THE AGE OF THE NOVEL: Catcalls and fear in Providence!

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2019

With a slight hint of novelization:
At one point in her review of Chanel Miller's impressively-written new book, Jennifer Weiner cites the part of the book we thought was most instructive.

Perhaps we should say it's the part of the book with which we found the fewest significant flaws. We refer to the part of the book which Weiner cites in the second highlighted passage:
WEINER (10/13/19): “Know My Name” is one woman’s story. But it’s also every woman’s story—the story of a world whose institutions are built to protect men; a world where sexual objectification is ubiquitous and the threat of sexual violence is constant. Before Turner assaulted her, Miller had already survived one act of deadly misogyny near her college, the University of California at Santa Barbara, when Elliot Rodger, a privileged young man enraged that he’d never had a girlfriend, went on a spree and killed six people.

After the assault, Miller enrolls in art school in Rhode Island. But the East Coast proves no safer. Walking back from class, “I passed three men sitting on a car who fastened their eyes on my legs, clicked their tongues and smacked their lips, performing the sounds and hand gestures one might use if attempting to summon a cat. … I trained myself to tuck my head down, avoiding eye contact, feigning invisibility.”
In this part of her review, Weiner refers to Miller's Chapter 4, in which Miller spends the summer of 2015 taking classes at the Rhode Island Institute of Design in humidity-soaked East Providence.

After describing some of her experiences in Providence, Miller also describes one part of her previous undergraduate experience. Specifically, she discusses the mass murder conducted by Elliott Rodgers, a mass murder which occurred in May 2014, late in her senior year at UCSB.

Despite the purplish tint to Weiner's prose, Miller "survived" this murderous act by this "privileged young man" only in the technical sense. She says some police cars passed her on the street as they sped to the scene of Rodgers' crime, and that she and her friends then received a mass email in which the university told all students that they should stay indoors.

Weiner's prose may be somewhat purple as she describes Miller's relationship to that heinous event. Beyond that, there may be a slightly tabloid feel to Weiner's account of Miller's East Coast summer.

As Weiner notes, Elliott Rodgers murdered six people near the end of Miller's years in Santa Barbara. In the most obvious sense, "the East Coast" did, in fact, "prove a great deal safer" than that when Miller took classes there.

Miller describes no privileged person committing mass murder during her Providence summer. Indeed, she describes not acts of physical violence at all.

That said, Miller does describe a series of incidents in which she was approached by men, in undesired ways, while walking the streets of Providence. Weiner quotes from Miller's description of one such incident in the passage posted above. The very first of these numerous incidents is described by Miller in this passage:
MILLER (pages 79-80): I walked an average of six miles a day, taking myself to parks, movie theaters, bookstores, intent on discovering my new land. No matter where I went, the same thing kept happening. At first it was an older man, who nodded and said, Good morning, beautiful, and I turned to see who he was addressing until I realized it was me. Confused, I said Good morning, before even deciding if I should've said anything at all. Be kind to the elderly. A bald man said, Hey, pretty girl, you sure are pretty. His smile spread slowly as if his face was unzipping, and I said, Thank you.

These remarks peppered my walks, as common as birds in the trees...
For Miller, this frequent experience starts with that comment by that elderly man, followed by a comment by someone who's bald. Soon, though, her uninvited interlocutors are younger, and strike her as more menacing.

"I began avoiding certain streets," Miller writes on page 80. "If I was spoken to going one way, I'd come back a different way, and found myself winding around many blocks."

"I started using my phone to discreetly record videos as I passed clusters of men," she writes on page 81.

"Walking down the street was like being tossed bombs," she writes two pages later. "I fiddled with the wires, frantically defusing each one."

"One day, I tried wearing headphones and reading a book as I walked, hoping to appear immersed, busy busy busy," Miller writes on that same page. "I made it one mile." As her Providence summer proceeds, she feels more threatened, and becomes more angry at the constant intrusions on her personal space.

