September 26, 2020

Henchmengate.



Gayle King is trending on Twitter. The mob is after Gayle King for inviting Nancy Pelosi to tone down the rhetoric:

Pelosi: "The president has no fidelity to fact or truth, and actually in his comments the last few days, no fidelity to the Constitution. He and his henchmen are a danger with their comments — are a danger to our democracy. Why bother? He isn't committed to the Constitution."

King: "But Speaker Pelosi, here's the problem. Your language, to some, is just as egregious as what they're saying, by calling the president's people 'henchmen.' Some could say that's just as insulting as what he's saying about you."
The word "henchman" apparently comes from the Icelandic word for "groom" — a keeper of horses. According to the OED, it has meant "a high-ranking male servant" or "a loyal (male) follower" or "A devoted or zealous (male) political supporter, a partisan" or "a person (usually a man) engaged by a politician to further his or her interests by corrupt or unscrupulous means" or "A male subordinate to a criminal or villain, esp. one who obeys his leader unquestioningly and is prepared to engage in violence or crime on his behalf; an accomplice, heavy, or sidekick."

So how bad was it for Pelosi to say "henchmen"? Not that bad, I'd say. I assume King was looking to display herself as a proponent of civility, but you know what I think about calls for civility. I think they're always bullshit — always done by people trying to get the other side to stand down. Is King an exception to my rule? I can't believe King isn't on Pelosi's side.

77 comments:

Fernandinande said...

Lileks usually shortens the sexist "henchmen" to "hench".

Back at the hideout, Dr. Scott is waiting for Dr. Satan. He chats with a hench, trying to flip him. After all, it’s not as if Dr. Satan’s track record is impressive so far; everything he does seems to put his plans deeper in the hole, and you wonder if the henches ever think "is it just the accent? Is that what makes us think he's super-smart?"

David Begley said...

Gayle:

Liberals get the bullet too.

MayBee said...

I assume King is on Pelosi's side. And that's probably why she's telling Pelosi she sounds terrible saying such things.

The OED may say what it says, but "henchmen" in colloquial use means someone who does damage and violence on behalf of someone. Not just a supporter or servant.
But the part about doing damage to our Constitution is what sounds really dumb, and King is wise to wave Pelosi off from that.

(look how little criticism of the left it takes for the left to come down on you! Pelosi saying "henchmen" isn't trending. The right is so used to criticisms like that, it doesn't even register any more!)

Wilbur said...

No, she just thinks words like "henchmen" will make harder for Joe Biden to "bring us together" as he promised to do upon his election.

Kumbaya, Gayle. Whoever the hell you are. The only Gayle I know of is the late, great Gayle Sayers.

Temujin said...

Good morning, Sunday Morning.

Gayle King is getting speared because she's the first mainstream talking head in years to attempt a sentence- one sentence- calling out a Democrat for being hyperbolic. I'm sure she'll not do it again.

mezzrow said...

I can't believe King isn't on Pelosi's side.

That's what I get out of this.

That said, I'm pretty much convinced I don't know anything by now.

I'll probably know even less next week.

Ambrose said...

Why "not so bad"? It is clearly a pejorative term for people who despite their disagreement with Pelosi are public servants.

MountainMan said...

Democratic lawmakers propose legislation fo establish 18-year terms for Supreme Court justices.

Democratic lawmakers have no fidelity to the Constituion.

Unknown said...

I assume King was looking to display herself as a proponent of civility, but you know what I think about calls for civility. I think they're always bullshit — always done by people trying to get the other side to stand down. Is King an exception to my rule? I can't believe King isn't on Pelosi's side.

Do you know her? I don't know her. You could make racial assumptions (she's black, she must be liberal) or media assumptions (she's a journalist, she must be liberal). Or maybe she's one of those black journalists who are going to vote for Trump. In which case, your rule stands. She's trying to get the other side to stand down.

I would guess that she's just a nice person, sick of the riots and the partisan hatred. I think there's a good chance she's a liberal (playing the odds). And she wants Pelosi and the whole Democrat side to act normal. Maybe she suspects or knows that all this anger, and the riots, will lose popular support, and the Republicans are going to win, again. (See Nixon, 1968).

