Something I missed back in 2008 – which doesn’t surprise me, because I don’t pay attention to the minutiae of election campaigns – was a throwaway characterization of Hillary Clinton by Christopher Hitchens.
I happened to see a reference to it in a book, one that has nothing to do with atheism or the atheist “movement” or the deep rifts in the atheist “movement” or anything like that. I wasn’t looking for it, I just happened on it.
But it’s a moment when I’m particularly tired of the atheist movement’s habit of drooling over the same 5 or 6 men year after year after year, especially when the men in question have a habit of dismissing or insulting a woman now and then for no apparent reason.
It’s in a Slate from January of that election year, and it’s mostly about Obama and the focus on race.
Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois is the current beneficiary of a tsunami of drool. He sometimes claims credit on behalf of all Americans regardless of race, color, creed, blah blah blah, though his recent speeches appear also to claim a victory for blackness while his supporters—most especially the white ones—sob happily that at last we can have an African-American chief executive. Off to the side, snarling with barely concealed rage, are the Clinton machine-minders, who, having failed to ignite the same kind of identity excitement with an aging and resentful female, are perhaps wishing that they had made more of her errant husband having already been “our first black president.”
Well, she was running for president, and casual insults of every kind are just inevitable when you do that. But still – that’s everybody’s lamented hero, The Hitch.
He was sort of a hero of mine too, starting in the mid-90s, long before god is not Great. But over the past few years I’ve gotten more (or re-) sensitized to casual sexist contempt, especially when it comes from heroes and stars. I admire Hitchens less than I used to. He was brilliant, but not brilliant enough to be beyond casual sexist contempt.