April 6, 2007

Let's keep talking about breasts.

Jessica Valenti is writing in The Guardian and connecting the violent threats against Kathy Sierra to my old blog post making fun of a photograph of her and a bunch of other bloggers posing with President Clinton. Read the whole thing. I just want to focus on this:
Let me tell you, it's not easy to build a career as a feminist writer when you have people coming up to you in pubs asking if you're the "Clinton boob girl" or if one of the first items that comes up in a Google search of your name is "boobgate".
Well, let me tell you. I don't like having my name connected to the things you have in quotes there, none of which were written by me. They were written by your allies as they attacked me over and over again.

The only reason the Google searches come out the way they do is because of the endless vicious, nasty attacks on me. I haven't been the one pushing this story. They are. And you are too -- right here! I never even put your name in the original post -- or even in any post until long after you and your allies had posted repeatedly insulting me by name every way they could think of. Your name is all over their posts. Not mine.

And I still maintain that it was absolutely justified to mock that photograph. Distort what I was really saying there all you want, but the fact remains: Cozying up to Bill Clinton is not something a feminist should be doing. You have never responded to what I was really writing about. You have instead chosen to attack me, and you're doing it again, and you and your friends have leveraged what was a minor satirical blog post for your advantage. You're exploiting it again and going through the whole routine of trying to ruin my reputation again. It's an ugly way you've chosen to try to build a career as a feminist writer.

I'd love to see you take some responsibility for what you've done instead of whining that everyone's talking about your breasts. I don't give a damn about your breasts. What I care about is the way feminists sold out feminism to bolster the fortunes of the Democratic Party. But you will never talk about that, because you don't have anything to say there. So it's on and on about breasts, breasts, breasts, please don't talk about my breasts.

IN THE COMMENTS: Larry in Gibbsville said:
Valenti continues to milk her sagging "breast controversy" for all its worth.
Internet Ronin:
[C]an you explain why Valenti and her friends persist in bringing this issue back to life on a regular basis? It seems to me that they are the ones who make repeated references to her breasts, and the picture. That seems an illogical thing to do if one sincerely wishes not to be known as the "breast-blogger" and genuinely wished for this subject to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

If it was so humiliating for Valenti, one must wonder why she insists on reliving that humiliation on a regular basis and is now obviously trying to widen the distribution of the her supposed humiliation.
That's well put. And let me remind people, once again, that Valenti's blog, right at the top, has two very busty "mudflap"-style silhouettes. Yes, I know they are giving you the finger -- that is, they are bringing in additional sexual references (enough to make me think -- people say I'm wrong -- that the blog name "Feministing" was intended to make you see the word "fisting"). It is simply undeniable that Valenti herself uses sexual imagery in an effort to make her offerings more exciting. I would never have written the "Let's take a closer look" post if that hadn't been blindingly obvious to me. I'll give Valenti credit for doing a good job at self-promotion -- calling into her service a swarm of bloggers who have come to her defense by, absurdly, talking about her breasts continually.

By the way -- as Mortimer Brezny points out and discusses in many excellent comments -- Valenti has a book coming out. So you figure out why she's bringing up the subject of my old blog post again. (Someone raises the theory that she actually plotted with Garance Franke-Ruta to revive the old controversy through that Bloggingheads episode, but Garance assures me that didn't happen.) The book's title refers to graphic nudity, and it has a naked female torso on the cover -- more of the same use of sexual imagery for self-promotion.

Responding to someone who wrote, "It was not right to mock that photograph," Bill says:
Which is just plain and utter bullshit. Can we all--ok, can most of us agree--that it's perfectly normal, and fun, to mock things. Photos, religion, hairstyles, bumper stickers, ANYTHING. SNL, Dennis Miller, Jon Stewart, all have perfected the art of mocking photographs. Then there's all the newspapers and magazines that run caption contests--again, mocking the photo being the prime goal.
Note that the original "Let's take a closer look" post links to a "Daily Show" segment in which Jon Stewart mercilessly mocks Katherine Harris for posing in a way that shows off her breasts. You know, it's really laughable that Valenti's Guardian piece lumps mocking her photograph together with threats of real violence. It's utterly specious argument to compare harshly mocking political speech -- like mine -- to real threats of violence. The fact is, Valenti went to that lunch and posed the way she did; it had political meaning, and I talked about it. She doesn't like that to be pointed out in a way that's embarrassing to her. I get it. And I meant to embarrass her. She is a public figure who writes about feminism and behaved in a way -- posing proudly with Clinton -- that raises a feminist issue I'm damned well going to talk about. Though I certainly understand why she and her allies would like to shut me up.

MadisonMan says:
It's odd that a feminist is building a career out of whining about how her breasts are being talked about.
Palladian replies:
People who pursue careers as professional "feminists" usually build their careers out of whining.
L links to the Bloggingheads segment where I lash out at Garance Franke-Ruta for using the expression "the Jessica Valenti breast controversy" and writes:
because really, ann flipping out about character assassination when it comes to an issue she created! ha, c'mon, it is pretty hilarious. lets all join hands and laugh. but knowing ann and her own hatred for her female flesh, she probably will blame her craziness on on her menstrual cycle.
That is completely sexist. Upthread L wrote, "You are just an insecure right wing woman who is jealous of a liberal younger woman's looks and success," so I'm surprised he/she is giving me credit for having a menstrual cycle. The ageist and sexist themes in the anti-Althousiana genre are highly revealing. You think your values don't matter as long as you are attacking opponents? And I love this idea that older women are not allowed to attack younger women. It's just an attempt to silence: You're old, so shut up, or we'll say you're ugly and jealous. It's a lame debate ploy, since it's obvious you're just saying shut up. But to stoop to flat-out sexism and ageism for emphasis... how terribly embarrassing for you, L.

Synova takes issue with this characterization of me as "an insecure right wing woman who is jealous of a liberal younger woman's looks and success":
Does Ann go around making mean comments about the appearance of young women who aren't standing next to Bill Clinton?

I could be wrong but I thought I remembered reading something about Ann being profoundly disillusioned about how feminism responded to the Lewinsky scandal....

I know that my mother was furious and absolutely clear on what *exactly* about the Clinton/Monica thing upset her. It was the fact that this was blatant workplace sexual harassment, something that exists despite consent to the degree that the parties involved have unequal power. This was the "secretary as a sexual perk" role right out of the bad old days when being a secretary was one of the very few career choices available to women.

If my mom saw that picture with all the happy girls clustered around Bill she'd probably have the same reaction as Ann to the visual prominence of the pretty young lady in the center.
Johnstodder has this (beginning with a quote from Mark):

There's mockery and then there's mockery. It's one thing to make a good natured fun of a picture, it's quite another to be mean-spirited and crudely mock someone's appearance in a picture in a sexist way all the while asserting that it's done with a valid purpose of defending true feminism.

Huh? "Crudely mock someone's appearance?" Part of the point of Ann's joke was that Jessica is a relatively attractive woman in a sea of doughy-faced blogger types; posing in the way (as Ann saw it) that attractive girls do to catch the eye.

This observation by Ann is totally consistent with what Valenti says about herself. She is offended by those who would deny her sexuality. She assumes she draws looks from men. The penchant of some men to take oppressive action when confronted with an attractive woman is a major topic of her blog.

Go to her blog. Type in the search term "lookism." You get one hit. One. From a comment that refers to another URL. Jessica has never used the term. Women losing out on jobs and other benefits because they aren't considered attractive by men doesn't happen to be her issue.

For example, on January 4th, she defended Texas cheerleaders targeted by a state bill banning "bawdy performances." She (rightly) mocked men getting "in such a tizzy" over cheerleaders. Old-style feminists might have a disagreement with Jessica on this matter, seeing in cheerleading an institution that rewards the superficial physical traits rather than merit or acheivement.

Jessica's initial position wasn't that she was crudely mocked by Ann. She thought Ann was off-base in using Jessica's alluring appearance against her. If there is one thing Ann and Jessica seemed to agree on, it was that Jessica looked good in the picture. The argument was primarily over intent, and secondarily over whether it was appropriate for a self-identified feminist to seemingly re-enact a shameful moment in feminist history as if the episode had no weight whatsoever.
Hey says:
What's the thing that Bill Clinton is most famous for? Lecherous behavior with younger women, even not especially attractive ones.

What kind of picture is always popping up in the media of Bill? Interesting and compromising photos of him with younger and much younger women (The Economist and other serious media have made hay out of Bill and Canadian billionaire heiress and politician Belinda Stronach, never mind other media). Regular on Drudge, Leno, never mind right wing sites.

If you're a feminist supporter of Hillary, what's the last thing that you should want to do? Provide fodder to comedians and political opponents that highlights Bill's "bimbo eruptions".

What does the Valenti picture echo? Bill's bimbo problems.

Valenti should have been far away from Bill to avoid this. The picture was a hilarious joke of all the worst Clinton pictures And this is by a supporter for public consumption?

The picture and controversy shows that Valenti is an idiot and that her supporters are in denial or are just as idiotic. That this is all about disrespecting feminism, rather than the obvious problems of the photos, is an admission that Valenti screwed up and played into the hands of the Clintons' opponents.
I agree with that. On first seeing the photo, I laughed and thought about how Valenti's placement and pose undermined the whole point of the lunch, which was to use Bill to help Hillary. I don't, however, agree that Valenti is an idiot. I think she's a self-promoter who has been exploiting this incident with some skill, playing the other bloggers reasonably well. I don't know if she's for or against Hillary. (I've actually never read her blog!) But I'll estimate her intelligence at a much higher level if she's against.

Omaha1 provides an outline of the controversy:
1. Ann observed that a young feminist blogger was photographed next to Clinton in dress and manner that seemed to accentuate her attractive figure.

1a. Intelligent women acknowledge that in the real world, men often notice their breasts.

1b. Intelligent women also know that knit tops are clingy and draw men's eyes to their breasts.

1c. Clinton has a public history of sexual interest in young women.

1d. In anticipating a meeting with a prominent political figure, considerable thought would presumably go into one's dress and deportment.

Conclusion: When a young, attractive woman meets with Clinton, if she does not make an effort to dress in a non-provocative way, she is encouraging his perception of her as a sexual object.

2. The majority of the Democratic party set back the cause of feminism in its refusal to condemn the sexual exploitation of Clinton's young, vulnerable intern, Monica Lewinsky.

2a. This "refusal to condemn" was the result of partisan support for a Democratic president.

2b. Since one of the foundations of modern femiminism is abhorrence for the sexual exploitation of women, for any reason, by men in "superior" positions, this was hypocritical.

Conclusion: The apparent willingness of an attractive young feminist blogger to be viewed by Clinton as a sexual object is a continuing endorsement of this hypocrisy.

shorter summary: if Jessica had worn a jacket or sweater over her knit top, there would be no controversy.

shorter summary II: if Jessica is unaware of men's interest in breasts, she is either unintelligent or out of touch with reality.....

[I]f I were meeting with a prominent political figure, I would put a significant amount of thought into choosing my attire, and considering the message it might send. I would probably choose a businesslike skirt and jacket, something that would project a professional, non-sexual image.

I have worked in the predominately male world of software development and seen the effect of women consciously using sex appeal to influence co-workers, and that is something I never wanted any part of. I stand by my assertion that Jessica's choice of attire was a deliberate ploy to gain sexual attention, unless she was either stupid or naive.
And don't miss mikeinsc, who gets into a big debate very late in the comments. Sample:
The number of feminists outside of Althouse who WILL condemn what Clinton did is miniscule. Which is why the current crop of pseudo-feminists are so pissy at Althouse. Nobody likes having their blatant hypocrisy exposed.
I'll give David53 the last word:
The vortex continues unabated. Currently at Level 208. At level 400 the space-time continuum around the server will begin to warp eventually creating an alternate reality populated entirely with sentient breasts.

411 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 400 of 411   Newer›   Newest»
reader_iam said...

Wait a minute.

I know this is off the topic ... but have people here seriously been thinking of me as male? Forever?

I find that amazing. Why, on earth? The way I write? My opinions? Huh.

(Of course, I know that a number of specific commenters know I'm female, and that Althouse does.)

Oh, well, anyone who wants to illuminate me can e-mail, I guess, since I suspect any answer would bore everyone else.

Simon said...

The Exalted said...
"garance didn't "reignite" the controversy, ann did by flying off the handle at her."

No - Garance did. Before bhtv participants go on camera, they discuss by email the subjects that they will discuss. The Valenti-Clinton controversy was not on the list of topics to be discussed. Nor was the subject of whether Ann is a conservative or not - Garance brought that up sua sponte, on camera. Thus, when you bring up the standard leftosphere canard that "ann was whining about the big, mean lefty blogosphere so garance mentioned the 'valenti breast controversy,'" you are missing the context that the only reason Ann was talking about why the leftosphere hates her was because Garance brought up the subject of whether Ann's a conservative. In so doing, moreover, she deployed two of the tricks she'd mentioned in the first ten minutes of the video as tricks she uses as a journalist to get interlocutors to give her the quote she wants.

I've maintained from day one that the appropriate standard isn't whether Ann correctly ajudged Garance's intent, but rather whether it was a reasonable conclusion to reach in that moment - but the more information comes out about this, the more plain it becomes what was really going on, and the more obvious it becomes that the snap judgment was exactly right. This was a trap to drum up publicity for Garance's pal Valenti's book.

Simon said...

reader_iam said...
"I know this is off the topic ... but have people here seriously been thinking of me as male? Forever? I find that amazing. Why, on earth? The way I write? My opinions? Huh."

Ironically enough, the presumpti0on that one's interlocutors online are male until shown otherwise is one of the things in Valenti's article. LOL.

Patrick J. Shea said...

The meaning of the words "vicious" and "passionate" are evidently a great deal more elastic than I would have thought. Hyberbole and euphemism, two great tastes that go great together? Only if you want the vortex to continue to swirl.

reader_iam said...

So she did.

Still surprising, given references and such and the fact that I used to have a picture attached.

Well, that's easily fixed.

The Exalted said...

simon,

your major problem, among many, is that you believe garance and valenti "plotted" to ambush ann with this breastgate reference to "drum up book sales."

have you considered how silly this theory is? drumming up book sales by doing something on a "vlog," a medium that nobody has heard of, with a law professor that very few have heard of? (apologies to the host)

and, as far as purposeful ambushes go, i'd say using the phrase "valenti breast controvery" and then immediately saying "the blogosphere is a tough place" as a sop to ann and also immediately leaving the topic is not much of an "ambush." watch it again, sherlock, garance doesn't even defend valenti or try to explain what the situation was, (to the extent that it is possible to coherently explain that a controversy can be formed by a woman wearing a sweater in a picture with a former president who enjoys 60%+ approval ratings).

MadisonMan said...

I often read reader_iam as reader_ian, and Ian is a boy's name. (Yes, I know I need bifocals)

Snow said...

madisonman, what kind of image does drinking a glass of the red and waving it around drunkenly while watching and commenting on American Idol conjure up?

Surely there is no argument to be made that such is good for feminism.

Simon said...

The Exalted said...
"your major problem, among many, is that you believe garance and valenti 'plotted' to ambush ann with this breastgate reference to 'drum up book sales.'"

Means, motive, opportunity.

"have you considered how silly this theory is? drumming up book sales by doing something on a "vlog," a medium that nobody has heard of."

Means, motive, opportunity.

As the facts have emerged subsequent to the diavlog, it has become obvious that this was either a deliberate attempt to provoke Ann to help publicize Valenti's name just at the moment that Valenti might want publicity, or it's an incredibly serendipitous coincidence: a long-dormant controversy that previously gave Valenti significant name recognition suddenly reignites because of the actions of a friend of Valenti's in provoking Ann into reacting on-camera immediately before Valenti's book is due out. You say conspiracy theory, I say chain of evidence. You would have to be suffering from a particularly acute case of ADS not to be able to at least concede that those are the two possibilities. And right now, all the evidence points at the former.

Patrick said...

Surely there is no argument to be made that such is good for feminism.

Surely there can be! What, you'd rather Ann back in the kitchen cooking for the men while they get drink and do the talking about television?

A strong independent woman feeling free and open to share her thoughts to the world while drinking a fine wine is quite a sign of empowerment really. No need to put on airs. No need to use extra ploys to gather an audience. No need to play up controversies. No men that she needs to coddle and play weak or a vixen for a bit of approval. Just a woman, her personality, and a bit of wine. That's progress.

Now, surely there is no argument to be made that such is good for prohibition, but I don't see how it has anything to do with feminism.

David53 said...

The vortex continues unabated. Currently at Level 208. At level 400 the space-time continuum around the server will begin to warp eventually creating an alternate reality populated entirely with sentient breasts.

Simon said...

Snow said...
"what kind of image does drinking a glass of the red and waving it around drunkenly while watching and commenting on American Idol conjure up?"

Except that the video shows no such thing. In the fever dream of the ADS patient, perhaps it seems that way, but I promise the symptoms will pass. They're going to find a cure for that some day.

JodyTresidder said...

"Ironically enough, the presumpti0on that one's interlocutors online are male until shown otherwise is one of the things in Valenti's article. LOL."

Yes, that is ironic, simon and I am cringing about mistaking i_am reader for a chap!.

To make it even worse - I suppose? - my incorrect impression was formed with some thought!

Actually, I caught a strangely jolly NPR/BBC documentary on gender differences last night - so perhaps, i_am - you have a "male" ring/index finger ratio?

(That's not really serious!)

MadisonMan said...

Snow -- am I to attribute the actions of one drunken wine swirler to the population as a whole? On what grounds?

Pardon me while I go refresh this delightful gin and tonic.

Synova said...

I don't assume everyone with an ambiguous nickname is male. Not at all. I've thought about this and I think I can honestly say that I hold a category open for "human - gender unknown".

I assume that people are the genders that they portray, but even then only as a convenience. I know that they might not be, just as my MMORPG friends don't always play characters that are their RL genders.

It's a fun thing to talk about with people and I've had this conversation with men who report that they seem to consistently "read" female. Not many, but it happens.

I've also had similar discussions about author's pen names. Women used to use ambiguous names or initials in some genres to disguise their gender until using initials started to trigger "must be female" reactions. Now it's not so much that way. I can't think of any female authors I know of who use male names anymore, though it used to be common enough, but I can think of some men who use female pen names.

Oh, take it back. I do know someone who uses a male pen name. She writes gay erotica which puts her in the same category of most of the men who use female pen names that I know of. They write romance.

Which tangent has nothing to do with anything other than that it's not that hard to refrain from assigning a gender to someone met online when you're used to not knowing.

Simon said...

MadisonMan said...
"Pardon me while I go refresh this delightful gin and tonic."

Personally, I intend to ensure that every time I do a vlog, I have a glass of wine that I repeatedly drink from, as part of an ongoing desire to tweak, belittle and insult the anti-Althousiana.

reader_iam said...

Sorry, JodyTressider: My index fingers are longer than my ring fingers. Just slightly. (7 cm vs. 6 cm, 8mm.)

LOL--why do I feel I I've as if I've just compared lengths for the first time in my life?

tiggeril said...

What the hell does red wine have to do with feminism? Are we Southern Baptists all of a sudden?

A.M. Mora y Leon said...

Well said, Ann. You see right through this whining and manipulative trollop.

Kevin Murphy said...

I still say those folks have no class wearing t-shirts and such to meet the President. A jacket would kill them?

peter hoh said...

So is there a blog where I can read a synopsis of these 220 comments?

peter hoh said...

By the way, I hope I live long enough to see Valenti described as an old, dried up prude by the young, feminist bloggers of tomorrow.

