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What's wrong with this picture?

Davidson's picture
Thread: 

[I think I'm going to leave this sticky for a bit. The picture doesn't get any less wrong with time, and -- yes, I know this will surprise you -- the A-list just doesn't seem to be covering it. Susie did, though. --lambert]

Nothing, silly! Sure, Hillary Clinton may have been the first serious woman presidential candidate but that doesn't mean Jon Favreau, Obama speechwriter, mocking her gender (grope!) means anything. No, it's just "harmless fun" (read: misogynistic bigotry is fine by us!).


Alcohol isn't an excuse either since it doesn't cause you to be intolerant or hateful (see: Mel Gibson and his drunken anti-semitic, misogynistic tirade). Clinton is a symbol of women and girls whether she likes it or not because she was out there all alone, as a woman, seeking power so seeing this is just so...sad. Especially since he's my age and we're supposedly the generation that's less burdened by prejudice.

Clinton laughed it off, but the message is clear: being a girl or woman is a damn joke.

I'm a young man and already I'm exhausted from having to deal with misogyny--indirectly (just from the campaign season). I don't know how you women put up with this. It just doesn't stop. Ever.

UPDATE Here's another source: The Minneapolis Tribune's The Swamp. No shit. -- lambert

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BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

is knowing that there are good guys like you - and lambert, vastleft and others here, my partner, my father, etc. - out there. It helps to know that not all men are juvenile, hateful bigots (my new pledge is to call people who do or say sexist things bigots because 1) they are and 2) sexist apparently is not a perjorative term these days). Thanks!

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

Maybe I'm just sex-obsessed, but whenever I see "sex" I think "Joy! Joy! Joy!" so charging someone as a "sexist" or railing against "sexism" confuses me on a deeper level. I know it's horribly wrong, but I don't feel it. And I'm glad you're calling these bigots...bigots. It's so damn odd that misogyny is the only form of intolerance and hatred that is called "disrespect" as if bigotry were a mere snafu. I mean, when a racist throws slurs, we condemn that person forcefully, but when a misogynist uses slurs (what most people consider generic "profanity"), all people can say is, "Hey, show some respect." Honestly, it turns a matter of bigotry, into a Ms. Manners issue.

I keep thinking about this photo: imagine the uproar if there was someone having an Obama in front of a watermelon. There's nothing wrong with eating a watermelon, just as there's nothing wrong with sexual contact, but for blacks and women, respectively, the bigoted associations are nonetheless there.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

On just knowing that we have allies, and on calling this behavior bigotry. I made that same decision the other day, calling sexism isn't enough, and neither is misogyny(We don't hate women, we love women, we married...), so bigotry it is, and bigotry it shall be called.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

Maybe I'm just sex-obsessed, but whenever I see "sex" I think "Joy! Joy! Joy!" so charging someone as a "sexist" or railing against "sexism" confuses me on a deeper level. I know it's horribly wrong, but I don't feel it. And I'm glad you're calling these bigots...bigots. It's so damn odd that misogyny is the only form of intolerance and hatred that is called "disrespect" as if bigotry were a mere snafu. I mean, when a racist throws slurs, we condemn that person forcefully, but when a misogynist uses slurs (what most people consider generic "profanity"), all people can say is, "Hey, show some respect." Honestly, it turns a matter of bigotry into a Ms. Manners lesson.

I keep thinking about this photo: imagine the uproar if there was someone, a Clinton staffer no less, putting an Obama cutout in front of a watermelon. There's nothing wrong with eating a watermelon, just as there's nothing wrong with sexual contact, but for blacks and women, respectively, the bigoted associations are nonetheless there.

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

is worth a thousand words.

I hope those guys get duly rewarded for their frat boy antics.

Iphie's picture
Submitted by Iphie on

I see a nice, cosy West Wing office in the very near future for these fine, upstanding Democratic role-models. But I wonder, where is the "Hos before Bros" t-shirt? Do you think he's wearing it under his "Obama Staff" t-shirt?

If this is the behavior they feel comfortable documenting and posting online, just imagine what they say and do that is unfit for public consumption.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

would have dared to have posed for an equivalent photo. This is just no matter what you do, you will always be a women. These are the jerks who laugh at John Stewart's ball buster jokes, these are the guys who nominated and elected Webb, these are the guys who are why I will never, ever, ever volunteer for another Democrat ever.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

These are the guys who made me realize back in April that I could never vote for Obama. Later extended to Democrats in general.

No, not these specific guys, but their frat-boy gangbangin' bros who somehow passed from indulgently tolerated 'boys will be boys' into mainstream discourse. Warhol could not have produced an image more representative of the campaign. I'd say Favreau was freakin' brilliant for concretizing the zeitgeist, except there's no evidence he understands such nuance.

Historiann's picture
Submitted by Historiann on

How do we know for sure who these idiots are? (Note: I'm not defending the idiocy on display, I just want to make sure you're not commiting libel.) It looks like something from Facebook or a social networking site, but there is no link.