Miller begins shouting insults at her unwanted admirers. At one point, she and two woman friends even chase a van down the street, yelling at "three heavyset guys" who had asked them where they were going.

By the end of the summer, Miller is sleeping only one or two hours per night. She almost misses the final critique for her print-making class because, in her exhaustion, she has fallen back asleep after waking from a fitful sleep that morning.

Personally, we thought this was the most instructive part of Miller's book. In our view, this is the part of Miller's book which most strongly justifies the highlighted judgment by Weiner:
WEINER: “Know My Name” is a beautifully written, powerful, important story. It marks the debut of a gifted young writer. It deserves a wide audience—but it especially deserves to be read by the next generation of young men, the could-be Brocks and Elliots, who have grown up seeing women’s bodies as property to plunder, who believe that sex is their right.
Question: Are most members of that "next generation of young men" actually "could-be Brocks and Elliots," except in the most attenuated technical sense?

Weiner can't seem to stop herself from tossing off such remarks. There isn't even any reason to say that most members of that next generation will end up harassing young women on the street, in the way Miller describes in her Providence chapter.

That said, it seems to us that young men have a lot to gain from reading about the experiences of young women like Miller.

Miller's chapter on her East Coast summer recalls the videotape which drew attention in 2014—a videotape which showed the catcalls a young woman experiences walking around New York City.

Miller account of her Providence term struck us as highly instructive. That said, there are potential problems with Miller's presentation, even here.

Because Know My Name is a personal memoir, we of course have no way of vouching for the accuracy of Miller's accounts of these repetitive events.

Beyond that, we couldn't avoid noting a certain "novelized" feel to the events described in this chapter. Had Miller never been subjected to this type of behavior on the streets of Palo Alto and Santa Barbara?

No such prior events are described. The streets of Providence almost seem to be presented as the scene of an unwanted, unholy baptism. We couldn't help wondering about the selective feel of the presentation, even as we wished that it would trigger a wider attempt to describe and document, and publicize, young women's unwanted experiences in this general area.

In her account of her East Coast summer, Miller briefly moves away from the largest problem with the writing in her skillfully-written book. That problem involves the way her story-telling reflects the values and practices of this, The Age of the Novel, in which our liberal tribe toys with basic facts and elementary logic to fashion perfect morality tales with perfect heroes and villains.

The sexual assault which Miller experienced quickly became such a novelized tale within the upper-end press. This was true long before Miller discussed these events at all, long before her name was even known.

In the course of this novelization, some basic facts quickly disappeared. Elementary matters of logic slid beneath the waves as well, as we in the liberal world took to fashioning our latest perfect tale.

In reading the first upper-end reviews of Miller's book, we were struck by a pair of numbers which didn't bark—by two significant numbers which seemed to have disappeared.

When we read those first reviews, we were struck by the absence of these numbers in thousand-word newspaper essays. We were even more struck when we read Miller's book—a book of some 320 pages in which these numbers don't appear.

As these numbers disappeared, so did some basic questions about this high-profile assault. In our view, the most obvious villain in this whole event was thereby granted a reprieve. A certain type of "moral panic" seems involved in this repetitive tribal conduct.

This type of behavior is on wide display in this gifted young writer's book. Would that older, more experienced writers were willing and able to say so!

Tomorrow: Two numbers, plus a villain

59 comments:

  1. ""I began avoiding certain streets," Miller writes on page 80."

