I disagree with his selfish, irresponsible vetoes, I acknowledge that it is his constitutional prerogative, and if he makes a bad one, it means we haven’t been doing a good job holding him accountable. To see a Democrat play this game that conflates the person with the office not only goes against the values in which we’re supposed to believe, but it’s also the Manly Leadership Game – fighting on the Republican’s turf. You don’t want to out-arrogant GWB, or out-ego Nixon, but you also can’t. Obama should be reiterating that he’s running to “unify” the country, not absorb the country into his campaign whether we like it or not. And, of course, this will lead to attacks of “elitism” and “arrogance” which, while crushingly ironic coming from Republicans, aren’t totally inaccurate. However, these attacks will be laden with racist dogwhistles, which are totally inexcusableand those don’t just hurt Obama, they hurt all POC.

Obama gives up public financing. Did he strongly imply that he was going to promise to take public financing if he were in a general election match-up with John McCain? Yup. Now, some of his supporters are deeply, deeply disappointed that The One has turned out to be a politician doing what politicians do; others are shrugging and saying you gotta do what you gotta do. But none that I’ve seen are exploring the situation to its logical beginnings. Obama knew, back when he was having these talks with McCain, that he was raising multiples of what McCain was, and that if he ended up being the nominee, he’d have even more new donors, plus the national machine at his disposal. The situation hasn’t changed fundamentally between now and then, in fact, he’s had comparatively slow fundraising months between now and then. He knew all along that he was going to take the public funding. And, you know, play games, don’t play games, but if he’s running as a reformer, against a guy with a widespread reputation as a reformer, and you come within a hair’s breadth of a lie about public financing, we should be asking a lot more questions about his credibility. This is an Issue. Elections are the ballgame. And, of course, when he was “strongly considering” but never actually going to take the public financing, he was using it against Senator Clinton, masterfully intertwining it with cultural assumptions that ambitious women are ballbreaking ruthless bitches who will do anything to have their way. All while trying to trap McCain into promising public financing and planning to pull the plug on it. It’s a good political move, but it simply bolsters what Clinton supporters said all along – he’s not a saint, he’s a politician, and a damned good one, which means he’s using your hopey changey inspiration for his own cynical ends. Which is fine, but don’t get so hacked off at us for it.

Salon-troversy!

And then. The Traister maelstrom. This smarts a bit because Salon sucks a little less than, say, Slate, and Traister is a feminist writer who I really do admire. First the good, she does admit it’s incomplete, and there are some parts that are dead-on accurate. Ex: “And for any of you sitting at your computers yammering about how the coverage of Clinton had nothing to do with her sex, allow me to be frank: can it.” I just don’t understand why, if Salon wanted to know why Clinton supporters are angry, they didn’t, yanno, ask a Clinton supporter. Fuck, they have at least one on staff, and she just wrote a badass post about why she’s pissed off. (Kate would also fit the profile Traister is trying to draw, because she does plan to vote for Obama in the fall, unlike many of the women for whom Traister claims to be translating.) Hell, they could’ve asked me, I’m not doing anything. There’s a link to the PUMA website, I’m sure she could’ve asked the RD a couple of questions!

Mostly, though, it’s frustrating. The language of “coming home” in the context of female voters – particularly given the someitmes violent overtones of the primary season. The assumption that we’re pissed off at the Big Dawg. (As if!) This assumed partywide attempt to distance ourselves from the only two-term Democrat in fifty years is politically stupid, and again, it gives the high ground of the debate to the Republicans. Now we all agree we hate the guy who brought us peace, prosperity, and a balanced budget, choked off the Global Gag Rule, appointed the first openly gay US ambassador, and put Ginsberg and Breyer on the High Court? Hey, you must’ve spilled something, that looks like a big brown splotch of hell no on your blouse.

