January 17, 2011

Why does Ross Douthat use marriage (bad marriage) as an analogy for the way media deals with Sarah Palin?

"The whole business felt less like an episode in American political history than a scene from a particularly toxic marriage — more 'Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' than 'The Making of the President.' The press and Palin have been at war with each other almost from the first, but their mutual antipathy looks increasingly like co-dependency: they can’t get along, but they can’t live without each other either."

Why does it feel like a marriage to Ross Douthat? I'll offer 2 possible answers. See if you get it right:

1. Because Sarah Palin is a woman.

2. Because Sarah Palin is a conservative.

The correct answer is #2. If Sarah Palin were a liberal, using the marriage analogy to talk about a female politician would have been recognized as too sexist.

And, yes, I realize Douthat is supposed to be the conservative columnist at the New York Times.

99 comments:

somefeller said...

Again with the sexism charges. If a man criticizes Sarah Palin in a manner that doesn't pass the conservative political correctness test - he must be a sexist. As predictable and boring as the topic of the conversation.

Mr. D said...

Occam's Razor: because Ross Douthat is an idiot.

Beldar said...

I agree that it's at least mildly sexist, inasmuch as Douthat almost certainly wouldn't have chosen that particular analogy if he were writing about, say, Mike Huckabee or some other male politician who, like Palin, also elicits a particularly strong and predictable knee-jerk reaction from libs.

I also think it's subconscious sexism, and that it's not particularly pernicious sexism: I doubt, for example, that it's out outlying symptom of a broad-based and systematic desire on Douthat's part to oppress women or deny them equal opportunities.

Not all sexism is equally intense or equally troublesome. I don't think the lack of a Y-chromosome will be a determinative factor in Gov. Palin's future endeavors, either in or out of political office. But yeah, it will continue to affect some things, some for the better, some not.

Jim Ryan said...

Somefeller, you should read the post before commenting.

rcocean said...

How in the world has Palin been "at war" with the press? The Press has attacked her 24/7 for almost 2 years. I've never seen anything like it, and I've followed politics for 25 years.

To say the press and Palin are "fighting" is like saying the Jews and Nazi's were "fighting" in WW II.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

In the play, you have "humiliate the host" and "hump the hostess" as your choice of parlor games. According, of course, to the host.

wv: socrou, which I dassn't gloss.

1jpb said...

Althouse has been focusing on Douthat recently.

She's acting like someone w/ a grade school crush.

rcocean said...

Yep, "Palin and the Press just can't live without each other"

Just like Norway and Nazi Germany couldn't live without each other in WW II. Nice, when you see the Mugger and the victim as being in a fight, or a "bad Marriage".

Oh well, that why Ross is a "reasonable" conservative.

Phil 3:14 said...

well I liked the column. I read the marriage analogy just as a useful framework for describing the situation.

Many of you here have pointed out how Sarah Palin knows how to "play" the ________ (MSM, liberals, Obama admin etc). That suggests more than just a here I am take me or leave me sort of relationship.

For me she's no longer a political figure; she's a celebrity, a popular figure who has a media/public role to fill. She does it well.

Would I vote for her? No. Does that speak badly of her? No, she's just not what I look for in a candidate.

(I will refer back to Nick Gillespie's analysis of her. For me, dead on.)

lucid said...

I disagree with you,Ann. I have always thought that one of the biggest problems the left has with Palin is that she is so appealing as a sexual figure. I think it is her sexual appeal combined with her refudiation of them that drives them up the wall.

And I think her sexuality is what makes Douthat think in terms of a marriage bed when he thinks of her.

edutcher said...

PB&J and some phony folksy, like the rest of the Lefties, feel obliged to misdirect now that Miss Sarah has once again kicked the Left's collective ass.

The myriad images of her being beaten or the exhortations to see her shot that surfaced over the last week, if applied to the Hildabeast or Pelosi Galore, would, of course immediately be denounced as sexist by the Left. The treatment of Condi Rice (granted several years ago) applied to Michelle Obama would have brought the practitioners instant banishment from public life on the grounds of sexism, as well as racism.

The Lefties always liked to say Conservatives couldn't handle a strong, confident, assertive woman. As usual, they project more than Bell&Howell.

PS rcocean is right. The media picks the fights and Miss Sarah blows them out of the water. I can't recall an example of her starting one. I think she could probably get on well enough without them, but they seem addicted to her.

Phil 3:14 said...

Forgot to mention, Douthat has written many columns on "marriage". So I think the analogy DOES have deeper meaning for him. I'm not sure what that is but I don't think its "sexist" (or "reverse sexist")

Professor;
When will you stop seeing Ms. Palin as a woman?

somefeller said...

Althouse has been focusing on Douthat recently. She's acting like someone w/ a grade school crush.

Sexist!

chickelit said...

Why?

Couldn't we just as well argue that Douthat is a half-baked version of Burton's character in the movie: a failed academic in love with a taunting, beautiful woman?

Brad said...

Amazing how often press types tell us Sarah should just sit back & enjoy what they do to her .....

mike said...

I don't know much about Douhat, but I suspect he may have been in bad marriage or two himself.

PaulV said...

