Saturday, June 07, 2008

Do the right thing

Regular readers know that I have not, as yet, bought into the narrative that Senator Clinton was badly damaged (politically) by a veritable shitstorm of misogyny and sexism, or even that any kind of "storm" actually occurred. But I may be wrong. I am perfectly happy to challenge my beliefs and assumptions on this (or any other) issue, or have them challenged.

Judith Warner has an article up in today’s New York Times which does just that. She details quite a few incidents of sexism that were directed at Senator Hillary Clinton during her campaign and argues that it was a genuine tsunami.

Again, while writing about these issues, I will use standard dictionary definitions. Misogyny is the hatred of women. Sexism is prejudice, discrimination and/or stereotyping of a person or group based on gender.

The biggest obstacle I've had to accepting the tidal wave of misogyny and sexism narrative has been my personal experience, which of course I recognize as somewhat anecdotal. Due to the fact that I rarely watched television news during that period, I never actually saw any of the sexist incidents Warner details. I have received no viral emails. I haven't noticed in the print media or political blogs I read any argument that she should not be president because she is a woman. And no one I have interacted with personally has said anything that could be remotely viewed as sexist or misogynistic.

On the other hand, I personally witnessed an authentic shitload of racialist, and I would argue racist, argument directed at Obama. Much of it came directly from the Clinton campaign. And the mainstream media is unapologetically up to their eyeballs in it.

Again, to the definitions: Racialism is an emphasis on race or racial considerations. It entails a belief in the existence and significance of racial categories. Racism mens race-based prejudice, violence, discrimination, or oppression.

Beginning in South Carolina (seems like so many bad things begin there, eh?), Senator Clinton and her allies went to great length to paint Senator Obama black. That clearly falls within the definition of racialism. Why did she do that? For racist reasons, obviously. She wanted to tap into the racism that is still prevalent in so many parts of the country. Then she began specifically making the argument that people should not vote for him because he is black. That, my friends, is the very definition of racism.

And that was a tipping point for me. Before Ms. Clinton initiated her Klan state strategy, I though she was a good person who would make a good president. But once she revved up the “don’t vote for Obama because he is black” campaign, I realized that she is a deeply damaged megalomaniac who would stop at nothing to achieve her ambition.

Nevertheless, none of that excuses any misogyny or sexism on the part of the mainstream media, or even a single isolated case.

Please excuse the long quotation, but Ms. Warner's argument needs to be heard:

It’s a cultural moment that Andrew Stephen, writing with an outsider’s eye for the British magazine the New Statesman last month, characterized as a time of “gloating, unshackled sexism of the ugliest kind.” A moment in which things like the formation of a Hillary-bashing political action group, “Citizens United Not Timid,” a “South Park” episode featuring a nuclear weapon hidden in Clinton’s vagina, and Internet sales of a Hillary Clinton nutcracker with shark-like teeth between her legs, passed largely without mainstream media notice, largely, perhaps, because some of the key gatekeepers of mainstream opinion were so busy coming up with various iterations of the nutcracker theme themselves. (Tucker Carlson on Hillary: “When she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs.” For a good cry, watch this incredible montage from the Women’s Media Center.)

. . . . . . . . . . .

But 16 months of sustained misogyny? Hey — she asked for it. With that voice, (“When Hillary Clinton speaks, men hear, ‘Take out the garbage’ ” Fox News regular Marc Rudov, author of “Under the Clitoral Hood: How to Crank Her Engine Without Cash, Booze, or Jumper Cables,” said in January). With that ambition, and that dogged determination (“like everyone’s first wife standing outside a probate court,” according to MSNBC commentator Mike Barnicle) and, of course, that husband (Chris Matthews: “The reason she’s a U.S. Senator, the reason she’s a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around.”). Clearly, in an age when the dangers and indignities of Driving While Black are well-acknowledged, and properly condemned, Striving While Female – if it goes too far and looks too real — is still held to be a crime.

I don’t think any of that had anything to do with Senator Clinton’s failure to have locked up the nomination at this late stage. I see those as isolated sexist incidents, not remotely comparable to the way we've been thoroughly inundated with racialist tripe by the media and Clinton campaign.

