Greetings seekers of wisdom. You may have come to this web site because you saw Duncan Black mention "krgthulu" on his web site Eschaton and you Googled the word. When Black uses that word, he's talking about Paul Krugman.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Back to 85th Street

My new apartment is in a much more attractive building
than the one on the East Side too.

Well I considered so many different locations to move to - Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Ditmas Park, the Financial District, Chinatown - even freaking Jersey City. And in the end, I got an apartment on 85th Street in Manhattan. I lived on 85th Street in 2009.

Except this time it's WEST 85th Street - the Upper West Side is much more my kind of people, for as Wikipedia says:
Like the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side is an affluent, primarily residential area with many of its residents working in more commercial areas in Midtown and Lower Manhattan. It has the reputation of being home to New York City's cultural, intellectual hub (with Columbia University located at the north end of the neighborhood), and artistic workers (with Lincoln Center located at the south end), while the Upper East Side is traditionally perceived to be home to commercial and business types.[4]

Although I make my living with business types I'm definitely by temperament an artistic worker. Also my East 85th Street apartment was close to the East River, but now I'm half a block away from Central Park - including the fairly obscure Arthur Ross Pinetum - pronounced pie-NEE-tem. Don't believe me? Ask Martha Stewart!

I discover the Pinetum in 2011 and blogged about it here.

Now of course I no longer have an excuse not to get up early in the morning and go for a run before work - the park is right there. Plus, it turns out my favorite Manhattan restaurant Machiavelli Trattoria is right around the corner. With all that amazing wine and Italian food so close by I will need to get as much exercise as possible.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

So what is the Radical Chic Ladies Auxiliary up to now?

Well Gloria Steinem made an off-hand remark to Bill Maher and thanks to the Bernie sympathizers in the press it was turned into a big fucking deal. As reported by the Times.
“When you’re young, you’re thinking: ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,” Ms. Steinem said.
After the comments provoked a firestorm, Ms. Steinem apologized. “I misspoke on the Bill Maher show recently,” she wrote on Facebook. “Whether they gravitate to Bernie or Hillary, young women are activist and feminist in greater numbers than ever before.”
A Clinton aide declined to comment specifically on the conference call, but said the comments of Ms. Albright and Ms. Steinem had been taken “a bit out of context.”
Naturally this is being trumpeted as the death of feminism by Fox News. But of course Liza Featherstone, who hates most feminists, decided to take a break from making common cause with Libertarians to pile on.

When it comes to feminism, it's really getting hard to tell the difference between Fox News and the Nation.

Featherstone and her friends had a good laugh about "boy crazy" but in fact that is exactly what Featherstone and her gang do. It's so pathetic.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Death to the Oxford Comma

I got into a debate about the Oxford comma on a New Yorker post on Facebook.

I wouldn't be nearly so anti-OC if the OC partisans weren't so freaking smug, coming up with specious arguments like this one that keeps popping up on my Facebook feed about JFK, Stalin and strippers.

The reason the Oxford comma is wrong is because when you join two words together by a conjunction ("and") you don't use a comma.

As in: "We invited JFK and Stalin."

NOT "We invited JFK, and Stalin."

And it shouldn't matter how many items come before the items joined by a conjunction - the conjunction still doesn't get a comma.

Now the reason that the sentence "We invited the strippers, JFK and Stalin." is confusing is not because of the lack of an Oxford comma, it's because a list of things has a unifying principle, otherwise why make it a list?

JFK and Stalin are proper nouns, while strippers is not. Instead of depersonalizing the strippers by referring to them only by their occupation you could say: "We invited Candy, Trixie, JFK and Stalin." Or refer to them all by their occupations: "We invited two strippers and two heads of state." - No need for any commas.

If the strippers were named JFK and Stalin you could say "We invited strippers JFK and Stalin."  Again, no need for commas.

What this example is really all about is status. It seems perfectly acceptable to viewers of this graphic that the strippers are referred to by their occupation rather than by their name. That is why you don't see this example instead:
We invited heads of states, Candy and Trixie. 

As strippers, Candy and Trixie are nobodies, so who cares what their names are?

And that's why this list is wrong in the first place: a list of four people, two of whom are so much lower-status that they are not even referred to by name, grouped together with two world leaders.

The Oxford comma is a crutch for those who are too lazy to write with clarity. It is entirely superfluous and needs to be dropped from proper English usage.

Case closed.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Ana Lower

Norma Jeane Baker, wearing all her
magazine covers, 1946. She began using the
name "Marilyn Monroe" that year.
I plan to eventually read the entire autobiography of Arthur Miller, "Timebends" - after all why wouldn't the life of a leading 20th century playwright be of interest to me? And a playwright who wrote one of the few plays from the 20th century I really admire, DEATH OF A SALESMAN.

But for now I'm reading for information about Marilyn Monroe. It's odd what Miller leaves out - I don't think he describes their wedding at all, just the car crash that resulted when paparazzi got wind of the wedding. And as I mentioned he doesn't discuss his feelings when he heard Monroe married DiMaggio - or even mention DiMaggio at all except to note that the entertainment press felt that the Yankee Clipper was the perfect mate for Monroe.

But what he does include is often invaluable. I knew how close Monroe was to Ana Lower. Lower was the paternal aunt of Monroe's legal guardian Grace McKee. Monroe said:
Aunt Grace did not bring me back to live with her (after her two-year stay in an orphanage). She took me to Van Nuys, a very poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Los Angeles. I was to live there with her aunt, a sixty-two-year-old spinster. Her home was a rundown bungalow, and the people in the neighborhood were mostly poor and on relief.
But I'll never forget my living there with Miss Ana Lower. She became my aunt Ana. This woman became the greatest influence in my life.
The love I have today for the simple and beautiful things in life are because of her teachings, bless her. She was one of the few persons that I really loved with such a deep love that I could only have for someone so good, so kind, and so full of love for me.
One of the many reasons I loved her so much was her philosophy, her understanding of what really mattered in life. You know, like the time when I was going to Emerson Junior High and one of the girls in my class mad fun of a dress I was searing. I don't know why kids do things like that. It really hurts so. Well, I ran home crying as though my heart would break.
My loving aunt Ana was so comforting. She just held me in her arms and rocked me to and fro like a baby and said, "It doesn't make any difference if other children make fun of you, dear - it's what you really are that counts. Just keep being yourself, honey. That's all that really matters." She was quite a person. She didn't believe in sickness, disease or death. She didn't believe in a person being a failure, either. She did believe the mind could achieve anything it wished to achieve.
In my play I have Norma Jeane said "She had a very strong mind, but her heart gave out in 1948." Lower died of heart failure. I wasn't sure what else to say because in all the sources I had read about Monroe's life, there was nothing about her reaction to Lower's death. Well Arthur Miller came through with the goods:
One evening as we sat staring down at the city, she said, apropos of nothing in particular, that when she was fourteen or fifteen her elderly "aunt" Ana, a Christian Scientist who was the one intelligent and kind woman she had known, took ill and died; loving her, Ana had been for a while an impromptu guardian, and Marilyn had come to rely on her. She had not been living with Ana for some time, but the shock of her death was terrible "I went and lay down in her bed the day after she died... just lay there for a couple of hours on her pillow. Then I went to the cemetery and these men were digging a grave and they had a ladder into it, and I asked if I could get down there and they said sure, and I went down and lay on the ground and looked up at the sky from there. It's quite a view, and the ground is cold under your back. The men started to try to fool around, but I climbed out before they could catch me. But they were nice and kidded me. And then I went away. 
Miller got her age wrong though. Lower died in March 1948 - Monroe was twenty-one - quite a bit older than fifteen. Miller could have easily had somebody research this but I guess he wasn't that interested in the details of Monroe's life.

