Scorn as Art

I posted recently about the art of crafting political invective, in finding just the right term to throw at a political adversary to sink them in the public estimation, and how it’s an art that’s largely gone down hill in recent decades.

But still sometimes someone gets it right. I’m talking about the recent coinage of the nickname Stalkin’ Malkin (in response to Michelle Malkin interviewing the neighbours and colleagues of a middle-class family that needed federal medical aid, and doing so in a particularly creepy fashion). Unlike some previous invective flung her way, it is neither sexist nor racist, it merely holds her own demented partisan bile-spewing up to the microscope, and it is easy to remember. Beautiful. (ADDIT: I hadn’t even realised that she got fired from Fox News. Why? Did she start visibly frothing at the mouth on air?)

That’s why I also like the nicknames Coultergheist or Ghoulter for Ann Coulter. They focus on what is objectionable about her behaviour, not on what she looks like. Please please please can she get fired from all her wingnut welfare sinecures as well? Although at least Coulter knows that she’s bile-o-tainment, Malkin actually seems to believe that she is saving the world from [cue FX:scary organ chords] Socialised Medicine [cue FX: da da da DAH].

Sexism is also the great difference between the Republic disdain for Shrillary compared to the progressive disdain for Shillary. One focuses our attention on her being a woman by using a term associated with a negative feminine stereotype, the other refers to actual behaviour.

Not entirely sure where I’m going with this, but most people outside the blogosphere in Oz have never even heard of Malkin or Coulter, and every now and then I have to share my thoughts on this stuff with some pixels. For the healthcare issue, refer to the previous post. For genderised insult discussion, feel free to add your thoughts here.

Categories: culture wars, gender & feminism, health, Politics, social justice

Tags: , , , , ,

7 replies

  1. tigtog – spot on, this is why I find it difficult to enjoy some of the caustic put-downs of my most hated commentators, like Coulter who happen to also be women.

  2. I despise Ann Coulter, but am also sick of the transvestite jokes people keep flinging at her. She’s evil, and I think that makes the Adam’s apple irrelevant. I think it’s telling that male right-wing shills never get criticized on their looks, even when, like Rush, they are far from good-looking.

  3. I’d shorten it to Michelle Stalkin’, but that’s just me.
    I suspect “Coultergeist” is Keith Olbermann’s coinage; he certainly uses it consistently. As for her gender, well, she’s one of yours so you gotta deal with it.
    You do concede, don’t you, that by your standards “Hitlery” is “acceptable invective”?
    Kristi, male RWSes may be less likely to attract remarks about their appearance, but it does happen (just not enough for my liking.) And the RWSes are not at all shy about insulting the appearance of their male opponents, which I guess makes them equal-opportunity arseholes, albeit ones singularly lacking in imagination. (Apparently, Michael Moore and Al Gore are both fat.)

  4. You do concede, don’t you, that by your standards “Hitlery” is “acceptable invective”?

    Well, it is neither sexist nor racist. Of course, labelling racism and sexism as unacceptable does not exclude other offensive terms from being unacceptable invective for other reasons. What an unusually lazy inference from you, MF!
    Also bad form: why put “acceptable invective” in quotes when I didn’t use that phrase? Any second stage newbie would swat you out of the park on that one in a certain forum we know and love.

  5. I’m in general agreement – besides being morally objectionable, insulting your opponents appearance/race/gender rather than their actions or ideas is a tacit admission of intellectual vapidity. There are plenty of good reasons to hate Ann Coulter.
    On “Hitlery” – violating Godwins Law gratuitously is never a good idea.
    On Australian politics, I’ve found the fine art of invective lacking in recent years. Most of the epithets for Howard revolve around his height. Of course, like anyone else who appreciates political invective, I miss Keating contributions, though he specialised in the perfect putdown rather than the nickname. My favourite insult ever, not just in politics, was him describing Hewson as “a shiver looking for a spine to run up”.

  6. What an unusually lazy inference from you, MF!

    Unusually lazy? I’ve applied the tag “irredeemably lightweight” to myself elsewhere, and I mean it.

    Also bad form: why put “acceptable invective” in quotes when I didn’t use that phrase? Any second stage newbie would swat you out of the park on that one in a certain forum we know and love.

    They were supposed to be “scare quotes”, which is an offence in its own right, I know, and I think once you treat them as scare quotes, my gaffe is the use of “your standards” instead of “those criteria”. Worng, worng, worng.
    I’ve been absent from “a certain forum” too long, I suspect.

  7. No biggie, MF. Just having a gentle poke at you.

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