Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Shoulder Padding

You cannot ignore history. History has shown that in general it has been the men who have done the rapin’ and the robbin’ and the killin’ and the war mongering for the last 2000 years. It has been the men who have done the pillaging and the beheading and the subjugating of whole races into slavery. It has been the men who have done the law makin and the money makin’ and most of the mischief makin’. So, if the world isn’t quite what you had in mind, you have only yourselves to thank.

Duel of Historical Guilts
Published: March 5, 2008

Maureen Dowd, writing for that rag the New York Times blames credits Hillary Clinton's latest primary victories on women that use pads. Shoulder pads, that is. Dowd goes all Friedman in trying to evoke a movement with a catch phrase:
Some women in their 30s, 40s and early-50s who favor Barack Obama have a phrase to describe what they don’t like about Hillary Clinton: Shoulder-pad feminism.
The age bracket mentioned is an obvious hint at the geriatric nature of Clinton’s core. According to, in the just closed Texas primary, Barack got 58% of the under 25 while Hillary swept two-thirds of 65 and older as well getting 55% of women to Barry taking only 50% of men.

Hillary ran commercials in Texas that blatantly appealed to women voters. Try to find the testosterone in this ad: (Hint: You can't.)

And Clinton also exhumes feminist icon and Bush Dynasty nemesis Ann Richards in all her shoulder padded glory to pass the baton.

Dowd then takes the shoulder pad metaphor to the playing field and suggests that her blatant appeals to the distaff side had an effect:
But Hillary — carried on the padded shoulders of the older women in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island who loved her “I Will Survive” rallying cry that “I am a little older and I have earned every wrinkle on my face” — has been saved to fight another day.
Dowd has had Hillary singing that Gloria Gaynor disco anthem since she titled a 1998 column "Icon And I Will Survive". It’s the women with wrinkles that Dowd finds troubling in their sisterly solidarity:
Three Hillary volunteers, older women from Boston, approached a New York Times reporter in an Austin, Tex., parking lot on Tuesday to vent that Hillary hasn’t gotten a fair shake from the press. They said that they used to like Obama but now can’t stand him because they think he has been cocky and disrespectful to Hillary.
Dare we say uppity? It’s the race/gender either/or that Dowd has to tiptoe most gently around. She asks rhetorically:
People will have to choose which of America’s sins are greater, and which stain will have to be removed first. Is misogyny worse than racism, or is racism worse than misogyny?
And to keep with the excessive padding theme of the column she asks the same thing again:
Will America’s racial past be expunged or America’s sexist past be expunged?
Dowd then cites some fourth-hand hearsay to get a truly tasteless (and vaguely related to the whole pad theme) pro-Clinton menstrual cycle solidarity quote:
As Ali Gallagher, a white Hillary volunteer in Austin told The Washington Post’s Krissah Williams: “A friend of mine, a black man, said to me, ‘My ancestors came to this country in chains; I’m voting for Barack.’ I told him, ‘Well, my sisters came here in chains and on their periods; I’m voting for Hillary.’ ”
Let’s go to the tape there: Dowd quotes what a white woman told a Washington Post reporter what she told her black friend. My neck is suffering second-hand whiplash from that.

And in order to set up the Obligatory Monica Call Out®, Dowd cites younger voters voting for Barack (bonus :Rude Name® no extra charge):
Watching Bill Clinton greet but not address — the Big Dog has been muzzled — an excited group of students at Texas State University in San Marcos on Tuesday, 19-year-old Allison Krolczyk said she was leaning toward Obama and felt no gender guilt about voting for him. “Not at all,” she said. “I think they’re both pretty amazing.”

The crowd held up their camera phones to capture the former president, in his bright orange tie and orange-brown ostrich cowboy boots.

“We love you, Bill!” yelled one boy. “You did a good job, except for Monica.”
And we all know that Monica favored kneepads instead of shoulder pads for her jobs.

1 comment:

Grace Nearing said...

‘Well, my sisters came here in chains and on their periods; I’m voting for Hillary.’ ”

I'm so confused. Were Ali Gallagher's maternal ancestors sentenced to transportation from England to colonial Virgnia for random crimes and misdeamors? Were circled capital T's branded on their palms?

And if that is indeed what Ms. Gallagher is referring to, the comparison is imperfect. Transported criminals were not the equivalent of chattel slaves. They served their time and were released. Chattel slaves were slaves until they died.