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February 21, 2009

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i am surprised that palin is leading obama by such a large margin. i was initially inclined to pick her because she seems more hands on and working class, but was worried that she would impart strange misinformation and attitudes to the children.

Yep. Palin would probably have those toddlers saying grace at the table and engaging in all kinds of other odd rituals.

A huge proportion of my blog comments are on points entirely or largely off-topic from the primary topic of the post, because that's the way my mind works, but if a post is about something that's stupidly offensive, I'd like to hope that I wouldn't go on about the tangential point with no regard or comment whatever to whether or not the subject of the post is, indeed, stupidly offensive.

In this case, it obviously is. Do you agree or disagree, neil, and GoodOleboy?

Palin would probably have those toddlers saying grace at the table and engaging in all kinds of other odd rituals.

If we're talking about some sort of public daycare, they sure better not be saying grace at the table, not unless the leader is a hell of a lot more tactful about other people's rituals than I think Sarah Palin would be.

Possibly in GOBland every family says the same kind of blessing before food, so you think, why not? But in the public schools where my kids go, there *is* no religious majority -- they have friends who are being raised Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Ba'hai, Wiccan, and forthright no-prisoners atheist. Thou shalt not proselytise to the pre-schoolers, for lo, their parents will open a mighty can of whoop-ass upon thy butt, and it will be sore afraid.

If you were choosing a groom for your 10-year-old daughter, would you choose Harry Reid, Mitt Romney or Jeff Flake?

Disgusting. That was the feeling I had when I came across this piece. Terribly demeaning.

What Atrios said about our media:

"This is what they expect people to pay for?"

Hilzoy,

You're right about the implicit stereotyping, of course. Still and all, I know very few men with the grit and the patience to run a day-care center.

In my notion of a just world, taking care of young kids would be a high-status, high-pay job. Perhaps, in that world, men would compete for daycare jobs -- perhaps even successfully, if they applied themselves. For sure, in that world, the automatic assumption that daycare is woman's work would be a slight to men.

What I'm suggesting is that one real problem with our actual world is the low status of daycare providers. Another problem, of course, is idiotic "polls" -- but let that pass for now.

--TP

gary,

the gravamen of the poll is to invite the reader to compare who they think is a more attractive matron.

i find it less offensive than the yard work example, a better parallel for which would be "which of these prominent women would make a better maid." i think the other two are pretty close as examples, but somewhat off because they test musical taste and sense of style, which are somewhat narrower and more trivial aspects of character.

is it demeaning to women, to conjecture about what kind of daycare centers they might run if they were to run daycare centers?, maybe a little. i dont find it to be terribly so because running a daycare center is not a degrading or low status job. the poll does not necessarily assume that they should be running daycare centers. it does imply an evaluation of them as women and not as gender neutral political figures, and i can see how that might rankle.

If you needed a rap DJ for a party, would you hire Barack Obama, Charlie Rangel, John Lewis, or Michael Steele?

Apparently Michael Steele is considering that possibility.

What's a public daycare center? Do we now have a place where the 'state' cares for the toddlers and its on the taxpayer?

I think Hilzoy's post was of interest and I can see why the poll is offensive.

"is it demeaning to women, to conjecture about what kind of daycare centers they might run if they were to run daycare centers?, maybe a little."

Maybe assuming only women can or should or would run daycare centers is a lot demeaning, since there's no reason men can't do it.

"i dont find it to be terribly so because running a daycare center is not a degrading or low status job."

Generally speaking, it is very much a low status job. It pays poorly, and rarely does it earn one honorary degrees or speaking engagements, it carries with it no honorific, such as "esquire" or "attorney-at-law" or "M.D." or "Ph.D," and did I mention the pay is lousy?

"it does imply an evaluation of them as women and not as gender neutral political figures, and i can see how that might rankle."

Ya think? Just like evaluating someone inappropriately in some other fashion, such as by their "race" or ethnicity might be?

Why would you consider gender to be less offensive to stereotype? Is sexism less damaging, less important, less offensive? Or what?

"i think the other two are pretty close as examples, but somewhat off because they test musical taste and sense of style, which are somewhat narrower and more trivial aspects of character."

Again, why would treating people according to stereotypes in any of these examples not be highly offensive?

Clinton, Richardson, Rangel, Frank.

;)

Seriously: argh.

"Do we now have a place where the 'state' cares for the toddlers and its on the taxpayer?"