Rob Dejournett said...

Whats wrong with talking about boobies? :)

johnstodder said...

There's mockery and then there's mockery. It's one thing to make a good natured fun of a picture, it's quite another to be mean-spirited and crudely mock someone's appearance in a picture in a sexist way all the while asserting that it's done with a valid purpose of defending true feminism.

Huh? "Crudely mock someone's appearance?" Part of the point of Ann's joke was that Jessica is a relatively attractive woman in a sea of doughy-faced blogger types; posing in the way (as Ann saw it) that attractive girls do to catch the eye.

This observation by Ann is totally consistent with what Valenti says about herself. She is offended by those who would deny her sexuality. She assumes she draws looks from men. The penchant of some men to take oppressive action when confronted with an attractive woman is a major topic of her blog.

Go to her blog. Type in the search term "lookism." You get one hit. One. From a comment that refers to another URL. Jessica has never used the term. Women losing out on jobs and other benefits because they aren't considered attractive by men doesn't happen to be her issue.

For example, on January 4th, she defended Texas cheerleaders targeted by a state bill banning "bawdy performances." She (rightly) mocked men getting "in such a tizzy" over cheerleaders. Old-style feminists might have a disagreement with Jessica on this matter, seeing in cheerleading an institution that rewards the superficial physical traits rather than merit or acheivement.

Jessica's initial position wasn't that she was crudely mocked by Ann. She thought Ann was off-base in using Jessica's alluring appearance against her. If there is one thing Ann and Jessica seemed to agree on, it was that Jessica looked good in the picture. The argument was primarily over intent, and secondarily over whether it was appropriate for a self-identified feminist to seemingly re-enact a shameful moment in feminist history as if the episode had no weight whatsoever.

docweasel said...

To the person who said Ann came out badly in "boobgate": bullshit. There are 2 realities on the web, and each side always thinks their side won. I'm generally in agreement with Ann and I read a lot of the posts and comments, I think she won. You'll never convince the lefties though.

This comes home to me because I read the lefty blogs a lot to see what the nuts are on about. In a conversation with my Dad, who gets most of his info from Rush, Fox and Drudge, he remarked how Clinton had made a fool of himself with the Chris Wallace incident (when asked about terrorism and he went off on Wallace, accusing him of being a right wing shill and shaking his finger in his face.)

Having read the left blogs at the time, I realized that to clinton's target audience, he had had a great triumph. The right and left blogs read it diametrically different: the right thought he had made a fool of himself, the left saw it as a great blow against Fox oppression (and they continue to follow up on this "victory", trying to isolate Fox).

So no, Ann didn't "lose". But the bimbo in question thrusting her breasts outward certainly won. She played off Ann's readership and influence, built on her well reasoned posts and opinions on matters of import and trivia alike, to boost her career the typical lefty way: victimhood.

See Susan Macdougal, the Wilsons, Richard Clark, etc etc. Spoof a lefty and create a hero to the left.

Hey said...

who the hell knows if anyone will read this, but anyways...

What's the thing that Bill Clinton is most famous for? Lecherous behavior with younger women, even not especially attractive ones.

What kind of picture is always popping up in the media of Bill? Interesting and compromising photos of him with younger and much younger women (The Economist and other serious media have made hay out of Bill and Canadian billionaire heiress and politician Belinda Stronach, never mind other media). Regular on Drudge, Leno, never mind right wing sites.

If you're a feminist supporter of Hillary, what's the last thing that you should want to do? Provide fodder to comedians and political opponents that highlights Bill's "bimbo eruptions".

What does the Valenti picture echo? Bill's bimbo problems.

Valenti should have been far away from Bill to avoid this. The picture was a hilarious joke of all the worst Clinton pictures And this is by a supporter for public consumption?

The picture and controversy shows that Valenti is an idiot and that her supporters are in denial or are just as idiotic. That this is all about disrespecting feminism, rather than the obvious problems of the photos, is an admission that Valenti screwed up and played into the hands of the Clintons' opponents.

Mark's a troll and Simon and Mort fed him. But this is a stupid controversy, that highlights the futility of arguing with a feminist. They're right, and you're not only wrong but evil and immoral for arguing with them. Mark's a prime specimen of this technique in sophistry.

Snow said...

am I to attribute the actions of one drunken wine swirler to the population as a whole?

Apparently, you do so, but just selectively I guess:

Why is the Democratic Party -- and by extension the Bloggers who went to see the President -- so blind to imagery?

Snow said...

ADS? :?

Simon said...

Hey - Mark doesn't fall into my definition of a troll. He's made serious arguments, very few of which I agree with, but which are far from bearing the hallmarks of trolling behavior.

Snow - Althouse Derangement Syndrome.

peter hoh said...

Mark wrote: The downside is that Ann's reputation has suffered in the eyes of many, and, unfortunately, largely deservedly so.

If that means that the comment threads here will go back to the way they were when I started posting comments, that would be just fine by me.

peter hoh said...

And one other thing, as I plow through the comments: there is no finger pointing on the cover of Full Frontal Feminist. As I see it, there's a hand on a hip. Oh yeah, the hip is hot.

AJD said...

Well, at least you are truly enjoying yourself on your vacation!

Quick suggestion: you didn't have to spend at that time writing this post. You could have simply said: waaaaaah!!!!

Labels: typical Althouse

reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

even not especially attractive ones

Can I just say, one more time, that I really despise that sort of toss-off clause?

Talk about "not particularly" attractive (not to mention gratuitous, and even cheap).

Hey said...

reader_iam:

It wasn't just a comment about Monica, but also Paula Jones. For a lecherous old wreck, Bill has a tendency to be involved with women you wouldn't have suspected. I'm sure it's partly because they're less risky with all of the watching eyes on him, but with his tendencies and position, one would expect paramours more like Kennedy's.

You need a man's true opinion, and that is that his fooling around seems to indicate serious trouble in his marriage or psychologically, since many of the women he is associated with just aren't attractive. Despite being a puffy, out of shape, older man, Bill seems to be about as attractive as George Clooney and could have a string of acquaintances that wouldn't look out of place with Clooney or Brad Pitt. It's not like he had a mature, deep relationship with Monica or Paula. These are shallow, transactional relationships, and a man would expect that he'd be taking advantage of his status to enjoy supermodel level groupies.

Kirk Parker said...

Simon,

"I don't have any desire to "subordinat[e]" men, as I thought I made clear.

No, it's the opposite of clear, since you previously said "As a purely normative proposition, I think that there are two predominant strains of thought in feiminsm: that women and men are exactly the same (plainly and entirely empirically false) and essentialism, which holds that men and women are different, and women are better. I subscribe to the latter school of thought".

Please explain.

Mort,

"Girls Gone Wild for Feminism!"   I hear it's up to 85th on Amazon, purely on the strength of your mention of it here.

AST said...

I followed the links and found nothing written by Ann to justify Valenti's apparent sense of victimhood.

This whole thing reminds me of a pattern I've noticed among lefty activists. They seem to need a bĂȘte noire to crusade against, and when they tag one, that person will have no peace again in this world.

Valenti's article about women bloggers being "virtually harassed" sounds to me like a proliferation of trolls. Her account of being abused by Ann doesn't ring true because Ann has more interests in life than conducting a vendetta against some minor feminist. All she did was note a silly little incident. Many bloggers note such kerfuffles in amusement, but some people just don't have a sense of humor.

If anyone is responsible for Valenti's humiliation, it's Valenti herself and Bill Clinton.

Jabba the Tutt said...

I went over to Feministing to check out what 'full-frontal feminism' (no boobs, just midriff) was all about. I found a lot of posts on complaints about the light sentences given to child rapists, but only of men on girls. This was presented as a sign of male sexism and lack of male respect for females.

Ah, it's been Bill O'Reilly, traditional warrior, who week after week has been going after judges, who go easy on child rapists, male on female AND male on male. There are judges now in retirement, because of Bill O'Reilly and "Jessica's Law" or a version has been enacted in 40 States.

What has Jessica accomplished on this front?

A report on rape in the military identified one reason for rape, as the resentment males had for being forced to pretend that females were equal. As we have seen from Jessica, she totally misconstrues and misrepresents this. Jessica, I'll write this slowly, men and women are not physically equal. If that statement explodes your head, get in touch with reality.

Jessica wants to become the leader for today's young women, by presenting a "hip" and "cool" feminism. She also thinks the way to get there is through misrepresentation, embracing victimhood and putting ideology in front of reality. Sounds like the same ol' feminism to me.

Omaha1 said...

I've tried to keep up with the comments & hope to summarize a bit.

1. Ann observed that a young feminist blogger was photographed next to Clinton in dress and manner that seemed to accentuate her attractive figure.

1a. Intelligent women acknowledge that in the real world, men often notice their breasts.

1b. Intelligent women also know that knit tops are clingy and draw men's eyes to their breasts.

1c. Clinton has a public history of sexual interest in young women.

1d. In anticipating a meeting with a prominent political figure, considerable thought would presumably go into one's dress and deportment.

Conclusion: When a young, attractive woman meets with Clinton, if she does not make an effort to dress in a non-provocative way, she is encouraging his perception of her as a sexual object.

2. The majority of the Democratic party set back the cause of feminism in its refusal to condemn the sexual exploitation of Clinton's young, vulnerable intern, Monica Lewinsky.

2a. This "refusal to condemn" was the result of partisan support for a Democratic president.

2b. Since one of the foundations of modern femiminism is abhorrence for the sexual exploitation of women, for any reason, by men in "superior" positions, this was hypocritical.

Conclusion: The apparent willingness of an attractive young feminist blogger to be viewed by Clinton as a sexual object is a continuing endorsement of this hypocrisy.

Whether I can make a poem out of this is an entirely separate question.

Omaha1 said...

shorter summary: if Jessica had worn a jacket or sweater over her knit top, there would be no controversy.

Omaha1 said...

shorter summary II: if Jessica is unaware of men's interest in breasts, she is either unintelligent or out of touch with reality.

gojigirl said...

Indeed. Keep talking about the breasts. Since she can't seem to move on, I would give the picture a permanent home on one corner of the blog, Ann, until the bitch DROPPED IT. Call it "Feminism whoring itself to The Democratic Party" or some such airy phrase. Then let her know that when she really DROPS IT, it will come off your blog.

But I'm just bitchy that way.....

reader_iam said...

You need a man's true opinion,

Hey must've been one of those people who thought I was a guy.

Dave S. said...

This is just standard lefty procedure. Nothing gets you cred in lefty circles quicker than "persecution" by the "wingnuts." Since it rarely happens in reality, they have to either manufacture it or make an Everest out of a speed bump.

They're like teenagers that way. Well, they're like teenagers every way.

Reliapundit said...

hey althouse: show us your boobies!

JodyTresidder said...

Alternative to jabba the tutt's conclusion:

Women who stand in a room with Bill Clinton for a photo must have non-remarakable frontage. Otherwise they should expect to be lightly labelled trollope/whore/bitch (from this thread alone).

Oh yes - and Clinton destroyed feminism.

SGT Ted said...

This post needs more breasteses.

Mister Snitch! said...

You've
gotta have Boobs
If you're gonna impress
Tycoons and Rubes.
You need boobs
to fill out
a sweater!
You need two
but three
might be better!
(That's one in the back for dancing.)
Some think this song
belongs in the gutter -
but even a cow
has to show
her utter!
You've
gotta have
boo-ooo-ooobs!
B - O - O - B - S
Oh, yes,
B - O - O - B - S!

- Ruth Wallis

peter hoh said...

When this flap first hit, I followed the links and was struck, not so much by the photo in question, but another photo of the special guest and a couple of fawning bloggers. It was a terrible photo, but the blogger who posted it seemed so proud of the fact that he and the former president were in the same frame that he was unable to exercise editorial judgment.

My father-in-law clued me in to the first rule of photography: in order to help people conclude that you are a good photographer, take lots of photos, and don't show your bad ones.

peter hoh said...

Here's one of those photos. The guy who is not photogenic is John of AmericaBlog.

http://www.newmediamusings.com/2006/09/clinton_meets_t.html

Omaha1 said...

What shall I wear, to lunch with Bill?
This question really gives me fits
A suit, a jacket, no - I still
Want him to see I have nice tits

To leftist thought, I will be true
And "feministing" is my name
But charmed by Clinton's eyes of blue
I'll use my breasts to garner fame.

When I write in the Guardian
That blogging's not a life of ease
Althouse, so un-Edwardian!
Suggests that I've sold out to sleaze.

Internet Ronin said...

Peter: You father-in-law sounds like a very smart guy! ;-)

peter hoh said...

IR: yes, I think so, too.

Kev said...

(yes, the original one, back from Lurkville!)

reader_iam:
"I know this is off the topic ... but have people here seriously been thinking of me as male? Forever?"

Reader, I've known that you were female for quite some time, though I can't recall the context; maybe I clicked on your profile link a while back.

Kirby Olson said...

Seal press published a few good books in its day. A book outing lesbians who batter lesbians, a nice series of mystery novels by Barbara Wilson set in Seattle. Only women are allowed to publish at the press. Mostly lesbians.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Ah, the "Jessica Valenti breast controversy" is back on the front burner. Such fun!

Considering that everyone (including Ann) claims to want this subject to die, and yet everyone (including Ann) raises it again and again, it's clear that hypocrisy isn't in short supply.

I agree with Mark that Ann crossed the line of honorable conduct in writing about the photograph. I'm no fan of Valenti's blog, but Ann's comments sure looked like a cheap shot to me.

Ann says she doesn't like the vicious, nasty attacks on her by Valenti allies, and apparently Valenti didn't appreciate what she saw as a vicious, nasty attack on her by Ann. In the meantime, all parties are convinced that their position in these shenanigans is completely justified. From here, it looks like a stalemate; no winners, just a bunch of losers.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Omaha1 said...
shorter summary: if Jessica had worn a jacket or sweater over her knit top, there would be no controversy.


Wrong answer. If Ann had used better judgment and passed on commenting on Valenti's appearance, there would be no controversy.

Your post reminds me a lot of the idiotic jerks who, in commenting on a rape, say "the way she was dressed, she was asking for it."

thom said...

I agree...losers all around. Just one more complaint about Ann's behavior. Regarding the bhtv blow-up and conspiracy theories about how Ann was sandbagged on that: Ann brought that on herself, too. The reference to the Valenti Breast Controversy was in answer to Ann's hectoring, pathetic, repeated, REPEATED demands for an explanation as to why, in Ann's words, lefty blogs were attacking Ann so viciously. After demurring several times, declining to take Ann's bait and stand in as a representative for all lefty bloggers, the other woman on bhtv finally caved in and said maybe one reason lefty blogs attacked Ann was because of the controversy that dare not speak its name. The controversy Ann started, by making inappropriate comments about a woman's looks in a photograph. Ann is just one more woman (the other one I am thinking of is the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for President) who would be better off apologizing for her mistake rather than sticking to her indefensible position.

Omaha1 said...

Cyrus, I find you guilty of hyperbole. There is a big difference between saying someone was asking to be raped, and saying someone was dressed in style that invited "ogling". I never said the former. Any semi-busty woman who wears a clingy knit top is asking for the latter, unless she is stupid, or lives in a pretend world where heterosexual men don't look at breasts.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

omaha1 said...Cyrus, I find you guilty of hyperbole. There is a big difference between saying someone was asking to be raped, and saying someone was dressed in style that invited "ogling".

Omaha1, why didn't you didn't even attempt to address the key point I made in response to your lame post? That is, why is it that you blame the "breast controversy" on Valenti's attire, rather than on Ann's blog about the photograph? Surely if Ann had exercised better judgment and skipped sharing her opinion of Valenti's appearance there would be no controversy. So your attempt to pin the resulting controversy on Valenti's attire is amazingly silly.

As for the second point I made, I guess you didn't read it carefully, so let me restate it so you can understand. In identifying the source of the Valenti "breast controversy," the illogic evident in your post reminds me of the illogic evident from those who remark on the significance of the attire of a woman who has been raped. I wasn't comparing "ogling" to "rape" as you imply; I was comparing dumb to dumb.

On the bright side, your comment would have been dumber if you had argued that the controversy could have been avoided if Valenti had scheduled breast reduction surgery before the photograph. Kudos to you for avoiding that thought.

Omaha1 said...

So Cyrus, when you said, "Your post reminds me a lot of the idiotic jerks who, in commenting on a rape, say 'the way she was dressed, she was asking for it,'" you weren't saying that I was like the "idiotic jerks who in commenting on a rape, say 'the way she was dressed, she was asking for it'"? I must be missing something here...still think you're guilty of hyperbole.

And I don't think Ann would have commented on Valenti's appearance if she had worn a sweater or jacket over her knit top, although that is, of course, pure speculation. However, if I am right about Ann's non-response, then yes, there would be no controversy. I stand by my point that any semi-busty woman who wears a clingy knit top to a lunch meeting with a sexual predator like Bill Clinton knows exactly what she is doing, unless she is stupid or hopelessly naive.

So Cyrus, was Jessica stupid or hopelessly naive?

JodyTresidder said...

Omaha1, you asked: "So Cyrus, was Jessica stupid or hopelessly naive?"

To rephrase back at you: So, omaha1 - when did you stop beating your wife?

Omaha1 said...

jody, do you deny that a woman wearing a clingy knit top might foresee that heterosexual men will notice her breasts? Or that Bill Clinton is known to be interested sexually in young attractive women? Or that feminists should not condone a powerful man who sexually exploits young female subordinates?

And I don't beat my wife, I am a boring old middle-aged married woman.

JodyTresidder said...

Omaha1,
Sorry - should have put the wife quote in quotes!

No, in answer to the main question you put, I certainly don't think Jessica should have forseen anything of the sort(and I am also a middle-aged married woman).

Omaha1 said...

well jody, I guess you and Jessica must both live in the same fantasy world where heterosexual men don't notice the breasts of women in clingy knit tops. Since you are also a middle aged woman, I suspect that you are being dishonest, although I guess it's possible that some people never learn to acknowledge the realities of life.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

omaha1,

First, an attempt to answer your question. To begin with, you'll have to define "sexual predator" for me. Bill Clinton is not a sexual predator by legal definition, so you ought to clarify that segment of your premise. Also, I haven't spent anywhere near the amount of time many of you have studying that photograph, so I don't pretend to know that the top was "clingy." (What a great topic for a blog, though! We could talk about this for weeks, if not months!) Frankly, babbling endlessly about the appropriateness of Valenti's choice of clothing, her appearance or her posture strikes me as a subject for the prudish or the perpetually bored. I really don't give a damn about any of it. However, if for some reason men who she comes in contact with can't manage self-control, that's their problem, not hers.

I'm not going to speculate on how Valenti chose her attire. Maybe there are economic factors involved. Maybe she craves attention. Maybe she holds men to a higher standard of behavior than do you. I don't pretend to know the answer, but more importantly, I don't care. Based on a quick glance at the photo, I didn't find her attire offensive or provocative. End of story as far as I'm concerned.

(By the way, did you consider that she might have worn a jacket or sweater but removed it at some point for reasons of comfort? If you are really fascinated by this subject, why don't you do a bit of investigation instead of making a string of goofy assumptions and posting them on the internet? Still, the key point you need to think about is why you continue to blame Valenti for the way you imagine some men might react to her attire.)

Second, the original comparison I made was not with you, but with your post, or as I explained subsequently, the illogic of your comment. I'm not comparing you to the idiotic jerks who feel attire is relevant in rape cases; I'm comparing the flawed reasoning behind your comment to that of the aforementioned jerks.