But I agree 100 percent with anyone who recognizes how horrific it is that these sexist creeps are still on television and writing op-eds for big time publications.

The answer, however, is not to do as Senator Clinton urges and blame Senator Obama. The only way to do something about this terrible situation is to boycott and embarrass the companies that sponsor these morons. It’s not enough simply to stop watching. These sexist scumbags are on the air because of their propaganda value, not for their actual ratings.

Wanna put a stop to it? Make it cost their sponsors. Then they won't have any. Then they'll be gone, or at least significantly marginalized.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

chuckling 147 - big media pundits 0

Every week, for many weeks, the big media pundits have predicted that Hillary Clinton would quit the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. From the beginning, chuckling on-line magazine has predicted that she would stay in the race. The current scoreboard says chuckling 147 - big media pundits 0.

You may think that I would quit doubling down after so long a win streak, that I would just gather in my chips and go out for cocktails, but no, the dealer is scared and I smell blood. She is not going away. She is not quitting. The only reporting I've seen says she is going to suspend her campaign. The word "suspend" implies resumption. Is she releasing her delegates? No, I don't think so.

That's why I continue to support Hillary and do not back off an inch from my belief that she will be the nominee. She is truly a megalomaniacal loon. If by some miracle the Supreme Court does not appoint her Democratic standard bearer, she will begin the 2012 campaign the minute after they refuse to hear her case.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


More photos here.

Regular readers know that I don't normally talk about the photos. I would prefer that you put on your favorite music, click on the first picture, watch the slide show, think about it, watch it a few more times, think about it some more, etc.

I know that rarely happens, but still, I'm not going to tell you what it's about. I'm only writing this now because I need to put some space between the photo that illustrates this slide show and the photo that illustrates the article below. It doesn't look good when two photos are too close together, not when they illustrate different stories. And to be perfectly honest, that's pretty much the purpose of all the text here at chuckling on-line magazine. Filler, alas, poor filler.

So is the spacing correct yet? Yes, I think it is. Move along now. Scroll a little lower. What's up with that skeleton in the window? I don't know. Click on it, see a bigger picture.

Chuckling's voter guide for catholics

E.J. Dionne reports that the Catholic church denied communion to an Obama supporter due to the candidate's pro-abortion stance. Communion is a cannibalistic ritual in which Catholics metaphorically eat the flesh of Jesus Christ and drink his blood. Catholics believe Jesus Christ is the son of the creator of the universe. By eating him, they believe they gain some of his power and righteousness.

Dionne argues that it is dangerous for the Catholic church to use communion as a political weapon. Personally, I don't see a problem with it. According to the Catholic church, abortion is one of the fourteen deadly sins. Of course Catholics shouldn't vote for any politician that rejects the laws of their supreme being. That would be nuts. They'd go straight to hell. Wouldn't even get a glimpse of St. Peter and the pearly gates.

In fact, Catholics would be nuts to vote for any politician who supports any of the other thirteen deadly sins.

Not the oldies but goodies: lust, gluttony, avarice, sloth, anger, envy and pride. Catholics can't vote for horndogs, the obese or anyone who supports policies that cause obesity. They can't vote for greedy or lazy motherfuckers, hotheads, pathetic wannabes or the proud. Cannot do it or they go straight to hell.

And now they can't vote for those who favor the new and improved deadly sins: polluting, genetic engineering, being obscenely rich, drug dealing, abortion, pedophilia and causing social injustice.

Right Catholics. You are not allowed to vote for anyone who is obscenely rich or who supports policies that allow people to become obscenely rich. You cannot vote for anyone who supports social injustice or doesn't believe in global warming.

So essentially, they can't vote for any Democrats, Republicans or third party candidates. And with the injunction against voting for anyone who empowers pedophiles, they can't even vote for Catholics. Essentially, they are forbidden to vote for humans.

Nothing, however, is stopping Catholics from voting for inanimate objects. Is it legal for religious icons to run for office? Christ crucified could run for president. The Ten Commandments could be nominated for the Supreme Court. Various plastic saints could run for Congress.