Something else Monroe said about Lower:
When I was living with Aunt Ana, since Mom was in the hospital, I would go shopping with her. We were all always looking for bargains, looking to save what little money Aunt Ana had. I remember one day we were standing on a long line where they were selling day-old stale bread. For a quarter you could buy enough of the stale bread to last a week.
I thought to myself, Are we always going to be poor, standing on stale-bread lines? Sensing my sadness, Aunt Ana would squeeze my hand, smile down at me, and say to me, Norma Jeane, when you grow up, you will be a rich, beautiful, and talented lady, a famous model and actress. Only Mom and Aunt Ana knew these were my secret dreams

By the time Ana Lower died Monroe had already appeared in her first-released movie "Dangerous Years" - it's nice to know she got to see her predictions had come true before she died.

Saturday, February 06, 2016


I don't know why, with all the research I've been doing about Marilyn Monroe that it took me so long to get around to reading Arthur Miller's autobiography Timebends. While some of the information is included in biographies of Marilyn Monroe, Miller's book is rarely quoted directly and I don't know why because it's a treasure trove. And thanks to the Internet I didn't even have to wait once I determined to read it - I just downloaded it (after paying 9 bucks) from Google books.

As a professional writer, you can count on Arthur Miller to do a very nice job of expressing his feelings for Monroe in ways that her first two husbands, a cop and a baseball player could not. For example:
She was a whirling light to me then, all paradox and enticing mystery, street-tough one moment, then lifted by a lyrical and poetic sensitivity that few retain past early adolescence. Sometimes she seemed to see all men as boys, children with immediate needs that it was her place in nature to fulfill; meanwhile her adult self stood aside observing the game. Men were their need, imperious and somehow sacred. She might tell about being held down at a party by two of the guests in a rape attempt from which she said she had escaped, but the truth of the account was far less important than its strange remoteness from her personally. And ultimately something nearly godlike would emerge from this depersonalization. She was at this point incapable of condemning or even of judging people who had damaged her, and to be with her was to be accepted, like moving out into a kind of sanctifying light from which a life where suspicion was common sense. She had no common sense, but what she did have was something holier, a long-reaching vision of which she herself was only fitfully aware: humans were all need, all wound. What she wanted most was not to judge but to win recognition from a sentimentally cruel profession, and from men blinded to her humanity by her perfect beauty. She was part queen, part waif, sometimes on her knees before her own body and sometimes despairing because of it - "Oh, there's lots of beautiful girls," she would say to some expression of awed amazement, as though her beauty betrayed her quest for more enduring acceptance. For myself it was beyond rationalizing; I was in a swift current, there was no stopping or handhold, she was finally all that was true. What I did not know about her life was easy to guess and I suppose I felt the pain of her memories even more because I did not have her compensating small pride at having survived such a life.

I had wondered what Miller thought when he heard Monroe had married DiMaggio - he mentions in his autobiography that he met Monroe in 1951 and they corresponded until they eventually got together in New York. Meanwhile she married DiMaggio in 1954 - and Miller in 1956.

Well Miller doesn't mention how he felt about the marriage and only mentions DiMaggio once:
...her breaking up what (the media) had decided was the perfect American marriage, with Joe DiMaggio, had simply been unforgivable.
But he did reveal something more important which I will discuss tomorrow.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Berniebros are real and I have met (and blocked) them on Facebook

The far-left is trying to push the idea that "Berniebros" - obnoxious men who insult people who either support Hillary Clinton or in some cases just mildly criticize Bernie Sanders - just don't exist.

The term for telling others that their personal experience is wrong - or even insane - is known as "gaslighting." Or as this article in Shakesville states: You Can't Mansplain Away the Berniebros:
Months ago, however, the term "Berniebro" was coined by Robinson Meyer, writing in The Atlantic, in order to describe a certain subset of young male Bernie supporters online, and the term has become synonymous with the harassers. Of late larger media is taking more notice; last week no less a than the BBC wrote about Sanders' fans bad online reputation. (I'm quite sure it isn't coincidental that well-known white men like Paul Krugman have been the targets of Berniebullying lately, but whatever.)
Predictably as clockwork, online Bernie supporters are there to mansplain that the Berniebro is all a myth, a racist and sexist one to boot:
The media’s false characterization of the average Sanders supporter as a white male “Bernie Bro” is misleading and offensive...The optics are pretty bad — well-heeled media outlets with brick-and-mortar offices in privileged neighborhoods like Manhattan (Mashable‘s office is located in the Flatiron District) and Washington, DC (The Atlantic is headquartered at the Watergate Hotel) are essentially erasing the contributions of women and people of color to the Bernie Sanders campaign to propagate their own narrative, rendering them as invisible people. This is one of the oldest forms of violence perpetuated by white people of privilege.
Now this is a pretty neat trick in several ways.
1. It sets up a strawperson that no-one is arguing (that the "average Sanders supporter" is the Berniebro) and then debunks it.
2. It centers the Sanders campaign and its supporters as the real victims here.
3. It erases the men of color and women of all races who have actually borne the brunt of this harassment, and who have been talking about it, mischaracterizing us as part of a well-heeled media with swank offices in rich neighborhoods.
4. It then invokes the historical erasure of marginalized people as a silencing technique so that we can't talk about the harassment of marginalized people.
Cool story, bro. Have you considered titling it Gaslight?

Jason Grote, whom I came to know and despise eight years ago when I argued with him about women in theater posted a comment on Facebook about Katha Pollitt's column in The Nation Why Have I (Almost) Always Voted for the Male Candidate? (and Grote name-checked Pollitt so it showed up on her FB page which is how I saw it) questioning the existence of Bernie Bros - but once he saw I commented that Berniebros were indeed real he blocked me. So I don't have a screenshot of his comment.

And naturally The Nation's Liza Featherstone, whose husband is the king of the Berniebros, is quoted in Reason magazine on the use of the term. She brags about it on Facebook.

This isn't the first pro-Sanders article I've seen in Reason, which is absolutely mind-blowing. Reason is ground zero for Libertarianism and is funded in part by the Koch brothers. Libertarians are the mortal enemies of socialists- Reason is the last place I'd expect to see support for Bernie Sanders.

Could it be that their hatred of Hillary Clinton is so equally intense it has brought together the right-wing Reason and the far-left Nation? Is this an example of the Horseshoe Theory?

