Why is Robin Morgan lying?

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008 · 32 Comments »

In the comments someone pointed me to this ridiculous essay by Robin Morgan. Ridiculous because it’s full of lies. You know, if I were going to write an Eminent Feminist’s missive to the world — which Morgan clearly thinks she’s doing — laying out the Eminent Feminist viewpoint on Palin, I think I’d least check my facts.

Morgan obviously didn’t. In her piece she repeats long-debunked lies that it would have taken her only seconds to investigate: that Palin claimed the war was part of God’s plan, that she didn’t know what the Vice President does (it was a rhetorical question, for chrissake), that she denounced Hillary supporters as “whiners,” that she opposes sex ed, that she’s against contraception, that she opposes funding for pregnant teens, that she made a point of charging victims for rape kits, that she believes in “praying away” homosexuality, that she’s a crazy fundamentalist who wants to put us all in calico dresses, and on and on.

Those are all lies.

I don’t mean to pick on Morgan in particular; I could ask the same question of Eve Ensler, Gloria Steinem, Naomi Wolf, Erica Jong.

Why the lies?

It’s not enough to say that it’s because they all want the Democrat to win. I’ve been a feminist for 37 years, and I’ve never seen this kind of dishonesty. The feminist establishment is almost entirely Democratic, it’s true, but in the past Republican women have been treated with basic courtesy, especially those Republican women who called themselves feminists.

What has changed? Why are these Eminent Feminists behaving in such a dishonest and, dare I say, unfeminist fashion?

Robin Morgan closes her piece by encouraging us to vote for an African-American — and really, that’s exactly what she says. Vote for an African-American. Doesn’t matter, apparently, that the African-American in question is more crooked than Nixon, has run a sexist campaign, and is at the head of a movement fueled by raging misogyny. You would think that an Eminent Feminist would be disturbed by those last two things at least. But no.

Instead the Eminent Feminists like Morgan go out of their way to spread lies about the woman — the feminist — who’s on the opposing ticket.


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32 Responses to “Why is Robin Morgan lying?”

  1. Lori says:

    Obama has legitimized misogyny and hating on people for traits over which they have no control is fun. He’s gotten our party hooked on the divine buzz of bullshit sanctimony.

    Hillary Clinton may never have been called a nigger, but she was called a “cunt” and a “fucking whore” in this race, and the Democratic party saw no reason to call anyone out on that. Wright’s rhetoric about Clinton should have sunk Obama’s campaign. Randi Rhodes’ rhetoric should have sunk Obama’s campaign – instead, they cheated on his behalf, and now everyone, even feminists, has decided its fun to hate on girls.

    What happens to Title IX if Obama is president? do we have any reason to think it’ll stand? What do you want to bet he nominates an African American to the bench who promptly joins up to overturn Roe v Wade and saddles our party with the fall out.

    If it happens, then it needed to happen. That the phrase “fucking whore” was allowed to go unchallenged in this race from a so-called liberal, nationally syndicated talk show host who was at a function organized by Obama supporters, for Obama supporters and advertised on obama’s site is a disgrace.

    I’m starting to think I’m voting McCain. I’m getting angrier.

  2. cellocat says:

    Women have enormous trouble supporting other women. Some of the cruelest things said to women are said by their mothers, supposedly motivated by “love”. Other cruel things said to women are said by their daughters, in an effort to individuate by cutting mom down to size. And further cruel things are said by women to women when intimacy or distance scares someone, or when someone, inevitably, fails to be what we want her to be. We often seem to have an awful lot of trouble accepting other women’s failings, challenges, and mistakes.

    With the candidacy of Hillary Cinton, some feminists let their concept of the perfect (potential female President) be the enemy of the good (actual candidate). Had she been a man, this wouldn’t apply, of course. They simply cannot accept someone who deviates from their image by more than a microscopic amount. And add to that the chance to vote for a man (which means you can avoid all the discomforts associated with the disjunction between your ideal vision and the reality the universe has presented you), it’s the easy path to take. Further add to that the presence of another identity issue (race instead of gender) about which they can feel good, and it’s almost certain that many women will desert Hillary for Barack.

    But they know, on some level, that there’s emotional and intellectual dishonesty in doing so, and so, like many of us flawed humans, they concoct an emotional reaction with which to justify their choices. The degree to which that reaction is visceral shows how close to home this hits. How many marriages fail because people can’t handle the reality of their partners’ character, history, style, etc, and they bail rather than doing the long, difficult, necessary work to learn about themselves and their relationships? How many friendships end because one friend feels betrayed by the other person’s human flaws, and personalizes them to the detriment of the relationship?

    Women tend to hold other women to impossible standards. It’s a way to avoid really challenging the patriarchy, because it gives us an ace in our pockets, a reason to withdraw, condemn, or punish other women whenever a conflict arises between our relationships with each other and our relationship to men & the patriarchy.

