September 13, 2016

"Have we really reached the point that it’s O.K. for The Times to refer to Clinton in bold type as 'The Bitch America Needs'?"

Asks the NYT public editor, Liz Spayd. She likes the essay itself, including the focus on and playing with the word "bitch," but putting "bitch" in the headline made it "seem[] to come from the voice of The Times, at least when you come on it cold, as all readers do."
Opinion editor Rachel Dry... says she commissioned the piece because she wanted someone to wrestle with how this particular profanity is being used against Clinton. “Certainly the word focuses one’s attention,” Dry said to my questions about its use in the headline and so frequently in the story. “But that’s what the essay is about.”...

It’s one thing for an author, under her own byline and in the context of her ideas, to write the type of opinion piece [Andi] Zeisler did.... Dry says that when opinion editors write the headlines, they are distilling the author’s perspective, not the view or the voice of The Times.

That may be, but referring to the first female presidential nominee as the right bitch for the job brings an air of legitimacy to the word that seems beyond where we are at this moment in history. The mainstream may someday apply this term to women who stand up for themselves and bust through feminine stereotypes. Until then, it remains an insult, degrading and misogynistic.
Well, that's just very conservative. I think the word "bitch" got reclaimed by feminists decades ago, but the NYT has made a thing of its old-fashioned approach to rough language. But Spayd isn't talking about completely censoring "bitch," the way the Times censors "fuck."* Spayd's point is only that "bitch" works as an insult until you get into the context of the essay, so it's wrong to put it in the headline.

She doesn't mention the function of clickbait in the NYT. Obviously, the headline "The Bitch America Needs" is very clickbait-y. Taking something out of its real context is a clickbait technique. You need to click through to find out why this could be the headline. Personally, I avoided clicking on that headline precisely because I've trained myself not to take the bait. I still haven't read Zeisler's essay, and I remain content with my assumption that it put a good meaning on "bitch" and used that to say Hillary — who's been called or characterized as a bitch — is, in fact, a bitch but in the good way.

I'll await the NYT op-ed making the case for Trump under the headline "The Fucking Asshole America Needs" that could be retitled "The Feisty Fighter America Needs."

_____________________

* For an example of the NYT's censorship of "fuck," see "Odell Beckham Jr. Responds to the Lena Dunham Dust-Up: ‘I Have to Learn More About the Situation’":
“I was sitting next to Odell Beckham Jr., and it was so amazing because it was like he looked at me and he determined I was not the shape of a woman by his standards,” Ms. Dunham said in the interview, which was posted last Friday. “He was like: ‘That’s a marshmallow. That’s a child. That’s a dog.’ It wasn’t mean. He just seemed confused.”

In Ms. Dunham’s imagination, the grid star’s “vibe” seemed to suggest he was thinking, “Do I want to have sex with it?” (she used an earthier term for “sex,” and yes, she said “it”).
That second paragraph summarizes this part of the original interview:
The vibe was very much like, "Do I want to fuck it? Is it wearing a … yep, it's wearing a tuxedo. I'm going to go back to my cell phone." It was like we were forced to be together, and he literally was scrolling Instagram rather than have to look at a woman in a bow tie. I was like, "This should be called the Metropolitan Museum of Getting Rejected by Athletes."

89 comments:

cubanbob said...

Well she certainly is an old dog. Trump da Bitch!

Bill Harshaw said...

A little self-congratulatory there for not taking click-bait? I would have thought that Drudge was mostly click-bait?

eric said...

She is a tough bitch, Hillary, always powering through.

YoungHegelian said...

If there's any evidence that Hillary is a "bitch" in the sense of "stick to it & get 'er done" (just like one would say of a man "He's a hard-chargin' old bastard"), I'd like to see it.

I think history will see HRC as a greedy do-nothing, i.e. Madame "Pls Print".

Sebastian said...

"Well, that's just very conservative. I think the word "bitch" got reclaimed by feminists decades ago, but the NYT has made a thing of its old-fashioned approach to rough language." Prog linguistics is situational. If a harsh term serves the cause, use it; if not, don't; if someone else uses it, beat them up over it; if you can have it both ways, to kill two birds, better still.

Ron said...

In the immortal words of Mr. Blonde, I might break her in, but I'd make her my dog's bitch.

EDH said...

Spayd and Dry...female editors at the New York Times?

No comment.

Achilles said...

The proper term isn't bitch. I know some good people who can be bitchy.

The proper term is witch. With connotations of evil, twisted soul, etc.

Gusty Winds said...

I Trump really the one who lowered the bar, or are we seeing the low level that the press and entrenched elites will go not to let power get wrestled away and given back to someone who might actually be sincere in answering to voters?