Finally, I don't want our exchange to spin into a mini "Jessica Valenti clingy top controversy." Therefore I'm going to propose the following terms for a truce:
I'll agree to ignore the stupidity of your original post if you agree to pretend I didn't call you on it. Deal?

Omaha1 said...

Cyrus - OK, not a "sexual predator", I overstated - just an ordinary middle-aged horn-dog, known to take advantage of younger, subordinate women.

Prudish or perpetually bored - maybe, but it seems like many others share my "obsession". All I can say, is that if I were meeting with a prominent political figure, I would put a significant amount of thought into choosing my attire, and considering the message it might send. I would probably choose a businesslike skirt and jacket, something that would project a professional, non-sexual image.

I have worked in the predominately male world of software development and seen the effect of women consciously using sex appeal to influence co-workers, and that is something I never wanted any part of. I stand by my assertion that Jessica's choice of attire was a deliberate ploy to gain sexual attention, unless she was either stupid or naive.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

omaha1,

Speculate as you wish about Valenti's motives. I'm inclined not to attribute motives to people when evidence is lacking and when doing so may cause offense. In particular, I'd tend to keep that type of speculation out of public forums.

Given that you say you "would put a significant amount of thought into choosing [your] attire, and considering the message it might send" if you were to meet a public figure, why don't you apply the same consideration and thoughtfulness in attributing motives to people you don't know? And in any case, why does what Valenti wore to a meeting with Bill Clinton matter to you?

Omaha1 said...

attributing motives...stupid, naive, or willfully provocative? So much has been written already, I'm not paying any more attention than the pro- or anti-Jessica folks already have. Just piling on at this point I guess!

MikeinSC said...

Yes, context matters. Do you really believe that it's OK to criticize anyone's appearance with sexual references because you disagree with that person's substantive position? If you believe so, we have fundamentally different notions of decency.

That'd be news to Paula Jones and Linda Tripp, who were condemned --- VICIOUSLY --- by people who claim to be feminists and their appearance was a major target.

Ditto Katherine Harris.

There is a huge difference in how women are treated.

It is impossible to claim that Clinton did not basically portray many "mainstream" feminists as blatant hypocrites. The same ones who bought Anita Hill's story COMPLETELY poo-poohed Paula Jones story, which actually had more proof behind it and considerably fewer contradictions of logic.

And feminists kissing Clinton's butt is a huge problem. A man who basically made a mockery of things they claimed to hold dear should not be applauded by feminists anymore than Bush should be applauded and sucked up to by people who oppose illegal immigration.
-=Mike

JodyTresidder said...

Mikeinsc wrote of Clinton: "A man who basically made a mockery of things they claimed to hold dear should not be applauded by feminists"

I've fixed it for you, Mike: Clinton.."a man who basically made a mockery of some things they claimed to hold dear should not be applauded for those things by feminists..".

Better, I think.

MikeinSC said...

Jody, yes, my choice of verbiage was not strong.

That being said --- a man who CLEARLY does not treat women with any semblance of respect is the last person that the feminists should do anything but criticize.

It'd be like a supporter of Israel coming out in defense of Jimmy Carter.
-=Mike

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

mikeinsc:

What a strange post. First you imply that, somehow, criticism of Valenti's appearance is fair game because it's been done before to others. Your examples include Katherine Harris, Linda Tripp, and Paula Jones, all of whom are easy targets for criticism without mentioning their appearance. A better example is Chelsea Clinton who, although a public figure by association, did nothing to deserve being a target. In any case, I see NO guiding principle emerging from your comment; it seems to me just a bit of a whine about the treatment of some odd characters who became GOP heroes, strangely.

The second part of your post is even more bizarre, although I wouldn't have imagined that possible. To compare the Anita Hill case to that of Paula Jones is weird enough without trying to link it to Clinton's opinion of "mainstream feminists." Is there an intelligent thought hidden deep inside that tortured paragraph, or is it simply your chance to bray about some of your golden oldie rightwing talking points?

By the way, when were you elected spokesperson for America's feminists? Also, here I was thinking that you are some fringe rightwing kook, but you sure proved me wrong on that point with this criticism of feminists:

And feminists kissing Clinton's butt is a huge problem. A man who basically made a mockery of things they claimed to hold dear should not be applauded by feminists anymore than Bush should be applauded and sucked up to by people who oppose illegal immigration.

Tell me Mike, which feminists are guilty of kissing Clinton's butt and what "huge problems" have resulted? Also, if you don't mind, can you give me a list of the top five things that feminists hold dear? I'd really appreciate your help with this information; I don't have the inside connections in the world of feminism that you evidently have. Thanks.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

mikeinsc wrote: It'd be like a supporter of Israel coming out in defense of Jimmy Carter.

Wow Mike, is there any subject about which you are unwilling to display your ignorance? Would you mind sharing your opinion on global climate change with us next?

SGT Ted said...

"Any semi-busty woman who wears a clingy knit top is asking for the latter(ogleing), unless she is stupid, or lives in a pretend world where heterosexual men don't look at breasts."

Damn Straight.

And your poem is genius. Any chance of setting it to music?

MikeinSC said...

What a strange post. First you imply that, somehow, criticism of Valenti's appearance is fair game because it's been done before to others.

Except Professor Althouse did not insult her appearance at all. She noted that she was trying to accentuate her breasts and looking at the picture, one must be blind to not notice that. Her criticism was that these progressive bloggers were basically, for wont of a better term, kissing up to a man who basically made a mockery of many things that they claimed was vitally important.

The point, though, was it was progressives who CLAIMED to be pro-feminism who made these insults of "conservative" women, which, mind you, is a frequent occurence (care to discuss how often Ann Coulter is referred to as being "man-ish" by progressives?) are so bent-out-of-shape because they misconstrued Althouse's comments to be something they were not.

Your examples include Katherine Harris, Linda Tripp, and Paula Jones, all of whom are easy targets for criticism without mentioning their appearance.

Which makes the focus upon their appearance all the more baffling, does it not?

The second part of your post is even more bizarre, although I wouldn't have imagined that possible. To compare the Anita Hill case to that of Paula Jones is weird enough without trying to link it to Clinton's opinion of "mainstream feminists." Is there an intelligent thought hidden deep inside that tortured paragraph, or is it simply your chance to bray about some of your golden oldie rightwing talking points?

Do not confuse your inability to explain why one case was a cause celebre amongst feminists while the other one was attacked by feminists for it being unintelligent. If you're going to sit here and try and criticize Althouse's criticism of the behavior of many feminists in regards to Clinton, you have a LOT of things to try and explain. I'm simply putting the issues on the table. How can a feminist who lashed Clarence Thomas, without pause, embrace Clinton for even more reprehensible behavior? Feel free to present a coherent defense, because feminists have avoided doing so for going on 10 years now.

Feminists made themselves marginal laughingstocks in the 1990's. Nobody MADE them do it.

Wow Mike, is there any subject about which you are unwilling to display your ignorance? Would you mind sharing your opinion on global climate change with us next?

Your inability to read Carter's most recent tome --- which, admittedly, is rough to read to his poor writing --- hardly changes the most basic conclusions of it.

And I'm fairly certain that reality is not going to change your views on AGW and since I'm not fond of religious discussions, I'll avoid the topic.

Tell me Mike, which feminists are guilty of kissing Clinton's butt and what "huge problems" have resulted?

The number of feminists outside of Althouse who WILL condemn what Clinton did is miniscule. Which is why the current crop of pseudo-feminists are so pissy at Althouse. Nobody likes having their blatant hypocrisy exposed.

Also, if you don't mind, can you give me a list of the top five things that feminists hold dear? I'd really appreciate your help with this information; I don't have the inside connections in the world of feminism that you evidently have. Thanks.

If you wish to broadcast your ignorance that, of course, is your right.
-=Mike

Hector Rottweiler said...

Trevor says:

See, I don't think this is true, in the sense that you mean, as some political point. I think you wanted to have some fun arranging bloggers randomly. I think you wanted to make some cheap Jay Leno-esque Clinton-sex jokes at an innocent bystander's expense. And your sycophants picked right up on "your prompt," as you put it.

Once you got called on your and your commenters' degradation by that bystander and her compatriots, THEN it became about making a "critique." All of the talk after about second- and third-wave feminism may be a good debate, but it's just post-facto bullshit to cover a joke that blew up in your face.


Yes, exactly.

Scott Lemeiux, I think, recently wrote that Althouse is becoming so pathetic it's almost difficult to watch. I agree. But I think the most pathetic part is the sheer amount of self-delusion. For example, I notice that she has somehow convinced herself that her original post was a "satire." Awesome.

Incidentally, Professor, how about getting specific about some of these "personal attacks" you're always suffering from "the left"? Give us some examples.

MikeinSC said...

Hector, would Scott Lemeiux, I think, recently wrote that Althouse is becoming so pathetic it's almost difficult to watch. I agree. But I think the most pathetic part is the sheer amount of self-delusion. count as a personal attack by the left?

How can you MISS the attacks?
-=Mike

Swanny said...

Ann, I think it's obvious to everyone that there's only one solution: you're going to have to post a topless pic of yourself.

Revenant said...

As far as I can tell, Jessica Valenti's breasts are the only worthwhile thing about her. If you've gotten people talking about them you're pretty much doing her a favor. Otherwise they'd have to focus on her ideas and personality, and she hasn't got any.

Ann Althouse said...

peter hoh said..."And one other thing, as I plow through the comments: there is no finger pointing on the cover of Full Frontal Feminist. As I see it, there's a hand on a hip. Oh yeah, the hip is hot."

Peter, Mortimer has apparently studied the feminist literature, and in that context, analyzing that photos, it would be conventional to say that the fingers are pointing toward the woman's genitalia. Consider how images are analyzed in academic literature.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Mike,

Poor dear, you were unable to answer any of the questions I asked of you. You know, in cases such as this, it’s far better to avoid talking about things about which you know nothing rather than accusing others of ignorance. A few examples:

1. I asked you to name the top five things feminists hold dear (since you earlier referenced that you know what is most important to feminists). Your reply? Here it is:

If you wish to broadcast your ignorance that, of course, is your right.

A deft nonresponse, Mike. I won’t hold my breath waiting for a substantive response from you. Strike 1.

2. I asked you to name feminists who, in your opinion, are guilty of kissing Clinton’s butt. I also asked you to tell me what “huge problems” for feminism have resulted from this “but kissing.” Your reply? Here it is:

The number of feminists outside of Althouse who WILL condemn what Clinton did is miniscule. Which is why the current crop of pseudo-feminists are so pissy at Althouse. Nobody likes having their blatant hypocrisy exposed.

Great dodge, Mike. I doubt anyone else noted you substituted a bunch of crap for serious, relevant answers. Strike 2.

3. I suggested you make your comparison of the Anita Hill case to the Paula Jones case one of intelligence and substance (i.e., provide specifics). Your reply? Here it is:

Do not confuse your inability to explain why one case was a cause celebre amongst feminists while the other one was attacked by feminists for it being unintelligent. If you're going to sit here and try and criticize Althouse's criticism of the behavior of many feminists in regards to Clinton, you have a LOT of things to try and explain. I'm simply putting the issues on the table. How can a feminist who lashed Clarence Thomas, without pause, embrace Clinton for even more reprehensible behavior? Feel free to present a coherent defense, because feminists have avoided doing so for going on 10 years now.

Yeah, I can see how your failure to provide an intelligent, substantive comparison is actually my fault. Good one, Mike. Strike 3.

[Before leaving this point, let me provide the sort of comparison between the two cases that Mike refuses to provide.

- Anita Hill was a reluctant participant in the Clarence Thomas hearings. She was subpoenaed to give testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. In contrast, Paula Jones sued Bill Clinton and actively sought national media attention in pursuing her claims.

- Anita Hill did not stand to gain financially from her accusations against Clarence Thomas. In contrast, the complaint filed by the Paula Jones legal team demanded significant compensatory and punitive damages.

- Anita Hill was not supported, financially or logistically, in her accusations by partisan political groups. In contrast, Paula Jones was tarnished by her association with conservative commentator Susan Carpenter-McMillan, and later, the Rutherford Institute.

- Anita Hill has enhanced her credibility by her activities since her appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee. She currently teaches law at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. In contrast, Paula Jones has cemented the opinion that many had of her (Ann Coulter refers to her as “trailer park trash”) by her appearance in Penthouse magazine and, later, on Fox television in “Celebrity Boxing” versus Tonya Harding.

These were quite different cases, Mike. However, if the only point you are trying to make is that both cases involved charges of sexual harrassment, and in both instances the credibility of the women involved was questioned, then you are really saying nothing particularly interesting. On the other hand, if you really can’t understand that feminists don’t equate Thomas and Clinton simply based on the common sexual harrassment charges, then you need to think a bit harder. I suggest you start by considering the positions of Clinton and Thomas on issues that are important to women (e.g., reproductive rights). Get back to me when you have a clue.]

Now, sadly, I’m left to clean up the mess you made of everything else that I said and that you subsequently misunderstood, misinterpreted, or mangled in one way or another. So here we go, point by point:

1. Except Professor Althouse did not insult her appearance at all.
Well Mike, I used the word criticize, not insult, but clearly Valenti and others took offense, so yes, Ann’s comments were found to be insulting. Although Ann wants to claim her comments were about “apparent behavior,” that “apparent behavior” is determined, it seems, by looking at a photograph, gauging appearance, making ungenerous assumptions and passing judgment. For the fair-minded among us, criticism of someone based on their appearance in a photograph amounts to criticism of appearance. I’m sorry that you find that point hard to comprehend, Mike.

2. She noted that she was trying to accentuate her breasts and looking at the picture, one must be blind to not notice that.
Gee Mike, I only looked at the photo casually but I didn’t notice anything of the sort. Then again, I don’t tend to study photographs to look for “apparent behavior” or threats to feminism. In any case, your conclusion is wrong, again.

3. The point, though, was it was progressives who CLAIMED to be pro-feminism who made these insults of "conservative" women, which, mind you, is a frequent occurence (care to discuss how often Ann Coulter is referred to as being "man-ish" by progressives?) are so bent-out-of-shape because they misconstrued Althouse's comments to be something they were not.
This is essentially three inaccurate observations rolled into one nonsensical sentence. First, I’m calling your bluff on your claim to know who is responsible for insulting the appearance of Tripp, Jones, Harris, Coulter, etc... Unless you start naming names and providing citations (and so far you’ve shown an allergic reaction to a presentation of factual evidence), I’m going to assume you’re just blowing smoke. (Incidentally, your inclusion of cheap shot artist Coulter on your list of “victims” is hilarious!) Second, my observations suggest that “liberal” woman have far more often been the victims of insults relating to appearance than “conservative” women. So again, unless you can provide evidence to support your claim, I’ll regard it as another whine you’ve been fed by Limbaugh or some other radio blowhard and are regurgitating here for our viewing pleasure. Third, as far as I can tell, there is nothing that has been “miscontrued” by others who’ve been upset by Ann’s comments about Valenti’s appearance in the photograph. Assuming Ann was trying to make a point about how feminists regard Clinton, she made an enormous error in judgment in the way she addressed the issue. It was tactless to personalize the issue, as Ann did, when more general observations about the topic would have served better. (One last fun observation for you Mike, considering your mention of Harris. This is what Ann wrote in her original post:
Jessica: I'm not judging you by your looks. (Don't flatter yourself.) I'm judging you by your apparent behavior. It's not about the smiling, but the three-quarter pose and related posturing, the sort of thing people razz Katherine Harris about.
Since you are easily confused, Mike, I’ll translate this for you. Ann is comparing the nature of her comments about Valenti to those made about Katherine Harris. Get it?)

4. Feminists made themselves marginal laughingstocks in the 1990's. Nobody MADE them do it.
You need to find a radio that has more than the Rush Limbaugh talk show on it. I’d ask you to provide evidence to support your ridiculous claim, but by now I know that you and evidence have sworn to remain strangers.

5. Your inability to read Carter's most recent tome --- which, admittedly, is rough to read to his poor writing --- hardly changes the most basic conclusions of it.
Honestly Mike, I find Carter’s writing far easier to read than your slop. Apparently you indeed had a lot of trouble reading Carter’s “tome” (also known as a “book”) since you obviously missed the key points he is making. There is a belief among some “Israel supporters” (your term) that it is in the best long term interests of Israel to realize peace in the region. In this regard, Carter’s book presents facts about the Middle East that he believes are generally unknown in the United States. His hope, as he states it, is “precipitate discussion and help restart peace talks (now absent for six years) that can lead to permanent peace for Israel and its neighbors.” I don’t regard Carter as an enemy of Israel, and I think your implication that he is shows that you haven’t taken the time (or are unable) to understand his message.

Mike, I’m sorry to say I see a familiar pattern in your posts. You make outrageous claims, rely on logical fallacies, avoid contact with evidence, and cut and run when the heat is on. I suspect that you won’t respond to this post; your smartest option is to pretend not to have seen it. However, if you do respond, please keep your message concise. I simply don’t have the time and energy to meticulously correct the factual and logical errors that undoubtedly will decorate another long post from you.

Jeff said...

"If it was so humiliating for Valenti, one must wonder why she insists on reliving that humiliation on a regular basis and is now obviously trying to widen the distribution of the her supposed humiliation."

The Left confers and derives power from victimhood, whether real or imagined. This is her bid to cash in on her victimhood at the hands of nasty ol' Ann.

JodyTresidder said...

Ann, your comment (below) was worded just oddly enough to make me check Jessica's book cover photo myself:

"Peter, Mortimer has apparently studied the feminist literature, and in that context, analyzing that photos, it would be conventional to say that the fingers are pointing toward the woman's genitalia. Consider how images are analyzed in academic literature."

Hand on my middle-aged female heart, I haven't the foggiest idea how you can write what you did.

How does the "context" of feminist literature change a photograph of a woman's fingers confidently resting on her hip to these fingers apparently "pointing towards [her] genitalia"??

To what "convention" are you appealing here?

Synova said...

You mean feminists *aren't* a laughing stock?

And the difference between Anita Hill and Paula Jones is what determines the rightness or wrongness of a man's behavior?

Now, that's news to me. I thought that the respectability of the woman was completely off limits, as far as judging her case.

Still, if it were *just* Paula Jones, that might wash. It's not.

Clinton seems to have made a habit of assuming that the working girls around him were there for his pleasure. Yes, of *course* most of them come off as less impressive than Anita Hill because the man doesn't seem to have cared much for women who were his equals.

So, they were ugly or out for money or just not the Anita Hill power-suit sort.

So screw 'em.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Jeff said...
The Left confers and derives power from victimhood, whether real or imagined.

More nonsense from the Coulter crowd. At least Coulter makes a good living by spewing this type of garbage. What's your motive Jeff? Do you actually believe this crap or are you just hoping to irritate a few liberals by behaving boorishly?

Jeff, do us all a favor and sharpen up. Don't make it your goal in life to help your rightwing friends look smart in comparison to you.

Hey said...

Ann, et al.

I regret to say that I was still taking Valenti at face value, which I probably should stop doing. Assuming that she was there supporting Hill and Bill and expecting nothing to come of the photo, then she was an idiot. If she was there with ulterior motive, either trying to sabotage Hill through Bill or hoping to get noticed, then the photo was intelligent rather than idiotic. Her position since is idiotic if sincere and intelligent, though manipulative and deceitful, if she's spinning for more coverage, as seems likely.

On her actions and results, one does have to conclude that she's a very smart media spinner who knows how to play off of her image.

I, on the other hand, need to start thinking beyond the superficial well intentioned reasons and start assuming a much more machiavellian level of manipulation from these people. That way Rosie lies, but I'll try to avoid going on national TV talking abouit how standing on my head for 2 hours a day helpes me see the light!

