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A friend linked me to this oh-so-earnest open letter, by Umair Haque. This bit, in particular, happened to jump out at me:

Gen M is about passion, responsibility, authenticity, and challenging yesterday’s way of everything. Everywhere I look, I see an explosion of Gen M businesses, NGOs, open-source communities, local initiatives, government. Who’s Gen M? Obama, kind of. Larry and Sergey. The Threadless, Etsy, and Flickr guys. Ev, Biz and the Twitter crew. Tehran 2.0. The folks at Kiva, Talking Points Memo, and FindtheFarmer. Shigeru Miyamoto, Steve Jobs, Muhammad Yunus, and Jeff Sachs are like the grandpas of Gen M. There are tons where these innovators came from.

Aside from being perfectly exemplary of the generation that insists on conflating public service and politics with things like “marketing democracy” (which, I reiterate, as a civics wonk, irritates the goddamn hell out of me) … I wonder if it even registered with him that he didn’t list a single female. Not a one. Is it really possible to be truly transformative and revolutionary when you’re just as insular and exclusionary as those ever-so-earnest men of the 60s/70s, blindly marginalizing half the population in the same manner as those you’re so self-righteously lambasting?

(I suppose I should give him points for at least inserting the caveat “kind of” for Barack Obama, DINO-in-Chief. But I’m not feeling very generous.)

… run – do not walk – over to Anglachel to see her post today. It’s a must-read. Here’s a taste, but the whole thing is excellent, and I had trouble picking out which bit to post here:

That female identification with Hillary and later Palin has been dismissed as either irrational (vagina voting) or actually a sign of secret racism exposes the ease with which misogyny is mobilized to try to belittle, badger, and dominate. Its very ubiquity makes it unremarkable and difficult to problematize. Our arguments and explanations on how we perceive our interests to be best served are trivialized as the whines of “bitter knitters” instead of serious challenges by engaged citizens. Insisting that we be heard garners a mix of aggressive bluster and wide-eyed faux-innocence.

Misogyny deniers try to focus on just a few figures, and explain away broad actions as being reasonable responses to these despicable, polarizing broads. No, no, it’s not that we are kicking women down; it’s that Hillary’s a cold bitch! We’d like someone else. But not Ferraro, that racist, shriveled up old hag. And Chelsea is really just letting herself get pimped out. Then we defend teenage sexuality, except for that wanton slut, Bristol Palin, and her bigger slut, the mother I’d like to fuck (MILF), Sarah.But then how to explain the fury expressed at women who do not support Obama?

Go read the whole thing.

And ask him how many bright, young, politically-engaged women he thinks have read about the Palin porno or the Palin sex doll, or read the other twenty-four entries in the Palin Sexism Watch, or the fourteen entries in the Michelle Obama Sexism Watch, or the zomg 111 entries in the Hillary Clinton Sexism Watch, or any of the other thousands of bits of misogynist swill about which we’ve not written at Shakesville, just this election season, and how many of them have thought, “Well, maybe politics isn’t the place for me after all,” because we require of our female politicians a skin so thick they’re not meant to care when it’s reproduced in vinyl for the singular purpose of being cum on by men who quite possibly can’t even locate the US on a map.

Melissa McEwan, Shakesville

Do me a favour, will ya? Read the following:

For Clinton, only one road in Albany remained blocked. Hendon and Trotter, two leaders in the women’s caucus, had both been in the Senate for four years before Clinton’s arrival. They represented two of New York’s destitute neighborhoods, and they repeatedly accused the newcomer of failing to understand the issues of the inner city. She cared more about her career than her constituents, they said. Hendon once told a newspaper that Clinton was so ambitious she would like to run for “president of the world.”…

Hillary’s friends encouraged her to stand up to Hendon and Trotter, but she refused. Not her style, she said. And why sink to their level? When Hendon ridiculed Clinton, her standard comeback was a dismissive shrug and a wave of her hand. Ah, Rickie, you’ve always got something to say. “I never would have called her a fighter,” Hendon said. “She used the silk gloves, and I used the iron fists.”

The tension between the two Senators peaked on June 11, 2002, after Hendon made an impassioned speech on the Senate floor urging her colleagues to preserve funding for a child welfare facility in her district. It was, Hendon remembers, “basically the most emotional speech of my life, and I was pulling out all the stops.” Every Republican still voted against her. Every Democrat voted with her — except Clinton and three other members who made up a faction known in Albany as “liberal row.”

