UPDATED MARCH 23: POLLITT RESPONDS, HISTORIANN RETRACTS SNARKY BITS
Via TalkLeft, we learn that Katha Pollitt is (once again) shocked, shocked to find there’s sexism at the house organ of the so-called American “Left,” The Nation magazine!
It’s been a long time since anyone seriously maintained that women in power, simply by virtue of their gender, are reliably less warlike than men—how could they be, given that men set up and control the system through which those women must rise? But apparently Nation blogger Robert Dreyfuss has just noticed this fact.
In a post entitled “Obama’s Women Advisers Pushed War Against Libya” (originally titled “Obama’s Women” tout court) he’s shocked-shocked-shocked that UN Ambassador Susan Rice, human-rights adviser Samantha Power and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were keen on intervening militarily in Libya. The piece is dotted with arch and sexist language—the advisers are a “troika,” a “trio” who “rode roughshod over the realists in the administration” (all men) and “pushed Obama to war.” Now it’s up to the henpecked President to “reign (sic) in his warrior women.” Interestingly, the same trope—ballbreaking women ganging up on a weak president—is all over the rightwing blogosphere.
. . . . . . . .
[C]an you imagine a piece in The Nation titled “Black President Opts for Bombs” or “Qaddafi, a Man, Threatens to Massacre Rebels, Most of Whom Are Also Men”?
Misogyny—it’s the last acceptable prejudice of the left.
Yeah, you tell them, Katha! (Only, did you sleep through all of the coverage your rag and its contributors provided of the 2008 Democratic primary? And all of those stereotypes about what a horrible nut-crusher Clinton is, and what a horrible, bloodthirsty monster she is for voting for the 2002 AUMF? I guess what I’m saying is that some of us were pointing this out more than three years ago, and some of us remember.)
I’m still glad I supported Obama over Hillary Clinton. If Hillary had won the election, every single day would be a festival of misogyny. We would hear constantly about her voice, her laugh, her wrinkles, her marriage and what a heartless, evil bitch she is for doing something–whatever!–men have done since the Stone Age. Each week would bring its quotient of pieces by fancy women writers explaining why they were right not to have liked her in the first place.Liberal pundits would blame her for discouraging the armies of hope and change, for bringing back the same-old same-old cronies and advisers, for letting healthcare reform get bogged down in inside deals, for failing to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan–which would be attributed to her being a woman and needing to show toughness–for cozying up to Wall Street, deferring to the Republicans and ignoring the cries of the people. In other words, for doing pretty much what Obama is doing. This way I get to think, Whew, at least you can’t blame this on a woman.
It looks like several of your dear colleagues on the “Left” have found a way to blame a woman anyway! Cherchez la femme, toujours mes amies, cherchez les femmes.
What do you think, friends: is Pollitt suffering from Stockholm Syndrome? (She is something of a captive–it ain’t easy for feminist writers to make an honest living by their writing any more (and it probably never was), and I don’t hear mainstream rags like The Atlantic, The New Yorker, or The New York Review of Books clamoring to publish a biweekly witty feminist column. Maybe try Newsweek now that La Divine Tina edits it? Because I’d advise her to start a blog if it could pay the bills, but alas.) Although I usually like Pollitt’s work–brain farts like the comments from last February above aside–it seems like captivity is taking its toll. I don’t think the boys read her work or care about it, because despite her senority her work certainly doesn’t change the tenor of the coverage over at The Nation.
UPDATE, MARCH 23: See Pollitt’s responses in the comments below, in which she reminds me of the columns and blog posts she wrote about the sexism displayed during the 2008 Democratic Primary. It was hyperbolic and unfair of me to wonder if she had “sle[pt] through” the primary, because she wrote about the coverage of Clinton and was particularly critical of the sexism on the left and in the pages of The Nation. I appreciate that she took the time to correct me and to engage in the conversation below.
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