February 24, 2021

About that neckace.

I went out running this morning to catch the dawn... 

IMG_2472 

... and as I was running, I was thinking about the post I'd just put up at 6:23. (The photograph was taken at 6:45.) 

The post talked about a WaPo columnist who had pasted together a ramshackle argument that rested absurdly heavily on a couple things Trump's nominee for ambassador to Germany had said about how women look — that Hillary Clinton was "starting to look like Madeleine Albright" and that Rachel Maddow ought to "take a breath and put on a necklace." 

I was thinking while running about how it's important to be able to talk about the way people look. Life is — in great part — visual, and we're going to think about looks, we live within looking, and looks are not entirely superficial, they speak of depths, and even what is superficial is crucial to the feeling of being alive. We're not morally obligated to blind ourselves. We want to see and to talk about what we see. 

But what did it mean to say that Rachel Maddow ought to "take a breath and put on a necklace"? The man who said it was Richard Grenell, who is himself gay and therefore at least presumptively nonhomophobic. But the old tweet is deleted, so I can't search for the context. I only see it used against him. Example:

According to the pro-LGBTQ Washington Blade, Grenell’s history of insulting women on sexist and homophobic grounds is long and toxic. He has written that Rachel Maddow, an MSNBC lesbian news anchor, “needs to take a breath and put on a necklace.”

Did he mean women should all adopt a feminine fashion style? I don't know. I'd object to that, even though I think we should be able to talk about how people look. But you ought to let them choose how they want to present themselves, so don't criticize them for failing to do something they're not trying to do. If a woman is going for a boyish look, talk about whether it's a nicely done boyish look. You're a jerk to talk about how it's not feminine. 

If that's what Grenell meant by "put on a necklace." Maybe it had something to do with Maddow's high school yearbook photo....

That got press in 2010, and Grenell made his remark in 2011.

I was running along, thinking about looks and the importance of the visual world and, specifically, that necklace, and these lyrics came up in the song I was listening to: "I was thinkin’ about turquoise, I was thinkin’ about gold/I was thinkin’ about diamonds and the world’s biggest necklace."

What is the world's biggest necklace? Is it this?

There's a limit to how big a necklace can be, since it's not a necklace unless it can be worn around the neck. A colossal statue could have a neck and thus a necklace. You could get around the limitation that way. In Dylan's song — which I quote in part, above — he leaves his wife, who is named after an an Egyptian goddess, Isis. I'm picturing colossal Egyptian statues. In the song, Dylan meets up with "a man in the corner" and they go riding off until they come to the pyramids. 

Theoretically, the "world's biggest necklace" could be there, in the world's biggest tomb. In the song, the tomb is empty, and I take that to be a reference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In light of Jesus, the "world's biggest necklace" seems to relate to the parable of the pearl: "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it."

68 comments:

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

I could give a rip what the 14 year old boy pencil neck Maddow looks like. she should stop lying. Maddow is worse than Q-anon when it comes to spreading lies and conspiracy theories.

wild chicken said...

Just because Grenell is gay doesn't mean he isn't still a sexist old crack.

They always think they're the experts on true feminity anyway. Just ask them!

Laslo Spatula said...

I think Maddow would look quite becoming with a pearl necklace.

I am Laslo.

Original Mike said...

"I was thinking while running about how it's important to be able to talk about the way people look."

It feels like gossip to me and I have a strong aversion to it.

Ralph L said...

So she isn't a real brunette?

Maybe she'd be less obnoxious if she felt pretty.

Yancey Ward said...

"Everything got funky last night
She was really bombed
And I was really blown away
Until I asked her what she wanted
And this is what she had to say
A pearl necklace"

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

roll the RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA Maddow tape.

oh google-Democrat-Party-Yutube erased it.

Yancey Ward said...

Maddow perpetually looks like she is constipated.

Yancey Ward said...

Thread music.

Lucid-Ideas said...

Don't ever use the word 'necklace' with people like Maddow, it'll give them halnoosinations.

tim maguire said...

There is no way to insulate yourself from people acting in bad faith. You can only act decently by the standards of decent people and hope enough of those decent people support you when the magnifying glass is fixed on your indiscretions.

Unless and until more is provided, I am going to assume that the "sexism" claim over the necklace remark is made in bad faith. I have no direct evidence, I'm just playing the odds.

wendybar said...

Have you heard how the left describes Melania or Ivanka?? Take the necklace and shove it....I don't really care that he said that, when the Trump women have been called every name under the book, and the left was GLEEFUL about it.

