TonedeafGate's natural end: Let's face it. TonedeafGate wasn't going to end until Maureen Dowd had a chance to weigh in.
Yesterday, Dowd took her turn. To her credit, she didn't say that Bill Clinton was "tone deaf" during last week's MelvinGate. She started by saying this:
DOWD (6/10/18): Book tours can be brutal.Goody Dowd, please! If it's "public shaming" we seek, a large amount of public shaming was performed twenty years ago.
It took 20 years for Bill Clinton to be properly publicly shamed for the ugly bargain at the heart of the Clinton operation.
For starters, Judge Starr wrote everything down so everybody could read it. Along with that, the various networks were careful to let us see the "good parts" of Clinton's four-hour dunking before Judge Starr's grand jury.
If it's public shaming you want, a lot occurred back then.
We're not huge fans of public shaming ourselves. But if you are, you might ask yourself this:
When the heck does the public shaming of Maureen Dowd begin?
Long ago and far away, Katherine Boo warned us about the dangers of "Creeping Dowdism." Even now, 26 years later, you can't read Boo's 3700-word essay on line. Because of Dowd's standing within the industry, the Washington Monthly is still too afraid to put her piece on line.
That said, the Dowdism Boo tried to warn us about has engineered widespread cultural rot. Even now, a full twenty years later, people like Dowd want to talk about Clinton's affair.
In the end, they want to discuss nothing else. Dowd has been a high-profile New York Times columnist since 1995. Can you name a single substantive topic on which she has shed any light over those many long years?
Instead, Dowd wants to talk about who's zioomin' who. In truth, she wants to talk about nothing else, aside from 1) male politicians' hair and 2) male Democrats' crummy, embarrassing wives.
Beyond that, she wants to kiss the asp of power, which explains how she managed to position Uma Thurman as the "goddess" heroine of Harvey Weinstein's depredations—concerning which Thurman, a powerful Hollywood player, ran off and hid in the grass.
Maureen Dowd is like that. People are dead all over the world because the Dowdism crept, then spread. On the Sunday before George W. Bush got elected, she was writing her three millionth column mocking Candidate Gore and his deeply ludicrous bald spot.
Was Bill Clinton wrong to engage in his affair with Monica Lewinsky? On balance, yes he was—if only because people like Dowd were hiding in the bushes. People like Dowd and the all-too-human goodies and Dimmesdales she empowers.
They were hiding in the bushes, waiting to do what they could.
Near the end of yesterday's column, Dowd offers the passage shown below, proving that, as her Dowdism crept, her sense of shame scurried off into the grass:
DOWD: Monica Lewinsky has finally emerged from a long period of being frozen in amber, after the capricious behavior of Bill Clinton and the smearing of Clintonworld. And that’s a relief.The smearing by Clintonworld? In this 2014 essay for Vanity Fair, Lewinsky recalled the devastation wreaked on her by none other than Maureen Dowd! In retaliation, Dowd unloaded nastily on Lewinsky all over again.
You can pick through that garbage can here. That was the continued "smearing by Maureenworld," a smearing which was still underway as of May 2014.
In response to Dowd's new column, several veteran commenters told it like it was. An early commenter from New York recalled a few of Dowd's many comments about Lewinsky—the comments which help explain why Bill Clinton should never have engaged with Lewinsky, whatever the nature of their personal relationship may, or may not, have been:
COMMENTER FROM NEW YORK (6/10/18): Give me a break. Dowd has piled on Monica Lewinsky more viciously and gleefully and fecklessly than practically all the other "slut-shamers" combined.In closing, we'll make a pair of suggestions. First, we'll recommend Lewinsky's 2014 essay for Vanity Fair, the one which brought the poison pen reaction from Dowd.
Here are a few of her memorable quotes about Monica:
"For sheer cringe-worthiness, a Monica lipstick ad, focusing on those shiny pillow lips, would probably top a Bob Dole erectile dysfunction ad.”
"It is Ms. Lewinsky who comes across as the red-blooded predator, wailing to her girl friends that the President wouldn't go all the way.”
Monica is still waiting for her personal apology, Ms. Dowd, and so, probably, are millions of other readers.
Lewinsky's essay was insightful all the way through. In one especially horrific example, she quoted from an all-feminist colloquy in The Observer back when the excitement was new, in 1998. Here's what Lewinsky wrote:
LEWINSKY (6/14): Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any “abuse” came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position.At that point, Lewinsky quoted some of what was said by those high-minded feminists. We strongly recommend that you read Lewinsky's selection of comments—and then, that you go back and read the whole Observer piece.
