From Shrill, To Imbecile

For quite some time I’ve ignored the poison coming from Egalia over at Tennessee Guerrilla Women.  Her tagline is “Fighting the radical right in Tennessee and the nation”.

How, exactly?  By helping them elect their candidate?  Brilliant!

I know that Egalia takes blogging very seriously, and is dogged in her pursuit of readers.  I know she knows all the tricks to improve her standing in Technorati, and I have no problem with bloggers working the system to sell ads and whatnot.  She is very smart, and, 99% of the time, I’d bet our policy positions run parallel.

So, i understood her passion for Hillary.  Like I have repeatedly said, I like and admire Hillary Clinton.  I had to choose, and I chose the candidate i liked better this time.  I did this without ever bashing Hillary or Bill.  I remember cornering Braisted at a get-together and asking him to re-think his public flaying of Hillary Clinton, because I felt it unwise if not unfair.  In short, I tried to conduct myself in a manner I would expect back from another Democrat.

I had to remove TGW from my reader, it reminded me a little of watching someone slowly lose their lucidity as they age or from some disease.  The wallering became unbearable.  Had I been a Clinton operative, I’d have asked her to shut it all down and take a vacation.

So today, I’m rummaging around in the wreckage of MCB, and i glance over at their aggregator and see that Egalia is now staking whats left of her credibility on a massive withdrawal from the Democratic Party by angry white women. She sees this as something positive.  The idea actually appeals to her.

Never mind that in past elections, people of color, members of the GLBT community, and organized labor have all had their candidates marginalized and their concerns tossed overboard both in the Primary AND General elections, and managed to buck up and help keep the Party strong.  Hells bells, I’m a Liberal with a capital L, and I worked my ass off in 04 trying to help Kerry get elected.  He ain’t exactly Dennis Kucinich.

So, I’m left to ponder what it is that Egalia seeks to do.  Does she intend to punish every Democrat by actively supporting a wave of defections?  What about the millions of female Obama supporters?  Millions.  What is she saying to women like Ginger, who waited, watched, listened, inquired and finally chose to support Obama?  Is she not angry enough?  Not White enough?  Not woman enough?  (Yea, ok, I know Ginger, and she isn’t particularly angry, but theres no question that shes a woman, (I mean, shes given birth and everything) and good God Almighty the woman is most definitely White.  Egalia, are you telling her shes misguided?  If that doesn’t smack of elitism…

Did misogyny play a role in Hillary’s defeat?  Sure, particularly in the media.  There is every reason to be mad about that.  Work to change it.  How many candidates of color went down in flames simply because of their race throughout the years?  We’ll never really know, but one cannot credibly argue that misogyny was more rampant than racism.

Meanwhile, as Egalia continues to don her blinders, oppressive legislation continues to be proposed by her supposed enemy, The Radical Right.  How does widespread disunity among Democrats help to combat it?

I’m really disappointed by all this.


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35 responses to “From Shrill, To Imbecile

  1. nm

    Ya know, Clinton never has been my candidate. I would have voted for her as the nominee, but she wasn’t my first or second choice. And while the sexism and even downright misogyny aimed at her and her campaign mostly didn’t come from Obama or his campaign, I can understand how her supporters can have ended up in an “us against the Party, us against the world” frame of mind. Because, while Obama wasn’t the source of most of the attacks, you know what he could have done that he never, ever did? He could have denounced them, and called out sexism whenever it showed up in high-profile commentary, and made it clear that he didn’t want to benefit from some guys being scared of women. He could even have made a speech about the whole issue, as he did with race relations. I wish he had done any of that. Both because I’d like him to be that kind of candidate, and because it would have shown Clinton’s supporters that he doesn’t ignore their concerns. As it is, I have to figure that he will, in fact, be fairly oblivious to sexism, and that women are going to have to keep right on being vigilant on our own behalf.

  2. Lisa

    YES! My thoughts exactly. I’m truly amazed at the short-sightedness shown by Egalia and others over at TNGW. They are willing to compromise 99% of the progressive values which they promote in order to make a protest over their idea of misogny in the media. Has it happened? Sure. But I would argue that the issues is not that Clinton is a woman, but she is THAT woman. Like it or not, Hillary Clinton is divisive and not universally liked by all women. As a white working-class woman, I have made the decision to support Obama. Guess I’ll have to turn in my feminist credentials.

  3. nm

    So if the MSM had decided they just didn’t like Obama, because of this or that set of positions he supports, or because of this or that vote he made a while back, or because they don’t like his style, or whatever, and had just happened to make their dislike clear by throwing every racist stereotype in the book up on the screen every day, that would have been OK?

