Saturday, March 22, 2008

Post-feminist follies

L.A. Times columnist Meghan Daum expends 800 words pondering the meaning of the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal:
At its core, it reveals how much uncertainty exists within even the strongest and most enduring relationships. Deeper still, it hints at how hard we'll work -- and how exhausted we'll become in the process -- in the effort to eliminate that uncertainty. In much the same way the Bush administration was convinced that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, humans desperately want to think that long-term sexual monogamy works. We want to believe that, through some combination of willpower, luck and, as Cosmo might say, "smart love moves," we will neither cheat nor be cheated upon.
What is it with columnists and the first-person plural? Yesterday it was Frank Schaeffer, today it's Meghan Daum. Her use of "we" is an attempt to project onto her readers the "uncertainty" she describes. And, as with Schaeffer, this trick is profoundly dishonest.

Daum uses the bogus "we" to suggest a "we're all in this together" sisterhood solidarity. Clearly, however, she does not share the "desperate" belief in monogamy that she attributes to this "we." Her message could be translated:
I pity you stupid chumps, with your childish beliefs in "happily ever after." I am a sophisticated realist, while you are a deluded simpleton.
It is easily possible to distinguish Daum's own beliefs from the beliefs she insultingly attributes to others via her bogus "we." And with a bit of assistance from her biography, it is just as easy to find the basis of Daum's insulting cynicism. She does not believe in "long-term sexual monogamy" for the simple reason that she's never experienced it. And her sneering at other people's monogamous relationships (or even their belief in the possibility of such relationships) amounts to a sour-grapes defense mechanism.

Daum's column reveals more about Daum than it does about the Spitzer scandal. It's just another self-indulgent excercise in media narcissism.

1 comment:

  1. "In much the same way the Bush administration was convinced that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,"

    Not only using the royal 'we' in conversation, but failing to realize that the administration was relying on info from other sources as well as it's own :) that were indeed convinced on the womd in Iraq (see Europe, Democrats, 70% of the people of the US, et al).

    Nice blog btw