What’s most upsetting, though, is the way the post is obviously written to placate people who are just! so! angry! that those uppity bitches are upset. Don’t we KNOW they wouldn’t have to YELL AT US if we didn’t MAKE THEM? Traister seems to be jumping in front of the bullies going, “no, no, their feeeeeeelings are hurt.” And while I don’t necessarily like that she misrepresents us in order to protect us from the mean, scary Obama bullies – please, we’ve been taking their crap for months – but just how fucked up it is that we should have to be apologized for and explained and oh, aren’t we cute with our little temper tantrums? If our votes matter, treat us like they matter, if they don’t, leave us the hell alone, either way, the bullying reveals something fucked up in Obama land, and the article doesn’t shed much light about the Clinton supporters who aren’t voting for Obama.

And then, darlings.

Sparks Fly at Black Caucus Meeting

Just What Was Said Between the Presumptive Democratic Nominee and Clinton-Supporting Congresswoman?

var addthis_pub = ‘abcnews’;

Sources at the meeting said that Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, a Clinton supporter, expressed the desire that Obama and his campaign would reach out the millions of women still aggrieved about what happened in the campaign and still disappointed that Clinton lost.

Obama agreed that a lot of work needs to be done to heal the Democratic Party, and that he hoped the Clinton supporters in the room would help as much as possible.

Yup. It’s the Clinton supporters’ job to heal! Note the appeal to feelings – after all, only women supported Clinton (Rep. Rangel is amused) and women love that touchy-feely shit! Just give them a job to make them feel important! Hey, Senator, they have re-election campaigns to run, and lots of them hail from NY, which was pretty damn excited to re-elect Senator Clinton. They might not be much for healing right now. They might – wonder of wonders – have actually thought their colleague would be a great president. The original article states that at this point – post people switching at the last minute out of political necessity, the highly intelligent, politically savvy room is still 1/3 full of Clinton supporters, which makes those Unrepentant Racist Bitch assumptions just a hair suspect. Notice how there’s nothing about what he can do for them, districts where they can campaign together, just how Clinton supporters need to pitch in as much as possible.

According to Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., Obama then said, “However, I need to make a decision in the next few months as to how I manage that since I’m running against John McCain, which takes a lot of time. If women take a moment to realize that on every issue important to women, John McCain is not in their corner, that would help them get over it.

First of all, Mr. I Wanna Run a Government, MEN VOTED FOR HRC, TOO. A LOT OF THEM. Second of all, WOMEN ARE NOT FUCKING STUPID. We know exactly what John McCain is. If women are pissed enough to look at the two of them, under the harsh glare of day, and still think that they will do better under a McCain presidency, that is something Obama needs to fix, and right now. Third of all, stop fucking expecting our votes. I own my vote, not the Democratic Party or its nominee (however chosen).

And then. GET OVER IT. The ultimate in dismissiveness. Not “get excited.” Not “know they’re an integral part of our party.” GET OVER IT YOU STUPID BITCHES NOBODY YOU NEED ME ELSE WILL LOVE YOU.

Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif., a longtime Clinton supporter, did not like those last three words — “Get over it.” She found them dismissive, off-putting.

“Don’t use that terminology,” Watson told Obama.

[……]

In Clarke’s view, Watson thought Obama had just told her to “get over it.” She didn’t appreciate that, and she told him so and emphasized that it was a heated campaign and lot of healing remains to be done.

FUCK YEAH. First of all, Watson handled the situation perfectly. She explained that her colleague had used inappropriate and unnecessary language, that it wasn’t helpful in the caucus room or the campaign, and how and why he should fix it.

“I agree,” Obama said. “There’s healing on both sides.

You bitches ruin EVERYTHING! Winning would’ve been AWESOME if that BITCH and her BITCH FRIENDS hadn’t fucked it up with their CAMPAIGNING AND SHIT! No, there’s healing on one side. Clinton supporters need to be respected, and have our reasonable issues addressed. And we don’t owe anyone anything. Everyone has to vote in the manner which will leave their consciences least disturbed.

Obama then said two sources at the meeting said that he’d held his tongue many times during the campaign against Clinton in the interest of party unity and sensitivity. Clinton and her allies had suggested he was a Muslim, had said he wasn’t qualified to be president.