Submitted by lambert on

So far as I can tell, there aren't very many of us trying to keep the record straight, so provenance and linky goodness on this stuff is important.

UPDATE Davidson, I added the link. That keeps the record straight, which is important. Thanks for posting this.

Submitted by lambert on

I just want to underline the principle -- keep the record straight with a link in the original post. There are plenty of people willing to airbrush the primaries, but not so many working to keep the record straight. Good for you for getting right on this.

Iphie's picture
Submitted by Iphie on

I mean can't you take a joke? If you're a women, you must be on the rag. If you're a man and don't think it's funny, expect your sexual orientation to be questioned.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

And there's no worse "insult" than that! Since hating on The Gays is now finally considered wrong, homophobic slurs have been replaced with misogynistic ones (current favorite: the c-word). They don't call me that to my face (6'4" here), but I know what they say behind my back.

The humor defense was used during Jim Crow to excuse blackface (Just like the cutout: no blacks were actually involved). Everyone was in on the joke: blackness itself. Humor, just like any idea, has a message and laughter means that message has been heard loud and clear so when they tell me, "Hey, get a sense of humor" all I can think of is, "Accept the hate."

And accepting hatred only leads to disaster for women and girls. When children can engage in such violent hate so casually and enjoy it, it's because it's part of our very culture. Jesus, it's considered entertainment.

Here's a great site for men and boys out there who want to do something: Jackson Katz.

LostClown's picture
Submitted by LostClown on

The misogynistic slurs didn't so much replace homophobic ones as they have *always* been in use. Because the worse thing you could be is a woman.

Submitted by gob on

is what the Clinton camp seems to have decided to deploy:

Clinton senior adviser Philippe Reines cast the photos as evidence of increased bonhomie between the formerly rival camps.

"Senator Clinton is pleased to learn of Jon's obvious interest in the State Department, and is currently reviewing his application," he said in an e-mail.

Heh. Not sure I would interpret that as "bonhomie"....

goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

Here's the link. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-tra...

I think this picture answers the question of where Obama got the "periodically when she's feeling down, Hillary..." and "brush the dirt off your shoulders" and a million other nasty little digs. Jon Favreau penned those gems.

But what I want to know is who the girl is who is standing in back of this frat party and whether she ended up sleeping with one of them after they spiked her beer with grain?
She must feel really good about herself to hang around these jerks.

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

Incoming Obama administration director of speechwriting Jon Favreau (L) and a friend pose with a cardboard cutout of incoming Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at a party. (Obtained by The Washington Post)

Assholes.

Submitted by lambert on

Davidson asks:

What's wrong with this picture?

The answer: Nothing. Otherwise, they wouldn't have allowed it to be taken. They didn't see anything wrong with what they did, and here we are.

And this is Obama's speechwriter!!

As the Strib comments:

A sked about the photos, Favreau, who was recently appointed director of speechwriting for the White House, declined comment. A transition official said that Favreau had "reached out to Senator Clinton to offer an apology."

Considering the photo, I don't think I would have used the phrase "reached out to Sen. Clinton" in that statement.

[rimshot. laughter]

Now, can we have two apologies?

1. From the Obama campaign for their vile misogyny, and

2. From all the Obama supporters who trashed us when we called bullshit?

The word you want, to go along with apology, is "craven." Although "grovelling" will do, as well.

"Reaching out" to Hillary is not nearly enough. Hillary's supporters need to be reached out to as well.

Thank you in advance for your consideration in this matter.

P.S. And maybe, next, we can move on to the false charges of racism?

goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

He could undergo some diversity training. He could end up as Hillary's speechwriter. He'll either do a great job working for a woman or his ass is glass.

I think we can all agree that it would be inappropriate for him to stay on as Obama's speechwriter and if Hillary is willing to take a crack at him, well, it will keep one more person off the unemployment lines.

Wow! Opportunities like these don't come around everyday. Favreau can see the world and learn to take direction from a woman. Puuuuurrrfect.

Iphie's picture
Submitted by Iphie on

that it would be inappropriate for him to stay on as Obama's speechwriter, but something tells me that Obama won't feel the need to agree to that.

Submitted by lambert on

It's going to be another similarity with Bush. Never apologize for anything.

LostClown's picture
Submitted by LostClown on

Ain't it the truth.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

If this behavior isn't dealt with swiftly and severely, what's next? Young women cavorting suggestively with cardboard cutouts of iconic male figures?

Oh, wait....

Terribly sad, all of it. When I think of the horrible degrading treatment unendingly endured by pasteboard-backed images, treated as though they were nothing more than two-dimensional, unfeeling, inanimate objects and then simply disposed of like so much trash, I weep for the future of humanity. Or images of the future of humanity. Or something. Whatever, I weep; Oh yes, I weep.

[This year's Bill Frist Psychic Diagnostician of the Year Award goes to goldberry, who from the evidence of this photo alone identifies the two men as probable rapists and the young woman as an immoral drunken slut. Well done, that; no harm done by those comments, they're only human, not cardboard, and they definitely had it coming.]

