Peddlers of grievances on ironic occasion embody the stereotypes they seek to eradicate. They might do better to police their own behaviors that advance stereotypes than to police those who simplistically apply impressions of individuals wholesale to groups. But it’s always easier to cast blame on external forces, if less effective, than to correct internal deficiencies.
Worshippers of the Church of St. Hillary informed New York Times reporter Amy Chozick that “calculating,” “polarizing,” “insincere,” “out of touch,” and other unflattering words and phrases, obligatory when discussing Ted Cruz, represent thinly-veiled blasphemy, or at least sexism, when applied to their favored candidate. The true believers calling themselves HRC Super Volunteers volunteered in an email to Chozick, “You are on notice that we will be watching, reading, listening and protesting coded sexism.”
What a bunch of weak, whiny girls—thankfully, I never traffic in coded sexism.
As with so many current controversies, one sagacious, three-decades-old film offers much insight.
“You put a greased, naked woman on all fours with a dog collar around her neck, and a leash, and a man’s arm extended out up to here, holding onto the leash, and pushing a black glove in her face to sniff it,” Bobbi Fleckman informs Spinal Tap’s manager in the eponymously titled mockumentary. “You don’t find that offensive? You don’t find that sexist?” When the manager informs Spinal Tap member Nigel Tufnel of the record company’s decision to spike the album art because of the sexism, the guitarist responds: “Well, so what? What’s wrong with being sexy?”
The scenes illustrate the oft humorous ignorance of people who trade in unfashionable stereotypes. But they share a dullard’s kinship with those who aggressively inveigh against such mindless mindsets. Both groups ultimately become caricatures. That’s another way of saying such people generate stereotypes, too.
That certainly is the case with those applying the same term, “sexist,” to those calling Hillary Clinton “ambitious” as Bobbi Fleckman used to criticize the visual of a leashed, naked woman forced to “smell the glove.” Surely categorizing the former under the same word as the latter devalues the term.
The motivation for unleashing the derogatory term against critics of the former First Lady comes from a desire to create a candidacy without criticism. Leveling the playing field evolves into leveling all others on the playing field. Candy Crowley turning a debate into a handicap match, or the New York Times acting as unpaid opposition research for Democratic candidates, fail to level the opposition on the playing field sufficiently for the Rodhamites. Now the shrill sect seeks to transfigure standard political criticism into beyond-the-pale prejudice.
Citing Clinton’s disingenuous (one of those innocuous adjectives Clinton’s codebreakers deciphered as sexism) explanation for the Benghazi murders or the secretive (another forbidden word) manner of her email correspondence as Secretary of State becomes evidence of misogyny in the minds of the Hillarians.
Alas, hasn’t projection always acted as the de facto strategy of the clarion caller alerting America to the vast, right-wing conspiracy? She’s not so much a Teflon politician as a ricochet candidate. She’s rubber, you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off her and sticks to you. At least that’s the hope with the new crusade against “sexist” speech.
Though clumsiness and cluelessness often set off explosions in the minefield of sexism, ideological commitment rarely does despite the “ism” affixed. Those combatants lobbing the “sexist” grenade, on the other hand, appear always and everywhere motivated by an ideological commitment.
One might describe their ideological predilection as “sexism” if they had not preempted. So, sexismism, an unwieldy word wielded by socially unwieldy troglodytes against their feminist critics, will have to make due. And your correspondent pleads guilty to sexismismism, an ideological commitment to opposing the reflexive anti-sexism (sexismism) that sees chauvinism lurking under every bed. Of course, this stance will soon be counteracted by sexismismismism.
My neologisms may strike readers as incredibly silly. But as silly as the former Secretary of State’s votaries calling sexism on those finding her “polarizing,” “calculating,” and “disingenuous”?
One might dub the Clinton Army’s sexism salvos polarizing, calculating, and disingenuous. But it’s best to stay silent here. Big Sister is watching, reading, and listening.