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October 05, 2008

Trash Talk

By: Bernard Chazelle

Don't get me wrong. I am as anti-Palin as the next moose in Alaska, but what Senator Clinton's and Governor Palin's candidacies have revealed is that sexism in America is off the charts. And liberals are, as usual, no better. Chris Matthews and Maureen Dowd might well be the two most sexist liberal journalists in the MSM, but Frank Rich is trying to catch up. After gushing over her fortitude, confidence, and ambition, Rich summarizes Palin's greatest asset:

She has more testosterone than anyone else at the top of her party. McCain and his surrogates are forever blaming their travails on others, wailing about supposed sexist and journalistic biases around the clock.

Yeah, what sexism? Where? After all, isn't there a scientifically proven equivalence between courage, confidence, ambition and a certain male hormone?

Funny that the most courageous humans I've met in my life have been disproportionately female, and I don't think that was because of any testosterone.

Bernard Chazelle

Posted at October 5, 2008 07:43 PM
Chris Matthews and Maureen Dowd might well be the two most sexist liberal journalists in the MSM, but Frank Rich is trying to catch up.

Now hold on just a gosh-darned minute! Frank Rich might be a liberal journalist, but Dowd is hardly a liberal, and Matthews is neither liberal nor a journalist.

Posted by: Ken Clarkson at October 5, 2008 09:03 PM

On the other hand... I think Palin is manna from heaven. A delight, though I suppose that makes me sexist as well.

Posted by: Kvatch at October 5, 2008 09:12 PM
Yeah, what sexism? Where? After all, isn't there a scientifically proven equivalence between courage, confidence, ambition and a certain male hormone?

I do not claim to be an expert but to my knowledge, "more testosterone" makes a person of male gender more prone to violence and aggressive behaviour. Need to dominate is certainly proven. I did not observe THAT about palin. May be Mr Rich did as that is HIS TRADE!

And I certainly agree that women do not need any extra testosterone to be brave and courageous. They have courage of their convictions and the will power to follow through on them. Fine examples are Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, Marian Anderson, to name a few.

But I would be dishonest if I did not add, Palin is a great source of entertainment.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at October 5, 2008 09:55 PM

I must add, though she is a source of entertainment on SNL, claiming that she is a maverick and will go her own way, is very dangerous, in reality. And by no stretch of imagination, would put her in the same category as the other ladies I mentioned.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at October 5, 2008 10:38 PM

Sarah Palin is a TAXPAYER and a qualifying aged citizen. I wish her good luck. Mrs. Palin may or may not be a wise and informed candidate yet no worse or better than the others. LOOK out the window on AMERICA today, that's ALL ya get, folks. LOOK at Congress, one sees nothing exceptional there other than the level of blatant open coruption. There IS NO "lesser of two evils". I'm saying both parties are very well matched in that department. I concider the Republican's choice of Palin as the best damn thing they could do.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 6, 2008 03:27 AM

Don't forget the comments about how Hillary Clinton's balls are so big she can't wear a miniskirt.

Palin running as a candidate for vice president reminds me of Zaphod Bebblebrox in the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". The galactic president's main job is to distract and entertain the inhabitants, so they won't notice who is really pulling the strings.

Posted by: weasel_word at October 6, 2008 07:41 AM

Bernard, who are you arguing with? ATR is read primarily by liberals - are there liberals claiming the media is not sexist?

Posted by: dcs at October 6, 2008 09:54 AM

>> are there liberals claiming the media is not sexist?

yes. (read post)

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at October 6, 2008 10:01 AM

Ok. Re-read the post, post-coffee I stopped parsing it too narrowly. Disproving one's own point in the previous sentence would be sad for a high school newspaper columnist, let alone the Times. There is sexism in the media, certainly, as there is sexism throughout society, and Rich can do better than this to make his point.

Please don't claim Dowd and Matthews as liberals though. Matthews affiliation is to charisma and power - he'll swoon over Reagan as much as anyone from the National Review. Dowd is a satirist specializing in personal attacks and related trivia. She is no more progressive (or insightful) than Jay Leno.

Posted by: dcs at October 6, 2008 10:52 AM

Mike Meyer:I respect you for your fairness towards Palin and everything else you have written. Whatever her shortcomings, she is a gutsy lady. However, her belief in "Creationism" which she would want to impose on the country is very disturbing and scary. Her insistence on teaching "Abstinence" exclusively without adequate sex education at appropriate age would be devastating, specially for the poor and minorities as they would not be able to have access to materials to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancies ( remember Ronald Raegan cut off aid to Planned Parenthood? ). And even the suggestion that she may want to criminalise abortion in case of rape or incest is unthinkable.

