Kos Gets Real

So over the weekend, certain segments of the community have erupted in anger over the TBS ad for their reality show, the Real Gilligan’s Island. Apparently, having two women throw pies at each other, wrestle each other in a sexy, lesbianic manner, then having water splashed on their ample, fake bosoms is degrading to women. Or something like that.

Whatever. Feel free to be offended. I find such humorless, knee-jerk reactions, to be tedious at best, sanctimonious and arrogant at worst. I don’t care for such sanctimony from Joe Lieberman, I don’t care for it from anyone else. Some people find such content offensive. Some people find it arousing. Some people find it funny. To each his or her own.

But I am not Lieberman. I won’t sit there and judge pop culture and act as gatekeeper to what I think is “appropriate”, and what isn’t.

And I certainly won’t let the sanctimonious women’s studies set play that role on this site. Feel free to be offended. Feel free to claim that I’m somehow abandoning “progressive principles” by running the ad. It’s a free country. Feel free to storm off in a huff. Other deserving bloggers could use the patronage.

Me, I’ll focus on the important shit.

Is the ad in and of itself offensive? Not necessarily. What is offensive is Kos’ dismissal of feminist complaint, concern and criticism regarding a pretty sexist ad designed for het male titillation run on the most widely-known progressive blog for his own personal profit.

Objectifying and demeaning any minority group for the sake of profit, be it corporate or personal, is abhorrent. This is exactly why I resist the Democratic party and most of its advocates. Women and women’s opinions don’t matter if they run contrary to the bottom line.

UPDATE: Echidne has something to say on this “liberal anti-feminism” thing as well.

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62 comments for “Kos Gets Real

  1. June 6, 2005 at 2:07 pm

    I made the decision to stop watching TV awhile back. It was partially because of the lack of good content, but mostly because of the advertising. It’s an exploitative affront on the senses.

    If Kos thinks that he’s taking a principled stance by leaving the ad on his site, alienating one’s audience for money must be the new cool.

  2. Linnaeus
    June 6, 2005 at 2:09 pm

    To add to the discussion, a lot of people – men and women – took Kos to task for the way he worded this response, and to his credit he admitted he’d gone too far.

    The whole discussion was actually pretty robust, if you follow all of the threads on the matter.

  3. June 6, 2005 at 2:18 pm

    For a site that organizes a ton of boycotts and sponsor contacts in the media… usually because of political content (in the case of Sinclair’s broadcast of the Swift Boat thing), or the offhand sexism/racism of a radio or TV personality, the defensiveness of his response really surprised me. The comparison of the well-founded concerns of a significant chunk of his readership re: demeaning women to the censorship efforts of the James Dobson morality police was bizarre. His latent persecution complex (although retracted) about the women’s studies mafia was also telling.

    And it is about the bottom line, of course. After all, the DNC raises millions and millions each year from the tobacco, pharmaceutical, insurance, and telecommunications industries, even if it’s a smaller fortune that the RNC pulls in.

  4. June 6, 2005 at 2:18 pm

    I’m making my way through the 800+ comments right now and I’m perhaps 1/5 of the way through. Yes, some took him to task and he issued a “clarification,” but he maintains his dismissal of feminists and other more progressive thinkers as Dobsonites.

    What is most disturbing is the number of people who thought it was funny to further trivialize the issue by exclaiming “titties!” and other euphemisms, supposedly to drive home the point that this corporate ad is simply funny with no cultural consequences whatsoever. Just as Art is never just art, advertising is never just advertising. Just because an ad is aimed at your demographic and hits the mark doesn’t mean one should swallow it whole without greater critical thought.

    Further, Kos has decided to maintain the presence of the ad even though it has incited the ire of a number of the community, which, by the way, gives him quite a bit of free content. It is not a smart move to alienate one’s socially-conscious audience by comparing them to censors and fundamentalists.

    I’m more offended by the response to the ad and its detractors then the ad itself.

  5. Linnaeus
    June 6, 2005 at 2:25 pm

    Good points, Lauren. I myself have mixed feelings about the ad, and perhaps that’s more indicative of my own lack of understanding than anything else.

    And those who just posted “titties” or some other such bullshit weren’t even worth responding to.

