July 31, 2013

Dickmanship, Part 2: Women in politics.

This blog has been heavy on the Weiner coverage. 3 of yesterday's 14 posts had substantial Weiner content. But I passed on the Olivia Nuzzi story in yesterday's Daily News: "Anthony Weiner intern reveals why she, fellows joined New York mayoral campaign." It just looked like another woman trying to horn in on the Weiner action. Who is she? Who does she think she is? Yeah, campaigns have interns. She asserts that Weiner interns are hot to get to Huma and through Huma to Hillary, but that's not surprising or disturbing. Ambitious people seek to network and climb. Why is this even in the newspaper?

To my eye, it looked like Nuzzi's selling point was her ability to look somewhat pretty posing with tilted head; long, flowy, bleached-blonde hair; lips pursed just short of duck face; and a tight, sleeveless navy blue dress. Navy blue, for comparison purposes to a  picture of Huma looking less pretty in a more frumpy navy blue dress. Navy blue, because Monica Lewinsky, the ultimate intern, historically wore, stained, and retained a navy blue dress. In case the subliminal hint isn't enough, the article has the name "Monica" inserted in an anecdote in which Weiner attempts to demonstrate his ability to remember the names of his 20 interns and incorrectly calls one Monica, then tries Monica a second time with the author. Not told whether any of the interns were really named Monica, we are left free to imagine that the lecherous Weiner intended to convey the message that he was looking for Lewinskyesque services from his interns.

I'd kicked the sext-crazed man around enough, and Nuzzi was such an unsubtle attention whore, so the best thing to blog is nothing. But that was yesterday. Why am I writing about Nuzzi today? Because there's another woman stepping out onto the stage of The Anthony Weiner Clown Show, and her I find amusing, and she's not an attention whore. She didn't realize she was on stage. She thought/claims she was giving an off-the-record interview. It's Weiner’s communications director Barbara Morgan:
“I’m dealing with like stupid fucking interns who make it on to the cover of the Daily News even though they signed NDAs and/or they proceeded to trash me... And by the way, I tried to fire her, but she begged to come back and I gave her a second chance.... Fucking slutbag. Nice fucking glamour shot on the cover of the Daily News. Man, see if you ever get a job in this town again,” said Morgan.

“It’s all bullshit,” she said. “I mean, it’s such bullshit. She could fucking — fucking twat.”...

“She sucked. She like wasn’t good at setting up events. She was clearly there because she wanted to be seen. Like it was, like, terrible and I had to like - she would like, she would just not show up for work... And then like she had the fucking balls to like trash me in the paper. And be like, ‘His communications director was last the press secretary of the Department of Education in New Jersey.'... You know what? Fuck you, you little cunt. I’m not joking, I am going to sue her.”
Key word: balls. Paging Tina Brown, who — in "End the Damn Dickmanship!" — longed for a testosterone test to screen excessively masculine individuals out of the political arena. Brown acted like she thought her dreamed-of test would only exclude dickish men like Weiner, but I suspected — in my first Weiner post of yesterday — that Brown herself would score high on the test. And now we've got more ladies waving their hands around. Give me the test!

There have long been soppy dreams that women in politics would mean kindness and cooperation. "My idea has always been that if we could bring the mothers of the various nations together, then there would be no more war." I wish I could find video of Vanessa Redgrave delivering that line in "Howards End." Her silliness is vividly apparent, in a story set at the beginning of the 20th century. It's absurd to hear the same idea recirculated, as ambitious women tear into men — like Nuzzi into Weiner — and into other women — like Morgan into Nuzzi. To quote Morgan: It’s all bullshit. I mean, it’s such bullshit.

I guess I'm supposed to denounce Morgan for calling Nuzzi a "slutbag," a "twat," and a "cunt." Those female-specific insults. But didn't Tina Brown call Weiner a "dick"? And, if so, shouldn't we give equality to women and get our share of gender-based insults? But Tina Brown didn't call Anthony Weiner a "dick." She referred to his "dickmanship." He's not a dick but a Person of Dickmanship. The equivalent would be to refer to a woman's twattishness. But that kind of distancing in the insults is for the official print version. How does Tina Brown speak off the record? Seriously, why do you think Barbara Morgan thought she could talk like that? Such a string of epithets can't come out of nowhere. There must be a culture.

And yet, if that were the culture, wouldn't there be thousands of ambitious interns like Nuzzi, whose climbing hit a ceiling, dishing out a million "Fuck you, you little cunt" quotes?

29 comments:

Rob McLean said...

There's no better way for a woman to prove how *right* and how *strong* she is than to cuss like a drunken sailor.

fivewheels said...

Yes, that is a culture, but perhaps not "the" culture. I forget if this was covered on this blog, but are you aware of the "cunt punt" sorority girl?

fivewheels said...

As I think about it, I wouldn't be surprised if Barbara Morgan were familiar with the cunt punt girl, because that email was very popular and got the woman a lot of notoriety and male fans. The rants are quite similar.

Inga said...

