November 1, 2013

I'm having trouble reading Ana Marie Cox's "Dear Senate women: grow up and don't pass Hillary Clinton 'secret notes.'"

I don't know. Maybe it's because she's writing in The Guardian now. This could be some British way of writing that just can't make it into my American mind. Anyway, Cox — going on about a letter 17 female Senators wrote to Hillary Clinton urging her to run for President — is working with the premise that "male representatives are boys and women are the grown-ups." That premise is not the part I'm having trouble with. I understand it. I understand it as: Feminism-as-sexism is funny; come on, give us a little room to get in some harmless girly slaps after all the millennia of suffering.

But let's move on. Cox writes:
No one in the media has seen the letter, so I guess it's possible that it contains some kind of burn-book-level intel: Jeff Session (Alabama Republican senator) is a grotsy little byotch, Lindsay Graham (South Carolina Republican senator) made out with a hot dog, Ted Cruz (Tea Party Texan) is almost too conservative to be anything but a robot. 
"Grotsy" isn't even in Urban Dictionary, but I understand it. It's like "grotty," which was understandable as a variation of grotesque when the British comedian George Harrison said it in "Hard Day's Night." Grotsy is as understandable as ugsly.

(Maybe the "s" absconded from "Sessions," which she has as "Session.") [ADDED: Commenters say it should be "grotsky," and the phrase "grotsky little byotch" is from "Mean Girls."]

I understand the rest of those insults and why it's funny to just make up insults about Republicans to pad out a column and why — when you're talking about Republicans — it's okay to apply the mustard of homophobia. That's all well within the rules of American political humor.

Cox concedes that it's completely boring that a bunch of female Democrats support a Hillary candidacy. So what's to talk about? The fact that it was secret. A letter with nothing interesting to say was nevertheless written and revealed to have been written but we still can't see the text even though the text is presumably uninteresting. Well, there's your reason right there for not revealing the text. It's thuddingly dull. Cox says:
There's not much reason to make your support for something political private....
Which is why the existence of the letter and its gist was revealed. Cox concedes this as well: The secrecy label was "less about keeping the support in the note secret than making the support note-worthy." I won't get tripped up by that hyphen. That must be how they write "noteworthy" in the U.K.

So the letter functioned, dully, to give a teensy bounce to the Hillary for President beachball that no one feels like playing with right now. So what's to say? Here's where we get to the part of Cox's column that I found so hard to read:
Hillary... knows a thing or two about "inevitability", and what she knows is not likely to make her more excited to suffer through a fourth presidential campaign (I think we can safely say what she went through during Bill's campaigns counts as suffering). 
What? Hillary doesn't want to run? Excited to suffer? The meaning of suffering? There's just enough of a frisson of masochism in that to make me notice the absence of sex, which sets me off for this:
One of the maddening things about covering the Clintons is Bill's love of the dramatic reveal, the tension-filled lead-up...
Now you've got me thinking about the time "Bill Clinton Finally Just Show[ed] America His Penis."

Excuse the expression: back to Cox:
Bill Clinton is called the "The Big Dog", but he's really a tomcat (in more ways than one) – he likes to toy with his victims. He likes to play hard-to-get, though in the ends, he's almost always gotten. 
In the ends.... More Brit-talk? Does that mean the same as "in the end." The ends? Is that like the way there's an "s" on "buttocks"? (Is it the "s" that absconded from "Sessions"?)

I don't know what I'm supposed to think about here. Bill Clinton likes to play hard to get? That's not how Juanita Broaddrick describes it.
Based on that, journalists have determinedly disregarded any indication that Hillary's ambivalence is genuine. 
But Hillary is not Bill. Games are for boys; I don't think this is a game for her.
All right. I've settled down. I guess there was no call to think about sex. No sex, please, we're British. Cox was just trying to say that Bill Clinton is good at toying with us politically, so if he were to act ambivalent, it would be theater. Is Cox saying that because Hillary isn't good at that kind of theater, somehow she might actually be sincere in her ambivalence? Most of us are just ignoring the lady's coyness. We already know what she wants. If she can't do coyness as prettily as Bill, that's a reason not to look at the insipid show.

Maybe Cox is just saying the thing that is too boring to write about: We already know that Hillary is running for President. And: Just say it! Cox gets back to her feminism-as-sexism with that last line, which is trying so hard to be a zinger: "Games are for boys; I don't think this is a game for her." Games — plural — are for boys, and this particular game — the teasing roll-out of a candidacy — is not for her. If games are for boys and Hillary is not a boy, then no games are for her. To specify that one game is not for her is to imply that she is a boy. I'm just talking about logic here, not saying that's where Cox meant to go.

Cox apparently meant to end where she began: The premise that female politicians are the adults. But the evidence is that the females have acted like children, so what are you going to do? Cox tells them to stop acting like men, because men are childish. But they're all childish! They're all acting like politicians! Cox should only be able to say wouldn't it be nice if only the males behaved like children, and then you could say the males are children and the females are grown-ups?

Really, all you can say is that they're all politicians, acting like politicians, and some are better at playing politics than others, and — clearly! — Bill is better than Hillary. Therefore: Hillary should keep it simple. Noted. In my note-book of things that are just barely note-worthy.