Incensed by those four votes, Hendon walked across the floor and confronted Clinton, who explained by saying “something about fiscal responsibility,” Hendon recalls. A few minutes later, after Hendon’s proposal had lost, Clinton stood up and asked to have her previous vote changed to a “Yes” for the record, saying she had misunderstood the legislation. Her request was declined, and Hendon stood to criticize Clinton for political maneuvering.

Infuriated that Hendon had embarrassed her publicly on the Senate floor, Clinton walked over to her rival’s seat, witnesses said.

“She leaned over, put her arm on my shoulder real nice and then threatened to kick my ass,” Hendon said.

The two women walked out of the chamber into a back room and shoved each other a few times before colleagues broke them apart, Hendon and other witnesses said. Clinton and Hendon never talked about the incident with each other again, but they reached an awkward understanding. Hendon stopped teasing Clinton; Clinton started voting with Hendon more regularly. Hendon now supports Hillary Clinton for president.

Now, consider the story. What’s your reaction? That as a Democrat, Hillary failed to vote to preserve funding for a child welfare facility? That she failed to thoroughly understand the legislation – due to either a petty personal grudge or failure to read it in the first place – and then flipped on the vote when confronted? That she was so angry at being embarrassed that she threatened to kick a political adversary’s ass, which lead to actual physical violence, an actual catfight? Ask yourself: would you have drawn this same conclusion?

I suppose the right can spin this incident as a bug instead of a feature, but to me, this is jaw-droppingly intelligent politicking.

Is it possible the US could have a president that isn’t a hot-headed fool, that is slow to anger, and even when angry expresses only the exact amount needed to advance their purposes? A president who patiently builds friendships and coalitions, even with natural political enemies? I suspect there are very few people who read this site who would disagree that – policy disagreements aside – this is exactly the type of character traits we’d like to see in a president.

Be honest. Would you?

Now go read the original. Isn’t gender bias fun?

Between McCain channeling her on HOLC and Obama channeling her on health care and energy, and the fact that she’s goddamned Hillary Rodham Clinton, I declare the junior Senator from New York the winner of last night’s presidential debate.

Those yahoos on the stage? Mere pretenders to the throne.

edit: Heh. masslib seems to agree with me. Mindmeld!

The Palin Porno:

It was only a matter of time. Last night, someone sent us an ad from Craigslist L.A., supposedly placed by porn producers searching for a Sarah Palin lookalike for an upcoming skin flick. It’s since been removed (perhaps they were able to cast Eva Angelina?), but here is the original text for your edification.

Sarah Palin look-alike for an adult film to be shot in next 10 days. Major adult studio. Please send pix, stats etc. ASAP Pay: $2000-3000 No anal required.

Obviously, this is disgusting and horrific, and we must demand that Vivid counter by producing a porno starring a Joe Biden lookalike immediately for parity. But also we’re intrigued — by the no-anal clause, of course, and the title potential. Our tipster suggested Impalin’ Sarah: The Pork She Couldn’t Say “No Thanks” To, but we think they’ll probably go with Drill Baby Drill.

Sigh. Pardon the pun, but Reclusive Leftist nailed it:

Today’s generation of young adults has marinated since childhood in a pornified, sexist culture in which women are relentlessly objectified, demeaned, and ridiculed. Hating on women (or should I just say “bitches” or “hos” now?) is all they really know. It’s second nature. It’s on TV, in the magazines, in the music, in the pornography. The public debasement of women is more commonplace than I’ve ever seen.

That’s why women are going to vote for Sarah Palin. Especially women over 40, because they’re the ones old enough to have grown up before the backlash, before the zeitgeist of misogyny took hold. They’ll be voting from their guts. They’ll be acting on the deep understanding that we desperately need change — and not the kind of amorphous Pepsi Generation empty promise Barack Obama specializes in.

We need to change the culture to one where women have power and respect and dignity. Where a woman can run for President or Vice-President without automatically having her likeness rendered as a sex toy. Where a woman in the White House is no big deal.

Not to be a total pessimist, but we’re all doomed.

Update, Oct 2: Larry Flynt is just expressing his free speech, dudez!

Flynt’s spokesman David Carrillo confirmed to us yesterday that the film has been shot by Hustler Video, but he wouldn’t yet reveal the title. They need only consult bloggers from humorist Mo Rocca to Choire Sicha at Radar, who upon discovery of the ad came up with such gems as “Juneau You Want It” and “Northern Xxxposure.”