A handful of representatives of the modern feminist movement did chime in, obliquely. Yet, instead of any meaningful engagement, we got this: January 30, 1998. Day Nine of the scandal. Cocktails at Le Bernardin, in Manhattan. In attendance: writers Erica Jong, Nancy Friday, Katie Roiphe, and Elizabeth Benedict; Saturday Night Live writer Patricia Marx; Marisa Bowe, the editor of Word, an online magazine; fashion designer Nicole Miller; former dominatrix Susan Shellogg; and their host, Le Bernardin co-owner Maguy Le Coze. The New York Observer brought this coven together to trade Interngate insights, to be recorded by Francine Prose...
Make yourself fight through it! For ourselves, we can't believe that Francine Prose took part in that appalling event. But in that Observer piece from 1998, you see where things had already gone as the Dowdism rapidly crept.
You see the appalling, ludicrous world that Maureen Dowd helped build. You see why it's important that we try to avoid letting people like Dowd define the public agenda.
Can we talk? Once you give people like Dowd permission to talk about famous people's sexual acts, that's all they'll ever want to discuss. As a nation, we end up with a creep and hustler like Stephanie Clifford parading around as she sells and re-sells "her story," even being accepted as a feminist/liberal star in the process.
Once you let Dowd's agenda creep, it's soon the only agenda we have! She pimped for Trump[ all through the last election she hated the Clintons so bad.
Go ahead—read that 1998 colloquy in the Observer. This is who and what our human race is once you let an attractive weirdo like Dowd set a nation's agenda.
Final important point: You'll never see your favorite corporate stars criticize Maureen Dowd. Dowd is too powerful in the business, and the children are all too scared.
There will be no "public shaming" of Dowd. Dearest darlings, use your heads! Our top liberal stars won't permit it!
Technically, Dowd has probably written a about a few other things besides famous people's sex. After all, the "bald spot" columns were not about that.ReplyDelete
For a while there in W. Bush's term she was popular among some liberals (who had perhaps never heard of her before) as she wrote columns mocking the "Boy King".
I thought that was ironic considering that she had worked so hard to elect him. Perhaps she just wanted her giant tax cuts and not all the other baggage that came with it. She might pretend some kind of journalistic neutrality which non-partisanly attacks the party in power.
During Bush's term when I could still read NY Times editorials for free I used to read her columns and sent her a few emails. I remember once I had to (I just HAD to, somebody was wrong on the internet) correct her about the movie "The Matrix".
I guess, in spite of her record, I found her to be worth a read (either that or I got sucked in by a headline).
The Starr Report left little to the imagination concerning the Clinton and Lewinsky's assignations.Delete
After all, the motive to hide that relationship was crucial to the larger claims against Clinton. Claims that initially concerned the machinations against the Paula Jones suit. Later it included investigations into a possible coverup. An example that is Clinton calling to the WH his secretary, Betty Currie, on the weekend before her testimony to a grand jury. The reason given for this was to "refresh" her memory. Actually, it was to instill a false memory. "We were never alone, right?", Currie testified Clinton as saying to her.
Maureen Dowd was very helpful with keeping this all about the sex. Night after night a phalanx of Clintonites blanketed the networks with smears against Lewinsky as a seriously crazy nutjob and Paula Jones as that and trailer trash. Having it all spelled out in the report mattered.
So Maurine did quite a number on Starr and she kept Bill as a flawed and priapic frat boy, but infinitely better than the Shi'ites against him.
If you can find it, read the job she once did on Barbara Bush.
For all Dowd's billing and applause for her irony, wry narrative and deep insight into the heart and psyche of the human soul, she is something beyond a "mean girl", though that is certainly what she is.
Something not deep and portentous, but vapid and astoundingly dehumanizing.
Allowing there was some degree of coverup (highly debatable), it was covering up consensual sex acts, not corruption. Most women have been cheated on, even Dowd, she is obviously wounded.Delete
When Clinton started his...affair (for lack of a better word) with Lewinsky, he was enmeshed in the Paula Jones lawsuit.Delete
His attorneys had argued before SCOTUS that a sitting president could not be sued in civil court for actions prior to their holding office and had lost.
The Jones suit then proceeded into the discovery mode which is pretty damn open-ended for plaintiffs.
The Administration learned that the Jones folks had gotten wind of Lewinsky. A pattern of workplace relationships is gold in this sort of suit.
