November 14, 2007

Cute animation from McCain. [Update: about the conference call.]

Here. Starts out really well, anyway. Turns into a catechism. And you will get all the questions right.

ADDED: I'm on the blogger conference call with McCain right now. We'll see if I get my question in. I punched in late because I didn't want to be first.

UPDATE: They didn't get to my question, which was going to be based on this blog post about his reaction to the question "How do we beat the bitch?" He stayed with the phone call a long time — about 40 minutes — and he sounded completely relaxed and engaged, but I didn't get my chance. He took about 10 questions, all from men, and not one asked about the incident, though he seemed to expect to have to deal with it. He raised it on his own at one point, and his spin was criticizing the press for making it look as though he "was guilty of misbehavior." I wanted to ask why he didn't push back at the questioner the way he'd pushed back at the man who spoke of "the anger the average European Christian, native-born American feels when they see their country turning into a multicultural chaos Tower of Babel" and the way he surely would have pushed back if someone had asked — referring to Barack Obama — "How do we beat the n*****?"

But it's my fault for delaying the punch in. They go first come, first served. It's not: The questioners are all men, so let's move up the woman.

Oh, and he was asked about that animation I linked to above. The questioner, Matt Lewis, asked if the material referring to Rudy Giuliani indicated how he was going to start attacking Giuliani or if it was just for fun. McCain said he reviewed it and found it "a little juvenile," but decided "let's go ahead. Maybe someone will enjoy watching it." Which I assume means: We need something that can go viral, and this may be it.

It was at this point that he volunteered that opinion about the "How do we beat the bitch?" question, and that might suggest something about how his mind works. "How do we beat the bitch?" perhaps felt to him like a fun-loving thing, perhaps a little over-the-line, but can't we lighten up?

My response to that is that he wouldn't lighten up when confronted with the "average European Christian, native-born American" guy and he wouldn't lighten up if someone said "How do we beat the n*****?" or even "How do we beat the black guy?"

41 comments:

Fritz said...

An online John McCain push poll. I wonder how many time the final question is answered in favor of Rudy?

Mark Daniels said...

This animation illustrates well the ongoing problem for McCain's candidacy, apart from countenancing a description of Hillary Clinton with a sexist epithet. McCain, while the obvious bearer of the Goldwater/Reagan conservative mantle, performs better in general election match-ups than he does in the GOP primary, Republican voters having moved away from conservatism toward neocon ideology.

Mark Daniels
Better Living: Thoughts from Mark Daniels

Tituspk said...

You are such a republican and I love it.

Fritz, that monkey is picture is fricking ugly.

caffeine soldier said...

"I wanted to ask why he didn't push back at the questioner"

Ok [reluctantly], kudos where kudos are due. Althouse is a blogger who has some sense of decency left. Good for her.

rhhardin said...

``How do we beat the bitch?'' is perfectly fine. The questioner woman decided to go humorous and straight-talk.

It's off only in that a woman is not going to know what a man means by it, and that figures large in Hillary's position in men's minds, namely as the first wife nag.

McCain is a guy. It probably amused him to let the other, guy's, meaning resonate. Let's not emasculate him yet. He's not even the nominee.

Of course a borderline bitch might want to silence the hate speech, I could see that.

lurker2209 said...

Re: animation The questions were dumb, but the actual animations were funny. Although the way the McCain animation did nothing while the Hilary one held signs, got funny hats and 'said' various things. Maybe that's indicative of the actual campaign. McCain mocking Hillary: funny. McCain himself: kinda boring.

ricpic said...

So I take it a chaotic multicultural Tower of Babel - so vibrant donchyaknow - is a marked improvement over that mean old exclusive Eurocentrism, hmmm?

theMickey's said...

If someone called my wife a "bitch" he'd be wiping his bloddy nose.

A "little juvenile?" I can be juvenile.

Not funny.

Doyle said...

Yo RHhardin, I totally hear you, dude. What these feminazis don't understand is that not calling women bitches is just like having your dick cut off, ya know?

Especially when the bitch in question is some ball-busting nag bitch who needs to know her role and STFU, ya smell me?

rhhardin said...

There's always Wm. Kerrigan , writing on sexist words,

We are men and women. It almost always matters which we are. Men and women are aggressive. Their regard for each other is clouded by grudges, suspicions, fears, needs, desires, and nacrissistic postures. There's no scrubbing them out. The best you can hope for is domestication, as in football, rock, humor, happy marriage, and a good prose style. Jokes trade on offensiveness; PC is not a funny dialect. The unconscious is a joker, a sexist and aggressive creature. Our sexuality has always been scandalous.