Darrell said...

They Media knows they have no credibility left, so they give us articles like that.

traditionalguy said...

Whether she is mean woman or not, it's not nice to make fun of a mentally disabled woman.

Bob Boyd said...

You know, just to be grossly generalistic, you could put Hillary into what I call the Basket of Bitches, right? Unfortunately, Hillary is like that. And the Times has lifted her up.

Curious George said...

http://www.theonion.com/article/pneumonia-virus-terrified-after-remembering-what-c-53927

exhelodrvr1 said...

PETA is going to be outraged at that insult to dogs. Another collision of special interest groups.

grimson said...

I think the word "bitch" got reclaimed by feminists decades ago.

That puts it in the same category as "nigger" and blacks.

If the editorial referenced had been written by a man, the Times would not have thought twice about suppressing "bitch;" they probably would have rejected the entire editorial.

rhhardin said...

Bitch is the wrong word for Hillary.

She's got deeper dysfunction than that.

rhhardin said...

A bitch plays for typical female stakes. Not so Hillary.

Brando said...

They've pushed this idea of Hillary as "someone who gets things done" without really demonstrating anything she actually got done. I mean, the image works for them--if Republicans keep calling her a "bitch" then the left will own it, and say "maybe it takes a bitch to work things out! Woo hoo!" and then they can have a hug-fest and motivate themselves toward victory.

But where has Hillary gotten things done? Traveling a lot as Secretary of State (which is likely related to hawking for more Clinton Cash) doesn't count. Nor does "holding esteemed offices". How about some example of where a bunch of doddering dudes and dainty women cannot figure out a problem, and Hillary the "bitch" walks in and takes charge? Or hell, how about one single accomplishment?

If anything, her biggest successes were when she got people to feel sorry for her (the Lazio debate, the tears after losing the Iowa caucus to Obama).

rhhardin said...

An Eastern Airlines stewardess who got into a dispute with passenger and Carter CAB appointee Betsy Baily over smoking/no smoking areas defended herself by claiming she'd called Baily a witch, not a bitch.

Hagar said...

I am with Achilles and rhhardin; bitchiness is not what Hillary! is about.

Hagar said...

Maureen Dowd now ...

Jake said...

"This should be called the Metropolitan Museum of Getting Rejected by Athletes."

So, OBJ didn't look at her as a sex object and he's an ass for it?


Dust Bunny Queen said...

"This should be called the Metropolitan Museum of Getting Rejected by Athletes."

Jake said: So, OBJ didn't look at her as a sex object and he's an ass for it?

I know. You guys can't win in any case.

Look at a female with appreciative eyes....you sexist bastard how dare you objectify me.

Don't look at a woman with appreciative eyes.....you sexist bastard,just because I'm not a model you scorn me.

Avoid looking at any woman anywhere anytime...... misogynist!!! You hate women.

I'm a woman and I'm beginning to really hate women...if you can even call Dunham a woman. I hear that she is a marshmallow.

Smilin' Jack said...

I was like, "This should be called the Metropolitan Museum of Getting Rejected by Athletes.

No, Lena, museums are for the unique and surprising, not the commonplace and expected. If he'd rejected Jennifer Lawrence, that might be museum-worthy.

SteveR said...

Binders full of bitches?

Brando said...

What I do like about that Dunham incident is that because she plays in the fever swamps of the far left, and the athlete in question was black, it hilariously turned into a racial issue.

It's like playing with cobras, eventually they're going to bite you.

FleetUSA said...

Bitches have often been spayed

damikesc said...

Opinion editor Rachel Dry... says she commissioned the piece because she wanted someone to wrestle with how this particular profanity is being used against Clinton.

Let me guess, examples of it being used were scant.

if Republicans keep calling her a "bitch" then the left will own it, and say "maybe it takes a bitch to work things out! Woo hoo!" and then they can have a hug-fest and motivate themselves toward victory.

I'm having difficulty recalling Republicans calling her a bitch at all.


ndspinelli said...

I just got off the treadmill as I flipped. I am as sure as I can be there are thousands of people that KNOW Hillary has a serious neurological disease, probably Parkinson's. I can smell the desperation and that's why we're hearing whispers from Dem operatives of a plan B. Well, this will make the Clinton impeachment look like a walk in the park. She will NOT give up the position.

Most people think of Parkinson's as shaking, stiffness, etc. They see it as strictly physical. However, having had a dear friend and an uncle die from this, I can say there is a dementia component as well. With my uncle, it was mostly physical w/ dementia coming toward the end. With my friend, he hardly shook @ all. He had muscle stiffness and falls like Hillary. The worst manifestation was dementia. It was akin to Alzheimer's.

ndspinelli said...

