Sunday, March 26, 2006

Manliness Next to Godliness

The most interesting exchange on the Sunday morning news circuit came near the end of ABC's 'This Week', with Harvard author Harvey Mansfield squaring off against Al Gore's wardrobe consultant, Naomi Wolf, on the subject of the politics of manliness.

Wasn't it Harvard that dumped their president for saying that women weren't as scientifically wired as men? Of course, the publicity won't hurt book sales . . . here's one exchange:

Mansfield: Politics is a field of competition, and women are less interested in competition, just as they're less interested in sports. And, indeed, I think their interest in sports goes together with their interest in men more than in sports or in politics directly.

Wolf: I don't think women think about their political convictions in that kind of, you know, nitpicking way. I think they're more concerned about clean air, clean water, good schools, health care. His timing is kind of weird because in the wake of 9-11, there has been a spontaneous sort of fetishization of big, strong, powerful men who kind of kill the enemy without thinking about their human qualities.

Do you get the feeling old Harvey doesn't get out much? Or maybe he's been out too much with nice republican women. Same effect.

Sunday Thread

Is it me, or is the News-Leader editorial page just been awful since Leger left? It's just bland on bland. The same former navy guy parroting terrorism fears we've been hearing for years in supporting the Iraq war . . . a local "liberal" pastor disagrees and gives a rational and clear dissection of Bush war policy. That may be news to some N-L readers. It seems to me there is almost a resignation now among Americans that the war was a trumped up, post 9/11 reaction, sold to our manly president by opportunistic ideologues.

Ah hell, maybe I'm just pissed at the N-L editors for not printing my Roy Blunt letters. But it seems newsworthy to me that our own representative has such close ties to an indicted money-laundering swindler like Jack Abramoff. This would be a story of interest to many Ozarkers, yet the News-Leader blithely ignores widely known facts about Blunt's dalliance with political corruption.

No problem. Local media will eventually air the story this fall as revenue-producing political ads sponsored by the democratic party (if 7th District Dems can find a candidate). So the media, in effect, pushes the story into the political realm where it can be easily dismissed as party politics. In turn, the media serves themselves up as filters for truth once the story comes out as a campaign ad. This seems backwards to me - but maybe I'm expecting too much from the press. Silly me.


Citizenkan said...

I quit taking the N-L in 2004 because of Leger and because I didn't think it was worth the recycling effort. I read it on-line. I used to like the Sound Off! forum, but they've changed it to a format that is apparently smarter than I am. I registered, but I can't figure out how to get in to the topics to read all the other posts. I'm easily frustrated.

You're right about the Harvard President leaving after getting so much flak for his remarks. However, I was way more offended by Mansfield's claims. Must be the title of "President" that makes the difference.

RSmith said...

I couldn't believe this guy Mansfield - like Ms. Wolf said, has he been living in some kind of bubble for fifty years?
I met Leger a couple of times, and he is a real nice guy. He was all about government openness, but that's not an issue folks around here give a shit about. Sometimes I felt like he ran away from controversial local topics. He seemed to like Roy Blunt a lot.

I wish they weren't so afraid of their readers at the N-L. Of course, it's all a part of the big corporate chain - I don't know the extent Gannet "regulates" their editors.

They used to have an editorial writer called Tom Ellis who would stir up the faithful out there - get them all upset with his irreverence. I wish they had somebody like him on their staff today.

Citizenkan said...

Leger liked Blunt WAY TOO MUCH. He always seemed to think Roy was the best we could ever hope for, despite the evidence. He absolutely gushed when Roy was up for Majority Leader.

I met him at an anti-Patriot Act meeting and liked him also. He was one of the presenters. He seemed very critical of what was going on in DC, but I thought he mostly "sold out" as an editor. (Gotta love politics.)

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