May
6th 2008
How do we beat the Hitch?

Posted under: American history, Gender, Intersectionality, race, wankers, women's history

Although they haven’t yet figured out how to “beat the bitch” yet, the misogynist troglodytes in the national media are busy roughing up Michelle Obama already.  Historiann has said all along that in the event that Michelle Obama and her husband are the only Democrats left standing after the primaries, that they’ll enjoy the Clinton treatment (ca. 1991-present) all the same.  (The Clintons aren’t uniquely divisive–they’re just uniquely successful in the Democratic party, which made them uniquely annoying to Republicans and right-wingers.)  Exhibit A, we have ex-liberal Mr. Christopher Hitchens, who has all of the drunken charm of Irving Kristol on PCP.  He’s been deeply, deeply troubled by Jeremiah Wright and his role in Barack Obama’s life.  Yesterday, Hitch picked his head up off of his keyboard long enough to type the following (h/t to Chet Scoville at Shakesville for warning us about this steaming turd):

All right, then, how is it that the loathsome Wright married him, baptized his children, and received donations from him? Could it possibly have anything, I wonder, to do with Mrs. Obama?

This obvious question is now becoming inescapable, and there is an inexcusable unwillingness among reporters to be the one to ask it.

Inexcusable!  So Hitch hitched up his plus-fours, picked up a phone, and contacted people at the Obama campaign himself, right?  He, the only reporter tough enough for the job, demanded an interview with Mrs. Obama and asked her, right?

Um, well, no.  He simply continued to type along happily in his ignorance.  Why didn’t he ask this “inescapable” question?

(One can picture Obama looking pained and sensitive and saying, “Keep my wife out of it,” or words to that effect, as Clinton tried to do in 1992 when Jerry Brown and Ralph Nader quite correctly inquired about his spouse’s influence.) If there is a reason why the potential nominee has been keeping what he himself now admits to be very bad company—and if the rest of his character seems to make this improbable—then either he is hiding something and/or it is legitimate.

Right.  And yet, apparently we’re supposed to believe that making up stuff in his head is credible journalism.  He apparently didn’t ask any questions or do any, you know, reporting, because he “picture[d]” in his mind that Barack Obama wouldn’t like the question, and then says that this phantom Obama in his brain “either. . . is hiding something and/or it is legitimate to ask him about his partner.”  (Friends, I think we can all agree right now that Hitch needs help!  Remember, at this point, Hitch has done no actual reporting.  He hasn’t talked to anyone named Obama except an imaginary one.) 

Hitch did some reporting, didn’t he?  Well, to get to the heart of the matter, he did what all good reporters do when they have a question they need to ask a prominent public figure:  he looked up her Senior thesis in sociology from 1985, “Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community.”  He then pronounces that “[t]o describe it as hard to read would be a mistake; the thesis cannot be ‘read’ at all, in the strict sense of the verb. This is because it wasn’t written in any known language.”  What could he mean by that comment?  Ebonics?  Blinglish?  And isn’t it amazing that Princeton granted her a degree, and that she went to Harvard law school despite her poor communication skills outside of “any known language!”

Side note:  isn’t it funny how Republican politicians like George W. Bush–drunk until age 40– and Henry Hyde (he of the “youthful indiscretions”) get a pass on anything immoral, untoward, or stupid they did up until their early 40s.  And yet, somehow a senior thesis written at age 21 or 22 is supposed to be the dernier crie of Michelle Obama’s intellect, politics, and judgment?  We’re supposed to think that the fact that she wrote a senior thesis and graduated from Princeton is somehow disreputable, rather than commendable.  (Funny about that double standard, isn’t it?)  Women of color succeeding in the dominant culture’s institutions, and on the dominant culture’s own terms?  Very suspicious.  White men wasting their lives into middle-age with booze and girls–just high-spirited fun, you know, the kind that makes you think you’d like sit down and have a beer with the guy.

So, Hitch gives us the amazing revelation that “at quite an early stage in the text, Michelle Obama announces that she’s much influenced by the definition of black ‘separationism’ offered by Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton in their 1967 screed Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America.”  (Apparently, Hitch had to take a nap at that point–this is the only information he gleaned from consulting M. Obama’s thesis that he cites in the article.  He doesn’t actually say what the definition is, nor does he explain why this makes M. Obama a disreputable scholar or bad person today, beyond the fact that white people are supposed to be scared by the mere invokation of the words “Stokely Carmichael” and “Black Power” in one sentence.)  After that, we’re treated to a pointless anecdote about the last time Hitch saw Carmichael, in which he gets to scare white people again by saying “Louis Farrakhan.”  (Also, you’d think that Hitch would be about the last person to want to be held to this standard, because he used to be wrong about everything until 6 years ago, but now he’s got it all worked out–finally!) 