    Change scares the crap out of people, and a change in the relationship and power dynamic between men and women is one of the biggest changes that could occur in this world. It’s no wonder that many people of both genders fight it tooth and nail.

  3. simply wondered says:

    whether or not it is pure bile, it certainly sounds like it.

    and why aren’t the dems attacking mccain ffs?

    interestingly, friends are telling me that democrat supporters are packing up camp over here in the uk and rushing to bail out the not-quite-sinking-yet ship. they are really worried. but the message isn’t getting through over her ethat it might be something to do with feminists deserting the dems because of misogyny. i put this to a fellow brit who informed me that no liberals of either sex are deserting the dems for mccain… i thanked him for this information and realised that what i have been reading here for these last weeks was just the fevered imagining of my own tortured mind. much denial going on! i wonder if/when this section of opinion will be heard.

  4. Violet says:

    I agree with you, cellocat, on the woman-against-woman dynamic.

    But I expect better from women like Robin Morgan, who supported Hillary and knows very well how woman-against-woman works.

    I also, frankly, expect better from anyone who is writing for publication as a public intellectual. We’re talking basic dishonesty here. Morgan’s piece is full of lies. LIES.

    Rudimentary fact-checking would have told her that all these rumors are false. Did she simply choose not to fact-check an article about a woman who is only the second woman to be a candidate on a major party’s presidential ticket? Or did she fact-check and then CHOOSE to tell LIES?

  5. simply wondered says:

    bloody hell, vi. can’t sleep or what?

  6. Violet says:

    I’m up all night, will go to bed this evening. Whatever.

  7. simply wondered says:

    you crazy doctor, you! guess you need less sleep when you’re dead.

    or stemming the tide of obamania.

    (please look after yourself – i know, i’m not your mother – you don’t want to end up deader)

  8. Ciccina says:

    Add Planned Parenthood to the list of offenders. The Planned Parenthood Action Fund sent out an email appeal about Palin that says:

    “It was hard to believe that McCain had actually found someone more anti-choice, more extreme, and more out of touch than he is on issues that matter to women. And now, I’m deeply concerned about what lies ahead if McCain and Palin are elected — disappearing reproductive health rights, dramatically decreased access to health care services for poor people, and a return to the dark ages when it comes to accurate and comprehensive sex education.”

    It is hard for me to believe that Planned Parenthood – trusted provider of information – has stooped to this level. Makes me very sad. Very sad.

    Violet I can forward the email to you if you don’t have it and want to see it.

  9. Violet says:

    It is hard for me to believe that Planned Parenthood – trusted provider of information – has stooped to this level. Makes me very sad. Very sad.

    That sounds like the seed of a blog post, ciccina. Trusted provider of information no more.

  10. Lexia says:

    Cellocat’s sounds like a good diagnosis to me. Don’t know what the cure is, though.

    I do know that even before this election, feminists whose books during the 70’s and 80’s were life-changing works of feminism began writing things that made me go “WTF??”

    Katha Pollit and Barbara Ehrenright to name two. Ehrenright disappeared sometime during the relentless anti-woman media pounding of the 90′s into the other identity she had waiting in the wings, that of working class advocate. “Nickel and Dimed”, found on progressive coffee tables everywhere, completely ignores sex discrimination. To address that would have diminished the economic power of the only authentic representatives of the working class – who are men, of course.

    Women who don’t have a male accepted identity to fight from seem to simply abdicate when they lose courage. I noticed Pollit began excusing and ignoring the harsh reality of many American women’s lives and the rollback in the rights of all of us, in favor of a breezy “glass half full”, “men aren’t the enemy” attitude during the mid-90’s. She’s now as passionately and about as accurately anti-Palin as Robin Morgan is.

  11. kenoshaMarge says:

    Well Robin can rest easy because I am voting for an African American. And a woman. I’m voting for Cynthia McKinney.

    I could never in a zillion years vote for Misogynist Obama and McCain/Palin lost me last night with his vote for the bailout bill so I am voting the Green Ticket for McKinney.

    I believe in the 30% solution for voting for McKinney is easy. I would have easily voted for Palin too but JM made that impossible. Thankfully I had another option. A female option at that!

  12. quixote says:

    What has happened to everyone while I wasn’t looking? This is crazy. Since when do feminists, feminists!, worry more about lining up with their male friends than with what’s right?

    Well, since forever I guess, but don’t we learn anything?

    Since when do feminists hope that they don’t have to do the messy work themselves? One day Sir Walter Raleigh will spread his cloak over the nasty puddle and we can all walk across without having to be not-nice to anyone.

    I’ll shut up. I don’t really have anything to say except AAAAAAAAARRRRRGGHHHH

  13. ea says:

    I’m voting for the African-American: CYNTHIA MCKINNEY!

