Have you heard the one about Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore talking disparagingly about the Assange rape allegations and the subsequent outcry about their remarks? No? Before we go any further, take a minute and catch up with the goings on in my open letter to Keith and also see Feministing’s roundup and my roundup of the issue in general before the famous conversation here.
So now that you are more or less up to speed, quick recap–Olbermann strutted out of the Twitterverse the other day saying he felt that the criticism of his remarks was an attack. The he returned because according to him, the “frenzied spectacle” had stopped and issued this statement,
Rape has touched my family, directly and savagely, and if anybody thinks I have addressed it without full sensitivity, then that assessment is the one that counts, and I apologize. But these accusations that I “revealed” an accuser’s identity by retweeting Bianca Jagger’s link, or that I ‘shamed’ an accuser by asking a question about the prosecution of a man governments are trying to bury, or that I do not ‘understand’ charges that have yet to be presented in their final form, reflect exactly the kind of rushing to judgment of which I’m accused, and merit the same kind of apology I have just given.
He followed up with this statement saying that the protests were worse than the anti-feminism he was accused of (although that really isn’t what he was accused of), it was, wait for it, new phrase–“anti-personism”. And finally there was this gem (and who knows what statement Olbermann is making with the photo),
That’s why I took my time out & why I replied as I did. Feminism has no greater male supporter in tv news than me.
So personism trumps feminism, never mind that such a statement indicates a deep misunderstanding of what feminism is about. And Keith I hate to break it to you but feminism doesn’t have any great male supporters on television. Are you better than some? For sure, but dude, look at your guest lineup–they are mostly white and male and until that changes, do not even pretend to be a champion of feminism.
I think it is that last quote about being the greatest feminist supporting guy on tv that really is the most disheartening because the idea that he is such a great supporter is bunk and that he thinks he is amounts to pretty standard liberal male delusion. Yes there are some great guys out there who truly do support feminism. But there are a lot more who think they do that actually don’t. And like a whole lot of other feminists, I am worn out by that, pissed about it, and just plain sad about it. It takes an enormous amount of time from other more important work when we have to call out and address faux feminist men. Sometimes they are well intentioned, sometimes not so much, but it doesn’t take all that much unpackaging to get to why they so persistently don’t get it. It’s called male privilege. And Olbermann has a bad case of it.
So I’m just going to close with this point–support women-positive media. Mainstream media isn’t going to provide it to you. There are far too examples of women-positive media to list here, many are found in our blogroll on the right side of the page. It is out there and we need to foster and encourage and yes monetarily support these voices. Otherwise we’ll be stuck listening to Keith Olbermann’s feminism.
If Olbermann hasn’t blocked me on Twitter already, this should probably do it. Which is unfortunate, because I do value his voice, he has much to say that is important to hear, but on this he is very wrong. So I dare you Keith, don’t block me and send me a Tweet and tell me you read this.