April 15, 2008

What's the most amazing thing about this New York Magazine article, "The Feminist Reawakening: Hillary Clinton and the fourth wave"?

This piece, by Amanda Fortini, is all about the malignant misogyny against Hillary Clinton:
The egregious and by now familiar potshots are too numerous (and tiresome) to recount....

Why doesn’t our culture take sexism seriously?....

The past few months have been like an extended consciousness-raising session...
But look closely. There's something very important that isn't even mentioned! Bill Clinton! Hillary Clinton isn't your classic feminist heroine, fighting to make it in a man's world. She's a woman who leveraged herself into position in a very old-fashioned way, through a man, even when her use of that man required her to fend off other women and turn a blind eye toward sexual harassment. If you don't put that in the picture, your explication of the problem lacks credibility. Hillary has done what was expedient, and crying sexism now just happens to be expedient. Yes, we will have to study her case forever in trying to understand feminism, but this article is slanted for political effect and cannot be read as any sort of serious contemplation of the problems of women.

60 comments:

Meade said...

Don't know if I've already conveyed this but I greatly admire the integrity of your cruel neutrality and feminist principles.

rhhardin said...

the problems of women

Hey, men have problems. They also have solutions, however. No wallowing.

Take up mathematics, is my advice. It can absorb you easily. No human contact necessary for a year at a time.

You do need to be able to sustain the delusion that it's important to find out some truth or other, as opposed to having a social life, but that's not hard for a guy.

Why is that?

vet66 said...

When women stop playing the victim card and start concentrating on being a leader they will have learned the secret to success. As it happens, that advice applies to men also.

How is that for equality? The only glass ceiling I see is in a compact or mirror reflecting the real problem/opportunity.

Meade said...

To be fair, near the end of the article, Bill Clinton is alluded to:

"...they can be viewed as her imperfect resolutions to the dilemmas faced by many women: Do you stay with a man who has betrayed you, or divorce him? Do you keep your name, or take your husband’s? Do you put your career aside for his—at least for a time?"

Seems to me that any wave of feminism answers the first question: In an equal partnership, serial betrayal is a deal-breaker. Staying with a man (or woman) who repeatedly commits adultery reveals a lack of integrity in both spouses.

MadisonMan said...

“To try to hide her womanliness or enhance it—that’s a decision Obama would never have to make,” said one woman. “I’m not saying it’s harder to be a woman. It’s just a choice she has to make that he doesn’t.”

Yes, it's sooo easy to be a man. No choices to make. Just be yourself and let your masculinity -- whatever amount you choose to exhibit -- shine through and all will be well with the world. People will just accept you as you are.

rhhardin said...

Do you stay with a man who has betrayed you, or divorce him? Do you keep your name, or take your husband’s? Do you put your career aside for his—at least for a time?

This is more or less an exact transcription of a soap opera announcer's intro to a radio soap.

Here's Thurber's radio soap essay ending:

In many soap operas, a permanent question is either implied or actually posed every day by the serial narrators. These questions are usually expressed in terms of doubt, indecision, or inner struggle. Which is more important, a woman's heart or a mother's duty? Could a woman be happy with a man fifteen years older than herself? Should a mother tell her daughter that the father of the rich man she loves ruined the fortunes of the daughter's father? Should a mother tell her son that his father, long believed dead, is alive, well, and a criminal? Can a good, clean Iowa girl find happiness as the wife of New York's most famous matinee idol? Can a beautiful young stepmother, can a widow with two children, can a restless woman married to a preoccupied doctor, can a mountain girl in love with a millionaire, can a woman married to a hopeless cripple, can a girl who married an amnesia case - can they find soap-opera happiness and the good, soap-opera way of life? No, they can't - not, at least, in your time and mine. The characters in Soapland and their unsolvable preplexities will be marking time on the air long after you and I are gone, for we must grow old and die, whereas the people of Soapland have a magic immunity to age, like Peter Pan and the Katzenjammer Kids. When you and I are in Heaven with the angels, the troubled people of Ivorytown, Rinsoville, Anacinburg, and Crisco Corners, forever young or forever middle-aged, will still be up to their ears in inner struggle, soul searching, and everlasting frustration.

rhhardin said...

The problems of women ought to be finding the right feminism.