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Synova said...
And the difference between Anita Hill and Paula Jones is what determines the rightness or wrongness of a man's behavior? Now, that's news to me. I thought that the respectability of the woman was completely off limits, as far as judging her case. Still, if it were *just* Paula Jones, that might wash. It's not. Clinton seems to have made a habit of assuming that the working girls around him were there for his pleasure. Yes, of *course* most of them come off as less impressive than Anita Hill because the man doesn't seem to have cared much for women who were his equals.
So, they were ugly or out for money or just not the Anita Hill power-suit sort.


Synova, I assume your post is in response to my comments to mikeinsc. If so, let me correct the fundamental error you've made in understanding what I wrote.

First, there is no suggestion in anything that I wrote that Clinton's behavior towards Paula Jones is any better (or worse for that matter) than Thomas' behavior towards Anita Hill. The conclusion you draw is therefore baseless.

The point I made that you seem to have misunderstood entirely is that the credibility of the victims in the two cases is remarkably different. Therefore, when mikeinsc whined about the different ways in which "feminists" (apparently feminists speak with one voice in mikeinsc's world) view the Paula Jones case and the Anita Hill case, I tried to help him understand a few of the different circumstances that were involved.

Noting differences in circumstance does not imply, as you have concluded, that I believe Clinton's behavior was excusable and Thomas' was not. Sorry you misunderstood what I thought was a fairly obvious point.

rhhardin said...

I don't understand the whole thread. Women use their breasts to get what they want. Is this news?

James Thurber commented on the hard, cold look on a woman's face when she looks another woman up and down, and how it was devoid of all humanity.

On the other hand, respectability for a woman comes from making a good deal for herself, in fact, even in today's society.

I don't know that you can stamp that out no matter how much you want to, so long as a neuron fires correctly in the males below a certain age, say 85.

It gives males low standards, and that gives women, who are themselves usually not such a great deal, a chance, so it all works out.

So in short, I don't know whether the thread is supposed to suggest that using the poor male's neurons for your own purposes is to be deprecated (after all, we are really all as neuter as clams or pine boards, to quote somebody, probably Marge Piercy), or what.

I never heard of whoever it is we're talking about.

Synova said...

I think I understood you well enough.

It's credibility I was addressing. Why is one credible and the other not? Their behavior? I've nothing against Anita Hill but if she was reluctant, she didn't refuse. People *wanted* her to speak, they *wanted* her to testify, and they supported her when she did.

Bill's bimbos? All anyone wanted was for them to shut up. The support from "feminists" was absent from the get-go. Unsophisticated girls had their reputations trashed. And they shouldn't try to get something out of that? Shouldn't try to get at least a little of their own back?

Their *credibility* is defined by what you think of them and that is exactly what I was talking about. Not too bright southern girls who didn't even seem that pretty who found that no one would believe them, no feminist would support them, and all they got for it was slander about their morals or their judgment or their looks.

Ann Althouse said...

Jody: "How does the "context" of feminist literature change a photograph of a woman's fingers confidently resting on her hip to these fingers apparently "pointing towards [her] genitalia"?? To what "convention" are you appealing here?"

Have you never read any academic literature about the meaning of images, for example photos of women in fashion layouts or advertising? It is typical in this genre of writing, particularly in feminist writing (and also in Freudian analysis), to perceive the sexual symbolism. Thus, a model's fingers may be aim toward her genitalia, in a subtle way that draws your eyes down, and this is meant to have an effect on the viewer. Of course, it's not the same as the way someone fooling around in real life would just point at his genitals. Really, your comment is written in such a naive way. What feminist literature have you read?

Luckyoldson said...

What does it mean when the woman has her hands in the man's pockets?

Fashion-wise...

Ann Althouse said...

Some response to Cyrus:

"Anita Hill has enhanced her credibility by her activities since her appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee. She currently teaches law at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. In contrast, Paula Jones has cemented the opinion that many had of her (Ann Coulter refers to her as “trailer park trash”) by her appearance in Penthouse magazine and, later, on Fox television in “Celebrity Boxing” versus Tonya Harding."

The lesson is clear: sexually harass the low class women.

(It was scarcely only Ann Coulter who called Paula Jones "trailer trash"!)

For the definitive analysis comparing what Clinton and what Clarence Thomas did, read this Stuart Taylor article from 1996.

"Except Professor Althouse did not insult her appearance at all. Well Mike, I used the word criticize, not insult, but clearly Valenti and others took offense, so yes, Ann’s comments were found to be insulting. Although Ann wants to claim her comments were about “apparent behavior,” that “apparent behavior” is determined, it seems, by looking at a photograph, gauging appearance, making ungenerous assumptions and passing judgment. For the fair-minded among us, criticism of someone based on their appearance in a photograph amounts to criticism of appearance. I’m sorry that you find that point hard to comprehend, Mike."

First, a comment isn't offensive merely because someone claims to be offended. But I meant to criticize, and I don't deny that. Where you are wrong, though I didn't criticize her appearance in the sense of calling her unattractive. I made fun of her for implying that she believed she was attractive, and I criticized her for her behavior in posing the way she did right in the middle of that picture and in front of Clinton (a man with a well-known sexual problem).

And Cyrus, you're addressing Mike in a very disrespectful way. "Since you are easily confused, Mike, I’ll translate this for you." Well, since you are easily confused, Cyrus, let me translate something for you. There is an immense difference between the way a person happens to look (for example the size and shape of her features) and the things she has control over, such as clothing and stance and attitude. The latter is all behavior, and it reflects her thoughts, though we are forced to interpret what the thoughts are. My expression "apparent behavior" is admittedly awkward, but you should be able to figure out that "apparent" signfies that I don't know what she's actually thinking. However, I can see how she's behaving, and I'm trying to interpret it accurately.

JodyTresidder said...

Ann,
You said: "Thus, a model's fingers may be aim toward her genitalia, in a subtle way that draws your eyes down, and this is meant to have an effect on the viewer."

And "sometimes a cigar" etc!

Yup, I am aware of the eye being tugged in a manipulative direction.

I am also fully aware that one may deliberately choose to read an image in a variety of ways, according to one's agenda.

Where I see a purposefully confident female figure in Jessica's book photo - you decide you mainly see crotch-pointing.

Where I see the woman's hand-on-hip confidence enhancing her provocatively sexy nakedness - you follow one finger's imaginary line to a (cunning?) hidden message!

Any minute now - you'll add you tried to stand with your hand of your hip (like the model) and can report that particular pose was impossible to replicate without contortion!

(Just as you did to further ridicule Jessica's Clinton pose).

Also, are you still saying the book cover model's fingers are "pointing" towards her crotch - as you wrote originally?

Or are they now "aiming" and "in a subtle way" as you put it considerally LESS specifically second time around?

Synova said...

I think it's silly to go on about symbolism in art, though I know that people do.

It took about the one semester in which I was an art major to realize that it was trivially easy to simply create a piece of art and then after-the-fact B.S. a nice line about what it was supposed to be about.

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

Ann said (in reference to Paula Jones):

"The lesson is clear: sexually harass the low class women.

(It was scarcely only Ann Coulter who called Paula Jones "trailer trash"!)"

I am sorry but this makes no sense. I don't see any logic in this retort. Noone in his/her right mind would draw such a lesson.

"For the definitive analysis comparing what Clinton and what Clarence Thomas did, read this Stuart Taylor article from 1996."

The Taylor article does not address points that Cyrus made.

Ann Althouse said...

Mark: I was being sarcastic.

As to Cyrus's points, I'm not going to address them all.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Synova said...
I think I understood you well enough. It's credibility I was addressing. Why is one credible and the other not? Their behavior? I've nothing against Anita Hill but if she was reluctant, she didn't refuse. People *wanted* her to speak, they *wanted* her to testify, and they supported her when she did.

I don't think you *did* understand, and I think your previous post proves that. However, putting that aside, I've already addressed at least a couple of the reasons why there was a credibility gap, none of which you seemed to catch. Here are a couple of them, again:

1. Anita Hill had no financial stake in her case; obviously Paula Jones did.
2. Anita Hill did not have any association with partisan political groups in her case; on the other hand, Paula Jones attached herself to rightwingers who were involved in pursuing a broader agenda against Bill Clinton.

One other thing you may have missed from my original post about this. Anita Hill was subpoenaed to give testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. As far as your claim that "people *wanted*" Anita Hill to testify, and that "they supported her when she did," that claim is not backed by any evidence of which I am aware. According to a U.S. News & World Report poll in 1991, "60 per cent of respondents believed Clarence Thomas, as opposed to only 20 per cent who believed Miss Hill." That doesn't amount to a lot of support for Anita Hill, Synova.

Bill's bimbos? All anyone wanted was for them to shut up. The support from "feminists" was absent from the get-go. Unsophisticated girls had their reputations trashed. And they shouldn't try to get something out of that? Shouldn't try to get at least a little of their own back?

I need to make three corrections of factual misstatements by you here. First, as I've already indicated, everybody did not want Paula Jones to "shut up" as you claim. Susan Carpenter-McMillan quickly signed on as spokesperson for Jones and she successfully kept the Jones case in the media, appearing on Meet the Press, Crossfire, Larry King Live, The Geraldo Rivera Show, Hannity and Colmes, Burden of Proof, Equal Time, and Talkback Live, to name a few. Second, Jones did not sue Clinton because her reputation had been "trashed," as you suggest. Attacks on her reputation came after she filed her lawsuit, not before.
Third, you seem conveniently to forget that Anita Hill's reputation was "trashed" by David Brock in his book "The Real Anita Hill." Don't you remember that he coined the phrase "a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty" about Anita Hill? Sadly, you are trying to make a distinction that doesn't exist in fact.

Their *credibility* is defined by what you think of them and that is exactly what I was talking about. Not too bright southern girls who didn't even seem that pretty who found that no one would believe them, no feminist would support them, and all they got for it was slander about their morals or their judgment or their looks.

That's your characterization of Paula Jones, not mine. And please don't make the same error that mikeinsc did and claim to speak for all feminists. Please note that in my original post, I suggested just a few examples of why others might have found a credibility gap between Anita Hill and Paula Jones. I don't claim to know why individuals may have judged the cases differently. However, to suggest, as mikeinsc did, that the victims and their circumstances were similar is clearly wrong.

Dr Zen said...

So now you were "mocking" the photograph? Oh dear. See, most "feminists" I know wouldn't mock another woman for having breasts.

And Valenti did not write an article smearing you. She mentioned you as one of the dirty bloggers who make the blogosphere a vile place.

Isn't it funny? You viciously attack someone for having breasts and standing near the Philanderer in Chief but you are suffering when others simply mention it!

That you are forced to quote your unhinged rightist arselickers in a post to make yourself feel good is a sad reflection on your lack of ability to analyse what you do or what others do.

You're right that someone is using the incident to pursue their self-interest. You're just wrong about which side in it.

The suggestions that you've been libelled are hilarious. Please do sue her in a British court. The spectacle of a wingnut professor of law getting her arse booted by a British judge for a frivolous complaint would have us liberals in stitches. We'd have fuel for vicious attacks on you for months!

Mark said...

Cyrus:

Excellent points. You're doing a great job. It is interesting that your serious opponents prefer not to engage on substance, and instead resort to stylistic objections and/or one-liners.
It's a testament to the strength of your arguments.

Fen said...

Cyrus: Anita Hill had no financial stake in her case; obviously Paula Jones did.

How deceptive. You don't actually believe the only motivation applicable to Hill's credibility is financial? Thats a dishonest argument for someone as intelligent as you to make.

/reversed: Paula Jones had no ideological or political stake in her case; obviously Anita Hill did

Cyrus: Anita Hill did not have any association with partisan political groups in her case

That's also dishonest. NOW is a partisan political group that stormed the steps of Congress on her behalf. Most of the media who hyped her allegations against Thomas also downplayed the allegations against Clinton.

"Hillary Clinton spoke at the August 1992 award luncheon, celebrating Hill for having transformed consciousness and changed history with her courageous testimony against Thomas. Both women were hailed as heroines at that ABA convention, by a host of women lawyers and others who have shunned Jones as a pariah."

http://my.en.com/%7Ebthomas/taylorar.htm

Cyrus: [various insults meant to prop up or distract from Cyrus's sophistry]

You need to review the article Ann linked to. You're trying to justify feminist hypocrisy re Hill:Jones by quibbling over frivolous differences. In doing so, you're making her point for her.

Luckyoldson said...

Clarence was LYING through his teeth.

Paula IS trailer trash.

Women LOVE Bill.

Deal with it.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Ann,

First, let me thank you for allowing me to post freely on your blog. I appreciate the opportunity to state disagreement with you without having my comments removed.

Having said that, let me get on with disagreeing with you. Among other things, you’ve reprimanded me for being “disrespectful” to mikeinsc. I’m a little surprised that you’ve chosen to play Mommy and correct behavior, but given that you’ve made that choice, would it be too much to ask that you be evenhanded about it? While it’s true that I wrote “Since you are easily confused, Mike...,” the evidence is that Mike is easily confused, sadly. On the other hand, you ignored the following comments from Mike that preceded the comment of mine that you found objectionable:
- If you wish to broadcast your ignorance that, of course, is your right.
-Your inability to read Carter's most recent tome...
So, on the Althouse list of bad manners, is referring to someone as “easily confused” really that much worse than accusing someone of an inability to read or of ignorance?

Just so there’s no confusion (and no, I’m not accusing you of being easily confused, Ann), I’m not complaining about mikeinsc’s comments. I’m a big boy now, and I’m not too worried about getting bruised on your website. But it seems to me that you don’t really want to be in the business of playing Miss Manners, and it does look a little hypocritical when you criticize the behavior of those who disagree with you while overlooking the same behavior from those who are in agreement with you.

On more interesting points of disagreement, I’ll refer you to my comments to Synova about the trashing of Anita Hill as compared to the trashing of Paula Jones. And as far as the Stuart Taylor article is concerned, it’s hardly relevant to the issue I was talking about. (I specifically avoided addressing the topic of Clinton’s and Thomas’ behavior.)

First, a comment isn't offensive merely because someone claims to be offended. But I meant to criticize, and I don't deny that. Where you are wrong, though I didn't criticize her appearance in the sense of calling her unattractive. I made fun of her for implying that she believed she was attractive, and I criticized her for her behavior in posing the way she did right in the middle of that picture and in front of Clinton (a man with a well-known sexual problem).

Ann, to begin with, this wasn’t just a case of one person claiming to be offended. Apparently many people were offended by that particular commentary, and given that one of the definitions of “offensive” is “causing resentment,” I think it’s quite fair to say, as I did, that “Valenti and others took offense.” Second, I never accused you of calling Valenti “unattractive,” so please don’t try to pin that on me. Where we differ is that you believe you can accurately judge behavior, or as you put it, “apparent behavior” from a photograph. And since your judgment of “apparent behavior” rests on an assessment of appearance (looks, attire, posture, etc...) in a photograph, the distinction you are trying to make is not viable. I understand the broader point you were trying to make, but by making your comments specific to Valenti in the way you did, they appeared mean-spirited, although you insist that was not your intention. When in doubt, why not show a little more generosity in your assumptions about the intentions of other bloggers rather than jumping to conclusions and attacking them? Isn’t that what you’ve requested of them?

Well, since you are easily confused, Cyrus, let me translate something for you. There is an immense difference between the way a person happens to look (for example the size and shape of her features) and the things she has control over, such as clothing and stance and attitude. The latter is all behavior, and it reflects her thoughts, though we are forced to interpret what the thoughts are. My expression "apparent behavior" is admittedly awkward, but you should be able to figure out that "apparent" signfies that I don't know what she's actually thinking. However, I can see how she's behaving, and I'm trying to interpret it accurately.

Actually Ann, I’m not confused at all about this point. You admit that you are determining behavior from a photograph, exactly as I said previously. And you admit that you are then extrapolating this “apparent behavior” to “apparent thinking.” Doesn’t any of this strike you as a real stretch? Has it ever occurred to you, for example, that clothing choice might reflect to some extent economic realities? Do you realize for instance that posture can reflect underlying health issues (e.g., kyphosis, scoliosis, etc..)? Perhaps you spent hours studying that photograph before you wrote your original comments in an effort to read Valenti’s “apparent thinking” accurately. Maybe you did research to eliminate the possibility that Valenti wore a jacket or sweater over her “clingy top” but removed it at some later point for reasons of comfort. Please understand that I’m not insisting that your reading of Valenti’s “apparent behavior” and “apparent thinking” aren’t exactly right. What I’m wondering is if you’ve considered the possibility that you might have got your reading of the photograph wrong. And if there is a possibility that you could read the photograph wrong, and that the “apparent behavior” you identified isn’t “actual behavior,” should the commentary have been written at all, especially given that you presumably would like to be given the benefit of doubt by other bloggers? I fully realize that you believe other bloggers have been mean-spirited in their attacks on you. Can you imagine that they might have the same complaint about you, at least on this issue?

Again Ann, thank you for allowing me to disagree with you.

Fen said...

Cyrus: there is no suggestion in anything that I wrote that Clinton's behavior towards Paula Jones is any better (or worse for that matter) than Thomas' behavior towards Anita Hill.

I'm curious why you are so evasive about that, as the allegations from Jones are far more serious than the allegations from Hill. You appear to be drawing equivalence between the behaviors of Thomas and Clinton.

However, to suggest, as mikeinsc did, that the victims and their circumstances were similar is clearly wrong.

Clearly. "Hill did not accuse Thomas of a single overt request for sex or a single unwelcome touching". While Jones accused Clinton of sliding his hand up her leg, attempting to kiss her neck, exposing himself and asking her to 'kiss it', then reminding her that he was pals with her boss, with an added warning You are smart. Let's keep this between ourselves.

"Meanwhile, not a single one of the feminist groups that clamored first for a Senate hearing for Anita Hill, and then for Clarence Thomas's head, has lifted a finger on behalf of Paula Jones."

http://my.en.com/%7Ebthomas/taylorar.htm

Jim said...

One fact about the Clinton sexual harressment case that is seldom remarked on is that in exchange for sexual favors Monica was given a high paying civil service job. Her job inteviews were conducted in her apartment by very senior Clinton adminstration officals.

Monica was able to jump ahead of thousands of better qualified applicants, many of them female, because she provided the boss with sexual favors.

Why doesn't this bother any of these left wing 'feminists'?

Luckyoldson said...

jim,
Speaking of getting a helping hand...

...does it also bother you that G.W. Bush somehow got into Yale, Harvard, business venture after business venture (all failures except for the gimme with the Rangers, and then ushered into the Presidency, the biggest failure of all...and all with Daddy and the Supreme Court's help?

Fen said...

Jim: Why doesn't this bother any of these left wing 'feminists'?

Thats easy, its because:

"They Don't Really Believe In The Things They Lecture Us About".

Luckyoldson said...

Fen,
Are you in some kind of time warp?

Who are all of these "feminists" who are "lecturing" you...or anybody for that matter?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Fen,
My statement ("Anita Hill had no financial stake in her case; obviously Paula Jones did.") is completely accurate. However, if you'd read my entire post, you'd realize that I offered that as only one example of many differences in credibility between Jones and Hill. Clearly there are other differences (I list several, if you will bother to look again), and I don't deny that there are people who are happy to speculate and argue endlessly about the motives of Hill and Jones. Your criticism seems to be that I didn't provide a comprehensive list of possible motives for each woman. You are welcome to do that, of course, but that was not my goal. As I've stated several times now, my goal was to try to convince Mike that there were clear differences in circumstances between the two cases and that those differences influenced how the credibility of each woman was judged. I'm sorry if you believe my decision to stick to examples of differences in circumstance that could be supported strictly by the factual record offends you. But please be fair and don't accuse me of deception based on your misreading of my post.