Or possibly another example of Republicans supporting Sanders because they'd rather face him in the general election?

Well back to my personal experience of Berniebros. While there certainly are Sanders supporters who are women, and some of them have debated me on Facebook, virtually the only Sanders supporters coming at me with condescending and contemptuous attitudes are men. I've already mentioned Mike Daisey, here are some others.

In this one, please note an example of the reverse-bigotry mansplaining technique discussed in the Shakesville piece quoted above.

Not the first time this person implies I only care about Clinton's gender when I hadn't even been discussing that issue. I don't know where this guy came from - he isn't even a friend of a Facebook friend.

Here we see Eric Ross, respected anthropologist (he co-authored a book with my hero Marvin Harris) about to get blocked by me after the final straw on top of weeks of insulting responses to my FB posts. I had already suggested to him days before that if he didn't like my FB posts he could unfriend me or stop following my newsfeed. Apparently he liked having excuses to attack me.

Although for sheer raw hatred of Hillary Clinton from a Sanders supporter, this guy commenting on a New Yorker Facebook post rivals even Doug Henwood.

You just have to laugh at his preamble in which he claims he's not being hostile and then calls Clinton the most disgusting, vile and reprehensible woman on Earth. While Anne Coulter still lives.

Yeah, I'd say Berniebros are real.

Although I'm sure that even these examples won't be enough for someone like Liza Featherstone, whose life's work is to attack feminists on behalf of the far left, who see women's issues as a bourgeois distraction from real issues.

And besides maybe Koch brothers employees will want to quote her again. I'm sure she's happy to sell "bourgeois feminists" out to the Koch brothers.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Marilyn's muse

Well I need a break from Berniebros, members of the Radical Chic and other unsavory characters (no surprise anti-feminist Will Shetterly is a Berniebro) so I'll talk about Marilyn Monroe. I know so much about her thanks to the play about her that I keep trying to finish. One of these days soon - after I finally move to my new apartment.

One thing I find very charming is that Arthur Miller was her muse. I certainly relate to that - I've always found attractive men especially inspiring myself and Monroe was really into Miller from the time they met in 1951 - and he was really into her. But he was married and Monroe went onto marry Joe DiMaggio. I will have to get Miller's autobiography and see what he has to say about how he was feeling when he heard Monroe married somebody else.

Even though she did she was thinking of him. She said:

When I met Arthur Miller the first time, it was on a set, and I was crying. I was playing in a picture called As Young As You Feel, and he and Elia Kazan came over to me. I was crying because a friend of mine had died. I was introduced to Arthur.  
That was in 1951. Everything was pretty bleary for me at that time. Then I didn't see him for about four years. We would correspond, and he sent me a list of books to read. I used to think that maybe he might see me in a movie - there often used to be two pictures playing at a time, and I thought I might be in the other movie and he'd see me. So I wanted to do my best.  
I don't know how to say it, but I was in love with him from the first moment. 

Queensboro Bridge

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Bernie Bros and Man-babies

I think Doug Henwood is now officially the king of the Bernie Bros. Here we see a self-described Bernie Bro on reddit citing Henwood.

The Bernie Bros have been attacking me on my own FB newsfeed for days for posting pro-Hillary and anti-Sanders stories. The Bro phenomenon is so bad even the Sanders campaign realizes it's a problem.

However I think that Mike Daisey is the true exemplar of Bernie Bro-dom. I've blogged about Daisey before - once in 2012 in the aftermath of the scandal he caused This American Life by lying about his sources, and then just a few months ago over a theater kerfuffle

I was not at all surprised to discover that Daisey was a Bernie Bro - he is not interested in accuracy and he likes to posture - like your standard member of the Radical Chic.  So of course he had to jump on a discussion I had going on my FB newsfeed to tell me what a moron I was for providing a link to this article from the American Prospect, The Trouble with Bernie Sanders's Revolution

So to be clear - he came to my FB feed looking for a fight - and then claimed I was trolling. Damn, I've said it takes a massive lack of self-awareness to be in the Radical Chic but it still stuns me even now how extreme the lack of self-awareness is.

I called him a man-baby. And he defriended me. Imagine my dismay.

Monday, February 01, 2016

On Location with "The Owl and the Pussycat"

Wow, fun - completely unexpected piece about the making about the movie version of "The Owl and the Pussycat."

But New York has definitely changed since the 1970s - you don't hear much about "swinging go-go joints" anymore.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

More on my working class bonafides

One of my cousins is a genealogy buff and has created a pretty comprehensive record of my mother's side of the family. Her family is from Philadelphia since at least the early 1800s. But one of my Great-Great-Great Grandfathers was from Ireland originally. He was born in 1802 and according to the record he was "Proprietor of an oyster saloon in Philadelphia." Apparently
"By 1850, nearly every major town in North America had oyster bar, oyster cellar, oyster parlor, or oyster saloon—almost always located in the basement of the establishment (where keeping ice was easier).[9][10] Oysters and bars often went hand-in-hand in the United States, because oysters were seen as a cheap food to serve alongside beer and liquor.
So I'm guessing a nineteenth century oyster bar was pretty working class.

A branch of the family tree of Daniel McAleer, oyster bar proprietor.

Great-Great Grandmother (Philadelphia) 
Great Grandmother (Philadelphia)
Grandmother (Philadelphia)

The only semi-famous member of my ancestry is Iggy Wolfington. And his family was pretty well-off, one of my few somewhat upper-class ancestors.

He's my grandfather's cousin. Here's how I'm related to him.

Great Grandmother (Philadelphia)
Grandfather (Philadelphia)

 -> Great Granduncle (Philadelphia)
Iggy Wolfington
The grandfather of my grandfather and Iggy was Alexander J. Wolfington, who according to this web site was born in Nova Scotia and was the son of a sea captain. Nobody apparently knows what the captain's name was or where he was from. Probably England.

So I don't know - it seems like the Wolfington branch of my family was rather more upper-class than usual - I assume a sea captain was more hoity-toity than your rank-and-file limey. Or a sea cook. But the rest of them were common as dirt.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Nancy McClernan vs. the Radical Chic Part 4

Continued from Part 3

The Radical Chic is more interested in making a statement, in posturing, than in actually making progress through the political system. Or as Gail Collins said:
That’s the bottom line of the whole contest. Vote for Bernie: Send a message. Vote for Hillary: She knows how to make things work.
As the NYTimes said in its endorsement of Clinton:
In the end, though, Mr. Sanders does not have the breadth of experience or policy ideas that Mrs. Clinton offers. His boldest proposals — to break up the banks and to start all over on health care reform with a Medicare-for-all system — have earned him support among alienated middle-class voters and young people. But his plans for achieving them aren’t realistic, while Mrs. Clinton has very good, and achievable, proposals in both areas.
The Radical Chic is not interested in actually making things work in the real world because making things work takes work. And compromise. Superkewl revolutionaries don't compromise, superkewl revolutionaries laugh at compromise, or rant at it, in Bernie Sanders' case as Gail Collins said in a different piece:
This is one of the problems with being Bernie Sanders. His whole point is to be outside the political norm. He’s the principled maverick whose most famous moment in the Senate was his eight-and-a-half-hour speech against the compromises President Obama made in 2010 to get a tax deal. We expect him to stick to his standards, even if they’re somewhat irrational.
The Radical Chic has no problem with irrationality. That's why someone like Doug Henwood, contributing editor at The Nation can say of positive change  "...would require a wholesale overhaul of the political economy ... and the Clintons weren't about to take that on."

