FEMINIST HERO: "What more could we ask for?"

TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2018

Part 2—We can think of a million things:
Is Stephanie Clifford, AKA Stormy Daniels, some type of "feminist hero?"

Is she attempting to "share" a "#MeToo story?"

As always, everything's possible! Inevitably, it all depends on what the meaning of "feminist hero" is!

In theory, it will also depend on what turns out to be true about Clifford's interactions with Donald J. Trump, the disordered man with whom she says she had an affair in 2006, when his wife had just given birth to a baby boy, their son.

We know of no reason to doubt Clifford's claim about her affair, which wasn't illegal or even necessarily "wrong," but doesn't seem to have been especially heroic.

Even less heroic, at least on their face, were Clifford's subsequent attempts to discuss this exciting affair in exchange for sacks of cash—in 2011, for example, when she reportedly tried to sell her story to a tabloid entity for $15,000.

To our eye, Clifford didn't look much like a hero back then. Is she a "feminist hero" today? Is she telling a "#MeToo story?"

That's what Nicole Karlis claimed this Sunday morning in an opinion piece Salon. Her argument started with the claim that Clifford might "take Trump down"—and with a peculiar question:
KARLIS (3/18/18): When news broke that adult film star Stephanie Clifford (whose stage name is Stormy Daniels) allegedly had an affair with President Donald Trump in 2006 while he was married to Melania Trump, gasps and glimmers of real hope arrived for many who are utterly exhausted by Trump’s misogyny, racism and bullying. Unlike the many would-be scandals that have followed Trump all the way into the Oval Office, Clifford has a real chance at thwarting Trump’s position of power.

Of course, it’s absurd that this would be the thing to take him down, all things considered, but this is America.

As Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said on MSNBC, “If for some reason [Robert] Mueller does not get him, Stormy will.” And Daniels might be a safer bet than Mueller, at this point. And wouldn’t that be the most perfect ending to a man who has eluded consequences for his misogyny, in public and private, for years? If Clifford, an entrepreneurial, sex-positive woman, swoops in and causes the collapse of the Trump empire, what more could we ask for in the age of #MeToo?
Could Stephanie Clifford "take Trump down?" Everything is possible, though most things are unlikely.

That said, "What more could we ask for in the age of #MeToo?" We can think of a million things, followed by several more!

Surely, Karlis jests! Let's examine the way this fandango looks to her at the new and improved Salon.

Given all that Trump has done, could his relationship with Clifford take him down? Karlis acknowledges the surface absurdity of this idea, "but this is America," she pleasingly tells our tribe.

What is Clifford actually like? We have no real idea. To Karlis, though, Clifford is "entrepeneurial" and "sex positive," full and complete total stop.

She doesn't consider the possibility that Clifford may also be some version of a "money-grubber," not unlike Donald J. Trump. She doesn't consider the possible consequences when a person's "sex positivity" is acted out through the attempt to share her story about all the f**king with the wider world—starting in 2011, when that previously mentioned child is still just 5 years old.

(Donald Trump should have thought about that! So your lizard brain says.)

As we'll see below, we get our lexicography from Karlis herself. First, though, consider the reasoning behind the claim that Stephanie Clifford is telling a #MeToo tale:
KARLIS (continuing directly): Yet, Clifford doesn’t appear to be receiving the support and recognition she should be receiving right now. Feminists (a group I identify with) can rally. We can make noise and create change. This has been shown multiple times since Trump took office. We praise Special Counsel Mueller every time he indicts someone, but why don’t we do the same to Clifford, who’s now crowdfunding her legal fees? She’s asking for help, and we owe it to her.

Their alleged affair may have been consensual, but this is Clifford’s #MeToo story, and she deserves the same support of all the other women who have been brave enough to share theirs. She’s been silenced through a $130,000 non-disclosure agreement via Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen—yet another story of unjust abuse of power at a woman’s expense. Her attorney says she's been threatened with physical violence, too.
According to Karlis, Clifford is describing a consensual affair—but she's telling a #MeToo story! She's been "silenced," Karlis says—silenced by an agreement to accept a big sack of cash, an agreement which was also completely consensual, as far as anyone knows.

Karlis does make a fleeting reference to the claim—and so far it's only a claim—that Clifford was "threatened with physical violence" by someone at some point.

If true, would that make this a #MeToo story? It all depends on what the meaning of "#MeToo story" is! It would also depend on who made the threat—and again, on the question of whether the threat really happened.

Karlis has asked what more could we ask for in the age of #MeToo. At this point, we'd have to say we could ask for much, much more thanwhat we're getting here.

Imaginably, morally sensitive people could ask for a feminist hero who didn't go around f**king the newly-married father of a newborn child. Surely, though, we all could ask for someone who doesn't start trying to sell the story of all that f**king when that newborn child in question is only 5.

Not to mention the wife—the wife, who is a woman!