Emotions in high dugeon channeled through the oral pathway will indubitably produce some intersesting nouns and adjectives, etc. if the object of ire is a female why not use their sexual organs as a descriptive term? Same goes for men. I suppose we haven't evolved to the point of being past potty smack talk.

I do envision hoards of ambitious interns of all sexes using their God given talents to full advantage. I'm not saying its admirable, but there seems to be a glut of poly sci majors looking to get a foot in the door, or some other body part.

Matthew Sablan said...

If this is how political actors talk off the record, I desperately want to be in more off the record meetings.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Seriously, why do you think Barbara Morgan thought she could talk like that? Such a string of epithets can't come out of nowhere. There must be a culture."

-- The same reason anyone misbehaves; they think they can get away with it, they think the benefits outweigh the risks, or they honestly don't see anything wrong with it.

Look at how Weiner treats his wife; the fish rots from the head down, or something like that. His whole campaign is screwed up. Though, when you see this, it makes why the campaign manager jumped ship make a lot more sense. It wasn't just dickmanship -- the ship isn't just sinking, it is on fire and the sailors are ripping out the floor boards.

Big Mike said...

There have long been soppy dreams that women in politics would mean kindness and cooperation.

Women cooperate with each other instead of casually sticking knives in each other's backs? On what planet?

Team sports teach men that they don't need to like each other to work together as a team in order to win. I knew that Title IX would mean gutting minor sports for men (though I hadn't expected it to be as bad as it turned out) but I had hoped that access to more team sports would teach more women the same lesson about working cooperatively even when you don't much like each other. Boy! Was I wrong about that!

Matthew Sablan said...

"Women cooperate with each other instead of casually sticking knives in each other's backs? On what planet?"

-- Most of the women I know claim to have more male friends than female friends. But, if you actually analyze their friendships, this is usually not true. I think that the sniping, backstabbing unable to cooperate with each other women compared to the stoic, go-along to get-along men is more of a myth than a reality.

Though, I will admit, women I know hold grudges much, much longer than men. Or, at least, are more vocal about their grudge bearing. Makes you wonder why there are no Warhammer Dwarf women.

Oso Negro said...

Cunt is such an evocative word - so utterly delicious as it rolls off the tongue. I am curious whether its offensive power among vagino-Americans is diminished by the common vulgarity in these latter days? I suppose Ms. Morgan would have indeed like to cunt punt Ms. Nuzzi. Ms. Nuzzi was probably just trying create herself a working space.

Hagar said...

Anthony Weiner gave crackpot responses on TV news long before either Huma Abedin or "sexting" were heard of.

The Godfather said...

Do you notice how the power of the 'forbidden' words is drastically weakened by their repetition? The words are supposed to shock and draw attention, but by the end of the rant Morgan might as well be saying "La, la, la, la, . . . ."

In contrast, Prof. Althouse will occasionally use an Anglo Saxon word instead of a Latin one for a body part or sexual action, and we sit up and take notice.

Carol said...

people forget that women have testosterone too, of varying levels. I think women high achievers got it in spades.

Also I think also large quantities of caffeine can mimic T, esp. in combination with the usual pharma cocktail women take. I definitely noticed anm increase in aggression with the rise of starbucks and its imitators.

AaronS said...

My brief experience tells me you find the same sailor's mouths on people in the entertainment industry. Anywhere there is a curtain and a bunch of rubes on the other side you find this type of dehumanising talk. It's a way to express superiority and assuage one's fears of inadequacy at the same time. Being on a stage will do that to you.
I suppose politics has always been used as permission for hypocrisy. You have to fight dirty and take corporate money in order to fight corporate influence and wipe out dirty dealings. You have to fly all over the world and sip champagne in big air-conditioned resorts to fight global warming. You have to use your feminine wiles to gain political power and enact policies so women don't have to resort to using their wiles to get a raise.

It's very complicated. Almost as complicated as managing that whole on/off the record thing.

Paul said...

"My idea has always been that if we could bring the mothers of the various nations together, then there would be no more war."

Spartan mothers told their sons and husbands to 'bring back your shield or be on it'.

So she really has no clue about mothers reactions. In Nazi Germany the young women were encouraged to find a 'Aryan' man and get pregnant so more babies could be made for future wars. And they were happy to do it.

Reza Pahlavi said...

I strongly suspect that Morgan's foul-mouthed rant would have remained off the record if Mr. Weiner were still the darling of progressive media hacks that he was not too long ago.

Bad stories about Democrats are only allowed to see the light of day when it is either impossible to hide them or when it's deemed time to push said Democrats aside.

Jason said...

Ugh. I don't much like any of these people. Morgan was obviously off the rails and horribly unprofessional... on top of being a bitter shrew. But I took one look at Nuzzi and my gut tells me that Morgan had her nailed.

I worked in PR and marketing and I saw these ambitious young hotties all the time. Not one in ten was worth a damn when the chips were down. I even caught one plagiarizing Reader's Digest articles in her press releases.

It's manageable until one pulls the wool over the boss's eyes, and then starts throwing coworkers under the bus. I resigned from a job I loved very much when one of those little toxic princesses - the one I caught plagiarizing - started telling lies about my work to her boss, and trying to throw me under the bus. I quit when my boss believed her over me, when I had busted my tail for two years and she was brand new, over a decade younger and less experience. Gave my notice on the spot.