Unknown said...

https://daveblaska.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/rachel-with-necklace.png

wendybar said...

The funniest thing about this whole debacle, is the left hyperventilating over this, have called US, RACISTS, NAZIS, and White Supremacists for the last 5 years, yet we are supposed to be livid by THIS???

Lurker21 said...

Some people love the Maddow high school picture and think "She was so pretty and now look at her now."

I think it's the other way around. She was only so-so then and now she's good looking for a lesbian.

I didn't want to comment on the Grennell comment but since you brought it up again ... The idea that gays hate women has been around for a long time (remember the phony stories about Rock Hudson and his costar Susan St. James -- they got along well, but the story was that he hated her). In the real world straight women and gay men seem to get along pretty well. So I'm puzzled. Is Grennell to be cancelled for misogyny or is Tumulty to be cancelled for homophobia?

BTW, nowadays the line between heteros and homos in terms of behavior is blurred. When one meets someone who fits the old stereotypes it's a little jarring. So what happens now? Do the increasingly anachronistic stereotypes form their own movements?

Dave Begley said...

I know one thing, if I'd been in high school with Rachel Maddow I would have asked her out!

She just wears black on MSNBC. Not good.

PM said...

I enjoy youtubing her one non-smirk moment: the night Trump won.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Decidedly O.T. but my eye was caught by the eclectic listing of tags to this post. Called forth from the dim reaches of memory (as is wont to occur with us old folks) the answer to a question in one of Johnny Carson's "Carnac the Magnificent" segments.

The Carnac's answer, something like: "clarinet, 45 automatic, Pacific Coast Highway, Nikita Kruschev, carrot."

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

The challenge in the sealed envelope: "Name a reed, a rod, a road, a red, and a root."

rhhardin said...

If she was pretty to look at she wouldn't be so annoying, is what he meant.

Go for the woman's usual safe spot.

bleh said...

"Did he mean women should all adopt a feminine fashion style? I don't know. I'd object to that, even though I think we should be able to talk about how people look. But you ought to let them choose how they want to present themselves, so don't criticize them for failing to do something they're not trying to do. If a woman is going for a boyish look, talk about whether it's a nicely done boyish look. You're a jerk to talk about how it's not feminine."

I have a hard time following your logic here. What do you mean by, "talk about whether it's a nicely done boyish look"? What does that mean to do it nicely or badly, in your view? Who gets to decide that it's done nicely? You also say, "you're a jerk to talk about how it's not feminine." Who are you to say what is or is not "boyish"? Aren't you being a jerk then?

Either we get to criticize the way other look or we don't. If we do, there needs to be a wide berth for people to speak their mind, even if their conceptions of masculine and feminine seem a bit retrograde to you. Your view is extremely narrow, and effectively squelches most commentary.

Lucien said...

Maybe “put on a necklace” means “do something frivolous or whimsical”.

n.n said...

To Grenell's credit, he neither indulges nor trades on his genderphobia, and recognizes and practices a separation of sex and gender. We are male or female from conception. Our masculine or feminine gender, respectively, are neither a virtue nor a deficit. And while we recognize the unequivocal value of the female sex and corresponding feminine gender, the male sex and corresponding masculine gender is equal and complementary, and we normalize social standards accordingly.

bleh said...

I must make the obligatory comment about men wearing shorts. How can Althouse say anything about men trying to achieve a certain look? Who does she think she is? Her typical critique is that the look is "boyish." Saying that a man looks "boyish" is a way of saying he looks "childish" and, yes, "not manly."

jaydub said...

What's really needed is a "sexism bullshit" tag.

n.n said...

Maybe “put on a necklace” means “do something frivolous or whimsical”.

An accessory that is particularly complementary to the feminine gender.

chickelit said...

Maddow's wardrobe is nothing but Maoist drabwear. Is that sexist? I think not. It's more of a political statement saying that so-and-so emulates a particular fashion statement.

Ann Althouse said...

"Who gets to decide that it's done nicely?"

Whoever wants to talk about fashion and news commentators without running afoul of my standards.

Quaestor said...

You're a jerk to talk about how it's not feminine.

But it okay for Althouse to decry men in shorts or mock the masculinity of Ted Cruz.

Best to define jerkery very, very narrowly -- perhaps on a case-by-case basis. Else you're liable to fall headlong into the hole you dug yourself.

Ann Althouse said...

If you don't care how people look, why are you watching television?

n.n said...

How can Althouse say anything about men trying to achieve a certain look? Who does she think she is?

She confirms a well-established social standard that normalizes a favorable juxtaposition of the sexes: men in pants, women in dresses.

