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...a sweatshop of moxie

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

When Does It Start Being Sexist And Elitist

And stop being funny?

Here is a mock-up of Foreign Affairs magazine by a blogger who was born in Indiana, but now resides in New York City. I only mention his background, as a kind of segue into my thoughts below, where I will bring down the hammer on them, giving people a taste of their own elitist medicine.

As you can see by its intent, it's a critique of Governor Palin as the startling choice for Vice-President by Senator McCain.

Every current talking point about her is not-so-subtly referred to here.

She's from an unknown, unheralded State. She lacks experience, and is unworthy of being true Presidential material due to her comparatively common background.

Most insidiously, being female, the cover suggests she dumbs down foreign policy, where it will read like a Cosmo or People Magazine, and even further, that's how she will approach it.

In other words, Palin lacks substance, gravitas, and brings nothing but good looks and white trashy pulp culture to her position.

Tell me -- when did Democrats or the wider American public become this snobby?

You know I'm British.

WE are the ones who have a reputation for elitism, class consciousness, and demanding our leaders come from the best educational backgrounds, because leaders should be the best of the best. If not born, then made, goes our discomfitting ethos.

I walked away from that rubbish 10 years ago, and never looked back. It nauseates me.

Yet, it's been my great disappointment to see these elitist attitudes raise their ugly head in ways I've never seen even with Clinton, the Governor of a minor Southern State, who was dismissed as "Bubba", as likewise Jimmy Carter was ridiculed for his peanut farming and jeans-wearing ways.

They were able to transcend their relatively humble beginnings by dint of being around at the right moment to be elected, and a sturdy educational and professional resumé. And of course, being male.

But apparently, Governor Palin is a Jerry Springer show too far, for many in the Democratic Party.

A Down Syndrome baby? She didn't get rid of it -- how selfish. A pregnant teenage daughter? Ugh. Messy. She tried to fire her ex-brother-in-law from his job? Tacky and vindictive. She eats mooseburgers. She W-HAAA?

This sounds like a bad plot from "As The Tundra Turns" and you half expect Minnie Pearl to pop out of the row of corn like in Hee Haw.

And here I am, trying to figure out where did this dismissive tone came from.

Is this in some way a belated social reaction to the schism between rural versus urban, rugged versus cool, that P. Diddy so eloquently exemplifies in this video?

"What is the reality in Alaska? There's not even like, no crime??"

Did people not know that not everyone in America lives in a Clintonian BoBo culture, where everything is Starbuckified, urban and upwardly mobile?

Though it's couched in sexist terms, this criticism of Sarah Palin is at heart a disapproval of the "low-culture" which even those born in such podunk States like Indiana or come from roach-infested neighbourhoods like Harlem, can afford to mock because they now consider themselves high-flying New Yorkers.

This is the equivalent of someone like me saying to dear Diddy or this Andrew Hearst fella, who are YOU to judge Sarah Palin? If anyone should be judging here, it is ME.

I'm British, you're just some little colonial from nowheresville founded like, uh, yesterday. I am an Oxford graduate, and pray, where did you graduate from? Yeah, I didn't think so. Get away from me, you no account poseurs, and social climbers. You think you can insinuate yourself amongst your betters' world? My God, you would be blackballed from the Bullingdon faster than you can say Biggie Smalls. You trippin', son. Trippin', yo.

(See, two can play at that game, and I play it better than most)

And this is where they lose me.

Because by everything we know of American politics, and the self-perpetuating national ethos of the self-made person, Sarah Palin should be a Democrat.

Woman. Blue-collar. Non-elite.

Tell me why she's a Republican, and I'll tell you why Democrats lose Presidential elections.

As far as I'm concerned, the Democrats already lost this election, whether they end up doing so in reality or not. Because by their absolutely despicably snobbish put-downs of Sarah Palin, her family and life circumstances, they have shown their fellow countrymen just how much they represent Mr. and Mrs. Joe Blow America. And they represent them not at all.

