Friday, December 5, 2008

Boys Will Be Boys

Once again, we get an unguarded peek into the mindset of Camp Obama. (And check out the comments, too.) This, like “monster,” will present a seemingly minor but nonetheless revealing test of how much Barack himself has put Animal House behind him.

I mean, Favreau should be fired anyway, as part of the shift from campaigning to governing, and the replacement of children’s crusade zombies with knowledgeable grown-ups – a shift that is evident in most of his appointments thus far, and most notably, of course, in Hillary’s. We need speeches from the leader of the free world that aren’t awash in abstract nouns, sentences without objects and intransitive verbs. We need sentences you could actually diagram – describing policies you could actually enact. But putting that aside, if this photo doesn’t prove to be at least a career-diverting move for Mr. Favreau, it doesn’t speak well for the culture of the incoming Administration.

And, to the "get-a-life"/"get-over-it" fratties in the comment threads – and in the many drinking rooms of the Kos frathouse – please spare us the lectures about how boys will be boys. We don’t need boys or girls, thank you. We need adults – preferably ones not infected by social diseases.


Falstaff said...

I posted this comment at Tennessee Guerilla Women:

Yes, Favreau should be fired. He should be fired in a highly visible, public way - a way that will damage his career for, say, a decade (or, conversely, improve his career prospects as an editor or PR executive at Playboy). President-Elect Obama should hold a press conference -- he's been holding plenty of them lately, and he's pretty much run out of Cabinet announcements, so this would be timely -- and make it melodramatically clear that this sort of behavior and attitude is intolerable in his Administration.

This should be used as a learning moment, a Sister Souljah moment on misogyny. He has missed any number of previous opportunities (the one that springs to mind was after Randi Rhodes's rant). But the window of opportunity is still open.

If he doesn't do this, it will send a clear and hurtful signal. Hillary can defend herself -- she doesn't need his help. But the vast majority of the women in this Administration have nothing like her position or hard-earned thick skin. They need to be shown that work is going to be safe for them, that the frat boyz are not running this show. They need to be shown it in no uncertain terms. And the women of the world need to be shown that an iconic figure like Hillary Clinton cannot be treated like a cunt, a party favor, a dehumanized object of ridicule by a bunch of drunken louts. Women all over the planet are dying from that, literally, every day. Surely someone with Barack Obama's awareness of the power of leader-as-symbol recognizes that?

I would just underline the last point. Barack Obama is hailed, rightly, as a powerful symbol to people of color all over the world -- the living manifestation of the possibility for everyone's humanity to be treated as worthy. And yet these people who were intimate parts of his campaign -- who wrote his soaring words, who recruited their fellow gen-Yers to join this inspiring movement -- clearly regard Hillary Clinton as a piece of crap. Her meaning for women and girls all over the world doesn't cross their minds for one second. They are entirely willing to post an image of their hatred and contempt -- made all the worse by being "fun" -- on a Web platform for the whole world to see. Just as Samantha Power's "monster" comment showed something not mostly about Power herself, but about the normal, everyday discourse and attitude of the Obama campaign, so this shows what major elements of that campaign still think and feel. The entire election cycle wasn't enough to shake them out of their misogynist vibe.

If Barack Obama does not fire this jerk in a way that sends an unambiguous message, it will give the lie to all the rhetoric. If this guy is allowed to continue writing his speeches, every one of those speeches will be heard by many, if not most, as the most arrant forms of hypocrisy.

Misogyny remains a big deal on Planet Earth, and Barack Obama better recognize that -- now.

july4cat said...

I'm utterly disgusted, but not the least surprised. It's just ironic to think that this is the guy who actually came up those high-minded words about transcending all earthly limits.