Look for one that supports women doing something women are interested in doing, only without the presumption that their interests are likely to be the same as those of males.

Meade said...

Yeah. Like trigonometry.

Roger J. said...

I will yield the floor to the female contributors of this blog to comment.

Meade said...

Both of them?

P. Rich said...

Women or men who eschew appreciating who and what they are and choose instead to wallow in gender-based or race-based self-pity deserve all the misery they can fabricate.

garage mahal said...

C.U.N.T isn't sexism! Why? Bill Clinton!

Staying with a man (or woman) who repeatedly commits adultery reveals a lack of integrity in both spouses.

Like John McCain?

Donald Douglas said...

Yes, but HRC can pound a few down!!

American Power

reneviht said...

Blogger rhhardin said...
Take up mathematics, is my advice.

I support this as the solution to every problem.

Moose said...

Now, if something unfortunate and convenient would happen to Bill, Hillary'd have that monkey off her back.

You know, like what happened to Buddy. He was "hit by a car".

Sure...

Synova said...

It seems to me that there's a certain ... happiness, maybe... involved in being able to say, "Hey, look, we're still oppressed!"

Like it would be wrong to *win* and be able to say, "Look at what we've accomplished, yay, let's party!"

So it's important to search and find proof even in the face of the evidence provided by a female candidate competing legitimately for office of the President of the United States, that women are still being kept down because they are women.

Synova said...

We've got waves of feminism beating on the beach.

Some women have figured out that walking up on the sand to join the party *works*. No more waving and pounding.

Roger J. said...

Synova: I am thinking of the Monty Python repressed serf skit. Help! I'm being (re)pressed! etc

Middle Class Guy said...

“Matthews also dubbed Clinton “the grieving widow of absurdity,” saying, of her presidential candidacy and senatorial seat…”

Why is it that when people tell the truth about Hillary, it’s a bad thing?


“…as though Clinton’s intelligence and long record of public service count for nothing.”

Puhleeeeeze! What record of public service? Her biography? There is no record, no documentation, no verification, and no facts checked. Her record of public service, except for being Senator, is white space. The only record is what she says she has done, and as we have found out, most of it is lies.

Now, excuse me. I have to dodge sniper fire while I run to the store.

Middle Class Guy said...

Bill Clinton's Love Song

Put another log on the fire,
Cook me up some bacon and some beans,
Go out to the car and change the tire,
Wash my socks and sew my old blue jeans.


Baby, fill my pipe and then go fetch my slippers,
Boil me up another pot of tea.
Put another log on the fire, girl,
Come and tell me why you're leaving me.

Don't I let you wash the car on Sunday ?
Don't I warn you when you're getting fat ?
Hey, Fatso!
Ain't I gonna take you fishing some day ?
Well, a man can't love a woman more than that.

Ain't I always nice to your kid sister,
Don't I take her driving every night ?
So sit here at my feet because I like you when you're sweet
And you know that it ain't feminine to fight.

Put another log on the fire,
Cook me up some bacon and some beans,
Go out to the car and change the tire,
Wash my socks and sew my old blue jeans.

Fill my pipe and then go fetch my slippers,
Boil me up another pot of tea.
Put another log on the fire, woman,
Come and tell me why you're leaving me.
Yeah, come and tell me why you're leaving me.

(Shel Silverstein)

garage mahal said...

MCG
I always envision some great, epic movie playing in your head. Any clues as to how it turns out?

Chet said...

Leverage and expediency are to be expected when women have only had the right to vote less than 100 years. That's not a very long period of time in which to be independent and breakaway from hubby's coattails. Of course Hillary would be attached to a man----and a flawed man at that.

Professor Althouse: Although I don't particularly like the her, though for other reasons, I don't understand your obsession with her husband's flaws.

That said, Ms. Fortini is confusing misogyny with parody. Some would say parody and satire are a kind of homage.

I guess it's hard to tell the difference sometimes.

gophermomeh said...

Expediency is the snake oil of politicians. It's all just a means-to-an-end and hers is her feminist story...unfortunately, there's this 'Bill' guy that's hanging around...otherwise, it would be a pretty compelling story.

Donald Douglas said...

Here's this from Chet:

"Professor Althouse: Although I don't particularly like the her, though for other reasons, I don't understand your obsession with her husband's flaws.