First of all, he shouldn’t be walking around slinging the M-word, not with his campaign discriminating against Muslim women who support him. Second of all, those smears have been debunked and debunked and DEBUNKED. The “qualifications” thing – I’m assuming he’s referring to the CIC threshhold test – was nothing the GOP isn’t going to bring harder and hotter in any event. Nothing is more destructive to party unity than such blatant lies about a candidate that a lot of us support.

Notice, too, how while he cites alleged slurs against him, he conveniently forgets that some of the healing on her side is going to have to come about because of the insults he dished out to us, her supporters, not just her?

According to the sources, Obama suggested he bit his tongue every time. He could be asking for an apology, he could be asking for the Clintons to reconcile with him, but he chose to rise above it.

Really? Axlerod didn’t send around some clip of Olbermann all hopped up on whatever as usual? OH, WAIT, HE DID. And the way he did it – to prominent media figures – suggests that not only did the Obama campaign expect the media to cover for him, but that you were utterly okay with all of what was going down on that show as it swirled down the shitter. Oh, and he didn’t answer criticism by saying that she “periodically feels down,”: or that “the claws were out,” nooo. Either none of that happened and we were ALL FUCKING HIGH, or he actually thinks that sweepingly insulting an entire gender just to get back at one woman counts for anything.

He just doesn’t seem to understand that he can’t blame everything on Hillary Clinton any more. It’s especially not going to work with the 18 million of us who voted for her, and it’s really not going to work on those of us who would drop everything to join her her if she were forming the breakaway People’s Republic of NYC. You have to work hard to do the healing, Senator.

And I’m tired of being treated this way. I can’t imagine how a black woman who beat all the odds to become a US Representative felt at being so dismissively treated. If that’s how he’s going to talk to her, comrades, just fucking well imagine how he feels about us.

Posted in clinton, feminism, obama, politics, race | 2 Comments »

“But it wasn’t JUST sexism!”

Posted by pocochina on June 17, 2008

Whenever the topic of sexism in media comes up, there are any number of Obama fen who will trip over themselves to inform everyone that YES THERE WAS SEXISM BUT HILLARY LOST B/C OF XYZ OTHER REASONS. On the lowest level – we’re talking sub-human decency levels, but still – this is a good thing, as it forces the Librul Boyz to use the S-Word, though O! How it burns their souls. However, it’s still a crap dodge. From trogledyte commenters on some blog, maybe. But from anyone who actually follows and knows anything about politics, it’s inexcusable. There is never “just one cause” for political victory or defeat, and the only common variable is luck.

There’s a reason politicians have focus groups, and image specialists, and have people help with their haircuts and ties. It’s because even subtle things about politicians set off cues – conscious and subconscious – in voters, media, colleagues, potential donors alike. These intricate cues are synched up to our expectations of masculine-presenting, able-bodied,* heterosexual, white, wealthy male. Femaleness, even white femaleness, is in a great many ways the opposite of this image. It is not “just sexism” in its gloating, unshackled Daily Kos glory. It is sexism in terms of the different measuring sticks we use for men and women; sexism in the way Barack Obama’s past is respected (as it should be; I am not arguing otherwise) but Hillary Clinton’s decades of hard and distinguished work is subsumed under the banner of “former First Lady” – read “just wife.” It is sexism not just in enormous bricks, but in a hundred thousand tiny shards of glass.

Part of the beaut of politics is that it’s so fucking bizarre there’s no One True Analogy. But in this case, there’s a damned close one. This is an exercise in thought, and I don’t know a whole lot about cars, so just assume no externalities.

Say you’re driving a car. What you do know is that the brakes are a bit stiff; what you don’t know is that they’re actually defective. So you’re driving one day, you go to make a relatively sharp turn – like you, and other people, do all the time – and move your right hand down to switch the radio station – like you, and other people, do all the time. Nothing statistically unsafe, but nothing you’d find recommended in a driver’s manual, either.