Hey, you think I'm joking but we might actually be better off with plastic saints in Congress than we are now with all those plastic posers. What do I have to do to become a Catholic?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Ken v. Barbie

Cathy Tinsley, a professor at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business and executive director of the Georgetown Women's Leadership Initiative has an interesting article in today's Washington Post about the role, if any, that sexism has played in Hillary Clinton's troubles in the current election.

...many in the media and in political circles are debating the role sexism played in her defeat.

How did the once-inevitable candidate, who was destined to be America's first female president, lose this nomination battle? Was it her past? Was it her husband? Or is America just not ready for a female president?

First, I was happy to see that she used the word "sexism" rather than the far more ubiquitous and misused term "misogyny." Again, I will use standard dictionary definitions. Misogyny is the hatred of women. Sexism is prejudice, discrimination and/or stereotyping of a person or group based on gender.

Ms. Tinsley and colleagues have worked on a series of studies involving how the words and actions of men and women are perceived in the corporate world and found that men and women are viewed differently when using the same words to perform the same actions.
In one study, for example, people judged the behavior of a hypothetical human resources manager (alternately male or female) negotiating for a refund on unused hotel space. Female managers were judged as significantly more offensive, and less likely to receive any refund, than male managers, even though all managers engaged in exactly the same behavior.

...The bottom line, again, is that the same male and female behaviors evoke different judgments, with women all too often being forced to choose between being viewed as likable or competent.

Interestingly, the studies also found that people were not generally conscious of their sexism -- yes, that behavior clearly falls under the definition of sexism -- and that men and women were equally sexist in the context of the study questions.
Two other lessons stood out. First, the backlash against women appears to be unconscious. When confronted with the results of these studies, participants were very surprised by their reactions. They appeared to have no idea that they subscribed to these gender stereotypes about appropriate behavior or that they judged women more harshly.

Second, women were as willing to criticize the female executives as men were. This is not a gender war; women are not fighting men. They are fighting our culture, our prescribed set of norms that constrain their behavior into a rigid set of "appropriate" categories.

Then, surprisingly, Ms. Tinsley argues that women are, as a group, sexists who discriminate against themselves, and by implication, misogynists.
Although we may be able to recall vivid examples of minorities who judge their own group harshly, women are perhaps the only "low status" group whose members systematically and every bit as harshly show prejudice toward fellow members.

Isn't that interesting?

Yes, it is, but I'm not so sure it has a lot to do with Hillary Clinton's campaign performance. I don't think it's particularly shocking to see evidence that the words and actions of men and women are viewed differently, or even that they are viewed differently in the same way by both men and women. Although the given examples show negativity towards women, I don't think we can extrapolate from that data and say that women are always, or even usually viewed more negatively than men when acting in the same way. Perhaps they are, but no evidence is given.

Thankfully, I am not a total news junkie. I read a lot but almost never watch television news, though I do seem to read a lot about it. Anyway, I am more than a casual observer and I simply have not seen that much overt sexism in this campaign and no misogyny whatsoever in the mainstream. Again, I am using the dictionary definitions. No one is arguing that Hillary Clinton should not be president because she is a woman.

Granted, as Ms. Tinsley's studies demonstrate, we all have lingering remnants of sexism lodged deeply in our psyches. We apparently have some ingrained expectations that men and women should sometimes react differently in the same situation.

But still, I just don't see that as a major factor in this campaign. Unlike Ms. Tinsley's study, Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama have said and done different things in the same situation. For example, Hillary voted for The War. Obama against it. Hillary took big money from the health care lobby. Obama didn't. Hillary embraced the right wing hate machine. Obama did not. And so on. Examples abound of the ways in which they have conducted their campaign's differently.

Had they spoke and acted identically, if it were simply an election pitting Ken against Barbie, it would be interesting in the context of Ms. Tinsley's studies. But they did not.

I do not support Hillary Clinton because she is a sister. I support her because she is twisted.

And I wonder what kind of studies exist that track people's reactions to a half black guy and a white woman saying the same things? No, on second thought, let's not go there.