January
9th 2013
Just who does she think she is?

Posted under: American history, Gender, jobs, women's history

I am big. It’s the Bloomberg columnists who got small.

Michael Kinsey writes about what he calls “Hillary Clinton’s ego trips,” and proves that there’s no way you approach your professional life and responsibilities as a woman that won’t be held against you.  His main complaint seems to be that Hillary Clinton thinks she’s so big:

The world is a better place because of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. That’s not the question. The question is whether it is a better place because of those last 20 hours of her 80-hour work week. Or because of the extra miles she flew to distant capitals?

On one trip in 2009, according to the New York Times, “she traveled from talks with Palestinian leaders in Abu Dhabi to a midnight meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, then boarded a plane for Morocco, staying up all night to work on other issues, before going straight to a meeting of Arab leaders the next morning.”

Very impressive, but did it bring us any closer to peace in the Middle East?

Kind of strange, don’t you think?  Has anyone ever written about a man that he worked too hard or was just too dedicated to his job, let alone that his dedication was a form of self-aggrandizement?  What’s worse is that in Kinsey’s estimation, Hillary Clinton looks like a 65 year-old woman:

Clinton looks awful and has looked worse and worse for years, since long before her recent hospitalization for a blood clot resulting from a fall. I don’t mean to be ungallant. It’s just that she clearly has been working herself to death in her current job as well as in her past two, as senator and first lady.

And what for? Despite all the admiration she deserves for her dedication and long hours, there is also a vanity of long hours and (in her current job) long miles of travel. You must be very, very important if your work requires you to be constantly flying through time zones to midnight meetings that last for hours. Of course our secretary of state is very important — so why does she have to prove it?

Yeah–she’s the U.S. Secretary of State!  She should just sit back, relax, and bake up some vegan, gluten-free cookies or something.  She doesn’t need to log all of those flight miles–she can just Skype Angela Merkel or Abu Mazen from Chappaqua if something comes up.

In spite of my voracious consumption of political journalism (because who else do you know who reads Michael Kinsley?  Lolz!), I must have missed all of those articles that complained about Teddy Kennedy’s unattractive corpulence, or that Robert Byrd was a hideous old fossil who should have resigned long before he died, or Barney Frank’s weird speech impediment that means he spits all over anyone who’s near him, or that Bob Dole was a self-aggrandizing mummy with a chip on his shoulder and corpse-breath for daring to run for President at the age of 73.  I totally missed the endless calls during the Bush presidency insisting that Dick Cheney was ineligible to serve as Vice President because he was 60 going on 95 and was clearly too hideous and too sickly to serve.  As a matter of fact, I’ve missed every single article in the world written either in English or French in which male politicians are criticized for their age, their looks, or their hard work.

If I were a nastier person, I might be tempted to comment on Michael Kinsley’s attractiveness or sex appeal (or lack thereof), or how his unfortunate illness might make him envious of people like Clinton who are even older than he is and yet maintain a remarkable level of energy and engagement in very demanding jobs.  As Francis Urqhart used to say:  “You might well think that.  I couldn’t possibly comment.”

(Confidential to Mike:  we’re all working ourselves to death, pal.  It’s the unavoidable last stop on the line for all of us.  The only choice is will we do something useful and try to serve others, or will we write insulting bull$hit like your article and this blog post?  I don’t mean to be ungallant, but the difference between you and me is that writing insulting bull$hit isn’t my day job.  It’s just a hobby!)

29 Comments »

29 Responses to “Just who does she think she is?”

  1. Flavia on 09 Jan 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    Are you f*cking kidding me??

    At least now I have an excuse for that second glass of whiskey.

  2. Historiann on 09 Jan 2013 at 9:12 pm #

    Oh, please don’t Flavia: alcohol is so aging!

    And why are you up so late? You’re clearly working yourself to death! And missing your beauty sleep.

  3. truffula on 09 Jan 2013 at 11:02 pm #

    Ha ha ha. If she wasn’t working her butt off (quite possibly because that is what she wants to do) Madame Secretary would be criticized for not taking the job seriously enough. How wreched it must be to be Mr. Kinsley.