"flipped" TV.

ndspinelli said...

TV channels..not the TV. No upper body work today.

Brando said...

"I'm having difficulty recalling Republicans calling her a bitch at all."

Some have--Gingrich got nailed for it back in the '90s (his mother revealed to Connie Chung that he referred to Hillary as a bitch) and the "Trump that Bitch" t-shirts and the like are big sellers. Most elected Republicans and major pundits have avoided using that term.

But it's been far more prevalent among leftists--I remember in the '08 primary on SNL Tina Fey and Amy Poehler did some bit about "Bitch is the new Black" and how great it was to have a "bitch" who "gets things done". Which again, would make some sense if she actually got anything done.

Margaret Thatcher got things done; Condi Rice was one of Bush's most trusted foreign policy advisers (and through her advice to him, got things done). Hillary? I'd like to be charitable and think of an example, but even the Bin Laden raid was sort of a no-brainer and Obama had much closer advisers (Panetta, Susan Rice) than Clinton at that time.

Now, maybe she advised her husband? I don't think even he ever credited her counsel for any major decisions he made.

YoungHegelian said...

How isolated HRC is in her campaign is now getting attention in the press.

Yeeesh! Huma Abedin is starting to look like the "Good Muslim Girl" equivalent of Rasputin, isn't she? I think if Hillary wins we're gonna be looking at a de facto President Abedin in no time at all.

fivewheels said...

Can we just call her the c-word instead? (You know, "criminal".)

Joe said...

America needs Hillary like a fish needs a bicycle. Or something like that.

David Begley said...

Regardless of what you call her, America does not need Hillary. At her core she is a criminal. Crime is her central organizing characteristic. She's just looking to move back into the WH as a payoff for past bribes and more in the future.

Yancey Ward said...

If Shelob had a career full of major accomplishments other than grifting and graft, the meme might be successful, but I think all the non-Shelob supporters can see what those actually are. And here is the thing- when you ask them for a list of accomplishments, even her supporters come up mostly blank.

Nonapod said...

As far as epithets go, "bitch" is far too crude, loaded, imprecise, and distracting. It changes the conversation to something else. Like many monosyllabic epithets, it reveals far more about the person who uses it than it does about the intended target. In my experience men who use that term in anger in reference to a woman tend to be simple minded.

There are many much more accurate adjectives to describe Hillary Clinton. Here's a few good'uns: corrupt, venal, criminal, prevaricating, equivocating, vindictive, imperious

StephenFearby said...

FleetUSA said...
Bitches have often been spayed

Can't top that one!

On another note, the Op-Ed title can also be viewed as promoting clicks to the author's web enterprise.

At the bottom of the Op-Ed: "Andi Zeisler is the founder of Bitch Media..."

Bitch Media's website:

"BECOME A MEMBER AT BITCH! JOIN THE B-HIVE AND GET SNAZZY BENEFITS, INCLUDING THIS MUG AND A SUBSCRIPTION TO BITCH MAGAZINE, ALL FOR JUST $8 EACH MONTH. CHECK IT OUT!"

https://bitchmedia.org/

Everybody has an angle.

Bad Lieutenant said...

America needs Hillary like a fish needs rotenone.

Michael K said...

Is her name really "spayed?"

Gojuplye said...

To Lena Dunham: Maybe it wasn't your body he found ugly.

Lucille Ball's advice to Carol Burnett on running a variety show; "If they aren't calling you a bitch, you aren't doing it right."

traditionalguy said...

That's bitching. She rests up while Obama, Biden and Kaine all go to Philadelphia today. It takes three men to replace one bitch.

bagoh20 said...

I'd say the current President is a bitch, and it's not really a good thing. In current usage - not ancient 60's feminist dinosaur lexicon, but current common usage - a bitch is a submissive person of either sex who is easily pushed around and a failure commanding any respect or authority by virtue of merit. A toady or insignificant poseur.

marybeth said...

A bitch cuts you off in traffic or is rude to minimum wage service workers. Hillary may be a bitch, but she's so much more that's so much worse. Calling her a bitch minimizes her nastiness.

Susan said...

The most offensive thing about that article is the part where they think the country needs her. Being a bitch is not her worst attribute by a long shot. I'd be fine with that. It's the criminality and venial stupidity that gets me.

Gk1 said...

Its a ham handed attempt to humanize someone devoid of charm or human emotion. I think "dumb bitch" is more apt. as I have yet to see anytime in her public service where she has been effective.

gerry said...

Althouse is getting tiresome again.

Phil said...