Lewinsky was persuaded by Clinton friends to sign an affidavit denying a relationship with Clinton. Linda Tripp taped Lewinsky attempting to talk her into doing that too.
This made it more than covering up an affair for reasons of public embarrassment and martial discord
I looked and couldn't find any place where Lewinsky was persuaded to sign an affidavit or where she tried to get Tripp to sign one. I found a place where Lewinsky said she didn't have an affair with the President, and a place where Tripp tries to talk Lewinsky into shaking down the President for a better job, and where she urges Lewinsky to save the semen-stained dress. Tripp is a piece of work.
These are excerpts so maybe the stuff you describe is in the part they left out, but why would they leave out important stuff like you describe here?
When Clinton started his...affair (for lack of a better word) with Lewinsky, he was enmeshed in the Paula Jones lawsuit.Delete
His attorneys had argued before SCOTUS that a sitting president could not be sued in civil court for actions prior to their holding office and had lost.
No, Cecelia, that is false. Where do you come up with such bullshit?
"petitioner [the president]… does not contend that the occupant of the Office of the President is 'above the law' in the sense that his conduct is entirely immune from judicial scrutiny. The President argues merely for a postponement of the judicial proceedings." The issue was not whether Paula Jones should be able to have her day in court, but when.
No Island of Sanity by Vincent Bugliosi
Happily we now have this absurd SC precedent guaranteeing that President Chickenshit will be forced to undergo deposition in the civil suits against him.
Cecelia [sic] is some micropeened Breitbart reader who enjoys pretending to be a woman. Completely false, lying, disingenuous.Delete
mm, how in the world does that conflict with what I said about a SITTING president?Delete
I didn't suggest that Clinton was President for Life or that the Clinton team had argued that Jones could NEVER seek restitution from Clinton because he had once taken the oath of office.
The president's lawyers did not argue that he could not be sued in civil court, they asked for a postponement.Delete
CeceliaJune 11, 2018 at 8:36 PMDelete
"Lewinsky was persuaded by Clinton friends to sign an affidavit denying a relationship with Clinton."
mm's assessment applies here too:
"No, Cecelia, that is false. Where do you come up with such bullshit?"
The Starr Report The Affidavit
To the extent there was covering up, it was indeed "covering up an affair for reasons of public embarrassment and martial discord "
"On the Sunday before George W. Bush got elected, she was writing her three millionth column mocking Candidate Gore and his deeply ludicrous bald spot"ReplyDelete
Y'know Bob, if all it takes to defeat your perfect demigod candidate is a silly gossip column in the limousine-liberal newspaper, then something is seriously fucked up in the world that lives inside your head.
Perhaps now would be a good time to re-examine?
I posted the same view in the comments section of the column. I asked when Maureen will have her #metoo moment.ReplyDelete
I need to get some lips, some snout and nostril, some tails. Just fifteen pounds, maybe twenty pounds for tonight. Got a cook-out.ReplyDelete
Perhaps Somerby should read or re-read Lewinsky's Vanity Fair essay from this year:ReplyDelete
Just to excerpt a few things, she says:
" I had been alone. So. Very. Alone. Publicly Alone—abandoned most of all by the key figure in the crisis, who actually knew me well and intimately. "
"I now see how problematic it was that the two of us even got to a place where there was a question of consent. Instead, the road that led there was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege. (Full stop.)"
(Or as Somerby would say, "Full freaking stop.")
"Although power imbalances—and the ability to abuse them—do exist even when the sex has been consensual."
"In 1998, we were living in times in which women’s sexuality was a marker of their agency—“owning desire.” And yet, I felt that if I saw myself as in any way a victim, it would open the door to choruses of: “See, you did merely service him."
Bottom line: Lewinsky's thinking about the Clinton affair has changed as she has grown older and more experienced. She no longer has " a 22-year-old’s limited understanding of the consequences." She also makes the point that society has changed since 1998, for the better in many ways. The MeToo movement is a positive example of this change, in her view.
The question is: Society and Monica Lewinsky have changed, moved on, and learned from 1998. Has Somerby?
The media hasn't changed or moved on.Delete
The media hasn't changed since 1998? Well, that's rather debatable, if you just look at the explosion of internet-based news sources and the growth of social media, it has changed a lot.Delete
The point, however, of my comment, is that Somerby continues his 1998 defense of Clinton, when it is clear that times have changed regarding that kind of behavior. He quotes from Lewinsky when it supports his views, but not so much when she diverges from them.
