Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I know, I know,

it's Camille Paglia, the scourge of the Salon liberals, but this is exactly how I feel about the Hillary@3am ad:
    Would I want Hillary answering the red phone in the middle of the night? No, bloody not. The White House first responder should be a person of steady, consistent character and mood -- which describes Obama more than Hillary. And that scare ad was produced with amazing ineptitude. If it's 3 a.m., why is the male-seeming mother fully dressed as she comes in to check on her sleeping children? Is she a bar crawler or insomniac? An obsessive-compulsive housecleaner, like Joan Crawford in "Mommie Dearest"? And why is Hillary sitting at her desk in full drag and jewelry at that ungodly hour? A president should not be a monomaniac incapable of rest and perched on guard all night like Poe's baleful raven. People at the top need a relaxed perspective, which gives judgment and balance. Workaholism is an introspection-killing disease, the anxious disability of tunnel-vision middle managers.
For the record, I see Paglia as an opinionated-as-hell truthteller. I don't agree with her on everything, but I find it bracing to listen to the forthright musings of an intelligent person who doesn't give a damn what Salon liberals (including myself) think of her.

If you believe, as I do, that the Clinton campaign has been an embarrassing reminder of the worst feminist excesses of the 60's, then you owe it to yourself to read Paglia's essay in full.
    Back to feminism: I recently stumbled on a fascinating book at the public library, Peter Kurth's "American Cassandra: The Life of Dorothy Thompson," published in 1990. Thompson was the world-famous journalist satirized in "Woman of the Year," the 1942 film where she was played by a lordly Katharine Hepburn. Both Thompson and Hepburn were brilliant examples of the many high-achieving women of the 1920s and '30s. In the early 1960s, as an adolescent in the throes of my Amelia Earhart craze, I madly researched that exhilarating period of feminism in old newspapers and magazines in the bowels of the Syracuse library. (This was before Betty Friedan, who may have given birth to Gloria Steinem but who sure didn't produce Germaine Greer or me.)


    The boldness of that generation of women, who were facing obstacles and prejudices far greater than today's, makes me impatient with the reactionary whining one hears from establishment feminists, including Steinem, about the supposedly still-crippling pervasiveness of sexism. As an equity feminist, I demand equal opportunities for women, but I strongly oppose intrusive special protections for women, which I regard as counterproductive and infantilizing.

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