Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Whores, running dogs, and Anglachel

Anglachel is writing again, about the Jerry Brown campaign’s consideration of the word “whore” to refer to Meg Whitman. Her initial post is here; follow-up here.

As always, I find her writing extremely interesting, on point, and well thought out within her coherent world view. Since I do not entirely share that world view (although I also do not entirely dismiss it), I don’t necessarily find her conclusions compelling; I do, however, find her to be indispensable reading.

Her initial post is about the incident itself and what it says about how slurs of this sort are used to keep women in line. I’m almost reluctant to quote any of it since I think it should be read in its entirety but her conclusion echoes so perfectly what I said to my husband that I can’t resist (emphasis mine):

Back to the gubernatorial campaign. An apology for calling a woman a whore for having engaged in ordinary campaign bargaining misses the mark. An apology is simply "Ooops, our bad. We'll hang up the phone next time. Sorry you feel offended. (snicker)". It is words. The only reassuring action would have been to hear, as the next element in the phone conversation, a roar of disgust that someone attached to the campaign would dare utter that suggestion.

Anglachel’s second post is about the reaction she’s seeing to both the incident and the outrage over it and is even more worth reading than her first post. She lays out more strongly her claim that Whitman was behaving exactly as every other (male) candidate does; that is, there as nothing particularly “whorish” about her behavior even if you do not consider it in the sexual sense. She also has high praise for Bill Clinton’s on-key campaigning in California. Like Anglachel’s first post, this one should be read in its entirety but an especially notable quote from it is:

... the larger failure of the Democrats to take seriously the disaffection of large blocks of Democratic constituencies after the horrific slash-and-burn primaries of 2008. In particular, the deliberate deployment of misogyny opened wounds that have not healed for many of us who previously and strongly identified as Democrats and who now are not willing to give candidates, especially male candidates, much leeway in how they and their campaigns deploy gender-based appeals and attacks.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure she’s right about this. Brown may have stepped into a political problem he doesn’t understand but I am not convinced that it is going to keep those who are - or who claim to be or who should be - concerned about misogyny from voting for him. After all, Barack Obama’s viciously misogynistic campaign against Hillary Clinton and even more viciously misogynistic campaign against Sarah Palin did not keep him from being elected President with 56% of women voting for him versus 43% voting Republican.

I find Anglachel’s discussion of how this incident appears to Hispanic voters and to working-class Catholic voters in general far more believable. It lends support to the idea that when it comes to social values (what Anglachel calls “cultural signifiers”), Republicans are more in line not just with working-class non-Hispanic white voters but with Hispanic voters as well. (If the Democrats succeed in awarding American citizenship to the large number of Hispanic illegal aliens in this country, they may find that they have created a massive pool of votes not for themselves but for their opponents.)

Finally, I feel compelled to repeat what I’ve said before about Anglachel:

If you want to know how an intelligent liberal (I do not believe she would say “progressive”) with an integrated view of the world and a deep respect for those who bitterly cling to their guns and religion thinks, this is a must-read. If someone like her was running the Democratic Party the Republicans might actually be dead in the water.



Although I’m not sure Anglachel is right about how big a problem Democratic Party misogyny will be for voters - even women voters - in California, she is absolutely correct in tying the Brown campaign slur to the 2008 campaigns. I wrote about this in my first post about Fourth Wave Feminism. Even if you don’t read my post, you should read the referenced Little Miss Attila post on American Sharia.

NOW endorsed Jerry Brown in the California governor’s race the day after the Whitman-whore episode blew up. Anglachel doesn’t discuss that; perhaps, like me, she realizes NOW destroyed any claim it had to represent women or to be called a feminist organization during the 2008 campaigns and therefore what NOW does in these situations is irrelevant.

When I think about Institutional Feminists and how willing - even eager - they are to do the bidding of their male Democratic masters, I am reminded of that wonderfully descriptive but sadly now little-used term: running dogs.

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