/reversed: Paula Jones had no ideological or political stake in her case; obviously Anita Hill did

Speculative. You may be right, but it isn't obvious as you insist, and you don't provide factual evidence to support your claim.

That's also dishonest. NOW is a partisan political group that stormed the steps of Congress on her behalf. Most of the media who hyped her allegations against Thomas also downplayed the allegations against Clinton.

No, it's not dishonest at all; it's entirely accurate. Anita Hill had no association with NOW. It's true that NOW opposed the Clarence Thomas nomination, they did so prior to Anita Hill's testimony, and they did so "based on his record of opposition to women's rights and his reliance on antiquated notions of 'natural law.'" (Incidentally, I can't find any reference to NOW storming the steps of Congress on [Hill's] behalf, other than those you placed on another website. Can you reference that action for me?)

Second point: "the media" does not qualify as a "partisan political group." Furthermore, you offer no evidence to support your claim that the media was soft on Clinton and tough on Thomas. In fact, if you read my response to Synova, you will see that the media was quite friendly to the Paula Jones team.

Hillary Clinton spoke at the August 1992 award luncheon, celebrating Hill for having transformed consciousness and changed history with her courageous testimony against Thomas. Both women were hailed as heroines at that ABA convention, by a host of women lawyers and others who have shunned Jones as a pariah.

Hmmm. I know you think this is relevant somehow, but Hill testified in 1991 and Thomas was confirmed in 1991. End of story. What happened in 1992 isn't in any way relevant. As I claimed initially, Anita Hill was not supported, financially or logistically, in her case by partisan political groups. Thank you for checking me on this, however.

You need to review the article Ann linked to.

Actually I don't. I'm familiar with the article, and it isn't in any way relevant to the points I was making. I suggest you review the article yourself to understand why it isn't relevant.

You're trying to justify feminist hypocrisy re Hill:Jones by quibbling over frivolous differences. In doing so, you're making her point for her.

No, you got this wrong too, Fen. I don't claim to speak for feminists. I simply offered Mike some insight into how some might view the Hill and Jones cases differently. I leave it to others to decide for themselves if they consider those differences frivolous.

If you want to play strawman, find someone who is willing to play with you. Thanks for thinking of me, but I'm going to pass.

peter hoh said...

Cyrus wrote: First, let me thank you for allowing me to post freely on your blog. I appreciate the opportunity to state disagreement with you without having my comments removed.

Cyrus, stick around, and I think you will find that this is normal behavior here at the Althouse blog. There is give and take, and the regular commenters on this blog are not all of one mind on most issues. We might be fans of Althouse, but that's not to say that we all agree with her on the issues.

Luckyoldson said...

Fen's battle cry:
The feminists are coming, the feminists are coming!!!

But...WHO are they?

Luckyoldson said...

Oh, and might I ask:

This entire thread starts with comments about breasts, then becomes long-winded pontifications relating to the Paula Jones and Anita Hill situations...and feminists?

WHAT feminists?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Fen writes:
I'm curious why you are so evasive about that, as the allegations from Jones are far more serious than the allegations from Hill. You appear to be drawing equivalence between the behaviors of Thomas and Clinton.

Clearly. "Hill did not accuse Thomas of a single overt request for sex or a single unwelcome touching". While Jones accused Clinton of sliding his hand up her leg, attempting to kiss her neck, exposing himself and asking her to 'kiss it', then reminding her that he was pals with her boss, with an added warning You are smart. Let's keep this between ourselves.


Wrong again, Fen. I've consistently avoided comparing the behavior of Thomas and Clinton, as it isn't in any way relevant to anything I've been discussing. It seems to me, though, that you are extremely eager to discuss it. Isn't there an imissclintonsexchat.com website where you can go to get your buzz? If not, someone should start one because there seems to be a lot of needy rightwingers who aren't getting a big enough bang from rereading their well-worn copies of the Starr Report nowadays. It's a shame that the Mark Foley email messages haven't managed to fill the void.

Luckyoldson said...

You people need to get-a-frigging-life.

Paula, Anita, feminists???

WHO CARES???

Fen said...

Cyrus: But please be fair and don't accuse me of deception based on your misreading of my post.

But your posts are full of deception:

Cyrus: I've consistently avoided comparing the behavior of Thomas and Clinton, as it isn't in any way relevant to anything I've been discussing.

The entire discussion of the Althouse-Valenti controversy revolves around feminist hypocrisy – applying one set of standards to Thomas and another set to Clinton. Ignoring that is dishonest…

Cyrus: Isn't there an imissclintonsexchat.com website where you can go to get your buzz?

…as is equating examples of sexual assault with voyeurism. Throughout this discussion, you’ve relied heavily on personal insults instead of rational argument, to cover your sophistry. Dishonest of you.

Cyrus: Furthermore, you offer no evidence to support your claim that the media was soft on Clinton and tough on Thomas…I'm familiar with the article, and it isn't in any way relevant to the points I was making.

The article I linked to provides the evidence you are ignoring. More dishonesty.

Fen: reversed: Paula Jones had no ideological or political stake in her case; obviously Anita Hill did

Cyrus: You may be right, but it isn't obvious as you insist, and you don't provide factual evidence to support your claim.

That statement was a mirror image [ie. reversed] of your own. I simply switched the names and motivation around. The intent was to demonstrate why it’s a dishonest argument. Although its interesting that you don’t abide by the same standards ["provide factual evidence"] you demand from others. Wait - no, that’s par for the course, and appropriate, as the topic is leftist hypocrisy.

Fen said...

Luckyoldson: You people need to get-a-frigging-life. Paula, Anita, feminists??? WHO CARES???

...said the Valenti-troll, 300 comments into a thread he "doesn't care about".

MikeinSC said...

Wrong again, Fen. I've consistently avoided comparing the behavior of Thomas and Clinton, as it isn't in any way relevant to anything I've been discussing.

It was, however, a major aspect of what Prof. Althouse was talking about. There aren't too many feminists who will sit there and, for wont of a better term, kiss up to Clarence Thomas --- but there is a ready supply of them to do that to Clinton, who had far more credible charges brought against him.

If you are a feminist and believe in treating men and women equally, then it is fairly important to actually treat them equally. If what Thomas did was bad, then what Clinton did is deserving of equal --- if not greater --- criticism.

It's BEYOND sad that Ann is one of the few feminists with the consistency to say "What Clarence Thomas was accused of was bad AND what Bill Clinton was accused of was EQUALLY bad." It's a joke that she is one of the few who when they say things like sexual harassment and superiors exploiting their position over sub-ordinates for their own personal pleasure that it is universally bad.

I simply offered Mike some insight into how some might view the Hill and Jones cases differently.

The excuses hold no water for any of a litany of reasons. Since you have expressed a desire to not discuss the two cases, I won't bore you with them --- but let's just say that following a harasser to multiple jobs AFTER the harassment began and when you have no obligation to deal with him does seem to make one's case a little sketchy. Add into that a dearth of corroboration for the story and you don't have a strong case.

But since Anita was --- correctly --- not described as "trailer trash", it seems to be ignored. But Paula had a much stronger case than did Ms. Hill, but since she was "trailer trash" --- as more than a few "feminists" claimed --- her case got a bit more undue criticism.
-=Mike

Mark said...

"The entire discussion of the Althouse-Valenti controversy revolves around feminist hypocrisy – applying one set of standards to Thomas and another set to Clinton. Ignoring that is dishonest…"

Fen, you are missing the point. What Cyrus was talking about was the HUGE difference in credibility of Anita Hill and Paula Jones. It is therefore a very cheap demagogic shot to try to allege "feminist hypocrisy" simply because "mainstream feminists" treated Hill differently from Jones.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

What Cyrus was talking about was the HUGE difference in credibility of Anita Hill and Paula Jones

Both have credibility issues. The difference is not significant enough to be considered "huge"...

cheap demagogic shot to try to allege "feminist hypocrisy" simply because "mainstream feminists" treated Hill differently from Jones.

...and does not justify different treatment by feminists.

http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=131699

"In their rush to condemn Thomas, they ignore crippling inconsistencies in Hill's story. Contrary to what the staff implies, Thomas's credibility was bolstered over the weekend; Hill's got hammered:

1. If Hill suffered the alleged harassment, why did she accept a job with Thomas at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and then maintain contact with him throughout the '80s? After leaving the EEOC for private life, why did she continue to call her harasser-at least 10 times-and at one point, congratulate him on his marriage?

2. Why did Hill, a law professor familiar with sexual harassment cases, wait 10 years and three Thomas nomination hearings to come forward with her charges?

3. Why did Hill change her answers to questions about whether Senate staffers ever discussed with her the possibility of Thomas's withdrawing over her allegations? Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn.), a former prosecutor, says such flipflopping constitutes perjury. We agree.

4. Why did Hill tell mutual friends of hers and Thomas's at an American Bar Assotiation meeting in August that she was happy about the judge's nomination to the Supreme Court, and then deny during the hearings that she said this?

The majority also fails to consider the wealth of evidence that supports Thomas, choosing instead to rely solely upon four witnesses who testified on Hill's behalf. Thirteen women, many of whom disagree with Thomas politically, have come forward to defend his character under oath.

One self-described pro-choice feminist, who sat right next to Thomas at work for more than two years and heard almost every telephone conversation he had, says she never heard him make one sexist remark. Another remembers that Thomas corrected her for using profanity on official business. Yet another recalled that when Thomas spoke to female employees in his office, he always left the door open."

Mark said...

Fen,

The differences between Hill and Jones are very big and I am not going to waste time and space to list them all. Also, the article by a conservative writer that you cite is not a fair measure by which to determine whether feminists gave Thomas a fair treatment.
The point still stands that so far nobody on this blog (including Ann, her citation of Stuart Taylor notwithstanding) has demonstrated any "feminist conspiracy" to whitewash Clinton.
Even more importantly, after 321 comments and counting, nobody has yet clearly explained how did Clinton "set feminism back 20 years." Why? Because he did not.

peter hoh said...

Mak, I thought Althouse's argument was that "feminism was set back 20 years" by those feminists who rallied behind Clinton (perhaps after Jones, but moreso after the Lewinsky affair).

peter hoh said...

Mark, sorry for the typo with regards to your name. Just doing my part to help this thread get to 400.

Fen said...

Cyrus: In this regard, Carter’s book presents facts about the Middle East that he believes are generally unknown in the United States

Fact? 14 members of Carter's advisory board quit because his book "is riddled with inaccuracies." And Carter is still dodging Alan Dershowitz.

Fen said...

mark: The differences between Hill and Jones are very big and I am not going to waste time and space to list them all.

[snicker]

Eric said...

I've actually never read her blog!

Yeah, no kidding. That explains why you wrote that her blog was full of breast pictures.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Fen said...
But your posts are full of deception

So you claim, Fen, but you don't actually cite anything that is factually incorrect or provide any evidence to show where I've attempted to deceive. As Mike has done, you instead desperately try to shift the debate to side issues or irrelevant points to avoid addressing the specific, narrow points I raise. In that sense, your posts about comments I've made are intellectually dishonest.

The entire discussion of the Althouse-Valenti controversy revolves around feminist hypocrisy – applying one set of standards to Thomas and another set to Clinton. Ignoring that is dishonest…

Incorrect again, Fen. Indeed, Clinton and his behavior feature prominently in the "Althouse-Valenti" controversy, but until Mike tried to compare the Anita Hill and Paula Jones cases, Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill were NOT in any way a significant part of the "entire discussion" as you say. The Clarence Thomas case has been raised rarely and sporadically in comments spread across multiple blog entries. Nothing more.

Since your premise is wrong, there really is little reason to address the rest of your complaint, but I will anyway as a courtesy to you. Fen, you need to understand that you do not get to dictate the terms of the debate. If you reply to a comment of mine that I regard as irrelevant, and I take the time to explain to you why it is irrelevant, you don't have any basis for shrieking "dishonest!" when I choose to ignore your further attempts to sidetrack the discussion.

…as is equating examples of sexual assault with voyeurism. Throughout this discussion, you’ve relied heavily on personal insults instead of rational argument, to cover your sophistry. Dishonest of you.

Well, at least I must admire your consistency Fen, as you're wrong yet again. I did NOT "[equate] sexual assault with voyeurism" as you claim. It's sad that you're reduced to pure fabrication to try to "score points" on me. Why don't you produce a quote showing specifically where I "[equated] sexual assault with voyeurism?" You won't find one Fen, and you know it. Unfortunately your repeated yelps of "dishonest!" appear increasingly inaccurate and hypocritical.

Fen wrote: Paula Jones had no ideological or political stake in her case; obviously Anita Hill did
That statement was a mirror image [ie. reversed] of your own. I simply switched the names and motivation around. The intent was to demonstrate why it’s a dishonest argument. Although its interesting that you don’t abide by the same standards ["provide factual evidence"] you demand from others. Wait - no, that’s par for the course, and appropriate, as the topic is leftist hypocrisy.

There's so much wrong with this paragraph, it should stand as a model of illogical thought. First, your statement is NOT a "mirror image" of my statement. Starting with a false premise is a poor way to build an argument, Fen. Second, it is a simple matter to check the facts on any of the statements I made comparing Hill and Jones. Your choice not to do so (or not to ask for specific references if you can't find the information yourself) is certainly not a sign of dishonesty on my part, Fen. In fairness, it's much more an indication of laziness on your part.

Speaking of which, I asked you specifically for a reference for a claim you made (i.e., that NOW stormed the steps of Congress on behalf of Anita Hill); where is your response to my very specific and polite request? Considering that you repeatedly accuse me of dishonesty for "ignoring" your attempts to sidetrack this discussion, don't you think you ought to have at least covered yourself by not ignoring my question of you? Tsk, tsk.

Finally Fen, your attempt to link me to "leftist hypocrisy" is fairly laughable since I'm not a "leftist." Why you assume I'm a "leftist" I don't know, but please don't let my obvious boredom with people who obsess about Clinton's sexcapades mislead you. If you are titillated by posting irrelevant garbage like you did here:

Hill did not accuse Thomas of a single overt request for sex or a single unwelcome touching". While Jones accused Clinton of sliding his hand up her leg, attempting to kiss her neck, exposing himself and asking her to 'kiss it', then reminding her that he was pals with her boss, with an added warning You are smart. Let's keep this between ourselves.

by all means, go to it, but as a courtesy, don't post it to me. I'd prefer to have people who post to me stay on topic.
Thanks Fen, it's been fun, as always.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Fen, I've noted your references to "feminist hypocrisy" and "leftist hypocrisy" re: Clinton and Thomas. Knowing that you are not a hypocrite yourself and seeing that your commentary is always "fair and balanced," I'm wondering when you are going to discuss "rightwing hypocrisy." I'm sure you know exactly what I'm talking about, but just to make sure that everyone else understands, when can we expect you to thoughtfully criticize the hypocrisy of those on the right who quietly gave Thomas a pass but tirelessly attacked Clinton for his behavior? Will you please respond directly to this question? Thank you.

Ann Althouse said...

Eric said..."'I've actually never read her blog!' Yeah, no kidding. That explains why you wrote that her blog was full of breast pictures."

I have the extraordinary ability to see pictures without reading! Marvel at my powers!

Ann Althouse said...

Cyrus: "Clinton's sexcapades"

Your use of that expression for what happened demonstrates my point: Clinton set feminism back 20 years. Or I could revise it to 40 years. Wow, that's just painful. It's as if the idea of sexual harassment had not yet been thought up at all. Sad. Really, really sad.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Fen wrote:
Fact? 14 members of Carter's advisory board quit because his book "is riddled with inaccuracies."

Yes, Fen, it's true that 14 members of Carter's advisory board quit. Now here's the context that you failed to mention: the number of members on that advisory board is 200.

As for the reason they quit, I refer you to their letter of resignation, which I note does not contain the phrase "is riddled with inaccuracies." If I may ask, where did that quote originate, and on what basis do you attribute it to the members of the Carter advisory board who resigned?

Please answer this question, Fen. As you are clearly a person who detests dishonesty, I know you'll want to clear up any misunderstanding.

Ann Althouse said...

Will someone respond to my last comment before I have time to post this one and say that Monica Lewinsky consented? But I know someone is about to say that. So let me preemptively say that that the fact that people think consent avoids the problem of sexual harassment is also proof that Clinton set feminism back 20 years.

Mark said...

Ann said:

"Your use of that expression for what happened demonstrates my point: Clinton set feminism back 20 years. Or I could revise it to 40 years. Wow, that's just painful. It's as if the idea of sexual harassment had not yet been thought up at all. Sad. Really, really sad."

Unless this post is sarcastic, it makes little sense to me. The use of the expression "Clinton sexcapades" is in no way a proof of Clinton's setting feminism back. The expression is simply shortcut for referring to Clinton's transgressions; it does not condone or understate Clinton's behavior. The statetement that Clinton set feminism back is a) big exaggeration and b) without proof.

"Will someone respond to my last comment before I have time to post this one and say that Monica Lewinsky consented? But I know someone is about to say that. So let me preemptively say that that the fact that people think consent avoids the problem of sexual harassment is also proof that Clinton set feminism back 20 years."

Can you please state (with proof) who exactly thinks that consent avoids the problem of sexual harassment? Consent is surely relevant in the context of sexual relations. But it is unfair to equate acknowledging relevancy of consent with stating that consent avoids the problem of sexual harassment.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Ann wrote:
Your use of that expression for what happened demonstrates my point: Clinton set feminism back 20 years. Or I could revise it to 40 years. Wow, that's just painful. It's as if the idea of sexual harassment had not yet been thought up at all. Sad. Really, really sad.

I'm sorry Ann, but I think you've fallen into a familiar trap. You've made a fairly ungenerous assumption in interpreting my use of a single word from a fairly lengthy comment (following up on other lengthy comments) to deduce my "apparent thinking." Upon that shaky assumption you claim to demonstrate your point. Honestly Ann, given your intelligence, I'm genuinely surprised to find you operate in this way. Especially after all that's happened, I'd have thought you might be a little more cautious in jumping to questionable conclusions about the intentions and thinking of other people.

For the record, I never voted for Clinton, nor did I support him. I am appalled by his personal behavior, although unlike some, I make an effort to distinguish his personal behavior from his policy positions on issues of concern to women. And to clarify for your benefit, Ann, my use of the word "sexcapades" in that context was an attempt to mock the posts of Fen in which she insisted that I discuss the details of Paula Jones' allegations, as Fen believes they are central to what is apparently now preferably known as the "Althouse-Valenti" controversy.
Given that there have been 330+ comments so far here, I can't expect you to carefully every track every exchange, but I think if you really want to bother to go back through those I had with Fen, you will see that, in context, the strange significance you incorrectly attached to my use of the term vanishes.

As a final point, Ann, you continue to say, or are cited as having said, "Clinton set feminism back 20 years." And on each occasion I read that, I wonder, how does Ann quantify that? Where does the number 20 come from? Can you link me to a previous blog entry where you've addressed the specific number of years that feminism has been set back by Clinton and Clinton alone? Or now having read this from you:
"Or I could revise it to 40 years"
is it fair to conclude that the number 20 (or 40) has no real quanitative value whatsoever?

Mark said...

peter hoh said...
Mak, I thought Althouse's argument was that "feminism was set back 20 years" by those feminists who rallied behind Clinton (perhaps after Jones, but moreso after the Lewinsky affair).

