Thursday, January 28, 2016

Nancy McClernan vs. the Radical Chic Part 2

Continued from Part 1

Verso Books publishes anti-feminist books like the work of Liza Featherstone disguised as concern for the working class. Verso reposted one of her tweets accusing Hillary Clinton of being a "lean-in feminist."

"Lean In" refers to the Great Satan of the Radical Chic, Sheryl Sandberg who wrote a book by that title encouraging women to be assertive in the workplace. There is nothing that the Radical Chic hates more than a woman who is going for power. As they see it the role of women is to fight the Workers Revolution in order to achieve the end of all hierarchies.

Who is Verso Books?

Well neither the Wiki page nor their web site says much about the people running it. But its CEO appears to be a guy around 33 years old named Jacob Stevens. So he runs a company worth 10-25 million and he's in his early 30s. I haven't been able to verify it yet, but I have a hunch that Stevens is not from the working class.

I'm sure that plenty of women working at Wal-Mart are more interested in what Sheryl Sandberg has to say about advancing their careers than in Liza Featherstone telling them they shouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton because she's a Lean In feminist.

It's Featherstone, Henwood, and Stevens who are the true elites. They are so elite they believe they are making the world better for the working class, when the working class not only doesn't know who they are, and couldn't care less, but if they knew how these people were claiming to help them would probably laugh in their faces.

Featherstone and company despise Paul Krugman because he forces them to get in touch with reality - something which they are generally insulated from - and since they don't have the native intelligence or erudition to actually debate him on the facts, come up with the most hypocritical un-self-aware attack possible - that Krugman's political opinions should be discounted because of his social class.

Or that he's a Hillary crony. Krugman:
And the response of some — only some — Sanders supporters is disappointing, although I guess predictable given that somewhat similar things happened during the 2008 primary. There will, I guess, always be some people who, having made an emotional commitment to a candidate, can’t accept the proposition that someone might share their values but honestly disagree with the candidate’s approach.
Right now I’m getting the kind of correspondence I usually get from Rush Limbaugh listeners, although this time it’s from the left — I’m a crook, I’m a Hillary crony, etc., etc.. OK, been there before — back in 2008 I was even the subject of tales about my son working for the Clintons, which was surprising because I don’t have a son.
But I’m used to this stuff. It’s a bit more shocking to see Mike Konczal — one of our most powerful advocates of financial reform, heroic critic of austerity, and a huge resource for progressives — attacked as one of Hillary’s minions and an ally of the financial industry.

Konczal's attacker is David Dayen who is of course a buddy of Doug Henwood.

Being a powerful advocate of financial reform would not shield Konczal from attacks from the Radical Chic because effective advocacy is not what they care about - radical posturing is what they care about. And incremental, non-revolutionary change doesn't get them excited - Bernie Sanders yelling and promising the unachievable is what gets them excited - Krugman is right to mention the emotional component of Sanders' supporters.

And that's what Radical Chic is all about: the feeling of being a passionate revolutionary. To them feminism is trashing a harmless aspirational business executive because business executives are not cool. Hillary Clinton is not cool. And like Sheryl Sandberg, she focuses on women's aspirations so these Sanders' partisans want to punish Clinton for her lean-in feminism. This is part of a long tradition, as Nicholas Kristof notes about Clinton:

For most of her career, Hillary Clinton suffered for being a feminist. Retaining her last name helped cost her husband the governorship of Arkansas in 1980 (after that, she became a Clinton). She was mocked in 1992 for saying she wouldn’t be “some little woman standing by my man,” and for asserting, “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession.
(Outrage at her “bitchiness” — a standard put-down of a strong woman — was such that Clinton tried to mollify critics by participating in a bake-off sponsored by Family Circle magazine. That must have stung. But hold on: Clinton’s recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies then triumphed over Barbara Bush’s cookie recipe, upholding the honor of career moms everywhere.)
Even when Hillary Clinton ran for president in 2008, there were put-downs, like the two men from a radio show heckling her, “Iron my shirt!
The Nation has endorsed Bernie Sanders. But other than Katha Pollitt I'm generally not impressed by Nation writers. Not only does the Nation publish the Radical Chic leanings of Doug Henwood and Liza Featherstone, it used to publish Christopher Hitchens even after he became a booster of the Bush administration. The only reason it stopped publishing him was because he quit.

And even before he did that, when he was a saint of the left, he was dismissive of women, as Pollitt noted shortly after Hitchens died:
So far, most of the eulogies of Christopher have come from men, and there’s a reason for that. He moved in a masculine world, and for someone who prided himself on his wide-ranging interests, he had virtually no interest in women’s writing or women’s lives or perspectives. I never got the impression from anything he wrote about women that he had bothered to do the most basic kinds of reading and thinking, let alone interviewing or reporting—the sort of workup he would do before writing about, say, G.K. Chesterton, or Scientology or Kurdistan. It all came off the top of his head, or the depths of his id. Women aren’t funny. Women shouldn’t need to/want to/get to have a job. The Dixie Chicks were “fucking fat slags” (not “sluts,” as he misremembered later). And then of course there was his 1989 column in which he attacked legal abortion and his cartoon version of feminism as “possessive individualism.” I don’t suppose I ever really forgave Christopher for that.
"Possessive individualism" is a synonym for leaning in.

I argued with lefty men about their sainted Hitchens shortly after he died, pointing out what a misogynist he was. Wow did that make them mad - and of course they denied that in spite of Pollitt's statement and his infamous Women Aren't Funny piece for Vanity Fair. And anyway, who cares, they said, he was a cool dude - or words to that effect . He had that Radical Chic posture they love even when he was a Bushie. The Radical Chic much prefers form over substance.

I had already had my fill of Radical Chic by the time I was in my early twenties, based on personal experience. Which I will discuss in Part 3.