Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Who Knew the Obama era would bring back the 50's.............the 1850's that is.

by Janet Crain

Those good ol' days of frat boy misogyny which followed the well heeled dogs scions of yesteryear throughout their privileged
pampered lives are alive and well in some quarters.

It was a time when any woman who worked for a living was fair game for their lust. Maids, waitresses, nurses, nannies, flight attendants, secretaries and store clerks were imagined to be "slutty". Just longing to jump in the sack with them. How these men must miss those days. Some like David Letterman are still stuck in the 50's.

Actually the term "slut" first meant kitchen slut, a lowly poorly paid kitchen worker in Merry Old England. It's obvious society associated poorly paid working women with promiscuity then as some do now.

Send CBS a message to dump him and his phony insincere apologies.


Did David Letterman get a free pass?

If there was any question that a stubborn strain of old-school sexism persists in Obama's America, one has only to look at certain leaders of what the right wing loves to call the "liberal media" but which is sounding and acting, recently, more like the frat-house media. There, like a virus hiding in the body before, perhaps, staging a comeback, misogyny has found a place to lurk almost undetected, at least by the usually sharp eyes of progressive feminists.

"Slutty flight attendant" is not just a sexual put-down; it's a socioeconomic one.

Examine the symptoms of this infection, beginning with David Letterman's comments (widely noted but insufficiently analyzed) about Sarah Palin "buying makeup at Bloomingdale's to update her slutty flight attendant look," as well as his joke about Palin's teenage daughter: "Sarah Palin went to a Yankees Game yesterday … during the seventh inning stretch, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez." (Letterman insists he was talking about her 18-year-old daughter, Bristol, who actually had been, well, knocked up, not her 14-year-old, Willow, the daughter who attended the game.) A week before these remarks aired, there was an uglier outbreak of the contagion in the pages of Playboy -- never a bastion of egalitarian forward thinking, but still -- where writer Guy Cimbalo published a list of 10 conservative women he'd like to "hate f**k," a term that various observers interpreted as rough sex, sex tinged by rage, or rape. (Gabe Winant wrote for Broadsheet about the "Hate F**k" story, which has since been yanked by Playboy.) Worse than the violence of the general sentiment was the graphic specificity of the "Hate F**k Rating" appended to each woman -- a list that included Michelle Malkin, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Dana Perino and Laura Ingraham. On Hasslebeck: "You'd be better served sucking off Regis Philbin." On Malkin: "Worse than f**king Eva Braun."

Both cases were met with a tepid response from the left. Though Letterman apologized on Wednesday’s show (see video below), his tone was mock-serious, and his audience chuckled along.

Imagine if, say, Michelle Obama, or Rachel Maddow, or Nancy Pelosi became the target of similar invective. The outcry from the left would be deafening. Shouldn’t liberals exhibit the same sort of decorous treatment we demand for ourselves? Sexist comments like Letterman’s and Cimbalo’s also evoke a troublingly insular, clubhouse atmosphere in lieu of an inclusive political party. What's more, the gender-based stereotypes they conjure are as stale and ignorant as any voiced by the old Neanderthal right: Pretty women are de facto stupid, sexually promiscuous and low-class. Indeed, it's the latter slight that has been least remarked upon and is, perhaps, the most disturbing. “Slutty flight attendant” is not just a sexual put-down; it's a socioeconomic one. Likewise, when Cimbalo says, of right-wing blogger Pamela Geller, "Even a Silkwood shower won't get rid of the stench of Fascist divorcee and Elizabeth Arden's Red Door," the classist sentiment is unmistakable. It's a combination of gutter misogyny and snobbery, a return to a 1950s kind of insult. This is like saying a woman has a "reputation," that she's "that kind of girl," one from "the wrong side of the tracks." Cimbalo seems to be holding his nose not at the smell of some supposedly déclassé perfume but at the stench of working for a living, of being middle-class or having middle-class taste.

Cont. here:



© Janet Crain

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