Hey, no reason to be concerned. It wasn't Bill who set back the cause of feminism, right? I mean, why bother? Where's Jessica Valenti when you need her, you know? I can see it now, more "comments, comments, comments..."

There is that little problem of Hill's piggybacking her way to the top, so one can see why some women might be a little concerned with double-standards, or such...

But I do like those working class shots of Crown Royal!! Could have been Jim Beam for more authenticity, but she's trying!

American Power

garage mahal said...

Bill Clinton must be a monumental force in American culture to singlehandedly torpedo feminism? He also must be such a monumental force to carry Hillary to the Senate, and to a dead heat with the most unifying force in physics who gives better speeches than Christ. That Bill Clinton is some guy!

SteveR said...

When you are late to the game, or otherwise uninformed, please realize your criticism lacks the benefit of perspective. If you wonder if that refers to you, it does. If you don't think it does, it does.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I don't know that Bill Clinton himself torpedoed feminism as much as it was the response of feminists to the quandary that he presented to them. Militant feminists who had been beating the drum of equality of the sexes, women strong, men baaaad, women who stayed home and tended to children must be oppressed or brain damaged and all the other tired mantras, just rolled over and turned their eyes away when it came to Bill Clinton and his peccidillos.

Hypocrisy at its highest. What they demand of the lower socio-economic man and woman and of the political conservatives was swept under the rug when it came to the politician of their own stripe. Nevermind....nothing to see here....move along.

Couple this with Hillary's "I am woman I am strong" stance being expediently ditched for her political gain. Hypocrites. Everyone of them.

the oft-repeated question is, why do overtly sexist remarks slip by almost without comment, while any racially motivated insult would be widely censured?

This statement from the article is so patently false it shows the blinders that the author wears. It depends on "who" is making the racial or sexist statements, doesn't it. As we have seen, Reverend Wright can say about anything he wants without censure. It's perfectly OK to make sexist and racist remarks about Condoleeza Rice, but make a few cracks about Hillary and the faux feminists hit the hypothetical glass ceiling.

Is there sexism and is it being used against Hillary. Sure. Changing people's societal perceptions takes a lot of time. It also takes some fidelity to the cause you are promoting. We may be a bunch of dullards and rubes out here in the wilderness, but we recognize pretentious twits and phonies when we see them.

The Drill SGT said...

Althouse,

I'm pleased to see you haven't joined the ratings driven frenzy by "breast blogging" aout Angela Merkel :)

Middle Class Guy said...

garage mahal said...
MCG
I always envision some great, epic movie playing in your head. Any clues as to how it turns out?




We all live happily ever after, of course. No effen Kumbayah though.

Roger J. said...

Garage Mahal: You have some valid questions, but I think until this campaign, Bill Clinton had a lot of the power you ascribe to him. The big dawg appeared to be widely loved among democratic circles even though he was and remains trailer park trash.

That aura has changed considerably: Obama has peeled off the black vote from the Clintons; Bill has not done his wife's candidacy much help, and increasingly looks like he is trying to sabotage her (will the armchair psychologists deal with that one). And he will certainly not be the first black president.

As to Ms Clinton's senate run--do you honestly believe that if Ms Clinton was not President Bill Clinton's wife she would have possibly had a shot at a senate seat--esp as a carpet bagger? Come on. The woman has absolutely NO--that is ZERO-record of accomplishment except for screwing up the clinton health care initiative. Board service as a wal-mart lap dog, author of a ghost written book about villages, and mostly private legal work seems to be her accomplishments. Other than that, she did everything that every other first lady did--although most performed much more elegantly in the task than did she.

This campaign, I think, will be a study of the media role in campaigns--remember the hype Ms.Clinton started with; then the press discovered Obama, the black messiah, and elevated him and cast Ms. Clinton into the wilderness. Do I think Ms. Clinton has gotten the short end of the media stick? you betcha she has. Although there is some cosmic justice because she benefitted from it for quite a while. By the time August rolls around, it will be interesting to see who the last person standing will be.

Michael_H said...

"The Feminist Reawakening: Hillary Clinton and the fourth wave"

The article must be terribly important: there's a colon in the title

TMink said...

Some women are a pain and I avoid them. Same with some men. The point is that they are individuals and not representative of my attitudes toward the gender as a whole.