You crash.

Is the relevant question:

(a) Was it just the faulty brakes?

(b) Would it have happened but for the faulty brakes?

(a) is, of course, the question that will be used by the manufacturer of the faulty car, while trying to duck responsibility. Not only is their credibility on the line, as well as the money that they owe you, but they’re also trying to duck their moral responsibility for the accident.

But really, do you really believe that you would’ve crashed if you’d had working brakes?

Oh, sure, sexism wasn’t the only drawback of the Clinton campaign.  But the Blogger Boyz/MSM’s desperate cast for reasons other than sexism to explain Clinton’s eventual coming up slightly short for the nomination reads to me, at least a little, like an excuse to duck any responsibility on the part of themselves or Barack Obama.  Because if Obama won, even a little, based on these unfair biases, then he didn’t win the great coup over the Dragon Lady they have been screaming for these many months.  Moreover, they would have to examine their own motivations.  Even if they were Pure as the Morning in their motivations – and the idea that they’re not doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone – they’d have to question all of the narratives they bought into over the last year and a half.  They have to discount sexism as the reason for Clinton’s loss, or Obama’s win isn’t what they want it to have been.

Sure, it wasn’t just sexism.  It was Patti Solis Doyle not being up to the job.  It was, oddly, underestimating, the sexism that they did know was going to exist, and only seeing the ripple effects halfway through the campaign.  It was underestimating the Obama faction at the DNC.

But even factoring in all of that, do you really, really believe that without the assistance of the Clenis-obsessed media, a cultural zeitgeist willing to believe anything of an intelligent, ambitious woman, without the endless snide comments about nasty old ladies and pantsuits and frigidity and duplicity and ballbreakers and madams and whores and periodically feeling down and WWTSBQ and on and on into sinking oblivion –

do you really think you would have crashed?

*I’m aware that we’ve had a wheelchair-using president, but FDR never presented his disability to the public.

Posted in clinton, feminism, obama, politics | Leave a Comment »

Hillary Sexism Watch*

Posted by pocochina on May 26, 2008

*any merit to this post is dedicated to Liss, who I swear deserves a break from the 101-part HSW.

These two stories are, as ABC wants me to believe, on the Political Radar:

Bill Clinton Has “Never Seen a Candidate Treated So Disrespectfully Just for Running”

Clinton Sheds Pantsuits for Puerto Rico

Wow!  There’s sure a lot going on, on the Political Radar!

WJC, doing the decent thing by his candidate, is calling out the media for its shockingly poor treatment she’s receiving.  The Big Manly Man gets the political story, doing work on the campaign trail.  For the record, I’m pretty proud to have supported (shut up!  I SO voted for him in the Nickelodeon poll!) WJC, who after it all is still in politics, standing up for his wife and against the forces so resentful of women in politics.

The actual candidate, however, is treated with no such respect. There’s a terribly interesting and important (to those of us who care about issues particular to the Hispanic-American segment of the electorate, anyway) narrative of Senator Clinton in Puerto Rico, because many of her constituents are Puerto Rican, she’s been performing well among Hispanic voters, and finally, PR gets a say in the selection of a candidate!  But what’s really important is the sexualized image of her “shed[ding] pantsuits for PR” – particularly in an “otherized” locale, in a community of brown people.   You know, perhaps she really is happier and more effective in “…a pink floral tunic, white Capri pants, and what appeared to be Feragamo white leather slides,” but we’ll never know, because she’s not actually on vacation, she’s campaigning for the presidency of the United States, and I think the Senator would far prefer it to be reported that she spoke to issues specific to PR, rather than that her campaign stop turned into some shameful product placement, with tongue not-particularly-far-in-cheek references to sex work.

Posted in clinton, feminism | Leave a Comment »

on RFK

Posted by pocochina on May 25, 2008

I’m not going to talk about how the Rites of the All-High Masons of Media and Internet Communications have fully jumped the shark on this one.  Corrente did that already, and much better than I will, as did the brilliant Anglachel.

