I like reading Digby’s posts at Hullabaloo. I’m usually in accord with the views expressed, and the writing is generally excellent. So what’s the deal with this excerpt from the 4/30/06 “Heavens To Betsy” post:
Peter Daou has some thoughts and recommends Eric Boehlert’s book “Lapdogs” which I’m sure is as popular as Stephen Colbert’s video with Helen Thomas — the only person with guts in a whole room filled with pearl clutching little old ladies.
“… a whole room filled with pearl clutching little old ladies?” Certainly not literally true, so it’s hard not to read this as barbed, gendered disparagement of the men in attendance generally, and younger female White House Correspondents as well. By comparing them to “pearl clutching little old ladies,” Digby seems to suggest that those present are weak and ineffectual. And that’s a strange way to honor Helen Thomas, who truly is incredibly courageous. It kind of annoys me, distracts me from Digby’s message, and reminds me that no matter how many studies show that at least numerically, women dominate the Democratic party and the left generally, we are still othered outsiders in many quarters.
I’m not trying to suggest that this is some big hairy deal. It’s clearly not. But there are thousands of ungendered ways to express contempt for the White House Correspondents, and I definitely would have preferred that Digby had used one of them instead.