January 10, 2008
Where are you, Jon Stewart?
Camile Paglia: Hillary’s willingness to tolerate Bill’s compulsive philandering is a function of her general contempt for men. She distrusts them and feels morally superior to them. Following the pattern of her long-suffering mother, she thinks it is her mission to endure every insult and personal degradation for a higher cause — which, unlike her self-sacrificing mother, she identifies with her near-messianic personal ambition.
Hillary’s disdain for masculinity fits right into the classic feminazi package, which is why Hillary acts on Gloria Steinem like catnip. Steinem’s fawning, gaseous New York Times op-ed about her pal Hillary this week speaks volumes about the snobby clubbiness and reactionary sentimentality of the fossilized feminist establishment, which has blessedly fallen off the cultural map in the 21st century. History will judge Steinem and company very severely for their ethically obtuse indifference to the stream of working-class women and female subordinates whom Bill Clinton sexually harassed and abused, enabled by look-the-other-way and trash-the-victims Hillary.
Steinem and Paglia are far from comrades, but doesn’t this take their dispute too far? What other academic tiff will be written over the campaign?
January 9, 2008
I hate writing more about American politics in such short time, but Gloria Steinem’s NY Times editorial has burned me up. However, I find it difficult to formulate a response. Quite simply, Steinem has done a great disservice pitting gender against class. Responding in the usual ways–pointing out historical realities –seems destined to provoke resentment and further divisiveness. Discussing the nexus of gender and race in the general construction of repression would just muddy the issue. Andrew and others are undeniably correct, that for better and for worse, gender was in play in New Hampshire. Some suggest race as well. Steinem’s argument, though, don’t correspond to how the candidates themselves have talked about these issues: female, black or brown. Moreover, they seem to contradict the spirit of social justice by asking us to weigh one form of prejudice more heavily than another. Indeed, Steinem sounds more political than intellectual.
I can offer only one anecdote, given to me by my mother. She had been repeatedly tested as a child because her scores on intelligence tests put her above and beyond bright. Yet she was constantly discouraged to realizing her potential, even from within her own family.
Several times, when being tested, she overheard school officials say things such as:
Do you know what her name is? It’s Gonzalez.
I’ll let you decide where the emphasis belongs. I know personally that it is not as simple as picking gender over race, claiming one to be more privileged than the other. Nevertheless, it greatly underscored her journey as an Hispanic woman in American soceity.
Note: this was not my mother’s real maiden name, but because maiden names are often used for security identification, I felt it necessary to substitute another Hispanic name for her own.