Thursday, December 3, 2015

Traister is a box-checker

Brief note: just hours after I dropped my own pipebomb on PUMA Twitter, Amber A'Lee Frost waltzed onto the internet and detonated this 25 megaton nuclear warhead of an article. It was basically the equivalent of Shaq deciding to slam a backboard-breaking dunk after Penny thought he made the highlight reel with a clutch free-throw, but like Penny I'm just glad we're playing on the same team.

Anyway, I won't belabor this, but Frost argues that the Clintonites have "intentionally ignored" her feminist critics (and particularly the women) while fixating on so-called BernieBros - and Rebecca Traister, who she calls out by name, is already pleading not-guilty. Her evidence:

  1. The first chapter of her 2010 book on Clinton's 2008 campaign;
  2. A 2006 article on which that chapter was based;
  3. A clause from her recent article where she notes that "Plenty of women...are as vivid in their loathing for Hillary as any man".
Does Traister have any idea how damning this is? When your best response to the charge that you ignore feminist critics of Clinton is to dredge up a nine-year-old article on a completely different campaign; a five-year-old chapter based on the same article; and a single clause from an extended essay that exclusively names "lefty men" and features the slur "Bernie Bro" in the title, one suspects that your critics may indeed be on to something.

Frost's charge is not something you clear yourself of by checking a box. She is accusing Clintonites of willfully misrepresenting their critics. You can do that by ignoring the critics entirely, or you can do that by ignoring them almost entirely - and then dropping a token hedge-clause in a single essay amid an endless campaign of otherwise unqualified criticism. Give Traister credit for being savvy enough to do the latter. She's clearly well-aware of the virtues of being cynically magnanimous with her critics. And she does this all the time

The "detailed qualms" she conceded about Clinton in her Hot Mess For Hillary article? Box-checking.

The promise of an "argument for HRC...rooted in prioritization of poverty as a top concern"? More box-checking

That one was "for another time", but we're still waiting. Feminist women who support Bernie Sanders have a wait ahead of them, too. Maybe they'll get a mention in Trainster's next Hillary Clinton election retrospective, published two years after it could possibly matter.