This is already shaping up to be a crap week for women in the media.
For starters, Bill O’Reilly is on a mission to prove to humanity that he is an utter waste of space. He has already burnished his credentials as an unrepentant victim blamer and slut shamer and he has embarassed himself publicly by claiming to be a better feminist (re Sarah Palin) than actual feminists. Now he’s sending minions to harass women who dare criticize him on their vacations. Amanda Terkel dared to note, as we did here on Harpyness, that it was a wee bit absurd to have O’Reilly speak at a fundraiser for the It Happened to Alexa Foundation, a rape survivor’s advocacy organization, considering that he has repeatedly drooled over the frankly irrelevant fact of women’s outfits in reporting on rapes. (Also he’s just fucking gross but that doesn’t strictly disqualify anyone as a rape survivor advocate, I suppose.) And so O’Reilly’s producers decided to ambush her to prove some kind of point about… Bill not being an asshole? Methinks they think that the nature of assholity is something other than what it is. In aid of their poor reading comprehension skills, I offer the following review: rape survivor blaming = assholity. Stalking reporters who call you out on rape survivor blaming = assholity. Fin.
See how simple it is, Bill?
Meanwhile, over at that “I’d totally expect better of you” bastion of liberality the New York Times, the recent hiring of Ross Douthat, a conservative blogger over at the Atlantic, has all the white liberal dudebloggers of the world applauding his brilliance. Even Ta-Nehisi seems to be defending him, much to my dismay. (Though where I come from, “better than Bill Kristol” is not a true compliment.)
Readers, I know some of you are saying to yourself: “Who the fuck is that? I’ve never heard of him.” Well, he has a little blog over at the Atlantic where he talks about social conservatism and how great it is. Can’t imagine why you wouldn’t have that one in your RSS feed. I’d lift some choice quotes for you, but Katha Pollitt does a pretty good job here.
All of this back-patting of Douthat, therefore, seems to arise from the fact that these blogger dudes would totally have a beer with him. (And we saw how well that went the last time Americans ran with that line of thinking.) See, because Douthat is rarely outright mean, and because his writing style is more or less detached-intellectual – he is prone to asking questions rather than answering them – he has somehow become the favoured foil of the Liberal White Guy Poly Sci Jockery brigade. He’s a “thinking conservative”! He totally quotes all the guys they read in their intro to political theory courses! So they’ve admitted him into their tiny closed circle of Voices That Matter and therefore, despite the fact that he insanely thinks that young women should fear getting kicked out of the house when they are pregnant because “[t]he fact that shame provokes an impulsive response is a feature, not a bug, when you’re trying to deter bad behavior that is itself impulsive.” No mention, of course, is made of the dude who got her pregnant – no need to deter that behaviour!
But that’s hardly surprising. The truth is, like most dudes who think the “we” and “I” they speak from is universal, there’s not actually a whole lot of consideration of the thoughts of actual women in Douthat’s writing. As such, he can write a whole article on abortion politics, for example, without ever actually using the word “women.”
But, you know, the NYT is all about diversity of viewpoints. So thanks, guys, that’s just the kind of thing social politics needs: the views of more white men in the mix.