There are a variety of muncipalities that fund public daycare. That's because it benefits everyone to not have women forced to stay home against their wishes, and be unable to contribute to the workforce, unable to support themselves, and, you know, on welfare.

The citizenry either has to pay, one way or another, for all sorts of things you regard as illegitimate, or end up spending a lot more in the end; the only alternative, in the end, would come down ultimately in having a lot of homeless and ill people living and dying in the streets.

A whole lot more than currently are, that is.

So we believe in making sure old people have medical care, via Medicare, and a minimal income, via Social Security, because if we didn't, we'd have a lot more homeless dying old people in the streets.

And in some places, not enough, we help women support themselves, rather than force them to live entirely off the state, or go homeless and be unable to feed their children. We also try to make sure the kids have medical care. Again, because having a lot of ill-nourished, stupider, feral, children is something we'd all have to pay more for in the end, whether it's to house them in prisons, pay for death penalty trials, put them on welfare, or simply let them live and die as street people.

The problem is that we don't save enough money by doing more of this. Instead we spend millions of dollars on the back end of taking care of people where thousands applied earlier would save the taxpayer millions.

Any conservative who isn't an anarchist should support such savings and programs.

And to pick one municipality as an example, NYC operates over 300 day care centers.

Because it saves tons of money. And grants endlessly more freedom to tens of thousands of women.

These programs are over forty years old, but I well believe that in Texas you've never heard of such a thing.

"That's because it benefits everyone to not have women forced to stay home against their wishes"

And it's an example of my own sexism that I have to catch myself to note that in some cases, it's men who benefit from public caycare, as well.

We're all at least a little sexist, racist, and biased in all sorts of ways unconsciously. Being aware of that is the first step, but nobody can get away with not needing to walk.

"caycare"

Or even daycare.

Gary,

That you should have to explain why public support for the weakest among us is not only morally right, but economically right is so sad. On the other hand you have done it so well I am reminded how fortunate we are to have your input on this site. Thank you.

Dear Hilzoy: I hope you are well.

Frankly, I would not think ANY of these four women are qualified to run a day care center. But, if you insisted, my belief is that Governor Palin would be the most LIKELY to abe to run a day care center.

Sincerely, Sean

We're all at least a little sexist, racist, and biased in all sorts of ways unconsciously. Being aware of that is the first step, but nobody can get away with not needing to walk.

So say we all.

Dear Sean,

I hope this web log comment finds you in good health, and that the (undeserved!) negative press from the whole gerbil affair has not hurt business too much.

I am writing this brief missive in response to your Obsidian Wings web log comment of 22 February 2009.

I am concerned that you might be operating under the misapprehension that anyone might insist on an answer from you concerning the question of which high-profile political female might run the best daycare center. I feel that such insistence would be totalitarian, if not downright socialist, and I'd like to assure you that the probability that an answer will be forced from you in such an insolent manner is exceedingly low.

Yours Truly,
David Kilmer

Dear Mr. Kilmer: Thank you for your comments. Altho they puzzled me!

I don't often comment here, but I've been doing so for almost year now. And, as a conservative and GOP supporter, I'm used to being opposed here.

I have a suspicion that you are good humoredly pulling my leg with your stressing that ANYONE on ObsidianWings would want to FORCE me to pick some well known political female as most likely to be able to run a day care center. I merely meant to say that if Hilzoy wanted my view, I would have selected Governor Palin.

Sincerely, Sean

"and I'd like to assure you that the probability that an answer will be forced from you in such an insolent manner is exceedingly low."

Although there has been some muttering about waterboarding Sean to get an answer, since, after all, it's a harmless technique. Forced standing and music might also be used, given that those are nothing more than harmless interrogation tactics.

Of course, Sean would have to be suspected of being a terrorist for that to happen, and the odds of that are... well, mistakes happen, but that's the price of freedom.

Sean and David and Gary: *giggles*

Dear Sean,

I am writing in haste, so I hope you will not be offended if I forgo the pleasantries that never fail to give a blog comment what Ronnie James Dio referred to as "that perfect touch".

If I am reading you aright, you are saying that the intent of my previous correspondence was not altogether clear. Perhaps the following (hypothetical!) example will help to clarify.