The wholesale overhaul of the political economy is not achievable for two politicians, even the Clintons. So as far a Radical Chic guy like Henwood is concerned, political achievements mean nothing without a complete overhaul. That explains the Radical Chic view of ACA.

In order to believe that Sanders has the ability to make all their dreams come true, the Radical Chic have to dismiss the accomplishment of ACA - as if getting it into law past a scorched-earth obstructionist Republican Congress was utterly insignificant.  And so they must believe the only reason Obama couldn't accomplish more was because he just didn't want it badly enough, and Sanders wants it bad enough and so, they apparently imagine, he will simply waltz into Congress, demand that Medicaid cover all citizens and throw out all the insurance companies.

And because dismissing anything good coming out of the existing system while making bold statements about how things should be is what being Radical Chic is all about, the ultimate hero of the Radical Chic is not Doug Henwood, although he certainly hasn't accomplished anything of value as far as I can see which might qualify him. No, the ultimate hero of the Radical Chic is Kathy Chang.

As I've mentioned on my blog in the past couple of months, Chang hung out with my ex-husband and other lefties in Philadelphia, including future Nation copy editor Sandy McCroskey. I met her myself but barely exchanged more than a few sentences with her and I don't remember what was said.

When she died the NYTimes said:
In 1978, she had a vision that she could redeem her many perceived failures with an act of utmost ambition: saving the world.

But after nearly two decades of pamphlets and protests and stripping naked in public, if that was what it took, there came the realization that no one was listening and nothing had changed. 
She also ranted in public. And her friend Anita King created a web site which displays one of her rants, which begins:
I am running on a platform of complete social transformation. The problems we are faced with today: crime, unemployment, poverty, battered women, abused children, pollution, environmental degradation, national insolvency, and budget deficits, and so on, cannot be solved within the present economic and political framework, because that framework is in itself the fundamental problem and the cause of all the other problems. The present government is so corrupt and tied up with anti-democratic procedures that it cannot reform itself. The only way to reform the system is to simply dissolve the system and start all over with a great national conference to create a new society.
A "platform of complete social transformation" is what many Bernie Sanders partisans want. And the phrase reminds me of Doug Henwood's "wholesale overhaul of the political economy" which he was angry with the Clintons for failing to provide. 

Now Chang was mentally ill and so you can't expect worthwhile analysis of the world's problems from her, and what she mostly provided was a wish list of stuff like an end to crime, unemployment, poverty, etc. etc. - in other words, she wanted an end to the many torments that have comprised the human condition since the beginning of human civilization. And Chang reckoned this could be accomplished through "a great national conference to create a new society."

As Gene Lyons said in response to Henwood's expectation of the wholesale overhaul of the political economy:
Ah, yes. Wholesale overhaul. If only Hillary had been willing to wave her magic wand, wiping away 200 years of history, abolishing the legislature and converting Arkansas into Connecticut.
This belief in virtual magic unites both Henwood and Kathy Chang.

Until very recently I had assumed that my ex and his gang were extreme in their irrational beliefs, and surely people writing for Left establishment media outlets like The Nation, people with college degrees and reputations, if not fame, could be expected to have a more earth-based and nuanced understanding of the world of politics. Especially when, like Henwood, they make a living writing about politics. But now I realize I gave them too much credit. 

Chang's final, pre-pyrotechnic statement could easily be written by any member of the Radical Chic - as quoted in Joseph Shahadi's paper:
Shahadi then quotes Ray Cairnes, identified as Chang's companion for the last 13 years (possibly the same boyfriend that King said to me was too cheap to pay for Chang's dental care): "I do not view it as a suicide, I view it as a sacrifice to save the world."

Chang did nothing to make the world a better place by her self-immolation, let alone save it, but she did make A STATEMENT which is everything to the Radical Chic.

I suppose we should be glad that most members of the Radical Chic are content to make a statement by merely rooting for Bernie Sanders.

However, Chang's death hurt nobody else. But if Bernie Sanders gets the nomination he would be trounced by a Republican once it was clear to voters exactly how much they would be paying in taxes to support his program proposals, among other things.

And then a Republican clown would be in the position to roll back women's rights, reproductive rights, gay rights, Wall Street regulations, ACA and so many other advances which are the result of the unglamorous, non-revolutionary, statement-free slow trudge of democratic politics. 

And we must not allow the Radical Chic's desire to make a statement about the wholesale overhaul of the political economy endanger hard-won liberties for rest of us. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Nancy McClernan vs. the Radical Chic Part 3

Continued from Part 2

Thanks to the Radical Chic I realized I was a liberal, not a member of the far left. And my journey away from the far left began when I was eighteen.

I married my ex-husband when I was seventeen. I was impressed by his erudition - relative to the high schoolers I hung out with and my family. My ex-husband wrote poetry then. But over the course of our brief marriage he gradually went from an artsy/hippie guy who cared mainly about vegetarian organic food to a far-left anarchist dedicated to legalizing marijuana.

I hadn't really thought too much about the distinction between liberals and the far-left at that point. Just getting away from Catholic church and the vaguely right-leaning politics of my parents was a big break for me. But as my ex began to think of himself as some kind of anarchist revolutionary I began to become disenchanted with him, and by the time I was nineteen our marriage was over.

Being an anarchist revolutionary my ex was not too interested in holding down a regular job, and drifted around Philadelphia. He did work briefly in the restaurant attached to the Friends Center (aka "Quaker Kremlin") and various other short-term and part time jobs.

Around that time I discovered he was staying on the second floor of an abandoned house in West Philadelphia (courtesy of Kathy Chang) with holes in the floor, and had allowed our two-year old daughter to stay with him there. I didn't trust him with our daughter's welfare  and decided he couldn't share custody until she was old enough to watch out for herself. So he stopped giving me child support.

While this revolutionary was refusing to support his child, his child was being supported by me, working various crap jobs and at one point by the United States government through Aid to Families with Dependent Children (aka "welfare"). And for years we got food stamps. By the time my daughter was old enough to stay with her father (usually during summer vacation) I was able to get fairly well-paying jobs and stopped needing food stamps.

I never took my ex-husband's revolutionary politics very seriously. He was in touch with the Yippies who had their headquarters at 9 Bleeker Street until they were driven out by the market, but mostly he hung out with a West Philly group that included Kathy Chang and Sandy McCrosky,  later a Nation magazine copy editor, seen here with my ex and Kathy Chang. His Nation site bio mentions he has a by-line in Overthrow which was the new name given to the Yipster Times.