Many Republicans were made in 2008.

From women who saw how Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin were treated...to rural Americans with Community College degrees who once aspired to be President of the United States, but were brought down summarily to earth by the media, some little editor and a hoodlum rapper. They just don't know it yet.

But the Democrats will, all too soon enough.

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  • I begin to wonder what the average Democrat thinks of all this. How can they feel happy with their party's ticket if this is what it takes to get it elected? Is this what the Democratic Party does to further the goals of America? Is this how the Democratic Party really treats women who exercise their right to choose?

    I really wonder what the average Democrat thinks of all this.

    By Blogger benning, at Wed Sep 03, 06:14:00 am GMT-4  

  • Hey, Benning, my love. Yes, I'm up. ;)

    First, I'd like to thank you for taking my post in the right way. I hope others do too, because I used an unusual line of attack, to say the least. I'd just like to say, OBVIOUSLY......I don't think all those things I wrote about myself.

    I'm trying to make a point that certain people seem apoplectic that this poor lady is beneath them, and who the hell does she think she is for running for VP -- when they are from similar or even lesser backgrounds?

    I am using myself uncomfortably to make the point, though. ;(

    Anyway, I am watching morning talk shows and the first thing I hear?

    That NYT are sending out a slew of reporters to dig up dirt on Palin in Alaska.

    You know, I wonder how many reporters were sent to Delaware?

    Oh right, he's been Senator for 26 years. No need to dig around, because he's a known quantity who would never be involved in any wrongdoing.

    But a 2-year Governor from Alaska, hooo-eeeee as Roy Acuff might say.

    Thanks for allowing me to vent, Benning.

    That goes for everyone of my readers who follow. :)


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Sep 03, 06:22:00 am GMT-4  

  • The morning talk shows? Ahhh, you must have cable. ;)

    I stayed up late and watched the PBS coverage of the Rep Convention. I figured I would sleep late, but my internal clock said, "No way! You have to go to work!" And it's my day off. Bloody stupid internal clock!

    I keep thinking that Palin is going to register well with Democrat women despite all the filth shoveled on by the Democratic Party Apparatchiks. They won't see some housewife trying to rise above her station. They'll see "one of us". It's one of the reasons I think this is such a masterful choice by McCain.

    I can't help but think that many Democrats cannot see Obama as "one of us" any more than they ever really saw Hillary that way. They see him as an elitist, not because the Republicans said he was, but by every action he has taken, every utterance he has made, every choice he makes. Neither Democrats nor Republicans care much for the elists in their Parties. And the elitists tend to be running those Parties, despite the fact they rarely run for elective office. They know the people at large don't like them and don't trust them.

    The more the MSM attacks Palin, and of course McCain, the less the average voter will believe the attacks and the more they'll start wondering "Why are they doing this to Sarah Palin? Why are they saying those things about John McCain?"

    The Brits may have raised elitism to an art form, Vicks, but the French turned it into a religion.

    "You're not from around here, are you?"

    "Of course not! I am French! Why else do you think I speak with this outrageous accent?"

    By Blogger benning, at Wed Sep 03, 06:58:00 am GMT-4  

  • All the Grouchos are turning into Margaret Dumonts! Sad, indeed!

    If you got all upper crusty on me, Vic, grrr...I'd get all Rhett Butler on ya, and hi-diddle-de-de up the stairs we'd go! (just joshing!)

    By Blogger Ron, at Wed Sep 03, 02:16:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Zactly. Zactly. This is about social class. Palin has all the markers of lower-middle classdom: she graduated from (eek) a state university rather than an Ivy, she (horrors) hunts, she is (my god) a Pentacostal rather than say an Episcopalian, et cetera et cetera.

    Furthermore, she has too many children. Five is low-class, and moreover the youngest is 18 years younger than the oldest. One or two, spaced a few years apart, is the proper number for a good upper-middle-class couple.