    The question, for Egalia and others like her, isn’t whether the media liked Clinton or not; I think it isn’t even why they didn’t like her; it’s the way-beyond-the-line means they chose to attack her, and Obama’s and the Democratic Party’s silence about those attacks. I’m not gonna change my political identity over that silence, but you can bet that I will remember it.

  4. NM, I gotta say, i just didn’t see that. Sure, many pundits and talking heads revealed some patriarchal predispositions from time to time, but this notion that she was treated like some generic woman candidate is way off-base.

    They certainly did not throw every sexist stereotype in the book up on the screen. I’m a news-watcher, and i just didn’t think it was rampant.

  5. democommie

    Let me see if I have this right. The press was misogynistic so let’s punish them by voting for John McWetstart or, just not vote (which is a vote for the GOP) . Sounds pretty stupid to me.

    I didn’t see Hillary Clinton or her campaign goin’ all medieval on the MSM when they were dragging Obama through the Wright crap. Unlike Mack I don’t like Hillary, but I would vote for her in a NY second if she was the nominee.

    Saying Obama’s not going to care about women is based on what, exactly?

  6. nm

    I’m a newswatcher and a woman, and I saw a lot of it. Y’all might want to take a gander at the racism and sexism watch posts over at Shakesville. Obama’s willingness never to confront any of this mess is what makes me think that he’s not going to go to bat for women’s concerns on his own. Not that most male politicians would act all that differently, it’s true.

    And if Clinton and her campaign had been aggressive in pointing out racism instead of indulging in racialized code-words themselves, I’d be a much bigger fan of Clinton than I am.

  7. …and good God Almighty the woman is most definitely White.

    Heeey, are you emphasizing that on the fact that I can’t dance?

    The only overt misogyny I really paid attention to was the differences in the cover of The New Republic, which I posted about. But even some didn’t feel it was sexist. (I still do.)

    However, from a layman’s standpoint (that is, someone who watched the political shows, but not all the time), I have not sensed an overwhelming misogynistic tone toward Hillary Clinton.

    Because of that, the message I have gotten from Egalia’s rhetoric on her blog is that she and her bunch are unreasonable, militant Feminazis. Yes, I said it.

    But seriously, it gives those of us who want to actually be taken seriously as women a bad name when they have taken each and every nuance out of each and every critique of the candidate as a tirade against women when it is simply the usual and customary criticisms you see in a political race.

    Had Hillary Clinton been the candidate in November, I would have voted for her.

    We have far bigger fish to fry in this country right now than if the President has a vagina or more pigmentation in their skin than the one before. It’s too bad those with a bigger presence in the blogosphere had to take their influence and use it to further divide us.

  8. Pingback: What? Because You Don’t Need Feminism Any More, You Can Sell Out the Rest of Us? « Tiny Cat Pants

  9. The Missus

    I deleted TGW from my bookmarks a long time ago, I didn’t go there a lot anyway as they always seemed like a reckless group. WE can’t change anything if WE don’t get elected.

    nm’s comment above at 3:14 is spot on, nm is bad ass folks.

  10. A loss of lucidity is an excellent way to describe it.

  11. nm

    Thanks, Missus. This has been a nasty-feeling primary season, and I haven’t come away from it feeling greater respect for the major candidates than I started with. OTOH, the same is true of my feelings about McCain, and I sure didn’t think that was even possible.

  12. democommie


    You’re not a person I want an argument with, but Hillary Clinton was hardly an innocent victim. Her campaign played the race card for crying out loud. Not some of her more ardent supporters, but paid apparatchiks. She could not have been ignorant of the fact, given the way she was treated when she tried to put her health plan into action back in the 90’s, of how she would be portrayed in the media.

    I don’t know, nor have any real ideas about what Barack Obama might do if he becomes president. I’m hoping that he will consider the Hippocratic Oath and, first, do no harm.

    This is all just my opinion, to which I (and anyone who is unable to leave the room) am entitled.

    Yahoo! News has Obama over the top for needed number of votes and has Clinton saying she’ll accept the VP slot. It could get, yet, uglier.

  13. democommie

    Sorry, that is “Yahoo! News” as in the often wrong e-news, not as in me gloating.


    I think you’ve forced me, with this post’s title, to utter a neologism, “Imbeshrill”.

  14. nm

    Demo, if you don’t want an argument with me, don’t start one. Where on earth did I say that I consider Clinton an innocent victim? I believe I’ve made my opinion of her sufficiently clear. But Mack expressed shock that anyone could react to her defeat by threatening to leave the party, and I’m trying to share some insights as to why that might be. If all you want to do is shake your finger at people who disagree with you, rather than trying to figure them out, go right ahead. Makes you look kind of like the fanatical Clinton supporters, IMO.