    At the same time, it wasn’t clear to me just how much of Kos’ readership, especially women, were put of by the ad. I do think some of the posters overgeneralized when they said that the ad makes “women feel unwelcome”, when it was clear that a lot of active women posters didn’t feel unwelcome.

    But that’s no excuse for Kos’ dismissiveness or not at least taking the arguments against the ad seriously.

  6. June 6, 2005 at 2:33 pm

    Ugh, people wrote and complained to me about the ad and I felt sick. I hadn’t even looked at it. The concept behind it–that there’s a lot of adolescent fantasies about Mary Ann and Ginger–could be funny, but it wasn’t. Nonetheless, I didn’t feel the urge to boycott or take it down or anything, because I jsut am more uneasy about stripping down offensive images rather than examining them. Kos didn’t want to do either and I’m irritated. Plus, that comment is giving a small but vocal minority reason to think that their complaints against me that I “only” write about “women’s issues” were justified.

    I notice that no one has yet complained that I “only” write about racism or homophobia, both very frequent topics on my blog as well.

  7. Thomas
    June 6, 2005 at 2:49 pm

    Lauren, I’m 100% with you on this one. I never watched the as, and the juvenial sexism implied by the description barely registered above the general background noise of a culture that pointedly refuses to both accept women as sexual beings and take them seriously as people. The response from Kos, who I usually like (I’m a Democrat, I’m on the left of the party, not to the left of the party) was really disappointing.

    It’s not what he said. It’s how he said it. If he had just said, “Many of my readers have a problem with the content of the ad because they feel it’s sexist, and I respect that but I’m keep in the ad up,” I’d be fine with that. If he had said, “I can see why it makes people mad, but I think there’s a delicate balance between opposing sexism in advertising and looking like scolds and censors,” I could see some merit in the argument. But he didn’t. He didn’t even take the criticism seriously enough to defend the ad or explain his reasoning. Instead, he teed of on feminism, rejecting it, essentially, as a bunch of humorless harpies. That’s not true, it’s not fair, and coming from left-of-center folks, it’s painful to hear.

    And he’s not even really sorry. His update is, essentially, “I didn’t mean you, I just meant those other humorless feminists.”

    However, even for the anti-party progressives, we can’t just dismiss Kos. We need folks like him to be on our side on lots of issues. So, anger is appropriate, but ultimately, we have to reach him and bring him around.

  8. June 6, 2005 at 3:22 pm

    this is part of what’s wrong with democrats… pretend “big tent” bs… feminists and other radicals aren’t actually represented by the party – they just tolerate us and count our votes while ignoring what we have to say. They don’t respect the radical left – we aren’t pushing the party dialoge forward like the radical right is for republicans.

    Kos is apparantly comfortable to some degree with the sexist content. The difference between anger over this video and anger flamed by the “family values” set is that their anger seeks to reinforce dominant hegemony by protesting progressives content while the radical left is angry about the oppression of women and points to this video as a result/indicator of the dominant hegemony. That assumes that both ideologies have equal value/power/worth, which they do not.

    To say it more simply, Kos simply doesn’t get it. He was sexist.

  9. June 6, 2005 at 3:36 pm

    Boy, do I feel like a sucker because I clicked right through to the ad to see why people were agitated. Most of my job involves watching music videos … lemme tell ya, it takes a lot to offend me. I even like grade-Z culture, provided everyone gets the joke. That Gilligan’s Island thing was tame.

    But Kos’ vitriol against those who complained shocked me. He doesn’t have to take the ad down, but he did not need to say nasty things about the “sanctimonious women’s studies set.” I dunno, maybe other people besides feminists would have complaints about the ad.

    He also proved that he lacks a sense of humor, just like the phantom “sanctimonious feminists” to which he constantly refers.

  10. June 6, 2005 at 3:53 pm

    Making my way through the comments, I find it especially interesting that so many commenters are using their credentials as Friends Of Lesbians (henceforth known as FOL, counterpart to Some Of My Best Friends Are Black, SOMBFAB) to further defend the placement of and sexual neutrality of the ad.

  11. June 6, 2005 at 3:55 pm

    My problem is that I don’t think. I saw the ad and thought, “Jesus Christ that is stupid. Will they ever make anything worth watching?”

