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Massive takedown of persistent Ponyism

vastleft's picture

Go, read Stop Me Before I Vote Again.

To be fair, Melissa Harris-Lacewell doesn't expect that we're actually going to get any ponies. Instead, we should continue to enjoy the benefits that come from expecting to get a pony. Well, not benefits exactly, but there's a meta-pony payoff in there somewhere for continuing to act as if we still believe. Or something.

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Jeff W's picture
Submitted by Jeff W on

Melissa Harris-Lacewell's assertion that "Winning does not give us a mandate to ignore the interests of those we defeated.... "

Isn't the Civil War sort of, um, a counter-example of that?

Anthony_JKenn's picture
Submitted by Anthony_JKenn on

....but that one comment is simply DUMB.

Ahhh, Mel...the very idea of winning an election is to EXACTLY ignore the interests of those who opposed you...or to put it another way, to promote with vigor those who SUPPORTED you.

Problem is, though, the Democrats seem more interested in promoting the interests that feed them $$$$$ than those who actually feed them votes to stay in power...which is why they get their asses kicked every time when they do get power.

Which is also why the BlueDog/GOP Alliance will always smack down any puny lib/prog challenge to its rule.

Here's an idea, about having a party and a movement that ACTUALLY REPRESENTS the people who vote for them, and doesn't just use them for electoral disposable diapers???


Jeff W's picture
Submitted by Jeff W on

It means the attractiveness or aversiveness of something. (The word ambivalence—which combines attraction and aversiveness within it—is better known.) MHL is essentially using it to mean "Obama made politics or political action 'attractive' again," ("attractive" in the sense of people wanting to engage in it).

The shorter MHL is, I think:

instead of giving up "hope" (ugh), positiveness and energy—all that "attraction"—previously focused on one person [Obama], use all that for whatever various causes you want to advocate for.

It's not really something one can argue against, really. You either want to do it or you don't.

thebewilderness's picture
Submitted by thebewilderness on

There are times when I am so taken by the sneering at the uppity women and how uppity they are that I have to stop before I make it to the criticism of whatever it was that is so dreadful it is worthy of criticism. This was one of those times.

Submitted by lambert on
I'm not getting your point here, thebewilderness. Maybe my valence is off!

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Are you saying that the criticism of MHL's comments are gender-based? How so?

Submitted by gob on

I had to hack my way through "moral panic" (about Polanski) and "Pecksniffian" - both terms commonly used to tell uppity women to STFU about sexual abuse - then "Melissa Harris-Lacewell, she of the pretentious double-barreled name" - now, I don't know why she has that name, but many of us who don't like taking our husband's name on marriage end up with names like this, so that pisses me off too. "Merit baby" is pretty offensive as well. I have no idea whether Melissa Harris-Lacewell "relentlessly" harps on her Princeton connection (it wouldn't surprise me, given my experiences with other Princetonites), but I've never seen any snark directed at, say Paul Krugman, over that.

All that is simply to say that before I ever got to the real point of the article, I had a pretty good idea that the writer thought this woman, as a woman, was getting above her station.

As for the real point of the article, it has been adequately addressed by others, and I agree with y'all on that.

Submitted by lambert on

I do see on the double-barreled -- Will Doctor Freud please pick up the white courtesy phone? -- name. Thanks!

It's never too late to learn! (Though I'd guess that the hyphenated name is also a class marker, as well. Eh?)

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I must admit that some of those dogwhistles are outside my hearing range (and, illiterate that I am, "Pecksniffian" is outside my vocabulary). What's the gender background on "moral panic" and "Pecksniff"?

Hyphenated names have long been mocked as posh-sounding, so I didn't pick that up as as a gender cue.

At this point, Krugman's cred isn't so highly leveraged on Princeton, so I wouldn't expect that to be a main line used in mocking him.

The meaning of "merit baby" isn't quite clear to me, but it sounds like some kind of affirmative-action dig. If so, I think you've got a point, since it's applied here to two women. Me, I don't know much about MHL, but though I'm not a fan of Our Rhodes Scholar, it wouldn't be my choice of snark.

I wonder how Mr. Smith would respond to these criticisms. I could guess, but it would just be a guess. Judging by the comment thread there, there's a little history of some sort on this topic, and some of the reader commentary does strike (even?) me as blatantly sexist.

anacharsis's picture
Submitted by anacharsis on

A commenter over at my blog, Stop Me Before I Vote Again (SMBIVA), drew my attention to this thread. SMBIVA is where the original whack at Melissa Harris-Lacewell appeared.

I see that my reference to "merit babies" has been read by some as a slap at affirmative action, and my dislike of double-barreled names as a slap at feminism.

Actually, in my idiolect, a merit baby is someone who got where they did on officially certified merit: good grades and high SATs. To the extent that affirmative action takes other factors into account, it is of course anti-meritocratic; and since I loathe meritocracy, I have no problem at all with affirmative action.

Same for these stupid pretentious double-barreled names. I'm an equal-opportunity mocker on this subject; IIRC at SMBIVA I have also taken Melissa's colleague Sam Graham-Felsen to task for the same absurd affectation.

Sure women don't want to take their husband's name any more; why should they? But then, why not just keep your own? That's what all my wives have done.

What with intermarriage and all, a lot of these names sound like an ethnic train wreck. You can't help pitying the poor little tykes showing up at Montessori schools from coast to coast, saddled with monikers like Fiona Perlmutter-Bacigalupp.