Monday, August 08, 2005

Buried Treasure

This didn't deserve to get lost in the morass of comments:
I just did an informal survey, among some friends of mine (all attorneys ranging from moderate progressive to slightly conservatie to libertarinian/objectivist). All work here in Colorado, drink beers with me occasionally.

I asked each (separately): "Say, do you know and/or like Michelle Malkin?"

Most didn't know her. 9 out of 16 to be exact, had no clue. More liberals knew her than conservatives/libertarians.

Those that did either were vehemently opposed ("she's a racist"), or pretty impress ("good writer").

Then I asked: "What do you know about Michelle Malkin?"

This is where it got uncomfortable, at least for me as a liberal.

The progressive friends, immediatly went into "uncle tom" and, I guess, race conscious "ungrateful," stuff with lots of labeling along the "hypocracy" view. These folks had heard of her from liberal blogs, and there was more than one derogatory comment about her either based on her sex or on her ethnicity. I was actually shocked and surprised at the "friend" (i'm reevaluating this relationship) who called her the "neocon's pocket gook whore." This is a gay man, and given the crap that the GLBT community has to deal with in terms of prejudice, I was literally sitting there with my jaw on my lap. He saw my surprise and said something to the effect of: Listen, she's so 'bad' that nothing is off limits with her.

That offended me and, as I see it on display EVERWHERE in the blogosphere right now, it still offends me as a liberal.

It offends me a lot.

Interestingly, when I asked the more libertarian/conservative guys and gal who knew of Malkin what they knew about her or how they heard of her, all three said they had been forwarded something or read a link sometime back in 2002 or 2003. I asked if they knew she was fillipino, and two of the three said "Malkin?" They didn't know. I should add that none of my friends are as "net" focused for news and commentary as I am, but it did surprise me that two of the "fans" had no idea about that. The other one (the woman) said "yeah, I guess I heard that..."

SO I asked her: "Do you think her writing is really that good, or does she get 'traction' out of being able to say things with a moral authority arising out of her sex and race that other conservates can't." She said she didn't think so, because she knew for sure that she liked Malkin and her writing BEFORE she knew her ancestry. "She writes well," was my friend's overall summary.

Suffice it to say that I'm upset by the results of my little informal poll over the last couple days. To be sure, the plural of "anecdote" is NOT evidence, but my informal inquiries have revealed that only the progressives seem to be viewing everything Malkin does through the lense of her sex and ancestry. The conservaties who even knew who she was liked her writing.

And I do think I know these folks well enough that my take on their comments is accurate (they weren't playing dumb, so to speak).

That the two progressives, including one man I would have expected better from given the bigotry he has HIMSELF had to deal with, somehow found so much loathing for Malkin that even "off limits" issues weren't off limits in terms of her.

And we as progressives need to fix that. We need to fix it really bad, because we don't "own" women or minorities, and if we keep treating them as defacto proxies who will be disowned and denigrated for straying from the "hivemind," we will surely alienate our chances of ever hoping to retain their participation in the progressive sphere.


Anonymous said...

I asked if they knew she was fillipino, and two of the three said "Malkin?" They didn't know.

Well, duh. But did they "know" she was Asian?

Anonymous said...

Well, actually, the one guy who even ventured a guess (and he's more of an Ayn Rand guy -- i.e., deluded by the "me, me, me" views of objectivism, said thought she was Jewish based on her surname.


Post script: BTW, sorry for the scattered nature of that comment, and the errors. I really was typing it in haste, and I hit post instead of preview.

My second to the last paragraph should have had an additional clause to the effect that the progressives, both those I khew, and those in the blogosphere, who were were willing to "go there" in terms of using caustic slurs against someone who they viewed as "really bad," gave me some pause about how we view the world as progressives.

Speaking as a lawyer, for example, I find Clarance Thomas's legal writings (well, to be honest: the collaborative product of he and his law clerks) to be pretty much on par with what the other SCOTUS justices are putting out. That I disagree so vehemantly with his legal conclusions does not -- and it should not -- cause me, as it does many progressives, to tread into the waters of: Well, here's this affirmative action beneficiary stabbing us in the back.

I clerked for a state supreme court justice with a minority background, and a surname to match. He has been championed by the progressives, except as to a couple of dissents where he made perfectly defensable legal points that weren't quite on all fours with our liberal orthodoxy and which, while far from "conservative" resulted in nasty letters to his chambers from people calling him a sell out to his race.

I support affirmative action because, as a progressive, I think the lingering effects of racism in this country undermine the notions of "equal opportunity" upon which our nation was built. There is an ongoing and lingering wrong, and it is our duty to see to it that something is done about it.

However, I do not support affirmative action as some means to make sure minority persons stay in the liberal/progressive camp. My support is not limited to minorities who promise to take the "equalizing" effects of A.A. programs and use them and any success they obtain only to such ends that we, as the liberal intelligensia, support.

But far too many of the prominent writers and thinkers in our political sphere behave EXACTLY as if that is what they expect.

And its not right.

[/soapbox off]

I think I shall now retreat back into selent anonymity, as I've said my bit on this topic.