Also timely, given what's going on in the media around us now. The Chicago Tribune gives us a particularly striking column about the way that Hillary Clinton's campaign has been covered. The author, Julia Keller (who, I should note, is not a political writer but the paper's cultural critic), takes the charge way beyond sexism:
Revealed in the coverage of Clinton's campaign is the persistence of an ancient and distasteful cultural theme: the powerful, ambitious woman as cackling fiend, as fantastically terrifying ghoul threatening civilization. And because this creature (or "she-devil," as MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews called Clinton) is not human, the only solution is to kill it. Not just derail its career—obliterate it. Smash it to smithereens. Vaporize it. Leave not a trace of the foul beast behind. ...
This is not simply sexism or racism.... [I]t is not just a commentator's opinion about a person's fitness or unfitness for public office. It is not about using colorful, vivid language in order to wish that a person might or might not continue a campaign. It is an unprecedented public call--albeit metaphorically, but still violently and persistently--for a person's death.
Really sobering. A good read. And also thought-provoking to read the article about the Gore campaign right afterwards, and to note the following quote:
Chris Matthews... adds, "The last six years have been a powerful bit of evidence that we have to judge candidates for president on their preparation for the office with the same relish that we assess their personalities."
I guess this is one of those things that's a lot easier to say than to live.