Palin has a loving marriage, so he uses a bad metaphor. All the abuse the media has given Palin and her family is a reflexion of how unhealthy the media have become. Palin is a self made politician unlike Obama who carrer was dependent on favors others did for her. She has forced corrupt politicians out of office while Obama sold an unbuildable lot to a felon so he could afford a house. When faced with $500,000 in legal bills that she could like get others to pay for like WJC did, she shifted gears to advance in different direction and became more powerful. Liberals think they have dealted a death blow, but they are as wrong as Darth Vader or Sauron. Joke in our them and Douthat does not have a clue.

rcocean said...

Have you seen Ross in person? I don't think Althouse or any other females have a "crush" on him.

The man is un-crushable, unless you think David Brooks and Frank Rich are 'hot'. He might even play for the other team. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

chickelit said...

Phil 3:14@ Your recited "goal" is starting to smack more of stricture and scripture.

PaulV said...

Lucid, I think LSM has more of a rape fantasy than marriage bed fantasy. Andrew Sullivan's head spins around and around.

Pogo said...

Less a marriage than a stalking.

danielle said...

oh c'mon. and this from the blogger who loves metaphors so much that she uses them to choose which football team to support ...

once you start talking about a love/hate, and co-dependent relationship, the bad marriage metaphor is just a step away. regardless of gender or political affiliation.

Phil 3:14 said...

chick;
Phil 3:14@ Your recited "goal" is starting to smack more of stricture and scripture.

you lost me on that one; please explain.

traditionalguy said...

Sarah Palin and Tim Tebow are two celebrity draws in the sense a train is a draw. We all want to see the outcome of their Samson like irresistible power when they meet up with an known immovable forces. Could they really be immune to the loser roles pre-assigned to them by the Media...and if so what will that mean? Will the Libs be "eliminated"? Douthat is expressing this question in the best metaphors that he can. Literalists are not in control here.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It really is VERY like an abusive marriage.

The media...being the husband who has been used to being the one in charge is now losing control.

Palin...being the wife who is showing signs of breaking out of the bonds of control.

The media is using all the "tricks" in the book to control.

Demeaning...telling the wife (until she almost believes it herself) and telling all of her friends (the American public) how worthless, stupid, silly, dumb she is. At every step she takes....he/media points out her failures. Laughing and making her an object of ridicule at every opportunity.

Isolation The controlling abusive media/husband will attempt to isolate the wife from friends and family who might actually support her and refute the demeaning process. She must be kept alone.

Co-opting In order to reinforce the demeaning and isolation, the abuser will try to get others to participate in the abuse. The children. The friends.... And even the family. Weak people who are willing to go along because it is easy. Because if the abuser can get a 'pile on' effect, it makes the destruction even more efficient.

Physical abuse When all of the above don't break the wife/Palin to the will of the abuser, then physical measures are resorted to. Beatings or worse. Until one of the parties in the dysfunctional relationship does permanent harm to the other.

I fear that this is the progression of events that we are seeing unfold.

This is nothing less than a standard abusive relationship.

(From someone who has been there.)

Methadras said...

Ross!!! Don't Dou-that!!!

Fred4Pres said...

I have never seen any politican attacked like Sarah Palin has been attacked. It is beyond belief.

Bad marriage? More like Kitty Genevese getting stabbed in a parking lot with people not bothering to call 9-1-1.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

I think Insty got pretty close to the truth when he said Palin is living in the media's head, 24/7, rent free.

The media is after Palin, but, weirdly, they seem to damage themselves at least as much as her when they attack her. Last week's events being a case in point. The NYT and others tried out the "Palin instigated murder" narrative, then backed off when everyone collectively told them "Are you insane?" It's Palin and a Facebook account vs. the NYT, ABC, CBS, NBC, and WaPo, and Palin seems to be ahead on points.

The media has chosen to lock themselves into a negative sum game. They try to tear her down, and perhaps they succeed to an extent. She's a bogeyman to the left, though they hated her anyway. Maybe the constant attacks drive up her negatives among the independents. But at the same time the media is hurting its own credibility with everyone but the left.

She has a real talent. The media is eager to portray her as stupid, and in the course of doing that they also like to drop some signifiers that show how smart they are in comparison. The problem is the second step makes them look like jerks, and they often botch it anyway; their show-offy rejoinders provide fodder for Insty's "credentialed, not educated" snark.

It is very strange. She's a modern day Roadrunner to the media's Wiley E. Coyote; again and again the media winds up doing damage to themselves in the course of pursing their obsession. Will the media hang up their Acme rocket skates before they wind up in the air over a canyon? I don't know.

Acksiom said...

But it feels like a marriage to me too. The one I grew up watching.

No, wait; it IS like that marriage. It really is. I was raised by an abusive bi-polar alcoholic, and this episode has been playing out just like the worst parts of my childhood. Right down to the delusional, projective insanity of trying to blame Palin for inserting herself into this mess. I've lost track of the number of times I saw my mother try to run that See-What-You-Made-Me-Do game on my father.

You know, this is actually starting to make a lot of sense to me now. The best metaphor for the political landscape of my adulthood has turned out to be the nightmarish crazy-making kitchen fights of my youth.

Sarah Palin is my poor, long-suffering dad, sticking it out for my sake, and the people attacking her are my abusive, lunatic, feminist drunk of a mother.

