Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Lakshimi shows up late and lost (Ava and C.I.)

We've never doubted that a woman could be president (and at some point will be). But we've never assumed that gender would be an answer. A woman who supports equality? Absolutely, that's a great thing. A woman who makes her way as an exception, backs up an agenda she doesn't believe in and does nothing to help other women? We don't see the point in applauding that.
It's a pertinent issue as two women are repeatedly named as potential candidates in the real world: Condi Rice and Hillary Clinton. If either woman (or both) runs, will we get the same giddy "It's a woman!" nonsense? Under no circumstance would either of us vote for Rice. We'd be reluctant to vote for Clinton considering her waffles on the issue of choice and her stance on the war. But will those issues be silenced in the giddy cry of, "It's a woman! It's a first!"
That's troubling.

We, Ava and C.I., wrote the above November 20, 2005. Last week, Lakshmi Chaudhry showed up late to the party.

Cake's all gone, Lakshmi, but there may be some punch left.

What's that?

No, we don't want your help cleaning up. In fact, considering the way you mangle everything, please keep your hands off our fine china.

Now Baby War Hawk Lakshmi's latest scattered doodles have enraged some community members. No one should be enraged. Lakshmi dances badly but the general consensus is someone else is handling the choreography and, no, it's not Debbie Allen.

Last week, it was noted here what's been whispered, Katrina vanden Heuvel imitated/ripped off/paid homage to Nora Ephron's "Upstairs, Downstairs" essay from several decades back (to write about the pressing issue of American Idol) so is it any surprise Lakshmi is suddenly dispatched to write an article for The Nation that goes after Ephron? Not at all and many spent this past weekend laughing.

Of course laughter often greets Lakshmi's writing. As the Little Richard song notes, "The Girl Can't Help It." Baby War Hawk got her wings in Januray 2005 when she demonstrated that the Party Hack Who Hacks Loudest Hacks Last. That's when Lakshmi decided to sell the war.

Tom Hayden called her out on it. Community members, no links to either piece because they are you know where. Yes, the site that thought their employees could bully and spy on a 14-year-old boy. But we will note Tom Hayden called her out. Lakshmi, like the Democratic Party leadership and others, was all about WalkOn, WalkOn.org from Iraq post the 2004 elections. Then came Lakshmi's debut as a blogger which owed a clear debt to Mike (some say "theft," not "debt") and between the two events, we all grasped how useless Lakshmi was.

She moved on over to In These Times and, silly us, we thought Susan J. Douglas not only already covered pop culture but did a wonderful job of it. Lakshmi just knew she could do better. Better was apparently the fact free musings she churned out which provided even more gales of laughter.

At The Third Estate Sunday Review, we tried to be kind and not name her when catching her many errors (such as the false claim that ABC refused to promote Commander-in-Chief). And, of course, she was an inspiration in the parody "The Elector" (November 26, 2006) -- see the section entitled "Our Popular Cultures by Lazy" -- "Lazy" is a parody of her and two others.

Prior to the latest hilarity, Lakshmi provided belly laughs when she decided she was going to take on Black Snake Moan.

We wanted to nod our heads. We agreed on some points. But -- due to the hallmark of her (bad) writing -- we couldn't.

It's really hard to say "Yeah!" if that means backing up stupidity.

Working herself into a lather over the thought of a semi-dressed and chained up Jake Gyllenhaal, Lakshmi forgot that, before writing, it helps to know what you are talking about. As we pointed out at The Third Estate Sunday Review, the comparison she was reaching for but never finding is 3 in the Attic. In her refusal to be bound by facts or knowledge, Lakshmi has acted as the chief spokesperson for Gas Bags USA and, in the process, brought joy to the nation
. . . however unintentionally.

So when she showed up to go after Nora Ephron and others, it wasn't a surprise to most people. It was generally assumed she'd either been ordered to clean her mistress' drapes or decided to do it on her own, good lackey that Lakshmi is. Baby War Hawk works for The Peace Resister.

