Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wherein chuckling considers questions of misogyny, sexism and the wisdom of putting words in the mouth of a bitter cow

Following a link at Pandagon, I came across this piece at Shakesville. I wouldn't say that the writer argues that the words of Obama's evil preacher #2 (and counting) are misogynist. She makes no argument at all. She simply states it as fact:

This is just getting fucking ridiculous: Chicago Priest, Father Michael Pfleger, guest ministering at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, gives a sermon on white privilege and entitlement (cool) and uses the occasion to tear into Hillary Clinton with wanton misogyny...

This is what the crackpot said:
Transcript from 1:58: I don't really want to make this political, 'cause you know I'm very unpolitical [laughter], but when Hillary was crying, and people said that was put on, I really don't believe it was put on. I really believe that she just always thought: "This is mine." [applause] "I'm Bill's wife; I'm white; and this is mine! I just gotta get up and step into [sic] the plate." And then outta nowhere came: "Hey, I'm Barack Obama." And she said, "Aww, damn! Where did you come from?! I'm white! I'm entitled! There's a black man stealing my show!" [cheers and applause] Waaaaaaaah! [pretends to weep and cry; wipes face with hankie] Waaaaaaaah! She wasn't the only one crying; there was a whole lotta white people crying!"

Personally, I don't see how anything in that speech can be labeled misogynist. If you can explain it to me, please do so. I have an open mind.

I don't even think it's fair to label it as sexist either, though on that score I can see how one could argue otherwise.

Personally, I'd label it as satire. Not very good or effective satire, mind you, but satire nevertheless.

Just so we're clear, I'm using standard dictionary definitions. Misogyny is the hatred of women. Sexism is prejudice, discrimination and/or stereotyping of a person or group based on gender. Satire is a composition holding vice or folly up to ridicule.

I understand one could rationally argue that bringing up and grossly exaggerating Clinton's emotional hiccup in New Hampshire is sexist in that it plays to a stereotype. Or that the implication that she feels entitled based on the accomplishments of her husband may well be coming from a sexist world view. I don't see either of those arguments as definitive, but one could reasonably make them. That they show hatred of women for being women, no. I don't see that.

It seems that the Hillaryists are pretty much saying that any criticism whatsoever of the deserved one is misogynist per se.

As a Hillary supporter myself, I find this a bit disturbing. When crazy cultists regularly denounce all people who disagree with her about anything as misogynist monsters, there is bound to be an electoral backlash. And I so want her to get what she deserves (the presidency). But on the positive side, it is entertaining to watch the cultists cry their bitter tears and ridicule them for all their ridiclousness.

But be that as it may, this is not about them, it is about me. As regular readers know, chuckling is more than happy to revisit his arguments and examine any prejudices that may turn up.

Although I am clearly not a misogynist -- I do not hate women, I don't even hate Hillary -- I'm sure I must have a few unexamined stereotypes kicking around my psyche that could accurately be labeled sexist. I'm sure everyone does.

To find out more I took the Ambivalent Sexism Test at the Understanding Prejudice site and scored comfortably low. According to whatever questionable methods they use, my hostile sexism score is 0.45 out of 5. I don't know why I score at all, but so be it. My benevelent sexism score was somewhat higher, but still quite low, at 1.09. And it's true. I don't think chivalry is altogether a bad thing.

But hey, I really am open to criticism. If you can demonstrate that anything I've written or produced is misogynistic or sexist, please explain it to me. Convince me with a rational argument and I'll change my evil ways.

I'll even give you a pointer. When I do my own little self-criticisms I find the biggest thing I have to explain away is the talking cow. I admit that's a tough one, but I can tell you honestly that I did not mean to imply that Hillary supporters are bitter cows. I didn't even consider the possibility that it could be offensive in that way until I thought about using the term "bitter cow" in the headline for that article. You may say that it must be my subconscious speaking, and it may be that you are right, but I don't think so. I didn't go out looking for the cow. I came across it serendipitously.

But understand, poor chuckling is a satirist and satire is not safe, nor should it be. Sometimes ya takes yur chances.