Well, good for Sarah, then. So basically, when the vermouth hits them and turns their psycho switch to IT'S ON, she's leading these hateful abusers out into the street, where the neighbors can see them and be witnesses to their behavior. Then, as a result of that she can defend herself -- and me -- from them properly, being much safer from false accusations of domestic violence and the serious consequences.

So she's doing better than my dad did. Good. Maybe this time around Sarah can break the cycle and get them some help before they end up trying to gut me with a carving knife too.

kent said...

Couldn't we just as well argue that Douthat is a half-baked version of Burton's character in the movie: a failed academic in love with a taunting, beautiful woman?

Perfect. Thread winner.

"Don't talk about The Little Boy King, Martha!"

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Ammending my last post..

Media..and especially the Left/Progressives

THEY are the ones who are losing control.

Another point...is that the abusive partner in the relationship is usually the one who is the most fearful of their OWN inadequacies and lashes out becuase they know in their 'gut' that he/she is wrong/inadequate/substandard.

chickelit said...

@Phil 3:14

I assumed that your handle was a Biblical reference. It could also be a time stamp reference to someone named Phil. If the latter, my words made little sense and I apologize for the confusion.

BAS said...

I vote with rcocean and pogo, I think this is a blame the victim mentality. I don't think Palin needs the media as much as the media needs the page hits they get every time they write 'Sarah Palin' in their article.

Maguro said...

Is it just me or is each successive NYT "conservative columnist" lamer and more pathetic than the last?

It's the journalistic equivalent of playing for the Washington Generals.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I was raised by an abusive bi-polar alcoholic,

@ Acksiom

I was married to one. Gender makes no distinction for crazy.

Sarah Palin is my poor, long-suffering dad, sticking it out for my sake, and the people attacking her are my abusive, lunatic, feminist drunk of a mother

Hell on earth.

Fen said...

The marriage analogy is just another card in the "both sides need to stop" meme.

Because, after the MSM falsely accussed Palin et al of inciting violence and demanding they be censored, it turns out Left-wingers Jared "Buck Fush" Loughner and Eric "Teabager" Fuller were radicalized by the Left-wing Media's demonization of the Right.

So of course they hide behind "both sides need to stop" narrative. They are the monsters they've been waiting for.

William said...

Sarah gets screwed, and the press gets off. If Sarah complains about the relationship, the press explains that she doesn't understand her true role. If more women would look upon ironing underwear as an exciting form of foreplay, less marriages would end in divorce....She was treated unfairly in the wake of the spree killing. Even the press admits it. But now they're saying that she responded inappropriately and at an inoportune moment to their unfair criticism. Now she'll respond to that response, and the infinite regression will continue its endless spiral towards oblivion......I sympathize with Palin, but these are the people who get to write the history books. I'm not sanguine about her chances now and in posterity...... I was watching Boardwalk Empire on HBO sometime back. The drama is set in Atlantic City at the time of Harding's campaign for the Presidency. Two of the plot points were the lynching of a black man and the efforts of a clever Irish immigrant woman to succeed in a male dominated world. The narrative of the drama showed Harding romantically involved with a sixteen year old girl. Typical Republican hypocrite. The narrative does not show that Harding was a strong proponent of anti-lynching measures, fair treatment for German and Irish immigrants during the war, and suffrage for women. There is no need to declare Harding's birthday a national holiday, but he was in many ways a fair, decent man. All that is lost in the HBO series, and that series is all that most people will ever know about him.

Acksiom said...

Dust Bunny Queen, when you similarly describe or discuss abusive marriages in the future, could you please not make the husband the bad guy and the wife the victim?

I don't ask so much for myself as for the guys out there like the me of 20 years ago. Suicide is the 8th largest killer of men in this country, and it's not because we're too fair and egalitarian towards men and boys.

I'm also willing to make an exchange of some kind if that's what it takes.

kent said...

O/T: Eric Fuller finally realizes he's overshopped on grade-"A" crazy, grovelingly apologizes to tea party leader for death threat

“I would like to tender my sincerest apologies to Mr. (Trent) Humphries for my misplaced outrage on Saturday at the St. Odelia’s town meeting,” [...] Fuller, 63, was involuntarily committed to a county mental health facility after he photographed Tucson Tea Party founder Humphries and said, “You are dead” when Humphries began speaking at the event."

Revenant said...

He's right about one thing, though -- the media needs Palin (she gets ratings) and Palin, whose job description at this point basically amounts to "celebrity spokeswoman", absolutely needs the media.

dave in boca said...

Mr. D

I'd put another blade on Occam's Razor:

because RD is a d-bag idiot.

Revenant said...

Suicide is the 8th largest killer of men in this country, and it's not because we're too fair and egalitarian towards men and boys.

No, but it probably IS because men have a much flatter bell-curve for mental traits, whether they be intelligence-related or emotional. Most crazies are men, most dependable people are men, most idiots are men, and most geniuses are men. Most mentally normal people are women.

Revenant said...

I have never seen any politican attacked like Sarah Palin has been attacked.

Reagan and Goldwater both had it worse, and for less reason.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

could you please not make the husband the bad guy and the wife the victim?

@ Acksiom

I was relating MY experiences in my previous marriage.

I don't want to say "Bad Guy verus Good Guy" in a REAL dysfunctional marriage, because I think it is a sickness. It isn't gender related as you pointed out with your Mother. There are many women who are the abusers.