Lakshmi wants to take a look at the issue of women and Hillary Clinton -- or that's her cover. Were she truly wanting to take a look at those issues, she might have to examine The Nation's cover of Hillary Clinton not all that long ago as well as their article on Clinton and wonder what all that says? (Muse, Lakshmi, muse!)

Lakshami's . . . 'article' has produced laughs in most left circles and that's due to the fact that it's seen as a response and due to the fact that it's doodled by Lakshmi who has apparently never met a 'fact' she wouldn't attempt to bend to her will. The standout in her current doodle is this one:

It's why antiwar feminist organizations like CodePink are less likely to give her a pass for her Iraq vote than they would, say, John Edwards. Explaining the reasoning behind their "bird-dog Hillary" campaign to The Nation, founder Medea Benjamin wore her double standard on her sleeve: "You expect more of a woman."

Bird-dogging Hillary (and others) took place in the summer of 2006 (and Katha Pollitt wrote about it then). Why didn't they bird-dog John Edwards? Since they were lobbying Congress and the campaign season wasn't in full bloom, why would they?

Logic like that escapes Lakshmi. (She needs to review Pollitt's article which is what she's taken Medea's quote from. No surprise that our non-feminist Lakshmi prefers to credit "The Nation" and not Pollitt.) Hillary Clinton was targeted a) because she was a War Hawk, b) because it was thought she would run for president and c) because she was 'representing' a state overwhelming against the illegal war at that point. Medea Benjamin wore her courage, her strong spirit and many other things; however, she wore no double standard. Only in what passes for a 'mind' to Lakshmi could the three reasons Hillary was bird-dogged be missed and Medea be accused of a double standard for noting that we do expect women to be smart about war.

The article's nonsense -- as much so as the efforts of The Nation to attack Hillary (that really is the topic Lakshmi's attempting to connect with, right?) while building up Barack Obama. "Harvard Law Review," gushed Patti Williams in wide-eyed wonder. Patti's not aware that any African-Americans wouldn't be on board with the bi-racial Barack and shared, on KPFA, that's just Fox 'News' talking. If you're surprised the names Glen Ford, Bruce Dixon and Margaret Kimberley don't register with Professor Patti you obviously missed her latest where she compared African-Americans to dogs. Maybe that sort of offensive comparison pops up when you use People magazine as source material for an article in an alleged political weekly?

But while Barack Obama's half-African-American nature led to lengthy musings in print (and a cover story) that read like "Mash Notes From Patti!" . . . note the contrast. This is the first thing The Nation's decided to run on Hillary and gender. Barack gets Patti rubbing her knees so furiously you might think she's about to ignite. Hillary?

She gets Lakshmi and bad writing, such as this:

To be fair, the women and the organizations supporting Hillary are hardly advocating a "vagina litmus test." As Gandy points out, NOW has supported male candidates in the past and is now backing Clinton because of "a demonstrated history" of her commitment to feminist ideals.

NOW has not endorsed Hillary Clinton. Follow us on this, Lakshmi, it's an important point. NOW Pac has endorsed Hillary. They are two separate entities and must remain so due to tax status. As for Kim Gandy's comment, since Hillary Clinton is one of the few women to run for the Democratic presidential nomination (NOW PAC doesn't do third parties nationally and probably never will after the beating Molly Yard took in the 80s), NOW PAC would have had to have given support to male candidates in the past. (However, NOW PAC did endorse the female candidate in the 2004 Democratic presidential primary.)

The most laughter enducing section for many is where Lakshmi can't grasp why someone could praise Hillary Clinton as First Lady, well over a decade prior, yet be against her for president. Apparently, in Lakshmi's world, little things like a record in the Senate (or running from abortion so well that Clinton won praise from the New York Times editorial board in 2005) are unimportant factors. Nora Ephron, like many women, saw the attacks on First Lady Hillary Clinton for what they were, sexism. Ephron, like many women, defended Hillary. Let's be clear (to use a favorite expression of ours and, we'll assume, of Lakshmi's), when Hillary made feminists cringe from time to time in the 90s, we told ourselves, "She's under attack." "She's under attack" only works as an excuse for so long.