I would have stayed there a long, long time. She lasted another month or two and when the people around her were all used up she was gone.


I've worked with some fantastic young women, too... don't get me wrong. But the good ones don't tend to stay in that field very long.The shitty ones become communications directors for slimy people who let them kill their babies.

surf-ed said...

Nice essay Perfesser. But something tells me your not surprised at the behavior of (the) women. Any man that knows women certainly isn't. I wasn't.

Jay Vogt said...

Like, she's the Director of Communications. Like really? Like, that's kinda unbelievable. Like, where did she learn her trade?

Like, doesn't it seem as though a D of C should be more crisp and concise? Like it does to me, but like what do I know?

William said...

You've got to admit that Weiner continues to supply the world with the most entertaining scandals. I would like another source to confirm that he misidentified several interns as Monica. But, if he did, that only adds to the legend......If the man is truly an exhibitionist, then he is an exhibitionist on a grand scale. Perhaps all this bad publicity and the release of more dick pics were the real reason he undertook the campaign. He has flashed and shocked not just some tanning salon receptionist but the entire world........I wonder if the publicity director is a fan of Veep. Maybe it's a case of nature imitating art. She follows Veep and thinks that's the way high powered operatives talk.

AprilApple said...

Leftwing power hunger pushes leftwing feminists to excuse all sorts of bad behavior. The left wing feminist, ye of bad faith, can turn any bad behavior into something to celebrate!


MomRunningFromCancer said...

I really can't imagine how the communications director could ever think she was "off-the-record". Seriously? In what world does she live? "Off-the record" maybe for a few behind the scene insights, or tid bits . . . but she went off the deep end.

Had she had this same conversation with Weiner? Telling him how stupid the interns were? Did he care? As long as they were pretty, did it matter? Was she maybe so frustrated that she just let loose?

Now that I think about this a little bit longer - what I find most interesting is that I can't imagine a man doing the same thing about a male intern. Or if it happens, I doubt if it would be in a news article. Try and re-read Morgan's rant as if it were a man talking about a male intern, substituting gender specific slurs. In my opinion, if I read something like that, my first response would be to think that he was "lacking balls" not that he had balls! Isn't this a case of airing your dirty laundry in public? It sounds like Morgan had her opportunity to get rid of Nuzzi, but didn't. Had Morgan dumped Nuzzi after she didn't show up for work, or as a result of her inability to perform her job - Nuzzi would not have been in the news. Morgan was probably more upset with herself than Nuzzi!

David said...

"Such a string of epithets can't come out of nowhere. There must be a culture."

It's a culture of extremely vicious people. Weiner is one of them. My dislike of him came well before the scandal, from his arrogant and nasty TV spokesperson gigs on behalf of various causes he supposedly believes in.

Again, we are elevating this kind of person in the normal course. Not all are as foul mouthed as this nasty woman, but they are remorseless attack dogs nevertheless.

This is why the Clinton clique's supposed "concern" for Weiner's wife rings so hollow. We all know it's a lie. And yet most accept the lie as the ordinary course of things and are not particularly bothered by it.

RecChief said...

Sorry, I don't see the connection to Monica Lewinsky in the story about Weiner not being able to remember the names of his staff. That connection seems strained to me. How you managed to work Lewinsky in there is beyond me, and I am still trying to figure out the purpose of the attempt to tie the two together.

What I saw in that anecdote was a person supremely, to the point of self delusion, confidnet in his abilities, and the realization that his confidence was NOT matched in his actual ability. I'm not sure what that says about either you or I, or if our different interpretations means anything at all

Jason said...

Well, if Morgan's not up to the D of C job, maybe Perez Hilton is available!

Jason said...

I guess that's how a woman in today's Democratic party rises to prominence these days. The pols vary, of course, because they have to win elections. But the support staff seem to be particularly cuntish today.

This is the era of Valerie Jarrett's screaming bitch fits, Samantha Power calling Hillary a "monster," Susan Rice being willing to go on TV and lie brazenly, Donna Brazile calling Sarah Palin a "cracker bitch."

These are the role models for the women working in the local and state campaigns and the kids trying to make a name for themselves, and it's utterly toxic.

They reap what they have sown.



Crunchy Frog said...

Barbara Morgan sounds like the one authentic person in the whole sordid mess. She has a shitty job and she knows it. I hope she is paid well.

David said...

Rec Chief you don't need much imagination to make a Lewinsky connection with the word "Monica." The author of the piece emphasizes it, as does the source. They can hardly fail to understand the connection. It's code, and not a hard code to break. This particular fact was presented for a reason.

Drew W said...

The few times I've watched "Veep," I loved Anna Chlumsky as fire-breathing political staffer Amy Brookheimer, but I always thought her wildly profane tirades were a little over the top. I guess I was wrong about that. (I actually read that little intern-interview in yesterday's Daily News, and didn't think it was likely to have a positive effect on this young woman's career in politics. She sounded like an airhead.)

Mac K said...

Man jaw.