Most Nation contributors have college credentials - often from Ivy League colleges - and careers as journalists in media more mainstream than the Yipster Times but I can see the similarities in their world view with that of the ragtag group my ex-husband ran with, and it's best summed up by Gene Lyons' response to Doug Henwood's attacks on Hillary Clinton:
So let me add that almost everything he wrote about the Clintons in Arkansas reflects sheer incomprehension. Mostly, it's what Joe Conason and I call "naive cynicism," in which a reporter innocent of basic political realities presumes corruption.
For example, he accuses Bill Clinton of a cynical ploy "aimed at distancing himself from traditional liberal politics" by not calling for repeal of Arkansas's right-to-work law. Shockingly, Clinton also failed to call for abolishing Razorback football and duck hunting season.
Henwood alleges that Clinton "went light on environmental enforcement," covering the state in "chicken feces." Would it help to know that until Clinton wrestled the timber industry and Farm Bureau to the ground in 1985, Arkansas environmental agencies had virtually no enforcement powers? 
Elsewhere, Henwood alleges that the Clintons schemed to earn the enmity of teacher unions. In vain, alas. But he left out town hall meetings Hillary held with educators and parents in all 75 Arkansas counties back in 1983 in support of her husband's educational reforms. 
No matter. Her efforts were pointless anyway, Henwood thinks, because real advances "would require a wholesale overhaul of the political economy ... and the Clintons weren't about to take that on." 
Ah, yes. Wholesale overhaul. If only Hillary had been willing to wave her magic wand, wiping away 200 years of history, abolishing the legislature and converting Arkansas into Connecticut. 
But, you know, the witch is too selfish for that.
This is the attitude that many Hillary defenders have gotten from the fans of Bernie Sanders - this notion that if you face political realities you are corrupt. Which is why Henwood suggested that Brad DeLong was a lying patronage-seeker for saying good things about Clinton. Like my ex-husband and his gang, Henwood and his Radical Chic brigade are suspicious of anybody who is not a hard-core ideologue. And will always assume bad faith. They are all victims of naive cynicism.

And like Bernie Sanders they are happy to float big ideas about peace and anti-hierarchy and all that jazz, but not so big on the basics like where does the money come from, how does it get distributed and who gets what. Which is why James Surowieki wrote an article in the New Yorker entitled The Many Problems with Bernie Sanders' Health Care Plan which critiqued Sanders on pragmatic grounds.
...The point isn’t that a single-payer system is a bad idea, per se, nor even that it’s wholly unrealistic from a political perspective. Rather, it’s that Sanders needs to be more forthright and detailed about what his plan would entail, and specifically about the fact that it would require major and often unwelcome changes not just for businesses that many people dislike, such as insurance and drug companies, but also for doctors and hospitals, which are generally popular. And he should acknowledge that the single-payer model would, in some cases, mean big and potentially controversial changes for patients, too. Moving to a single-payer system would be a tumultuous experience, and it’s a proposal worthy of a great deal of open debate. Sanders can certainly make a case that such a transition would be beneficial, given the enormous amount of waste and inefficiency in our current system. But he needs to stop pretending that it would be easy.
And when I posted a link to Surowieki's article on Facebook an old lefty anthropologist had a shit-fit and called the New Yorker, Surowieki, Krugman and everybody else who questioned Sanders a bunch of running dogs of capitalism in so many words - and specifically said to me:
Why not just concede that a really equitable system alarms you! The way you toss around the term "far-lefties" makes me deeply suspicious of what your endgame is. Certainly not equity or you'd be less angry!
And I could easily see my ex-husband or Doug Henwood making the same kind of accusation. That's how the Radical Chic approaches criticism of their heroes. As Krugman said:

...if you’re a progressive who not only supports Sanders but is furious with anyone skeptical about his insurgency, someone who considers Mike Konczal a minion and me a corrupt crook, you might want to ask why Barack Obama is saying essentially the same things as the progressive Bernie skeptics. And you might want to think hard about why you’re not just sure that you’re right, but sure that anyone who disagrees must be evil.
But far-lefties don't like Obama either - they are bitterly disappointed in him because they thought he would be the same as they believe Sanders to be now - an idealized far-left father figure who is going to make all their political dreams come true without compromise.

More in Part 4.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Nancy McClernan vs. the Radical Chic Part 2

Continued from Part 1

Verso Books publishes anti-feminist books like the work of Liza Featherstone disguised as concern for the working class. Verso reposted one of her tweets accusing Hillary Clinton of being a "lean-in feminist."

"Lean In" refers to the Great Satan of the Radical Chic, Sheryl Sandberg who wrote a book by that title encouraging women to be assertive in the workplace. There is nothing that the Radical Chic hates more than a woman who is going for power. As they see it the role of women is to fight the Workers Revolution in order to achieve the end of all hierarchies.

Who is Verso Books?

Well neither the Wiki page nor their web site says much about the people running it. But its CEO appears to be a guy around 33 years old named Jacob Stevens. So he runs a company worth 10-25 million and he's in his early 30s. I haven't been able to verify it yet, but I have a hunch that Stevens is not from the working class.

I'm sure that plenty of women working at Wal-Mart are more interested in what Sheryl Sandberg has to say about advancing their careers than in Liza Featherstone telling them they shouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton because she's a Lean In feminist.

It's Featherstone, Henwood, and Stevens who are the true elites. They are so elite they believe they are making the world better for the working class, when the working class not only doesn't know who they are, and couldn't care less, but if they knew how these people were claiming to help them would probably laugh in their faces.

Featherstone and company despise Paul Krugman because he forces them to get in touch with reality - something which they are generally insulated from - and since they don't have the native intelligence or erudition to actually debate him on the facts, come up with the most hypocritical un-self-aware attack possible - that Krugman's political opinions should be discounted because of his social class.

Or that he's a Hillary crony. Krugman:
And the response of some — only some — Sanders supporters is disappointing, although I guess predictable given that somewhat similar things happened during the 2008 primary. There will, I guess, always be some people who, having made an emotional commitment to a candidate, can’t accept the proposition that someone might share their values but honestly disagree with the candidate’s approach.
Right now I’m getting the kind of correspondence I usually get from Rush Limbaugh listeners, although this time it’s from the left — I’m a crook, I’m a Hillary crony, etc., etc.. OK, been there before — back in 2008 I was even the subject of tales about my son working for the Clintons, which was surprising because I don’t have a son.
But I’m used to this stuff. It’s a bit more shocking to see Mike Konczal — one of our most powerful advocates of financial reform, heroic critic of austerity, and a huge resource for progressives — attacked as one of Hillary’s minions and an ally of the financial industry.

Konczal's attacker is David Dayen who is of course a buddy of Doug Henwood.

Being a powerful advocate of financial reform would not shield Konczal from attacks from the Radical Chic because effective advocacy is not what they care about - radical posturing is what they care about. And incremental, non-revolutionary change doesn't get them excited - Bernie Sanders yelling and promising the unachievable is what gets them excited - Krugman is right to mention the emotional component of Sanders' supporters.

