Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Favreau and Hillary, Sittin' in a Tree

K - I - S - S - I - Dee - Dee.

Dee Dee Myers' (former Clinton speechwriter) take on the Favreau groping Hillary picture here.

Money quote:

If he’s old enough and wise enough and mature enough to write for the president of the United States—and not just any president but one who seems poised to take words more seriously than any since Abraham Lincoln—than he’s clearly old enough and wise enough and mature enough to avoid getting his picture taken behaving in a way that is embarrassing to him.

Two points about this. As I understand it, the picture was taken before the election. So Favreau wasn't "writing for the president" - he was writing for a candidate. A small distinction, perhaps, but in an article where Dee Dee Myers is carefully parsing the distinctions of this photograph, why make this mistake? It seems to undermine her argument.

As to the point as to whether a brilliant 27-year-old speechwriter is capable of behaving like an ordinary frat-jock boob and get his picture shot in a drunken compromising pose that he probably hadn't given two seconds thought to, I'd have to say, definitely yes: I have no cognitive dissonance with that notion.

Interesting that Obama will have two staffers who've had similar sexist lapses, with Summers on his cabinet.

Interesting question: which is worse, Favreau making rude sexual gestures to a poster of (then) political opponent, or Summers suggesting there are innate differences in male and female math capability?

While I'd like to be outraged by both (and in a way, I am), I'm also, in a way, oddly sanguine.

Is the gesture meant to demean? Of course, in the way that all politicians wish to demean their opponents in a heated campaign. Is it sexism? Sure, and there's no doubt Hillary had to suffer sexism from the press as well as many others. Though it seems to me valid to ask where there is a possible psychological wall between the drunken party hemisphere of Favreau's brain and the part the creates brilliant words for Obama, and if that wall may, I don't know, preserve the integrity of what's on the other side.

Perhaps not. Perhaps I simply disagree with Myers that Favreau's gesture is the equivalent of a campaign staffer brandishing a hood over an Obama poster. I think it may be more equivalent to Lisa Lampenelli making a crude joke about Obama's schlong. Tasteless and out of place in the White House. But possibly excusable in the heat of a campaign....I, for one, would have loved to have seen a Hillary staffer making a similar gesture, and would have found it equally creepy and...possibly...forgivable.

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