  12. June 6, 2005 at 4:06 pm

    Buffalo, that’s not an empty question at all. Also, the answer is no. ;)

  13. piny
    June 6, 2005 at 4:24 pm

    Yeah, Lauren, that’s my absolute favorite, too.

    There are gay people who use anti-gay slurs in earnest. There are gay people who believe that homosexuality should be grounds for firing. There are women who don’t think that suffrage was an unmitigated good. There are women who think that their husband darn well should have the right to beat them when they burn the Miracle Whip pizza. There are women who support honor killings. There are nonwhite racists, and Jewish anti-semites, and transphobic transsexuals.

    The fact that some members of a hated group don’t have a problem with a particular act of hatred or discrimination does not mean that it isn’t offensive or objectionable, or that no other member of that group has the right to find it so. The fact that some members of an oppressed group can live with or within a discriminatory system does not mean that no other member of that group has the right to feel disadvantaged or constrained.

    It is not an indication that hatred, bigotry, or a bigoted system is a-okay or even slightly less morally objectionable. It means that humanity is capable of staggering illogic in the service of a dearly-held worldview. It means that oppression perpetuates itself. These examples provide a good argument against unexamined assumptions about what is and is not bigotry, not in favor of them.

    Jesus God. I want this dumbass Minority Shield argument dead. Now.

  14. June 6, 2005 at 4:33 pm

    wow, get piny a blog quick… well said.

  15. June 6, 2005 at 5:05 pm

    what liberalserver said.

  16. June 6, 2005 at 5:27 pm

    What irritates me about the whole thing is that the criticism of such things by feminists is nothing like the censorship advocated by the religious right. Most of the feminists I read aren’t opposed to depictions of female sexuality on principle, but rather are opposed to particular modes of such a depiction and the environment that those modes of depiction create and/or reinforce. Asking that people consider the implications of those kinds of things is not censorship. And it has nothing at all to do with the anti-sex prudishness of those who do, in fact, advocate censorship.

  17. June 6, 2005 at 5:50 pm

    My “fear of sex” was recently questioned when I objected to naked sushi events. That’s the official line now–if you are opposed to the use of women as sex objects to sell things, then you are just all uptight about sex.

    I haven’t bothered to look at the TBS ad. From the description, it would have to be done in a pretty damned ironic way for it to be anything but repulsive.

    During the airing of the French Open, there was an extremely clever, very well done commercial for Canon that featured Maria Sharapova. The commercial would have been just as clever and pleasing if it hadn’t included overtly sexual poses. I liked the spot for its design and wit, but was offended by the sexism.

    Mostly, I was offended by Sharapova. Recently, an interviewer asked her if the WTA was selling sex in its marketing campaign, and her answer was “I don’t care what they’re selling.”

  18. June 6, 2005 at 5:56 pm

    I guess I don’t want to see Markos naked either.

  19. June 6, 2005 at 6:28 pm

    Having just slogged through all the nonsense (including some people taking action) about jello wrestling and “cheesecake” (gross) for lady-bloggers to get attention, the it’s-all-in-good-fun interpretation of the pie ad means I have to chime in with my dour commentary after all.

    It’s not good for women to sell their bodies. There’s a reason it’s discouraged in most moral codes. Look at Wonkette. You can have the cutesiest logo in the shortest schoolgirl miniskirt you like, and men will click it merrily.

    But it doesn’t last. Even though Wonkette started early, any number of man-bloggers has rocketed up to greater popularity, because in the end, news shows want at least the pretense of intelligence (not a whiff of sex) and the people who get on news shows get the fame.

    As for the pie girls, see who cares about them two years from now when Playboy’s over with, their implants are crooked, and they’ve plucked out every last eyebrow.

  20. VRC
    June 6, 2005 at 6:30 pm

    I’m a woman, a Democrat, a feminist, a up to now a faithful Kos reader, and a pornographer. I sell that softcore pseudo-lesbian stuff (to men) all the time. My cred on this issue is pretty solid.

    I saw that ad a few days ago on Kos, wasn’t terribly annoyed and didn’t click on it. I don’t think he chooses the ads — I mainly thought it was out of place and rather stupid. But now I’m annoyed for real.