And that's what Radical Chic is all about: the feeling of being a passionate revolutionary. To them feminism is trashing a harmless aspirational business executive because business executives are not cool. Hillary Clinton is not cool. And like Sheryl Sandberg, she focuses on women's aspirations so these Sanders' partisans want to punish Clinton for her lean-in feminism. This is part of a long tradition, as Nicholas Kristof notes about Clinton:

For most of her career, Hillary Clinton suffered for being a feminist. Retaining her last name helped cost her husband the governorship of Arkansas in 1980 (after that, she became a Clinton). She was mocked in 1992 for saying she wouldn’t be “some little woman standing by my man,” and for asserting, “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession.
(Outrage at her “bitchiness” — a standard put-down of a strong woman — was such that Clinton tried to mollify critics by participating in a bake-off sponsored by Family Circle magazine. That must have stung. But hold on: Clinton’s recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies then triumphed over Barbara Bush’s cookie recipe, upholding the honor of career moms everywhere.)
Even when Hillary Clinton ran for president in 2008, there were put-downs, like the two men from a radio show heckling her, “Iron my shirt!
The Nation has endorsed Bernie Sanders. But other than Katha Pollitt I'm generally not impressed by Nation writers. Not only does the Nation publish the Radical Chic leanings of Doug Henwood and Liza Featherstone, it used to publish Christopher Hitchens even after he became a booster of the Bush administration. The only reason it stopped publishing him was because he quit.

And even before he did that, when he was a saint of the left, he was dismissive of women, as Pollitt noted shortly after Hitchens died:
So far, most of the eulogies of Christopher have come from men, and there’s a reason for that. He moved in a masculine world, and for someone who prided himself on his wide-ranging interests, he had virtually no interest in women’s writing or women’s lives or perspectives. I never got the impression from anything he wrote about women that he had bothered to do the most basic kinds of reading and thinking, let alone interviewing or reporting—the sort of workup he would do before writing about, say, G.K. Chesterton, or Scientology or Kurdistan. It all came off the top of his head, or the depths of his id. Women aren’t funny. Women shouldn’t need to/want to/get to have a job. The Dixie Chicks were “fucking fat slags” (not “sluts,” as he misremembered later). And then of course there was his 1989 column in which he attacked legal abortion and his cartoon version of feminism as “possessive individualism.” I don’t suppose I ever really forgave Christopher for that.
"Possessive individualism" is a synonym for leaning in.

I argued with lefty men about their sainted Hitchens shortly after he died, pointing out what a misogynist he was. Wow did that make them mad - and of course they denied that in spite of Pollitt's statement and his infamous Women Aren't Funny piece for Vanity Fair. And anyway, who cares, they said, he was a cool dude - or words to that effect . He had that Radical Chic posture they love even when he was a Bushie. The Radical Chic much prefers form over substance.

I had already had my fill of Radical Chic by the time I was in my early twenties, based on personal experience. Which I will discuss in Part 3.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Nancy McClernan vs. the Radical Chic Part 1

When I was growing up I assumed, like most Americans, I was a member of the "middle class".  This wasn't exactly based on incisive socio-economic analysis. Most Americans figure you're either poor - and live in a ghetto or Appalachia  which makes you "lower class" - or rich and own a mansion and yacht like Elmer J. Fudd, millionaire which makes you "upper class" - everybody else is middle class. I wasn't aware of the term "working class" until at least high school, much less proletariat or bourgeoisie.

But my family was definitely working class. My great-great grandfather was a rank and file soldier in the Civil War (Union of course!), who left his family destitute thanks to his alcoholism. My maternal grandfather was a leader of the Philadelphia Teamsters, which is pretty much as working class as you could get - but my grandmother (whose grandfather was the Civil War soldier) made him quit because the socializing he did as part of his job (he hung out with Jimmy Hoffa) made him drink too much for her liking.

My paternal grandfather owned a cafe on the Philadelphia riverfront and then became, I believe, a bus driver but I'm not actually clear on that. My father worked in customer service for several industrial climate control companies, and I guess because it was white collar I didn't think of it as working class. My mother was a secretary. The father of my best friend Laura was an ironworker.

So yeah, my family was working class. And as a college drop-out (my scholarship was only for one year) and single mother I remained working class until an early adoption of desktop publishing led me to technical writing and web development. Now I'm a Vice President in corporate America and have no guilt.

So I have to laugh at people like Liza Featherstone, who said this of Paul Krugman:

When either Katha Pollitt or Paul Krugman are attacked by lesser minds - which is pretty much all other minds - it really pushes my berserk button. And I already despised Featherstone for her attacks on Hillary Clinton and other feminists.

According to Wikipedia, Featherstone:
...graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2008. Featherstone was a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics Journalism at Columbia for 2007-08[1] and an adjunct professor at the City University of New York. Since 2009, she is an adjunct professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University and, since 2008, an adjunct professor at the Joseph S. Murphy Institute of Labor Studies.
So in other words her entire career has been as an academic and journalist - she comes from exactly the same social class as Krugman. And then there's her husband Doug Henwood who writes Left Business Observer and appears to believe he's qualified to opine on Hillary Clinton's aspirations among other political subjects on the basis of his BA in English from Yale. And then there's Featherstone's and Henwood's employer at the Nation, Katrina vanden Heuvel who is an heiress.

I don't hold it against any of them that they are not working class. I certainly don't feel their opinions should automatically be discounted as Featherstone does to Krugman. And there are plenty of right-wing capitalism-loving assholes among the working class - I doubt that Liza Featherstone has socialized much with people from the working class though, so like radical chic types generally she probably romanticizes them as variations on Bruce Springsteen or something.

It's the self-congratulatory radical-chic hypocrisy of Liza Featherstone that astounds me. Perhaps she believes that because she writes about Labor it makes her an honorary member of the working class.

It's the same radical-chic delusion that has these lefties attacking Sheryl Sandberg for daring to write a book encouraging women to be more assertive in their careers. And of course they admire Liza Featherstone for attacking feminists who are not suitably radical chic.

So who is Verso Books?  I will address that in Part 2

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I was a Bensalem Rambler

The goofy-looking redhead in the first row in case you couldn't guess.
My old friend Laura shared this photo of my softball team - "Bensalem Ramblers" is the collective name of the sports organization. Our team was the Doves.

I'm kind of goofy looking but I am not nearly as hideous as I remembered myself from those days - I guess the result of being told by the other kids in Catholic school what an ugly monster I was for several years, day in and day out. 

At first when Laura sent me the photo I wasn't sure it was me partly because I thought I was uglier. But then I recognized some of the girls in the photo with me. I don't remember names but I definitely remember the girl on the far left in the first row with the dark hair and white ribbons in her pig-tails. I remember wishing I looked like her and wishing I had her winning personality. I expect that my near-constant state of anxiety about playing softball didn't help me win any friends. I look much more relaxed and happy in this photo than I ever remember being while on the team. Plus I was not a good player, and in the hierarchy of the sports world that makes you pretty much a non-person.

