Deconstructing Huckabee

Seen a lot of pieces on Mike Huckabee’s ridiculous comments about the Democratic Party and women.  Amanda Marcotte’s is easily the best.  Some highlights:

So Mike Huckabee grabbed headlines yesterday by directly stating that women who use contraception are sluts.

If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing them for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it.

The equation was pretty clear. Requiring insurance companies to cover contraception–> Insulting women –> Because women are inherently insulted by the idea that they would use a foul thing like contraception –> Because the only respectable way to prevent pregnancy is abstinence. Let’s say this again, because conservatives are pretending that it’s not obvious: Huckabee said it wasinsulting to women to make contraception affordable, because the implication is you have sex and that is insulting. I was told by many conservatives that this interpretation is ignoring the context, so just to be clear, the context makes it worse:

In other words, he said that one can believe that women are wonderful or you can  believe that women use contraception, but you cannot believe both at the same time. Believing a woman uses contraception immediately and apparently permanently erases any respect you have for them, and causes you to see them not as a “smart, educated, intelligent, capable” creature, but a sex-haver who can’t control her libido. It is impossible, by his own measure, to respect women who have sex for pleasure instead of procreation.

Of course, nearly all women have sex for pleasure, so it really calls into question whether or not Huckabee respects women as a group when he excludes nearly all women from the group of respectable women. It’s like saying, “I think men are smart and wonderful, but George over there thinks so little of men that he thinks they masturbate.”  No one would dispute that I’m really just saying that men who masturbate are terrible, and since pretty much all men masturbate, I’m being a man-hater.

Of course, Mike Huckabee is not going to be winning any major political offices, but I think this deconstruction is a very useful insight into the gender-role and sexuality worldview of many conservatives.  And it’s not pretty.

My new camera?

Loved this David Pogue column (at his new Yahoo! Tech home) on the innovations Sony is undertaking in digital photography.  I so want the Sony RX100 Mark II.  My goal is for that to be the next camera I own.  I figure that by the time the Mark III comes out, I can convince my wife to let me buy the then cheaper Mark II.  And for those of you with only a peripheral interest in photography, Pogue does a fabulous job of explaining a lot of digital photography basics while running through Sony’s innovations.  And it’s full of really useful images like this:


Of course, some day they’ll surely be able to put a full frame sensor in a pocket camera, but that still looks to be a long way off.  But when they do, I am so on that.

Photo of the day

Recent National Geographic Photo of the day:

Picture of a female cougar and kitten in Grand Teton National Park

Snow Cats

Photograph by Steve Winter, National Geographic

Experts thought cougars rarely socialize, but F51, a female living near Grand Teton National Park, traveled and fed with another female one spring. Eventually the other female adopted one of F51’s kittens.

The real problem with modern media in 25 seconds

Oh, this is just too good.  Watch.

I’m sure the other cable news networks are guilty of similar errors in judgement, but wow.  If I was NBC News, I sure wouldn’t want MSNBC associated with my brand.

McDonnell and gender

If you haven’t followed the Bob McDonnell case– now federally indicted former governor of Virginia– catch up.  It’s good stuff.  Actually, though, Dahlia Lithwick hits the high points with some excellent points on the inherent sexism in much of the coverage:

This morning’s Times features a piece by Trip Gabriel titled “When a Political Spouse Helps Cause a Downfall” that purports to be about Maureen McDonnell’s assistance in creating the widespread greed and corruption problems for which she and her husband were indicted earlier this week. But of course the piece itself goes on to lay out all the ways in which the avaricious former cheerleader was in fact more Lady Macbeth than co-conspirator, asserting that according to the 43-page federal indictment, she was “the person whose desires for luxury items led the couple to use the governor’s office to promote a contributor’s dietary supplement business.” …

The implication that it was the former NFL cheerleader and her quest for designer shoes and gowns that brought the McDonnells down is kind of a journalistic chip shot. Cue the citations to Calista Gingrich and Sarah Palin and all the countless silly women who shop their families into political ruin. If you reside chiefly in reality TV land, such accusations fit the stereotypes perfectly. But the truth is that McDonnell was just as profligate and greedy as his wife, and the indictment proves it. So why is his own fondness for racking up exorbitant golf expenses relegated to the last disembodied paragraph of the Times piece? Is it because in the hierarchy of political greed, golfing, and private jets rank as legitimate expenses whereas couture dresses and shoes are foolish? Remember: When men are extravagant it’s manly. When women do it, it’s tacky.  [emphasis mine]

Yep.  Pretty spot-on.  And I fell right for this subtle bias in the coverage until Lithwick pointed it out to me.

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