    Kos’ stance on running it is not technically wrong — though the ad is waaaaay out of context — but his reaction is abominable and dead offensive. The ad is minor and stupid, but he made it oh-so-much-worse by his response. For being a member of the party of nuance, he sure has a tin ear when discerning between a Dobson-like attack and real complaints by people who are on his side.

    That ad is a signal, shorthand representing for women a cauldron of issues that Kos never has to deal with, in this case because he’s a man. Every historically oppressed group has them — Aunt Jemima, Frito Bandito, a lisping gay man, and so on. That ad exists to generate revenue using caricatures of women and sexuality and ties those things to money & entertainment, objectification, sex solely for the benefit of men, the male gaze, and on and on and on. And for something like that to appear on a evolved, progressive political site? where women supposedly considered equal and empowered? You’re just asking for it, buddy.

    And frankly, I’d like to go to my favorite political sites and not have to put up with tawdry sexual marketing ploys. I expect it when I’m watching a football game and have to suffer through those dumb Miller Lite catfight ads and the like. Not when I’m just trying to get caught up on news and politics. Sheesh.

    And he shouldn’t be so cavalier about offending half his readers. For every poster who complained, how many lurkers felt the same? Not only do the posters & lurkers on his site provide him with tons of content and ad clickthroughs, they also provide his favorite candidates with money. BIG MONEY. Now I will have to consider donating my money through another site in the future.

    Well, now my BP is up and my ears are all hot. :) I might crosspost this, but at this point it’s probably spitting into the ocean. Sorry for the long-windedness.

    BTW Lauren, your designs are really good. Nice typography.

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  23. Kate
    June 6, 2005 at 7:50 pm

    As I wrote at Echidne’s, this ‘rejection of feminism’ is just one of the ways that supposedly left-wingers can move closer to what is perceived as the centre. Feminism has become so demonised that unless you disavow it, you become tarred as so wacky extremist.
    I don’t read Kos for a number of reasons. I’m not American so much of the political minutiae of the US means nothing to me, but also because the comments are often extremely insulting and use gayness and femininity as the main basis for these insults. This level of discourse doesn’t do anyone any favours.

  24. Linnaeus
    June 6, 2005 at 7:58 pm

    Interesting, Kate, because it reminded me of a couple of experiences I had a few months ago while teaching. Forgive me if I wander off-topic:

    The instructor assigned an article by Londa Schiebinger – don’t know if any of you are familiar with her work, but she’s a major figure in the history of science/science studies community for her scholarship on science and gender – about why mammaries are called mammaries. While discussing it, one of my students asked, “Is this taken seriously?” I indicated that yes, Schiebinger is taken very seriously.

    I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that had the article been about race, that question wouldn’t have even been asked. Feminism still has that taint about it.

    As an aside, I had a woman student come to my office hours to talk about the same article. During her discussion, she said she wasn’t one of those “man-hating feminists”. The fact that she felt she had to say that speaks volumes.

  25. Quisp
    June 6, 2005 at 8:36 pm

    Creek Running North —

    I am the Frito Bandito
    I Love Fritos Corn chips
    I Love them I do
    I Love Fritos Corn chips
    I Steal Them from you !
    I am the Frito Bandito
    Give me some Fritos and I’ll be your friend
    The Frito Bandito you must not offend!

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  27. pragmatic_realist
    June 6, 2005 at 9:12 pm

    I am finding less and less to like at Daily Kos, and this post of his was pretty juvenile and repulsive. It shows a particular kind of deceptiveness to use a phrase calculated to be offensive (“the women’s studies set”) and then back off of it.

    Daily Kos has gotten to be an incoherent mish-mash of postings that its hardly worth looking at. Eschaton is getting to be nearly as bad. I think the editors’ egos are getting somewhat overinflated from the attention given to them lately.

    Feministe is ahead of both for quality of thought. My teacher was right in saying that people who use profanity and vulgar terms just don’t have a very good vocabulary.

  28. June 6, 2005 at 9:24 pm

    Like a bad car accident, I couldn’t help but watch the ad. I think it’s just as tasteless as most of television (which is why I stopped watching long ago).

