Pass the Olives

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Misogyny Hit a New High: George Will and Incontinence

Colette writing in bed as an illustration for "Misogyny hit a new high."

Colette writing in bed, circa 1940s.

I must say that George Will did get me out of bed this morning as misogyny hit a new high. I have taken to reading the NYTimes and WaPo on my iPhone as soon as I open my eyes. It delays the inevitable confrontation with a kitchen that still needs attention.

Reading both publications and sometimes doing the NYTimes sudoku puzzle means I’m in a race with Colette about who can stay in bed the longest.  A race I would rather not win since she was writing and I’m not. With the help of George Will, today I got up and started writing.

In his usually acerbic opinion piece in the Washington Post, George Will proclaimed today that:

The Democrats’ dilemma is especially difficult because Biden’s vice president is an incontinent producer of word salads who suffers from deficits of political talent and policy substance.

It took me aback and I had to think. Biden’s vice president? Joe Biden? Kamala Harris is incontinent? Or is there a new VP? I had to read it twice. He never actually mentions her name, the cool fellow that he is.

Then I checked to be sure I hadn’t accidentally touched something on the screen that took me off to the Drudge Report without my noticing it. No, it was still the Washington Post. And the sentence was still there.

He goes on to recommend Colorado Governor Jared Polis, a child of 1960s hippies, as the answer to Democrats’ 2024 prayers instead. Yes, he recommends the white gay man with a husband and more than one child who lives outside an urban area in a present-day utopia. And Colorado isn’t exactly a swing state.

Tongue in cheek is certainly the George Will style but why did he have to take a huge swipe at a woman on his way to suggest that the Democrats shoot themselves in the foot?

Of course, George will claim that he meant verbally incontinent, what else? But the use of incontinence in relation to a woman is a dog whistle. The marketing industry in support of the incontinence pad industry has proclaimed that 50% of all women are incontinent. In pre-pandemic 2019, according to Statista, this market had sales approaching $2 billion a year. That is a lot of dollars invested in the idea that incontinence is a proven condition of being a woman. Who could argue with a market that large? Better to latch on to it. Especially if it supports one’s other prejudices.

In the annals of misogyny, George Will has hit a new high. And has added Vice President Kamala Harris to the acts of Misogyny in Public list — First woman to be labeled incontinent as a political campaign talking point.

“Opinion: Why Colorado Gov. Jared Polis could answer Democrats’ 2024 prayers” by George Will. The Washington Post, September 14, 2022.

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