I also remember the third girl from the left in the first row. She was an awesome athlete. If memory serves it was pretty much due to her skill that we won the championship both years I was on the team. Her and the girl to the right of me. They were like goddesses to me in those days, so much did I admire their skill at softball.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Women are often still held to a higher standard than men

I just love this photo of Hillary Clinton. And I really like this Kristof column about her:

Clinton, Trump and Sexism
When Republican “mad men” make sexist comments — Trump using a vulgarism about Clinton’s 2008 loss to Obama or Ted Cruz saying Clinton needed a spanking — the Clinton campaign barely conceals its delight as it sounds the trumpets.
“We are not responding to Trump,” an aide, Jennifer Palmieri, tweeted triumphantly, “but everyone who understands the humiliation this degrading language inflicts on all women should.”
One way in which attitudes have changed has to do with sexual predation. Shaming women who make accusations — in short, the Bill Clinton campaign approach of 1992 — is much less tolerated today.
So today Hillary Clinton is scolded for turning on and helping to stigmatize the women who accused her husband of misconduct, which oddly means that she may pay more of a price for his misbehavior than he ever did. That irony would encapsulate the truism that whatever the progress, women are often still held to a higher standard than men.

I think this is especially true of Radical Chic men who like their women pure and untouched by the rough and tumble and compromise of politics. And they don't like women seeking power for themselves. As The Nation's Doug Henwood, the left's #1 Hillary-hater said:
As I wrote in My Turn (p. xiv): “The side of feminism I’ve studied and admired for decades has been about moving towards that ideal [of a more peaceful, more egalitarian society], and not merely placing women into high places while leaving the overall hierarchy of power largely unchanged. It’s distressing to see feminism pressed into service to promote the career of a thoroughly orthodox politician—and the charge of sexism used to deflect critiques of her.”

The Radical Chic in the best patriarchal tradition expects women to put other issues before their own personal welfare.

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Seen recently on the UES - a lot of doggies

Once again I am leaning towards the Upper East Side of Manhattan for my big move. I lived there before and it's actually more affordable than Brooklyn Heights or, if you can believe it, the Jersey City neighborhoods along the waterfront. And my family doctor and my veterinarian are both still on the UES.

Although I suppose I shouldn't try for anything between Fifth Avenue and Park:
According to the Census Bureau, throughout a sweeping stretch of midtown—from Forty-ninth to Seventieth streets, between Fifth Avenue and Park—nearly one in three apartments is completely empty at least ten months a year. In a revealing 2014 New York piece, which observed that real-estate ownership in the city “can be made as untraceable as a numbered bank account,” a developer concludes, “The global elite is basically looking for a safe-deposit box.”
It should be noted the the between 5th Ave and Park it becomes the Upper East Side, not midtown at 60th street.

It should also be noted that if you don't like crowds, 5th Avenue on the UES on Sunday morning is the best place to walk - probably because it's a ghost town if the Census Bureau is to be believed.

Friday, January 22, 2016

My old friend the Jesus freak

My best friend in late grammar school/early high school is now a Jesus freak. She wasn't much of a friend really and one time when we were teenagers she and another friend of hers ditched me to go to the mall - but in any case she was the closest I had to a best friend back then, and I attended her first wedding, and a few years after that she tried to get me a gig doing graphics in public television - to no avail but I do owe her for trying.

I found out just how much of a Jesus freak she is when I saw she was trying to drum up money via Go Fund Me for a book she's been writing. Her Go Fund Me plea reads something like this:
As a child I suffered with a heart condition that continued to get worse when I grew older. I eventually experienced healing by the power of Jesus, working through the doctors at (name of hospital.) For the past 10 years I have been writing this book about how it is posible to help yourself through difficulties and to reduce stress by spending time prayerfully listening to God's words and being guided by the Holy Spirit. Compelling Biblical scripture and inspiring natural images fill the pages with restful and rejuvenating moments to enjoy.  I believe that all things are possible through the Lord for as it says in the Bible, Matthew 7:7 "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."

She never mentioned to me when we were kids that she had a heart condition - and in fact I seem to remember that when trying out for the girl's basketball team she made the cut and I did not. So I guess her condition wasn't all that bad at the time.  But even more so I don't remember her being an especially devout Catholic. I guess this heart condition scared her out of her wits.

This does demonstrate exactly what I was talking about here 
The main point of religion is the creation and maintenance of a system into which believers put prayers and donations, and in exchange out comes health, wealth and even eternal life in paradise. It's a pretty good deal - not just something for nothing - more like everything for almost nothing. No wonder conservatives go for it.
I don't  know if my old friend is politically conservative now but she certainly made a good deal for herself - read the Bible and in exchange Jesus will fix your heart condition. Of course you could also get your heart condition fixed with health insurance and a crack team of cardiologists - which I expect my friend also had - and skip the Bible reading.

Many of the doctors listed in the cardiac department of the hospital where she was healed appear to be Jewish and Indian. I wonder what they would think about her suggesting that she was healed by Jesus working through them.

Well that's nice that Jesus wanted her to survive her heart condition - although he should have thought not to give her one in the first place - but apparently he doesn't want her to be a published author. Since December she's only gotten a single donor giving $25.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


What was I just saying about hierarchy? I said:
Should we listen equally to a political pundit and a cardiologist on how to handle someone having a heart attack. Very often hierarchies are incredibly useful and efficient.
And lo and behold this article in The Atlantic backs me up:
In fact, recent research seems to indicate that flattening workplace hierarchy is not only much more complicated than it seems, but that people prefer a pecking order. One Stanford study found that egalitarian work structures were disorienting. Workers found hierarchical companies were more predictable, and therefore preferable, because it was easy to figure out who did what and how compensation should be doled out. Another Stanford paper, which looked at why hierarchical structures in the workplace have such staying power, concluded perhaps the obvious: Hierarchies work. They are practical and psychologically comforting.

Exactly. And in any case you have to wonder how socialist/anarchists think they're going to do away with human hierarchies other than some kind of hard-core authoritarian enforcement mechanism.

In other news, Five Thirty Eight predicts Clinton has an 80% chance of winning Iowa.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The evil of the Koch brothers, catalogued and codified

Dark Money by Jane Mayer and reviewed here in the NYTimes looks to be the most important book of 2016 and an excellent enlargement on her immortal piece about the Koch brothers, Covert Operations.
This ideology helps to explain one of the most important Koch crusades of recent years: the fight to prevent action against climate change. The Koch-sponsored advocacy group Americans for Prosperity has been at the forefront of climate-change opposition over the past decade. When the Republicans took over the House of Representatives in 2011, Americans for Prosperity lobbied lawmakers to support a “no climate tax” pledge, and by the time Congress convened that year, 156 House and Senate members had signed on.
The Koch brothers appear to want to go down in history as the biggest villains responsible for our failure to prevent catastrophic climate change. I wonder if they're happy with what they bought with all that money and all that corruption of the US political system.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Henwood: women in high places doesn't change the hierarchy of power

In Henwood's response to Pollitt's latest response, he reveals his view of feminism, which he shares with others on the anarchist-socialist Left:
As I wrote in My Turn (p. xiv): “The side of feminism I’ve studied and admired for decades has been about moving towards that ideal [of a more peaceful, more egalitarian society], and not merely placing women into high places while leaving the overall hierarchy of power largely unchanged. It’s distressing to see feminism pressed into service to promote the career of a thoroughly orthodox politician—and the charge of sexism used to deflect critiques of her.”
In other words, women's aspirations should take a back seat to peace and egalitarianism. 