    Duh. What a high drama. For an upper middle-class woman in New England, avoiding certain areas is a must. Everyone knows it. This is America, my dear. Perfectly ordinary American experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
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      I’m so excited my broken Marriage has been restored. “We recently made up, even though it was difficult. It’s been more than a month now, and everything feels like it’s returned to normal. He has began to treat me better, and it’s been a healing process for both of us. The nightmare that had lasted for almost 2 years before we broke up is finally over. It’s like we fell in love all over again! We’ve both put the past behind us, and are trying to move forward – and for the first time in a long time, the future looks a lot brighter. I can’t express in words how grateful I am Dr Great! It’s like we’ve finally rediscovered those things about each other that made us fall in love in the first place. All of the worrying and stress has simply vanished. Thank you Dr Great for saving my broken Marriage and brought my husband back to me!”. Me and my husband are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr Great. If you have any problem contact Dr Great now and i guarantee you that he will help you contact him through

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      Delete
  2. "There isn't even any reason to say that most members of that next generation will end up harassing young women on the street, in the way Miller describes in her Providence chapter."

    I had the same experiences as Miller when I was a student at UCLA, walking around Westwood, an upscale neighborhood. I too would walk blocks out of the way to avoid construction sites. At UCLA, the fraternities are all on a row leading up to campus. If you walk up that street alone, you run a gauntlet of active harassment by young men clustered on the porches and lawns of their frat houses. Most female students avoid going that way, even if it is the more direct way to get to school buildings. Then I experienced the same thing living elsewhere as I found jobs and went to work in various places.

    For this behavior to be so ubiquitous, to figure in the lives of so many women, it must not be confined to the few damaged young men who get labeled incels. This must be a wider behavior conducted by many more men, an accepted practice by men. Somerby's belief that it is limited to only a few is surely wrong.

    There is a young woman who wore a camera and documented the behavior as she walked around NYC. There are websites that do this and urge women to call back (so that they do not feel so frightened and take back some of the initiative). This behavior is wrong, it frightens most women, most women experience it, and it is a part of our culture that is neither marginalized nor benign. Women have been complaining about it since the 1970s (early second wave feminism).

    But men such as Somerby still think it is nothing, not widespread, the woman's problem for being so scared, and so on. Somerby is wrong to call out Weiner about her purple prose. Weiner is saying what most writers for women say, and she is far more restrained in her complaint than others are, with good justification.

    That Somerby has no idea how frequent this behavior is, reveals a lot about his understanding of women's issues. He is majorly out of touch and ill equipped to critique this book. He is the one who should be learning from it -- not just next generation young men.

    Mao, of course, says this is life for women in America. Women today are saying that this should not be accepted as "business as usual" for women or men in our country. This is a symptom of how women are regarded by men and it is wrong. That is why Miller describes it and why Weiner focuses on it. Somerby is wrong to dismiss it and Mao is wrong to accept it (on behalf of women, one presumes).

    ReplyDelete
  3. "In reading the first upper-end reviews of Miller's book, we were struck by a pair of numbers which didn't bark—by two significant numbers which seemed to have disappeared."

    Here is an example of why Somerby is an asshole. He doesn't tell us what numbers he is talking about. He says they are missing from Miller's book, so how are they even relevant to Weiner's review then?

    He thinks those numbers should have been mentioned, but since we aren't told what they, how can we judge whether he is right or wrong. One is no doubt the date 1066 (date of the Norman Conquest). The other is the average number of peanuts in each shell: 2. I personally don't consider these numbers important, but Somerby does, since he has complained about their absence two days in a row (another number, 2).

    Somerby isn't the boss of Miller or Weiner. He doesn't get to tell them what to include and what to leave out. That is an author's privilege, Miller's, Weiner's. Somerby has no right to dictate the content of their writing. He doesn't even know whether female students at UCSB get harassed on the street (beyond getting shot at, something he dismisses because all the female students weren't killed, just a few of them).

    It is time for Somerby to hang up his spurs. He is doing nothing useful here and now he has decided to use his blog to insult and demean women.