However, I think the animus of the Left and the Media against Palin is that she doesn't want to play the game that they are so used to doing. She refuses to go along with the script and now they are stepping up to the last and most lethal part of the dance of dysfunctional marriage.

Big Mike said...

Douthat would like for Palin simply to ignore egregious press behavior, ala George W. Bush, and accept the mud slung at her the way Bush did.

But she intends to fight back, and so for she's been pretty effective. What Douthat is slowly realizing is that she's being effective with mainstream America. You know, the people who live in flyover country. The people who vote. Remember them?

The press can turn and walk away anytime. It's not a marriage. There are no divorce lawyers to pay, no alimony to negotiate, no need to determine who gets the house and who gets the dog and what the child visitation will be.

But when they hit her, she's going to punch back twice as hard. Somebody, I forget who, suggested that was a good strategy. And so far it's working.

The people who are coming to admire her -- even as they wonder whether she's really presidential material -- are the people in the middle, the people who might vote Republican but might also vote Democrat. Every person who might ordinarily vote Democrat but who is persuaded by Palin to vote Republican is a two vote swing. The people who hate her are the people who would chop off their right hand before they'd pull a lever in a voting machine for a Republican -- any Republican! -- ever. Looks like a lose-lose for the Democrats.

You go, girl!

edutcher said...

kent said...

O/T: Eric Fuller finally realizes he's overshopped on grade-"A" crazy, grovelingly apologizes to tea party leader for death threat

“I would like to tender my sincerest apologies to Mr. (Trent) Humphries for my misplaced outrage on Saturday at the St. Odelia’s town meeting,” [...] Fuller, 63, was involuntarily committed to a county mental health facility after he photographed Tucson Tea Party founder Humphries and said, “You are dead” when Humphries began speaking at the event."


FWIW, there might be a lot more to the crazy part than people might have guessed. The Lefties could really end up regretting picking him as a poster boy for civility.

shoutingthomas said...

Like a lot of people, Douthat has a huge investment in minimizing the impact of Palin.

She continues to astound me with her impact.

She's doesn't need to be a victim of sexism, and you're wasting time making her one. She's more than capable of taking care of herself.

The "I hope she runs because we're going to destroy her" routine is pretty popular. I'll bet there are going to be a lot of people eating crow on that one.

Short answer: Douthat is a fool.

PaulV said...

Palin vs the media posing as the Washington Generals?

rcocean said...

"Reagan and Goldwater both had it worse, and for less reason."

No they didn't. Palin has been attacked 24/7 since the day she was nominated. She's been attacked by the McCain people, the press, the Romney crowd, the DC elite. Everyone from Frum to Dounut to Andrew Sullivan has been piling on.

Reagan, because of the different media environment, and no internet, didn't have EVERY word and speech scrutinized for weakness and the possibility of attack. Nor was he blamed at every opportunity, for what was going wrong.

The media, thankfully, wrote Reagan off after 1976, they thought he was a tired old man, too "old" to run in 1980. So did the Republican establishment and a bunch of goofs, including John Connelly, Alexander Haig, Jack Kemp, and Bob Dole.

Reagan really didn't get attacked by the media from 1977 to 1980. They thought Bush I and the Establishment had "Taken care" of Reagan and his C-r-a-z-y extremist followers.

But they have learned from Reagan. They aren't taking any chances with Palin. She must be destroyed, strangled in the cradle, lest she be Reagan II.

kent said...

"Reagan and Goldwater both had it worse, and for less reason."

Unless and until you can document the 2+ year persecution of either one by a gay male pothead, sans any medical training whatsoever, obsessively attempting to prove that their children were not actually, legitimately theirs: I call bullshit.

Nate Whilk said...

Douthat is a jackass. There's no co-dependency here. Palin pushes the commentariat's buttons without even trying, by just being who she is--a wife and mother, confident, physically attractive, personally very pleasant, didn't go to an Ivy League college, succeeded in politics by starting from the ground up and not beholden to anyone except the voters, honest and straightforward, plain-speaking, etc.

After 8 years of the press excoriating Bush, Palin fired her own first shot in her acceptance speech: "But here's a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country. Americans expect us to go to Washington for the right reasons, and not just to mingle with the right people."

That's one of my favorite statements. She gave the finger to the pompous, self-important press, and they can't get over it.

The more they beat up on her, the more sympathetic she looks. And because she's like more people in the country than the press is, that just makes those people hate the press more.

The press can't win against her; they can't even break even; and they're psychologically unable to give up their attacks (to paraphrase a humorous statement of the laws of thermodynamics).

Sturt said...

This strikes me as the Professor's imprecation against extravagant analogy, directed towards an impressionalbe columnist.

I don't believe our Professor means Douthat's point is wrong, merely that he is using an inapposite analogy. Douthat's point - that Palin could help her political reputation to retreat to the cave, do some private speeches only reported secondhand and not self-promoted through Facebook or Twitter - is probably as well made without a strained effort to protray her as linked by some marital bond to the press. The media are equally well advised in his column to think more seriously about whether their focus as professionals should be on the mountain or the mouse (to use another overly strained analogy). Douthat's error was in his rhetorical projection, not his reasoning.


Look, with the Professor it's the rhetoric, always the rhetoric. That's why we (well, me at least) love the lessons.

Anthony said...

"Reagan and Goldwater both had it worse, and for less reason."