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

and a couple of drunks. Tasteless, dumb, maybe even irresponsible - maybe - but nothing more than that, no huge global meaning or societal affront, at least no more so than the linked-to young women abusing a male cardboard cutout. Where's the outrage about that?

I'm from Earth, where humans sometimes do foolish things. The rest of you? Mars, Venus, Rings of Saturn, I wouldn't know.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

more like the seventh planet from the sun, based on your on-line behavior here...

Submitted by lambert on

Well, I'm glad to know we're not overly emotional, infantile, or simply aggrieved -- all those rhetorical tactics having been tried, and found wanting.

Now we're on another planet.

I suppose a cardboard cutout labelled "nigger" and hanging from a noose would be OK, then? Especially if it were in Mark Penn's White House office, say? Good to know.

NOTE Sweetie, get me rewrite. Could you get the words "one of whom is Obama's newly appointed chief speechwriter" in that comment? Right after "couple of drunks"? Thanks.

scoutt's picture
Submitted by scoutt on

I'm glad to see you're as angry as I am. I was nervous that I'd get a hand slap for my little note. I like what you wrote much better!

Submitted by lambert on

I know what you were doing, but I thought this was a more appropriate contextualization.

We can definitely take the high road on this one, eh?

Realist's picture
Submitted by Realist on

. . . the linked-to young women abusing a male cardboard cutout. Where's the outrage about that?

"Cheerleaders Suspended for One Year for MySpace Photos" certainly qualifies as somebody getting outraged about it on my planet.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

It is a scattered thread, tough to keep up, so to recap:

"Where's the outrage about that?" refers to this thread, not elsewhere. As well, I've written that I think the young women were treated too harshly; an apology and some community service would have been plenty, and that only because they were in uniform when they made the video.

Iphie's picture
Submitted by Iphie on

that this thread is specifically about the incident with Obama's speechwriter and a cutout of Hillary Clinton, right? Outrage about other incidents is a non sequitur. If you believe that a conversation about inappropriate behavior with cardboard cutouts of any kind would be useful, if you think that the subject warrants further exploration, please do write your own post about it. This thread, however, is about something considerably more specific.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Others had hinted, but you are right out there with it; I admire that.

Never the less, I see a connection, a salience, and so I asserted it. If you'd like to dispute that assertion, I'm happy to engage. Otherwise, it seems to me that if you are uninterested in this particular sub-direction of the thread then you are the one who needs to find some other topic to write about.

Realist's picture
Submitted by Realist on

"Where's the outrage about that?" refers to this thread, not elsewhere.

But the link made it clear they've already been adequately punished - as you yourself admit, possibly even too well punished for the offense they committed. Why would anyone express outrage over such a situation?

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

R: "Why would anyone express outrage over such a situation?"
I don't know, but I don't understand all the outrage over this one either. My point, which I accept is not widely, ah, embraced, is that the two acts are more alike than not and neither of them deserve the level of response I'm seeing.

Realist's picture
Submitted by Realist on

I don't understand all the outrage over this one either

that in one case, the offenders were punished (possibly too severely) for what they did. In the other, the offenders got off without even a slap on the wrist - a BS "apology" was the only consequence.

I suspect that's the main cause of the outrage over one case but not the other. In the first case, justice was done. In the second, not so much.

zuzu's picture
Submitted by zuzu on

Between some high school kids and a cardboard cutout of Bart Simpson and Obama's head speechwriter and a cutout of the next Secretary of State?

Submitted by lambert on

I think I know the gaming pretty well by now -- though I'm always willing to be surprised!

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Really important to not show any irreverence for those in power. In that light, then, hopefully everyone will join in and condemn this sort of stereotypical imagery (sooo NSFW).

No, I don't see any difference, zuzu, except that this one has Magic Power Incantation words attached so it is assigned Great Meaning, whether it actually has any or not.

That and of course the other one with the young women (kids? ts, tsk, zuzu!) has them using a male image as a sex object so that's OK, no problem, sweet little lambs probably had no idea what they were doing - some dirty boy probably gave them the idea! If it was actually that sexism, degradation of the opposite sex, is the issue, then you wouldn't see any difference between the two instances either. (For the record, I think the cheerleaders got a bum rap. An apology and some community service would have been more than enough punishment.)

If the cutout was not of Hillary, would there be an uproar? No.

If the men were not associated with Obama, would there be an uproar? No.

So there's what is really important: two magic words, "Hillary" and "Obama". Take either one of them away and it would be as though nothing happened.

And what the hell is this insanity of trying to dump shit on the woman in the background? There's no evidence here that she can even see what's being posed for the camera, so how can she in any way be responsible? Even if she could see it, what was she supposed to do? Jump the guys and rescue the poster? Destroy the camera? These attacks on the woman, by all available visual evidence totally disconnected from the supposedly outrageous act, show how completely over-the-top these reactions are. Waaaay out of proportion.

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