At the end, Hitch gets to the point of this ramble through his fevered brain and his vomit-stained copy of a 23-year old senior thesis:  “I have the distinct feeling that the Obama campaign can’t go on much longer without an answer to the question: ‘Are we getting two for one?’”  And, he helpfully reminds those of us who can’t remember 1992, “This time we should find out before it’s too late to ask.”  Because Bill and Hillary Clinton have been such a freakin’ disaster for their party and this nation, apparently, and there’s not enough hate in the world for Hillary Clinton.  And now it’s too late!  Too late, I say!

15 Comments »

15 Responses to “How do we beat the Hitch?”

  1. Rad readr on 06 May 2008 at 10:11 pm #

    Great post. I just saw this junk about the thesis on the web. You’re on fire, historiann.

  2. GayProf on 07 May 2008 at 9:27 am #

    One of my fears about Obama is that he really has no clue about how low the Republicans will go. I mean, they instituted a coup in 2000.

    If he thought that the Wright thing was tough, he hasn’t seen anything yet.

  3. Historiann on 07 May 2008 at 9:46 am #

    That’s right, GayProf. Last night he said he knew what was coming–while I’m sure he and Michelle know it intellectually, I don’t think anyone can know what it will look or feel like until it hits. We need a candidate who can take a punch and come back swinging even harder. His win in NC was convincing and solid last night, but I don’t see him expanding his base of support. Maybe Clinton’s close shave in Indiana will take the air out of her balloon, but she’s heavily favored in the next few primaries.

    At this point, Obama will almost certainly be the nominee, but it’s still a race until one of them concedes.

    (And thanks for the compliment, Rad!)

  4. Indyanna on 07 May 2008 at 10:06 am #

    And the misogyny question can’t NOT be commented on. To see one Obama-leaning media analyst last night observe that in his speech at Raleigh the winning candidate was backdropped by “older women, but good-looking ones…” and two hours later another of the same responding to a hypothetical with “but if my aunt had a male appendage, she’d be my uncle, and that would be different…” was pretty stupefying. And the rest of the crew on the set in both cases rolling their eyes, locker-room style, and chuckling with embarrassment but no real outrage, was…

  5. SF on 07 May 2008 at 12:34 pm #

    While we’re on the subject of elitist prick journalists, here is an excerpt from Matt Taibbi’s (whom, up until recently I’ve enjoyed reading) latest take in Rolling Stone on Hillary’s campaign:

    “Her campaign has become a symbol of not giving in to those who would wish us to surrender, of defying the smug assessments of those who think they know better, of not letting someone else’s diminished expectations for us — maybe those of a boss, maybe an ex-boyfriend or ex-wife, maybe a Madison Avenue ad world that tells us we have to look a certain way/age to be worth loving — rule the day. I would say that Hillary is the electoral incarnation of a Gloria Gaynor song, but gloria Gaynor is too campy and even a little bit too black for this crowd; the vibe at Hillary events feels more like nostalgic white suburban angst, a numbing misery of a type that runs deep enough it can hear the same song over and over again in the car on the way to work for 20 consecutive years and yet still sing along to it, lips pursed defiantly in Billy Crystal’s white-man’s overbite, when it hears it twice, three times, even four times n the same hour. In other words, this Hillary campaign is basically Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” running for president.

    If you’re the kind of person who’s ready to throw a chair through a window if you hear that fucking song even one more time, you’re not going to get this Hillary thing. More to the point, you’re not going to fit in with these crowds, which are full of featureless, angry faces, faces of the type that all us smug cleverati in the media think can be ignored, faces that have been going to boring-ass jobs every day and taking one crappy vacation a year to Puerto Vallarta and running a treadmill three times a week to help their spouses find sex withthem more tolerable — you see, there we go, making jokes about them again! See, we can laugh all we want, but they won’t……back…….down! THEY WON’T! BACK! DOWWWWWN!”

  6. Historiann on 07 May 2008 at 1:15 pm #

    SF: Ugh. I’ll amend my statement above about how there’s not enough hate in the world for Hillary Clinton, to say that there’s apparently not enough contempt in the world for anyone who voted for Clinton.