    But the “making of” clip is so much worse, in part, because the directors refer to the pie scene as “art.”

  29. piny
    June 6, 2005 at 9:37 pm

    Aw, thanks, Liberal Server and Chris. I’m glad I edited out most of the swears.

    And I’m going to put my ranty-pants back on for a second, because there’s something else that bothers me about this argument: it’s incredibly anti-progressive.

    Maybe I’ve gotten all of this terribly, terribly wrong, but aren’t Kos and the Kossacks trying to effect some pretty significant changes in the way this country is run? Don’t they exist in opposition to complacency and groupthink? You know, grassroots revolution? Dragging this country, kicking and screaming if necessary, back into the twenty-first century? Sweeping social transformation? Hello?

    There are a lot of Americans who have no problem with America’s domestic and foreign policies, a lot of Americans who are either happy to benefit or content to suffer at the hands of the current government. There are lots of Americans who have no problem with the misuse of terms like, “American,” “patriotic,” “faithful,” “responsible,” and, “moral,” even when they themselves are shut out of them.

    What does the Kossacks’ standard for invalidating complaints say about their objections to that kind of abuse and bigotry? If they’re so eager to marginalize all of the women who took issue with the ad and with Kos’s dipshit response, how can they fight against the marginalization that’s threatening them?

  30. June 6, 2005 at 10:47 pm

    Quisp: it took me a long time to before I could enjoy the song Cielito Lindo, from which that jingle was derived… not to mention that inane rugby song.

    Cielito Lindo is a beautiful and heartfelt song.

  31. June 6, 2005 at 10:58 pm

    Feministe is ahead of both for quality of thought.

    Oh God yes. I swear to whatever that I’m not trying to suck up, but the level of quality here–or, for that matter, at Liberal Avenger, or Bitch Ph.D., and a few others–is legions above what you’ll find at Kos and even (I regret to say) Atrios.

    Kos is a tool; Atrios is cool, I think, but he seems to be phoning it in nowadays. Which is fine; he’s earned it. But just don’t go there expecting much on any given day.

  32. June 6, 2005 at 10:59 pm

    No, seriously Piny…get yourself a blog (or join mine…;)).

    What does the Kossacks’ standard for invalidating complaints say about their objections to that kind of abuse and bigotry? If they’re so eager to marginalize all of the women who took issue with the ad and with Kos’s dipshit response, how can they fight against the marginalization that’s threatening them?

    This, I think, is the most important issue of this round of liberal infighting. We are made of many minority or long-silenced groups bound together by a common idea that all people deserve equal opportunity and equal respect. We can’t go around ostracizing the individual groups that make up our whole, or we’ll lose a part of our voice. Not only that, but we also lose the moral authority to fight against our own personal marginalization. That is the danger in what Kos and some of his community are doing.

  33. Quisp
    June 6, 2005 at 11:31 pm

    Chris Clark —

    I agree. However, in my malnourished cultural education, the award for most forever ruined song(s) goes to Bizet’s Carmen, the music of which was appropriated for Harold Hecuba’s musical version of “Hamlet.” “To Be or Not To Be” set to the Habanera; “Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender Be” to the tune of the Toreador Song. It was twenty years before I heard Carmen for the first time and my reaction was, “these bastards ripped off Gilligan’s Island!”

    (I remember my prized yellow Frito Bandito eraser — photo of silmilar on one of the links I inserted way above — which I used all of second grade, until it wore out and there were to be no more, since the Bandito had been pulled from the market. A similar hideous cultural moment occured when the Sambo‘s chain of racist restaurants was shut down, in about 1971, if memory serves.

  34. mythago
    June 7, 2005 at 12:02 am

    What does the Kossacks’ standard for invalidating complaints say about their objections to that kind of abuse and bigotry?

    As usual, abuse and bigotry are bad when other people are doing them, but push US to give our OUR specialness and you’re in for it.

  35. Quisp
    June 7, 2005 at 12:08 am

    Doesn’t it appear to have to do with $$? Otherwise, why bother with the ad or with defending the ad? it’s easy to have principles and be nice when you’re weak. The allure of $$ engenders all manner of rationales.

  36. June 7, 2005 at 12:23 am

    What Kos said was not okay, not at all, and he deserves a good blog flog.