    It never occurs to him that Miller might have felt more vulnerable in Providence because she was in a strange city, away from friends. It never occurs to him that perhaps there are different ethnicities in areas of Providence, ones in which men show their manliness by harassing women (as I hear happens even more frequently in Rome). It never occurs to him that Miller might have been generally walking around UCSB with her friends, and that women are less likely to be harassed in groups or when accompanied by other men who might call them out and cause more of a conflict than they might wish at that moment. Men, of course, use other men's dates as excuses to start fights in bars, especially in places where fighting is recreational. I recall one instance where the boys at a frat party thought it was fun to place cold beer cans against the bare shoulders of girls, to hear then scream. That all stopped when the date of one of the girls socked the boy who did it to his girlfriend. But the point Miller and Weiner are making is that women should have to be defended by male bodyguards when going to school or engaging in innocuous activities that men engage in without a second thought. It is those second thoughts that Somerby thinks are made up, invented, narrative, purple prose, etc. That is because he has no idea what encounters with men are like for women. Aziz Ansari learned, but I see no evidence that Somerby is capable of learning anything. He doesn't think women have the right to describe their own lives (although he gives it lip service, before jumping into his criticism of their "overblown" descriptions of what happened to them (not to him).

    ReplyDelete
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    1. “I recall one instance where the boys at a frat party thought it was fun to place cold beer cans against the bare shoulders of girls, to hear then scream.”

      Oh, my God!!!!!!

      Delete
    2. A small thing but it reflects attitudes and behaviors that are widespread. The way men treat women is a kind of bullying. We've all seen it happen, if not been the focus of it.

      You do illustrate an interesting difference between conservative and liberal women. Conservative women acknowledge that these things happen, but take a "boys will be boys" attitude and expect women to get over it and deal with it, grow up, suck it up. Like you, they don't think it is any big deal. Liberal women focus on the violence and hazing women experience because it interfere with full participation in our society, and they demand that it stop. They see the harm and want to change it, not live with it. They want men to join them in stopping such behavior.

      You trivialize an event that caused a fist fight and resulted in the frat being temporarily suspended (no more parties). It mattered to the kids involved, but you seem to be unable to empathize with them. That too is typical of conservatives compared to liberals.

      Delete
    3. Hey, Cecelia, are you a teenager?

      Delete
    4. 3:19pm, and to think you’ve gleaned all that from my response to one incident that truly is the equivalent of a boy teasing girls with a grasshopper.

      Delete
    5. Right, no big deal. And what is the harm of catcalling women on the street? And what is the harm of those practical jokes that get played on women (such as sabotaging their safety equipment, telling them the wrong start time for a meeting, circulating photoshopped photos of them nude to a company list)? Where is the line where "jokes" and "teasing" become dangerous or even life-threatening (e.g., hazing of women who are cops or fire fighters)? Hazing of female doctors who want surgical training is so prevalent that it keeps women from pursuing that specialty. But you think it is just "teasing"? This matters.

      Delete
    6. "the way men treat women" is to build an entire society that allows them to be liberated and safer than ever before in human history.

      And to perform all of their nocturnal plumbing emergencies among many other things.

      Delete
    7. And what is the harm of two worlds colliding in outer space and setting off a chain react that destroys the universe!

      3:39pm , the day I feel guilty over a sarcastic response to some apocryphal tale on a blog board, is the day I may be the sort of woman who is cowed by jerks like you.

      When you’re bemoaning the plight of women while exhibiting the sense of proportionality and genuineness of a confidence artist, you just might be the equivalent of the creepy cads you aver to detest.

      Delete
    8. “And to perform all of their nocturnal plumbing emergencies among many other things.”

      Among many many other things. Now here’s a person who knows what women want!

      Delete
    9. Cecelia may not be cowed, but she is angry, pretending not to be.

      The Anonymi get to you, Ceese?

      Delete
    10. 3:58pm, not particularly. Sorry to rain on your troll dark triad buzz.

      Delete
    11. “Troll” = people who disagree with Cecelia. It’s right there in the urban dictionary.

      Delete
    12. Men are there for you baby.

      As always, we will die to keep you safe and secure.

      Delete
    13. 4:07pm, I wasn’t responding to a point of disagreement...Sparky...