Lucid-Ideas said...

I think most people could argue that there are some men that are better at impersonating women than most women are, but I doubt most people could think of the butchiest of butch lesbians who were better at impersonating men than most men.

Lesbians make terribly shitty men. Impersonating Justin Beiber is not masculinity.

bleh said...

There's something distinctly "womanly" about Trump, says Althouse. But don't you DARE question Maddow's femininity. But you can say she's "boyish" and for some reason that does not implicate at all her femininity.

Ann Althouse said...

"But it okay for Althouse to decry men in shorts or mock the masculinity of Ted Cruz."

My problem with shorts is that it makes adults look like children.

As for femininity and masculinity in dress, remember that I emphasized the wearer's intent. What is this person *trying* to do? If the particular individual is trying to look masculine, I'm not a hypocrite to say that these clothes are not working to make this person look masculine.

As for Cruz, point to the statement of mine that you are criticizing. The only post of mine I can find in a search is "Masculinity Is Hard." But I don't "decry" Ted Cruz there.

So put up or take it back.

Achilles said...

I wonder if trig Palin is offended by Grenell’s jerk statement.

Because being a jerk to someone as honest and kind as Rachel Maddow is certainly jerky.

Quaestor said...

Nope. I'll use the wide brush.

Quaestor said...

I did accuse Althouse of decrying Ted Cruz or mocking him? I've forgotten.

Temujin said...

You can tell who the Democrats are afraid of running against from the Republican side by who they conduct their coordinated attacks on. For instance, the last few months, and particularly the last two weeks, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been attacked in a very coordinated way, by the major media outlets. Trying to make his success here in Florida seem like it's nefarious and evil in it's operation.

Tom Cotton, another early possible contender, got the entire NYT editorial leadership fired for printing his opinion piece that called for the National Guard to protect our cities over the summer. That same NYT loves the National Guard all over Washington DC now that nothing is going on but it allows them to host a fear of Republican campaign.

And Richard Grenell. Experienced, brilliant, clever, funny, fearless, and Gay. You cannot have that running against a Democrat. (everyone knows Democrats have no sense of humor. And they specialize in fear.) They are afraid, truly afraid of running against Grenell.

John henry said...

If it were anyone else I would think nothing of the comment about Maddow and pearls.

But when it's Lazlo, that comment immediately triggers dark and dirty thoughts.

Sometimes a cigar is just a smoke. Unless it's Lazlo.

(not a complaint, Lazlo. Please keep it up)

John Henry

farmgirl said...

I mostly believe that people aren’t trying to look one way, sexually speaking- as much as they are trying to hide something or disguise/protect something vulnerable in themselves. Maybe even to themselves. Especially even to themselves...

Quaestor said...

A says: I don't like clothes that make men look like little boys at play.

B says: I don't like clothes that make women look like little boys at play.

B is a jerk. A is not a jerk.

Riiight...

Original Mike said...

"If you don't care how people look, why are you watching television?"

Science, documentaries, some sports, some movies.

Original Mike said...

And I used to watch to get the news, but that's no longer viable.

Matt said...

I guess Ms. Maddow has a comparatively long neck. If it's something that bothers her, a necklace or scarf would help. Given her fashion choices (shirts with lower necklines), it doesn't seem to be something that bothers her.

Quaestor said...

If you don't care how people look, why are you watching television?

Perhaps we're just listening.

Original Mike said...

"If you don't care how people look, why are you watching television?"

The question puzzles me.

Achilles said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said...

My problem with shorts is that it makes adults look like children.

That is accurate. But jerky.

I personally appreciate when people come up and tell me something I am missing that is personally embarrassing.

Maddow is a hater and comes off as a hater and she needs to be aware of this.

But the only distinction you are making is of intent and that requires that you accurately deduce that intent. You apply good motives to yourself in your criticism of Cruz and bad motives to Grenell in his criticism of Maddow.

The issue is you are mad at people for assuming your bad motives re Cruz just like you are assuming bad motives of grenell.

If you rely on mind reading to do that then you are in error.

The other problem is that the left is just obviously operating in bad faith and have been for decades. If you don’t recognize that you are part of the bad faith.

Ice Nine said...

Ann Althouse said...
>>"If a woman is going for a boyish look, talk about whether it's a nicely done boyish look. You're a jerk to talk about how it's not feminine."<<

No I'm not. If it doesn't look feminine, it's not feminine - and I simply feel like talking about that.

But your dogma is noted.