I'm not going to try to figure out who "had it worse", but it's worth pointing out that Goldwater was a sitting U.S. Senator while he was receiving much of that abuse, and Reagan had been governor of a much more consequential state than Alaska, and later was President. They actually did stuff that had significant impacts on lots of people. Much of what they did needed to be done, but there were real-life consequences. Any former air-traffic controller has more reason to be verbally abusive towards Reagan than *anyone* has for being aubsive of Palin, even though the air-traffic controllers needed to be fired.

wv: sultin. The press jes' keeps 'sultin Sarah.

Acksiom said...

No, DBQ, you were TRYING to relate your experiences in a previous marriage.

What you actually DID was PHRASE IT IN THE ABSTRACT AS A GENERAL EXAMPLE.

And you refraining from that in the future is what I was TRYING to ask for, and for my failure to be sufficiently explicit, I apologize.

Revenant, since you appear to have missed my point completely, let me put it more explicitly for you as well: fewer men and boys would kill themselves in this country if we WERE more fair and egalitarian towards them.

And, that we should prefer to behave like that, instead of. . .oh, say, telling them that the reason why they're in so much pain that they can't stand living any longer is because they're freaks, and that they're freaks like that because they're male.

Y'know, the way you just did.

knox said...

Phew, I feel terrible for anyone raised by a bipolar. The BPS I've known had problems much worse than the DSM-IV ever dreamed of.

Ralph L said...

Most mentally normal people are women.
Only if you sex-norm "mentally normal."

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

Most mentally normal people are women.

Work it on a curve, and Joy Behar brings the entire gender down two full letter grades.

Factor in "Snooki" Polizzi as well, and you might as well just go ahead and flunk everybody.

Revenant said...

Revenant, since you appear to have missed my point completely

The word you're searching for is "DISmissed".

There is no evidence that male suicide rates are higher than female ones because society is mean to men. They've always been high compared to women. Men appear to be naturally more likely to kill themselves, probably for the reasons I mentioned.

Acksiom said...

Thank you, knox. I feel better for reading that.

Ralph L said...

Y'know, the way you just did.
No, Rev stated the correct statistics in a vulgar way. Your inference is backasswards.

kent said...

"The truth is, there is almost nothing this lady has ever done or said that merits the sorts of venomous vitriol to which she has been subjected. Her rhetoric is sharp but not hateful. Her views -- and even more, her actual record -- are mainstream conservative, not extremist. And her story of a plucky, self-made rise from unlikely (for a politician) origins, on the basis of hard work and gumption, is remarkably admirable. And, frankly, whom has she hurt along the way? The feelings of those who are appalled that she wouldn't abort her Downs Syndrome baby? The ideology of those who thought she should force her daughter to get an abortion? The corrupt old-boy network who plagued (and effectively robbed) Alaska, whom she defeated in fair-and-square elections? The self-important worldview of those who believe that women who aren't liberal are illegitimate political actors? Go ahead: Show where Sarah Palin has been mean-spirited, abusive, or hateful? Can't do it. She hasn't been."

Chip Ahoy said...

I was watching Fashion Police, which is actually kind of funny, when one of the co-hosts -- George Kotsiopoulos, is it? -- panned one of the subjects that the other hosts liked, not for the dress but rather because the subject's hair reminded him of "Palin hair," which got a laugh from the audience. That's how Palin eats at people like an acid. It's axiomatic: Palin bad. Anything vaguely Palin-related bad, bad bad. Even if you have to make a stretch to get there, it's still bad. The woman's hair was hardly anything at all like Palin's hair, but to that individual it cancelled out everything else. He said more about himself there than he did Palin or the subject at hand, the dress the woman was wearing, which the other hostesses liked. So that was bad enough. But then they recap the best and the worst of the evening and the guy is at it again repeating the object of his obsession, the thing that distorts his view of things decidedly non-Palin.

Like this Rick McKee cartoon.

Keep it up and we'll vote for her just to watch your heads explode.

Revenant said...

They actually did stuff that had significant impacts on lots of people. Much of what they did needed to be done, but there were real-life consequences.

That goes both ways. Goldwater was a senator, and Reagan had serious executive experience. While that meant they'd done things to piss people off, it also meant that they'd had serious responsibility. Sarah Palin's only responsibility is to the advertisers on "Sarah Palin's Alaska".

Acksiom said...

[sigh]

[look down]

[rub forehead]

Except, of course for how that isn't my point.

My point, again, is that more men and boys kill themselves than would do so otherwise -- not compared to women; compared to the number of men and boys who wouldn't kill themselves under better circumstances -- because of how we don't treat them; i.e. as well as we should.

I rarely read through the comments here, so can someone please tell me whether Revenant is usually this gratuitously obtuse, or is probably trolling me, or what?

kent said...

Mark Levin has posted a $100, 000 reward for evidence that Sarah Palin "has ever promoted the murder of anyone."

Now, why do I somehow doubt that not one -- Not. ONE. -- of the leftards who've been sloppily (and ineptly) promoting precisely that fast-discredited meme will be rushing off to claim what otherwise surely must be a fast, easy hundred thou...?

Ralph L said...

Chip, I saw that show too and caught the first Palin snark. It's become a class marker for some people--at least we can find the fashionable fools.

But Joan Rivers is a funny, filthy old woman. I wonder how much is her own humor, or is it all ghostwritten?