      Delete
    14. “Men are there for you baby.

      As always, we will die to keep you safe and secure.“

      Back at ya, bro.

      Delete
    15. No actual hard feelings intended, Cecelia, but you were the initial “troll” in this comment thread, making fun of what the original commenter said, lifting a phrase out of context to use sarcasm, rather than responding to the overall point being made.

      Delete
    16. Sorry, but the use of sarcasm or irony does not automatically denote a troll.

      Delete
    17. You are a conservative who comes to a liberal blog to bait people in the comments. How is that not trolling?

      Delete
    18. This is the epitome of troll-think.

      I come to the blog because I enjoy the blogger. The ONLY point of agreement I share with him is about the state of our culture.

      Yet I don’t insult him by calling him a fraud, a woman hater, an anti-intellectual a-hole, and many other pejoratives, yet I’m a blog troll for coming to a “liberal blog” written by a man you anonymices declare to be a liberal poser.

      Well done, 4:53. Your picture should be featured at the Urban Dictionary under “Troll”.

      Delete
    19. See, here is a case in point. You are not arguing anything substantively. You are insulting other people and being sarcastic. That is troll behavior, not serious commentary.

      This is a liberal blog because the blogger says he is a liberal and he is ostensibly talking to liberals. I realize this is confusing because he affects an editorial "we" but other times he directly addresses and lectures liberals and says "we liberals". Not everyone here thinks he is a poser and those other names (case in point, deadrat).

      Many people read this blog without commenting. You could do the same, but you instead write sarcastic remarks "Oh God!!!!!" aimed solely at annoying another commenter. That is trolling.

      Delete
    20. So about 3:00P blog local time I hear Cecelia post a comment, and about fifteen minutes later, I start to hear the horrifying sounds of cyber-combat. Naturally, being a male of the old school, I rush over assuming I’d find a damsel in distress who needs defending.

      What do I find?

      The walls covered in blood and Cecelia, without a scratch, calmly drinking a cup of tea. I assume it was tea, but I didn’t stick around to find out — I just quietly tip-toed back out of the commentariat.

      Delete
    21. Fuck off deadrat

      Delete
    22. There can’t be a commentariat, cause nobody reads this blog.

      Delete
    23. He doesn't tell us what numbers he is talking about.

      Give an old man a break. TDH is over 70, and he’s been doing this blog thing for over 20 years. He’s trying to stretch what he has to say over several blog entries. If you’d read to the end, you’d have seen “Tomorrow: Two numbers, plus a villain.”

      Somerby isn't the boss of Miller or Weiner. He doesn't get to tell them what to include and what to leave out. That is an author's privilege, Miller's, Weiner's. Somerby has no right to dictate the content of their writing. … It is time for Somerby to hang up his spurs.

      You’re not the boss of Somerby. You don’t get to tell him what to include and what to leave out. That is a blogger’s privilege. You have no right to dictate the content of his writing. It’s time for you to quit commenting here.

      Now, why hasn’t your head exploded yet?

      Delete
    24. "Fuck off deadrat," 5:50P explained.

      Delete
    25. Many people read this blog without commenting.

      Many people read this blog? Are you kidding me? And if they're not commenting, how do you know they're reading?

      You could do the same, but you instead write sarcastic remarks "Oh God!!!!!" aimed solely at annoying another commenter. That is trolling.

      Let's ask TDH if he'll enforce trigger warnings on sarcastic comments and create a safe space for snowflakes like you.

      Delete
    26. Here’s what I hope Aziz Ansari has learned. Don’t flirt with a woman at a party, arrange a date with her for a few days later, take her back to your apartment, and between two bouts of her fellating you, ask her, “Where do you want me to fuck you?”

      Because if you do all this, she will not fuck you, but will instead take the uber you call for her and then talk to Babe.net, a site that says it is “into good news reporting, trash trends, personal stories, industry-leading analysis of fuckboys and the pettiest celebrity drama.” She will tell Babe that she found your question tough to answer because she didn’t really want to fuck you at all. She didn’t actually voice that preference at the time, of course; she just proceeded to the second act of fellatio.