I will not vote for Hillary or John or Obama. But I would vote for a different black person, woman, or senior in a moment. (Come to think of it, I already have!) My response to the individual says nothing about my response to the group.

Perhaps the feminist and racialist communities do not recognize this, but I suspect that they know and recognize the difference, but use cries of racism or sexism or ageism in cynical attempts to manipulate others into behaviors that they find profitable.

Trey

Zachary Paul Sire said...

"She's a woman who leveraged herself into position in a very old-fashioned way, through a man, even when her use of that man required her to fend off other women and turn a blind eye toward sexual harassment."

That's your opinion. Did you ever consider that Miss Fortini doesn't share that opinion? Perhaps she believes that it's the opposite; that Bill leveraged himself into position by using Hillary. After all, she is a smart, capable woman. Just because Bill got to go first (in the White House) doesn't mean that he's the one being used in an "old-fashioned" way. How do you know that they haven't had an understanding, since the beginning, that he would be allowed to cheat and sexually harass women? Just because he got caught doesn't mean that Hillary ever gave two hoots or didn't know it was going on all the time.

Your assumptions reveal more about you and your own feminist issues than they do Hillary. Your opinion of women and how they should or shouldn't behave, particularly in a political way, is telling. Maybe you're jealous of Hillary, or maybe you're afraid of her because she doesn't fit the stereotype of how you think a female should behave.

Bill and Hillary are both masterful, manipulative egomaniacs and have used each other equally and marvelously. It couldn't be further from old-fashioned. It's quite revolutionary, actually.

Personally, they disgust me. But I think it's wrong to try and paint Hillary as some sort of feminist failure. I don't even consider a woman, actually. She is beyond categorization. Hey...she's a monster!

matthew said...

People who complain about sexism (or racism for that matter) in terms of the democratic nominee usually forget that a WOMAN or a AFRICAN AMERICAN is going be the PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE of the democratic party.

The fact that Hillary or Barack is as close to the nomination as they are, and the white male candidates have all dropped out, is an indication to me that Sexism or Racism isn't holding either candidate back near as much as some people want to believe.

garage mahal said...

rogerl
They needed to take her black vote, and they needed to trash Bill Clinton's legacy. And they had a more than willing compliant press corps and huge number advantages on the internet to accomplish it.

Anyways to your point about New Yorkers being naive about her qualifications as a U.S. Senator, why is it only her voters are dumb? Agree or disagree with her, she clearly knows her shit.

rhhardin said...

Some women are a pain and I avoid them. Same with some men. The point is that they are individuals and not representative of my attitudes toward the gender as a whole.

I talk to anybody, myself.

There's no need to skulk away and dart around corners. I recommend it.

Beth said...

There's a fourth wave? Sez who?

Barlycorn, John said...

Hillary cannot be viewed separately from her husband who was, a mere seven years ago or so PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and who also WAS IMPEACHED, and who forced a lot of people, including feminists on the issue of SEXUAL HARASSMENT to overlook their principles in his defense.

But no, it is entirely misogyny.

Roger J. said...

Garage: I did not mean to imply NY voters were dumb--in fac they made a smart choice: the wife of an ex president who would probably be able to do even more than a "regular" first term senator. But the question remains--would NY voters have voted for her if she were not the President's wife.

MadisonMan said...

I talk to anybody, myself.

I do as well -- but although I might be talking to just about anyone, and they might be talking to me, I'm not listening. If you are so narrow-minded that your earrings knock against each other while you walk, should that surprise you?

(A general You, of course, not you rhhardin) P.S.: Thank you to whomever recommended that book that I'm quoting above.

john said...

When someone like a Thatcher runs in this country then a woman will be in the oval office. The irony is, that the feminist fatales are the largest impediment to the arrival of such a woman on the scene. She would not fit the profile of the 'proper' woman for the job.

Talk about glass ceilings.

Windbag said...

"We are the President."

Somehow, that quote seems appropriate to mention in a discussion of Hillary's use of her husband's credentials to promote herself.

It could be taken a couple of ways. Shameless coattailing or that she helped make him a successful career politician. Depending on which you prefer, that will justfiy your contempt or admiration of her.

Synova said...