    By the way, Matt: that’s not even writing–that looks like a stream-of-consciousness e-mail. Where are the standards, SF?

    What a schmuck.

  7. David on 07 May 2008 at 4:22 pm #

    I disagree. That’s an awesome rant. Somewhat unhinged, though, as all good rants must be. It’s not meant to be taken that seriously.

  8. David on 07 May 2008 at 8:41 pm #

    Oh, and for Obama: Please don’t send any of the money I gave you to help pay off Hillary Clinton’s campaign debts. She has enough money on her own. If she wants to keep running let her.

  9. McConnecticut on 07 May 2008 at 8:53 pm #

    Rant on, Historiann; you’re on a roll. I’m actually an Obama supporter, but happy to see misogyny and crappy punditry called out. Hitch is insufferable. And possibly dangerous. I was extremely pleased to read the following:

    “We’re supposed to think that the fact that she wrote a senior thesis and graduated from Princeton is somehow disreputable, rather than commendable. (Funny about that double standard, isn’t it?) Women of color succeeding in the dominant culture’s institutions, and on the dominant culture’s own terms? Very suspicious. White men wasting their lives into middle-age with booze and girls–just high-spirited fun, you know, the kind that makes you think you’d like sit down and have a beer with the guy.”

    Unbelievable. So glad to have found you here (props to Roxie’s World for the links).

  10. SF on 07 May 2008 at 9:58 pm #

    I will admit that I usually find Taibbi’s rants enjoyable. But this one is so obnoxiously supercilious (and this comes from an often supercilious person) not only with regard to HRC but the electorate. The truth is, after 8 years of bullshit, many of the middle- and working-class people do feel royally fucked over, now more that ever. Does Obama’s unity talk address this? The deep frustration is real, although perhaps uninteresting for someone jetting around on HBO’s and Rolling Stone’s dime for pseudo-gonzo purposes. Damn, I even had a crush on Taibbi. (In all fairness, he does call followers of both candidates crazies–though does not go into much detail on the Obama side).

  11. David on 07 May 2008 at 10:49 pm #

    Well, what I like about the rant is that it doesn’t disguise his own elitism and doesn’t even make the slightest pretense towards objectivity or rationality. It does read like stream-of-consciousness, which is exactly how a rant should read!

  12. Historiann on 07 May 2008 at 10:53 pm #

    SF–don’t you get it? Hillary voters are too old to be cool, to poor to be hip, too female to take seriously, and too Latino/a and Asian to be considered at all (outside of TX and CA, I guess).

    And thanks McConnecticut–thanks for visiting and commenting too. Most of my commenters are Obama supporters, so you’re in good company here. I have a feeling that Michelle Obama may ask for a meeting with Hillary Clinton sometime soon–maybe this fall, maybe next year if Obama wins the presidency, maybe in 2010. Clinton is the only person who might be able to advise her in dealing with the unholy sh*tstorm that the Republicans (and their pals in the corporate media) that will come down on her head, despite the fact that she has no power and the “job” of First Lady is unpaid. That’s the real rub: she has no actual power or authority, but she’ll be discussed and written about in only the most hostile and suspicious terms. (This is the script they run on all Dem Candidate & Prez wives–see what they did to Rosalyn Carter and Theresa Heinz Kerry back in the day.)

  13. Knitting Clio on 08 May 2008 at 5:25 am #

    As you know from my blog, I’m a Clinton supporter but am just appalled at the misogyny and racism being directed at Michelle Obama (I couldn’t get beyond the first page of the New Yorker article). I also confessed to my women cycling friends last night that I think that given the lukewarm results of the Indiana election it’s time for Senatorella to pack it in. This is just getting too ugly.

  14. Historiann on 08 May 2008 at 6:15 am #

    KC–but the crap being hurled at MO will be slung at her regardless of what Clinton does or when she does it. It’s not the Clinton people who are targeting MO, it’s the media who are eager to attack another smart, confident woman for the sheer joy of attacking her but also as a means of raising questions about her husband. (And without Clinton to kick around any more, more of the nastiness will focus on the Obamas.)

  15. Lind on Hitchens and “public intellectuals” in America : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 27 Dec 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    [...] was simply male supremacy in all things, but in arts, letters, and comedy in particular.  Me, I dispensed with him years ago on this blog when I reviewed his utterly comical psychologizing of Michelle Obama on the basis of her senior [...]

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