She recognizes that her relationship was wrong and for other reasons than "those people hiding in the bushes", as Somerby says. Somerby basically implies the relationship was wrong (or stupid, whatever) merely because Clinton got caught.
Not in a positive way. There is more and more gossip masquerading as news. After all, look how they covered Trump during the campaign. Yes, Clinton is always guilty and given a false equivalence when it comes to Trump.Delete
Well, there is some truth in what you say. However, Lewinsky herself has re-evaluated the relationship, and not in a positive way. You can take Somerby's view, that all of it should remain private. That certainly prevents the need for the rest of us making a judgment about private behavior. On the other hand, the MeToo movement says that there are some private behaviors that have been tolerated for too long and should stop. And it's a bit misguided to complain about the publication of Clinton's affair once it had already happened, especially since it was Starr who made a point of investigating it and ultimately publicized the heck out of it.Delete
Liberals, Democrats, whatever, shouldn't resist re-examining things like the Clinton-Lewinsky business, even if it's painful. We can say, "you know, Clinton's behavior was inappropriate, and not just because he got caught."
Somerby's refusal to condemn Clinton's behavior could itself be viewed as hypocritical by conservatives in light of the MeToo movement.
Lewinsky claims that Clinton misused his position of power in their relationship. When you read her testimony, she flirted with him, manufactured reasons to see him, gave him her number, and expressed attraction to him -- all before he asked to kiss her. In other words, she threw herself at him.Delete
Later, he failed to defend her when it would have jeopardized himself. She put herself out there and was surprised and distressed when he didn't rescue her.
How many women having affairs with married men have been similarly distressed when they revealed the affair to the wife and the husband sided with his family against the mistress? She may have had some fantasy that Clinton would leave his wife and announce his love for her. Instead he cut off all contact with her, affirmed his love for his wife, and circled the wagons against Republican attack. He didn't slime her. He didn't defend her either. His defense of his presidency revealed the lack of feeling he held for Monica, in stark contrast to her own picture of the two of them as soulmates who perfectly understood each other. In other words, she behaved like an immature twenty-something and he behaved like most married men do.
She admitted all those things. I would say that it was Clinton who should have rebuffed those advances. He was older and her "boss." He should have exercised better judgment.Delete
Also, Lewinsky mentions this in her older Vanity Fair piece: "I was the Unstable Stalker (a phrase disseminated by the Clinton White House)"
They did attack her character. Maybe not Clinton himself, but the WH.
Most men are not taught to say "no" the way women are. He is older and that means he comes from the time period when it was men's role to approach and women's role to accept or reject. Lewinsky violated those norms and he didn't realize she was a honey trap set up by the Republicans to embarrass him. Lewinsky says the term "unstable stalker" was disseminated by the White House, but she (1) stalked him, (2) was unstable. So how is that attacking her character? She saved a dress with semen on it. Who does that except an obsessed person, a stalker? She initiated their phone calls, she followed him around. That is what stalking is. She talked about him to others. She didn't take no for an answer when he tried to let her down gently. She was an obsessed stalker based on the behavior she described in her deposition. That isn't the way a love relationship or affair happens. Today, when the characteristics of stalkers are more familiar to celebrities, it would be obvious that she was a stalker. Clinton is friendly and didn't recognize what she was. You can say he should have said no, but few guys in that time period would have, and prior presidents have gotten away with having sex with their groupies. Note that Clinton drew a line between fooling around and actual sex, which he did say no to.Delete
So in 1998 people thought that women had agency in their sexual affairs with men, and now they think they don't.Delete
I'll take 1998. It was a less nutty age.
Good grief, 8:59 and 10:02.Delete
I like Bill Clinton. I just think that 20 years on, liberals aren't required to defend him unquestioningly, as Somerby seems to want. We can say we find his behavior inappropriate, but still feel he was unfairly attacked and the impeachment was uncalled for. It's about balance.
"Beyond that, she wants to kiss the asp of power, which explains how she managed to position Uma Thurman as the "goddess" heroine of Harvey Weinstein's depredations—concerning which Thurman, a powerful Hollywood player, ran off and hid in the grass."ReplyDelete
When a woman is sexually assaulted, there is no law saying she must come forward, make a public statement or do anything about it. As it happens, Thurman's boyfriend told Weinstein that if he ever touched her again he would kill him. That is how these situations have been handled since time began.