I agree with you, there is NOTHING TO CHOOSE really. Both parties are equally disappointing in different ways. BUT, I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO WISH Sarah Palin 'Good Luck" as far as becoming VP is concerned. Yes, I will wish her good luck in continuing to take care of her state of Alaska.

And why would anyone think (alleged or real) liberal media is not capable of being sexist? Call me naive or ignorant but I did not know the meaning of MILF till it was used in relation to Palin. I had to google that to find out the meaning. I saw that being used on many so called liberal websites. Is that sexist ( and demeaning)?

Posted by: Rupa Shah at October 6, 2008 11:34 AM

empty, if you refer to creationism (the rest seems irrelevant) she talks exactly like a creationist in the first quote you linked to. I grant that she might not have pushed for the destruction of science education.

Posted by: hf at October 6, 2008 12:53 PM

Rupa Shah: I avoid using ANY religious test in examining candidates. If I say I promote separation of church and state, then WHY would I care to hear of a candidates religious belief? Since my local school system can BARELY teach reading and writing and settle for doseing the kids with ritlin and prozac instead of education, then I'll not fear Palin making ANY significant change in teaching criteria.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 6, 2008 01:24 PM

empty: I did check the article and she does support teaching ceationism.

""Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both. And you know, I say this too as the daughter of a science teacher. Growing up with being so privileged and blessed to be given a lot of information on, on both sides of the subject -- creationism and evolution. It's been a healthy foundation for me. But don't be afraid of information and let kids debate both sides."

But I thought, "creationism" is related to religion and does one want religion injected in public school education? ( She has a right to believe in it but can not expect that others agree with her belief!).

and as the following article continues after quoting her,

Now this is disingenuous at best. Education is not about having "kids debate both sides," since most kids would probably conclude that the earth is flat and at the center of the universe (after all, the sensorial evidence is overwhelming in favor of the flat-earth, Ptolemaic system). Education is, at its core, about two things: a) We want our students to have access to the best of what humanity has produced, be that in science, philosophy, literature, economics or what have you. b) We want to provide students with the necessary tools to engage in critical thinking and serious analysis of whatever claim comes under their scrutiny.

For those of us who will be not be affected if it is imposed, it may be irrelevant but for the kids in school, they will be affected very negatively.

hf: (the rest seems irrelevant):
I do not know if by "the rest" you meant medical part of what I wrote. As a medical professional, I have seen devastating effects on people engaging in unsafe behaviour and it is very relevant, at least to us, who have dealt with that.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at October 6, 2008 01:37 PM

I was talking to empty.

Posted by: hf at October 6, 2008 01:43 PM

hp: My apology.

Mike Meyer: You are my "Constitution" consultant and I really feel bad that your local school system is so bad, you would not mind church and state getting mixed, a real sorry state of affairs as far as public school system is concerned.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at October 6, 2008 01:52 PM

it is amazing all this horror expressed about seccessionist !
if the UNITED STATES came about by UNION of individual states are those people not emtitled to separate if they choose so ?
just saying !
a footnote civil war ( at least to Lincon ) was much much later about slavery . some reading of actual history may do some good . plus not to mention wonders of decentralization .

Posted by: badri at October 6, 2008 01:58 PM

badri: History shows the Federal Government will not tolerate seccission and WILL use force of arms to decide the matter.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 6, 2008 10:13 PM

What's this "teach both" business? There are more than two myths about creation, besides the scientific evolution theories backed by evidence.

I say go ahead, debate creationism myths in school. In Native American creation myths, Coyote appears as the Creator himself; but he may at the same time be the messenger, the culture hero, the trickster, the fool. He has also the ability of the transformer: in some stories he is a handsome young man; in others he is an animal; yet others present him as just a power, a sacred one. What was coyote? That is the question to be debated.

But that's just for fun. We still have science, thank heavens. It wouldn't be right to put geologists, for one example, out of a job because of a disbelief in science, particularly when they have so much visible evidence on their side, particularly in the West.

Posted by: Don Bacon at October 7, 2008 12:21 AM

There are sexists in the media. Palin is incompetent. Sexists in the media say Palin is incompetent. Sexist strategists outside the media say criticising Palin is sexist. Worse, they say that holding her to the same standard as a man is sexist.

Or do you think women should be held to a different standard, Bernard?

