Until we read it again: Yesterday afternoon, we were very impressed with this post by Ed Kilgore, headlined “The New Misogyny.”
He went on at considerable length. He even named some liberal miscreants! We’d never seen a liberal man write about this topic that way.
And then, we came to the end of the piece. Doh! It was written by Kathleen Geier, filling in for Kilgore on Sunday!
It isn’t Kilgore’s fault, of course, that Geier composed that excellent post. But we had a somewhat similar reaction when we read Frank Bruni this morning.
At first, we were flat-out thrilled by Bruni’s column. We still recommend it quite highly. For some reason, it made us think of this column by Laura Ingalls Wilder, written in 1921 for the Missouri Ruralist.
(“Think of the number of children in the world, each the joy of some mother’s heart, each a link connecting one generation with another, each a hope for the future.” Half of those children are girls.)
Bruni goes on and on and on about the special loathing of women, a loathing which has been displayed in various cultures since the dawn of time. We’ve never seen a man write that column. We think the column is long overdue—and we’ll offer much praise to Bruni.
Having said that, let’s also say this: We noticed something very familiar when we re-read the column. From the following passage, can you guess what it is?
BRUNI (3/13/12): You could argue that Limbaugh chose the slurs he did for Fluke simply because the context, a debate over contraception, was in part sexual.When Bruni finally named some names, he chose to name two minor players. We love Bill Maher around here. But Bill has used worse terms than “slut,” and he didn’t get mentioned. Ed Schultz got called out here; Matthews and Olbermann didn’t.
But there are examples aplenty of women being derided as sluts and prostitutes—two of his descriptions of Fluke—when sex is nowhere in the preamble, nowhere in the picture.
Last year the TV and radio host Ed Schultz hurled “slut” as an all-purpose insult at the right-wing commentator Laura Ingraham. He got a week’s suspension.
Another radio host, John “Sly” Sylvester, used his Wisconsin talk show to savage the state’s lieutenant governor, Rebecca Kleefisch, as someone given to oral and group sex. This was just random invective, his special way of saying “I hate you.” He went unpunished.
The impulse toward gross sexual caricatures of women is a sick tic without end.
Bruni named Ed Schultz by name. And he named a guy in Wisconsin we’ve never heard of before.
Do you understand those choices? We’re inclined to think we do.