I’m not going to talk about how what Senator Clinton said was, in fact, rock-solid historical fact, as Riverdaughter and Red have already done, or that we are utterly foolish to construe it otherwise, as RFK, Jr.’s statement is far more important than anything from me could ever be.

What astounds me is that everyone in the world is so utterly convinced not just that there are historical parallels, but that the historical parallel in question is Senator Obama.  This is partially, of course, a function of the fact that I’ve never bought the myth that Senator Obama’s youth and virility automatically make him the missing Kennedy brother.  Neither candidate is Bobby Kennedy, nor should they be, not because I don’t find RFK deeply admirable – I do – but because they do not need to be specters of the past to be impressive.  If you think your candidate must be someone else reincarnated to be acceptable, perhaps you should rethink your choice of candidate.  If I were playing that game, however, I’d point out that no matter how many times you hold hands beneath a full moon with your fraternity brothers and chant over your director’s cut of Thirteen Days, stacked atop your updated edition of The Audacity of Hope, you won’t change the fact that RFK was widely perceived as the junior partner in a political dynasty, someone whose critics could only stammer that he was “ruthless” and did not shiver their timbers with his public speaking, though his devotion to justice was clear as a bell, that he bothered to show up in Appalachia, or that he’d actually won the California primary, so that particular historical narrative quite simply does not stand up to the facts, just to your squishy smooshy feelings, and you should think about that next time you accuse Clinton supporters of vagina voting.

I am not surprised, not in the least, that RFK is on Senator Clinton’s mind.  Not just because she is old enough to remember the pain of that moment and that, as Riverdaughter says so brilliantly in the post cited above,* it’s branded into our political consciousness that in 1968, the Democratic primary went until June, and California had its say, but because she is all to aware that she walks in his shoes.  It is not taboo in our public discourse, as the Actor Poorly Portraying Edward Murrow would have us believe, to mention assassination.  (Especially classy coming from you, Keith, you fucking scumbag.)  It is in fact a joke to many people wielding far too much power in our public discourse.  Such jokes are not just jokes. They function to desensitize the listener to the possibility of violence against her person.

She is not thinking of RFK because she wishes that fate on anyone.  This is patently clear.  She is thinking of Robert Kennedy because a supposed liberal commentator jokes about someone taking her into a room and “only he comes out,” because an elected representative suggests that she should be content with drowning lest we shoot her, because these are but the tip of the iceburg, the ones that got caught, but she and her ever-vigilant Secret Service detail know that they are heard by people who do not just think this is funny, but deadly serious.  She wasn’t just talking about history.   She, no less (and, if our news media’s threats were to be taken seriously, quite possibly more) than Senator Obama, must know that there are many who wish her the worst harm possible.  She must stare, some nights on the plane, when her eyes glaze over at tomorrow’s schedule, at her protection and wonder if they have practiced lately, wonder if they ran today, if they slept enough, if, if, if.  I can’t even describe my anger at everyone, fauxgressive, conservative, or apathetic, who screeches today about her evil intent but has laughed off the threats on her life, except to say that it is cold and it is fierce.

Senator Clinton was not calling for harm to befall Senator Obama.  She was referencing history, but she was not just doing that.  She was talking about the chill she must feel, at that which is a “joke” to the chattering classes, though she hides it well, when Sirhan Sirhan lifts up her hair and murmurs in her ear.

*I cite things so anyone reading can understand what I am saying.  If there are any jackass comments to this entry that contribute nothing except that the reader doesn’t understand how to click a hyperlink, I will hold said jackassery up for derision.

Posted in clinton, feminism, politics | Leave a Comment »

…gettin’ older over here

Posted by pocochina on April 23, 2008

Oh my God.

I didn’t want to do this.

I really, really, REALLY didn’t.

