Ed Driscoll

In The Land Of The Rococo Sexists

Found via Pajamas, which has thorough and regularly updated coverage of the West Virginia Democratic primary, Marie Cocco of the Washington Post writes, “As the Democratic nomination contest slouches toward a close, it’s time to take stock of what I will not miss“:

I will not miss the deafening, depressing silence of Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean or other leading Democrats, who to my knowledge (with the exception of Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland) haven’t uttered a word of public outrage at the unrelenting, sex-based hate that has been hurled at a former first lady and two-term senator from New York. Among those holding their tongues are hundreds of Democrats for whom Clinton has campaigned and raised millions of dollars. Don Imus endured more public ire from the political class when he insulted the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.

Would the silence prevail if Obama’s likeness were put on a tap-dancing doll that was sold at airports? Would the media figures who dole out precious face time to these politicians be such pals if they’d compared Obama with a character in a blaxploitation film? And how would crude references to Obama’s sex organs play?

There are many reasons why Clinton is losing the nomination contest, some having to do with her strategic mistakes, others with the groundswell for “change.” But for all Clinton’s political blemishes, the darker stain that has been exposed is the hatred of women that is accepted as a part of our culture.

No, the darker stain is the hatred of the other, the opposite in general that flows through the identity politics of the left, from otherwise surprisinglydiversequarters.

Cocco’s mantra is that she won’t miss the sexism of the left, but that implies that such wounds are being put in the past. Why? Sides of the left that their media normally keeps well under wraps were exposed for all to see this year. In an ideal world the cliche that “sunlight is the best disinfectant” would be true, but these rifts aren’t going away anytime soon.

Update: This portion of the latest essay by Camile Paglia dovetails remarkably well with the above rococo Cocco WaPo piece:

Hillary has certainly given a blast of artificial resuscitation to male-bashing paleo-feminism, which is back with a vengeance. The blogosphere is awash with accusations of “traitor” against women who have the temerity to vote for Obama. Gloria Steinem’s anointed heir, Susan Faludi, weighed in with a recent New York Times op-ed about Hillary bizarrely arguing that a sports referee or umpire is “coded feminine” (huh?) and parallels the vintage American feminist as “prissy hall monitor” and “purse-lipped killjoy” — a stereotype that Hillary the pugilist has broken. (Oh, really? When has Faludi ever endorsed pugilistic feminism before?)

With nice synchronicity, that same week Rebecca Walker, Steinem’s goddaughter, was complaining about entrenched feminist “ideology” in the Sunday Times in London. The brand of feminism promoted by her mother, feminist icon Alice Walker, is in Rebecca’s words “close to a cult”: “I feel I had to de-programme myself in order to have independent thought.” My own protest against the ideology problem in feminism has been going on, through word and deed, since the late 1960s. My latest salvo, “Feminism Past and Present: Ideology, Action, and Reform” (the keynote address of a conference on feminism at Harvard University in April) will appear in the Spring/Summer issue of Arion, to be published in print and on the Web in June.

Another point: Most of the media fell hook, line and sinker for the “Iron my shirt!” stunt at a Hillary campaign event in January in New Hampshire, where two scruffy male hecklers were clearly in collusion with her staff. (The signs — including one suspiciously permitted on the stage itself — were carefully positioned and lit, and Hillary had a pat prepared line to draw camera attention to them.) Those dorky guys, at least one with a link to a radio station, are far too young to have the slightest knowledge of an era when women ironed men’s shirts — or when shirts needed ironing at all! Businessmen’s shirts go to the cleaners nowadays, and everyone else’s gear is just tossed into the dryer. That hoax was designed to reawaken the atavistic resentments of older women voters — and it worked.

[Watch a clip of the “Iron my shirt!” stunt, below] (Embedded in Paglia’s post–Ed)

A perfect symbol of the empty rhetoric and slick manipulations of the Clinton campaign is its chairman, Terry McAuliffe, a wheeler-dealer businessman and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Despite our shared Syracuse background, I despise McAuliffe with every fiber of my being. On primary day in Pennsylvania last month, I voted for Obama in the suburbs and then dashed to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia to catch a train to New York (where I was to tape a TV interview with Sandra Bernhard for the In the Life gay channel).

There big as life right at the top of my departure stairs in the airy main lobby was Terry McAuliffe, dressed in a dark suit like a well-appointed undertaker and chatting away conspiratorially with two similarly dressed clones. A wave of aggression swept over me. From 10 feet away, I locked on to McAuliffe like the deranged ED-209 crime-fighting robot that shoots up a corporate boardroom in Paul Verhoeven’s “RoboCop.” Nouns like “scum” and “rot” and adjectives like “vile” and “corrupt” flashed through my mind, ready for ignition and firing. I struggled but uncharacteristically held my tongue. My cardinal principle of free speech was restrained by my subordinate principle of respect for shared public space. McAuliffe had as much right as I do to be free from harassment in a train station. But passersby missed what could have been a tasty little scene of 1960s-style street theater.

Probably wise–there’s been so little of that in this election.