Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lynnell Mickelsen takes down Maureen Dowd

Let’s call Maureen Dowd for what she is…
by Lynnell Mickelsen

Lynnell Mickelsen is a fine, local free-lance
writer and blogger whose blog is temporarily
not loading for some reason. When it gets
fixed, it will go back on my links to ‘favorite
blogs.’ It the meantime, I’m publishing her
‘smack down’ essay here on my blog because
she wants it spread around. (Chas)

Well, if any of you read the New York Times op-ed today, you caught Maureen Dowd writing one of her typical "Obama is an effeminate elitist" columns.

Which, I have to say, sounds just like her old "John Kerry is an effeminate elitist" columns. Which sounded a lot like her old "Al Gore is an effeminate elitist" columns. Which sounded a lot like her "Mike Dukakis is an effeminate elitist" pieces. I mean, does anyone detect a little pattern here?

Dowd opened up her column today with the following:

“I'm not bitter.

“I'm not writing this just because I grew up in a house with a gun, a strong Catholic faith, an immigrant father, brothers with anti-illegal immigrant sentiments and a passion for bowling. (My bowling trophy was one of my most cherished possessions.)

“My family morphed from Kennedy Democrats into Reagan Republicans not because they were angry, but because they felt more comfortable with conservative values. Members of my clan sometimes were overly cloistered. But they weren't bitter; they were bonding.

“They went to church every Sunday because it was part of their identity, not because they needed a security blanket.

“Behind closed doors in San Francisco, elitism's epicenter, Barack Obama showed his elitism, attributing the emotional, spiritual and cultural values of working-class, "lunch pail" Pennsylvanians to economic woes.......”

Dowd goes on from there with her usual, tired schtick. Which is why I really enjoyed reading Molly Ivor's hilarious take down and analysis of Dowd on her blog at Whiskeyfire. Here's how Ivors starts.

“Maureen Dowd starts today's outing with the least convincing line ever: ‘I'm not bitter.’

“Wow. Is she kidding? Dowd is so bitter she uses alum in place of talcum powder. She's so bitter you could put her into a champagne cocktail. (Which she would probably like just fine, come to think of it.) She's put more bunnies into more pots of boiling water than Jacques Pepin on a hasenpfeffer bender. She's so bitter...

"Okay, I could go on like that for days, but you get the point. At least Dowd finally admits what we have known for years: despite her almost accidental distaste for President Bush, she's a Republican at heart.

"Shorter Dowd: "I became a Republican because those mean Democrats made me feel bad for being a rich racist."

"But of course, she doesn't say that. Instead, it's "My family morphed from Kennedy Democrats into Reagan Republicans not because they were angry, but because they felt more comfortable with conservative values." And she makes sure to squeeze church, bowling, and immigration in there, just to be sure. (Not quite sure how Dowd's fuck-me pumps, married men, and feng shui fit into this universe, however.)

"Look, people who left the Dems between Kennedy and Reagan did so for one reason: civil fucking rights. Blather on all you want about traditional values and welfare queens and entitlement programs, but it boils down, like a bunny, to one thing: black people should have remembered their place.

"The Southern Strategy worked, and not just in the South. Northern racists bought it too. I challenge Louisiana to produce as thoroughgoing a bigot as my friend's late Uncle Dave, a man who hoarded rusty canned goods and moldering reel-to-reel tapes from the John Birch Society in his basement in Queens, guarding against the day when hordes of black people were going to come marching up Northern Boulevard in Flushing and target electrician's shops full of broken equipment. And don't get me started on cops like (Maureen's) Father Dowd, who mistake their contact with criminals for some bizarre kind of anthropological evidence. It's a load of crap.

"But Maureen has spent at least enough time in polite company to know that you have to fake it (yes, that too), or people will rightly shun you and call you a Neanderthal. And so she she goes back to her filing cabinet and retrieves some golden oldies she never quite got around to using on President Gore, and flings them at Senator Obama. Because after all, as a Democratic male, he's obviously at least a hermaphrodite, and possibly a cyborg.’

"Dowd writes in her column today:

"And as Obama has courted white, blue-collar voters in "Deer Hunter" and "Rocky" country, he has often appeared to be observing the odd habits of the colorful locals, resisting as the natives try to fatten him up like a foie gras goose, sampling Pennsylvania beer in a sports bar with his tie tight, awkwardly accepting bowling shoes as a gift from Bob Casey, examining the cheese and salami at the Italian Market here as intriguing ethnic artifacts, purchasing Utz Cheese Balls at a ShopRite in East Norriton and quizzing the women working in a chocolate factory about whether they could possibly really like the sugary doodads.

"He hasn't pulled a John Kerry and asked for a Philly cheese steak with Swiss yet, but he has maintained a regal "What do the simple folk do to help them escape when they're blue?" bearing, unable to even feign Main Street cred...........

"The elitism that Americans dislike is not about family money or connections - J.F.K. and W. never would have been elected without them. In the screwball movie genre that started during the last Depression, there was a great tradition of the millionaire who was cool enough to relate to the common man - like Cary Grant's C.K. Dexter Haven in "The Philadelphia Story.

"What turns off voters is the detached egghead quality that they tend to equate with a wimpiness, wordiness and a lack of action - the same quality that got the professorial and superior Adlai Stevenson mocked by critics as Adelaide. The new attack line for Obama rivals is that he's gone from J.F.K. to Dukakis. (Just as Dukakis chatted about Belgian endive, Obama chatted about Whole Foods arugula in Iowa.)”

“(N.B. with fucking arugula farmers he did, you insufferably shallow superannuated cheerleader. Feh.)”

“Maureen's problem is that she only knows two or three stories, and so everything she encounters has to be wedged into one of those narratives. She's pulling out her unused Gore bon mots on Obama, but when the hell is she going to get to use the metric ton of bile she's got saved up for Hillary? Huh? You Obama supporters didn't think of that, did you? Is she bitter? Oh, a tad..........”

For more analysis and take-down of Dowd and her endless gender-bender-class issues, check out Bob Somerby today at the Daily Howler. Digby also weighs in at Hullabaloo. So does Glen Greenwald.

The reason why bloggers are jumping all over this stuff is that this same "elitist, effeminate" meme has been used by the right-wing and traditional corporate journalists for almost 20 years running now. We need to call it out for what it is and spread the word. Pass this on to others. The more people understand what's happening, the easier it will be to recognize and resist it.

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