Peter, that argument would have made more sense had it been made. Although I am convinced that it would have been also wrong. However, this is not the argument that Ann was advancing. She specifically stated, several times, that it was Clinton who set feminism back. The logic is apparently to blame Clinton's notorious sexual transgressions for setting feminism back because Ann thinks that he was not sufficiently condemned by feminists. This logic makes little sense to me.

Mark said...

Cyrus, forget it. :) You'll never get a response to "Clinton set feminism back" meme.

Ann Althouse said...

Mark: "The expression is simply shortcut for referring to Clinton's transgressions; it does not condone or understate Clinton's behavior."

Mark, your thinking the expression "sexcapades" aptly expresses what Clinton did is itself evidence that he undermined a vast amount of work by feminists, defining and getting people to care about sexual harassment and the way power affects sexual relationships. Get it? If you say you don't, I will think you are still a victim of the Clinton effect that has so damaged the feminist cause.

Cyrus asks why I say 20 years. This is a reference to the development of thinking about sexual harassment in the workplace. I switched to 40 for Cyrus's use of the term "sexcapades," because it has that retro-smirkiness that I associate with the Playboy magazine of the 1960s (and 1950s). It has the feel of talk about sex before feminists analyzed sex in terms of power relationships, when it was all just a big romp that men and women alike could just relax and enjoy if only they weren't so uptight.

Mark said...

Ann,

I get your argument but it's still wrong.

First, I notice that again instead of serious arguments, you rely on words (such as sexcapades) that your commenters use. Even if you were 100% right about the term "sexcapade" (which I don't think you are), it would hardly prove your point about Clinton setting feminism back. All it would prove would be that a commenter using this word and his defenders do not take Clinton's actions sufficiently seriously.

Second, as Cyrus aptly noted, you are substantively wrong; he used the expression to mock posts of another commenter.

A proof that Clinton set feminism back would be (for example) a survey which would demonstrate that a) because of Clinton's behavior b) people's attitudes to feminist issues changed in a negative way.
I think the lack of this evidence is in itself a proof that your argument is false.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Ann writes:
I switched to 40 for Cyrus's use of the term "sexcapades," because it has that retro-smirkiness that I associate with the Playboy magazine of the 1960s (and 1950s).

Hmm. So now I'm responsible for setting back feminism another 20 years? Wow, I didn't realize I was such an important player. Gee, thanks Ann!

Okay Ann, 20 years for Clinton, 20 years for me, but how many for Mark? Come on now, be fair. Shouldn't you credit Mark with setting back feminism at least a decade? If you give Mark 10, then the running total so far is 50, and that takes us back to 1957, well within the timeframe you've identified.

Ann, I would never have guessed you were a reader of Playboy magazine in the 1950s and 1960s. Very cool.

JodyTresidder said...

Ann wrote of "that retro-smirkiness that I associate with the Playboy magazine of the 1960s (and 1950s)."

That describes, I think, precisely how Ann chose to read Jessica's body language, her clothes and thus her behavior in the Clinton photo.

Young Jessica, according to Ann, was guilty of presenting Clinton with a retro-smirk!

Fen said...

Cyrus: First, your statement is NOT a "mirror image" of my statement...it is a simple matter to check the facts on any of the statements I made comparing Hill and Jones

This is getting silly:

"[Anita Hill] had no [financial] stake in her case; obviously [Paula Jones] did."

"[Paula Jones] had no [ideological] stake in her case; obviously [Anita Hill] did"

You implied Jones had less credibility because she had a financial motivation where Hill had none. I switched the names and motivation around to show why that argument was unsound [ie. financial is not the only motivation that goes to credibility]. You deny the logic.

You go round in circles like this. Ann adjusts her claim that Clinton set feminism back 20 years [now 40], you falsely assert that she said you set it back, and pivot your argument into that distortion.

Deception. Distortion. Sophistry. Why should anyone respond to you in good faith?

Ann Althouse said...

Cyrus: You're not responsible for setting feminism back 40 years, but your use of the word "sexcapades" in this context was evidence that feminism is set back that far. Not definitive proof, but probative. (Lawyers will recognize Evidence Rule 401.)

And yes, I did read Playboy (and look at the pictures) in the 1950s and 60s. I was born in 1951, so figure it out. I have not read Playboy since the 60s, though, other than the time I bought it to read the interview with Jimmy Carter.

Fen said...

was an attempt to mock the posts of Fen in which she insisted that I discuss the details of Paula Jones' allegations, as Fen believes they are central to what is apparently now preferably known as the "Althouse-Valenti" controversy.

Again, you're going circular. I beleive feminist hyocrisy is the central issue here. You're the one claiming there is no hypocrisy, because feminsist "might view the Hill and Jones cases differently."

So comparing the details of Paula Jones' allegations with Hill's is a door that you opened and then willfully ignored.

JodyTresidder said...

Ann wrote: "And yes, I did read Playboy (and look at the pictures) in the 1950s and 60s."

And I think we now get the the root of the problem, Ann.

Jessica's Cinton picture pose triggered the worst visceral associations for you because of your early memories of furtively/guiltily gazing at rude soft porn layouts.

Which is fair enough. Unlike your disobligingly mean public reaction to Jessica decades later.

Mark said...

Ann,

Rule 401 relates to relevant evidence. Cyrus' use or misuse of the term "sexcapade" has no relevancy to whether Clinton set feminism back. Unless Cyrus' use of the terms is somehow a measure of where feminism is or was. Even if it were, you'd need to demonstrate that Cyrus would not have used the term "sexcapade" in this context before Clinton's transgressions.
Your claim that Clinton set feminism back stands unsupported by any relevant evidence.

Would you not agree that Clinton's public policies were very SUPPORTIVE of feminist values? Like the FMLA? Appointment of record number of women as federal judges? Agressively prosecuting cases of gender discrimination? The list goes on and on. To blame Clinton for setting feminism back is unfair and illogical.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Fen,

Under the circumstances I've been very patient with you, but as you continue to insult my intelligence with your irrelevant posts overflowing with factual and logical errors, I'm going to undoubtedly become less generous. So, for perhaps the last time, I will patiently and carefully catalogue and correct your many errors.

1. You claimed your statement was a "mirror" (i.e., reversed image) of mine. What you meant to say, apparently, was that you were providing a completely new sentence with new words.

2. Your new statement (referring to an "ideological stake") is not one which is based on fact. It may or not be true; it is a subjective matter rather than an objective matter. On the other hand, when I referred to a "financial stake," that is matter which is indisputable and is part of the public record. As they say, "you could look it up." Understand the difference now Fen?

3. You say that I have claimed that a financial motive is the "only motivation that goes to credibility." This is purely false, and even a quick glance at my original post on the subject proves it untrue. In that part of my comment, I list FOUR examples of differences that bear on credibility. However, even if I had listed only one example (instead of 4; yes, count 'em Fen, it comes to 4!), I assume that everyone here understands that the word example does not indicate that I am attempting to enumerate all cases.

4. My response to Ann, about my responsibility for setting back feminism another 20 years was clearly a joke. Considering that you misconstrue nearly everything I write (and I am beginning to suspect you do so intentionally), I don't think I'll bother to encourage you to reread it.

5. (From your next post to me) Indeed I have argued that feminists may view the Hill and Jones cases differently, because the circumstances are different. That is their prerogative Fen. Those who insist that the cases are identical may do so too, of course, but they shouldn't insist that everyone believe as they do. However, nowhere have I said there is no hypocrisy among feminists; in fact, I've never found a shortage of hypocrisy among those who comment on all variety of blogs. Again, the sad fact is that you accuse me of writing something that I did not write. This is a very bad habit you have, and I would think it would be a bit of an embarrassment to you by now.

6. I never compared Hill's allegations to those of Jones. Instead, I compared examples that bear on credibility. If you review my original post (how many times have I suggested this to you now, Fen?), I specifically avoid comparing allegations. I limit my discussion to credibility. Why do you continue to insist on distorting this point?

No offense Fen, but my problem with your posts to me is that you are extremely sloppy in presenting facts and connecting them with logical thoughts. When you repeatedly pretend to reproduce what I have written but do so inaccurately, I am annoyed. When you then build a logically unsound argument on a false premise, I am puzzled. When you finally conclude your presentations by accusing me of deceit, I am annoyed.

In the meantime, Fen, you've again declined to answer any of my specific questions to you. I've asked you for references for claims you've made (e.g., the quote you provided for the Carter advisory board members who resigned), and you repeatedly ignore these requests. Instead you fall back on trying to make something out of distortions of my previous comments. Fen, if this is the best you can offer, please don't come back to me with anymore. As I've said before, if you want to play strawman, find another partner, please.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Ann wrote:
You're not responsible for setting feminism back 40 years, but your use of the word "sexcapades" in this context was evidence that feminism is set back that far. Not definitive proof, but probative.

I'm sorry Ann, but you can't take it back now. You've twice now indicated that it's MY use (not the use) of the word "sexcapades" that is responsible for setting back feminism another twenty years. In other words, if I hadn't been here to write "sexcapades," feminism would only have been set back twenty years. You know, if Clinton needs me to get to a 40 year setback, then I really deserve full credit for 20 of those years. Pbbbbt.

Ann Althouse said...

JodyTresidder: "Ann wrote: "And yes, I did read Playboy (and look at the pictures) in the 1950s and 60s." And I think we now get the the root of the problem, Ann. Jessica's Cinton picture pose triggered the worst visceral associations for you because of your early memories of furtively/guiltily gazing at rude soft porn layouts."

Well, Jody, your dirty little mind is showing. And I do mean dirty and little. There was nothing furtive or guilty in my looking at Playboy in those days. The magazine was always right out on the coffee table and no one ever suggested there was a reason not to look at it, which we did in front of my parents all the time. I had no idea in the 1950s when I was a child that there was anything wrong with photographs of breasts and the idea of "porn" was utterly unknown to me. And "rude"? This was glamorous photography. The only way it could be "rude" is if you think female nudity is rude. Man, that's YOUR problem! What's "triggering" YOUR "visceral reactions"? Hey, maybe everyone's so bent out of shape about my "breasts" post because THEY have some nasty, unresolved conflicts! Me, I've been looking at nudes all my life, including in hundreds of life drawing classes. I'm seeing this in a new light now. Thanks for your highly revealing comment!

Ann Althouse said...

Now, let's analyze Jody's Freudian slip of a misspelling: "Cinton."

peter hoh said...

Cinton = Merry Christmas.

JodyTresidder said...

"Well, Jody, your dirty little mind is showing."

"I had no idea in the 1950s when I was a child that there was anything wrong with photographs of breasts and the idea of "porn" was utterly unknown to me. And "rude"? This was glamorous photography."

Crumbs, Ann!

That is very different to my reaction as an under-ten-year-old to probably very similar Playboy glam shots.

Blame it on my parents, who co-edited an early Cosmo style national women's mag in the 1960s which once ran a jokey male centrefold in the style of a lounging Playmate!

Their edgy, monthly magazine - "Eve" - was doubtless full of ideological contradictions, but was intended as an alternative to the usual 'knit-your-own-abortion-the-royal-family-way' women's magazine fare.

I cannot remember a time as a kid when I didn't know the difference between glam shots ('poor ladies showing their bottoms for money') and, for example, Germaine Greer's shocking nipples under a T-shirt on national TV (perfectly fine - they are HERS and she is showing them on her own terms).

Naturally, being a contrary child, I secretly thought the poor ladies were often rather pretty and that Germaine Greer wasn't that pretty at all.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

As I've just discovered, Ann is correct that feminism has been set back 40 years. The surprise, though, is that it isn't Clinton (or even Clinton with an assist from me) who is responsible. It turns out that the culprit is former NOW president Patricia Ireland, at least according to feminism expert Timothy Rollins at The American Partisan. (http://www.american-partisan.com/cols/2002/rollins/qtr1/0114.htm)
Here's the relevant part of his analysis:

NOW's hypocrisy really came out in full bloom during the Clinton impeachment hearings. I was at church one Sunday while my then-wife stayed home with the baby and was watching “Meet the Press” on NBC. Patricia Ireland was the guest and Bill Clinton and I believe Paula Jones were the topic of conversation. Ireland had the temerity to say, “The first one is free”. Such a remark by one who purports to support the cause of women’s rights only serves to set back that cause 40 years, thus negating any and all progress that may have been made in that time.

Isn't it good to finally have this question settled?

Ann Althouse said...

Suddenly, Jody is British. All bets are off.

JodyTresidder said...

"Suddenly, Jody is British. All bets are off."

Nope, only British by education, Ann.

But not an American either, obviously.

(Not that it should matter:)Living in America has made me a huge booster for this country - possibly partly because my parents now reside super proudly in France.)

Mark said...

Cyrus,

Considering the source, I have virtually no doubt that Patricia Ireland has said no such thing at Meet the Press.

The Exalted said...

Ann Althouse said...
Will someone respond to my last comment before I have time to post this one and say that Monica Lewinsky consented? But I know someone is about to say that. So let me preemptively say that that the fact that people think consent avoids the problem of sexual harassment is also proof that Clinton set feminism back 20 years.


thank god you're not in any kind of position with legal authority or influence, oh wait

The Exalted said...

cyrus has made a mockery of you all.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Mark,

Well, as I'm sure you've guessed, I wasn't serious in pointing to Timothy Rollins as an authority, but I'm confident you're right that Ireland said no such thing. In fact, in a column four years earlier, Rollins attributed that remark to Gloria Steinem. On the other hand, what's the importance of a few distortions, fabrications or false attributions when you have a larger case to make?

In any event, the important point I was making was that we've now pinned down the setting back of feminism to precisely 40 years. All the experts now agree on 40 years, except for a small but convincing minority who argue that the song "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas set back feminism by 50 years. Even if we accept the larger number, we are still in the Althouse timeframe defined by the "retro-smirkiness ... associate[d] with the Playboy magazine of the 1960s (and 1950s)."

Mark said...

Cyrus,

I will have to strongly disagree.
I think Clinton not only set feminism back 40-50 years (give or take), he virtually destroyed it (with your help, of course).
Feminism is now dead; Clinton's anti-feminist policies killed it. It was superbly demonstrated in this enlightening thread of 350+ comments, which has some outstandingly deep arguments and observations, as well as enlightening discussion of Playboy's content in 1950s and 1960s.

The Exalted said...

yup, feminism died when clinton appointed the first female attorney general and the first female secretary of state. and he buried feminism by appointing the first female surgeon general.

thanks althousers, for making this all so clear.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

The Exalted: Are you referring to Zoe Baird [Clinton's first nominee] or Kimba Woods [Clinton's second nominee] or Janet Reno? At best, Ms. Reno was the third-best choice among the females. No telling where she would have ranked if it had been a straight meritocracy and not a showboat appointment.

Let's not forget how Donna Shalala and Madame Albright came out to support Clinton's veracity [I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky] before he admitted to the same. He misused women throughout his administration.

Sleeping Sleeper said...

Further proof that no matter what the issue, no matter where in the world it happens.....it's 'all about Anne'.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Ruth Anne Adams said...
No telling where she would have ranked if it had been a straight meritocracy and not a showboat appointment.

Very strange. Ruth Anne, since when have nominations for executive branch jobs ever been based on a straight meritocracy? And as a point of logical consistency, how can you simultaneously describe a nomination as "showboat" and admit you have no idea where the person would be ranked on the merit system? If the Reno nomination was truly just "showboat" (i.e., she wasn't qualified), why was she confirmed by a 98-0 vote? Shouldn't at least one of the senators who believed she was unqualified cast a dissenting vote?

Let's not forget how Donna Shalala and Madame Albright came out to support Clinton's veracity [I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky] before he admitted to the same. He misused women throughout his administration.

I'm not sure there's a point here. As far as I know, Clinton lied to everyone (i.e., not just women) about his relationship with Lewinsky. If Clinton's lie is the driving force behind your claim of administration-wide misuse of women, then the correct interpretation would be that he misused (your word choice, not mine) people (not just women) throughout his administration. Unless you have evidence to show Clinton specifically misused women throughout his administration, you probably ought to drop that charge.

In a related matter, it's noteworthy that none of the rightwingers stepped up to answer my question about rightwing hypocrisy re: Clinton and Clarence Thomas. Instead, they chose to shriek about "feminist hypocrisy" or "liberal hypocrisy," and tried to sweep their own hypocrisy under the rug. Apparently this is what "personal responsibility" means--making sure you call everyone else on their failings while giving yourself a pass.

Making this point relevant to the new century, there are very few areas in which I judge Bush competent, but when it comes to shifting blame, he's the master. One of the reasons that Clinton is still the hot topic 6+ years after leaving office is that he, as we have been told, is responsible for everything from 9/11 to the massive budget deficits. bin Laden? Clinton's fault! Recession? Bill Clinton's fault again! Rising poverty rates? Clinton! Global climate change? Clinton!

But it doesn't stop there. Recently I've learned that Clinton is responsible for setting back feminism 20, 40, 60 years...oh what the hell, since the numbers are arbitrary anyway, let's just call it an even one thousand years. To the extent that feminism has suffered a setback (or is comatose or even dead), seemingly feminists played no role in this. Apparently, like a little leaf in the wind, feminism has been blown off course by Clinton and his sexploits. (Oops, more retro-smirkiness; make that a setback of one thousand and twenty years!)

Out of curiousity, when did feminists officially cede control of the feminist movement to Bill Clinton? And in that regard, if feminists did indeed cede control to Clinton, aren't they ultimately responsible for doing so? (My analogy here is that, by 2004, all Americans had plenty of evidence to show that Bush is dishonest and incompetent; therefore, on the principle that we get the government we deserve, I blame Bush voters, not Bush, for the continuing Bush national disaster.)

So, to all who accept the questionable premise that Clinton set back feminism 20 or 40 years, please fully explain why you blame him instead of feminists themselves.

lee david said...

Cyrus,

I think that the point of Ann's original post about the photo was that, here is yet another "feminist" in a long line of them that have cast aside their proclaimed principals to either stand mute, defend, or suck up to Clinton whose behavior is the antithesis of those principals. One could argue over the amount of time that this fecklessness has cost the forward progress of their movement but any honest observer would have to conclude that it was a regression or that the espoused principals were so much hot air if the guy was powerful enough or dreamy enough. So much for principals.

Ann is placing the blame precisely where it belongs and in this instance on the feminist Valenti and her antics.

Come on folks, I know we can make 400 if we really try.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Cyrus Pinkerton: My recollection is that the AG appointment was damn sure going to be a woman, per Hillary's insistence. That meant that when the first two more qualified females went down with nanny problems or perceived nanny problems, they went to a woman who would not have any nanny problems--a never married childless female--Janet Reno.

As was the custom of the Congress, the President was entitled to his appointments. They even extended that courtesy to Clinton's Supreme Court nominations. Clinton won fair and square, and so long as his nominees met a threshhold standard of "qualified," he could have them. Reno was certainly less qualified than the two named ahead of her. And Janet Reno took a lot of heat for the Waco incident before Clinton came out from the bunker to assert his executive authority. She was ill for much of her tenure, but because she was needed to slow down those pesky, persistent investigations against her boss, she was kept in office. I think that was a misuse of her.

As to Shalala and Albright, I recall them beaming after a cabinet meeting where POTUS assured them all charges were lies, Lies, LIES! They were questioned on camera just outside of the cabinet room and they spoke, as women cabinet members that they believed him [and the implication was that you lesser informed, less smart women should, too].