Ralph L said...

So suicide rates are society's fault? Not buying it.

I blame testosterone. Rising levels cause problems in young men, declining in older--those groups are where rates are highest.

Now I'm curious what the murder/suicide ratio is for each sex. I'd guess higher for men.

Acksiom said...

[puzzled look]

Um, you're contradicting yourself, Ralph L. The inference is correct because of how Revenant stated it.

Remember, Revenant was the one to insert the irrelevancy of comparative rates by gender.

Revenant said...

Now, why do I somehow doubt that not one -- Not. ONE. -- of the leftards who've been sloppily (and ineptly) promoting precisely that fast-discredited meme will be rushing off to claim what otherwise surely must be a fast, easy hundred thou...?

Meh. The "conservatives encourage killing" meme is idiotic, but Levin's offer is equally so:

"find anywhere [...] where I said go out there and kill X,Y,Z"

So basically Levin will pay out if someone can find an example of him and/or Sarah Palin issuing explicit, indisputable public instructions to commit murder. But of course nobody -- aside from perhaps some of the nuttier commenters on Democratic Underground -- has accused him or Palin of issuing explicit instructions to commit murder. The way Levin phrased his offer he wouldn't have to pay out even if someone found a quote of him saying "it would be fantastic if Barack Obama was killed".

The "conservatives encourage killing" meme is wrong. There's no need to pull bullshit stunts to "prove" it is wrong. That doesn't help anyone.

Revenant said...

Revenant was the one to insert the irrelevancy of comparative rates by gender.

You're the person who started whining about male suicide rates and blaming them on the way men are supposedly treated.

Now either:

(A): You're saying (correctly) that the rates are higher than those of women, in which case you're the one bringing up comparative rates by gender, or

(B): You're saying female rates are as bad or worse than those of men, in which case the "waah men have it rough" line makes even less sense.

Most people with serious mental illness are men. Almost all suicide is caused by mental illness. Unsurprisingly, men are more likely to commit suicide. It is that simple.

kent said...

The "conservatives encourage killing" meme is idiotic [...] The "conservatives encourage killing" meme is wrong.

Then -- your inexplicable distaste for the offer notwithstanding -- there's no actual problem with Levin's having extended it.

Ralph L said...

Lay off the geometric logic.
they're freaks like that because they're male.
Is nowhere close to what he said. He said males are more likely to be freaks, which is true and not sex-irrelevant.

The Crack Emcee said...

I like the Mugger and victim analogy, except:

A) it's muggers, not mugger, and B) the "victim" turns out to be Bruce Lee in a dress.

Revenant said...

I figured, hey, what the hell, let's bring some facts into this.

As can be seen from the statistics at that link:

(1): The male suicide rate has declined by approximately 10% over the last half-century. I guess we can be thankful that society is so pro-male now that we've been liberated from the oppressive female-dominated society of 1950.

(2): The male suicide rate has reliably been three to four times that of women.

Ralph L said...

I watched some Green Hornet episodes last week for the first time in more than 40 years. The villians all looked liked upstanding middle-aged businessmen. I got a strong gay vibe off the Hornet actor, but maybe it was his pretty eyes.

Revenant said...

Then -- your inexplicable distaste for the offer notwithstanding -- there's no actual problem with Levin's having extended it.

The problem is that Levin is attacking a straw man, which is dishonest. He is offering to pay people who can prove he ordered people killed (which he isn't accused of), but acting like there's a reward for people who can show he *encouraged* killing (which he is accused of).

It is like if Bill Clinton offered a $100,000 reward for anyone who could prove he'd hired prostitutes, then used the fact that nobody had claimed the reward to "prove" he's never cheated on Hillary.

Ralph L said...

I had no idea it was that bad for men. The one group that's been consistent is 35-45. Note that a big drop for older people occurred after the introduction of Viagra in 1998.

Revenant said...

I got a strong gay vibe off the Hornet actor, but maybe it was his pretty eyes.

He's been married for 52 years, so either he's straight or far enough into the closet to be in danger of stumbling out into Narnia.

kent said...

He is offering to pay people who can prove he ordered people killed

Incorrectly and incompletely stated. The relevant portion of his offer, re: this thread, consists of $100,000 for evidence that "Sarah Palin has ever promoted the murder of anyone."

Again: you've yet to verbalize any straightforward, coherent explanation as to why this should constitute any sort of genuine problem, really.

Revenant said...

Note that a big drop for older people occurred after the introduction of Viagra in 1998.

That was probably part of it. :)

Also, the mid/late 90s were when third-generation antidepressants hit the market. Those were lifesavers -- quite literally, in many cases.

Revenant said...

The relevant portion of his offer, re: this thread, consists of $100,000 for evidence that "Sarah Palin has ever promoted the murder of anyone."

No, the relevant portion is the bit immediately after that, where he clarifies that "promoted the murder of" means "where I said go out there and kill X,Y,Z... go out there and kill A,B,C. I challenge him right now. Sarah Palin. Me. Go ahead."

But even if he had stopped at "promoting" it would still be a bullshit offer, since there's no objective way of proving that someone "promoted" murder short of an outright order to commit it.

Again: you've yet to verbalize any straightforward, coherent explanation as to why this should constitute any sort of genuine problem, really.