I believe Henwood has the same fundamental understanding of feminism and "women's" issues that the New Atheists like Dawkins and Harris have - women's issues are mostly of interest only to women - important thinkers may consider women in relation to peace or egalitarianism or other important areas, but only as a sub-set of those issues. The role of women themselves, in spite of making up more than half of all humanity, and an oppressed half too, is never worthy of primary consideration. That's probably why Henwood leaves attacking feminists mostly to the Radical Chic Ladies Auxiliary

One thing that always cracks me up about lefties is their idea that if only we had the right kind of political system, human hierarchies would disappear. The tiniest moment of insight would reveal that as long as humans live in family structures, with parents caring for - and controlling - their children for the first decade and a half, at least, of their lives, humans will always live in hierarchies. And there is no doubt much research indicating that humans find hierarchies perfectly comfortable. And if the hierarchy is based on skill and experience and intelligence - well what's wrong with that? Should we listen equally to a political pundit and a cardiologist in how to handle someone having a heart attack. Very often hierarchies are incredibly useful and efficient.

It's not hierarchies - it's grossly unfair hierarchies that are the problem. And the notion that women should not be in high places based purely on genitalia is exactly an example of a grossly unfair hierarchy. So by definition, allowing women into the hierarchy would be a huge win for egalitarianism. 

So yes, Hillary Clinton becoming president of the United States does, all by itself, help women. It doesn't change everything but it does help. 

And far more than a Jeb Bush presidency which is what a Bernie Sanders nomination would guarantee.

Henwood gloats about a recent Washington Post poll showing Clinton's lead down. I think this is probably a more accurate predictor of the nominations.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Pollitt vs. Henwood: Round 2

Katha Pollitt comes back swinging at Doug Henwood after he responded to her review of his latest Hillary-hating screed, in a new piece in the Nation: The Book That Turns Hillary Clinton Into a Cartoon.

The reason that Doug Henwood turns Clinton into a cartoon is because Clinton is a "bourgeois feminist" and Henwood believes that bourgeois feminists are evil monsters out to deliberately exploit third-world workers. I am not kidding. And that was my very first introduction to Henwood - although I had actually read some of his tweets during the Twitter flurry known as Jacobinghazi.  But he didn't register there.

He sure did here:

The Fawcett Society, accused of exploiting workers, said they had not been aware of this situation - but Henwood and his gang would not consider the possibility that an organization which has been fighting for women's rights for 150 might have made a mistake. No, it was apparently much more believable to them that this organization, on behalf of "bourgeois feminists" were deliberately out to hurt women.

So that's what Doug Henwood thinks of "bourgeois feminists" in general and Hillary Clinton in particular: as pure evil. Which is why he presents Clinton as a murderer on the cover of his book.

So since Henwood thinks Clinton is pretty much the personification of evil it's no surprise that he can find nothing at all good to say about her, ever. As Pollitt notes:
 But even if every word he writes is completely accurate, it’s not the whole story. If he’s going to attack her for botching healthcare reform, Doug should at least have mentioned her role in establishing the SCHIP program, which gave healthcare to millions of low-income children. If he’s going to dismiss her as a “carpetbagger” and a “mediocre” “seat warmer” in the Senate, he should have noted that her voting record made her one of the more liberal Senate Democrats—70 percent more liberal than her fellow Senate Dems in her final term. And isn’t it relevant that Republicans controlled the Senate from 2001 to 2007? What Doug gives us is so partial—he mentions every negative (even her supposed breaking of a lamp in a fight with Bill)—he turns her into a cartoon.

Pollitt also hits back over Henwood's smearing of Brad DeLong. But of course as I've demonstrated on this blog, smearing defenders of Hillary Clinton is just what Henwood does. Which tells you about the mind of Doug Henwood - a center-left woman running for president is evil personified and anybody who says different is a lying opportunist or a "Clinton towel-boy."

And Henwood and his wife Liza Featherstone are both contributors to The Nation. No wonder The Nation has gone downhill.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Amber A'Lee Frost and Liza Featherstone: Radical Chic Ladies Auxiliary attacks feminists

I've mentioned Amber A'Lee Frost and Liza Featherstone before - both of them are members of what I like to think of as the Radical Chic Ladies Auxiliary. Their mission is to constantly suck up to radical chic lefty men by attacking actual feminists every chance they get.

Or as Doug Henwood (Featherstone's much-older husband and number one leftwing Hillary Clinton hater) likes to call it "bourgeois feminism." But that Marxist lingo is just a thin veneer to cover the fundamental misogyny of Henwood's position, which he shares with old lefty men generally.

You can see an example of Frost and Featherstone's hatred of actual feminists in this screen cap from Facebook, sucking up to their lefty men in this needless attack on a Ms. Magazine article.

How dare Ms. Magazine suggest, as this article does that rape is not just an ISIS problem. Bourgeois bitches!

They also hate Rebecca Solnit for daring to write an article about mansplaining.

I don't think I've seen as many attacks on feminists coming from Katie Roiphe as I do from the Ladies Auxiliary.

In other news The Nation has decided to support Sanders. I was trying to decide whether or not to re-up my Nation subscription, so now I know the answer to that.

Sady Doyle continues to fight the good fight on Twitter.

And she shares this excellent piece: Losing Bernie: My Journey from #FeelTheBern to #HillYes

The Ladies Auxiliary hates Doyle as much as they hate any other "bourgeois feminists" which is always a high recommendation in my book.

I had to laugh at Featherstone expressing disgust at Jerry Hall and Rupert Murdoch's engagement though.

Yeah Featherstone, what a concept! A woman marries a much older balding unattractive man who is full of himself! Shocking!*

Talk about lack of self-awareness. I guess that's what it takes to be a member of the Radical Chic Ladies Auxiliary.

I will be monitoring their activities and attacks on Hillary Clinton and feminists generally leading up to the 2016 election. So far the feminists that Henwood and his Ladies Auxiliary have attacked include: me,  Sady Doyle, Hillary Clinton, Sheryl Sandberg, Rebecca Solnit, Michelle Goldberg, Gloria Steinem, The Fawcett Society, Ms. Magazine. I'm sure there are many more, these are just the ones I found on a quick run-through of recent commentary. For Amber A'Lee Frost, especially, there doesn't seem to be any feminist she won't find an excuse to attack. So of course she loves the smear-mongering feminist-hating bully Mikki Kendall. Because that's just who the fuck Amber A'lee Frost is.

*Although Henwood probably hates feminists more than Rupert Murdoch does.