But I’m so fucking pissed off about it that I just CAN’T not talk about it any more.  Linda Hirshman is fucking right.  Okay, she’s not totally right, but she’s talking about something important that nobody fucking wants to hear.  I know it would be totally cool to just focus on the criticisms and why she is a total bitch and we hate her and don’t want to sit with her in the cafeteria, I am going to DARE TO AGREE.  I am not saying there are no critiques of Hirshman that can be made, I am not saying there are no valid critiques of the second wave.  But I am calling bullshit  on some of my fellow young people.

Yes.  Looking at the demographics, younger women are slightly more likely to vote for Senator Obama, older women are slightly more likely to vote for Senator Clinton.  And what I see here, in the discussion of the campaign – from feminists, non-feminists, and anti-feminists – is another -ism that nobody wants to talk about.  AGEISM.  Ageism is wrong too, assholes.  If you assume that an older woman is myopic and out of touch and selfish, but you, the younger woman, are de facto more aware of intersectionality or are Magically Above Vagina Voting, that’s not just non-feminist, it’s also ageist, and it ignores the reality that women are punished more for daring to age – YOU KNOW, THE WAY LIVING BEINGS DO – than men are.  When you think of being “scolded by [your] mother,” (I seriously wish I were making that gem up, and yes, it’s from a feminist writer who thought this ageist, sizeist, anti-feminist cartoon was a real freaking laugh riot) when Senator Clinton goes off on one of her cranky bad-day-at-work rants about getting people health care or some shit, that is part of a systemic framework that punishes women for being adults, and that connects adult women with that which we do not like about the domestic sphere.   I, for one, like older women, and in fact hope to be one some day.

Maybe I am really lucky.  My mom’s neither a feminist nor a HRC supporter.  I’m the Ms. reader in the house, not her.  So I get to feel all warm and fuzzy and rebel-y voting for Hillary.  Hell, my being a Democrat is upsetting enough to my parents.  I saw this interview that LH talks about in the article.  “In an interview on PBS’s NOW with Maria Hinojosa*, Ms. magazine founding editor Letty Cotton Pogrebin and her Obama-supporting author daughter, Abigail, discussed their personal quarrel over the election.”  The daughter spit all over the camera for twenty freaking minutes about how – I SWEAR TO GOD I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP – her mother’s feminist movement was “only about abortion” and younger women “care about more things.”  I’m lucky I didn’t break the fucking treadmill.  How could anyone possibly be so ignorant about the accomplishments of the second wave of feminism?  By purposeful ignorance, that’s how.  Again, I’m not saying there are no valid critiques to be made, I’m saying that disappearing the work those women did and are still doing is bullshit.

And Robin Morgan’s article was, yes, problematic because comparing racism to sexism is impossible, and for a lot of women, unnecessary because they live both.  But the “some younger feminists women” stuff should have a huge freaking “IF THE SHOE DOESN’T FIT, DON’T FUCKING WEAR IT” neon fucking flashing border around it.  I could have very easily taken offense – I am a younger feminist, and dammit, I did vote for Clinton – but I could tell that she was not talking about women who honestly and in good faith consider their preferences for one candidate or another.  She was talking, in a nutshell, about some – NOT ALL – young women who see rejection of Senator Clinton as a way to show that they are So Over That Feminism Crap Already.  “I’m not a feminist, but….” has become “I mean, I’m a woman and I didn’t vote for her.”  It is a convenient way to make oneself non-threatening to a dude-dominated social scene.

And JESUS MARY AND JOSEPH.  This “change” and “old politics versus new politics” and “same old, same old” crap?  ARE AGEIST AND ANTI-FEMINIST.  I don’t want to hear one more fucking word of defense for it.  They are key phrases for the Obama campaign for fucking good reasons.  (Hey, I never said they were dumb.  Wrong, yeah, but not dumb.) Youth is a valued position in our society, and age is not.  Partially, this is our capitalist standard of physical attractiveness, and partially of course, it’s the fear of death – if we act young, we are young, we won’t die.  Therefore, the Obama campaign is reminding us that as far as age goes, he has more privilege than her.  It’s not quite as heavy-handed as “periodically feeling down,” but it’s there.  And this “young and attractive” versus “old and…..well, old” is especially pernicious because women are judged more than men are based on our physical appearance, and this is especially true of Senator Clinton, paradoxically,  because she’s performing work outside of her gender role, and that’s how our society punishes powerful women.

