September 12, 2008

You're Such a Pretty Little Thing

[Updated at the conclusion.]

And you really are very pretty. [laughs] But do you honestly believe you're ready to take on a big, tough, man's job?
GIBSON: Governor, let me start by asking you a question that I asked John McCain about you, and it is really the central question. Can you look the country in the eye and say "I have the experience and I have the ability to be not just vice president, but perhaps president of the United States of America?"

PALIN: I do, Charlie, and on January 20, when John McCain and I are sworn in, if we are so privileged to be elected to serve this country, will be ready. I'm ready.

GIBSON: And you didn't say to yourself, "Am I experienced enough? Am I ready? Do I know enough about international affairs? Do I -- will I feel comfortable enough on the national stage to do this?"

PALIN: I didn't hesitate, no.

GIBSON: Didn't that take some hubris?
Imagine the identical questions being asked of Barack Obama, with only slight alterations:
Senator, can you look the country in the eye and say, "I have the experience and I have the ability to be president of the United States of America?"

You never said to yourself, "Am I experienced enough? Am I ready? Do I know enough about international affairs? Do I -- will I feel comfortable enough on the national stage to do this?"

Didn't that take some hubris?
And the cry would arise from the land: "Charlie Gibson said that Obama is too uppity! That means that Gibson is ... a racist!"

For the record: I myself care very little about a candidate's "experience," in the way that term is commonly employed. At the moment, the United States is on the fast track to catastrophe in every area -- economically, in foreign policy, with regard to a collapsing infrastructure, and in almost every other way. It is the ruling class -- including the establishment in Washington, D.C. -- that has brought us here, and that promises more of the same. But almost every leading politician and media voice tells us that we must turn to precisely those people who are most "experienced" and knowledgeable about the route to disaster -- precisely those people who propose only changing the emphasis a little bit here and there, nibbling around the edges to a degree that will cause neither discomfort nor loss of wealth and power to the ruling elites, those people who will continue to destroy everyone who is not them. Thus does the ruling class protect itself, as it preserves and expands its own prerogatives -- and most Americans eagerly fall for the same old con game. These are some of the reasons I say, "Take Your 'Experience' and Shove It, You Whores for Empire."

But with regard to Gibson's questions and the inevitable reaction if identical questions were put to Obama in the same sneering, condescending manner: yes, it is absolutely true that racism is a great evil -- in fact, I have written, in detail, about why it is the greatest evil in the history of the United States. In that essay (and the other essays linked therein), I was referring to the United States as a specifically political entity, and analyzing the deadly effects of the policies and actions of the U.S. government (and its adjunct, the U.S. military) throughout our history, and even before the United States was formed. On this lethal issue, it does not help in any manner at all, and in fact it does immense harm, that Obama himself has adopted every signifier of the white racist ruling class, on every significant question and on most minor specifics.

However, from a different and broader cultural perspective, the profound hatred and loathing of women that is deeply embedded in Western culture is more encompassing, both in terms of the number of individuals it targets and with regard to the damage it causes.

And there is one further difference. While most people are on guard against what may be their own racist attitudes and the resulting behaviors, and while most seek to eliminate them or, if they are unable to accomplish that, at least hide them from public view, a great many people have revealed that they have little or no self-awareness of the numerous ways in which their profound, ineradicable contempt for women expresses itself. Just from the last week or so, see here, here, here, here, here, and here. I've already collected five or six further especially awful examples that I haven't yet had time to write about.

But a lot of you ladies sure are pretty. Too bad you aren't experienced enough to do man's work. And if the ruling class and its determined guardians have their way, those ladies never will be.

UNEXPECTED: An article about the Palin-Gibson interview by Alessandra Stanley certainly has its oddities. Such as:
[Gibson's] attitude was at times supercilious: He asked if a nuclear Iran posed an “existential threat” to Israel, as if it were the land of Sartre, not Sabras.
Since "existential threat" is an exceptionally common phrase with regard to Iran vis a vis Israel, often used by Israelis themselves, this is a decidedly peculiar argument. But it does give Stanley the opportunity to use Sartre and Sabras in a mellifluous melange of alluring (sorta kinda) alliteration, so there is that.

But Stanley does get this:
Mr. Gibson, who sat back in his chair, impatiently wriggling his foot, had the skeptical, annoyed tone of a university president who agrees to interview the daughter of a trustee but doesn’t believe she merits admission.
But shucks, she's so pretty!