She's calling for civility, and the high road, from her own side. For four years the dynamic has been 1) Trump says something 2) Democrats go insane. The way you break that dynamic is you stop letting him manipulate you. Just be calm and you win. She gets that, I'm guessing.

Unknown said...

I assume King was looking to display herself as a proponent of civility, but you know what I think about calls for civility. I think they're always bullshit — always done by people trying to get the other side to stand down. Is King an exception to my rule? I can't believe King isn't on Pelosi's side.

Do you know her? I don't know her. You could make racial assumptions (she's black, she must be liberal) or media assumptions (she's a journalist, she must be liberal). Or maybe she's one of those black journalists who are going to vote for Trump. In which case, your rule stands. She's trying to get the other side to stand down.

I would guess that she's just a nice person, sick of the riots and the partisan hatred. I think there's a good chance she's a liberal (playing the odds). And she wants Pelosi and the whole Democrat side to act normal. Maybe she suspects or knows that all this anger, and the riots, will lose popular support, and the Republicans are going to win, again. (See Nixon, 1968).

She's calling for civility, and the high road, from her own side. For four years the dynamic has been 1) Trump says something 2) Democrats go insane. The way you break that dynamic is you stop letting him manipulate you. Just be calm and you win. She gets that, I'm guessing.

Brian McKim and/or Traci Skene said...

LED aside, most get their meaning of the word from its use in Batman scripts. It means-- to the overwhelming !ajority-- criminal underlings who execute crimes so that the "overling" remains untainted. See also newspapers, mid-sized to-late 20th century. Civility Bullshit does not apply here. Pelosi knew which meaning her audience would take.

wendybar said...

Nancy is throwing gasoline on the fire. The blood is on the Democrats hands, and they are rubbing them together gleefully.

doctrev said...

There's a function where only people "nirva mas" follows or mentions can reply? Why on earth doesn't PDJT use that on his own account? Assuming they let him, of course.

What I find interesting is that Nirva Mas thinks Gayle King's most obvious business links are to the Weinsteinesque. Which is amusing, because even I know that rumors about her being in lesbians with Oprah Winfrey have dogged her for decades. Oprah wouldn't hesitate to have a dog like Nirva Mas put deep in the ground.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Nancy wants antifa nazi brownshirts to burn your business down, too.

ga6 said...

They have no need of history and do not know or willfully forget that the tumbrils can come for anyone.

Lucid-Ideas said...

Deplorable language!

Ken B said...

Pelosi accused the cops in the Taylor case of murder. That's much worse. It might be the worst statement by a person in line for the presidency in a very long time.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

No do Meryl Streep and Harvey.

The white left.

Nichevo said...


The OED may say what it says, but "henchmen" in colloquial use means someone who does damage and violence on behalf of someone. Not just a supporter or servant.
But the part about doing damage to our Constitution is what sounds really dumb, and King is wise to wave Pelosi off from that.


To pull a possible rhhardinism, this harkens back to AD&D, or Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. The big bad in those days, the villain or whatever he was called, might have either hirelings or henchmen. The difference was, if memory serves, that hirelings were just there for the pay and loot, and would run away as they saw fit. Henchmen were committed.

You notice in the Bond movies that the villains and their underlings never* flee, never surrender? Even when it would be clearly to their advantage to do so? That's henchman for you. Henchmen don't change sides.


*This can be argle-bargled and is not an absolute. For instance, in the first movie, Dr No, when the reactor blew up, the workers mostly fled-but that wasn't because they were facing Bond, but because of the ongoing disaster.

And everybody didn't die before they talked, so not total fanaticism/commitment; Professor Dent and Annabel Chung and the delectable Miss Taro held fast, pretty much, though they gave the game away; but when Bond demanded of the Crab Key worker "Where's the girl," he piped up with the correct answer ("Number 6!") readily enough.

But broadly not a whole lot of changing sides. One exception - Bond girls. Many of whom came to a bad end.

traditionalguy said...

That little contretemps could be the signal that it’s OK now to leave Pelosi behind and elevate AOC. The FakeStreamMedia is the senior partner here, not Crazy Nancy. For the past year she has meekly made all the wrong moves to beat Trump...almost like she has been flipped to fight for him by being an ineffective leader of the opposition. For playing the Washington General’s role she might get to keep some of her loot.

Hippogryph said...