    However, I’ve been turning the actual ad over in my head. As a diehard free speech advocate, I really don’t care about the ad, nor do I care about the placement as I saw it on Pandagon and Suburban Guerilla earlier and didn’t think anything of it.

    BUT I want to know what ideas you have regarding the ad itself and why we have to deal with the content of the ad on a day-to-day basis. So many commercials feature women in this way – from the Budweiser Twins to Anna Nicole in TrimSpa. Now that we’ve chomped on Kos, who so richly deserved it, let’s turn to the pop-culture-makers. How do we break through to them, to show them that maybe the whole bimbo thing is getting a little old?

    WHY is it that they have to sex up a fairly lame 1960s series instead of writing something new? What if they wrote something new and threw in the sexy bimbo characters but balanced them with the occasional sensible, middle-aged woman with a real job?

    I think the next step here is to focus on the culture-makers rather than the culture-critics.

  37. June 7, 2005 at 12:54 am

    The thing about Kos, and the reason he’s fallen off my list of favorite political bloggers, is that he’s not really a progressive — he’s a partisan Democrat. He’s been arguing lately that lefties need to set aside their “special interest” causes and embrace the greater good of the party. It seems to be part of this larger “do we want to be right or do we want to win elections?” debate that’s happening on a number of Democratic weblogs, and I assume that this dismissal of a valid question of sexism is part of the Kos position of jettisoning anything that doesn’t directly contribute to the Democratic cause. I think his overall position is perfectly valid, if ultimately wrongheaded, but that “sanctimonious women’s studies set” crap is inexcusable. I never thought I’d hear someone on “our” side say something so bigoted and hateful. Aren’t “we” supposed to be above that sort of thing? Of course, Kos does seem to get ultra-defensive whenever any issue regarding his advertising revenue is brought up.

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  40. June 7, 2005 at 9:45 am

    B2, I love you. That’s really the crux of it. The democratic party really IS dead. I’ve known that since the runup to the election, where people were sincerely trying to convince me that my principles don’t win elections. The democratic party is dead, and I think that’s something to celebrate.

  41. June 7, 2005 at 10:45 am

    I also agree with B2. There is a frightening willingness among many Democrats, it seems, to see “women’s issues” (vomit) as “special interest issues”, because women are some kind of fringe group and men are the core of the party. Same old, same old. Evidenced in the willingness to “compromise” on abortion rights. Maybe Drublood is right, and maybe now is the time for a truly progressive third party that doesn’t consider middle class white men the “neutral” core and everyone else the fringe.

    Someone from NOW , I think it was Kim Gandy, was on Al Franken’s radio show the other day talking about how NOW and lots of other groups begged the Dems during the 2004 election season to address “women’s issues”, and the Dems just ignored them. Whereas Bush had that whole “W stands for Women” crap, and Bush consistently addressed women as women in his speeches and said stuff that made it seemed like he gave a shit about women and their concerns. It was all crap, obviously, but he did it, whereas the Dems were apparently so afraid of losing even more white men to the Repubs, or seeming wimpy, that they just brushed women off, ignored us. Why should a party that takes our votes for granted and treats “our” issues like disposable inconveniences continue to get our votes? (They only got mine this year because I was desperately afraid of Bush…which they probably counted on, and which is really pathetic for a supposed “democracy”).

  42. piny
    June 7, 2005 at 11:36 am

    We can’t go around ostracizing the individual groups that make up our whole, or we’ll lose a part of our voice. Not only that, but we also lose the moral authority to fight against our own personal marginalization. That is the danger in what Kos and some of his community are doing.

    Exactly. When you take out all of the people who are insulted by bigotry and harmed by bigoted insensitivity, you’re left with a really small group of people who don’t have many problems with the status quo. That is not a foundation on which to build an opposition party.

    And, as you say, we’re talking about groups that know from the old boss. Women are very familiar with entitlement, silencing, and dismissal–they’re not going to blindly accept a party that engages in those tactics out of simple laziness. All offense aside, it was damn stupid of Kos to decide that the complaints were from a few extremists.

    As usual, abuse and bigotry are bad when other people are doing them, but push US to give our OUR specialness and you’re in for it.

