Wingnut bullies on parade
For some reason, this week has been a really bad one in terms of getting an unholy glimpse into the inner workings of the wingnutteria. First, you have to watch this video:
It gets really weird at about 1:45 in. Todd Seavey and Helen Rittelmeyer apparently used to date, and Seavey isn’t going to let this one go, so he just fucking unleashes a torrent of personal information about Rittelmeyer in an effort to humiliate her in public. What makes it particularly awesome is that he’s bullying her about what a bully he claims she is (which I honestly don’t doubt). It’s like when you prop up two mirrors facing each other and they go into infinity, but in this case you put a bully in between them so that it’s like endless bullying on top of bullying. It’s hard to extract the best part. I’m fond of the fact that he accuses her of basically being a conservative because of her implied sociopathy—she does “joke” during his rant that she’d like to withhold life-saving medical care from people because it “builds character”—but he doesn’t seem to understand that he’s basically arguing that conservatism is the natural ideological home of sadistic bullies. Or perhaps doesn’t care. The entire audience thinks it’s just delightful to laugh at the way theirs is a movement that attracts people who probably applauded when they saw that video of the woman putting a cat in a trash can. Much in the same way I laughed at jokes about how hipster feminists like anchor imagery. Just like that, except for the “causes harm to others” part.
But on Facebook, the consensus was that the funniest part was where he accused Rittelmeyer—who enjoys posting pictures of herself trying to look cool with the aid of cigarettes, while at the same time bashing those who achieve the coolness she finds elusive—of running a seduction scheme, a la “Dangerous Liaisons”. Amanda Hess kindly transcribed:
[A]t times her gamesmanship would include even coldly saying that she was gonna play matchmaker and set up a couple and then seduce the man away to play with his mind and hurt the woman, which when you think about it is pretty creepy. Kinda disturbing. . . I believe five months later, she made good on this somewhat disturbing promise.
The peeps at Facebook were skeptical, which I thought was totally cruel and unfair. Perhaps we should examine our deeply held prejudices before thinking such a story implausible. Or maybe I just wanted to believe. I love the idea of the whole process. Setting up the couple, perhaps by finding a former Christine O’Donnell-type abstinence-only fanatic and matching her up with a guy who used to write op-eds for his college paper where he accused college rape victims of running a long con involving child support payments. Then, after a love match was made, luring him away one night by inviting him over for wine coolers and strategy planning. It turned rapidly into a session of arousing each other by talking about how great it would be to live in a world where working class people simply dropped dead the second their health made it hard for them to work their fingers to the bone (but don’t worry, due to constraints on birth control, they left 10 kids a pop to take their place). Before you know it, she’s muttered, “John Galt wouldn’t stand for a world where former auto factory workers get to have retirement plans,” and he’s leaped across the table, drunk on wingnuttery and Zima, and not a little horny because his abstinence-only girlfriend feels that once-a-month hand jobs are the only thing that Jesus would be okay with before marriage. Two minutes later, the recriminations begin, with her angry that he shot all over her Brooks Brothers khaki slacks, and he because she played him with her wily seductive ways.
If this is a world where that can’t happen, frankly, I’m all the more sad for it.
Meanwhile, I’m not sure what to do with the Joe Miller circus, which seems borne out of a competitive desire to show the world that Alaska can produce way worse than Sarah Palin. It’s not just the fact that Miller thinks running for office should be exactly like being a Mafia don, surrounded by thugs who rough journalists up for looking at you funny. And now we have the news that Joe Miller’s former colleagues are all too happy to talk smack about him to the press.
After graduating from Yale Law School in 1995, Miller moved to Anchorage to take a job as an associate at the firm then known as Condon Partnow & Sharrock. Attorney David Shoup was Miller’s supervisor during the end of Miller’s three-year tenure at the firm, and he tells Salon of Miller’s departure: “We at this firm were not eager to have him stay, and so when he announced he was leaving, we were relieved.”
Shoup says he cannot reveal more about Miller’s tenure because of the firm’s personnel policies. (Shoup is a part owner of the firm, which is now called Tindall Bennett & Shoup.)
Shoup acknowledges that he is a registered Democrat and that he has donated to Scott McAdams, Miller’s Democratic foe. But he maintains his politics have not shaped opinion of Miller. “My view of Joe Miller is colored by knowing Joe Miller,” Shoup said.
Hey, I believe it. I don’t know Joe Miller, but what little I’ve seen of him indicates that he’s a megawatt asshole, and I wouldn’t want to work with him, either. Being around men that are swimming in anxious masculinity is exhausting. The very idea of having him try to inform you of his views on the 17th amendment makes me feel like I do when I imagine Christian missionaries of any stripe knocking at my door at 7AM, hoping that that the mark behind the door is easier to convert because he or she is sleepy. The good news about all this is that even if Miller wins, he’s likely to be terrible at anything but voting. He doesn’t seem the sort that makes friends easily, which makes being an effective politician nearly impossible.
And now you have this news report about Virginia Thomas calling Anita Hill at 7:30 in the morning a week and a half ago, demanding that she apologize. Like Nancy Goldstein, I find the timing of all this to be peculiar. Ginni Thomas just so happened to be stewing in her own grudge against Hill on the day she should have been sweating this New York Times article questioning the conflicts of interest between her activist work and her husband’s judicial work? That’s a lot of coincidences!
Not that I doubt that Ginni Thomas is quite sincerely in deep denial, and that she does expend a tremendous amount of mental effort at maintaining her state of denial. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be married to a man that has faced pretty damn plausible accusations of sexual harassment from a woman who is quite the opposite of the person that the conservative media paints her out to be. The more plausible the accusations, the more mental effort you have to expend living in denial. According to the Times, Ginni Thomas has gone so far as to accuse Anita Hill of only saying these things because she has the hots for Clarence Thomas, which is about the most pitch perfect example of projection—since the harassment was alleged to have been retaliation because Hill wouldn’t go out with Thomas—I’ve seen in at least a week.