  4. LadyProf on 09 Jan 2013 at 11:59 pm #

    Thanks for finding it for us, Historiann. I haven’t been reading Kinsley’s lesser writings of late and it’s a sickening but necessary click. Brilliant takedown too, as is truffula’s point. Dude is eloquently obsessed with death–search “kinsley longer new yorker” online if you don’t know his great 2008 article on the subject–and this piece obviously grew out of how Kinsley feels about HRC’s vitality and accomplishments.

  5. cgeye on 10 Jan 2013 at 12:36 am #

    This would be a fine epitaph (may we all be too old to read it, when it’s needed):

    YES, SHE ANSWERED THOSE 3 AM PHONECALLS,
    YOU WHINY-ASS, JEALOUS MOTHERFUCKERS.

    First they decried her lack of foreign policy experience (as a NY Senator? Really?), now they’re pissed they’ve had not one scandal about her laziness or partying or fun spa days with the girls…

    And Kinsley? Jealous fucking bastid. When he goes, I hope it’s in an iron lung, and he succumbs after months of an acute full-body itch.

  6. koshembos on 10 Jan 2013 at 1:19 am #

    It’s the woman thing but also the of the “intellectuals” against the Clintons. Both are age old grudges within the Democratic party. This brought us W2/Obama.

    Having been a political creature from childhood didn’t prevent me from ignoring Tv and papers. Why would I subject myself to Kingsley type garbage?

  7. Perpetua on 10 Jan 2013 at 7:15 am #

    I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

    It would be one thing if Clinton had recently completed a tour of talk shows where she complained-bragged endlessly about how important she is or how hard she works, but it is remarkable indeed that this dude is criticizing her for going about the business of Secretary of State. The piece is an object lesson in misogyny. Dear Dudes: Any time you make use of the word “ungallant” or even “gallant” in an article about a female politician, intellectual, academic, or general human being, you are about to say something (or have just said something) seriously sexist. Maybe we could rig keyboards to give them a minor electric shock? “I don’t mean to sound ungallant” is the corollary to “I don’t mean to sound racist”. Um, you must mean it, or you wouldn’t be thinking it, let alone typing it for the world to read.

  8. friend on 10 Jan 2013 at 7:20 am #

    how do I give this post 10 stars? love it

  9. Susan on 10 Jan 2013 at 8:15 am #

    I suppose that when someone suggests that feminists battles are over ( because we’re equal, right?) we should put the Kinsley piece (with your commentary) as exhibit A.

  10. Historiann on 10 Jan 2013 at 8:54 am #

    Perpetua: are you sure you’re not pregnant again? Morning sickness, maybe?

    Thanks for the compliments. Be forwarned: the lovely reprise we had from sexist journalism from late 2008 to now is officially over. Even if Clinton doesn’t run for prez, there will be regular sightings of this kind of garbage until she makes her announcement about her future plans.

    On the bright side: people only say nice things about you if they think you’re a creature of the past. If people bother writing sexist garbage about Clinton, it means that they think she still has a future as a pol.

    Are there any other nominations and evaluations of the ugliest, oldest male pols dedicated to public service? Come on, people–I know you can help me out! (Example: after I hit “publish” on this post, Dominique Strauss-Kahn came to mind. He had to rape someone before the press bothered to write nasty articles about him.)

  11. Historiann on 10 Jan 2013 at 9:13 am #

    And p.s. I endorse cgeye’s epitaph suggestion (although I might leave off the second line, which I think is implied in the rebuke of the first line.)

  12. hmprescott on 10 Jan 2013 at 9:29 am #

    I agree this article is atrocious. However I’ve seen plenty of ageism, ableism, and fat phobia directed at conservatives by progressives too. For example, how about the meme that likened a picture of Dick Cheney in a wheelchair to Dr. Strangelove?

  13. Contingent Cassandra on 10 Jan 2013 at 9:38 am #

    Ugh. We’re not only supposed to do everything men do backwards and in high heels, we’re supposed to look attractive doing it.

    One thing he’s got right: overworking/micromanaging *can* be a sign of hubris/an exaggerated sense of self-importance. On the other hand, it can also be a sign of humility: realizing that not everything one tries is going to work as intended, and that one can’t tell in advance exactly which initiatives are going to be productive, so one tries various approaches, watches to see what seems to be working, and follows up accordingly. In Secy. Clinton’s case, I’m voting for the latter.

