Sunday, January 06, 2013

You believe in equality or you don't

You may have noticed World Can't Wait isn't on the links currently.   18 days ago, I wrote "World Can't Wait goes completely nuts."  18 days is more than enough time to improve.

Debra Sweet's a strong woman.  It's a shame she's using her strength to undermine women.  She'll have to do that without help from us.

18 days ago they decided to attack a film that they hadn't seen.  Today they posted protest pics.  The film was directed by a woman -- Kathyrn Bigelow.  That's not a minor thing.  All the pigs have come out: Glenn Greenwald, Michael Ratner and Michael Smith (who trashed it on last week's Law and Disorder Radio while admitting that they hadn't seen the film) and more.  I'm surprised they didn't rope Ray McGovern in.

If you've forgotten, these are the very same men who attacked two women who may have been raped by Julian Assange.  They mocked them, they ridiculed them, in some cases they spread the women's names.

This is what Ellen Willis meant when she'd talk about how difficult it was to be a woman on the left.  You can call this crap out near daily (or daily), keep your mouth shut or grab some rocks and join in the latest round of Bash the Bitch.

18 days is more than enough time for them to call out Homeland which actively promotes torture, a show that's a remake of an Israeli one that was made to scare the Israeli population.  (Ava and I covered this back in July.)  World Can't Wait has been unable to call out this Water Cooler show that's won near universal praise from the unthinking -- but they have been able to post Glenn Greenwald praising the show.

18 days to fix that? 

They didn't.

Shonda Rhimes?   I've praised her here, Ava and I praised her at Third, at Third she was even declared "2012 TV Person of the Year."  Scandal returns with new episodes this Thursday (ABC).  You may remember that several weeks ago Huck was taken from Olivia's office under the Patriot Act.  He's now being tortured.  ABC's got a promo going that's "#FreeHuck."

Where's the shout out from World Can't Wait?

Oh, that's right, she's a woman.

So World Can't Wait's not interested.

Let's note she's got another strike against her with regards to World Can't Wait: She's African-American.

It's amazing that World Can't Wait can and will print the rants of the former Bush cheerleader and Iraq War supporter, right-winger Glenn Greenwald, but they can't seem to find African-Americans to get behind.  I'm not calling them racist or implying that they are.  I am saying they are an insulated and isolated Circle Jerk of White men with the token White woman tossed in as they attempt to hide their rampant sexism.

So they praise Homeland while they attack or ignore entertainment created by women.

And you're not supposed to notice.  Just like you're not supposed to notice that in 18 days, the only woman they've posted is a repost from Revolution by Sunsara Taylor.

Oh, look, there's Glenn Greenwald!  Oh, look, a posting by Andy Worthington! Oh, look a posting by Dennis Loo! And on and on it goes.

I'm not interested.

I'm not interested in CodePink and their faux feminism so I removed them a long time ago.  Here's your first clue that CodePink isn't feminist: They called for a hunger strike.  If this were the early 1900s, feminist might engage in that.  But feminists who are aware of the rampant eating disorders among females?  Hell no.  CodePink exists to prop up men, tp praise men, to push the agenda of men.  They make no demands for women, they do not defend women against sexism (unless it's from Republicans), they forever claim they'll hold Democrats and Republicans accountable but they forever fail to do that.

Debra Sweet's a strong woman.  She's also a nice woman.  I'm sorry that we can't support her work now.  But I'm tired of all the hatred heaped on women.  You'd think people would be able to self-check.  You'd think they'd be able to say, "I'm calling out _____.  She's a woman.  Have I praised a woman at any point recently?  Do I only mention women to attack them?"

But they don't self-check.  To get to a certain level in the left -- without your own money -- you have to be willing to sacrifice women and to do so over and over.

