Our chronology concerning Sinema's clothes!


Clarifying a technical bungle: We're still annoyed about the misfire regarding Monday's afternoon post—the post which didn't bark.

For the sake of future historians, let's clarify the chronology:

On Monday morning, the New York Times finally did it! They published the third installment in Associate Professor Cottom's endless series of endless essays about Kyrsten Sinema's endlessly meaningful wardrobe.

This time, though, the Times published Cottom's essay in their print editions—in the space where the paper's editorials used to appear, no less! 

We reacted as any sane person would. To read that report, click here.

On Tuesday morning, the Times published a letter in which Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen  complained about unnamed journalists who have allegedly been launching "sly biphobic attacks" against Sinema. 

Edmonds-Allen included a quotation from one such alleged attack; the author of offending statement went unnamed. Upon googling, the quotation tracked back to the second essay in the Cottom triptych. 

We swung into action again. To read that second report, click this.

Due to a technical bungle, our Monday report didn't get posted until Tuesday afternoon. Today, we clarify the chronology, and we offer this observation:

Certain journalists and certain news orgs seem to love discussing the endless deep meanings of disfavored politicians' clothes. Major orgs have been publishing such work for decades now. Cottom's essays about Sinema's wardrobe add a major dose of academic pomposity to this long-standing dumb idea.

Our news orgs seem to love presenting this dreck. Again and again and again and again, it's a dumb / very dumb idea.


  1. "We're still annoyed about the misfire regarding Monday's afternoon post—the post which didn't bark."

    Yes, dear Bob, that misfire was horrible, positively horrible. We were badly shaken, profoundly upset, and utterly disturbed by it.

  2. Somerby returns to the same themes and complaints, over and over. That means that we must resort to the same comments, because he keeps expressing the same misunderstandings.

    In this case, Somerby fails to understand that New York is going to talk about clothes and fashion because they are the center of that industry in the U.S. In Los Angeles, the major newspaper (The Los Angeles Times) discusses its home town industry, movies and TV. It prints news articles when a movie star buys or sells a house. It isn't because those who live in LA are more star struck than anyone else, but because so many people who live there work in the industry in some way and are affected personally by what happens. In Boston, the local industry is higher education, so college news is reported more than elsewhere (there are more than 27 of them in Boston and students triple the city's population each Fall). Other areas of the country have similar differences in emphasis on relevant types of news. In DC, it is the doings of politicians, including where they eat and what they wear, much as the stars are tracked in LA.

    It is fine that Somerby doesn't know this, since he lives in Baltimore, not New York City, but his inability to put himself in the place of other people and recognize their interests and needs is problematic, especially since he was once a teacher. Was he similarly unempathetic then?

    And then there is his usual carping about NY Times coverage of topics that appeal to women, but not to him. Without ever realizing that women might feel similarly about the extensive sports coverage in nearly every newspaper. And when has Somerby ever complained about the coverage of wall street and finance, another major NY industry? Perhaps it is because fashion is consumed by women that Somerby objects to it so strongly, and not simply the coverage itself.

    I suspect that the attack on Gore for his clothing makes Somerby anxious because it seems like a cloaked attack on Gore's masculinity to give any attention at all to his suits, and perhaps it upsets Somerby even more to realize that he and Gore were once roomies. So any solicitation by Gore of help with his image might reflect on Somerby's own manhood during a time when it was not OK to be gay. Somerby's defense of Gore from a media that attacked his clothing choices might actually be self-defense, as someone who once shared quarters with a presidential candidate just a tad unsure of his gender presentation.

    No wonder Somerby's response always seems like such an overreaction.

  3. "For the sake of future historians, let's clarify the chronology"

    Well, Somerby has now straightened out the chronology, for those who were confused, but he hasn't offered any apology. Too much to ask, I guess.

    Who else never apologizes? Trump. And all the rest of his supporters. Maybe Cecelia can explain why it is against the rules for any conservative to ever apologize about anything.

    1. He never fixes his errors either. He frequently leaves he wrong date on an essay, labeling it Monday when it appears on Tuesday. This is obviously an easy error to make, by Somerby never goes back and fixes that, even though he must discover the mistake at some point.

      Given that he so often focuses on the small mistakes made by reporters and he has ranted against Maddow for her false-humble apologies for tiny things, why is he so unwilling to fix his own errors when they are pointed out? Would it imply that he too is human or can't he be bothered?

  4. "Cottom's essays about Sinema's wardrobe add a major dose of academic pomposity to this long-standing dumb idea."

    What Somerby terms "pomposity," others might call seriousness.

  5. "Certain journalists and certain news orgs seem to love discussing the endless deep meanings of disfavored politicians' clothes. Major orgs have been publishing such work for decades now. Cottom's essays about Sinema's wardrobe add a major dose of academic pomposity to this long-standing dumb idea."