  14. Historiann on 10 Jan 2013 at 9:52 am #

    Heather–I agree. Remember, Kinsley is (mysteriously) still considered a “liberal!” And this blog documented the metric tonne of bullcrap aimed at Sarah Palin 4-1/2 years ago, overwhelmingly by so-called progressives.

    The closest thing I can see in the media in which a male pol is criticized for his appearance is the fat phobia aimed at Chris Christie. That’s not cool, but imagine the level of invective that would be aimed at a governor named Christine Christie. (Scratch that–no woman as fat as Christie would ever be elected Governor of even a relatively unimportant state, let alone NJ).

  15. loumac on 10 Jan 2013 at 10:12 am #

    These sexist assholes are just fine with women functioning on 4 hours’ sleep a night if they are mothering.

    Yes, plenty of fat-phobia in progressive take-downs of older conservative men.

  16. Sweet Sue on 10 Jan 2013 at 10:18 am #

    koshembos on 10 Jan 2013 at 1:19 am #

    It’s the woman thing but also the of the “intellectuals” against the Clintons. Both are age old grudges within the Democratic party. This brought us W2/Obama

    I know you’re right, but Jesus Christ in cap and gown, the Clintons aren’t smart enough for the “intellectuals?”
    How do they define stupid—successful?
    Every day, I’m happier that I resisted pressure and voted for Jill Stein in November.

  17. undine on 10 Jan 2013 at 11:24 am #

    Good lord. First a know-nothing, fact-free opinion piece about how professors laze about in hammocks all day (http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/01/03/the-least-stressful-jobs-of-2013/) and then a know-nothing, fact-free piece about Hillary working too hard. Why, it’s almost as though no one is perfect, according to media outlets run by the Masters of the Universe, except those self-same Masters of the Universe.

  18. Indyanna on 10 Jan 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    You should have seen William Henry Seward. (Not that I did, but I wrote a term paper about him back in college). Lincoln didn’t know anything about foreign policy once you got off the sod-grass prairie. Neither did Seward, for that matter, beyond how to drown a renegade ward leader in the Genesee River back in Rochester. “Air Force Three” was the grooms’ facetious name for a seriously decrepit wagon horse in the White House stable yard. The Atlantic cable hadn’t been laid yet. Fortunately there was a Harvard guy in London name of Adams who would tear up Seward’s abrasive letters of diplomatic instruction and translate them into English. This helped to keep Britain from recognizing the Confederacy. Worrying about all this sh!t plumb wore the guy (Seward) out, but he still wrote a Memoir.

    Who ever *did* bring us any closer to peace in the Middle East?

  19. truffula on 10 Jan 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    hubris v. humility

    Can’t it just be the case that Hillary Clinton enjoys her work and likes to do it? Her daughter is an adult, her husband has full time work of his own that he seems to find satisfying, why not do exactly as much as she wants to do of whatever she wants to do?

  20. cgeye on 10 Jan 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    Rhodes Scholar W.J. Clinton, not an intellectual? I know, I know….

  21. quixote on 10 Jan 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    I guess what’s so hick, uncool, gauche, déclassé about both Clintons is that they both seem to genuinely care about people who aren’t rich. I mean, initiatives to help women survive? How pathetically earnest.

  22. nicoleandmaggie on 10 Jan 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    quixote FTW

  23. Comradde PhysioProffe on 10 Jan 2013 at 5:48 pm #

    Goddamn, what a fucken transparently odious dickebagge.

  24. Liquid on 11 Jan 2013 at 11:18 am #

    Yep, Clinton should be spending more time grooming her appearance, but she’s simply *too vain* to do it. Genius.

    /facepalm/

  25. Notorious Ph.D. on 11 Jan 2013 at 11:29 am #

    In answer to your questions about examples of men as targets of appearance-shaming: Perhaps Helmut Kohl in the early 90s?

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  29. Hillary Clinton still too old, sick, and worst of all, unattractive : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 13 Jan 2013 at 9:13 am #

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