FAIR's is so ready to call out NPR for failing to make half their guests women.  FAIR, for those who don't know, does a thirty minute, weekly radio program.  It offers about eight minutes of media criticism at the top of the show and then generally features two guests but some half-hours are devoted to only one guest.   As we pointed out at Third in 2006, a six month period found  36 male guests.  How many women?  13.  The reason we did that feature because we were shocked to hear CounterSpin going to town on NPR about the imbalance in gender of their guests.  We call out NPR all the time for that.  But FAIR controls CounterSpin.  FAIR decides who it's going to book.  It takes a lot of gall for someone booking 36 men for every 13 women to go on the air and lecture NPR about a gender inbalance in guests.

FAIR is supposedly a media watchdog.  2008 was not that long ago, wounds have still not healed.  2008 was the year of rampant sexism.  A media watchdog should be calling that out.  On their weekly CounterSpin, FAIR did call out the rampant sexism against Hillary Clinton in the media.


May 23rd.  When only Puerto Rico, Montana and South Dakota hadn't held primaries or caucuses.  48 states had already held primaries and CounterSpin had nothing to say about sexism.

But on May 23rd, they must have gone to town, right?  They must have blasted the media for all the blantant sexism aimed at Hillary and aimed at women, right?

May 25th, Ava and I noted CounterSpin's media critique on sexism in full.  Are you ready for it?

Peter Hart: One of the most disturbing features of the media coverage of the Democratic presidential race is the way racism and sexism have been expressed.  CNN viewers were treated to one pundit explanation that people might call Hillary Clinton a bitch because, well, isn't that just what some women are.

That was CounterSpin's 'critique' of sexism in full.  One example.  They didn't note who said it.  They didn't call the person or CNN out.  One sentence mentioning sexism and racism and then one sentence on sexism.  Peter then moved to racism.  For fifteen sentences.  He called out Kathleen Parker, Peggy Noonan and Brian Williams.

I've had conversations with FAIR about that in the years since.  They really don't see anything wrong with that.  They think their one sentence noting -- not even calling out -- sexism was more than enough to cover all that went down in 2008.

Do you?

I don't think any rational and objective person would agree that a media watchdog offers only one sentence for all that went down in the 2008 primaries. 

But did Women's Media Center call them out?  Did Ms. magazine's blog? 


The thinking at the top, I don't know about independent writers for the sites, is that we (feminists) can do more by forming bonds and emphasizing our commanalities.

That's a happy little thought but I'm not a dewey-eyed young woman and when you've got a record and pattern, they speak for themselves.

Imagine if, since 1970, we had actively demanded not just that the mainstream media drop sexism but that our left media do so as well?

There's this idea -- which I think is 100% incorrect -- that by making nice we all work on the important issues we agree on and score points that can help us later on 'our issues.'  That never happens.  And the once or twice a year when sexism is acknowledged briefly (in terms of Republicans) by the left media?  We're suppsoed to fall to uro knees and start bowing.

Imagine instead that we had held the left media accountable -- not just mainstream media?  We might see a different world than we do today.  I think we would.

The strategy has not worked -- make nice.

It never really did.

If you want to look at the bulk of the serious accomplishments, it came from the Redstockings.  (I was not a member of the Redstockings, I was too young when they were leading the movement.)  And they pressured and they demanded.

And as the 70s arrived, they were quickly put out to pasture -- forced out -- by a more 'genteel' and, some would argue, corporate feminism.

That feminism has been action in retreat.  It's been non-stop response, little leadership.  It's seen the rights that women demanded and fought for chipped away at.

How many more decades do we pretend that the strategies of the Redstockings were a mistake or error?

The grassroots want strong leaders.  But our leaders seem more concerned about 'pal'ling around with media, not calling them out.

It was really something to watch the attempts to pump up the vote last year with the attacks on Rush Limbaugh.  Did he call a college student a whore?   And when Keith Olbermann called women names when on MSNBC, where was the outcry? 

Though not addressed publicly, there was a minor lefty dialogue going on.  But there was Luke Mitchell of Harper's insisting in the private Journo-List serve, "Olberman[sic] is irritating and his obvious sexism is reprehensible.  But yet, someone going on TV and saying that torture is bad is a net positive." 