If someone came forward with a videotape of Levin saying "it would be fantastic if someone went out and killed every last Democrat in the United States, and I for one would be thrilled to see it happen", Levin still wouldn't have to pay anyone that $100,000 because that wouldn't meet the conditions he laid out.

It is a bullshit offer. If you want to rely on bullshit to win an argument, you go right ahead. I say that resorting to bullshit when the facts are on our side is pretty effin' silly.

kent said...

I say that resorting to bullshit when the facts are on our side is pretty effin' silly.

It is, isn't it? That's why a complete quote of Levin's statement -- which you continually truncate, to dishonest effect -- proves illuminating, after all:

"I challenge Chris Matthews, I'll put $100,000 on the table, to find any example where Sarah Palin has promoted the murder of anybody," said Levin -- specifically excluding terrorists and the Taliban.

Levin went on: "A hundred thousand on the table if Chris Matthews can find anywhere Mark Levin has urged the murder of people who have different political viewpoints. That's the murder of politicians …where I said go out there and kill X,Y,Z…go out there and kill A,B,C. I challenge him right now. Sarah Palin. Me. Go ahead."


That is, concretely and inarguably, not the same offer, either in letter or spirit, as the one you've disingenuously implied; and anyone holding the two up to the light alongside one another -- Levin's complete statement, and your bastardization of same -- will readily discern that for themselves.

Tsk, tsk.

kent said...

I'll be back tomorrow, to see if any rational concerns have been raised concerning Levin's offer, re: Palin, in the interim... but, failing that: we're quite plainly done here, I think.

Acksiom said...

Ralph L, the only person around here suggesting that suicide rates are society's fault is you.

All I'm suggesting, again, is that fewer men and boys would kill themselves if we treated men and boys better than we do, and that we should treat them better than we do.

That's not saying it's society's fault. It's pointing out an opportunity to improve things. Refraining from assigning fault is one of the reasons why I put it the way I do.

However, if you really want to know about murder/suicide ratios by gender, you can satisfy your curiosity for the years 1999-2007 HERE, and the years 1981-1999 HERE.

And it is indeed very much what Revenant said. All I did was take it at face value and semantically unpack it.

Revenant, you're still missing my point. There's a third option: that I'm saying that suicide rates for men are higher than death rates for men from other causes. Such as nephritis, Alzheimer's, liver disease, septicemia, homicide, Parkinson's, HIV, aortic aneurysms, pneumonitis, hypertension, and benign neoplasms.

Hell, the male suicide rate over 1999-2007 is higher than those for male deaths from homicide and HIV combined.

As for your characterization of my behavior, well, you and Ralph L do realize that you're directly proving my point through your own behavior. . .right?

Because the way you're acting is a direct example of exactly what I'm addressing. You're taking a simple suggestion that we try treating men and boys better than we do so so that fewer of them will kill themselves, and trying to argue against it.

Why would somebody do that? It's like you think you're going to lose something if other people were to start agreeing with the idea.

As to your assertion about mental illness: sure, for a value of "mental illness" that primarily consists of "depression".

But that doesn't invalidate my points or suggestions. It merely moves the causative chain back a link.

Finally, now that I've been so thoroughly reminded of why I hardly ever read the comments here, I want to address anybody lurking out there who might be at risk: ignore Revenant and Ralph L. There are plenty of people around who -- unlike these two -- would be much more interested in helping you up than knocking you down.

I know because I've been there myself and made it out alive. And you're not imagining the discrimination, either; some people -- some, not all -- really do care about you less simply because of your gender. You're not crazy. Life really is like that sometimes. It's not right, but it is real.

So don't waste any of your time or energy on them. Just ignore them, and instead get some help from people who want to give you their time and energy.

You can start finding some HERE.

Because you deserve to live, and to be treated fairly, and to have other people care about you.

Martin said...

Very wierd. Douthat and maybe the other big brains at the NYT must be working overtime to come up with some explanation for what they say and write about Palin, to deflect us from the obvious:

1. They just irrationally hate her, and cannot restrain themselves... and therefore

2. Have no credibility as journalists.

ANYTHING but the truth.

Florida said...

"Occam's Razor: because Ross Douthat is an idiot."

No. That wouldn't be the simplest explanation.

People don't understand New York Times writers like douthout or Paul krugman, but they're really not too hard to figure out.

They're writers and a writer's job is - like everybody else - to maximize their earning potential.

Now ... if that's your goal, and you are a writer for the New York Times, and you're a Pulizter Prize winning economist ... how do you think about the problem of maximizing your earnings.

Krugman (and Douthout) are writing in a way they know ahead of time will result in the maximum amount of pay to themselves. They know who their audience is.

Their audience is two people: Bill Keller and Pinch Sulzberger ... two of the most whackjob liberal socialists on the planet.

If you want to maximize your earnings working for such idiots, you're going to end up writing some things that don't make a lot of sense in the real world - but make perfect sense to the two morons who are signing your checks.

Occam's Razor: They're writing to their audience of two whackos to maximize their bonuse.

Once you view their work with this goal in mind ... it all makes perfect sense.

lucid said...

There is something else we ought to factor in to the motivations for the attacks on Palin:

she is not only sexually very desirable and hot, but she is also openly contemptuous and uninterested in the good opinions of the Ezra Kleins, Jonathan Chaits, and Michele Goldbergs of the world. Her heat blows them away, and she isn't at all interested in bringing them back.