I would love it if Hillary used Elton John's "The Bitch Is Back" for her walk on music at her events. Only thing is, she can't say "stone cold sober as a matter of fact".

AprilApple said...

I've never called Hillary a bitch. It's not enough. She's a corrupt power-obsessed money-grubbing liar.

she's an un-indicted felon.

It's a bitch who pushes a felon on us, who is the bitch.

Comanche Voter said...

Ann, reading the New York Times is a nasty job. I'm glad that someone else is willing to do it. I got tired of reading Tom Friedman and Paul Krugman years ago (although Friedman is like a clock, if you read him long enough, you will find that his 12 o'clock position on something is entirely different from his 6 o'clock position on the same subject). And then with Charles Blow to literally blow editorial opinion chunks--it was just too much.

Chuck said...

Professor Althouse, your fascination with the New York Times is a mystery to me. The whole enterprise is so stale, and so predictable, and so lacking in interest or newsworthiness... I don't understand your repeated woodshedding of their biases. Over and over again. It isn't hard. Your criticisms are all valid, of course. While you produce page hits for nytimes.com. (Is it like the Amazon portal? Do you get a benefit from the Times?)

Wouldn't you find it a lot more interesting, to become a Wall Street Journal subscriber?

AJ Lynch said...

I work with a Catholic who is a devoted liberal. I asked her if she was at church all day Sunday praying for Hillary to get well. She said no she wasn't. I replied "that's good because you know that God will not answer any prayers for a devil".

So yeah, Hillary is not a bitch - she is far worse. And yes, it felt good and was perhaps a bit spiritual to see Hillary get a big nasty surprise [from God?] on the Benghazi anniversary.

AJ Lynch said...

Chuck- it is indeed a mystery of life to many.

Gojuplye said...

AJ, does your liberal Catholic friend agree that Trump supporters are irredeemable? Under Catholic doctrine that is untrue, possibly heretical, under the doctrine of grace and the ultimate mercy of a Loving God.

Peter said...

And here's an image of Newsweek's "Rhymes With Rich" cover about Leona Helmsley:

https://www.popscreen.com/prod/OTcxODMzMTQ=/Amazoncom-Leona-Helmsley-Newsweek-August-21-1989-RHYMES-WITH-RICH-

That was a long time ago, yet somehow "bitch" seemed a fitting description for "The Queen of Mean."

But perhaps this is one of those words one is only allowed to use if one is a member of the group the word may be directed against?

William Chadwick said...

From a "liberal" perspective (and by "liberal" I mean of course "tax happy, coercion-addicted, power-tripping government sniffers and State fellators") a bitch is just what America needs: a shrew who'll constantly hector and bully us into submission. As someone (I think Kurt Schichter, but I could be wrong) wrote a while back, President Hillary will be America's Maude: a sexless harridan constantly berating us for not being the docile subjects she would like us to be.

Char Char Binks said...

I keep getting ads for yoga pants on this site. What's up with that?

JaimeRoberto said...

The bitch America needs? Hell no, cuz bitches can't hang with the streets.

Brando said...

Have you noticed how the word "bitch" has almost opposite meanings depending on when it's used to describe a man vs. a woman? A woman "bitch" is tough, maybe nasty and mean; a man "bitch" is a squirrelly little wuss to be disdained.

Unclebiffy said...

This article serves a dual purpose. The NY Times gets to tell you how tough women really are and they get to infer that her political opponents are calling her names that they are not.

BudBrown said...

They figured out she's a bitch? Is that dogged reporting?

M Jordan said...

Here's where that headline went wrong: it was two words short. It should read, "The Bitch America needs to slap."

Rusty said...

I think we have enough bitches, thanks. We've certainly have had enough Clintons. I wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.
Been a slice, Hill.

buwaya said...

In the meantime, political inanity aside -

China is now in unofficial talks with Vietnam on the South China Sea. Vietnam has been the most actively hostile (to China) parties in the dispute.
The Philippines (Duterte) is probably going to go into bilateral talks also, and pre-emptively and significantly ordered US advisers out of Mindanao and blocked Philippine patrols of disputed waters. It seems that he wants no part of a Great Power confrontation and probably will concede Chinese claims.

It looks like China is going to get its South China Sea lake, the neighbors apparently no longer trust that the US has their back. There was reason it seems for Chinas studied insults at the G20.

These are clear symptoms of the Pax Americana breaking down. US allies and would-be allies are falling away. Whether this is a Rhineland/Sudetenland situation is TBD.

n.n said...

Clinton is more of a female chauvinist than a female dog. Perhaps a female Ass, which is politically correct. She doesn't tolerate others well.