  15. democommie


    Obviously I am not succeeding in trying to make peace, here, so I’ll just say this.

    Hillary Clinton’s campaign did a lot of really shitty things over the last 4 or 5 months. Considering the amount of nastiness that was deliberately injected into the campaign–nastiness that was aimed at her rival for the nomination instead of Asshat McCain–I think I can understand why Obama might be reluctant to show “solidarity” with Clinton on the issue of sexism in the MSM or anything else.

    I wasn’t trying to say that Hillary Clinton should be treated badly by the MSM, what I was saying is that we reap what we sow.

    If people want to let John McCain (BushcoIII) win the election out of some misplaced sense of “getting even” with those who didn’t support Hillary, well, that’s pretty fucked up thinking, imo. I’ve been saying since before the primaries started that I would vote for whoever won the nomination. The election of a Democrat, if only to slow down the currents train wreck of governmental malfeasance, is far more important than who is taking the oath next January. If Hillary Clinton becomes the VP candidate, I will vote for the ticket–just like I would if the situation was the reverse.

    Sorry if it seems like I’m finger wagging; it’s really more about shaking my head in disgust that, after eight years of the current fucking insanity we should even care if the candidate is human as long as he’s not Bush or someone with his ideology.

  16. nm

    Well, considering that the sexism in the nastiness that was sent Clinton’s way damages not only her but all women in politics, and other women (like Obama’s grandmother, wife, and daughters), I think Obama might have shown us that he really means to be everyone’s president and transcend division by calling it out. And I honestly think that if he had done so during the primaries, many of the women who react to his victory with such disgust would not be venting in quite the same way now.

    I’m gonna be away from the internets for the next few days, so this will have to be my last word on the topic. But just for the record, there are lines I personally won’t cross, and I for one demand that my candidate be human.

  17. The media attacks on Clinton were vicious and demeaning (can you say Olberman, boys and girls?) and as, or more, extreme as anything Egalia has said.

    Obama should have spoken out on this, period. That would have been leadership in action. As it was, he addressed race and religion because they were all about him. He was self-centered and self-serving. He’s not my first choice, either, just the one I seem to be left with when the alternative is a 100 years war candidate.

  18. Pingback: I don’t usually get political. « Slatterns and Hooch

  19. The Missus

    Olberman was not to hard on Clinton. Clinton ran a republican style campaign and he called her on it.

  20. Pingback: Leaving The Party « Just Another Pretty Farce

  21. Pingback: Pulling A Cartman: Ideology Versus Identity : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee

  22. Roger Abramson

    “Loss of lucidity”?

    This assumes Egalia was ever lucid to begin with.

    There is absolutely nothing about what’s she’s doing that should to come any surprise to anyone who has followd her blogging “career” over the last few years. She’s been out to lunch since the beginning.

    Just because she’s now trained her sights on her erstwhile allies rather than the “radical right” just make her any less whacko. I mean, I guess it;’s nice that some folks are finally starting to figure it out, but this party’s been going on for a while.

  23. heartbreaktown

    I couldn’t even watch Olberman the last several months as he would spend the first half hour of every episode at best criticizing Clinton, at worst demonizing her. It just became unwatchable for me. I don’t even know at this point if I’ll ever watch him again.

    Don’t ask me for specific examples because I didn’t keep a list, but I have walked away from this primary feeling that Clinton was absolutely damaged by subtle and overt misogyny by her own party and the corporate media. And most of it was A-OK with people because it was often done in the name of humor or light-hearted banter. Gender issues are always open to sport. Men & women perpetuate stereotypes all the time. Many women laugh about it because we don’t often feel that are damaged by it, but when we (as a people) are truly challenged with gender issues, we see how deep our assumptions and bias’ go. From her cackle to her pantsuits we were always reminded that Clinton was a tough cookie, a witch, a shrew, a whore etc.

    On the other hand, Race issues are a hot potato no matter which way they are brought up. Race can only be discussed if it is about A) racial injustice, B) how far minorities have come, C) how white people can’t dance. Otherwise do not touch. (Not in polite society anyway.)

    Even this morning radio host RL something wondered aloud if the “knuckle draggers” aka Hillary supporters would support Obama if she weren’t on the ticket. Although not misogynistic, certainly one might consider that insulting. Can you imagine if he referred to Obama supporters as “knuckle draggers”? And clearly, if anyone ever did, they would be, and should be, taken to task. (BTW, this radio host is in favor of an Obama/Clinton ticket – I think to appease the knuckle draggers.)

