Tracee Hutchison is equal parts insipid, histrionic, ignorant and irrational. Because of this I have long avoided reading her column, other than the occassional top and tail (first para, last para). Avoidance spares my delicate sensibilities and my deep, abiding intellectual snobbery. Besides, I take no pleasure in a woman making a public twit of herself on a weekly basis, and it raises my ire when she covertly or overtly implies that her views are representative of a wide cross section of women. Despite all of this, I've allowed Traceeeeee to occupy her little space in the paper without a particular drive to see her banished to become a scullery maid or chimney sweep.
But no more.
In her column today, Traceeeeee , yet again, for the upteenth time, drags out her tatty feminist card to, yet again, for the upteenth time, comment on a matter of great social and political importance with all the intelligence, and social and political knowledge of a potato seed.
The headline gives a tip-off: Men don't cop this abuse, so why Palin?
" ... the longer the mocking goes on, the more I do care. Somehow I can't help being niggled by the fact that if she were a man, the hysteria being whipped up by comedy writers and the commentariat about her shortcomings just wouldn't be happening. Not to this degree, that's for sure."Umm. Where to start with comedy and politicians?
George W? Howard? Rudd? Hawke? Keating? Reagan? Bishop? Downer? Where would comedians be without pollies of both genders, but mostly men (Angela was a nice vehicle for cartoonists), because, well, the fact is, women in politics just aren't as funny as the men. In addition, the number of men in politics outstrips women by a massive margin, so, for the most part, the comedy of politics, the vanity of politics, is about men, men, and more men. Having a woman to pillar is a nice novelty for comedians, especially now that Hillary is done and dusted.
Traceeee is vaguely aware that men dominate politics, but fails to connect the dots between the readily available comedic material and that fact.
"Palin is not the first ill-experienced or ill-equipped person to run for high political office. The big difference is that these people are usually men and they are never — repeat never — subjected to the same scrutiny or reduced to the same kind of personal attacks as women."
Err, can I mention George W again? Or perhaps Howard? The latter spending a decade as PM, yet pillared and ridiculed, not to mention vilified, over everything from his bushy eyebrows, to his morning walk tracksuits, to his love of cricket. Everyman Howard was a comedian's delight, and the public's punching bag.
George W has been everyone's delight, with everything from his IQ to his IQ to his bumbling lack of eloquence having spawned books and thousands of hours of stand up comedic quips. George W, let me remind those who might have forgotten, didn't merely aspire to high office: he has been President "of the free world" for eight years. Didn't spare him an iota of derision or personal attack 'that's for sure'.
But that's not the worst of it. Traceeee can top her own stupidity in the blink of an eye.
"The hullaballoo over [Palin's} $150,000 clothing allowance is a classic example. Has anyone writing this stuff actually been shopping for women's clothes?"Well, yes. Actually I have. That kind of money would keep me extremely well dressed (and shod) for the next 15 years or so Traceeeee, and I don't exactly shop at K-Mart - more Collins and Chapel Streets.
I guess journalists are paid a lot more for a dinky little weekly column than I get paid for my five day working week.
"Do any of them know how much hair and make-up costs? The woman is running for vice-president of the United States. Not secretary of Wasilla hockey club. If I were Sarah Palin I'd have a personal hair and make-up person too. Can you imagine the carry-on if she appeared onstage or on the telly looking as if she'd been caught in a wind-tunnel? Or if she stepped out in something that looked a little too hokey?"
Hmm. About $US28,000 just for a makeup artist for two weeks (excludes the hair) would keep me going in all manner of cosmetics for this lifetime and several others (assuming I come back in my next several lives as a supermodel).
The cost of even the most expensive lipstick Traceeeee is around $AU75, and it lasts about 6 months, depending on frequency of use. The top range lipsticks mostly cost $AU40 to 50-ish. The most expensive mascara costs around $AU50. Good perfume, an average of $150. A good foundation, custom blend, along with a custom blend face powder: $AU200 for both. My hairdresser, today, cost me $AU125.
So, yes, I do know how much hair and makeup cost Traceeee. Do you?
"Why aren't we similarly learning about the price of Barack Obama's suits? Or what it cost to deck out Michelle and the kids in those colour-toned matching outfits at the nomination acceptance? I'd estimate $25,000 for the four of them on that night alone — minimum."
Ah, good-o. If you have no idea of the facts, if your argument doesn't stand on its own, has no merit, then make shit up.
Mrs Obama, whose style is much admired in the US, wore a $US148 dress (thereabouts) when she made a guest appearance on the television show The View. The price was quoted all over the MSM, along with much commentary about her clothing preferences, and how other women went running out to buy that dress.
Oh, and Traceeeee, you're not young, you were already an adult during the Keating years, the years of Zegna suits and antique clocks. We heard endlessly about Keating's off the rack and quite modestly priced suits. He was our Prime Minister for a while, if you recall.
If you're so worried about the cost of Palin's very ordinary hairstyle (which costs thousands a week to not look wind-tunnel-blown), where were you when the boys in the running were being subjected to ridicule and comedy routines for their $400 haircuts, hey? You didn't take offense then.
In another blink of an eye Traceee gets totally ditzy:
"It is plainly absurd, but the stories of Palin's clothing extravagances squeezed her and Cindy McCain back into jeans this week as a counter-blow while Obama spent millions of dollars on a single ad."
Even a child of, oooh, say, six and a half, wouldn't be dumb-arsed enough to compare or equate the price of a makeup artist or a designer jacket with the cost of political advertising. Is Traceeeee suggesting that Obama should trim his advertising budget in the last week of his run for president? Should McCain do likewise? Would this allow Traceeee to pull-in her misguided feminist hackles? Is Traceee unfamiliar with the nature and cost of US political campaigns? (The cost of running and advertising being an obsenity, a voracious black hole for all candidates.)
But it gets worse, so much worse, with Traceee displaying a gross and unforgivable ignorance of America's social and political history. She also grossly and equally unforgivably equates gender and race, ignores social and cultural context, and she does it with the gobsmacking boastful stupidity only ever seen in white, western, women who live comfortable, cosseted lives.
"And just why has Palin become such juicy fodder for comedians when comment on Obama's race and colour are completely off limits? Clearly it's OK to pillory women but it's not OK to pillory people of colour. Why? I'm not sure. America, after all, has a proud history of burning white women at the stake so it's not as though discrimination and recrimination have been exclusive to colour.
... But playing the woman — once again — as political sport is even less attractive to watch."
Unfortunately, we will have achieved equality when as many mediocre, incompetent, stupid and vile women occupy positions of power as men.
Without the unfortunate consequences, we will have achieved equality when women aspiring to or achieving positions of power are subjected to exactly the same scrutiny and ridicule as men, but without anyone conveniently playing the precious feminist card.
Playing the man, for political sport, is a daily activity in the MSM and on the web. There is no reason why Palin or any other woman should be spared. Politics is exactly what it is.