The woman who was seen as a feminist, against the illegal war of her generation, pro-women, et al got a lot of passes when her husband's actions put her in an unflattering light regularly. But those days are gone. She's not the wife of . . . She stepped out on her own, as many hoped she would, and now she's being judged accordingly.

It's equally true that some of her actions wouldn't cause so much concern at another time. Were it 1997 and not 2007, it's doubtful the War Hark nature of the senator would be remarked upon or cause so much concern. That was a more peaceful ("more peaceful," not peaceful) time and we all knew, right, what side she was on in the '60s'?

Those passes don't fly anymore. She has cheerleaded this war (partly because her husband supported it in his own terms but no one's supposed to note that). She has stood toe to toe with the likes of Joe Biden and John McCain while playing More-War-Hawk-Than-Thou and she's won. Many of us don't see that as a good thing.

Throughout the 90s, we saw Hillary go softer and gauzier and knew it was due to the attacks -- the constant attacks. Politician's wife, we said, and weren't all that surprised. We expected that, if she ever ran for office, her own strengths would kick in; however, we weren't expecting her to ape her one time Poster Boy Barry Goldwater. And maybe that was our mistake?

Maybe we should have all grasped that Hillary's soft spot for Goldwater wasn't just an amusing story she shared but indicative of her own character? If so, the fact that she's now the least Democratic Senator any of us could have imagined wouldn't be so surprising.

There are a lot of issues at stake here and her record on the illegal war is appallling. It doesn't surprise that Baby War Hawk Lakshmi can't grasp these issues. This is the woman of whom Tom Hayden wrote, "Throughout Chaudhry's analysis runs the superpower assumption that we, the United States, are in charge of deciding whether we stay or leave, and on what terms." Baby War Hawk can't see what's wrong in Hillary when it's the same thing staring back from her own mirror.

To members who are outraged, try reading Lakshami again for laughter. This is the woman who, promoting an event in our area (Bay Area) appeared on a morning show, The Morning Show in fact, and confused herself so much with the sound of her own voice that she eventually had to offer the excuse that it was so early in the morning. 7:00 am is early? It wasn't that early for us. But, and here's the thing, Lakshmi was calling from where and it was what time there?

"What time is it?" should be the refrain when stumbling through her writing. As the always delightful Gal Beckerman observed at the start of this year (Columbia Journalism Review):

We are hoping that Lakshmi Chaudhry is ninety years old. Somehow misanthropy, a deep mistrust of technology, and a snarling skepticism about the ability of the masses to make good decisions for themselves goes down a little easier coming from an old windbag. But we have a sense she isn't aged.

No, as Beckerman knows, Lakshmi is not 90. An addled brain could explain it but so could an immature one. Which is why whether or not Hillary might cry in public is a concern to Chaudhry (and Faye Wattleton) while we don't see it as an issue. We don't feel Pat Schroeder's concession speech, while running for her party's nomination to be the presidential nominee in 1988, was a big deal. We're quite aware that when Darrell Issa was informed "Step away from the Gubenatorial recall" he sobbed in public as well. And that it wasn't the end of the world.

Lakshmi has a larger point and we should probably address that as well.

Could she churn out 2,500 words on a topic she knew so little about?

The answer was "almost." At roughly 2,440, she almost made it.

Outside of her slams and the reason the doodle probably came about in the first place, we would love to applaud her. We really would. But she remains the least attentive writer to detail (or fact) the 'left' has.

That's really too bad because the world could use some more strong women voices; however, they won't be found in the doodles of a writer who can't grasp why CODEPINK would bird-dog Hillary Clinton and other senators in the summer of 2006 but not John Edwards at the same time?

Speaking slowly for Lakshmi, "John . . . Edwards . . . left . . . the . . . Senate . . . when . . . the . . . 2005 . . . Congress . . . was . . . sworn . . . in."

Get it yet?

Probably not.

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