The Invisible Hand in the “Sexual Marketplace”

The first person the Santa Fe shooter killed was a 16-year-old girl who had refused to go out with him, according to the victim’s mother. Most of the victims were women and girls, including an exchange student from Pakistan who was due to go home next month, and two teachers.

Since the shooter chickened out on his suicide plan, maybe some explanation for his actions will be forthcoming. But online and offline misogynists think they’ve already figured it out:

It’s a mystery, Mark, but maybe I can explain. What Mark here describes as the “destabilization of the sexual marketplace” is what I call women’s freedom to function in society as a fully realized human beings.

Just a scant few generations ago, the Invisible Hand of the “sexual marketplace” grabbed women by the pussy like a metaphorical Trump and traded us between fathers, husbands and other male “protectors” like a commodity. If love, respect and companionship entered into the bargain, it was usually luck rather than the objective of the transaction.

Women disrupted that marketplace by claiming their own agency. The men who are “hard hit” by that need to examine why they have to rely on coercion to get laid. Or they could use their not-so-invisible hand to jerk off. Really, guys, this shouldn’t be our fucking problem.

Open Thread: Inside A New York Minute

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Turncoats in the Battle for Women’s Equality Demand a Purple Heart

Wingnuts are among the most entitled creatures on the planet. They meep endlessly about made-up oppression like the persecution of white Christian men, even though white Christian men have always been the most powerful group in the country. They feel entitled to validation by Hollywood elites and whine unceasingly about being disrespected by writers, artists, musicians, actors, etc.

But for my money, no wingnut entitlement is quite so annoying as the demand that feminists circle the wagons around a conservative woman who has spent her entire career helping powerful men denigrate and oppress women. Even if she’s legitimately a victim of sexism, it takes some goddamned nerve for a conservative woman to demand that the sisterhood kiss her boo-boo when she’s busily advancing a sexist goon’s agenda. She should at least have the fucking decency to accept the terms she’s trying to impose on the rest of us.

Making such demands based on a lie about sexism is even more galling. The latter spectacle has been on display all week, with liars and/or idiots misunderstanding a comic’s routine and shrieking like scalded wombats about a nonexistent insult to Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ looks at the WHCA dinner. Here’s a sample of an annoying demand for women to circle the wagons from another lying Trump mouthpiece:

Talia Lavin on Twitter wasn’t having any of Conway’s bullshit, and the multi-tweet smack-down response (rendered below in paragraph form) is a thing of beauty that not only vaporizes Conway’s dumb comment but gets to the heart of what feminism is with uncommon clarity:

no. you don’t get to work your entire life against women’s rights and advancement, work for the most poisonously anti-woman admin in modern memory, and then turn around and beg for faux-feminist solidarity.

Feminism means something. It is NOT a sugar-spun cloak of girl power. It’s not a pink ribbon on an expensive coat. It is a fight to be free. It is a liberation struggle and the wages of losing are death or worse. You don’t get to make me forget that. I will never forget that.

I will fight against anyone, male or female, who does not want me to be free. I will fight against anyone who wants womanhood to be a punishment. I will fight for my flesh and my blood and my soul to be free until I die.

Too many people think feminism is decorative, a sugar pill to be bottled and sold at a markup. I grew up in a religion that gender-segregated during prayer, that taught me my body was dirty and my mind inferior. I left. Feminism gave me that strength.

I have been raped and assaulted and groped and beaten, and I have had an easy life. So many women are suffering. So many are not free. And this is because of systems of power, political and social, that feminism’s white-hot core seeks to burn down.

We have to claim it. We have to own it. Feminism isn’t easy or simple. You can’t buy it and you’re not born into it because you’re female. You have to choose it. You have to take the power yourself. No one will give it to you.

A-fucking-men. Had the comedian at the WHCA dinner actually insulted Sanders’ appearance, feminists would have spoken up, even though Sanders, Conway, et al, are enablers and apologists for the grotesque sexist nightmare in the Oval Office. But their speaking up wouldn’t be what Lavin rightly calls “faux-feminist solidarity,” and it wouldn’t be out of any sense of obligation to those particular women; it would be part of the larger struggle for recognition of our full humanity. That battle goes on, regardless of the turncoat status of Sanders, Conway and every idiotic woman who voted for Trump.

Late Night Open Thread: Toxic Backlash (Second Time As Farce)

The 1980s I remember were a mean, dishonest decade. People of color, then women, then not-strictly-heterosexual people had fought during the previous many years to make inroads on the “natural” assumption of White Male Hegemony, and — with the help of scientifically-minded nerds — made enough progress that the White Men and the ones who parasitized loved them felt besieged. The 80s were a noisy, hypercolored backlash that did its best to assert that White Men were Capitalism (rich, powerful, entitled) and Capitalism was, in every way, the Best of all possible worlds…

The backlash was good for illicit drug distributors, weapons dealers, synthetic fabric manufacturers, megachurch christianist marketeers, and the tiny coterie of media people “celebrating” the greed-is-good Gordon Gekko / Oliver North sellers of junk finance and overpowered weaponry. But then all the bubbles popped, and those of us who preferred to live outside a media phantasy of the 50s (1950s, 1850s, 1650s, depending on whether we’re discussing sociology, economics, or philosophy) kept right on pushing forward.

I have to believe that the current Trump-centered unpleasantness is an idiot child’s recreation of the culture Lord Smallgloves remembers from the days when he was young and (comparatively) rich and fit and in his milieu. Catherine Rampell, in the Washington Post:

Ever since he unveiled it on the campaign trail, President Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again” has prompted an obvious question: When exactly was this mythical period when America was last great?