I suppose that for "what did Bill do to torpedo feminism" we have to go back to, oh, second wave feminism (I think) and talk about equality and sexual harassment in the workplace and the concept of inequality of power.

Men expecting sexual perks to attend their position and *expecting* those perks from girls in the steno-pool or nurses or anyone else was a huge thing to feminists. One ought not have to have sex with the boss to get ahead!

Previous to this (Bill and Monica) I recall people often talking about differences of power in the work place and the willingness of the low-status low-power person was never really the question because of the environment created for other workers and those sorts of concerns. And of course, it mattered if someone was actually the boss of the other person.

Don't date your own secretary, date someone else's.

My mom was horrified, not that Bill had cheated on Hillary, but who it was with because it was just *classic* you know?

And Dust Bunny put her finger on it... it wasn't so much that Bill did that but that all (all!) the feminists suddenly decided that there was nothing at all wrong with the sorts of things that Bill did... with Monica, with Paula Jones, with any of the other "steno-pool" girls he showed his dong to, because this was suddenly not inappropriate or intimidating or anything. It was just people having sex or refusing sex or whatever. Big whoop-de-doo.

Suddenly NO ONE was supposed to wonder if saying "no" would hurt her career or impact her job.

And I'd like to ask something... I don't know if this is so but lets just throw it out there and see if it fits or how but... When did "feminism" start promoting slutty sex as empowerment and the "sex trade" as something that did not denigrate or repress women as mere objects for men to get off on?

A time-line and study of the rise of that might be interesting.

Donald Douglas said...

DBQ:

"Militant feminists who had been beating the drum of equality of the sexes, women strong, men baaaad, women who stayed home and tended to children must be oppressed or brain damaged and all the other tired mantras, just rolled over and turned their eyes away when it came to Bill Clinton and his peccidillos [sic]."

Sing it, Sugar!

American Power

garage mahal said...

Roger
To follow your argument that Hillary is riding Bill's coattails it seems to me you must accept the premise that he is/was a great benefit to her. How NY'ers would have voted if she wasn't Bill Clinton's wife? Who knows, but I agree it helped. But if he is a pariah now and is hurting her, that gives more validity to the claim she is a worthy opponent on her own.

Pyrthroes said...

MzBill is corrupt, incompetent, a carpetbagger who would survive about one milli-microsecond in a private-sector competitive environment.

Misogynist? Bring on Maggie Thatcher, even Angela Merkel... under no circumstances a MzBill or Segolene Royale. Character and ideas do matter, my little feminist chicadees, even if not to you. Nor are such factors mere matters of opinion, "relative" as Leftards have it.

Should one of the uterine persuasion eventually ascend Disraeli's "greasy pole", it will be due to merit in face of ferocious opposition, not to some hoity-toity whining about how poor oppressed females just can't catch a break.

Mark Daniels said...

I agree with you 100% on this, Ann.

My wife has been preaching to me that Clinton represents a step back for the women's movement because, while undeniably intelligent and persevering, she is no model for those who are serious about gender equality. She's a smart Evita or a smart Lurleen Wallace.

It's not inconceivable that had Hillary Rodham not met Bill Clinton in law school, she would have returned to Illinois and pursued a career in politics not unlike that of Barack Obama. But like so many women of our generation, she opted to subordinate her own aspirations to those of her husband. When in 2000, she decided to run for political office, she was able to run for the US Senate from a state in which she had never lived, simply because she was married to a man who had been President.

Again, none of this is to say that Clinton isn't brilliant or able. She may even be qualified for the presidency, although I think that her claims of vast experience and readiness are, at best, exaggerated.

But I do believe that her claims on the presidency on the grounds of feminism can only be pressed by doing violence to what it means to be truly committed to equality.

Of course, the sexist stuff that gets said about Clinton because she is a woman is out of bounds. And it will be a great milestone in the history of our country when a woman gets elected president. But does anybody seriously believe that Hillary Clinton would even be running for president in 2008 if she weren't married to Bill Clinton? If she wins, will she be a model for feminism or political opportunism and political royalty, no different from Bush II?

Mark Daniels

Revenant said...

But if he is a pariah now and is hurting her, that gives more validity to the claim she is a worthy opponent on her own.

She started off with a massive lead in the polls and has been reduced to running in second place behind a political neophyte few people had even heard of two years years ago.

