I try not to annoy you all with my personal hate-reads, but this particular nugget seems to intersect with the BJ commentariat’s interests. Professional Mean Girl Hanna Rosin has decided to bitchsplain “How Melissa Harris-Perry Became TV’s Star Nerd”:
… How did such a brainiac land her own cable news show? Harris-Perry doesn’t just get away with saying the word “intersectionality” on TV, using #nerdland as her show’s hashtag, and publishing an online “syllabus” with each episode—she’s beloved for it. When MSNBC gave Harris-Perry her own show in 2012, progressives reacted a little like they did when Obama first won election: Can this really be happening? At that point she was already a tenured professor in African-American studies and politics at Tulane, a columnist at The Nation and a frequent guest and sometime sub on the Rachel Maddow Show. What stood out about Harris-Perry was not just her liberal views, or that she was an African-American woman—MSNBC has other black female anchors—but her ability to talk about “the complexities at the intersections of race, gender and politics,” as Anna Holmes put it. The broad hope was that she would elevate the level of blather on cable news. And maybe you could even read into that hope a subconscious desire to redirect the unrequited love for Obama, because she too is a politically progressive professor who grew up in a biracial family, only she never lets you down….
“I’m not sure how I ended up with a television show,” Harris-Perry said in this conversation with Bell Hooks, which could be read as false modesty or playing to her audience (Bell Hooks being not the person who makes you proud to be on TV). But then she launched into a pretty convincing modern black history/timeline of herself, in which Barack Obama opens the way for a queer woman, Rachel Maddow, who opens the way for Melissa Harris-Perry, whose greatest accomplishment is having been born in the 1970s, after the civil rights era and before white flight—a lucky combination of geography, race, history, and talent. A product, in other words, of fortuitous intersectionality.
(On the other hand, that video conversation with bell hooks is the very opposite of everything Hanna Rosin, and well worth watching.)