    And one more thing. In the upper middle class, teenage pregnancy does happen, but the proper thing is to get an abortion. Sexual activity is not shameful, neither is getting pregnant, but carrying the baby to term is. Abortion is the "responsible" option for a teenager. An upper middle class family wouldn't be able to hold its head up in the neighborhood with a visibly pregnant daughter, and it's almost worse if she marries.

    In the lower middle class it's pretty much the opposite. Abortion would be a shameful thing because it's running away from your problems. Marrying and starting a family is seen as acting responsibly. Very, very different approach and one I think the talking heads of the press (being almost all upper-middle) have no clue about.

    By contrast, the Obamas are an upper-middle class family, with upper-middle class tastes and priorities and lifestyle. The bowl of carefully selected organic fruit, the dance and music and sports lessons, the Ivy degrees... Very different in tone, even where the incomes and material living standard are similar.

    I do see the sexism but I actually don't think it's what's driving this. Sexism is one of the weapons, but class panic is what's driving the emotion.

    By Anonymous jaed, at Wed Sep 03, 09:52:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Demographics favor the Republicans. Just on the stage alone tomorrow night: 7 McCains + 5 Palins = 12 next generationals

    2 Obamas [so far] + 3 Bidens = 5 next generationals.

    20% of women over 40 are childless now, compared with 10% of women over 40 in 1976.

    Here's my own elitist cred: I graduated from a small college situated in the town from whence the Republican Party was born.

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Thu Sep 04, 01:01:00 am GMT-4  

  • Jaed, wow, what a great contribution, thank you so much. I hope to see you around more often. :)

    I am sadly very much tired right now, so I'm not at my pithiest. Forgive me, too Ruth Anne.

    But it's nice to know about that elite cred! ;)


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Sep 04, 04:19:00 am GMT-4  

  • I'm sorry, Victoria, but this is not about elitism. This is about whether the vice-presidential candidate has enough of the right kind of experience to step in as president, at the drop of a heartbeat. She has served less than two years as the governor of a small state. She has no national-level experience. That's the whole point of the magazine mock-up. It's not about where she's "from" (Missouri). It's not about which university she attended. It's not about her family's lifestyle (although I will admit that many are beating her up unfairly for her daughter's pregnancy, this has to do with ideology and not class). BTW Obama grew up in limited financial circumstances with a single (divorced) mother and an absent father. The point is what he has done from that background. Earned an advanced degree, done local community organizing, won state office, won national office, worked on and developed policy on national/international issues. Palin has reason to be proud of her achievements and her family. But that doesn't make her qualified as vp/president. If you want to talk about elitism, what about McCain, Naval Academy grad, son and grandson of Admirals, married to his second, "trophy" wife? Doesn't know how many houses he owns, 5 0r maybe 7? It's 7 by the way. But I guess he's just a good ol' boy, not an elitist. A final note, yes, we have more right to judge her than you because we are the American electorate and you are a Brit, unless you have been naturalized. Personally I'm offended that McCain and the Republicans think you can "insert any woman here" and get the votes of disaffected Sen. Clinton supporters or women in general. Maybe he thinks that we little ladies can't see past her gender and we will be easily hoodwinked. Sorry, no. BTW if you really want to play the elitist/non-elitist game, I grew up poor, my parents couldn't contribute more than $200/year towards my college education, and I've never earned more than $19,000 in my life, yet I've actually held a passport for more than a year unlike Palin, speak 3 languages, read 5, traveled in three continents, lived in two. I'm more qualified to deal with international issues than Palin. It's not about where you're from, it's what you do with it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Sep 05, 11:05:00 am GMT-4  

  • Agree with the above. This was never about elitism or being anti-female. It was about qualifications. Want proof? A Hillary Clinton nomination would never have provoked the same idea for a magazine cover. Why? Because she's a woman and *qualified.* Thankfully, the rest of the country saw through Palin. Cheers.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Jan 25, 09:58:00 am GMT-5  

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