Hillary is a case unto herself. She knew him for what he is/was and proceeded with the "vast right wing conspiracy" claim. I am loathe to say that she was "misused." And a big reason why Bill Clinton still matters is that the former POTUS cannot avoid the klieg lights, God help him, and because his wife is running for the same job. If she wins, he'll be back in power at a significant level.

I'm not a feminist, and so I can't carry water for those who hold those beliefs, but I do think that he used, abused or misused women quite consistently. No man I know could get away with a fraction of what Bill Clinton did.

JodyTresidder said...

"Hillary is a case unto herself".

How gnawing for you and your lovely labels, ruth anne adams!

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Ruth Anne,

Thank you for your historical review. I doubt the accuracy of much of it (noted below), but I'm pleased to see that you've at least conceded the following points:

1. Reno was not a "showboat" nomination, as you first indicated. She was unanimously judged to be qualified by the Senate.
2. Selections for executive branch jobs have never been strictly based on a merit system. This extends to judicial nominations as well (e.g., Clarence Thomas, Harriet Miers).
3. There is no evidence that Clinton misused women throughout the administration. To the extent that Clinton's lies about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky constitute "misuse" of those in his administration, the evidence is that he "misused" men and women equally in that regard.

Now for the correction of your historical review:

1. I can't find any evidence that Hillary Clinton insisted on a woman as AG, as you state. If you have any, will you share it please? On the other hand, this is what Clinton had to say at the press conference where he announced Reno's nomination:

Q. Mr. President, can you tell us what role Mrs. Clinton had in this selection because we know that Janet Reno has a great deal of experience in child issues and that she's come to Mrs. Clinton's attention last year at least?

The President. None except to say that she liked her a lot. I mean, that she knew her and liked her a lot. And of course, Hillary's brother had been in the drug court. So I knew that from my own direct knowledge, though she didn't even talk to me about that..


2. You claim that "because [Janet Reno] was needed to slow down those pesky, persistent investigations against her boss, she was kept in office." Can you support this claim with evidence, please? I don't know of any evidence that leads me to believe this is anything approaching a factual statement.

3. Re: Shalala and Albright. For the record, here's what was said after the cabinet meeting to which you referred:

Jan. 27, 1998

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: "I believe that the allegations are completely untrue."

Secretary of Commerce William Daley: "I'll second that, definitely:'

Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala: "I'll second that, too."

Secretary of Education Richard Riley: "Third it."

-Outside the White House


Two men, two women. I don't see the specific "misuse" of women here, Ruth Anne. Also, how do you explain the following in your focus on administration-wide "misuse" of women claim:

Vice President Al Gore: "The President has denied the charges and I believe it."

Rahm Emanuel, Presidential Advisor: "He said absolutely there was no sexual relationship. And he said I would never ask anybody else to do anything but tell the truth. And I believe him:"

James Carville, Former Campaign Manager: "The President emphatically denies it. He has denied it to staff, has denied it to the news media, has denied it to the American people and denied it to his cabinet and denied it to his friends. I can't get any more emphatic about that."

etc...


As I said before, Clinton lied to everyone (including his wife) about his relationship with Lewinsky. There's just no way you can spin that fact into a "misuse" of women throughout his administration.

One final thought: You speculate on the reason that Bill Clinton "still matters." In my opinion, "a big reason why Bill Clinton still matters" is that rightwingers would far prefer to talk about Bill Clinton than about George Bush, and frankly I don't blame them. That's just smart politics. "Mission Accomplished."

Fen said...

In my opinion, "a big reason why Bill Clinton still matters" is that rightwingers would far prefer to talk about Bill Clinton than about George Bush

Hardly. The only reason "Clinton still matters" is because people like you still attempt to revise history re his sexual abuse of government employees. And downplay the hypocrisy of the feminist movement concerning his sexual assault, sexual discrimination, and sexual harassment.

Please tell us again why feminists weren't hypocrites, insist they found Hill was more credible than Jones, and ignore the serious differences between their allegations that inconveniently undermine your defense of feminist hypocrisy. That was rich.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Cyrus Pinkerton: O.K. You win. Bill Clinton is a perpetual liar who lied to his personal advisors, his cabinet members, his VP, his wife and the American people. His only misuse of women was when he turned one Monica Lewinsky into his sperm recepticle and missed. So he mis-used her. "You better put some ice on that."

lee david said...

Ruth Anne,

I've never seen somthing put so correctly and succinctly. Your 12:45

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Fen,

You're back to your usual assortment of tricks (distortion, fabrication, and illogical arguments) again. What a shame that you have nothing substantive to offer in response. Oh, and you still are dodging all the specific questions I put directly to you. As I said before, I'd have thought that your behavior would be a bit of an embarrassment to you by now. Apparently you don't see it and don't get it. What a shame.

Because I'm feeling generous today, I'll again catalogue and correct your numerous distortions, fabrications, and logical and factual errors. Here we go:

1. The only reason "Clinton still matters" is because people like you still attempt to revise history re his sexual abuse of government employees.

Fen, you haven't been paying attention, or you're fabricating again. I haven't mentioned anything that could be regarded as a discussion of Clinton's history of sexual abuse of government employees. Consequently, your use of the phrase "people like you" is an incredibly lame attempt to try to dismiss the evidence that I've presented (that you clearly don't like) by trying to smear me by association with fanatic Clinton supporters. Why do you do this sort of thing Fen? It makes you look far more like a partisan hack than a serious political observer.

2. And downplay the hypocrisy of the feminist movement concerning his sexual assault, sexual discrimination, and sexual harassment.

Fen, when was Clinton found guilty of sexual assault? If there ever was an admission or a legal finding of sexual assault, I missed it. I'd ask you to cite the case you're thinking of, but since you don't answer questions, I'll have to assume that since I am unable to find any references to a finding of sexual assault by Clinton, that nothing of the sort happened. Of course, Fen, if you didn't have a habit of just making shit up, then I'd feel duty bound to research this more carefully.

If you would take the time to read my posts and then think about them, Fen, you'd realize that I've made no attempt to downplay the hypocrisy of anyone. I always make a good effort to point out hypocrisy wherever I find it. If you don't believe me, ask the bloggers at other feminist websites who routinely delete my critical comments. But the point here, Fen, is that if you decide to call someone on hypocrisy, there are two very important rules to follow:
(a) make sure that you are accurate, and
(b) make sure you've covered your own ass.
Sadly, those are the two things you seem never to get right. By the way, this seems like a good point to ask you again (for the third time), when can we expect your analysis of rightwing hypocrisy re: Clarence Thomas and Bill Clinton?

3. Please tell us again why feminists weren't hypocrites, insist they found Hill was more credible than Jones, and ignore the serious differences between their allegations that inconveniently undermine your defense of feminist hypocrisy.

Fen, sadly, you're lying about what I said again. I've NEVER claimed feminists aren't hypocrites. The reason you continue with this shriek instead of citing me is because you can't find any instances in which I've made that claim. To be fair, I won't accuse you of telling a big lie here, Fen; instead, your tactic seems to be to repeat this little lie endlessly as some sort of filibuster. I'd say you're very lucky that Ann doesn't ban people for lying. Considering that it's such an ugly habit, and considering that you pretend at least to deplore it when Clinton does it, why do you so happily tolerate it in yourself?

Next lie: I've NEVER "insisted" that feminists find Hill more credible than Jones. Although I suspect that most feminists do find Hill more credible than Jones, I don't speak for feminists, and in any case, it's something that individuals need to decide for themselves. I consider this a relatively harmless distortion of what I said, but still Fen, you need to break this nasty habit of yours. May I suggest that instead of summarizing my positions (after passing it through the Fen filter of distortion), you instead quote me so that we can both be sure that you're presenting what I've said honestly?

I've corrected you before on this point, Fen, but I'm not ignoring the differences between the allegations in the two cases. As I told you previously, I'm not addressing the details of the allegations in the two cases, as they are completely irrelevant to the narrow and specific point I was making. I realize this makes you unhappy and I'm sorry for that. But just as I don't tolerate tantrums from spoiled children, I'm not going to tolerate your wailing because I haven't let you sidetrack the discussion in that direction. Please discuss the allegations in the case with whomever you like; as long as you don't direct your comments to me, I have no objection to you revisiting the details of Paula Jones' allegations.

It's a little silly to again correct you for repeating your favorite "little lie" (i.e., that I'm defending feminist hypocrisy). However, just in case there is a third party crazy enough to be reading this, I want to make sure that you win the reputation that you are working overtime to earn.

Fen, so far, you and I have traded comments on feminism, recent American history, and politics, and obviously we don't agree on much. What I'd like to know is this: what would it take to get you to treat me decently, with civility, even though we are likely to disagree? Is there something about the way I write my comments to you that I can change so that in return you'll stop lying about what I've said? I don't want to end up ignoring your posts, but you don't seem to take seriously my annoyance at your distortions and fabrications. Will you propose a solution?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Ruth Anne,

I appreciate your concession. Sadly though, your concession speech is marred by a few errors.

1. As we know, Bill Clinton lied to the American people. Sadly that does not distinguish him as a president. Therefore, I suggest you eliminate this phrase from your speech and instead simply insert the title "President" before Bill Clinton's name.

2. We also know that he lied to his wife, his friends and his advisors. That qualifies him as a liar. However, since I know what the word "perpetual" means and I don't believe that you or I have the information to determine if he lies "perpetually," you'll have to strike that word from your concession speech Ruth Anne. Sorry.

3. "...he turned one Monica Lewinsky into his sperm recepticle [sic]"? Uh, Ruth Anne, I hope Ann doesn't see that remark. You're likely to be credited with setting feminism back at least a decade by referring to Clinton's treatment of an intern in such a flippant way. Tut tut!

JodyTresidder said...

Maybe "sperm reticule"?

peter hoh said...

Cyrus, I'll be happy to acknowledge the Republican hypocrisy re. Thomas and Jones, I just don't think I qualify as a right-winger.

You seem like a decent person. Hang around for a while and see what this place is about. It's not all politics, and the politics isn't partisan. It's sort of the flip side of Andrew Sullivan, in that Sullivan is a conservative who is pissed at the GOP.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Cyrus Pinkerton: Thanks for the spelling correction. Professor Althouse sees all.

Jody Tresidder: The reticule is what Lewinsky is now designing.

JodyTresidder said...

"Jody Tresidder: The reticule is what Lewinsky is now designing."

Ruth Anne,

I know!

And thanks for taking that tiny joke with such nice humor!

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Peter,

Thanks, I'll hang around at least a little longer, or until Ann sends me packing.

I enjoy reading Andrew Sullivan, and I certainly understand why he's mad at the GOP. I also understand why many democrats are frustrated and angry with the Democratic Party. It would be nice to see more self-reflective thought here. It's more than a little disappointing to land in the middle of a rehash of the partisan bickering of the last 10 years, particularly as I'm nonpartisan and am generally wrongly identified by both democrats and republicans as belonging to the other camp. On the bright side, being an independent doubles my opportunities to annoy. As you can probably tell by now, I aim to take full advantage of that fact.

Peter, thanks again for your welcome.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Jody Tresidder: First it was Hillary's "case" and now Monica's "reticule." Such a bunch of bags!

Do you mean "humour"? :)

JodyTresidder said...

"Do you mean "humour"? :)"

I do indeed!
Spot on, ruth anne:)

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Since no one else has bothered to discuss the "outlines" that Omaha presented in comments (and that Ann subsequently highlighted), it seems that it's left to me to analyze the arguments offered. I'll start with the second outline here and get to the first in a later comment.

Here's a repeat of Omaha's second outline:

2. The majority of the Democratic party set back the cause of feminism in its refusal to condemn the sexual exploitation of Clinton's young, vulnerable intern, Monica Lewinsky.

2a. This "refusal to condemn" was the result of partisan support for a Democratic president.

2b. Since one of the foundations of modern femiminism is abhorrence for the sexual exploitation of women, for any reason, by men in "superior" positions, this was hypocritical.

Conclusion: The apparent willingness of an attractive young feminist blogger to be viewed by Clinton as a sexual object is a continuing endorsement of this hypocrisy.


- (Point 2) Omaha, since I'm one of those annoying people (ain't that the truth!) who likes evidence, can you tell me how you established that the majority of the Democratic party refused to condemn Clinton’s behavior towards Lewinsky? The word “majority” relates to something quantitative, so will you reference the poll on which you base your statement? I don’t believe such a poll exists, and I suspect you mean something different than “majority” and/or “Democratic party” and/or “condemn.” Can you clarify this? In any case, I can’t find any evidence to support your contention as written.

Also, since the claim that “the cause of feminism” has been set back is not evident, will you provide some support for this part of your statement? As it now stands, I cannot find any objective evidence to support this starting point.

- (Point 2a) Just as I see no evidence that a majority of Democrats “refused to condemn” Clinton for his behavior, I find no evidence that in those cases where Democrats did not condemn Clinton that this “refusal to condemn” was based on “partisan support.” Perhaps your speculation is correct, but as far as I can tell, it is nothing more than speculation.

- (Point 2b) In moving from point 2a to 2b, you’ve shifted from talking about Democrats to feminists without acknowledging that they are not identical groups. Just as all feminists are not Democrats, all Democrats are not feminists. This substitution of defining terms nullifies anything you hoped to carry forward from your first two points.

Since you are apparently hoping to reach a conclusion about feminists rather than Democrats, your first two points seem to be entirely irrelevant. Do you have any evidence to establish what fraction of feminists condemned Clinton for his behavior towards Monica Lewinsky? If not, you surely cannot hope to say anything quantitative. Since I am unaware of any quantitative data about feminist reaction to Clinton’s behavior towards Lewinsky, I don’t see any logical basis for drawing any conclusions about the hypocrisy of the feminist movement.

- Conclusion Since you cannot establish the claim of feminist movement hypocrisy re: Clinton, you cannot then conclude that Valenti is guilty of a “continuing endorsement of this hypocrisy.”

Also, there’s a second serious flaw in your conclusion that is more subtle. In your previous point, you correctly identify “sexual exploitation of women” as abhorrent to feminists. As you move to your conclusion, however, you make two logical errors. The first one, which I will explain in a later post, is that Valenti wants to be viewed by Clinton as a “sexual object.” As I will show later, there is no logical basis for this claim. The second logical error is that you equate “sexual exploitation” with “viewing as a sexual object.” These two terms are not identical by any means, and you cannot freely substitute one for another; this constitutes a change in defining terms again.

- In summary, your conclusion has no merit because

(a) the premises on which it is based have no evident factual basis,
(b) you fail to build a logical structure moving from premises to conclusions; and
(c) you freely change the defining terms as you move from premises to conclusion.

Omaha, if you will, please correct any mistakes you believe I’ve made, and if you can, please provide evidence to support the claims in your premise.

Synova said...

Talk about windy.

It's seems to me that Cyrus doesn't understand the question and then spends most of the time claiming not to have actually made any claims about anything.

If you're not claiming something, why bother?

Is it just about the joy of argument?

Feminists worked hard to get workplace harassment treated seriously, yet Clinton is not accused of harassment by feminists. A couple of people mocked the idea that consenting (as Monica surely did) doesn't make it not harassment when it involves a difference in power. (And the power in that case is about as different as it's possible to be.)

This fairly basic element of feminism has been thrown out. Difference in power no longer matters. A woman treated as an expected workplace perk no longer matters.

Another major cause was the demand that "she's a slut anyway" defense be done away with. The whole "credibility" discussion plays to that. It plays to personal feelings about who has to be taken seriously but it has a problem in that credibility doesn't matter all that much. Even a prostitute can be raped. A poor white girl who needs money can be sexually harassed.

It's not about you, Cyrus. You think I don't understand but it's right there. You can claim not to have made any claims or argued any point but a person has to logically wonder if that's true, what all the words were there for.

It's a heck of a lot of words to say nothing much.

Oh, and a couple of folks pointed out Clinton's appointment of women, praise him. I guess that's the price to ignore the trashing of some basic foundational elements of equality and the seriousness of treating workplace sexual play as no body's business, a matter for indulgent humor only.

I've worked with a manager without a clue what harassment was, once, a long time ago. And even then I realized that until someone *told him* he was out of line he'd never catch on.

This enabling is *our* responsibility to stop by making sure that certain behavior is not acceptable. But people don't even try to claim that Clinton didn't do them, only that they don't matter.

How does that *not* set back feminism? How is using a cute term to refer to a serious issue *not* evidence that feminism has been set back?

Fen said...

Cyrus: Next lie: I've NEVER "insisted" that feminists find Hill more credible than Jones

“The point I made that you seem to have misunderstood entirely is that the credibility of the victims in the two cases is remarkably different. Therefore, when mikeinsc whined about the different ways in which "feminists"…view the Paula Jones case and the Anita Hill case, I tried to help him understand a few of the different circumstances that were involved” [3:09 PM]

“I suggested just a few examples of why others might have found a credibility gap between Anita Hill and Paula Jones.” [6:06 PM]

“I offered that as only one example of many differences in credibility between Jones and Hill” [8:19PM]

Although I’m sure you’ll spend three paragraphs arguing over the meaning of “insisted”. You have a habit, when cornered, of denying your own words upthread. But here’s the fun part, asking for my civility after you’ve been rude to so many others here:

Cyrus: what would it take to get you to treat me decently, with civility, even though we are likely to disagree?

Don’t be a sophist, I hate them. You’ve lost any benefit of doubt I would extend, as I don’t believe you argue in good faith – too many weasel words, distortions and strawmen. And if you want me to treat you decently, stop treating other posters so disrespectfully. Dial down the ad homs, you shouldn’t need to butress your arguments with them. Also your condescending arrogance, its not as cultivated as you might believe. Maybe be more concise too. But mainly, stop engaging in sophistry, and I’ll take you more seriously and be more civil.

Sophistry: deliberately invalid argument displaying ingenuity in reasoning in the hope of deceiving someone

Moot point really. As peter said, this is a fun blog and Ann gives us a wide latitude. You don’t need my goodwill, you need the goodwill of the more serious posters you’ve been rude to upthread.

Fen said...

Sorry Cyrus, I didn't mean to be cruel. You make interesting points, but then pollute them with your style. Maybe you're just misunderstood.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Fen,

Thank you for quoting me directly. In return, as you've requested, I'll keep my reply brief. You'll notice in the first quote that I note a credibility difference between Hill and Jones. Although I don't say so specifically, I'll admit that I find Hill more credible than Jones. That doesn't mean I believe Jones' allegations are less serious, or that she didn't deserve to have her allegations taken seriously.

The second quote acknowledges that I am aware that others find there is a credibility gap as well. This is a matter of public record; people have written about their thoughts on the matter. Let me give you an example from a website at which readers were invited to talk about Paula Jones and feminism:

First, I take issue with the male talking heads who through the media have been trying to tell feminists how to think about anything, including Jones and Hill.

Second, the Hill case and the Jones case are not the same. The fact that men cannot tell the difference between the two is evidence that their opinions are uninformed.

(Assuming, arguendo, that both Hill's and Jones' stories are true): Hill came forward at (1) an appropriate time for (2) a good reason: to give information to a forum which was *considering* Clarence Thomas for the United States Supreme Court. It was important information to be considered at the time. Hill was not claiming she suffered damages, nor was she seeking monetary renumeration. Hill's story was about a pattern of behavior that Thomas exhibited over a period of time. Thomas' behavior toward Hill took place in the workplace where Hill was a "captive audience". Thomas' behavior was inappropriate, if not outrageous, and made more so by its continuing nature, within that setting.

Jones is making a claim for money based on damages. She did not try to make the claim at a reasonable time after the incident. She made the announcement in association with a political group which cast suspicion on her motives. Jones was not a "captive audience." She was an adult woman who went of her own free will to a man's hotel room where a "pass" was made. She turned it down. He didn't force the issue, or continue the behavior. She left.

