Ethics Dunce: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Oh, nice: class act, Senator.

OK, its safe: tell him off now, Senator.

OK, it’s safe: tell him off now, Senator.

Having used a broad anonymous brush to tar the entire group of male Senators as sexist pigs while being unwilling to risk the enmity and loss of trust by her colleagues by naming names (and wisely so), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) cravenly caved to media and pundit hectoring by naming a dead man. Yes, ancient Senator Daniel Inouye, Hawaian icon, relic of an earlier era (and its sexist norms), war hero, and conveniently in his grave so he can’t defend himself, was the one Gillibrand fingered today as the elder Democrat who told Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand  not to “lose too much weight now” because “I like my girls chubby,” as she related in her book. Continue reading

Sen. Gillibrand and The Pigs

"I yield to the distinguished gentleman from the sty..."

“I yield to the distinguished gentleman from the sty…”

People magazine revealed an intriguing bit of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) new memoir, “Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice to Change the World” that suggests that members of the Senate are not the “Distinguished Gentlemen” they are supposed to be, at least when it comes to basic manners involving female colleagues:

“Gillibrand isn’t especially offended by her coworkers’ remarks. ‘It was all statements that were being made by men who were well into their 60s, 70s or 80s,’ she says. ‘They had no clue that those are inappropriate things to say to a pregnant woman or a woman who just had a baby or to women in general.’ ”

Now some critics on the Right are using this as a “gotcha!”, suggesting that Gillibrand is protecting Democrats from negative attention for the same kinds of conduct that Gillibrand’s party and colleagues are quick to use against Republicans in its “war on women” strategy.

This accusation is beyond disingenuous, not to mention stupid. If Gillibrand were to publicly accuse a GOP colleague of such conduct, she would be accused, by these same critics, of being a hysteric, a bad colleague, unprofessional and petty—and they would be right. No professional woman responds to this kind of crude, obnoxious, “Look! I’ve-been-hiding-in-since-1970,” training-wheels harassment by making a public accusation that embarrasses not just the individual at fault but the organization they both work for. For Gillibrand to do this in the U.S. Senate would instantly make her a pariah even in her own party.

More importantly, it would be wrong. Continue reading

Political Correctness Delusions #1: Melissa McCarthy’s Weight Has Nothing To do With Her Success

melissa-mccarthyOne of the many reasons political correctness is unethical is its attempt to not only exercise speech and thought control, but thought distortion and fantasy. In “Entertainment” magazine, Karen Valby scolds journalists and fans who keep mentioning the weight of actress Melissa McCarthy….you know, the morbidly obese comic who has made her career playing funny obese characters. According to Valby, this is sexism. After all, she says, heavy actors aren’t constantly hectored about their girth. Then she cites a group of actors who are usually heavy but do not play “fat” characters, and mixes in a few who do (John Goodman, Kevin James), hoping we won’t notice. John Goodman’s weight never discussed? Tell us another. Kevin James? James’ body fat percentage was a punchline approximately ten times a week on “The King of Queens.” Moreover, of the men, only Goodman is obese. Like McCarthy. Oops, I said it.

McCarthy is one of those comic actors, like Kathy Kinney, Jackie Gleason, Fatty Arbuckle, Lou Costello, Curly Howard, and Wayne (“Newman”) Knight, whose rotundity is inseparable from their character’s comedy. In “Mike and Molly,” a sitcom about a blue collar, obese married couple, the fat is the gimmick. McCarthy is funny and talented, but playing the funny fat woman is her niche. Valby (or McCarthy) can argue that she would still rake in starring turns if she was 130 pounds, but who is she kidding? A thin McCarthy would be thrown into a large, competitive pool of comic actresses, and there would be no guarantee that she could prevail. McCarthy is no fool: Valby says she is comfortable with her body, and maybe she is, but she is especially comfy with the income her unique body type generates. Continue reading