Do you get that?  I do because I know net, I know gross, I know rolling break-even -- not because I'm realy smart but to make sure I didn't get ripped off over the years.

What Luke Mitchell's saying is this: Yes, women are being insulted and degraded.  That's a bad.  But torture is more important than women.  So torture being mentioned on TV outweighs women.  Now maybe Mitchell doesn't understand economics?  Maybe he heard someone mention the phrase "net positive" and started using it without knowing what it meant?  That's possible.  However, that is what he stated and that is what it actually means.

That 2008 remark surfaced in 2010 (via Jonathan Strong's reporting for The Daily Caller).  By then, at Third, we had repeatedly documented the sexism of Harper's.  So you might think that Women's Media Center or Ms. magazine jumped on Luke Harper's comments.

They didn't.

Time and again, these feminist institutions fail women and do so because they're trying to make nice and trying to build up goodwill that they can someday call on.  That has been tried for decades and it's been proven to be ineffective.  We need some radicalization of the feminist movement.

Debra Sweet is a strong woman.  She's a nice woman.  She cares about many issues.  I don't believe you can ignore racism, sexism or homophobia.  I don't believe you can argue that this or that is more important than basic human dignity and human rights.  I think we get into the trap of being caught up in whatever's going on and we try to be helpful and kind and we end burying the needs that require the most protection.

If feminism wasn't needed, we'd have equal numbers of men and women in the Congress, we'd have a left media that published men and women equally.  You don't have to do massive research to find gender inequality.  You just have to open your eyes and look around.

It can be presented -- and often is -- as you're being 'selfish.'  Which is why left women are often more likely to publicly fight against racism (and to a lesser degree against homophobia).  We don't want to look selfish.  But thing is, the one who's accusing of being self-focused is the one who holds all the power in our society.  So it's a cute little trick and plays on our fears and doubts.  But it's not about me.  I have all the freedom I need.  It's about the young girl who's just starting school.  It's about the elderly woman on a fixed income who is struggling to make it.  It's a feminist movement, not a Me Movement (though certain men of the 70s certainly belonged to the Me Movement then and now).

If you see a change in World Can't Wait, feel free to drop a line and I'll look and maybe we can link to it.  But we're at the point where we have to make a tough decision.

If you're late to the party, I know Kathryn Bigelow.  This isn't about friendship.  When I saw the e-mail (18 days ago) about the protest of Kathyrn's film, I was going to highlight it.  With no comment.  But then I saw that Debra was calling a protest for a film she hadn't even seen and basing that call on the 'work' of sexist pigs like Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Sullivan.  (Both of whom are also right-wingers.)   They've had 18 days to show me something else.  To show me that World Can't Wait was capable of praising a woman, that they were capable -- now that they're entertainment critics -- of calling out a TV show with a male show runner which promotes torture.  They could have shown me that they publish an equal number of males and females.

In every regard, World Can't Wait was lacking.

I'm a feminist.  I'm not in the mood for Bash the Bitch from the right or the left. I'm also not in the mood to see women repeatedly to promote men.  It's really disgusting the way Lynn Stewart is repeatedly ignored when political prisoners are mentioned.  It's equally disgusting when a program that's been called out publicly for sexism thinks the answer is to bring on two women to discuss Mumia.  I have nothing against Mumia.  I think he should be freed.  But having two women discuss Mumia after you've been called out for sexism?  No, that just proves my charge.  Women can be the servants and we can be the help mates but the left media refuses to allow us our agency, let alone the right to set our own agenda.  After you've been called for sexism, offering two women on the topic of Mumia is just laughable and I'm laughing out loud right now.  Do you really think having two women fret over male Mumia makes up for cutting last week's segment on women in Iraqi prisons being toturted and raped?  (That segment was cut when Michael Ratner and Michael Smith felt the need to instead weigh in Kathyrn Bigelow's film which they, again, haven't seen.)

Debra's a strong person and maybe she'll examine what her organization appears to have internalized without question?  I hope so.  But until that day comes, I remain committed to equality so we're not linking to them.

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