I’ve enjoyed his scathing, ferocious approach to political reporting, but I just learned today that he takes the same ferocious, scathing approach to women. He and Mark Ames were columnists writing for an expat paper in Moscow years ago, and they apparently had a grand time being outrageous. When I first read a few quotes, I thought for a moment that they had to be faked — that these were ginned-up accounts written up by political enemies, of which they have more than a few.
But no. These were their own words. They wrote them up in a book-length account of their adventures in Russia. They were bragging about these attitudes.
It’s not ironic–Ames and Taibbi explicitly scorn the bourgeois safety net of irony–and it’s not just a rhetorical stance. “You’re always trying to force Masha and Sveta under the table to give you blow jobs,” complains their first business manager, an American woman, in chapter six, “The White God Factor.” “It’s not funny. They don’t think it’s funny.” “But…it is funny,” replies Taibbi. They take particular glee in trashing several former female staff members in print, taking multiple potshots at the aforementioned business manager’s “gorilla ass.” They’re equally nasty to her replacement, who quit in disgust after they went on a four-month “brain-sucking speed binge.”
It’s OK if you want to stop there. It gets worse. Much worse.