She is too hot for the cool kids, the jounolisters, and she has a much better life than they do. They can't stand it.

Pogo said...

The media are stalkers and now claiming she's just asking for it.

Henry said...

I think such an analogy could have been used for Bill Clinton perfectly fine. Some politicians fit some analogies better than others. In Clinton's case, Clinton was the bad husband and the press was the enabling spouse.

On the other hand Obama and the press are not married. Obama is a 49 year old man and the press is 13.

Big Mike said...

A couple other commentators seem to agree with me -- Palin really doesn't need the media. She could do quite well for herself if the big eastern newspapers, the slowly dying news magazines, ABC, NBC, CBS, and the cable news networks never mentioned her name again.

But one thing my wife pointed out to me when we discussed this, is that by piling on Palin the media don't have to talk about the municipal bond market (which is tanking), unemployment (apparently ticking even further up), inflation in the basics (i.e., gasoline and food) and all the bad economic news in general.

So they pile on Sarah Palin and take their lumps because the alternative is even worse. Or they think it is. Are these alleged journalists so isolated from reality that they don't see that their attacks on Palin are helping to drive people away from Democrats and over to a Republican party that seems to have rediscovered fiscal conservatism? (The jury is still out on whether they really get it.)

Smart woman, my wife. 36 1/2 years ago she had a small lapse in judgement causing an affirmative answer to a question I was asking, but otherwise pretty smart.

TosaGuy said...

I'd like to read more of Douthat's stuff that is not influenced by him having to play the role of the token non-liberal at the NYT.

Bob From Ohio said...

Douthat, like all the "juice box mafia" thinks he is an expert on all things. He probably got an A in his psych class at Harvard and still has the text book.

Douthat is a child of privilege who has no experience or wisdom but is the NYT choice to be their "pet" conservative.

He speaks for no one but the NYC/Beltway "conservative" establishment. You cannot find anyone outside of that establishment and his fellow "juice boxers" who cares about his views. Unlike David Brooks, no one even wastes time talking about his columns.

No matter how insipid this column is, he must be "high fiving" at the wine bar becuese its the first column in 1 year that anyone has noticed.

Stewart said...

The more the media gangs up on Palin the better I like her. Is she my first pick for President in 2012 election? No. Would I support her if she won the Republican nomination? ABSOLUTELY!

Tertium Quid said...

Since August of 2008, the mission of the left remains: "Palin delenda est."

Ralph L said...

All I'm suggesting, again, is that fewer men and boys would kill themselves if we treated men and boys better than we do, and that we should treat them better than we do.
If you meant MEDICALLY treated, why didn't you say so, you stupid shit? "WE" are not doctors. Since two intelligent people completely misunderstood you, you should take a look in the mirror.

Ralph L said...

Oh, and BITE ME!

R.C. said...

Of course Douthat's analogy is not sexist.

For the analogy to be sexist, one would have to be able easily to identify the gender roles therein, and then find that the person in the female role was being unfairly vilified through caricaturish exaggerations of "feminine" traits.

But we're stymied at step one. If we assume that "sexism" means looking for the kind of bad traits associated (however unfairly) with women, then that means we're looking for hysteria, for emotionally-charged jumping to conclusions, for an inability to deal with reality without fainting.

But in that case, we would have to assign Palin the "male" role in this relationship, and the Mainstream Media a "female" role, wouldn't we?

For of course the MSM is the hysterical, emotionally-charged, conclusion-jumping, faint-prone member of the relationship: All the lame stereotypes which a sexist associates with the female.

Meanwhile, Palin -- there is no way to put this both accurately and delicately -- clearly has all the big brass cojones which geldings like Chris Matthews, Ed Shultz, and Keith Olbermann lack. She even totes a rifle through the wilderness racking up big game. How is this anything other than a cartoonish level of masculinity...if, as I said before, we are judging according to the lame stereotypes of a sexist?

It is through this kind of gender-role reversal that one can depict Douthat's analogy as "sexist." But is that how Douthat meant the "marriage" analogy.

I don't really think so; certainly he doesn't depict Palin in the masculinized way I just did. If anything Douthat's piece is ambiguous about who wears the pants in this dysfunctional marriage.

So what happens if we try it the other way around? How does the analogy play out if Palin is female and MSM is male?

If one tries to put Palin in the female role and the MSM in the male, it is difficult to find any way that the analogy associates stereotypical gender behaviors with either side. Which means the analogy can't be called "sexist."

I mean, if the MSM is the "husband" then I assume Palin is the "wife," in which case the husband is dishing out a beating, but the wife, instead of being battered into submission, is giving as good as she gets: Hurling the good china at her husband. We're all watching the plates explode against the wall.

Now that interpretation is probably a lot closer to Douthat's original intent. But how is it sexist? In that form of the analogy, both sides look bad; indeed, they both look like inbred trailer trash fit for Jerry Springer.

And that might be a classist analogy, but it is not sexist.

Shanna said...

They've always been high compared to women. Men appear to be naturally more likely to kill themselves, probably for the reasons I mentioned.

And it could be the old saw that men are more likely to use more violent methods, and that is why the complete suicides at higher rates than women, because they don’t have more attempts. (even though I realize I'm way late to this thread).