    Mm-hm. Shorter sexist male progressive: “Well, see, that’s different, because, um, because…shut up.” Maybe we could start calling them Softcore Liberals?

  43. piny
    June 7, 2005 at 11:37 am

    Oh, and thank you for the compliment!

  44. June 7, 2005 at 11:43 am

    I’m really glad to see I wasn’t alone on finding Kos’ response beyond the pale. (If interested, my take on it is here.)

    [L: Edited broken link.]

  45. blksista
    June 7, 2005 at 12:50 pm

    You know, I didn’t even get that such an explosion had occurred until now?

    I’m about to leave the NYC area in a month, and was away from the computer for most of Sunday doing other stuff.

    I get the picture that Kos is very uncomfortable with women with strong views and with those who live those views. He is from a generation that likes to completely putdown the women’s movement for the only, simple reason that the guys aren’t able to do what they want to do–whatever that means. Now get this, they think that they know something about feminism, but actually, they’ve been propagandized. Kos wouldn’t know a women’s studies feminist from a socialist feminist. And even feminists from women’s studies departments differ. He lumps them all together, which is what a lot of young people from this generation do in order to putdown and diminish. The result is that he continues to run the risk of making big, big mistakes, which is exactly what occurred on Sunday. Plus, he refuses to admit that having a blind spot can be a bad thing.

    Much as I like Steve Gilliard, he came out with some identical stuff about the failure of the left and the hippie movement that got me and a few other people on his case. I’m no blind supporter of Counterpunch, but this generation feels as if they can smoosh history without knowing a thing about it. I’m a mid-Boomer. Kos and Gilliard are not Boomers. Observing and experiencing first hand gives one a clear advantage over those who are relegated to reading about it.

    I’ve seen the ad on TV, I’ve seen some of the Sunday comments, and the ad on DailyKos, and I come up with this.

    -I hate the ad on TV. It belongs on Spike TV. It’s jiggle shit.

    -I don’t like the ad on DK; however, I understand Kos needs to stay afloat with advertisements. I certainly get ticked at the kinds of ads that Air America presents. But they have to get to a point where they–AA and Kos–will eventually be able to pick and choose ads. So to a point, I will ignore such ads. It isn’t for me anyway.

    -Kos’ responses show his ignorance about feminism and about women. Period. This is the limit of DailyKos democracy.

    -Kos is not a progressive, per se. He is a mainstream Dem. Which may suit his clientele fine. Many Kossacks aren’t. Which is why he holds onto the mainstream line on certain issues while others like voter fraud are given the highway. He’s not into exploring anything beyond the pale, unless it begins to get traction and mileage that shows that it’s not just a figment of some people’s imagination.

    -I also get the sense that the Sunday putdown and the fracas that followed is even more a product of technogeeks versus the real world. Guys into technology have little respect for women into technology–or business for that matter, calling them on anything that smells funny. It means that they aren’t willing to go all the way to play the game with the boys. It becomes a guys’ world in all places and spaces of Netting and Blogging, except for a few enlightened oases. You’ll get cutesypoo women like Wonkette with cachet, but a woman with real (ahem!) cojones who is able to speak it and walk it? Hell, no. Too damn threatening.

    -The same, I believe, goes double with African American issues wich also impact on Dems of color. I mean this: I will support Villaraigosa, but I won’t support him or Ferrer if they are planning on dogging other minorities of color and women in order to gain power. It’s enough we have this shyt going on with the white power structure. When minorities do this–using the white man’s tools, to take a line from Audre Lorde–the enemy cleans up. Kos and some of his friends don’t–yet–seem to realize this in the light of short-term gains.

    I’m still willing to work within DailyKos and other blogs, but this episode certainly gives me cause to reflect.

  46. David
    June 7, 2005 at 2:06 pm

    I have to say the reaction to this thread over at Kos is just classic:


  47. piny
    June 7, 2005 at 3:04 pm

    So many whatevers.

    Kos is a tool. Not just in the insulting sense, but in the literal sense. It is being used to motivate and organize the opposition to the GOP. It is representative of progressives, liberals, and Democrats–that is, it has been made into a spokesblog, however accurately.

    What does this mean?