What's the similarity?

www.h-net.org/~women/threads/disc-jones.html


Without agreeing with this opinion or all of the statements presented, I can say that it proves my point exactly--some people found a credibility gap between Hill and Jones.

What you got terribly wrong in restating my position is your claim that I was characterizing how feminists think. I don't speak for feminists. I don't think it's reasonable to pretend that feminists speak with one voice. And as it's relevant to the broader discussion, I don't think it's intelligent or productive to expect feminists to think or speak according to a set of inflexible standards set by Ann or anyone else. Having a lively debate about feminist issues is healthy; looking for heretics is not.

Fen, I don't "deny my words", nor do I consider myself "cornered." Simply put, I didn't ever write what you attributed to me; I never "insisted" that feminists found Hill more credible than Jones. It's not in the quotes you provided, and it's not elsewhere in my comments. I think you misread or misunderstood what I wrote.

JodyTresidder said...

Synova,
You write clearly - but you don't address the feminists/women - like me - who don't eternally define Clinton only by his deceitful sexual behavior.

You wrote: "Oh, and a couple of folks pointed out Clinton's appointment of women, praise him. I guess that's the price to ignore the trashing of some basic foundational elements of equality and the seriousness of treating workplace sexual play as no body's business, a matter for indulgent humor only."

No, some of us do not tot up his plus points and thus giggle with rolled eyes at his flaws!

You are the one, surely, who insists feminists think that way by constructing your one-size-fits-all moral reckoning.

You write: "Another major cause was the demand that "she's a slut anyway" defense be done away with."

Seems to me that the "slut" smear comes nearer to how Jessica was dealt with simply because of her picture pose.

JodyTresidder said...

Or - shorter version of my previous comment:

Clinton is only a sexual pig. Therefore, any young women pictured near him who makes us think of sex is a piglet.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Synova wrote:

- Talk about windy. It's seems to me that Cyrus doesn't understand the question and then spends most of the time claiming not to have actually made any claims about anything.

Synova, if you had been reading more carefully you would realize that most of my recent posts to Fen have been an attempt to correct statements that she has falsely attributed to me. It isn't pleasant to have someone misconstrue your statements and repeatedly throw gross distortions of what you've written back at you. I suspect it's never happened to you, otherwise you would understand my frustration and would perhaps be a tad bit more generous.

- Feminists worked hard to get workplace harassment treated seriously, yet Clinton is not accused of harassment by feminists.

I see this claim repeated often, but it's just not true. This is like the drip-drip-drip of water torture; the small falsehood, repeated endlessly, until people start to accept it as fact.

Synova, here are exerpts from several statements issued by NOW regarding the Clinton-Lewinsky matter. In case you are unaware, NOW is a large national feminist organization (roughly 500,000 contributing members, allegedly). Although NOW does not speak for all feminists, nor does it likely speak for all of its members , I think these press releases are significant in exploring your claim:

March 1998: While we do not know the truth of the allegations made against President Clinton, we want to state clearly our belief that it would be a misuse of power for any public official to have a sexual relationship with an employee or intern.

Whether the boss is a county supervisor or the president of the United States, no public official should take advantage of the aphrodisiac of power. We must demand that public officials, at all levels and in all branches of government, pledge to reject sexually intimate relationships with employees and/or interns.


April 1998: Contrary to the portrayal in the media, neither NOW nor I have been silent on the allegations of sexual harassment against President Clinton, nor do we have a history of being blindly loyal Clinton supporters.

Before Ms. Jones filed her case in 1994, we cautioned that "every Paula Jones deserves to be heard, no matter how old she is and how long ago the incident occurred, no matter what kind of accent she has or how much money she makes, and no matter who she associates with."

Last summer we successfully took on the president's lawyers over the use of the "nuts or sluts" strategy of irrelevant personal attacks meant to discredit and intimidate Ms. Jones.

When allegations of an affair between the president and Monica Lewinsky surfaced, we condemned the misuse of power by the president or any public official who has a sexual relationship with an employee or intern.

Ironically, the media reported we were finally breaking our silence when Kathleen Willey's deposition became public and we noted that her allegations, if true, constituted not just harassment but assault.

We will continue to speak out in support of women's right to a fair hearing and a just resolution of their complaints, and their right to be free of irrelevant personal attacks, regardless of who they are bringing charges against.

NOW is an independent political force that believes feminist principles trump practical politics. Our political action committee did not endorse in the presidential races of 1992 and 1996, and we have organized many protests over policy differences with the Clinton administration.


August, 1998: We have said from the beginning that no CEO and no elected official, including the president, should take advantage of the aphrodisiac of power to have sex with interns or staff.

Consensual sex with a White House intern is an abuse of power by the president...Clinton's administration worked hard and successfully on the Violence Against Women Act, the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the earned income tax credit, women's health and other issues that affect us and our families; he has appointed more women and women's rights supporters to positions of power than ever before. Still, he seems to be a man who divides women into two unfortunate traditional categories: women he must treat with respect like Janet Reno, Madeleine Albright and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and those he can use and toss aside like tissue paper.

We reiterate our demand for immediate action by the president, the Congress and employers across the country to stop sexual harassment in the workplace. We call upon right-wing women's groups, conservative commentators and the leadership of Congress – given their new-found interest in sexual harassment and workplace abuses – to work to strengthen anti-discrimination laws by: removing the cap on damages and extending the deadline for filing charges under Title VII; authorizing and appropriating sufficient funding for the EEOC to clear up the massive backlog of discrimination complaints; and filling the many vacancies on the federal courts that hear such complaints.


For those who know that feminists weren't silent about Clinton's misbehavior, and for those true believers who know "the truth" and mindlessly repeat the myths and don't care about facts and evidence, the following will hold no interest. However, to the open-minded readers, I offer these statements by NOW:

Re: Paula Jones, Marach 1997: As the case involving accusations of sexual harassment against the most powerful man in the country was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court recently, activists from the nation's most powerful feminist organization were watching closely. At a time when headlines are full of stories about men using sexual harassment to intimidate women, we are concerned that Paula Jones' charges against President Clinton be taken seriously.

In 1994 we distributed a statement outlining the principles we stand by. It read, in part: "We know that sexual harassers are everywhere -- in high public positions, in executive suites and even in pulpits. In fact, powerful men may be more likely to harass women because some of these men treat harassment as a fringe benefit, a privilege of power. Every Paula Jones deserves to be heard, no matter how old she is and how long ago the incident occurred, no matter what kind of accent she has or how much money she makes, and no matter whom she associates with."(http://www.now.org/nnt/03-97/clinton.html)


Re: Katherine Willey, March 1998: Kathleen Willey's sworn testimony moves the question from whether the president is a "womanizer" to whether he is a sexual predator. Ms. Willey's deposition is particularly compelling because she is a reluctant witness with no apparent political or financial motivation. If her story is true, it is not just sexual harassment, it's sexual assault. (http://www.now.org/press/03-98/03-16-98.html)

Re: Juanita Broderick, February 1999: We will likely never know the truth about Juanita Broaddrick's accusation against Bill Clinton. It's virtually impossible to prove or defend against a 21-year-old rape charge. Perhaps the best way to respond is to call on President Clinton and his supporters not to launch a broadside against his accuser and to urge the president and the Congress to work to improve the status of women.

The Washington Post reports that government investigators "found her account inconclusive." Ms. Broaddrick's account, however, is particularly compelling because, like Kathleen Willey, she has been a reluctant witness with no apparent political or financial motivation.

I understand why a woman wouldn't file charges of rape 21 years ago--especially against the attorney general of Arkansas -- especially if she's a married woman who's having an affair. And I understand why she has been reluctant to come forward now.

Now that she has come forward with her story, the National Organization for Women urges everyone to treat Juanita Broaddrick fairly and respectfully and to take her charges seriously. She must not be besieged by attacks on her mental state or character.

NOW calls on President Clinton to denounce this "nuts or sluts" defense, the argument that she either made it up or asked for it. The president should pledge publicly not to seek, or leak, irrelevant sexual history or other parts of Ms. Broaddrick's personal or work life, and not to let anyone do so on his behalf. (http://www.now.org/press/02-99/02-25-99.html)


I'm sure this qualifies as "windy" in your mind Synova. I'm sorry I have to provide an avalanche of evidence to try to destroy the myth you've attached yourself to. The truth is that feminists have specifically condemned Clinton for his behavior. Now, you can ignore the evidence if you like, but ignoring it doesn't make it go away. In any case, it's good for true believers to bump into reality now and again.

- Another major cause was the demand that "she's a slut anyway" defense be done away with.

As you will notice above, NOW addressed this specifically. Please remember that the "a little bit nutty, a little bit slutty" was first used on Anita Hill.

- But people don't even try to claim that Clinton didn't do them, only that they don't matter.

Wrong again, as the evidence I provided above shows. Let go of the myth Synova; it's not true.

- How does that *not* set back feminism? How is using a cute term to refer to a serious issue *not* evidence that feminism has been set back?

I don't know if feminism has been set back; it's an open question as far as I'm concerned. Your implication that "it's obvious" is a logical fallacy. If you can show me that feminism has suffered a setback, do so; if all you can do is wave your arms and repeat your assertion, then I have to assume you have no evidence on which to base your claim.

Regarding use of a "cute term to refer to a serious issue," I think this is a laughably foolish argument. To begin with, I used the "cute term" in context to mock someone else who was missing the point of the exchange. To pull that word out of context and to claim it's use is indicative of something significant is both arbitrary and ridiculous. Second, it is wholly preposterous to argue that a single observation of the use of that "cute term" by one individual (in any context) allows you to
(a) assess the state of feminism, and
(b) make a quantitative judgment on a timeframe for the "setting back" of feminism.
I can't imagine any academic proposing that methodology without being laughed out of the business. Synova, Ann was surely joking when she made the remark. No researcher accepts the notion of extrapolating from a sample size of one.

Let me give you an analogy in case you are still in doubt. Let's say I decide to design an experiment to determine if global climate change is occurring; also, I propose to determine how fast global temperatures are rising. My methodology is that I measure the temperature in Butte Montana exactly once, on January 18, 2008, and compare it to average temperatures measured in the same spot for the previous 40 years. That should tell me all I need to know, right? As goes Butte, so goes the world?

If you want to convince me that feminism has suffered a setback, identify the source, show me the evidence of regression, and demonstrate cause and effect. Anything short of that is, to my way of thinking, the same garbage that comes from the intelligent design folks.

- Oh, and a couple of folks pointed out Clinton's appointment of women, praise him. I guess that's the price to ignore the trashing of some basic foundational elements of equality and the seriousness of treating workplace sexual play as no body's business

You haven't shown any evidence that feminists ignored Clinton's misbehavior. The truth is that the picture isn't as simple as you'd like it to be. I'm going to leave you with one more NOW press release from September 1998 to give you an idea of the concerns that some feminists were trying to balance.

September 1998: In the wake of the president's sexual relations with an intern in the White House, women's progress is surely at risk -- less from the president's appalling, albeit unfortunately common, behavior than from the impact of this scandal on electoral politics in 1998 and beyond...

From the very beginning of the Clinton scandals, the president's enemies have attempted not only to bring down Clinton and the Democrats, but also to weaken sexual harassment laws and the feminist movement. NOW will not play into the hands of our adversaries. And we will not ignore the transgressions of the president who once held out great hope for an end to business-as-usual in the nation's capital.

We will not settle for heartfelt apologies or lip service to women's issues. Nor will we accept moral diatribes from politicians clearly living in glass houses. To the president who betrayed the trust of the women who supported him, and to Congress members who cynically seize on the issue of sexual harassment to promote their own partisan agendas, we demand that they stop talking and start taking action on behalf of women in the workplace.

President Clinton may not have violated the letter of the law, but he most certainly betrayed its spirit. And in doing so, he threatened the dignity and respect of millions of women who must face bosses and coworkers with the false impression that such behavior is acceptable.

At the same time, the very members of Congress who assailed Anita Hill now espouse a newfound interest in stopping sexual harassment. The same people who put an arbitrary cap on damages in sex discrimination cases suddenly are speaking out about women's rights in the workplace.Congress members who refuse to fully fund the EEOC want us to believe they are champions for our cause.
(http://www.commondreams.org/pressreleases/Sept98/091198a.htm)

peter hoh said...

I hate to go all Public Radio, but if just 12 of you would take time out from your busy schedules and send in some comments, we could easily exceed our goal of 400 comments on this thread. Then we can get back to our regular programming.

Please, think of the children.

JodyTresidder said...

Some of us already feel like part of the Donner Party, Peter!

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Peter Hoh: Only for you, man.

Are the Donner's having a party? I'm still getting over Blitzen's! Mmmm....nice pate`.

JodyTresidder said...

"Are the Donner's having a party?"

Hey - maybe Cyrus Pinkerton could bring more food?

I'm sure he's got a huge picnic basket with lots of compartments neatly labelled 1,a,b,c; 2,a,b,c...etc!

(er..that's friendly fire, Cyrus!)

peter hoh said...

As for eats, that dead horse should be mighty tenderized by now.

Fen said...

Cyrus: What you got terribly wrong in restating my position is your claim that I was characterizing how feminists think.

[sigh] Diagraming your sentences is beyond tedious.

“Therefore, when mikeinsc whined about the different ways in which "feminists"…view the Paula Jones case and the Anita Hill case, I tried to help him understand a few of the different circumstances that were involved” [3:09 PM]

So you weren't defending feminism against mikeinsc's complaint?...[yawn]

Whatever. For now, I'm just doing my part to get us to 400 for that alternate reality populated entirely with sentient breasts.

Hey Cyrus, if NOW adequately addressed Clinton's sexual abuse, why did the Virginia Chapter feel it necessary to break ranks with them?

Fen said...

Cyrus: most of my recent posts to Fen have been an attempt to correct statements that she has falsely attributed to me. It isn't pleasant to have someone misconstrue your statements and repeatedly throw gross distortions of what you've written back at you.

Sorry, I'm not doing it deliberately, and don't have this problem with anyone else I read. Everytime I try to pin down what you really mean, you dodge with these longwinded vague equivocations.

peter hoh said...

That alternate reality populated entirely with sentient breasts.

Anyone else thinking about that scene from Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex?

Synova said...

Well I'm gratified to know that NOW has become completely and utterly irrelevant. It's nice that they made all the proper statements. It's too bad that young feminist women see no reason to take those statements seriously or even see reason to stand united against workplace harassment.

And it is nice that NOW clearly stated that consensual sex was still harassment. So maybe the couple of you that scoffed could think about why that is.

Back to credibility, Cyrus quoted this...

"(Assuming, arguendo, that both Hill's and Jones' stories are true): Hill came forward at (1) an appropriate time..."

No, she didn't. The appropriate time to report harassment is when it happens. Failing to report harassment is a clear statement to the harasser that his behavior was not inappropriate.

"...for (2) a good reason: to give information to a forum which was *considering* Clarence Thomas for the United States Supreme Court. It was important information to be considered at the time."

So the appropriate comparison would be... the Swiftboat Vets for Truth? They came forward at the appropriate time, when Kerry was being considered for the presidency.

"Hill was not claiming she suffered damages, nor was she seeking monetary renumeration."

Because women who have been harassed shouldn't? My aunt sued a company that refused to interview her because she was a woman. She wanted money. I guess that destroyed her credibility for the complaint too.

"Hill's story was about a pattern of behavior that Thomas exhibited over a period of time. Thomas' behavior toward Hill took place in the workplace where Hill was a "captive audience". Thomas' behavior was inappropriate, if not outrageous, and made more so by its continuing nature, within that setting."

And she should have complained at the time. If he was behaving that way she should have made it clear she wanted it to stop. Otherwise the only thing he could have reasonably assumed was that his behavior was not upsetting to her. She should have done a whole lot of things she didn't do.

But it's not always easy to come forward right away. Particularly if the behavior is upsetting and most particularly when the person who did it has a lot of power.

"Jones is making a claim for money based on damages. She did not try to make the claim at a reasonable time after the incident."

Same as Hill. She didn't complain at the time. Both women should have made complaints immediately. It's perfectly understandable that neither of them did. Yet in this case this person is claiming that waiting wasn't reasonable. In Hill's case waiting is presented as a virtue.

"She made the announcement in association with a political group which cast suspicion on her motives."

Because this person doesn't like that political group. If NOW was so supportive, why does this person only see the association with this political group and not the support of NOW?

Would not the support of NOW been seen as credible?

"Jones was not a "captive audience." She was an adult woman who went of her own free will to a man's hotel room where a "pass" was made. She turned it down. He didn't force the issue, or continue the behavior. She left."

And this is simply repulsive insinuation. Because no one ever does anything but sex in a hotel room? He didn't make a pass at her in the bar and invite her up, he sent a state trooper to tell her an important person wanted to see her. She went. He tried to kiss her, she said no. After she said no he exposed his... pecker? What should we call that? She said no so he whipped out his Johnson and told her to kiss it? She said NO (as opposed to no) and he let her leave with a reminder that he was her bosses boss and...

I suppose that's what girls deserve who are so foolish as to go meet a man in a hotel room when a state trooper says that man wants to see her.

"What's the similarity?"

www.h-net.org/~women/threads/disc-jones.html

And Cyrus said:
"Without agreeing with this opinion or all of the statements presented, I can say that it proves my point exactly--some people found a credibility gap between Hill and Jones."

Of course you're not agreeing or disagreeing with anything. You never do and it saves you from ever being wrong.

And who ever *ever* said that some people didn't find a credibility gap? Of course they did and I said it too. It's a simple fact that Hill is seen as credible and Jones was not and the reasons for the "credibility gap" are classist and otherwise reasons of opportunity and political preference.

So I point out that the reasons for the credibility gap are without merit on several levels and you tell me that I don't understand and start posting all this stuff on how people saw this credibility gap (none of which you actually think is valid, of course) as if I wasn't saying all along that people chose to view the credibility of the two women very differently.

Synova said...

Oh, and people do fail to understand what I write often enough. I just don't assume that it's their fault when it happens.


Two more posts to go...

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Can we please stop? Have we hit 400 comments yet?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

So you weren't defending feminism against mikeinsc's complaint?

Nope; I was defending the right of feminists to hold different opinions about Clinton than the opinion that mikeinsc requires them to have in order to be "good feminists." In other words, as it relates to the discussion mikeinsc and I were having about Anita Hill and Paula Jones, I can accept that feminists see the two cases differently and that they see the misbehavior of Clinton and Thomas differently. I also see that feminists might simultaneously condemn Clinton's personal behavior and applaud his administrations's progress on issues of concern to women.

The real world is complicated and people generally have to balance competing interests. Sometimes reaching the best balance involves a few unpleasant compromises. Of course, individuals will balance competing interests differently, so it's not surprising that the opinion of Clinton varies from one feminist to another, eventhough they might share the same basic principles.

In my opinion, looking for heretics is counterproductive. I think the attack on Valenti was unjustified and petty. On the other hand, I think diversity of opinion is a good thing, and that's one of the reasons I ended up commenting on Althouse's blog. Ann is generous in letting me say what I want. But if readers of Ann's blog don't want a different opinion now and then, I'll move on. [shrug]

If NOW adequately addressed Clinton's sexual abuse, why did the Virginia Chapter feel it necessary to break ranks with them?

"Adequately" is subjective. I believe NOW has 550 chapters. So by my math, 549 chapters apparently felt NOW addressed Clinton's misbehavior adequately while 1 chapter did not.

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