Gender Issues


« May 2008 »

Memo to Alex Castellanos, Maureen Dowd, and Penn Jillette: YOU ARE DUMB.

Bear with me here. We're going to have to dive deep, deep, deep into the rabbit hole on this one. And why is that? Because motherfuckers refuse to understand context. Which means I'm going to have to provide context. And there's a lot of context. Context that explains how Alex Castellanos can be a sexist douchebag for saying something that, stripped of context, is actually correct. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"And some women, by the way, are named that and it's accurate." - The "that" he's referring to is "bitch". Or possibly "white bitch". You see what I mean about context? You see, CNN was discussing whether Hillary Clinton has faced sexism during her run for president. Which is just fucking stupid. Of course she has. She's a woman. Naomi Wolf could write an entire book about what Clinton's faced from Chris Matthews alone. You can argue the relative importance of the sexism, but debating its existence is the kind of oversimplified bullshit cable news exists to peddle.

Where Castellanos is technically correct is that calling a woman a bitch is not automatically, by definition, sexist. I know, because coincidentally, I did it yesterday. Sexism is when you treat a woman worse* than you would treat a man in the same situation. I call stupid women nasty names, I call stupid men nasty names, and I do it because they're stupid. Whereas Castellano lost the moral high ground, because he went on cable news and defended calling women bitches on the grounds that, hey, some women are just bitches.

That defense has never, ever been proffered for a man. It never happens. I watch as little cable news as I can get away with, but believe me, if it had happened, I'd have heard about it. Ergo, it's sexist. I mean, it's not surprising that one of John McCain's advisers would take the opportunity to reinforce the Hillary-bitch connection, but it's still sexist assholery.

On top of that, they were discussing the "white bitch" comment because Maureen Dowd, of all people, referenced it back in February in a column that managed the impressive feat of passive-aggressively attacking Clinton by defending her first. By mentioning this column, CNN instantly violated two cardinal rules of journalism. First, never talk about anything Maureen Dowd says, because she's stupid and tries to pretend she's clever. And second, never talk about a three-month-old Maureen Dowd column, because those things have a shelf-life shorter than the time it takes to read one.

So how do we get from Maureen Dowd to "white bitch" in a way that avoids the obvious joke? Well, as her main piece of evidence that yes, indeed, Hillary Clinton endured sexism, she provided... a Penn Jillette joke. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Obama is just creaming Hillary. You know, all these primaries, you know. And Hillary says it’s not fair, because they’re being held in February, and February is Black History Month. And unfortunately for Hillary, there’s no White Bitch Month."

Now, I hate to pick on Penn Jillette. Despite his crazy libertarianism, he's a force for good when it comes to debunking mysticism and championing reason. But this is an awful, awful joke, mainly because there -is- a Women's History Month. In March. Which is right after February. So there's no reason for the joke's strawclinton to have said that. The joke's premise is fatally flawed.

But on the big list of problems Hillary's had with sexism, a shitty sexist joke from a fucking Ron Paul supporter, from Vegas, in a state she won, is not the shining example that makes your case iron-clad. So, working back up the chain, we've got Penn Jillette, wrong for making a shitty, sexist joke. Maureen Dowd, wrong for putting Penn Jillette's awful joke on display, and Alex Castellanos, for defending Penn's joke like it was a serious piece of accurate political analysis. There. Now everyone, crawl back in your fucking holes and try not to make me talk about shit like this again.

*For semantic purposes, "worse" encompasses almost the full range of "different".

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