It seems to us that liberals, progressives and feminists could all, imaginably, ask for a lot more than this. Eventually, though, we reach this lament for the insufficiently lionized hero of our tale:
KARLIS: I’d argue that she’s also been ignored by part of the left too, and I think the silence is just as bad as being mocked or hated. I’m at fault for this as well. I haven’t been exactly rallied around Clifford, but I’m here now. As Sady Doyle explained in an article entitled “Stormy Daniels is Not a Punchline” in Elle, “By treating her as trashy or tainted or inherently ridiculous because of her job, we send the message that none of Trump’s flaws are worse than being a ‘porn star.’’

Why has the feminist left been slow to embrace her? Why is there still a mocking undertone when we talk about her? Is it because she’s a Republican? A stripper and adult film star? Is it because of her campy Make America Horny Again tour? Maybe it’s because she allegedly had consensual sex with Trump, an act that’s unthinkable to so many of us? But she was 27, and it was 2006 when the alleged tryst happened. As Clifford’s friend/assistant Kayla Paige said to Rolling Stone, ”Who hasn't gone and f**ked someone we regret?”
This passage ends with Clifford's friend, Kayla Paige, posing a thoughtful question. ”Who hasn't gone and f**ked someone we regret?” the thoughtful assistant asks.

Karlis offers this thoughtful question as the soul of wisdom. In doing so, she blows right past the larger problem with the elevation of Clifford to the status of feminist goddess.

There was certainly nothing illegal about f**king the irresistible Donald J. Trump. Beyond that, no one is required to believe that there was something morally wrong with doing so, especially when we realize that Clifford is sex positive.

People do get to f**k whoever they like. There's nothing automatically wrong with that.

The problem starts when people seeking fame and cash find ways to turn our failing political discourse into endless, brain-dead discussions of who's zoomin' who, or who did so in 2006. This is the kind of brain-dead chatter our corporate news channels most like.

An even larger problem involves the desire to seek cash and fame by telling the story of the regrettable fellow you (consensually) f**ked—the decision to humiliate his wife and child by selling your "#MeToo story" about all that consensual f**king.

For reasons only she can explain, Karlis says that she can think of nothing better than this. She can think of nothing better than a bout of consensual f**king, followed by several attempts to turn all the consensual f**king into a big pile of cash.

We can think of many things that are better than that. At any rate, is the person who does that a "feminist hero?" The notion strikes us as so dumb that it defines a powerful ongoing problem:

Our society is on the way to going down in a deeply destructive way. Publications like the new Salon have been a part of this decades-long process.

Tomorrow: The new Salon

Still coming: That visit with Rolling Stone!

26 comments:

  1. "Could Stephanie Clifford "take Trump down?""

    She could certainly take liberal dead-enders down, by discrediting the establishment media even further.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trump is taking Trump down.

      Delete

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  2. This saga starts with the premise that when someone is wealthy, they can do what they want to women sexually, they don't even have to ask. This was explicitly stated by Trump to Billy Bush, around the same time period as this affair took place. It has been expressed also to Howard Stern. Why should anyone be surprised that Trump has acted upon these sentiments, not just stated them baldly, repeatedly, in public?

    Somerby doesn't like Clifford much. That is apparent in paragraphs like this one:

    "She doesn't consider the possibility that Clifford may also be some version of a "money-grubber," not unlike Donald J. Trump. She doesn't consider the possible consequences when a person's "sex positivity" is acted out through the attempt to share her story about all the f**king with the wider world—starting in 2011, when that previously mentioned child is still just 5 years old."

    This is an example of what we would call slut shaming. Somerby thinks Clifford has no right to kiss and tell, much less accept money for doing so. Consider the children!!! It doesn't matter to Somerby that Trump has been regularly naming the women he has supposedly slept with, several fictional. Only the women must keep quiet or be considered "money grubbing". Sauce for the gander is not sauce for the goose.

    Somerby implicitly mocks both feminists and the #METOO movement with his complaint against Clifford. I suspect that is his purpose in his daily diatribes against women who talk about their sex exploits (as men have done routinely since time immemorial).

    Somerby seems incapable of understanding what a power differential is. Trump, being a self-reported billionaire, has an automatic advantage over any woman who might reject his advances. But he doesn't even ask. He takes. Having a team of lawyers, he can protect himself against any of their objections by filing lawsuits or offering them bribes to stifle their complaints.

    Somerby doesn't understand that some women who are raped reframe the event in their minds as consensual because they don't want to consider themselves victims, people with no agency (no ability to say no to what has happened to them). When a rich man takes what he wants, how does a woman say no? How does she object? It is easier to be swept off one's feet than to feel powerless. This is more true for a woman like Clifford who has taken control of her career by becoming a producer/director/writer instead of simply a woman doing something unpleasant for money. Thus she may have spoken out to assert her agency, not for $15,000 that is surely paltry in the context of what she may earn for her other business activities. Does the money really seem sufficient as a motivation for spilling secrets about Trump or does this seem like an act of self-assertion to prove one is not a victim like the other women Trump assaulted?

    But Somerby is incapable of seeing anything from a woman's perspective. He instead wants to mock Clifford for being a slut, like that totally slutty publication, Salon. He uses women's problems as a metaphor for an attack on a media site he dislikes.