More importantly though, in the context of politics, age means something different for women than it does for men, because it is new for women to be in politics.  When we get old-skool on our masculine-coded politics, we think of the Founding Fathers in their boots and wigs.  When we get old-skool on our feminine-coded politics, we draw a blank.  Because there is no such thing.  But rather than face that fact, and grasp that we are living in an era where that is changing, we fill that blank in with older women, who are explicitly not a privileged group in our society.  We code older women especially as grandmas baking cookies.  Being a grandma who bakes cookies is a totally awesome and valid thing to be, and certainly not dispositive of many other identity components – again, I love my grandma, she makes great cookies, and some day I might be a cookie-baking grandma myself.  But we correlate age in women as belonging to a previous generation, one in which women weren’t demanding to actually be taken seriously and stuff.  We consider it as a time of unpaid labor – like, I don’t know, baking cookies for someone because you love them and not because you’re going to get money (which in our society connotes financial independence and thus personal autonomy) or going on state visits because of your husband’s job.  We pretend this hypothetical grandma didn’t want to be taken seriously so that we don’t have to take her seriously.  Hillary Clinton demands to be taken seriously – maybe we shouldn’t have taken those cookies for granted.  “Old politics” doesn’t just connote smoke-filled rooms, when you’re talking about a woman.  It also connotes “hag” and “crone” and “witch” and all of the other terrible thoughts about humanity that we project onto older women.

Now, it’s a smart campaign strategy.  But for feminists to dismiss the older women who call out the bullshit because they are older – LIKE DISMISSING FEMINIST CONCERNS WHEN THEY COME FROM A WOMAN – is also bullshit.

Don’t tell Mom I said this, but sometimes she really has a point, you know?

(For the record – I do find the ageism directed at Senator McCain to be reprehensible as well.  If HRC were 72, you’re damned right I would still have voted for her.  And I expect Senator McCain’s supporters to do the same.  It’s not as loaded with him because he’s a man and this country has a tradition of voting for old white men, but it’s still ageist.  Shit, my great-grandma lived to be 105, let’s not be acting all like we’re voting in his VP, okay?)

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American Catholics, Working Class Communities, and HRC

Posted by pocochina on April 18, 2008

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom
…………Let it be
(Beatles)

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How wonderful life is…

Posted by pocochina on April 10, 2008

….when Elton John is in the world.

2.5 million to HRC’s campaign!

And if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – this is a great moment not just for Senator Clinton, but for the LGBTQ community.  Visibility is everything in the fight for equality. For a major presidential candidate to headline a major fundraiser, days before a critical primary, with an openly gay celebrity, is a step in that direction, and while my heart is with Hillary right now, it’s full of hope for all of my loved ones in the queer community as well.  Particularly coming on the heels of a major interview with a gay and lesbian newspaper, and another television appearance with supporter and friend Ellen Degeneres.  I, for one, want a Democratic nominee and president who will stand toe to toe with the homophobic bigots in this country, with her out and proud friends, colleagues (both openly gay Congresspersons are Clinton supporters) and constituents behind her.

“I’m amazed by the misogynistic attitudes of some of the people in this country. And I say to hell with them …. I love you Hillary, I’ll be there for you.” – Elton John

Amen.

*dances off, singing “Philadelphia Freedom”*

(For less promising comparisons, here and here. And here.)