Ideally, both men and women would be held to a different standard by the media. Fact is, they're not. And calling all criticism of Palin sexism simply assists those who'd like to distract attention from her actual record. I'm really not sure what point you're trying to make here. That the media should be less sexist? If so, why bring Palin into it?

Posted by: me at October 7, 2008 06:19 AM

Rupa, here is what you said

However, her belief in "Creationism" which she would want to impose on the country

Here is how her (amended) statement reads:

I don't think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn't have to be part of the curriculum.

I really don't see a drive to impose her belief here. Yes her original statement is a bit different but even there it is more just the standard ignorant bs that most politicians mouth. I really cannot see anything nefarious in the statement.

hf: I would not be surprised if she is a creationist. As long as you grant me that "she might not have pushed for the destruction of science education" I am a happy unit. Yes, it takes very little to make me happy.

Posted by: empty at October 7, 2008 09:23 PM

I'm with Ken Clarkson... to call either Maureen Dowd or Chris Matthews "liberals" is to render the term utterly meaningless.

Hell, I remember joking to my better half, about nine months ago, that Matthews should change the name of his show from "Hardball" to "Giuliani Campaign Headquarters."

"Liberals" indeed. Take it back, Mr. Chazelle.

Posted by: conumbdrum at October 8, 2008 08:23 AM


her amended statement--"I don't think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn't have to be part of the curriculum".

As it is, due to shortage of teachers and overcrowding in the classrooms, they do not have enough time to teach what is part of curriculum i.e. reading and writing, why should precious time be wasted in debating a topic which is NOT part of the curriculum and also illegal. Also, should "standard ignorant BS" be accepted from someone running for VP?
Some of my family members think, 'cretionism' is totally illogical and do not wish their children to be exposed to it, specially not in their public schools. If they have to know about it, they should hear it from their parents. And I am sure there are parents all over the country who feel the same way.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at October 8, 2008 10:45 AM
Also, should "standard ignorant BS" be accepted from someone running for VP?

Let's see
President Ronald Reagan (two terms): Pollution is caused by trees.
President George W. Bush (two terms): End-times, they are a coming, and a healthy dose of creationism.

I am sure we can agree on what "should" be accepted. What "is" accepted however is totally different. Obama and Biden if asked would say of course they "believe" in evolution, but I would not be surprised if their level of ignorance about scientific matters was at about the same level as Palin. Which is not what I would want to accept but given that they really will have much less of an effect on scientific education than on our economic well being and the physical well being of whoever we decided to bomb next, their scientific ignorance is of secondary concern.

And if your family members do not wish their children to be exposed to creationism in school they have little to fear from this election - the curriculum in schools is influenced a hell of a lot more by local concerns than federal officials. Encourage them to participate in local school board activities and they will have more impact than Sarah Palin on their school curriculum regardless of who gets elected.

Posted by: empty at October 8, 2008 01:03 PM

empty: As far as my family member is concerned, without bragging, she has started a 'science newletter' for the kids in the school, where one did not exist and she organises a science fair once a year( all voluntarily).
If you are mocking GWB's "healthy dose of creationism", how can you accept Palin's?
And how can a candidate's scientific ignorance be of secondary concern in 21st century when we are facing Environmental catastrophe ( Palin is not sure if it is man made!), we need Germ cell research to find treatment for some incurable diseases ( again, Palin would be against it, I presume, as that question has never been put to her ) etc.
I do not want to bring up "bombing" as I do not trust either ticket in terms of what they will do. And I am against any war, period. And that would be another discussion.
In any case, this post was about "Sexism" and have digressed too much and would like to get it back on track.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at October 8, 2008 02:05 PM

Rupa Shah: That's all U get here, Sugar, Its AMERICA and that's all U get. (digby seems pretty straight forward though)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 8, 2008 09:32 PM

Mike Meyer: Your are right. No one wants to speak or hear the BITTER TRUTH.
Read Digby's post today. Shocking but true.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at October 8, 2008 10:11 PM

Ah, I see we've got the whole "critics of anti-Palin sexism are the REAL sexists!" meme cropping up already. Of course Palin is incompetent. But that's not what Frank Rich said. Ditto for Dowd and Matthews.

As for the claim that Dowd and Matthews aren't really liberals...well, no, they're not the platonic ideal of liberalism. But they identify with liberals and, most crucially, liberals have allowed them to do so for years. It's only recently that Maureen Dowd has gotten any liberal criticism outside some fringe corners of the blogosphere. Liberal elites used to LOVE her.

Posted by: LadyVetinari at October 10, 2008 03:45 PM