27 comments:

EDH said...

You girls fight-it-out amongst yourselves.

jacksonjay said...

I think you said it all!

PB Reader said...

They're supremely jealous they can't quit their jobs and go out and earn $200k per speech. They're trapped in lousy $175k per year jobs and have to go begging for money all the time.

Sorun said...

Now that gay marriage is off the front burner, what will be the most important issue ever! for the 2016 campaign.

What will make the ladies feel good about doing their civic duty in the voting booth. Something exciting, I hope (i.e. not economics related).

St. George said...

Her column is in news business parlance—a thumbsucker.

No reporting. No interviews. Something tossed off the typewrite, er, laptop in a few minutes.

She is a classic case of falling upward. She broke one minor salacious scandal. That's it.

Wik/NY Posti also reports that Penguin Books sued her for not returning an $80,000 advance, plus $50,000 in interest, when she did not write a promised book.

Sam L. said...

There was a Brit-com titled "The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin". After being fired orlet go when his employer went bust, opened "The Grot Shop", which I thought meant everything he sold was cheapo crap. Or maybe more expensive crap.

wildswan said...

There's a site I found the other day called TV Trivia. It's about the memes used in TV shows. For instance, a guy works on fixing a machine using complex technology, gets nowhere gives up, then he or another just hits the machine and, as he turns away it starts up. Contributors enter all the different variations on this theme and the TV show where they saw them. It's a lot more amusing than maybe I made it sound. WHAM. Anyhow, this article about Hilary seems to be sort of using a lot of political trivia themes in a mashup whose only real purpose is to get her name before the public in a recent story. Too bad there's no site to do for political themes what that site does for TV. (And it's more than TV.)

YoungHegelian said...

Middle school girls are always passing secret notes to each other. It's how they bond & exclude girls like that grotty slut Tiffany ---eeewwwww!-----, who put Bill's thing in her mouth & said she actually enjoyed it!

Not much seems to change as they get older.

Jesse Thomas said...

"Grotsy little byotch" is a misquote from "Mean Girls." She means "grotsky little byotch."

MadisonMan said...

The Senate starts to look like Middle School.

("starts"?)

Youngblood said...

That's so poorly written.

I don't think that 'grotsy' is a Britishism. I think it's one of those things where someone who has never used slang attempts to do so. It's always a little cringe-inducing.

And yeah, that last line is terrible. Shockingly bad.

It is unfortunate that someone who is so bad with words gets paid for them.

lemondog said...

"Grotsy" isn't even in Urban Dictionary

Urban Dic
a person or thing that lacks the cognitive capacity for rational thought.

rhhardin said...

Anna Marie Cox was at her essay best dropping in pundit love of anal sex and drink, which made Wonkette.

She needs a new gimmick now, and perhaps reading it all as tries at finding one makes more sense.

Presumably anal sex and drink are out of place in the Guardian, so far.

rcocean said...

So the letter functioned, dully, to give a teensy bounce to the Hillary for President beachball that no one feels like playing with right now.

I sorta like this sentence. But 'Beachball's' are fun, light, and airy. One could imagine Bill as a "beachball" all full of gas and bouncy fun. But Hillary? She's the wet blanket or the rigid, steely, but useful umbrella.

Ann Althouse said...

"But 'Beachball's' are fun, light, and airy."

Ever been to a concert when there is a beach ball going around. It isn't fun. You hit it to make it go away.

Mary Beth said...

I don't think those are Briticisms, I think it's just sloppy writing.

wildswan, tv tropes.org? That site is a time sink.

Gabriel Hanna said...

"note-worthy": worth writing a note (in the Senate) about. Same formation as "sponge-worthy" from Seinfeld.

Not the same as "noteworthy" as in "worth taking note of".

Roughcoat said...

Somewhere around the fifth or sixth paragraph of this post I put a finger pistol to my head and figuratively blew my brains out. But I did keep reading to the end, even though I had a big figurative hole in my head.

Roughcoat said...

Somewhere around the fifth or sixth paragraph of this post I put a finger pistol to my head and figuratively blew my brains out. But I did keep reading to the end, even though I had a big figurative hole in my head.

Roughcoat said...

I say everything twice. Sorry. I say everything twice. Sorry.

Christy said...

The Guardian is one of the very best sites for Books. Politics? Not so much. We're talking Kos Kids territory. Predictable and stale. JMHO.

Republican said...

We saw Bill Clinton's penis years ago, and it was named Hillary.

Republican said...

The problem with biarches like Anna Marie Cox, is their shelf life. She's past her expiration date, and is stinking things up.

RonF said...

This is from the concept that women are supposedly more congenial and electing a House and Senate full of women will produce a Congress that will get things done. Such a person has obviously never been to a PTA meeting.

It's a collorary of the basic feminist concept that women are perfect and men are defective women.

RonF said...

This is from the concept that women are supposedly more congenial and electing a House and Senate full of women will produce a Congress that will get things done. Such a person has obviously never been to a PTA meeting.

It's a collorary of the basic feminist concept that women are perfect and men are defective women.

David said...

I wonder if Ann Marie is available for dinner?

John Lynch said...

How tedious.