Let's say that the New York Post published an article in its Pet Fashion section, asking whether it would be hypocritical for gerbil-owners to dress their gerbils in real fur for the Winter. And let's say that hilzoy subsequently wrote a blog post stating - in essence - that the question posed by the NYP article was among the more ridiculous things she'd ever read in a conservative-leaning publication.

A Marxist reader of hilzoy's post might respond in the comments section by saying, "This is a difficult question, hilzoy, but if you put a gun in my face, I'd say that all gerbils should be not only bald but also well-greased".

Another commenter, probably someone only vaguely Fascist, might respond to the Marxist in the following way: "Marxist - why do you think hilzoy cares what you think about gerbil apparel?"

To which the Marxist might profitably reply, "I do not believe that hilzoy cares at all about my opinion, and furthermore, I have never said that she did. I was merely making a statement about how I would respond to her in a hypothetical situation in which she was massaging my incisors with a handgun and impatiently awaiting a response to the question that the New York Post set forth in its article".

Now I ask you to set aside the deep psychological discomfort that you might feel at the mention of bald gerbils and answer this question: What is a vague Fascist to do when confronted with the possibility of such an exchange?

Yours In Krishna,
David M. "Satchmo" Kilmer

P.S. You do not have to actually answer the question.

Dear Hilzoy, Gary, and David: I trust you are all well.

Thank you for your amusing comments on day care centers, gerbils, and interrogation methods. In this dismal time of threatening econcomic uncertainty and disaster and chaos in countries like Pakistan, they were a distinct relief!

Sincerely, Sean

Where's Thullen when you need him?

//In my notion of a just world, taking care of young kids would be a high-status, high-pay job.//

Why aren't you a day care provider?

For me, the most ironic thing is that the action figures of these women are pictured in front of what appears to be a movie poster for the film Mr. Mom.

Cisneros, Lewis, Frank. No Question.

But McCain and Boehner are NOT allowed near the Children.

"Generally speaking, it is very much a low status job. It pays poorly, and rarely does it earn one honorary degrees or speaking engagements, it carries with it no honorific, such as "esquire" or "attorney-at-law" or "M.D." or "Ph.D," and did I mention the pay is lousy?"

Whoa, you must view something in excess of 95% of the jobs in this country as "low status".

Whoa, you must view something in excess of 95% of the jobs in this country as "low status".

With someone else, I'd hope that this might be the kensho that is preliminary to satori, but with Brett, I don't want to get my hopes too high...

. Palin would probably have those toddlers saying grace at the table and engaging in all kinds of other odd rituals.

And at least we know that she'd raise the young ladies in the group to be fine, upstanding, chaste young women who would go on to make something of themselves and maintain their purity until marriage.

"With someone else, I'd hope that this might be the kensho that is preliminary to satori, but with Brett, I don't want to get my hopes too high..."

Wanna see my demonstration that one hand clapping really does make a sound? :)

I hope you will not be offended if I forgo the pleasantries that never fail to give a blog comment what Ronnie James Dio referred to as "that perfect touch".

I don't in the least mind cleaning the coffee off my QWERTY, Mr Kilmer. HA. Bravo to you for insisting on the great American tradition of moderation in all things, including general excellence. 'Class', elegance, zesty-ness, compassion, and many other wonderful qualities are all fine so long as they are limited to just 'a touch'.

The reason that Palin is leading is that the supporters of the other women realize how insulting this is and have clicked off. Maybe I'll go vote now.

Jeff,

You said these words in an earlier post:

"We're all at least a little sexist, racist, and biased in all sorts of ways unconsciously. Being aware of that is the first step, but nobody can get away with not needing to walk."

I admire your desire for us to move past racism, sexism and bias, but have you?. Are you still biased, taking that first step, or walking?


You also say:

"It's not just that the people who make up polls for the Washington Whispers page would not expect John McCain to run a daycare center. It's that they would probably recognize any of these other appeals to stereotypes as offensive."

You don't know the intent of the writers of the poll. You don't know that they are making appeals to stereotypes, you are assuming that. When your writing assumes unintentional racism or sexism in the hearts of others, you are, in my opinion, biased in your own behavior.

I am a male nurse. Many years ago I was up north ice fishing with my five year old daughter. She loved to talk to me about my work and it was clear she had an interest in it. After talking for a while she asked, "Daddy, I would love to be a nurse. Can girls be nurses too?" I told her she could be whatever she wanted to be.

Was I guilty of gender insensitivity for inadvertently leading her to believe that nursing might be only for males? Was she guilty of stereotyping because she assumed, based on a sample of one, that nursing is a male profession?