    There is a subfield in social psychology that focuses on the psychology of dress, clothing and fashion. It encompasses the attributions made about people based on their self-presentation and the use of clothing to construct a sense of self. In psychoanalysis, there is also a focus on the creative use of dress as a form of artistic expression. These are legitimate studies with great importance because dress affects how each of us is perceived by others, our inclusion or exclusion from groups, and our sense of who we are. It doesn't get more important than that. Has Somerby never thought about the utilitarian aspects of a business suit, or why police wear uniforms?

    To dismiss this topic as dreck is about as ignorant as it gets. To believe Somerby, Gore's failure to undertand the importance of dress is why he lost an election. Somerby thinks that if the press never talked about his clothes, he might have won, but that implies that no voter ever looked at him and was affected by his clothing. Either the clothes matter, in which case the press did Gore in, or the clothes are trivial and the press was being frivolous in talking about them, in which case the public would ignore Gore's outfits and the press would have no impact on his election. It cannot be both, but Somerby apparently doesn't see the contradiction inherent in his charges.

    I think clothes are very important. So do most politicians, who loosen their ties and roll up their sleeves when meeting with working class voters but dress to the teeth when meeting donors. Why does Somerby think Trump wears that stupid extra-long tie, if clothes don't matter? Right, to counter-act the rumors about his extra small hands.

  6. You know what changes outcomes of elections? Big news stories. Leaks. Hard evidence of corruption. In a perfect world we would have a press doing its job. Bob, correctly in this case, argues the press only wants to publish drivel and lets the outcomes be decided by idiots.

    What Bob is criticizing and you're defending here is intellectual masturbation. Hey everyone does it, and it might reduce stress levels but isn't news.

    1. Has there been any coverage of the January 6 insurrection? Answer: of course. That’s a pretty big story. You won’t hear about it from Bob.

      And what about all those revelations of corruption by Trump, Stone, Flynn, etc? Remember Bob’s reaction? “We liberals always want to put The Others in jail.”

      Somerby has no interest in the press “doing its job.” He’s the one focusing on the “drivel.”

    2. In hot climates clothes are required in order to protect the body from external heat.

    3. 4:53 you and Bob are wrong. LGBTQ groups and activists are angry, frustrated, and feel betrayed by Sinema, so the pinkwashing claim is apt.

    4. Furthermore, your notions about electoral politics are not borne out by reality. Corruption only works on Dems, Repubs do not care. Changing election outcomes is accomplished by motivating voters, offering them material improvements to their lives, and demonstrating how the opposition impedes progress.

    5. Here’s a non-clothing related look at how some of Sinema’s voters feel dismayed and betrayed:

    6. You can concentrate the history of all mankind into the evolution of the flax, cotton, and wool fibers into clothing. Somerby has bowdlerized these attributions throughout his blog posts by translating the historic development of man into its historic values and scientific equivalencies. It is not the wearing of clothes which tells so sadly upon them, but the manner in which they are cared for. A few garments nicely made, well-fitted and properly cared for are far preferable to twice the number of inferior quality and make.

      Somerby is an asshole.

  7. Replies
    1. The moon is just about due for an eclipse.


  8. “the endless deep meanings of disfavored politicians' clothes.”

    Disfavored? I heard she was a nutcase:
    “we have to rely on an apparent nutcase like Sinema to fashion a tie in the Senate.”


    What makes her a nutcase? Who knows?

    I would say that Sinema makes a show of her outfits:

    “For the record, the ring to which Dowd refers actually bore the words, "F*CK OFF." And yes, Sinema  posted a photo of herself wearing that ring, along with the rest of the outfit Dowd describes.”


    Perhaps her clothing is worthy of some analysis. Somerby seems to think so, or so it would seem.

    And I wonder if there has been any other non-clothing-related coverage of Sinema?

    Yes. Yes, there has. Quite a bit actually. Where is the coverage of that here?




  9. Sinema is hot. I can understand why people of both genders might want to have sex with her.

    1. David,
      Yes, but leaving aside your deep intellectual look into her economic ideology, how do you feel about her?

    2. Sinema is very attractive and fit. She’s a triathlete.

      I think her outfits don’t do her justice. I’ve never seen her wear anything I’d describe as “edgy”, creative, or fresh. Her attire is generally either silly or frumpy.

      She needs glasses in a softer color and a younger hair style.

    3. Now make-over Al Gore...

    4. Get rid of the cowboy boots and he’s good.

  10. Somerby's talk of our society sliding into the sea, ending in a whimper, on the verge of destruction, echoes the white supremacist sense that it is all ending (evoking Wilfred Owen). Like the alt-right, Somerby sees the danger in the behavior of the left, not the right. He refuses to censure any of the bad behavior by folks like Gosar, like the republicans in the senate and house. In this, he both motivates and approves of the rising political violence on the right, when he should be decrying that, not blaming liberals for failure to be nice to the right.

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