When a woman does speak out, she is treated badly by supporters of the accused man. She is examined for her contribution (akin to slut shaming). She is actively harassed. Ultimately, there may be no indictment because acts that occur in privacy have no witnesses and assaulters are thus hard to convict. Women are not routinely believed, so coming forward may cause huge distress and damage to one's reputation without any good coming from it. In Weinstein's case, he also made threats.
I see nothing wrong when someone like Thurman doesn't come forward. She has a lot to lose and little to gain. When a woman does come forward it is legitimately an act of courage and calling her a feminist hero is warranted. Because she is doing something important to help other women, at personal cost.
Stormy Daniels has done something similar. She is revealing the scam that Trump and Cohen have run on women, pressuring them for sex and then coercing them into silence (money is a form of coercion). It is the same thing Weinstein did -- using his power to keep women quiet about his aggression. And Daniels has been predictably attacked herself, slut shamed, demeaned, portrayed as the predator herself (asking for it), and so on. Her actions challenging Trump's methods for buying his way out of sexual misbehavior are helpful to other women and are being pursued at personal cost to her reputation. That is why she is a feminist hero, just as Thurman would have been had she come forward, and just as the women who DID come forward are rightfully called.
Here is yet another example of Somerby's cluelessness about women. It is hard to believe that he has never had a woman explain this to him, yet he persists in siding with the predators. Stormy is a slut, but so is Thurman, who said nothing. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, because women need to be kept in their place. Quiet. Making no trouble. Stuffing no cash down their pants.
Didn't one of Stormy Daniels' old attorneys initiate the financial deal? Think so.Delete
Most of these money/payoff/settlement deals are started by the women.
And -- sorry to put it -- Daniels was also part of this "scam," if that's what it is.
Turns out Daniels' attorney was colluding with Cohen by steering her to take the NDA offer instead of selling her story to the tabloids. He did the same thing for the other woman who is suing (forgot her name). Sorry, but Daniels was approached. She wasn't trying to shake down Trump. He was trying to buy her off to keep her from talking about their "affair" during the election. She has offered to give Trump back the money, in exchange for release from the NDA.Delete
What are the odds that two women who don't know each other would have the same attorney dealing with Trump via Cohen on the same issue? You have to be very gullible to think Daniels engineered all this and not Cohen on behalf of Trump.
Thurman did stay in her place, quiet and stuff in cash down her pants. He's not saying that is what she should do. That's what she did.Delete
"A handful of representatives of the modern feminist movement did chime in, obliquely. Yet, instead of any meaningful engagement, we got this: January 30, 1998. Day Nine of the scandal. Cocktails at Le Bernardin, in Manhattan. In attendance: writers Erica Jong, Nancy Friday, Katie Roiphe, and Elizabeth Benedict; Saturday Night Live writer Patricia Marx; Marisa Bowe, the editor of Word, an online magazine; fashion designer Nicole Miller; former dominatrix Susan Shellogg; and their host, Le Bernardin co-owner Maguy Le Coze. The New York Observer brought this coven together to trade Interngate insights, to be recorded by Francine Prose..."ReplyDelete
Because Lewinsky says feminists chimed in obliquely, Somerby assumes that the list of writers that follows are the feminists Lewinsky was talking about. They aren't. Most write about sex but are not considered feminists. For example, Katie Roiphe is considered a nemesis to feminism. https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-katie-roiphe-became-feminisms-nemesis-in-chief
What these women all have in common is that they write about women's sexual fantasies. Lewinsky's point was that her affair was being sensationalized, not discussed by actual feminists. This was not an all-feminist colloquy, as Somerby claims.
He doesn't know who the feminists are because he doesn't follow women's issues. That's not his fault, but it is more evidence that he doesn't care much about women or their concerns.
My only disagreement is to note that it IS Somerby's fault. He publishes his musings to the world and makes moralizing judgments about whomever and whatever he pleases. He probably ought to inform himself about topics that he judges, to avoid embarrassment and misinforming his readers. He should also refrain from misreading the authors he quotes. Whether he does so out of stupidity or some ulterior motive is open to debate.Delete
Maureen Dowd is the same as she has always been, full of snideness, pettiness and bile. If she ran a small unknown blog it wouldn't be a big deal but she is employed by the so called greatest paper in the country. What's so disgusting is dowd and journalists like her will never be affected by who is in office, theyre rich, well connected, and powerful. And Bob is so right about the sucking up to power.Dowd will Coo with sympathy over the millionaire Uma but couldn't care less about all the poor men and women struggling in this country. I guess journalism isn't about talent at this point, just connections. And lets be real we all know how Dowd made those connections, it's just impolite to say it.ReplyDelete
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