      There is no intimation that you used force, threats, or intimidation, and you have no social or career power with which to coerce her. She will text you the next day to say that her time with you was not fun because you ignored non-verbal cues.

      Delete
    27. 'Let's ask TDH if he'll enforce trigger warnings on sarcastic comments and create a safe space for snowflakes like you.'

      Why don't you look in the mirror and ask him ?

      Delete
    28. What's that, troll? You think I'm Somerby?

      What a buffoon you are.

      Delete
    29. Pshaw. deadrat wouldn't be able to prevent himself from repeating Right-wing nonsense memes on a daily basis if he was Somerby.

      Delete
  4. Browse the offerings on this blog and then tell us that male harassment of women is trivial:

    http://www.wehuntedthemammoth.com/

    And then read what Jordan Peterson has to say about men's entitlement to sex.

    If Somerby has no idea of the depths of hatred toward women, he is unequipped to write anything about this topic and unqualified to critique this book or its review. He doesn't understand where rape and violence toward women come from. Without that knowledge, all the logic and reason in the world are useless.

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    1. You will find that you can safely ignore anything Jordan Peterson has to say about anything. And that includes lobsters

      Delete
  5. “The streets of Providence almost seem to be presented as the scene of an unwanted, unholy baptism. We couldn't help wondering about the selective feel of the presentation,”

    The unwanted, unholy baptism for Miller occurred when she was sexually assaulted/raped, or technically that baptism occurred in the hours after regaining consciousness when she was suddenly thrust into the role of survivor. That she subsequently becomes acutely aware of the leering men in Providence is not surprising.

    Somerby wonders about a “selective feel to the presentation”, without having any way to confirm his doubts. He claims that Miller doesn’t mention such leering men in California, and that the purported fact that she only notices them in Rhode Island is evidence of some sort of novelization:

    “That problem involves the way her story-telling reflects the values and practices of this, The Age of the Novel, in which our liberal tribe toys with basic facts and elementary logic to fashion perfect morality tales with perfect heroes and villains.”

    He still hasn’t told us what the “perfect morality tale” is, and who the perfect heroes and villains are in his mind, although it’s easy to guess what he means.

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    1. "He still hasn’t told us what the “perfect morality tale” is, and who the perfect heroes and villains are in his mind, although it’s easy to guess what he means."

      Somerby's Heroes: Donald Trump, Roy Moore, Turner ad Ron Johnson

      Somerby's Villains: All liberals

      Delete
  6. Come on, guys. All Somerby is saying is that the way women are treated is very concerning, although Miller has written an overblown account of it.

    Also, liberals, particularly feminists like Weiner, think all women are angels and all men are beasts, and this is why liberals are horrible and why Trump wins.

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    1. Unless you are Miller, on what basis can you call her account overblown?

      Actually, according to feminists, it is men who define women as either angels (madonnas) or whores. They are also defined as incompetent, thus requiring the guidance and protection of men else they will mess up or act like the whores all women are at heart. This dichotomy goes back to Descartes (mind-body split). Women lack mental capacity and thus are more susceptible to lust and other bodily functions, including emotions.

      Conservatives lately have been designating liberals as the "mommy" party (Lakoff), feminizing male candidates (Gore is the Breck girl), and saying that liberals feel whereas conservatives use reason (that split again). By equating liberals with women (who have second-class status), conservatives appeal to entrenched sexist stereotypes, much like the ones that prevented people from voting for Hillary (who was clearly competent but hated despite her accomplishments). By playing up traditional sex roles, conservatives characterize liberals as effeminate and unmanly and too sissy (gay?) to be trusted in office.

      This is why attitudes toward gender matter in this election and why Somerby's troubled attitudes about women suggest he is not any kind of liberal.