Ha, ha. Ha, ha. People are just so witty.

Here’s a little roundup of my weekend reading; first, via PunkAssBlog:

Worst part of the whole debate:

Jim Lehrer’s first question: “Gentlemen, at this very moment tonight, where do you stand on the financial recovery plan?”

(Candidates each speak for several minutes, demonstrating remarkable ability to discuss their tax and spending platforms without once touching on the financial recovery plan.)

Jim Lehrer’s next question: “All right, let’s go back to my question. How do you all stand on the recovery plan? And talk to each other about it. We’ve got five minutes. We can negotiate a deal right here.”

(Candidates further demonstrate ability to say nothing to the point and also refuse, even when point-blank instructed by Lehrer, to speak to each other.)

Jim Lehrer’s next try: “All right, let’s go to the next lead question, which is essentially following up on this same subject. And you get two minutes to begin with, Senator McCain. And using your word “fundamental,” are there fundamental differences between your approach and Senator Obama’s approach to what you would do as president to lead this country out of the financial crisis?”

(Candidates argue about the differences between their tax and spending platforms. Neither apparently has any idea that we are even having a financial crisis.)

Over at the NYTimes, Krugman asks, “Where are the grown-ups?

So the grown-up thing is to do something to rescue the financial system. The big question is, are there any grown-ups around — and will they be able to take charge?

Via Gawker, Stewart and Colbert pontificate on the state of national discourse:

Can any [politician] break through this mess?
STEWART: I worry that those people are there, but we won’t recognize them — or we’ll destroy them so thoroughly that their voice won’t be heard. I just imagine Lincoln out there, and people throwing the gay stuff at him. ”And what about depression running in his family?”

Emphasis mine. I don’t know about Lincoln, but I certainly think we have an FDR for the 21st century kicking around, and she’s hiding in plain sight – though no one’s listening to her. Well, some are:

Unlike the current leadership of the Democratic Party, who are simply bouncing off the Bush proposal like pinballs, accepting the basic terms of the deal and trying to beef up some goodies to help with the November election, Hillary is presenting a vision of what a Democratic economic plan should do. It is not pandering for votes though it is very aware of the needs of constituents found from rural backwaters to Manhattan skyscapers. She may have details wrong, but it is not for lack of trying. It is a commitment to use power to make institutions serve public good before private greed.

This is and is not a different person than I saw this time last year when the primary contests revved up. Hillary has always been someone willing to dare to do great things, but the primaries -brutal, rigged, stacked against her as a person in a way I have never seen in 30 years of politics – appear to have scoured her clean of any hesitancy or defensiveness that formerly attended her attempts at great works. Maybe it was seeing the people who needed her to be their advocate. Maybe it was understanding the depth of respect and trust so many of us have in her after the decades of public abuse. Maybe it was knowing that there is nothing for her to lose by simply doing what is right.

Whatever the reason, there is a clear and unwavering voice who makes clear the difference between those who want to play politics and those who want to use it for the public good. It is a political philosophy comfortable with making life better and more secure for ordinary people.

(Rumour has it that, now, that doomed bill is headed to the Senate. If true, here’s hoping HRC can get her hands on a louder mic. Fingers crossed.)

“You’re feisty and I like that, but you’re wrong,” Obama responded to Timmons.

He just can’t help it, can he?

Insight into the Anti-Hillary Mind: Nice GuyTM Edition

Is it so necessary that women compete in the presidential arena? Don’t they have enough power as it is? Must they invade and occupy every last space previously inhabited by men?

I’m all for gender equality. I believe that a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model should be persuaded by society to ask a nerd or geek out on a date and pay for it, while he sits back and judges how good she is at wooing and winning him. Now THAT would be an important step toward gender equality in our society.

Posted by KSP556 at 06/07/2008 @ 01:25am

Oh, KSP556, how I wish you – and others like you – hadn’t let your sad, pathetic ego and frustrated sex drives poison the electoral process for the rest of us.  Wouldn’t therapy have been more personally productive?

Damn Penile Voters.

The idea that women’s public sexuality can so precisely mirror traditional male fantasy while simultaneously existing in a kind of pro-woman, I-do-it-for-myself alternate universe is the cornerstone of funfeminist “thought.” The flaw in this reasoning is that all women must participate in patriarchy regardless of what they say motivates their participation; patriarchy is the dominant culture, and there is no opting out.

Twisty Faster