The outrage one might expect

Siri Hustvedt on the subtle (I don’t think it’s all that subtle myself) misogyny of Matt Lauer’s performance in those back to back “interviews” with Clinton and Trump.

I am interested in the far more subtle variation of the misogyny illness, the one that lurks behind phrases such as “even-handed” and “fair-minded,” that low-grade fever that caused Matt Lauer to continually interrupt Hillary Clinton’s sharp, specific answers to his questions in the Commander in Chief Forum on NBC (thank god Clinton stood up and ignored him), and which also prompted him to allow Donald Trump to ramble on in incoherent sentence fragments about secret plans for defeating ISIS in thirty days, as if such nonsense were serious political discourse. Would our “fair-minded” journalist have treated a male candidate the way he treated Hillary Clinton? I ask you to search your souls, men and women alike. My answer is no.

And isn’t it interesting that after all these decades of talking about this shit, professional media types like Matt Lauer (who is paid 20 million dollars a year for his professionalism) still don’t bother to watch for that kind of thing, and correct it? It’s certainly interesting to me.

It fascinates me that although few Democrats would deny that deep-seated prejudices against women exist in our culture, the sexism that has dogged Hillary Clinton her entire career, the absurd scrutiny of her hair and clothing and cleavage, has not elicited the outrage one might expect in the popular media, despite the fact that feminist sites on the Internet have kept a scrupulous record of the ongoing petty assaults on Secretary Clinton. Matt Lauer has done the country a service, and I thank him for it. Interrupting women, treating them with condescension and disdain are symptoms of the low-grade infection caused by the virus that has afflicted millions of people in the United States, and not only in red states. Watching it play out on national television caused countless women and men to express justifiable fury. There is no pill for the virus. What is required of every one of us is self-examination and a high degree of reflective consciousness about who we are as citizens of the United States and who we want to be in the future.

But this is the United States in which Donald Trump is a candidate for president. We’re doomed.

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