"Henchmen" is terrible? When Nancy Pelosi wants something done, I can imagine her screaming "Fly monkeys, fly!"

tcrosse said...

I would rather be a Sidekick than a Henchman.

Wince said...

An evil henchman?

"People never think how things effect the family of a henchman."

madAsHell said...

Who?

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

A photograph with creeps = what a leftwing henchmen thing to do.

Ken B said...

But that was in another country
And besides the hench is dead.

Kevin said...

No, she just thinks words like "henchmen" will make harder for Joe Biden to "bring us together" as he promised to do upon his election.

Anyone who thinks Biden will "bring us together" as President has shown themselves too stupid to vote.

Joe Smith said...

Whole lotta rapin' goin' on...

Michael K said...

The snake is eating its tail. Bon Appetit'

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

So this actually a “progressives pounce” story about Twitter reaction to King. Conservatives are familiar with this mobswarm action.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

When you realize how lame Nancy’s henchmen are — Schiff, Schumer and Nadler — then you can see why she’s so worried about Trump’s team.

LA_Bob said...

I wonder if the press isn't trying (at least a little) to look more "reasonable" and even-handed. They've read the polls and seen their ratings.

Or maybe Gayle King just doesn't know what she thinks until she says it out loud.

tim in vermont said...

They are back to the whole Batman the TV show villains stuff. It all started with all of the photos of Trump being “Dutch angles.” I guess Trump would be “The Penguin."

MD Greene said...


Does the the left really understand the damager their 2016 candidate did to her campaign and their cause when she labeled half the other side as "deplorables." That word, and its "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic" follow-ons very likely swung the 2016 election to Trump.

The people who felt themselves labeled got the message, and they didn't like it. They still don't like it.

That same contemptuous tone is just as loud in progressive circles today.
It might bind supporters to the cause, but, as in 2016, it alienates and mobilizes people on the other side to at least the same degree.

Heck, I'm so old I remember when a politician asked people for their support and tried to convince them by explaining what he or she hoped to accomplish if elected to office. Sounds almost quaint these days.

JMS said...

I know Trump often insults individuals, but does he disparage and insult Democratic voters as a whole? I can't think of an example similar to Hillary's "basket of deplorables."

daskol said...

It didn't occur to me before this thread, but somebody in various David Brock type "research" organizations is sitting on pictures of every prominent person in politics, media and entertainment standing alongside Harvey Weinstein, just waiting to publish that picture should anyone get out of line. Collectively, this is an indictment of the entire class of people who lead in these spheres. But if you publish them one at a time, it just fuck the person standing next to Harvey.

Lindsey said...

Pelosi was clearly assuming gender as well

Paddy O said...

When I think of henchman, I think of the villains from Batman.

tim in vermont said...

In current usage, henchman means just what it sounds like it means. All of those other definitions are only of service if you like to read old novels.

JaimeRoberto said...

Hench sounds like lynch do the connotation may be worse than the definition.

Narr said...

I used "henchmen" here recently. Do you think . . . no, it couldn't be . . . could it?

Should we add La Pelosi to the list of Althouse-lurkers?

Narr
Henchpersons?

Achilles said...

At some point they will notice that everyone in the Democrat party toes the line and is considered expendable.

Anyone who steps out of line gets the bullet.

Because the people who are really in charge of the Democrat Party are never on the ballot.

rcocean said...

Its sad, but true, that the D voters just don't care how their leaders behave. I thought Pelosi tearing up Trump's speech on camera was the most childish, unprofessional thing I'd ever seen. I have zero respect for her as a person or a politician. But she's a hero to the D' and the MSM (the same people).

BTW, no one seems to care that she played politics with last trillion dollar "Rescue Bill" and that large numbers of unemployed people and small businesses got screwed over as a result. The MSM and the D's don't care. Hilariously, Pelosi Could pass a bill cutting welfare by 50% and installing a nation-wide police force, and the DUMBO Democrat voters would accept it. All they care about is hating the Republicans. baa baa.

William said...

It is my understanding that Gayle King is not the only journalist who posed with a happy smile next to Harvey, Charley, and Matt. These shrewd journalists with their sharp perceptions and unquenchable thirst for truth and justice-- although they were indefatigable in their pursuit of Trump-- seemed not to notice the serial rapists in their midst.....It's a mistake to single out Gayle King in this area. You're just drawing attention to the collective failure of journalists to police their own ranks. This is not a tactic that works and it will not be amplified......George Stephanopoulos and Katie Couric went to a party that celebrated Epstein's release from prison. That celebration has gotten less coverage than Hunter Biden's business dealings. Who will guard us from the guardians and report on the reporters.

tim in vermont said...

