Both Stephen and I (and seemingly dozens, if not hundreds, of others in the blogosphere) were moved to write posts a few days ago concerning a piece in last Sunday's Washington Post by Charlotte Allen, which advanced the proposition that women were dumb. The Post was inundated with furious comments from readers and responded by suggesting that the article was merely whimsical, a "tongue in cheek" effort meant to provoke discussion. Today, the Post put Allen on line to chat with readers about the article. It's a pretty fascinating exchange and to me makes clear that the piece was serious. Oh not serious in the sense of logical, well written or carefully thought out -- indeed, far from it. But this was not parody, satire or irony, although Ms. Allen operates under the sad delusion that she is somehow humorous.
When asked if she was surprised that people took the piece literally, when she meant it ironically, Ms. Allen responded:
I wouldn't quite use the word 'ironic,' but yes I meant it to be funny but with a serious point -- that women want to be taken seriously but quite often don't act serious. Also that women and men are really different.
Another reader follows up on Allen's claim that women will always be a minority in high level fields like medicine, law and politics, noting that women are now graduating from law and medical schools at greater rates than men. Allen concedes this point but then goes on to state "but the proportion of women at the highest levels in these fields is going to remain relatively small I predict."
One senses from this last comment and in Ms. Allen's other works a sense of contempt for women, that at her core she believes them to be materially different from men and in a way that is inferior. In a venomous defense of Lawrence Summers' suggestion that women just weren't as good as men at science and math, Allen compares what she calls "ideological feminism" to Nazism and Marxism. She contends that "asserting that men and women are innately identical is, in scientific terms like asserting (as the Nazis did) that Jews are an inferior race or (as the Marxists did) that the history of the world can be explained as a process of class struggle." The conflating of feminism with Nazism and Marxism -- and in particular with Nazi racial theory is rather stunning hyperbole. Or maybe it is satire. But probably not.
In addition to being on a par with Nazism, feminism is also about the "triumph of the ugly and the stupid." But lest I suggest that Ms. Allen hates only women, check out this bit of lovely from her chat regarding Hurricane Katrina and it salutary effect on those lazy bastards from New Orleans:
I said Katrina was the best thing to happen to New Orleans because it finally [gave the] opportunity to a huge number of New Orleans residents living in passive dependency on welfare to get out of New Orleans and change their lives for the better.
Yeah, that's it -- Katrina was a blessing.
Enough with this pathetic specimen already. But what on earth could the Washington Post be thinking? Who do they imagine that their audience is? And is every self loathing right wing hack entitled to space on its once august pages?