At last we know the answer: the 1980s.

When it comes to aesthetics or general world outlook, the Greed Is Good decade was clearly Trump’s formative period.

Wanna look classy? Slather your residence in gold, spangle it with chandeliers. Wanna convince strangers that you’re important? Pretend to be on the cover of Time magazine, still the greatest honor a person can achieve…

But Trump’s ’80s ethos is more than merely cosmetic. It affects his, and his party’s, most significant policies as well.

Take the GOP economic agenda, which has not been updated in (at least) 30 years.

Supply-siders still run the show, championing tax cuts as a growth elixir while conveniently ignoring their track record. All Trump and his cronies seem to remember is that there was this one time when Ronald Reagan cut taxes, and then . . . the economy grew.

They seem to have missed the role that monetary policy and the business cycle played in that mid-’80s growth spurt. Not to mention all the other changes in tax rates over the past century, in both directions, that reveal no discernible relationship between tax levels and long-term growth…

Somehow the Party of Ideas stopped coming up with them circa, oh, 1987. The question is: Why?

Well, arguably, this is what happens when you’re no longer advised by experts, of any political persuasion.

One core function of social science research is to measure and document consequences of policies, both intended and unintended. And not surprisingly, it turns out we’ve learned a lot in the past few decades about drugs, crime, poverty, the economy, international relations and all manner of other issues.

Over several decades, Republicans have become increasingly hostile to expertise, a hostility that blossomed into outright denunciation last year. Rather than consulting people who’ve researched any of this stuff, or even read any of that research, Trump prefers to craft policy based on things he vaguely remembers reading, perhaps in a tabloid, some 30 years ago…

The backlash didn’t last back then (although it sure seemed like it was gonna go on forever) and it won’t last this time, either. Our job as the “Immoral Minority” (I still have my pinback, somewhere!) is to keep pushing forward, remembering that the caterpillar can’t return to its cocoon.

ETA: Speaking of toxic reminders of the 1980s…

Thursday Morning Open Thread: Debating ACTUAL Babies on the Senate Floor

Feeling the spotlight shift, Richard Cohen heaves a sigh of relief…

Teleworking is not an option in the Senate, which requires members to vote in-person. So Duckworth raised a rare question that split her colleagues more along generational lines than well-worn partisan ones, according to interviews Wednesday. Duckworth proposed changing the rules to allow senators with newborns — not just Duckworth, and not just women — to bring their babies onto the floor of the Senate. This, recalls Sen. Amy Klobuchar, did not go entirely smoothly for the two months she privately took questions about the idea and its potential consequences — diaper changes, fussing and notably, nursing. More than one senator joked that those things happen on the Senate floor now.

The proposal, which could get a vote this week, marks another moment for an institution that, at times, seems to relish its resistance to change. But with 23 women serving in Senate, some 70 percent of mothers working in the United States and a midterm election looming, no senator was willing to publicly declare he or she was a “nay” on babies…

“I’m not going to object to anything like that, not in this day and age,” said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., father of three and grandfather of six. He then noted that a person can stand in the door of the cloakroom, a lounge just off the chamber, and vote. “I’ve done it,” he said. Allowing babies on the Senate floor, he said, “I don’t think is necessary.”…

Sen. Tom Cotton, father of two, said he has no problem with the rule change. But the Arkansas Republican acknowledged that some of his colleagues do, “so the cloakroom might be a good compromise.”

Klobuchar’s answer to that suggestion noted that Duckworth is a double-amputee who lost both legs and partial use of an arm in Iraq, and mostly gets around by wheelchair.

“Yes, you can vote from the doorway of the cloakroom, but how is she going to get to the cloakroom when it’s not wheelchair accessible?” she asked…

But there still were concerns.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, the father of six, grandfather of 14 and great-grandfather of 23, said he had “no problem” with such a rules change. “But what if there are 10 babies on the floor of the Senate?” he asked.

“We could only wish we had 10 babies on the floor. That would be a delight,” retorted Klobuchar, noting that such a conflagration would probably mean more young senators had been elected in a body where the average age of members tops 60…

It’s about access for women, and for people with disabilities, and for younger would-be legislators. I believe this is what the youths call “intersectionality”.

P.S. The bill has passed — “without dissent”. Wonder if the Toddler-in-Chief will balk at signing it?

Hero Pilot Brings It In

Yesterday a Southwest Airlines flight from LaGuardia to Dallas lost an engine. That’s lost an engine, as in parts of it flew out. The pilot, Tammie Jo Shults, brought the plane to an emergency landing at Philadelphia. The voice recording between her and air traffic control shows a total professional.

Shults was a Navy fighter pilot with a number of firsts in her record. She retired as a lieutenant commander. More at the Washington Post.

She lives in the San Antonio area. I hope they give her a parade.


And Open Thread!

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: We’re On Our Own

Almost missed this grace note — from Boston magazine, “Michelle Obama Is Not Running for President”

It’s simple, really: Michelle Obama does not want to be president, and so she is not running for president.

During a moderated conversation at Simmons College’s 39th annual leadership conference on Thursday, the former first lady discussed a litany of topics ranging from diversity to the state of American democracy—and put to rest any notion that her name will be on the ballot in 2020.

“I have never had the passion for politics,” Obama said. “I just happened to be married to somebody who has the passion for politics, and he drug me kicking and screaming into this arena. Just because I gave a good speech, and I’m smart and intelligent, doesn’t mean that I should be the next president.”

Obama emphasized the need to encourage qualified women with political drive to pursue higher office, rather than homing in on inspiring people like herself and Oprah who may have other aspirations…