Remember when Matt Laur asked Hillery an honest question? He probably was so naive that he thought she had a good answer. Look what happened to him.

I think that’s where somebody heard Hillery say this: "‘IF THAT F**KIN BASTARD WINS, WE’RE ALL GOING TO HANG FROM NOOSES!” which the “proof” she didn’t say it is pretty weak, even for trying to prove a negative.

Limited Perspective said...

I looked up various politicians and historical tyrants, followed by the word "henchmen." They all had them in someone's opinion, even Obama. Hitler of course, being the most popular tyrant with henchmen.

Stalin however, had some hangmen articles (and one book on Stalin's hangmen) in my brief search. Perhaps this is what Ms. King was thinking about. You know, the lynching language.

Speaking of hanging, when did the noose become part of the offensive objects? I think of the "The Good the Bad and Ugly" and other Westerns when it comes to hanging. The Nazi criminals were all hanged. Even the board game Clue had a noose as one of the murder weapons. Has the noose been removed from the game because some people go into cardiac arrest when seeing a 2" plastic noose?

Gunner said...

But Pelosi and most Dems were Weinstein's henchmen too.

Brian McKim and/or Traci Skene said...

OED aside, the vast majority of Americans-- of any demo-- get their meaning of "henchman" from Batman scripts. This wasn't a bullshit call for civility. It was bad for Pelosi to use such inflammatory rhetoric. Is it wrong for King-- even though she may be on Pelosi's "side"-- to call her on such rhetoric? We might say so, however, if we divine King's motives. But that's mind-reading.

Iman said...

MaligNancy with the laughing eyes...

Skeptical Voter said...

Holman Jenkins had an interesting observation about Trump Derangement Syndrome in his op ed piece in the Wall Street Journal this morning. He said that much of it arose from fear of a loss of status. The progressive clerisy and the Uniparty that has dominated the country for much of the last two decades (and maybe more) saw the results of the 2016 election. They realized that the peasantry in the country was telling them either, "We're not going to take this any more" or "You bozos at the top are irrelevant to our wishes". Either way it was a loss of status, and they've been screaming about it for four years now.

The "journalists" who were either on the Journolist, or who were not, but wanted to be among the cool kids who were invited to be on the Journolist all mouth the same opinions. Most of them of course are "Orange Man Bad", and there's a certain competition among the "journalists" to see who can say it loudest.

Now good old Nancy (D-land of feces and hypodermic needles) is joining in. Frankly her friends (like Gayle King) realize that Nancy is overegging the pudding in her denunciation of the Bad Orange Man. But I say let the old girl babble on. She is still sitting on a ton of cash--but she's slipping into irrelevance.

The Hildebeest was the first to notice this coming irrelevance when she said, "I can't understand why I'm not 50 points ahead of Trump". Well sweetcakes, you couldn't understand it, but a good part of the country did understand it.

YoungHegelian said...

As I Trump supporter I resent Pelosi calling us "Henchmen".

I prefer the term "evil minions**" or "myrmidons".

** Not to be confused with "evil minyans", which is what happens when your synagogue takes a major turn for the wurst.

Original Mike said...

It disgusts me when people talk like this ("henchmen") and then have the gall to say Trump is dividing us. Can't they hear themselves? Have they no shame?

narciso said...

in tim powers declare, there is an interesting locus of where revolutionary violence,

Limited Perspective said...

I looked into it, Clue no longer has the noose. The murder weapon is just a rope coiled up ready to tie someone up. Murder is now very safe. Hangmen are now henchmen, so we're good.

wild chicken said...

Boy all those swell Me Wall photos can really come back to bite!

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

When I hear “henchmen,” I think of the scoundrel extras who hung around with the featured villain on the old “Batman” TV show. They were dumb and expendable, and just there to get beat up in a couple of scenes.

Toy

Clyde said...

I use the term "henchmen" whenever I talk about Obama regime.