I think you'd have to conclude that she's a pretty weak opponent, all things considered.

jprapp said...

(Heck with it – I’m re-posting this here because of my incompetence! – accidentally posted it in the Obama thread!)

Okay, you’re asking, “where’s Bill”?

Answer: Bill is running away from the revenge of Uma Thurman (in “Kill Bill”) because Bill can’t take Hillary’s femme version of the "Five-Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique" – that is, Bill’s gone in a pure power move, graced by political-silence technique, motivated by the torque of Hillary, like Uma, still having the movie-storyline’s evil prelude words banging (I say “banging” because the dissonance must *feel* like “banging” - besides, that word just feels right, and more fun this context) in her ears, you know, the movie-prelude words said by Bill (in the movie) and by Bill (in the oval office) – “this is me at my most perverse!” There, I said it.

Hillary’s too busy juking with her new cash-daddy, Elton, to hear the sub species aeternitas re-mix of Nancy Sinatra’s, “bang, bang .. my baby shot me down” (there’s that word, again).

Or, maybe Bill himself is behind this lack of reference? - maybe Bill has taken a cruel vow of neutered-alitry? - or, neutered-Hill-arity?

Speaking of which, Althouse, are you regaining your chutzpah? – you’ve taken down your logo-gram saying you’ve taken the “vow”?

Think of your readers. I’m so confused. Without vows of advocacy, I don’t know where anyone stands anymore.

So, take my own advice: I’m thinking McCain. But, I liked him better before he hadn’t taken the vow of cruel neutrality, that is, when he (right or wrong) yanked the chains of the religious right. His poster-boy shots of himself as a young, aspiring, smiling-Anglican, the high rent version of religious praxis sedated by etiquette, might put soft manners on a fighter pilot who spent months in hell. But, he was much better and far more fun as a fighter-pilot dive-bombing the religious domain-claimers than under his current vow of neutrality.

Neutrality – it’s cruel. It’s all cruel.

It’s crueler than a non-reference to Bill at a spring flowering-femme-festival.

“‘There must be some kind of way out of here,’ said the joker to the thief. ‘There’s too much confusion I cant get no relief.’”

From Jeremiah Wright to the religious right – where’s the really open polis when we need it?

Ruin your virtue!

Dispense with your vow!

Talk to those who love you!


Cheers


Jim

Simon Kenton said...

Zachary Paul Sire wrote:

"Bill and Hillary are both masterful, manipulative egomaniacs and have used each other equally and marvelously. It couldn't be further from old-fashioned. It's quite revolutionary, actually.
"

I think you might want to re-read Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Plus ca change....

JohnAnnArbor said...

Lady Thatcher was Prime Minister because she was Margaret Thatcher.

If Hillary gets elected, it's only because she's Mrs. Clinton.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

"There were encouraging statistics to point to: More women than men are enrolled at universities, where they typically earn higher grades; once they graduate, those who live in big cities might even receive higher salaries—at least in the early years of employment."

So much for the supposed feminist goal of gender equality. On the bright side, the triumph of the coming matriarchy will have to wait a few more years.

Alan said...

So much for that old feminist slogan from the early 1970s: "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle."

Paul Zrimsek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Zrimsek said...

How NY'ers would have voted if she wasn't Bill Clinton's wife?

Nita Lowey over Rick Lazio, by a pretty wide margin.

amr said...

I am against Mrs. Clinton; one who is inexperienced and wouldn’t be a candidate if she wasn’t Mrs. Clinton. Sexist that I obviously am, I wanted Jean. Kirkpatrick and Condoleezza Rice to run for president.

TMink said...

Life is too short to waste time with inauthentic people. Enjoy talking to everyone, I avoid the fatuous and wicked.

Trey

rhhardin said...

Adorno has written ``The Jargon of Authenticity'' to help.

former law student said...

True, Fortini left a glaring hole. But some of the HRC opposition is misogynist. But I think HRC gets more votes because she's white than BHO gets votes because he's male, so in the Oppression Olympics HRC is far better off.

homesickamerican said...

as i remarked on elton john's comment: "if hillary loses, it’s because we’re all misogynists. if obama loses, it’s because we’re all racists. this kind of thinking says far, far more about the people saying these things than it does about america."