This is old news, but I’m reporting it anyway because it’s also irrelevant news. 

The New York Observer reports that feminist icon Gloria Steinem was campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Austin last weekend and spent some time talking about how much it sucks to be female, what with all the gender bias in the media.  You know, that sexist media that fawns all over John McCain just because he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for several years, way back when.  Steinem think folks make WAY too much of that war service stuff. 

“Suppose John McCain had been Joan McCain and Joan McCain had got captured, shot down and been a POW for eight years. [The media would ask], ‘What did you do wrong to get captured? What terrible things did you do while you were there as a captive for eight years?’” Steinem said, to laughter from the audience.

McCain was, in fact, a prisoner of war for around five and a half years, during which time he was tortured repeatedly. Referring to his time in captivity, Steinem said with bewilderment, “I mean, hello? This is supposed to be a qualification to be president? I don’t think so.”

Gee, I never thought of it that way.  I mean, I really never thought of it that way.  So you were off serving your country (voluntarily) in a foreign war, you happened to get captured, you had the opportunity to be released early because you were a senator’s son but you refused to leave without your comrades, and you were beaten and tortured for five-and-a-half years.  Big frickin’ deal.  It’s not like it proves anything about your leadership qualities.  Anyone could get beaten up and tortured.  Problem is, a woman can’t benefit from such an experience because even if she were inclined to volunteer for a combat mission and endure five-and-a-half years of torture for honor’s sake, everyone would just heave a big, collective “whatever” because we all know no appreciates anything a woman does.  Talking of which, let’s see John McCain give birth sometime and maybe we’ll be impressed. 

Steinem’s broader argument was that the media and the political world are too admiring of militarism in all its guises.

“I am so grateful that she [Clinton] hasn’t been trained to kill anybody. And she probably didn’t even play war games as a kid. It’s a great relief from Bush in his jump suit and from Kerry saluting.”

To The Observer, Steinem insisted that “from George Washington to Jack Kennedy and PT-109 we have behaved as if killing people is a qualification for ruling people.”

You know, she has a point.  Which makes me wonder, how come Charles Manson never became president?  He’s not Canadian or anything, is he?

Steinem said she likes Obama well enough and he’s a good guy, but he has to wait his turn:  “I would like very much to see him be president for eight years after Hillary has been president for eight years.”

But she also opined that “a majority of Americans want redemption for racism, for our terrible destructive racist past and so see a vote for Obama as redemptive.” Then, using a term for the mass killing of women, she added, “I don’t think as many want redemption for the gynocide.”

“They acknowledge racism—not enough, but somewhat,” Steinem continued. “They would probably be less likely to acknowledge that the most likely way a pregnant woman is to die is murder from her male partner. There are six million female lives lost in the world every year simply because they are female.”

Well, that’s probably because, unlike men, they haven’t been trained to kill people.  So of course they’re going to die in greater numbers.  That doesn’t mean it’s fair, of course.  And greater upper body strength is no excuse for trying to wipe out half of the population, so shame on you, male murderers.  You’re probably a bunch of racists, too.  Not that racism is worse than sexism, of course.  We all know how tough it is being a white woman of privilege in America these days.  We’re just too busy carrying on about that silly war-hero business instead of smashing that big glass ceiling in the White House.

Steinem thinks a Hillary win will be a good thing for all women because folks will finally have faced the fact that women are every bit as competent as men, regardless of what their different experiences might be.

And she claimed that if Clinton’s experience as first lady were taken seriously in relation to her White House bid, people might “finally admit that, say, being a secretary is the best way to learn your boss’s job and take it over.”

Again, another good point.  So remind me again why Betty Currie isn’t running for President?  She’s black, female and a former secretary to boot.  She could mop the floor with that John McCain.  Only in the metaphorical sense, of course.  She hasn’t been trained to kill people or anything.

Of course, none of this is a reflection on Hillary Clinton, who released a statement denouncing Steinem’s comments about Senator McCain, saying they did “not represent her thinking in any way.” 

Well, of course not.  Hillary Clinton is smart, unlike Gloria Steinem, who’s dumber than dirt and twice as old.  Or is it the other way around?  Anyway, I’d been holding on to my copy of Steinem’s Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions as a sort of memorial to my leftist youth, but now I’m thinking it doesn’t deserve to share shelf space with my copy of Is Elvis Alive?  I wouldn’t want people visiting my library and thinking I’m some kind of intellectual lightweight.  I have an image to maintain.