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

JMS said:

I know Trump often insults individuals, but does he disparage and insult Democratic voters as a whole? I can't think of an example similar to Hillary's "basket of deplorables."

Only in the Atlantic's Jeffery Goldberg's wet dreams of dead soldier losers.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

wild Chicken - great avatar.

SGT Ted said...

Notice that, to Pelosi, her opponents are a danger because of their speech.

ALP said...

The Venture Brothers were not available for comment?

ALP said...

The Guild of Calamitous Intent was not available for comment? I have to take back my prior post - the Guild has a dog in this fight as the one regulating Henchmen and henching in general. The Venture family - not so much.

ALP said...

Ode to the Henchmen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4LlA_yunVY

Hey if this turns just *one person* into a Venture Bros. fan....

Narr said...

Mom, Walt, Larry, and Igner :: Pelosi, Schumer, Nadler, Schiff.

Discuss.

Narr
I have followers, you have fanboys, he has henchmen.

D.D. Driver said...

I hate the thing where one famous person is photographed next to another famous person and we are supposed to assume there is some deep personal connection between the two.

Wilbur said...

Curious George said...
"The only Gayle I know of is the late, great Gayle Sayers."

Gale Sayers.
.....................................................
Yes, thank you. for the correction I realized the goof right after I sent it, but didn't go in and correct it.

Michael K said...

Skeptical Voter said...
Holman Jenkins had an interesting observation about Trump Derangement Syndrome in his op ed piece in the Wall Street Journal this morning. He said that much of it arose from fear of a loss of status. The progressive clerisy and the Uniparty that has dominated the country for much of the last two decades (and maybe more) saw the results of the 2016 election. They realized that the peasantry in the country was telling them either, "We're not going to take this any more" or "You bozos at the top are irrelevant to our wishes". Either way it was a loss of status, and they've been screaming about it for four years now.


That's basically what Tucker Carlson has been saying.

This is still the best of his talks. Start at 6 minutes to avoid the introduction.

I quit the Journal after 35 years about a year ago. I miss the occasional gems like this.

Howard said...

She mispoke. Should have used psychophant

Crazy World said...

They both seems like Trump broke them, miserable and nasty.

Daniel Jackson said...

From my usual orthogonal perspective, I don't think Ms. King's comments are REALLY about "henchmen." Rather, Madame Pelosi has been frothing at the mouth for some time now and both sides of the Aisle agree she is now a liability to the Democratic sinking ship.

If one could imagine a person to carry the message to Madame Pee in a public forum, one could hardly imagine a better candidate than Gayle King.

Whether or not anyone could imagine Gayle King is or is not a friend of the Speaker, the message is a nicely worded version of "Shut up, you demented old hag." Or, words to that effect.

Big Mike said...

So how bad was it for Pelosi to say "henchmen"? Not that bad, I'd say.

And you’d be wrong. Again. I don’t know (or much care) how the Vikings of Iceland used the word 1000 years ago, in modern usage it refers to the supporters of some arch-villain. There are connotations that (1) the henchmen aren’t very bright nor are they willing to think independently, and (2) there is nothing so evil they wouldn’t undertake to do it if the arch-villain ordered it.

Wince said...

Is menchmen the Yiddish antonym of henchmen?

Narayanan said...

YoungHegelian said...

** Not to be confused with "evil minyans", which is what happens when your synagogue takes a major turn for the wurst.
---------------==============
is that like the Pythagoreans who banned beans?!

Joe Smith said...

Where's Cosby?

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Trump's America V. Biden's America

Biff said...

I would have bet the farm that I had seen some article in the past year or so about someone nearly getting cancelled over using the word "henchman" because it had some connection with slavery or something similar. I'm driving myself bananas trying to find the reference now.

DeepRunner said...

Ann Althouse observed...
"Gayle King is trending on Twitter. The mob is after Gayle King for inviting Nancy Pelosi to tone down the rhetoric..."

You mean, Gayle King, BFF with St. Oprah? THAT Gayle King? Yeah, the left loves you until you call them on their actions and behavior and hatred. Libs appear to subscribe to the dictum, Friends Don't Let Friends Tell Them The Truth. Those who question the crusade get crucified.

As for how the word henchmen was used, and Gayle King's response, I'm calling BS on Madame La Professeur for calling it civility BS. Sometimes, an ask is just an ask.