I would feel it important to be able to talk about that, you see. I take my cue on that from a well-known blogger:
"I was thinking while running about how it's important to be able to talk about the way people look...We're not morally obligated to blind ourselves." Q.E.D.

Narr said...

I don't watch the TV because I care how people look or dress, least of all opinioneers like RM, but because I want to learn or be entertained, or both.

Narr
Her yearbook photo gives off a jock vibe to me.



Retail Lawyer said...

Gay men and gay women are aligned politically and grievance-wise, but that doesn't mean they actually like each other.

Whiskeybum said...

Ha! Isis - one of my favorite Dylan songs! I was just listening to it through my ear buds while working outside this morning removing snow from some bushes.

Howard said...

Love the picture. Has a forced perspective feel to it.

khematite said...

A replica of the biggest necklace in the world--the Empress Carlotta necklace--was gifted to Laura Petrie by Rob Petrie in 1961.

http://imaginemdd.blogspot.com/2009/10/empress-carlotta-necklace-dick-van-dyke.html

Curious George said...

Althouse: "If a woman is going for a boyish look, talk about whether it's a nicely done boyish look. You're a jerk to talk about how it's not feminine."

Also Althouse: "My problem with shorts is that it makes adults look like children."

Quit this "adults look like children" bullshit. Your issue is MEN wearing shorts and looking like children. The tag is "men in shorts." With that said, for you it's okay for a woman to look like a male child, but not a man.

Okee. Dokee.

Rabel said...

Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

Do fish get thirsty?

How many chickens would it take to kill an elephant?

Do you need a silencer if you are going to shoot a mime?

Quaestor said...

Do you need a silencer if you are going to shoot a mime?

No.

Attaching the silencer takes too much time.

DaveL said...

He's clearly being attacked because he's a Trump supporter/appointee.

Curious George said...

"Blogger Retail Lawyer said...
Gay men and gay women are aligned politically and grievance-wise, but that doesn't mean they actually like each other."

This explains it.


rehajm said...

My problem with shorts is that it makes adults look like children.

Do they? I can't recall an episode where I thought an adult in shorts was a child. Now if you choose to equate shorts with children, that's something else but it is not making adults look like children...

gadfly said...

But what did it mean to say that Rachel Maddow ought to "take a breath and put on a necklace"? The man who said it was Richard Grenell, who is himself gay and therefore at least presumptively nonhomophobic.

Ric Grenell has a husband, Ben Lashley. Rachel Maddow has a wife, Susan Mikula. So Ric and Susan need to wear necklaces and Ben and Rachel are required to wear pants but I cannot find a single photo of Grinell wearing jewelry of any kind except a lapel pin.

On the subject of "taking a breath," Maddow said: "I do believe in breathing, I just don't understand that."

rehajm said...

Sixty comments and not one Eddie Munster reference. I'm so proud of all of you!

Joe Smith said...

"I think Maddow would look quite becoming with a pearl necklace."

1. Barking up the wrong tree, Laslo.

2. TV is a visual medium, and Maddow isn't easy on the eyes. Aren't there any hot lesbians they can hire for anchors?

3. Grenell for president.

bagoh20 said...

"You're a jerk to talk about how it's not feminine. "

Then only jerks put down men in shorts.

Maybe the truth should just always always be OK.

n.n said...

Grenell for president.

A credible choice. He's a conservative American, found the Christian religion, represents Americans first, and, to his credit, while trans/homosexual, is not genderphobic. Normalize, tolerate, or reject? Men and women are equal in rights and complementary in Nature/nature.

Michael said...

Grenell and Ron DeSantis are the Republicans that Democrats currently fear most (except for the Orange Crush), so we can look forward to them being pilloried endlessly in the media for any reason or no reason for the next 3 years at least.

Hercules, not that one though said...

Ann Althouse: "I take that to be a reference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In light of Jesus, the "world's biggest necklace" seems to relate to the parable of the pearl"

Wow. No human can stretch as far as Ann has done here. Touch your foot to the back of your neck. Go ahead. Do that. That's half of the stretch Ann would need to make sense of her assertion. This girl just wants to provoke. To what end, only God knows. She's being cheeky.

Anyway...girls poke holes in their earlobes, and hang dangly ornaments from them. What's that all about?

n.n said...

"the Orange Crush" The first Orange-American President?

Scott Patton said...

The picture does have an odd perspective. The trapezius muscle looks exaggerated and the necklace may not be helping the look.
"Take a breath" is often good advice, not just because it's polite to stop talking occasionally. A breathless tone of voice has a fingernails on chalkboard quality.