I would also say that I would trust Michelle Obama to care for my kids any day of the week. She seems like she would be a great daycare mom If she wanted to be. She also appears to have a superior intellect and other skills that would be well suited to a number of different jobs or avocations. Hillary would also be a great daycare mom or a great President. I bet she will also be a great Secretary of State.

You might be a good daycare dad too. Do you have an interest?

We broke up the thought police posse several years ago. Much of society has already moved on towards a post racial, post partisan world. I would respectfully advise you to focus on policing behavior that you can see and measure and not commenting on your unverified assumptions about the intentions or thoughts of others. The Democratic Party went down that road in the past with disastrous consequences.


Jeff,

You said these words in an earlier post:

"We're all at least a little sexist, racist, and biased in all sorts of ways unconsciously. Being aware of that is the first step, but nobody can get away with not needing to walk."

No, he didn't. I did.
You also say:

"It's not just that the people who make up polls for the Washington Whispers page would not expect John McCain to run a daycare center. It's that they would probably recognize any of these other appeals to stereotypes as offensive."

No, that was Hilzoy. You seem to have some sort of problem reading attributions.

"You don't know that they are making appeals to stereotypes, you are assuming that."

No, they factually are. It's actually what they did.

Much of society has already moved on towards a post racial, post partisan world.

You might want to let the Republican Party know that, since they appear to have missed that memo.

Jeff, Gary and Hilzoy. Sorry for the misattributions. I will try to be more careful.

Gary, you said, "No, they factually are. It's actually what they did."

Did they tell you this? I am not being facetious. I am just curious. On what are you basing your statement that they are factually stereotyping?

Anarch. The Republican candidate lost to a black guy whose middle name is Hussein. I didn't say all of society, I said much of society. The only memos that I know of that partisan Republicans read are there own talking points.


"On what are you basing your statement that they are factually stereotyping?"

That they did it.

This question has a dimension I haven't seen discussed here. A non-trivial proportion of the population wants women to do child care because they don't trust men around children. And while forms of violence against children tend (AFAIK) to have an even gender distribution, men commit the overwhelming majority of sexual offences, including offences against children.

To state the obvious: I do not think the offensive nature of the stereotype stems from the assumption that women rather than men ought to provide child care; enough people believe that to put men who want to provide child care at a significant disadvantage. Rather, I think it stems from the notion that providing childcare provides a useful overall measure of a woman's worth. I find that a minor and obvious distinction, but one worth making.

Orlando, FL
23 February 2009
10:09 AM EST

Dear hilzoy:

I trust you are well, and that you have avoided the recent bouts of influenza to a much more successful degree than I have. Or, more accurately, haven't.

Thanks for the cute picture of the megalocephalic dolls, although I have to say that none of them looks much at all like Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama or Sarah Palin to me. Disappointing, that. I suspect that you are poking fun at the newspaper article linked to in this post, but my sense of humor was an early casualty of fever and aches, so: I really have no clew.

In the event anyone else gets a peek at this very private correspondence, my best wishes to them also.

Regards,

Slartibartfast

Did they tell you this? I am not being facetious. I am just curious. On what are you basing your statement that they are factually stereotyping?

Ron, do you really believe it's possible that they selected 4 well-known political figures at random, and it just so happened that all four were female, by pure coincidence? Honestly?

Hey Kvetch,

I like the name.

I try not to think that I believe what I don't know.

I ask people if they are doing what it seems like they might be doing and then I measure their response. I try not to jump to conclusions because when you jump, you don't always know where you might land.

This poll is a really small deal to me, but presuming to know the thoughts of others without validating your assumptions is a big deal. People on the left can be just as bad at that as those they vilify on the right.

I think Sarah Palin would have been a really bad Vice President. She may have much more potential as a daycare provider. My kids are all adults but I would trust her with a kid 6 or under. I think both Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton would do well with a kid of any age. Nancy Pelosi? I don't know. Her daughter is doing a great job as a documentarian.

Some guys would be great daycare providers, but not most in my opinion. I am a nurse so I think I have some experience in assessing the innate ability of the sexes to manage nurturing. Women, in my opinion, are generally better at this.


It's also interesting that their choice is among 3 Democrat and 1 Republican "ladies."

To make it more even, how about substituting Kay Bailey Hutchinson for Nancy Pelosie

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