    Women's issues are not a metaphor for anything. They deserve attention in their own right, because women are 50+% of the population, because they are people with real, legitimate complaints, especially against powerful men who consider them decorative objects, sex toys in the workplace, objects to do with what they will, then cast aside with a instruction to keep quiet about all this or the world will think you are "sex positive" and slutty.

    ReplyDelete
  3. We all saw the petty revenge taken against McCabe this past week. Does Somerby think Trump would not take similar petty revenge against any woman who scorned his sexual advances? When he says he can ruin someone, does Somerby doubt he has the means and the will to actually do it? If a woman has aspirations to succeed as an actress (perhaps beyond the porn industry), would Trump have the power and ability to squash her career? Could he put a word in the ears of others that could hurt her career? If so, does she truly have the ability to say no to his romantic advances?

    What an ass Somerby is these days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How many people know that Trump owned and operated both a model agency and an escort service (from Trump Tower) at the time when he was "dating" Melania, who was working on a tourist visa and hoping to get a green card?

      Does it sound like she had free will to accept or reject his romantic advances? Yes, she could go back to Romania. Where could Clifford go back to?

      Delete
  4. This is now about the president knowing that physical and other threats were made by his employees to keep Stormy Daniels quiet about their affair:

    "Melber cited court documents alleging that Trump was “fully aware” of the tactics used by his people to silence those – like Stormy Daniels – who threaten to expose the president.

    When the MSNBC host asked Avenatti if he had evidence to support this claim, he responded confidently and simply: “Yes.”"

    I think this puts Somerby's defense of Trump in a different light.

    ReplyDelete
  5. OT -- here is what Trump said in CA:

    "My new national strategy for space recognizes that space is a warfighting domain just like the land, air and sea. We may even have a ‘Space Force,’ develop another one. Space Force. We have the Air Force, we’ll have the Space Force," Trump exclaimed, later yelling, "So think of that: Space Force!"

    ReplyDelete
  6. "People do get to f**k whoever they like. There's nothing automatically wrong with that."

    Except the small matter of millions of unwanted children who are either killed or born with bleak prospects for a decent life and a good chance they will grow up to plague society.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Are many liberals dumb enough to take this article seriously? Yes, but it’s still low hanging fruit. And Donald Trump is a deeply absurd and horrible person; so whatever takes him down is likely to be absurd and horrible.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Of course, she's a hero: she's attacking Trump. An FBI exec who was found by the FBI to have committed multiple perjuries would seem an unlikely hero, but McCabe earned his hero status by attacking Trump.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We shall see about that when the report is issued, Slimeball Dave.

      Delete
    2. Yes. She's "attacking" Trump by talking about what she and Trump did together. Poor little Donny. Can't he f**k every porn star in America and force them to bend to his will and shut up, so he can get on with the business of f**king America, er, I mean Making America Great?
      You, like Somerby, act as though Donny should somehow be immune from the consequences of his actions.

      Delete
    3. Comarde DinC, you're a fucking lying sack of shit. Please support your slanderous disgusting smears about McCabe, you disgusting shameless asshole if you can.

      Delete
    4. Consider the media/liberal treatment of Linda Tripp. She exposed sexual wrongdoing by President Clinton. Was she a feminist heroine? I think not.

      mm - go read the newspapers. The NY Times reported
      " During the internal investigation, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, Mr. McCabe “lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions.” That is a fireable offense, and Mr. Sessions said that career, apolitical employees at the F.B.I. and Justice Department agreed that Mr. McCabe should be fired."

      Note the delicate bureaucratic wording: "lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions." In English that means "committed perjury several times."

      Delete
    5. No, David, you jackass. If they wanted to use the word perjury they would have used it you fucking treasonous bastard. You don't even know what it in the report so stop slandering a 21 year veteran FBI agent to protect the degenerate abomination in the WH. When the fuck did McCabe "attack" Trump, aka, David Dennison? When? It seems to me all the attacking was going the other way.

      Delete
    6. “During the internal investigation, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said…”

      Takes one to know one. Since Sessions is himself a serial perjurer, let’s apply the principle you are so fond of quoting: “Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.” Got anything else?

      Delete
    7. David in Trolldom, you forget this from the NYT article you cited:

      "Mr. McCabe denies being untruthful. He says he answered every question honestly and, when he was misunderstood, he reached out to the investigators to correct the record."

      Also, you commented to a post subsequent to this post:

      "Another problem today is that we don't have a reliable source of truth. The New York Times once served that purpose. The New Yorker magazine was noted for its fact-checking. Now, these and other sources are all suspect, due to a combination of carelessness, lack of professionalism, and too much focus on the preferred narrative."

      Not only are you a bald-faced liar, you are also a cherry-picking, self-contradictory liar.

      SAD!


      Delete
  9. Stormy Daniels as feminist hero? Possibly.

    It's more believable than a porn-star-f**king, money-grubbing, corrupt, lying, bullying, selfish, narcissistic, billionaire, plutocratic crazy man as hero of the working class.

    ReplyDelete
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