      Trump lost the popular vote by 3.5+ million votes. He won only because Russia and Comey helped him. This demonstrates mainly that conservatives will stoop to working with foreign enemies of the US (commonly called treason) in order to win power and line their pockets. That makes them pretty horrible in my opinion.

      Delete
    2. Edwards was the Breck girl and it was a liberal woman who bestowed that title on (of)his head.

      Delete
    3. Maureen Dowd is not a liberal. She is a Catholic and she may have voted Democratic, but she has written against nearly every liberal candidate and she was promoting Trump until he actually became the nominee.

      Delete
    4. Facts are facts. She is a liberal and a Democrat and she plays up traditional sex roles, characterizing liberals as effeminate and unmanly and too sissy (gay?) to be trusted in office, something for which Somerby has called her out hundreds of times.

      Delete
    5. Go look her up at Wikipedia. Her father was a police officer. She has no political affiliation listed. She uses gender to criticize lots of different politicians, but she has had a vendetta against Bill & Hillary Clinton and has done hit pieces on many Democratic candidates and on Obama while president and candidate. Her gender-based labeling has gotten her accused of sexism repeatedly.

      Delete
    6. @5:39
      “Somerby has called her out hundreds of times.”

      That is true. However, “She is a liberal and a Democrat.”

      Nope. Somerby hasn’t called her a liberal or a Democrat. He has labeled her and her ilk “pseudoliberals.”

      Delete
    7. Yes, true. She is a pseudoliberal Democrat. Like Maddow and Clinton.

      Delete
    8. Again, yes, he has called Maddow a pseudoliberal, but not Clinton.

      Delete
    9. Clinton, the queen of all warmongers.

      Delete
    10. Not Dimmesdale writes:

      Conservatives lately have been designating liberals as the "mommy" party (Lakoff), feminizing male candidates (Gore is the Breck girl, and saying that liberals feel whereas conservatives use reason (that split again).

      By equating liberals with women (who have second-class status), conservatives appeal to entrenched sexist stereotypes, much like the ones that prevented people from voting for Hillary (who was clearly competent but hated despite her accomplishments). By playing up traditional sex roles, conservatives characterize liberals as effeminate and unmanly and too sissy (gay?) to be trusted in office.

      This is why attitudes toward gender matter in this election and why Somerby's troubled attitudes about women suggest he is not any kind of liberal.


      4:19 PM offers this correction but adds a claim Maureen Dowd would contest:

      Edwards was the Breck girl and it was a liberal woman who bestowed that title on[/of] his head.

      Here are two Somerby literary reviews of the matter. The first includes a citation for the provenance of the insult and the second blog recognizes the work of another artist in the genre:

      **************
      LINK
      Here’s the start of Dowd’s typically vacuous column from July 8, 2004:

      DOWD (7/8/04): I'm happy for John Kerry.
      Long-faced guy, as some Bushies refer to him, finally found somebody to stand at the podium and give him an adoring look.

      Heaven knows Teresa was never going to do it. Her attention rarely seems to light on her husband when she's at a microphone with him.

      Yes, it was the feminized Edwards who was giving Kerry that “adoring look.” And by the way—this column bore a typical headline: “Breck Girl Takes on Dr. No!” Omigod—it was Maureen Dowd who was “feminizing Edwards” as Kerry’s true bride—as the Breck Girl:

      DOWD: Unfortunately for this White House, it is Mr. Edwards's great talent to talk about the class warfare of ''two Americas'' in a sunny way. The Breck Girl is already getting under the Boy King's thin skin.

      Dowd went on to say that Edwards had been “nicknamed the Breck Girl by Bush officials.” But as always, the vacuous columnist ran with it hard. She just couldn’t wait to feminize Edwards—just as she’d raced to feminize Gore during Campaign 2000. In December 1999, for example, Dowd savaged Gore and Naomi Wolf in the stupidest possible terms. “[W]hen a man has to pony up a fortune to a woman to teach him how to be a man, that definitely takes the edge off his top-dogginess,” she wrote. Soon, Every Dumb Pundit was out recycling their own top dog’s dumbest-belle quotes.
      *************
      continued...