Freeman Hunt said...

What if somebody really is a bitch? Not saying that Hillary is, just asking if you could call a bitch a bitch? (I assume that the questioner does think that Hillary is a bitch.) Is bitch unusable and sexist because aside from being an insult, it is female specific? If so, is bastard also off the table?

Also, I would contend that there is a world of difference between the words "bitch" and "n*****." "Bitch" is an insult that is incidentally sex specific. "N*****" is an insult based entirely on race. Thus, "How do we beat the bitch?" would imply "I don't like this woman because I think she's a bad candidate" whereas "How do we beat the n*****?" would imply "I don't like this candidate because he's black." Thoughts?

lurker2209 said...

Freeman: If I understand your argument you're saying that if you're a racist, every black person is a n---. While if you're a misogynist every woman is a bitch. But there are plenty of non-misogynists who might consider some women to be bitches, while there's no such thing as a non-racist who considers some blacks to be n---s.

Hm...the distinction might hold up. But even assuming it does, the real question is how to we determine which group the person using the word bitch belongs to. Do we get enough exposure to the true prejudices of the presidential candidates to honestly determine that?

AllenS said...

theMickey's said...
"If someone called my wife a "bitch" he'd be wiping his bloddy nose."

Since it was a woman who used the word, would you bloody her nose?

Doyle said...

Thoughts?

You're an idiot.

Palladian said...

Doyle is a bitch.

christopher said...

Palladian said...

Doyle is a bitch.


Says the Roy Cohn of the blogosphere...

The Drill SGT said...

Ann,

would you be equally offended by Hillary's "sexist" manners if some guy in a crowd asked:

"How are we gonna beat that SOB Romney?"

if not, why?

Doyle said...

Oh no you di'int!

Freeman Hunt said...

Doyle is a bitch.

Exactly. Now how is calling a bitch a bitch sexist?

Freeman Hunt said...

Do we get enough exposure to the true prejudices of the presidential candidates to honestly determine that?

Good question. I would say yes because most of them have been around for a long time, so there should be enough history to draw from to make that determination. However, a person's using the word "bitch" wouldn't be cause enough for me to suspect, on that basis alone, that the person was a misogynist, so I probably would not, at that point, even bother checking into the history.

Balfegor said...

Hm...the distinction might hold up. But even assuming it does, the real question is how to we determine which group the person using the word bitch belongs to. Do we get enough exposure to the true prejudices of the presidential candidates to honestly determine that?

With presidential candidates, I'm not sure. But I thought the "bitch" questioner was a woman. I haven't listened to the clip itself, but there was follow-up in the transcript to the effect of "she's referring to my ex-wife" that made me think so. If that's right, I think that takes a lot of the edge off. Still improper, but I think it makes it a question more of manners than of prejudice or anti-female animus or anything like that.

The Drill SGT said...

Balfegor,

The questioner is a gray haired matron.

after the question and a weave from McCain and chuckle from the crowd, some guy in the back says,

"I thought she was talking about my ex-wife" which gets a few more chuckles from both sexes present.

Beth said...

"Bitch" is an insult that is incidentally sex specific. "N*****" is an insult based entirely on race. Thus, "How do we beat the bitch?" would imply "I don't like this woman because I think she's a bad candidate" whereas "How do we beat the n*****?" would imply "I don't like this candidate because he's black."

That makes no sense at all. How is bitch "incidentally" based on gender? It's no less incidental than the racial slur. I don't assume "bitch" means she's a bad candidate, I assume it means she's a woman. Freeman, you're practicing wish-fulfillment, linguistic gymnastics.

Freeman Hunt said...

How is bitch "incidentally" based on gender? It's no less incidental than the racial slur.

A racial slur is a slur on your race. "Bitch" is not a slur on gender, it's the linguistic equivalent of "bastard" or "a**h***"" or "pr***." (I've starred them out to keep Ann's blog from being flagged as an adult site.)

Beth said...

Freeman, I see what you're arguing, but your point depends on disassociating bitch from gender. But the word is used constantly to refer to women. Any use outside of a gender-association is incidental. When someone asks how do we beat that bitch, he's asking how do we beat that woman I don't like.

Beth said...

And I'd say bastard and pr*** are both gender-based as well. A**hole, that's an equal opportunity slur.

Ann Althouse said...