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oh, spare me

Posted by pocochina on April 4, 2008

I didn’t do it, and if I did, the bitch made me. (Via)
Alright.  So it’s nice to see someone call Obama out on his caimpaign tactics, which are probably roughly equally negative to HRC’s, and at the beginning of the campaign were far more so.  Credit to the Inky, and hee! it’s gotta be the most-read newspaper in PA.  But I absolutely cannot shake this comment.  You know all those sanctimonious reactionary douchebags who walk around every time a Democrat gets caught with his fly down going “oh, it’s not the sex, it’s the lying!”*  I’m about to sound like them a little, so hold on to your hats.

It’s not the negativity.  It’s the bullshit.

I really don’t pretend I am the mistress of the high ground of public discourse.  I don’t mind a spot of negative campaigning here and there.  If a candidate is a misogynist asshole, then fuck, I do want to know about it, and dammit, I want everyone else to know about it, too.  I don’t think that’s off limits.

However, I do think it’s off-limits to knowingly lie about your opponent.  To consciously appeal to deep-seated and largely unacknowledged prejudices you are aware that people hold against your opponent, even when you have every reason to know that such an approach is morally reprehensible (and in the long-run, politically fuckin’ stupid).  To project your inconsistencies onto your opponent.

HRC didn’t make Barack Obama do anything.  He is a successful politician and is responsible for his own campaign.  And even if she did, that doesn’t say good things about him either, because he’s purported to make positive campaigning and respectful politics a cornerstone of his candidacy.  So when he says “oh, I went negative because she started it,” not only is he making an argument that he wouldn’t accept from his kids, he comes across – whether this is true or not – like winning is more important to him than any of his principles.  As someone calculating.  As just another Washington insider politician who would do anything to win.  Like the person he’s gone out of his way to say Senator Clinton is.  And if she, a member of his own party, a person who those who support him claim cannot beat him, does have the political power to make him give up that which he’s supposed to hold in such high regard, then fuck, how’s he going to face down the GOP, not just in November, but for years after that?

And again, I can live with all that.  I am a realist about these things.  If American political debate ever moves more about relevant issues and less about personal attacks (and I do believe that will happen eventually, if only because of the power of mass media), it’s going to happen at a pace that makes glaciers look like 747s.  What rankles about this – and I really, really try to write from a vote-for-Clinton perspective, rather than don’t-vote-for-Obama analysis, I saw this three times before I made up my mind to write – is the age-old effort to make a person of a marginalized group (in this case, women) carry the weight of our societal disapproval of something.  Don’t like premarital sex?  Ban abortion, those hussies need to face the consequences.  Economy sucks?  Fuckin’ “illegal,” code word for Hispanic, immigrants. Kerry lost in 2004 because of those gays wanting their civil rights and shit, getting all the homophobic loonies to the polls.  Rank fucking victim-blaming.

Frustrated with the way elections center around nasty, irrelevant personal attacks rather than substantive policy discussion?  Don’t hold your dumb-assed press accountable, no need to turn off MSNBC.  No need to run for office, no need to write to a campaign or send a letter to the editor, or start a blog, or speak up to your friends, or give a little money to an organization that gets out the word on issues you care about.  Blame Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Hillary Clinton.  Of all people.  Hillary Clinton is the fucking patron saint of people whose lives, careers, whose very selves have been sacrificed on the alter of scapegoating in lieu of true political progress.  How anyone dares to even think put the very machine that’s tried to destroy her for years now on her shoulders is beyond me.

Blaming Senator Clinton for social problems is not a way to fix them.  It is a way to ignore them, or make them more deeply entrenched.  I am deeply disappointed in Senator Obama tonight.

*Yeah, I realize that for them it really was all about the sex, and I happen to believe general standard of decency that nobody should be publicly asked about legal, consensual sexual activity.  Even if you’re super afraid that his cock is bigger than yours.

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they just keep comin’

Posted by pocochina on March 25, 2008

Today’s All-High Badass Dick-Swingin’ Motherfucker, in a surprise upset* is Jeff Fecke!

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a twofer!

Posted by pocochina on March 23, 2008

This weekend’s All-High Badass Dick-Swingin’ Motherfucker:  MARK HALPERIN! Mark, your momma must be so proud.

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