      Delete
    11. ******************
      LINK
      Yep! Our news orgs have long enabled Coulter. If your nation goes up in the smoke in the process, these loathsome Antoinettes just don’t care.

      But then, why should pundits criticize Coulter when she describes Dem males as big “f*ggots?” It’s very similar to the gender-based “analysis” their dauphine, the Comptesse Maureen Dowd, has long offered. In Dowd’s work, John Edwards is routinely “the Breck Girl”(five times so far—and counting), and Gore is “so feminized that he’s practically lactating.”

      Indeed, two days before we voted in November 2000, Dowd devoted her entire column, for the sixth time, to an imaginary conversation between Gore and his bald spot. “I feel pretty,” her headline said (pretending to quote Gore’s inner thoughts).That was the image this idiot wanted you carrying off to the voting booth with you! Such is the state of Maureen Dowd’s broken soul. And such is the state of her cohort.

      And now, in the spirit of fair play and brotherhood, she is extending this type of “analysis” to Barack Obama. In the past few weeks, she has described Obama as “legally blonde” (in her headline); as “Scarlett O’Hara” (in her next column); as a “Dreamboy,” as “Obambi,” and now, in her latest absurd piece, as a “schoolboy” (text below).

      Do you get the feeling that Dowd may have a few race-and-gender issues floating around in her inane, tortured mind? But this sort of thing is nothing new for the comptesse. Indeed, such imagery almost defines the work of this loathsome, inane Antoinette.

      Coulter has been visibly disturbed ever since hitting cable in the mid-90s. But Dowd is a borderline nutcase too—a slightly cleaned up version of Coulter. (Ah, we Irish! Yes, each had an Irish Catholic dad.) Coulter comes right out and calls Dem men “f*ggots”—but Maureen Dowd has always come close.

      Just as Chris Matthews is a slightly cleaned-up William Donohue, Dowd is a more presentable Coulter. For mainstream voters, Maureen is easier to take. For that reason, she has done us more harm.

      Coulter teaches contempt for gays, and tries to extend that contempt to Dem pols. But that’s what Dowd has done all these years! And we liberals and Dems have been too weak to understand and address the problem.

      We scream about Coulter—and give Dowd a pass. But when you read Dowd, you’re riding with Coulter!

      ******************

      Delete
  7. 'Elementary matters of logic slid beneath the waves as well, as we in the liberal world took to fashioning our latest perfect tale'

    You mean we in the Trumptard world, I presume

    ReplyDelete
  8. “We liberals are the problem now too! We’re lazy and we aren’t very smart. We exude a moral squalor.

    We’re lazy and dumb and our morals are bad. There’s little reason for people to like us. Presumably, nobody does.”

    —Bob Somerby, (“THE PROBLEM IS US: As we the liberals emerge!

    TUESDAY, JANUARY 6, 2014”)

    Liberals, if you do not swear an oath that you accept this and agree with Bob’s take on liberals, then why are you here? Please leave. Your criticisms are not wanted.

    Conservatives, you may stay, of course.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please leave? Who says this? Not Somerby. I always figured he doesn't give a shit for his commentariat, considering what he allows here. Not to mention the quality of what's posted here. However, It is an excellent exhibit for the tribal behavior he writes about, so maybe that's it.

      Delete
    2. Common Sense CentristOctober 25, 2019 at 8:57 AM

      't is an excellent exhibit for the tribal behavior he writes about,'

      Only if there is a tribe of people who thinks that someone who spends 95% of his time attacking liberals and defending the likes of Roy Moore, Donald Trump and Ron Johnson should be calling himself a Trumptard rather than a liberal.

      Maybe the tribe name should be 'The Common Sense Tribe'

      Delete
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