But generally, "assholes" are men.

Freeman Hunt said...

When someone asks how do we beat that bitch, he's asking how do we beat that woman I don't like.

I agree, and I think that's okay to say. It's not the same as asking how do we beat that woman because we can't have a woman in that position which is the sort of thing I think a racial slur implies.

Balfegor said...

That makes no sense at all. How is bitch "incidentally" based on gender? It's no less incidental than the racial slur. I don't assume "bitch" means she's a bad candidate, I assume it means she's a woman.

In this context. It's worth mentioning that men get called "bitch" too. The meaning is rather different (and the male definitions would not be applicable to Clinton II), but the term, as an epithet, is not actually intrinsically gendered. It's emasculating or feminising when applied to a man, but it's applied to men so often nowadays (e.g. to make s.o. one's bitch) that the gender specificity of the term is kind of attenuated at this point.

The term is also not at all comparable to racial slurs, which generally don't get applied in cross-racial fashion (loathsome beasts like the old Klansman Senator Byrd aside). On the other side of the coin, there was, I think, a period in the early 20th century when "white" was used as a positive descriptor (e.g. "that was very white of you"), but I'm not sure it would have been used for non-whites, and I'm not entirely certain its etymology was specifically racial. Along similar lines (and with a cross component) I recall a C.S. Lewis essay complaining that "Christian" has turned into a general expression of approval, which people use even for atheists and Mahometans.

Pogo said...

Whether the usage was kosher or not, I can only see that a Hillary presidency will usher in 4 to 8 more years of friggin' lunatic animosity.

Where's an Eisenhower when you need one?

Ralph said...

So, Newt's mother attends McCain rallies?

PatCA said...

I really, really hate the word "bitch."

McCain has sunk lower in my estimation for taking it so lightly

Beth said...

Balfegor, yes, bitch is used in reference to men, and as you say, to feminize them -- i.e., the word is gendered.

Beth said...

Ann, I've been called an a**hole more than once! Maybe it's a regional thing? Or even a lesbian thing? I don't know.

B said...

Sigh . . .

Ann, how many times do I have to explain this? Follow closely:

"Nigger" references a black person. All black people in fact. Calling someone a "nigger" means you are talking about someone who is black and only someone who is black, and no matter what the person using it says, it shows that they see all black people to some degree as "niggers".

"Bitch" refers to the character and behavior of someone, usually a woman. But - as despicable as it might be - the person using it rarely equates all women as bitches, and society usually understands this as well.

Behavior is not immutable like skin color.

So - if the shoe fits - if Hillary has the characteristic behavior and attitudes of a "bitch", then that is more than fair game.

You are an attorney, Ann; you daily make excellent use of the English language. Do not break the language contract by representing 2 things as being the same when they are not.

Lesson over for today. Do not make me have to penalize you for sloppiness.

john marzan said...

Ann, Mccain did defend Hillary by saying that he respected Sen. Clinton. And he also slightly rebuked (defended?!) Giuliani and Romney for piling on Hillary in the last GOP debate in Florida.

dirtyword.net said...

'how do we beat the bitch?'
shirts, hats, stickers, mugs, buttons, magnets, and more
are now available now at:


****** dirtyword.net ******

it's the new anti-hillary conservative catch phrase!

Blake said...

Maybe I'm crazy or thin-skinned or too serious or something, but I think dirtyword.net highlights why this is a bad thing.

Do we really want people walking around wearing "How do we beat the bitch?" shirts, hats, pins, etc.?

I wouldn't vote for her any more than I would for Bush, but I don't see how the tone helps. Isn't there some minimum level of respect warranted?

rcocean said...

"it's the new anti-hillary conservative catch phrase!"

Excellent point - its short, its snappy. I can hear the chant at the Repub convention:

Beat the Bitch!
Beat the Bitch!
Woo Hoo!

Or " In conclusion, my fellow
Republicans, lets win one for the Gipper, and lets beat the bitch'

It has possibilities.

Balfegor said...

Balfegor, yes, bitch is used in reference to men, and as you say, to feminize them -- i.e., the word is gendered.

The problem is that at that point, it's no more "gendered" than "poof" or "fairy." Does it feminise when applied to a man? Certainly. But does that make it inherently feminine? Not anymore. It's not a term for women (as contrasted with the n-word, which is a word for Blacks) -- it's a term that's used to reference, as B explains, a set of character traits.

Freeman Hunt said...

I think commenter B explained the difference perfectly.