Saturday, December 8, 2007


I decided when I started this project that I had to follow my interests of the morning, wherever they led. Today, they led me into a debate about men and women, and how conversations transpire around politics in this strange arena of language and the language of the media and the blog...

Yesterday, I got another tip from my friend in Texas. He sent some blogs to take a look at. (Incidentally, he posted a funny piece yesterday about rats in space -- he worked for NASA for a long time...) He pointed out the blog at the Times, where the editorial board posts added info, personal accounts etc.

Yesterday they ran a piece about Bush's response to the energy bill -- they pointed out that while Bush is not in favor of this bill, as governor of Texas he passed a similar bill -- which, among other things, encouraged Texas to be one of the leading growth areas for wind energy.

What interested me was not the hypocrisy or the impact. What interested me was the course of comments that ensued:

35 comments so far...

  • 1.

    George Bush flip flopping? Oh, PLEASE. He has always favored big oil, big business, tax cuts for his donors, friends, and family. He doesn’t give a damn about the average American AT ALL. My definition of a Moron is a Republican making under $500,000.00/yr. Why would anyone making less vote for this clown?
    Bush is a traitor, liar, criminal, and fool. What we need is a DOJ that will pursue a full investigation of this Administration. Bush belongs in Gitmo. Forever.

    — Posted by PJ

  • 2.

    PJ: Please, tone down the rhetoric. Yes, we need accountability. Yes, it’s no surprise that Bush is opposed to a progressive energy bill. But it’s difficult to dispel the myth of histrionic liberals when one goes flying off the handle, and it’s hard to argue that Gitmo needs to be shuttered when you’re insisting that the President should be sent there. Thanks.

    — Posted by Mike

The Times blog comments largely turned into a debate defending one side and then the other of the perceived over reaction of PJ -- who may or may not have been a woman (though it kind of sounded like a she to me...).

I'm interested in the male -- female interaction in publishing, writing, politics, public.

A recent discussion on Harriet, The National Poetry Foundation blog, seemed to me to go in the same direction. One commenter noted that blog comments by women are less likely to be answered than those of men. There is an article in the most recent issue of the Chicago Review about women in publishing, which pointed out that while some things have gotten better, the landscape is still extremely biased.

The word histrionics comes from the same root as hysterectomy -- hystera -- the Greek word for womb.

Furthermore, the notion of the "emotional woman" seems to be in clear opposition to the controlled, patronizing and formally exacting form of Mike's post.

More than the singular of this post, I think it implies a swell of rhetoric I imagine will funnel into full cyclone this year. It is important that we remember language is often inserted into public conversation quite deliberately.

Is the weakness of the democratic party somehow related to the weakness of the woman -- is the weakness of the woman the off-spring of her womb?

Is it a coincidence that this language is working its way into the general lexicon in a year that is the first a woman has a decent shot at the presidency?

1 comment:

Jennifer S. Flescher said...
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