The Vision Thing

Protected Species

Cath Elliott shares her wisdom in today’s Comment is Cheap Free. The self-proclaimed feminist and trades union activist targets an Aspen Times column by Gary Hubbell, whose grumbling about the presidential candidates’ alleged pandering to special interest groups is promptly, and inevitably, compared to that of the BNP. What catches the eye, though, is Elliott’s highlighting of this passage from Hubbell’s article:

Angry White Man loathes Hillary Clinton. Her voice reminds him of a shovel scraping a rock. He recoils at the mere sight of her on television. Her very image disgusts him, and he cannot fathom why anyone would want her as their leader.

A fair point, one might think. Much as many have recoiled from the current incumbent of the White House, due in part to his limited ability to convey whatever thought processes may take place behind his eyes. Ms Elliott adds,

This isn’t because she’s a woman, he goes on to say, but because she is who she is.

Again, sounds like a fair point. My own impression of Hillary Clinton is of a shrill and dissembling harpy forever peddling victimhood - quite often her own - and struggling with rather vengeful authoritarian urges. Pointing that out says nothing in particular about the rest of womankind, at least among those of us who think in terms of individuals, not symbols of some designated group. However, Ms Elliott disagrees: 

I for one don’t believe him. Hubbell and his new-found cheerleaders across the net give the game away when they reserve the worst of their ire for Hillary Clinton. This isn’t about a crisis of identity for poor working class men; it’s a defence of masculinity and a last desperate effort to cling on to the power that men have enjoyed for centuries. Just another anti-Hillary misogynist rant, then.

And nothing at all like a hackneyed far left rant against the “defence of masculinity” - which, as every good-hearted person knows, is an unspeakable vice and almost certainly a cover for something more unspeakable still. But hold on a minute. Does this mean that we men folk aren’t allowed to take a dim view of a presidential candidate if she happens to be a woman? What about Clinton’s female critics - do they get some special license to be unkind by virtue of having internal genitalia? What about men who dislike Hillary Clinton but quite like Condoleezza Rice? And, by the same thinking, does any disparaging of Cath Elliott immediately signal misogyny and oppression, regardless of what claptrap falls from her mouth? Are quasi-Marxist power dramas and the dislike of an entire gender the only conceivable motives here? And if I point out that Ms Elliott looks and sounds like an Eighties cliché, is that just my desperate attempt to cling to masculine power? I think we should be told.