« Interesting times | Main | Young David Sirota thinks God Must find it exeedingly odd... »

They just won't go away

By Michael J. Smith on Saturday December 6, 2008 02:35 PM

"Change" was the Democrats' mantra during the campaign. After Election Day, they dropped that, with eye-blurring speed, in favor of "experience". Now they're talking about making Caroline Kennedy Senator from New York, in Hillary's place -- Caroline, who represents neither change nor experience. Presumably some third abstract quality will have to be invoked. What do you want to bet it's "charisma"?

The choice theoretically rests with David Paterson, Democratic governor of New York, who succeeded to that office recently after echt merit-baby Eliot Spitzer was found to have a rather louche erotic life. But presumably Obie will have something to say on the subject as well.

One of the pressures impinging on Paterson, according the New York Times today, is the Gender Nationalist lobby, AKA the FAFsters. Evidently the thinking in circles like NOW is that Hillary's seat -- I mean her Senate seat, not her own dear little long-suffering tush -- is Woman Property now.

I was talking about this today with a FAFster friend of mine. She tartly observed, "How many senators are women? Is it half?"

Fair enough. Who can, or would, object to gender equity? Caroline certainly won't be any worse than Hillary was, and if they went on and replaced Chuck Schumer with a woman -- any woman, chosen at random, fer Chrissake -- we'd almost certainly gain by the exchange.

What bugs me, though, about this FAF line of reasoning is its one-dimensional focus on superstructure, and its high comfort level with every aspect of the status quo except the remaining gender differentials. Getting women into the Senate, and the White House, and the Pentagon, and the CIA is the FAF mission; once accomplished, progress is thought to have been made, even if these institutions continue to operate on pretty much the same basis that they always have.

As a lefty and devout egalitarian, I'd like to feel that I have more in common with feminism than I can have, as long as feminism is defined in a way that not only accepts but embraces every other aspect of existing power relations. It's hard for me to be pleased that anybody -- man or woman, Jew or Gentile, barbarian or Greek -- wants to swell the ranks of my enemies.

In one way, Caroline Kennedy really perfectly exemplifies the problem. She's a woman -- so far so good. But she's also rich, she's a lawyer, or so they say, and most of all -- she's a Kennedy.

Are we never, never to have done with this legion of pests? -- now in, what, its fourth generation from old Joe, the gangster and Nazi sympathizer (shown above in the bosom of his altogether too numerous family).

The Party of Change seems in fact to be very much a party of property interests. The FAFs must have a few Senate seats, and the Kennedys are owed one too. Voila Caroline -- a twofer!

Comments (8)

According to USA Today, blacks were allowed to march in the Inaugural parade for the first time in 1865, women in 1917.

Sexism might be worse than racism in America.

Maybe we should drop all labels - left, right, middle and just put issues forward - no more bombing of defenseless countries for any reason, healthcare for all, decent wages for a decent day's work.

Keep up the good work



Alain Badiou recently described the role played in French society by such "low-grade feminism", "from which first Le Pen and then Sarkozy were the only ones to benefit politically."

Marching in the inaugural parade? Really?

The main problem faced by women in this country is the lack of European-style welfare benefits and universal public day care/pre-school. The theory on which this denial of humanity rests is the treatment of mothering as a gendered gift, rather than socially necessary labor. As MJS notes with his frequent remarks, FAFsters are squarely part of the coalition perpetuating this barbarism, which is sexist practice #1-with-a-bullet.

FAF is capitalist coat-tailing, a drive to get mine, to hell with my sisters and humanity as a whole. As such, it has become mighty close to being the opposite of what it claims to be. Working-class women are the vast majority of women. You'd never know it by listening to American feminism.


yes, mainstream american feminism is mostly devoid of class analysis - this carries over to their evangelism in other countries by the way (see kristen ghodsee's excellent article about this: "feminism by design").unfortunately, barbara ehrenreich's socialist feminism somehow never caught on, so feminism has devolved into senseless identity politics of the worst kind...

speaking of patterson, anyone catch this insightful commentary by proyect?

A real life example of no good deeds going unpunished, is my friend who is unable to work as a rape counselor now, due to a debilitating genetic disease, which she unfortunately passed on to her adult autistic son. When her husband was thrown out of work by the recent mortgage meltdown, they ended up on the street. With the slashing of the state and federal safety nets in recent years, they were left without housing or medical, and now take turns in and out of emergency rooms, where they literally have to be at death's door to get seen.

Some country, huh?


Sadly, we're also getting more of "Imperial Feminism". A critique by Valerie Amos and Pratibha Parmar on that topic can be read here (part 1) and here (part 2).


we can count on taber

for a hugo esque
mean streets specific

identity politics will only die
when the fafs and the equal op crowd
are more then odd speckles
inside our formost
remote control death legions

ps Parson S
u sanctimonious bit of frizzle u

what's with this sour apples
slam the K clan bit ???

MY first family alone ..mikey me boy

"too numerous ... " eh ???

typical fat back protestant
cheese whiz
and from the likes of you now

Actually, you think that's bad; looks like NYers are really going to have to split the difference between two evils. This just in via CNN: B-List Ex-Sitcom Star Fran "Nanny" Drescher to Run for Hillary's Vacated Senate Seat?

Caroline Kennedy? The Nanny?
The Nanny? Caroline Kennedy?

Oh, dear Lord, if you exist, please kill me now.

Post a comment

Note also that comments with three or more links may be held for "moderation" -- a strange term to apply to the ghost in this blog's machine. Seems to be a hard-coded limitation of the blog software, unfortunately.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Saturday December 6, 2008 02:35 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Interesting times.

The next post in this blog is Young David Sirota thinks God Must find it exeedingly odd....

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License

This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.31