    I doubt that anyone will ever face any consequences for subtle misogynistic cue words, but the media were are all over perceived racial cue words and swiftly condemned them. But I use the word “perceived” because they promptly assigned racist intent when there wasn’t necessarily any such thing – all of sudden the collective talking heads became mind readers. And people that have fought all their lives for civil rights were now being called racists. It hurt me, it hurt many and I think it hurt our country.

    I’m glad we live in a time and place where we are far more sensitive to racial and cultural intolerance and sensitivity – when we get to a place where we are just as sensitive to gender intolerance and sensitivity (instead of referring to strong women who are outspoken as shrill) then we’ll be kickin’ major ass indeed.

    Sorry so long, Mack.


  24. Nicely said, Heartbreak, but it has to be ok to refer to a shrill woman as, well, shrill.

  25. heartbreaktown

    Honestly, I’m obtuse enough that I didn’t use the word “shrill” in relation to your title. I actually forgot your title by the time I finished my post. duhh.

    But now that I’ve noticed 🙂 I have to wonder – have heard that Egalia person speak? Do you know the sound of her voice? I don’t know, maybe you do. Or were you using the word shrill because she’s voicing her opinion forcefully or because she’s female or because you don’t agree with her. It seems to me using the word “shrill” is a way to discredit her opinion by making her sound ‘hysterical’ as opposed to just angry – or to emphasize she’s a woman and may have a higher voice than a mans.

    If people are wondering or confused about whether sexism played a part, an important part, of the coverage Sen. Clinton received, we should examine our own language and the words we choose to describe things.

    You choose to write a blog – you choose to write about important issues – we must acknowledge that words are powerful.

  26. Well, yes, we have actually participated in “blogging” seminars together. But IMO, females do not get to own the word shrill. I use the word when the writing style and words used are unpleasant to the point of being near-painful. I’ve used it to describe a man’s writing before.

    The list is a bit long, of words that we men use at our peril:


    Words matter, sure. Context and intent matter as well.

  27. heartbreaktown

    Okay – just checking. 🙂

  28. democommie

    To all and sundry:

    I do not intend by my comments to say that there wasn’t rife sexism in the comments of the MSM and others who were denigrating Hillary Clinton. And, I certainly don’t say it’s right.

    Ms. Clinton is as hard as nails when she needs to be. At present, it appears that she is intent on forcing some concession (the VP slot) from Mr. Obama by continuing to campaign, even though it appears that Obama has garnered enough votes to become the “presumptive” nominee. She is determined, cagy and a very hard worker. All of those are laudable traits. She is also, it would appear, unable to read the tea leaves and unconcerned with the welfare of the party as a whole, as long as she gets what she wants.

    Wha was done by the MSM to Hillary Clinton, during the campaign was despicable. What she is doing at present is, to be charitable, counter-productive.

    “Shrill” is a quality of sound/manner. It’s not restricted to women althought some might see it that way.

  29. Heartbreaktown, THANK YOU for the eloquent explanation of why being described as shrill makes me crazy. I mean, I have big boobs. I’d rather not be dismissed as being titsy, as if it’s a quality I can do anything about.

    And, if titsy isn’t already a word, I claim copyright on it, right now.

  30. When slinging words reaches the point that it feels to a reader almost as if verbal acid was being slung, there is a lack of appropriate non-sexually connotative words available. I used strident (after once hearing Aunt B. mention the negative perception of “shrill”) but it wasn’t really better. Perhaps Aunt B. could invent another word for this since she’s on a roll with words, so to speak.

  31. sleepy

    TGW has taken down the title “fighting the radical right” and replaced it with “fighting sexism”.

    I guess her McCain supporters/bloggers insisted.

  32. Aunt B, as always, you have broken new ground here.

    I agree that the media, Matthews and Russert at MSNBC and the Faux News crew were vicious to her and sexist beyond the pale. I guess she was a threat to their penises, not that anyone cares about their penises any more.

    I just wish that the TGW folks could understand that one could oppose Hillary on policy grounds. Hillary made several mistakes in judgment that led to her defeat.

  33. I deleted TGW from my blogroll a long time ago. Yes, there was misogyny in the campaign, especially from the media (those Hillary Clinton “nutrcrackers” peddled by the right are beyond offensive). But it’s not the Democratic Party’s fault, and helping elect McSame hardly furthers the interests of women voters. McSame has received a 0 rating from Planned Parenthood every year he’s been in the Senate.

    TGW, Corrente and the other angry Hillary supporters need a major reality check.

  34. I blogged about this this morning.

    I hope I found the right words, because I think it’s important for people to realize the difference between feminists and what TGW is calling feminism.

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