Wednesday, August 10, 2011

NoW Defends Bachmann

... and Enigma is very confused. So confused, in fact, that he's taken to referring to himself in the third person until he can figure it out.

Worth noting is that he's not holding his breath.

I first stumbled across the article on the Washington Post, which I know is a conservative site. I didn't believe it. The whole thing sounded so ridiculous that I thought it was just another conservative half-truth spun in the form of a full life. So I dug. I had to go through a whole page of Google searches before I found the Alternet link - for those who don't know, Alternet is what the media would look like if it truly had a liberal bias. When I saw it on there, I was floored. I just didn't understand.

“It’s sexist,” NOW president Terry O’Neill told TheDC. “Casting her in that expression and then adding ‘The Queen of Rage’ I think [it is]. Gloria Steinem has a very simple test: If this were done to a man or would it ever be done to a man – has it ever been done to a man? Surely this has never been done to a man.”
 “The main reason why we would stand up for Michele Bachmann and defend her against these kind of misogynistic attacks is we want women to run for office. Of course my job is to defeat Michele Bachmann and I intend to do so. But good women will not run for office if Newsweek magazine can do this to such a prominent politician and get away with it.”

This is the cover in question:

I'll grant it's not the most flattering thing in the world to look like you're about to get run over by a 18 wheeler on the cover of Newsweek magazine. Is it sexist, though? No. Newsweek has a history of ugly covers. They do it to most politicians and people. It just tells me that Newsweek needs a new photographer.

Case in Point
Now, on the point of the "Queen of Rage" title she's been bequeathed.  Bachmann is the current darling for the Tea Party. Aside from "stupid as all hell", the Teabirchers can also be described as "mad as all hell." They'll admit it themselves - they're mad as all hell about this, and that, and any other thing. There's a lot of latent rage at those gatherings; usually it's directed towards harmless targets like Blacks, liberals, immigrants, aliens and the like. You know, targets where, if say some loon got out there with a gun and started opening fire, nobody of any importance would be hurt. Now, Bachmann has a lot of hold on the Teabircher movement. While I won't say she controls them all, I will say that she controls a good hunk of them. And that control allows her to channel that latent rage in the crowd - any good orator can do that, and Bachmann, for all her faults is a good orator - and direct it. While "Queen" is overstating, there's a lot of rage there that she controls.

It's never been done to a man? This is demagoguery. It happens to everyone in office. While I've never seen a man entitled "the King of Rage", no, I've seen plenty of stupid covers with even more stupid headers on there (pick any general cover with Bush on it - that man just looks like an idiot.) It is a bit of a low blow. But it happens all the time, to everyone running for office.*

My major concern is that she goes on to say that:

“Who has ever called a man ‘The King of Rage?’ Basically what Newsweek magazine – and this is important, what Newsweek magazine, not a blog, Newsweek magazine – what they are saying of a woman who is a serious contender for President of the United States of America…They are basically casting her as a nut job,” O’Neill said. “The ‘Queen of Rage’ is something you apply to wrestlers or somebody who is crazy. [...]"
But Bachmann is a whack-job.

This woman is as irrational as they make them anymore. She's as removed from any experience shared by our objective reality as I've ever seen a person before. She lives on a different planet. She promotes a 6,000 year old universe. She believes in a "literal" interpretation of the Bible; a exegesis that I've taken to town and ripped apart numerous times - and that others, with more authority than I, have taken apart. She believes slaves were better off under their slave owners, and signed a set of vows to prove it. And this is before we get into the things she's said.

This woman is not rational. So what does this mean - we're not allowed to call her what she is anymore (irrational)? We have to couch the terms, and play with kid gloves on because she's a woman, and we want other women running for office (also implied by that article: women won't run for office if they know they'll get criticized. I personally find that more offensive - suggesting that women don't have what it takes to be criticized and that they're fragile flowers who deserve special treatment - than calling Bachmann what she is: a total whackjob)? We can no longer imply, or outright say, she's irrational or detached from reality? What's this mean - we can only call men running for office outrageously unstable? In short, we can't tell the damn truth?

Nuh uh. Not happening. She's too damn dangerous to play with the kid gloves on.

I want to see more women running for office. I'd love to be able to say I voted in the first election where a woman became the POTUS. Other nations have done it, so it's high time the U.S. has done it, too.

But I don't want her in there. She's a modern day Nehemiah Scudder. And it's not because she's a woman. It's because she's terrifying. What NoW is doing is this: they're falling into a conservative trap. I've said before that conservatives are gutless cowards who pony up women and hide behind them, accusing liberals of misogyny when we call them on their BS, or attack their positions (or even who they are if they don't have any solid positions). NoW is basically falling for that conservative canard. And there are certain feminists who do slip into that trap as well. Everyone remembers the criticism of Evangelical Christianity in The Handmaid's Tale, but very few caught the Atwood's criticism of the type of feminists who would side with the Evangelicals - a situation of where you're so far left you've looped around and come back on the right.

I hope NoW isn't taking that path. They're probably not - but doing stuff like this scares me.

* I only realized on rereading how much this sounds like the justification for bullying. I'll have to step back and see what's going on here on that front; I don't think demagoguery is the same as bullying, though. I'll just need to save it for another post when I can get my thoughts together on the topic.

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