Thursday, January 29, 2009

I've got your back, Joan Walsh

Regular readers to this blog know that Salon editor Joan Walsh and I have a troubled (and one-sided) relationship. She's written quite a few clueless missives about race that get my angry, black woman dander up (here and here). But when one of my sisters ends up on the receiving end of some sexist foolishness (even a sister that often annoys the heck out of me), I take my earrings off and smear my face with metaphorical Vaseline. It's time to fight!

Did you catch Joan Walsh on Hardball last night? More to the point, did you catch GOP Rep. Dick Armey on Hardball, with Joan Walsh, making a big ole ass out of himself? Clearly unable to respond to reasoned argument about Obama's stimulus package, Armey twisted, sighed and snorted while Walsh spoke and eventually retorted:

"I am so damn glad that you could never be my wife, 'cause I surely wouldn't have to listen to that prattle from you every day." See video of the incident on Salon.

Say what!?

Imagine the astounding arrogance it takes to think you can win an argument by saying, in effect: "Oh yeah, well I would never marry YOU. Nyah, nyah, nyah." And imagine what kind of retro views of womanhood it requires to a) think a woman's worth is determined by whether or not you covet her as a bride; b) call a woman's sensible talking points "prattle," and c) eyeroll, smirk and disrespect a debate opponent in an undignified display on national television. I'm beginning to agree with Glen Greenwald that there is no coming to a meeting of post-partisan minds with folks like this.

As for Walsh, she says:

Like Barack Obama, I want to be magnanimous, mostly. A lot of people have asked why I wasn't meaner in my comeback to Armey. Mainly, I felt sorry for him; he'd clearly run out of arguments, and he wasn't raised to know how to argue with female opponents as well as male. The thing is, for guys of Armey's generation and backward political views, once you've rigged the world so that women and non-white people can't compete with you on equal terms, life is easy: You're always up against a bunch of white guys you've grown up with, and you know how to win. When late in life the game changes, and you find yourself having to argue with a whole new cadre of smart, opinionated women, black people, Latinos, Asians, gays, well, it's gotta suck. Read more...

Watching Armey's performance, I wished Walsh could pinch the congressman on his doughy, alabaster flank hard enough to make his eyes teary; or at least unleash a brutal verbal comeback that would have a similar effect. But I guess the Salon editor is right. Men like Armey and Rush Limbaugh are frightened dinosaurs, gnashing their worn-down teeth and roaring ineffectively as they teeter on the edge of extinction. The North Dakota congressman's remarks did more to wound him than Joan Walsh or any other woman.

So, I'll stand down and let this pass. But Joan, hit me up if you need a posse to do battle with another aged, sexist buffoon. I know some chicks who are ready to ride or die (metaphorically, of course). For reals.


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