Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"It Was About Her" (by res ipsa loquitur)

Updated below.

Journalist covers other journalists' reaction to Hillary Clinton's "flash of pique". This is "news". Blech.

I shut off cable over a year ago, so I don't know if the shouters have been covering this with their usual subtlety (I imagine Chris Matthews empaneling Maureen Dowd, Kathleen Parker, and Cokie Roberts (with Mike Barnicle thrown in for "balance") to discuss "The Clinton Psychodrama in the Age of Obama" or somesuch, but I figured it was only time before the NYT weighed in. They're terribly concerned that Clinton's trip to Africa, with its "quite serious intentions" "may be reduced to this:"
“Wait, you want me to tell you what my husband thinks? My husband is not the secretary of state, I am. So you ask my opinion, I will tell you my opinion. I am not going to be channeling my husband.”

No matter the issues she was talking about — encouraging good governing, ending Africa’s wars, lifting women up from their lowly position in a place like Congo. The interest in this trip, it seemed, was not about the problems facing Africa. It was about her.

The "interest" of reporters, he means.

Maybe one of the reasons it's always "about her" is because they always make it "about her".

At least they didn't say "fit".

Update: As usual, Judith Warner nails it:
As [Hillary Clinton] circles the globe in coming years, making the case for women’s empowerment, starting with their basic right to be taken seriously, Clinton really has her work cut out for her. And it isn’t just because the situation of women around the world is so dire, and the ocean of problems confronting them — maternal mortality, sex trafficking, domestic abuse, malnourishment, lack of education, lack of adequate medical care, just for starters — is so wide and so deep. And it isn’t just that her historic mandate — to equally empower the other half of the world’s population, to chip away at the forces “devaluing women,” in the words of Melanne Verveer, the State Department’s new ambassador at large for global women’s issues — is so huge and vague and seemingly overwhelming. It’s also because the tide of trivialization that washes over all things “Hillary” is just so powerful. That tide threatens to drown out anything of substance Clinton might attempt for a population whose problems have long been obscured in the androcentric world of diplomacy. And that’s a huge pity.
Warner is too polite to call out her colleague, Jeffrey Gettleman, for contributing to that "tide of trivilialization." In any case, the rest is very worthwhile.

Update II: Not just for boys. Tina Brown rides the tide. (I take issue with Jezebel's characterization of "[Hillary Clinton's] longstanding role in the Clinton media circus". Makes it sound like she auditioned for that role or something.