Friday, October 24, 2008

Palin: The Feminist Straw Woman

A few months ago Vanity Fair ran an article about the discovery that the playwright Arthur Miller, with his third wife, the photographer Inge Morath, 40 or so years ago had a Down syndrome son. Miller promptly clapped the boy into an institution...and never saw the child again. Most people would have taken this for a heartless act...on the part of a man known for excoriating the putative cruelties of capitalism and the endless barbarities of his own country's governments...Yet, so far as one can tell, Arthur Miller's treatment of his own child has not put the least dent in his reputation, while Sarah Palin's having, keeping, and loving her Down syndrome child is somehow, by the standard of the liberal woman of our day, not so secretly thought the act of an obviously backward and ignorant woman, an affront to womanhood. "Her greatest hypocrisy," proclaimed Wendy Doniger, one of the leading feminist lights at the University of Chicago, "is her pretense that she is a woman."...Loathing Sarah Palin, Joseph Epstein, Weekly Standard, 10/24/2008

The attacks on Governor Palin by feminists (with the notable exception of Senator Clinton, who has restricted critical remarks of the Alaskan Governor to the usual and facetious subject of experience) are not very puzzling. As the noted essayist Joseph Epstein suggests in this essay, it's not very different from accusations of witchcraft in 17th century Salem, transference of jealousy into divine rage.


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