CSotD: Nasty Times

Ann Telnaes marks the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment at a propitious moment, as nasty women are really stepping up to take their places in society.

The suffrage movement offers a lot of opportunity to study history in a holistic manner, because it didn’t happen in a bubble, or all at once, or because of some specific event.

Not much in history does, of course, but some things appear to, and coming to understand one that clearly didn’t could shed light on those others.

My immediate recommendation is the simply-titled “Votes for Women,” an anthology of cartoons on the topic that I reviewed here earlier and that DD Degg mentioned yesterday, since it just came out in print.

What I admire about the book is that it manages to draw in disparate, sometimes conflicting, elements of the movement without a lot of editorial distortion, even though it’s heavy on analysis.

And, going back to Telnaes, one of the things I find most compelling is that Anthony and Stanton laid a lot of groundwork, but seemed stalled until Paul and Burns added a “nasty” element that pushed things over the top.

Historic movements need both: It’s true not only of the Women’s Suffrage Movement but also of the Civil Rights Movement, the Labor Movement and several others. Neither approach works in isolation.


Which brings us to last night and, once again, David Rowe chimes in before anyone else given his time-difference advantage.

And, while it certainly stands alone as commentary on Michelle Obama’s speech, it’s also useful in this context, because the only reason an intelligent, well-spoken woman like Obama is seen as “nasty” is that she doesn’t sit with her ankles demurely crossed and her gloved hands folded in her lap, gazing in adoration at the men.

Yet she’s also not a bomb-thrower. Those aren’t the sole choices.

Standing up for what you believe and saying what you want to say is only “nasty” to those in power who want you to shut up and do as you’re told.

I had a GF who took advantage of Smith College’s program for non-traditional-age students, going back to school at 40. She learned a lot, but so did I over those four years, hearing what it’s like when women speak without either being interrupted or patted on the head.

We must recognize that beneath the superficial classifications of sex and race the same potentialities exist, recurring generation after generation, only to perish because society has no place for them. — Margaret Mead, Barnard ’23


Society is finding that place, but, as Matt Davies reminds us, having right on your side is only part of the battle. You may still have to throw a few elbows to work your way through to sit at the table.


And if they don’t play the race or sex card, they’ll find other ways to discount you without listening to what you have to say.

On the day after Dear Leader — who has difficulty walking down a ramp and thinks the 1918 pandemic ended World War II — declared that he wants at least a third term in office, Kirk Walters points out that being three years older than Trump makes you far too old and feeble to serve.


(Granted, this was back when he was only 71, but check out that ending: ONE HANDED!)

Speaking of great women in history, I wish Maggie Kuhn, founder of the Gray Panthers, were still around to kick the ageist asses of those who press talk radio’s shop-worn narrative.

Kuhn was one of the first truly nasty women I remember, along with Shirley Chisholm and Bella Abzug and Barbara Jordan.

Anyway, she made her point by being forced to retire at 65 and then sticking around to raise hell until she was 90.



Meanwhile, back at the ranch …

Dave Whamond sums up both the lack of watchdog oversight in the current administration and the lack of … well … nastiness on the part of the opposition.

As far as expecting the Justice Department to rein in administration excesses, well, as they say down South, “That ol’ dog won’t hunt,” and maybe we shouldn’t expect it.

Still, John Mitchell went to prison as head of the Committee to Re-Elect, having had the decency and ethics to retire as Attorney General before he began co-conspiring against the public interest.

We call those “The Good Old Days.”

But simply pointing it out doesn’t seem to change things, either.

And, if that’s not discouraging enough, let’s have a


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Ed Wexler)


(Matt Wuerker)

First of all, ain’t nobody gonna do away with Social Security, though we should keep an eye on Medicare. Even with Maggie Kuhn gone, it would be political suicide to mess with the 65+ voting bloc.

Then again, whether or not frogs really allow themselves to be slowly boiled, we have certainly put up with a lot of financial shenanigans, more from employers than from the gummint, but whether things are done by business or by the government is not only increasingly hard to distinguish but increasingly irrelevant.

As it was written,

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

What has happened is a deepening gap between the average worker and the average robber baron, and, as with the cat in Whamond’s cartoon, those who might stop it are just standing around watching.

For instance, first they took away our pensions, but told us we were getting 401k’s with a 2:1 match. Then it became a 1:1 match. Then there was no match, so it was just a sort of group IRA which, if we’d done it on our own, would have offered more control.

And, as Wuerker points out, whenever someone does speak up and ask why we can’t do more for the working class, they pull out a storm of accounting blatherscape to explain that, while four legs are good, two legs are better.

But don’t fret.

Everything is unfolding just as intended.




2 thoughts on “CSotD: Nasty Times

  1. I’ve got to say, “if they don’t play the race or sex card, they’ll find other ways to discount you without listening to what you have to say” took me aback, because it sounds very much like what a conservative pundit would say and therefore very much unlike you.

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