    Progressives, liberals, Democrats, and everyone else invested in wrenching this country out of the hands of people with nicknames like The Hammer and That Dumbass have a right to discuss the makeup of the blog, including its focus, its actions, and its atmosphere. As its target constituency, we get to talk about whether we think it is effective. We get to complain if we think it’s being counterproductive to its stated goal, or if we think it’s making us look like misogynist morons. We get to discuss, there and elsewhere, its perceived problems. We can’t control it, of course, but we can definitely make ourselves heard.

    That input is useful. It will make Kos, et al., more effective, should they choose to listen to it. If not, well, who’s wasting his time here?

  48. June 7, 2005 at 3:55 pm

    “My ‘fear of sex’ was recently questioned when I objected to naked sushi events. That’s the official line now–if you are opposed to the use of women as sex objects to sell things, then you are just all uptight about sex.”

    I hate that. Question anything accepted as “sex”, think critically about the status-quo, and you’re frigid or anti sex.

    Anti-sex, my ass. I’m anti-cliched bullshit pseudo sex. I’m anti-always-looking-at-T&A-sex.

    I’m anti-women-as-servers-men-as-consumers-sex.

    If that’s “sex,” then it’s the most puritanical, repressed and boring as all fuck version of it that I’ve ever seen. And it doesn’t say much about anyone who classes that as sex.

  49. blksista
    June 7, 2005 at 5:43 pm

    I also agree with B2. There is a frightening willingness among many Democrats, it seems, to see “women’s issues” (vomit) as “special interest issues”, because women are some kind of fringe group and men are the core of the party. Same old, same old.

    Right. As long as guys refuse to change some really tired shit.

    Evidenced in the willingness to “compromise” on abortion rights. Maybe Drublood is right, and maybe now is the time for a truly progressive third party that doesn’t consider middle class white men the “neutral” core and everyone else the fringe.

    Guess what.

    Kos isn’t white. At least to me.

    But he does reflect “white male values.”

    I’d like to see a progressive third party that also doesn’t pay lip service to minorities and women.

    I’d also like to see more black/Latino/Asian PACs. Because money is where it is at before folks can do anything constructive. I read about one small black PAC paying for time this weekend to run commercials against
    one of Bush’s odious judicial candidates, the woman from California. They sound liberal and Dem. I’m still trying to find out more about this organization. I say, first things first.

  50. June 7, 2005 at 6:09 pm

    Hear hear, Sheezle. Frankly, I’m a little alarmed that there are still that many people who have that model for sex. How fucking boring.

  51. cv
    June 7, 2005 at 8:57 pm

    I read his rant as frustration about priorities. Having read him on and off for some time, I think that the Dems loss in 04 has been eating at him more than he likes to admit and it comes out in situations like this; he wants to win so badly that he’s willing to sacrifice some things for the time being in order to achieve some victory that he thinks will put him in a position to be able to address these issues later. Whether that’s right or wrong is not for me to say (I think I can guess how the rest of this board would react).

    If I thought a truly progressive party had a shot at beating the current cabal, I’d be all for them, but in MO (where I live), there really is no viable opposition. The Dems are all I have.

  52. June 7, 2005 at 9:17 pm

    Well said Blksista. I’ve been distancing myself more and more from the Dem party because my interests are no longer their interests and it pisses me off.

    It’s kinda like how a “diversity credit” for an English degree includes Lesbian Lit and African American Lit when in all reality, they should be mainstreamed requirements.

  53. Quisp
    June 7, 2005 at 10:55 pm

    I feel the Frito Bandito links have gone unappreciated.

  54. June 7, 2005 at 11:12 pm

    Not by me, my martian breakfast cereal friend.

  55. Quisp
    June 8, 2005 at 1:10 am

    I’m pretty sure my namesake was a citizen of the planet “Q.”

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  57. June 13, 2005 at 3:14 pm

    “Objectifying and demeaning any minority group for the sake of profit, be it corporate or personal, is abhorrent.”


    If you delete the word ‘minority’, you’ll be right on target.

  58. jill
    June 16, 2005 at 10:19 pm

    This all makes me wonder, why were we over at dailyKos in the first place?

    What were we looking for?

    And where can we go now to get what we want without all the sexist crap?

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