As for The New York Times, she's your female chauvinist. A female Ass of your political/social stripe.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darrell said...

The Bitch no ones needs.
Kaine and Unable.

n.n said...

US allies and would-be allies are falling away

After powering through the Middle East, North Africa, and Eastern Europe, it would be fatal to rely on the selective principles of the liberal West. One day bringing a belligerent dictator to trial. Another day sodomizing and aborting a reformed dictator (and American ambassador). Then a sincere effort to provoke and reset a cold war with Russia. As if the progressive wars were not sufficient evidence of their adventurism, they added refugee crises to cover their conception of social jurisprudence (and class diversity).

madAsHell said...

Ms. Spayd uses the word bitch??
Freudian envy abounds!!

chuck said...

Sometimes a bitch is just a bitch.

Freeman Hunt said...

The NYT shouldn't be referring to people as "bitches" in its headlines unless it is transitioning into becoming a snarky tabloid.

khesanh0802 said...

I would be interested in Ann, or any other of the female commenters', opinion on Clinton's appearance. I am not trying to be catty , but, as a male, I"see" stringy hair, excessive weight around her hips, pasty complexion, a semi-vacuous expression at times. Not the kind of physical appearance I expect of someone in her position. 68 is not "old" in today's world and with the health care Clinton has available it seems to me she shouldn't look like such a train wreck.

My ex wife is 70 years old, she plays golf and tennis, is extremely active and, physically, doesn't look a whole lot different from when we got married. You can see the years in her face, but otherwise she is healthy and if running for pres. there would never be a question about her health. The same is true for many of her friends. Clinton - except for the weight - reminds me of my mother just before she went off the dementia cliff. She could hold it together for big events or when she knew she had to, but those who observed her in casual situations immediately knew there was something wrong.(Note: my current wife is 61 so she can't be used as an example)

I was extremely skeptical of the Clinton's sick conspiracy but after this weekend I have to jump on board the sickness band wagon and the Parkinson's diagnosis or dementia are at the top of my list. Is anyone aware of her family medical history?

tim in vermont said...

"Conspiracy theories about Hillary's health abound despite her veil of secrecy regarding the matter"

mockturtle said...

My husband had Lewy Body Disease, a Parkinsonian disorder that involves dementia. It was a harrowing ten years for both of us and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. My husband never had the resting tremor associated with Parkinson's Disease but did often 'freeze' when walking. He had been a brilliant research Biochemist, PhD from University of British Columbia, widely published in his field, so losing his mental faculties was a terrible blow. His memory was not the first to be affected but deficits in his executive function and visuo-spatial perception were notable early on. He later had hallucinations and frequently became combative.

I pray Hillary does not have this horrible disease for which there is no cure.

tim in vermont said...

A piece of metal clearly fell out of her pant leg. If she fainted, how did her neck stay so straight, and if she didn't, why did her lower body buckle?

jdniner said...

If I see a New York Times byline I immediately assume the article is devoid of facts and fairness. A drudge to read through.

Tom from Virginia said...

Perhaps she's the bitch Gotham deserves, just but not the one it needs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryLb_v7ereU

BN said...

Cursing in headlines is a conspicuous display of vulgarity. Not hiding your decadence--hell, reveling in its exposure--is an especially vulgar display of decadence.

BN said...

See what the internet hath wrought.

BN said...

Or was it us?

tim in vermont said...

Trump is the son of a bitch America needs. We have needed them off and on in the past as well.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Well, tim, that's more like it!

khesanh0802 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
khesanh0802 said...

@Tim 1926 Absolutely! Whatever the outcome I expect Trump to fight for every vote. I admire his aggressiveness.

khesanh0802 said...

@ Mockturtle Belated condolences. Gauging from the experience with my mother yours must have been truly awful. I hope you have recovered and been able to piece your life back together alright. From the tenor of your comments you seem to be in pretty good shape.

mockturtle said...

Thank you, khesanh0802.

rcocean said...

I guess if I was a member of the chattering classes, I'd care what the NEW YORK TIMES thinks about something.

Instead, as one of peasants, I don't really give a damn. If the New York Times is the best the power elite can do, than this country really is 2nd rate.

cyrus83 said...

Speaking of reclaiming the word "bitch", some years ago I had the occasion to cite a scholarly work in a paper whose title began "The Bitch Had it Coming to Her".

A click-bait title from the days before click-bait was really a thing (the piece was from 2000 in one of those quarterly academic journals), doubtless today it would set off trigger warnings and fainting spells on numerous accounts - the title, the subject (rape/sexual assault, here analyzed as rhetoric used against a non-woman), the source document being analyzed (Ezekiel), and the rather gross imagery suggested.