Judy and Gwen get the nod: What does it mean to be colonized?
In part, it means you’re forced to listen to hoary old tales from a hoary old ruling elite. It means you'll see your nation's professors pretend that these stories make sense. See our previous post.
But you can be colonized other ways too! For one example, read this morning’s New York Times concerning Gwen and Judy.
Ascot-kissing Brian Stelter encourages us to be thrilled because of a wonderful breakthrough. Two women will finally broadcast the news!
But look who those two women are.
When we think of Gwen, we remember the time she forgot to ask the key question of Condi Rice in July 2003, in the immediate aftermath of the breakdown in Iraq. Weeks later, we saw Tice and Ifill fawning to each other at a Dallas convention, with Rice mentioning the way she and Gwen get together for home-cooked meals.
When we think of Judy, we still think of two events from Campaign 2000. We think of the astonishing question with which she opened the last Gore-Bradley debate in New Hampshire, with a great deal on the line. A bit more comically, we remember the way she toughed it out as she spoke with Gail Collins on CNN's Inside Politics.
Plagiarizing Jacob Weisberg, Collins had savaged Gore’s performance in the first Gore-Bradley debate. In fairness, everyone else had plagiarized Weisberg and said these same things, so we can’t fault Collins alone.
But uh-oh! Four days had passed, and it was clear that New Hampshire Democrats hadn’t seen the debate that way. They thought Gore and Bradley had both done well—so Collins pulled an amazing flip, with Judy playing along:
WOODRUFF (11/2/99): What matters to voters at this stage of an election?Collins “actually tended to think Gore did better than a lot of people did at the time.” And that was odd, because one of those people at the time had been Gail Collins herself!
COLLINS: It's sort of a very beginning getting to know who the candidates are. I think they want to know which candidates are serious enough that it's worth their bother to pay attention to them, which of them agree with them on the most broad kind of visions of, you know, the way the country ought to be going, and frankly which ones are personally attractive to them, which ones seem like guys that they wouldn't get tired of if they had them in their face for the next four years.
WOODRUFF: Well, given that, when you look back at last week's town meeting with Gore and Bradley, how did they come across?
COLLINS: You know, I thought—I actually tend to think Gore did better than a lot of people did at the time. He seemed real energetic. He seemed to really care. He seemed to really want people to like him. And voters, I think, like that sense that a politician is really trying to please them.
“At the time,” Collins wrote this about Gore's performance, which now seemed real energetic:
COLLINS (10/29/99): Al Gore has a personality without a thermostat, and when he tries to look animated he practically crashes into the wallboard. On Wednesday he hijacked the auditorium early on, begging for a chance to do a pre-debate Q.-and-A. ("This person has a question! Do we have time for his question?") He tossed in a little Spanish and a long joke, and made endless attempts to create Clintonesque mind-melds with the audience. ("How old is your child, Corey? . . . Are you unionized, Earl?") At the end, he refused to be dragged offstage. ("Can I say one more word? I would like to stay!") He bore an uncomfortable resemblance to the kid who asks the teacher for more homework. Mr. Bradley, lounging on his stool, arms folded across his chest, looked like the high school athlete watching the class nerd volunteer to stay and clap erasers.So you’ll know, “Corey” was a young woman with a sick child. “At the time,” Collins had ridiculed Gore for inquiring about this child’s health. As Weisberg had said in the plagiarized piece, this misconduct showed that Gore was trying to be Just Like Clinton!
“At the time,” Collins mocked Gore for asking about a sick child. Four days later, looking back, he had “seemed to really care.”
If Woodruff was prepared at all, she knew that Collins had written that column. Four days later, she let the flip go. The guild will always do that.
What does it mean to be colonized? This morning, the Times invites us to thrill at Woodruff’s ascension. We’ll get two women reading the news!
Never mind who they are.