  14. goesh says:

    It shouldn’t be only women confronting such sexism directed at Hillary and now Sarah. Women should lead the charge however IMO. I had no idea Hillary was that badly trashed in such a sexist manner. I did not follow those events very closely at all. This is alarming. It upsets me so I can only imagine how it makes women like you all/feminists feel. Keep up the good work.

  15. no pasaran says:

    Violet, I think Robin knows they are lies. But to her it is irrelevant that they are lies. She knows what is best for us wimmins and if it takes smears to line us up, so be it. The end justifies the means.

    Manipulation of facts is universal but it appears to be especially prevalent when it comes to issues that are of special interest to women. A medical example of this can be found (don’t know if this has been amended) in the maternity book “What to Expect when You’re Expecting”. The author was asked how one could possibly eat all the ounces of neverending foodstuffs to get those essential nutrients. The author (who is female) responded that yes they had exagerated the amounts but only because that way they thought they could increase the odds that more women would consume the minimum. How about just giving us the facts?

    There you have it: We women are stupid. But not so the Robins and Glorias, they are special, they are intellectuals. And they have fought for policies that benefit women (which I am grateful for) and are not about to abandon that bandwagon for that of supporting more women in public offic regardless of where they stand on issues. But that’s another point.

  16. quixote says:

    Goesh: Right on!

  17. cellocat says:

    no parasan: relative to your comment, I think that the patronizing attitude toward women who become mothers, aside from being endemic in our society, is also part of what’s failed about the feminist movement. One of the things that a large number of women have in common is motherhood. It is something that can bring women together across socioeconomic and political lines. It is a powerful force. To ignore the issues of motherhood & family in favor of issues affecting women in school and the workplace is to miss an opportunity to empower the women’s movement more broadly, and to bring more women into the tent. In the UK, where feminism has not left motherhood out of the equation, women now get a YEAR of maternity leave and a guarantee of returning to their jobs. Here, you’re lucky to get 6 weeks.

    Violet, as for the issue of lies, in my experience there are not that many people who have the emotional, psychological, and spiritual fortitude to be absolutely committed to the truth, no matter the circumstances. And I do think that in this year with the past 8 being what they have been, the idea that the Democrat won’t win is something that is so huge and overwhelming that it erases other considerations. I have a dear friend who was sobbing at my dinner table when contemplating the idea of another Republican administration. Because of her awareness of my thoughts on the matter, she’s been careful with how she portrays Sarah Palin to me, but otherwise, there’d be no check on her reactions, I’m sure.

    It reminds me of how my cats’ behavior changes when they’re hungry or perceive a shortage of food. They start to fight. Those who have been marginalized for 8 years are now infighting in a way painful to see, because they’re so desperate to regain some power with which to achieve some of what they want.

    This year was supposed to be the perfect year for Dems. For many of them, the fact that Obama is not winning decisively, and that the Repub VP is a woman, has turned it into a nightmare. They’re in backlash. They see what they want to and speak accordingly.

  18. Violet says:

    And I do think that in this year with the past 8 being what they have been, the idea that the Democrat won’t win is something that is so huge and overwhelming that it erases other considerations.

    For me, the idea that Obama could win is so huge and overwhelming that it erases other considerations. Of course, I’m dealing with the real man, not the fantasy good-Democrat image. He’s worse than Nixon. The most corrupt politician to come along in a generation. But far more dangerous, because he has a pseudo-religious cult worshipping him. He’s like a cross between Karl Rove and Jim Jones. How I wish he would go back to Chicago and stay there forever.

  19. Maddog says:

    The answer to this question probably lies in Eric Hoffer’s book the True Believer. By all accounts this was Clinton’s year to be the Democrat candidate for President. But after some campaign missteps and a better than anticipated showing by Obama, Clinton was defeated. This defeat was unexpected by the Clinton faithful. They had worked hard and anticipated a win. Indeed they expected a win.

    Clinton’s loss was unacceptable to them. Some proceed through the Kubler/Ross model to accept the loss, moving from denial to anger to bargaining to depression until they are finally able to accept the loss. Others are unable to make the journey and become fixed in one of the stages.

    As Hoffer notes, the person most likely to adopt a pathological belief is the one who worked hard, who is educated, and who has invested much in the outcome. These individuals are most likely to be ready to accept a convenient belief system no matter how irrational.

    In this case this is only part of the story. These individuals are driven by a set of core beliefs, which are inflexible, and which find Republicans evil and Democrats good. While their anger is directly leveled at the Democrat party and specific wings of the party coming to grips with that creates too much cognitive dissonance for them. This dissonance forces them to misdirect their anger from Obama to another. In this case, Ms. Palin

    This is a safe misdirection of anger. They will not need to justify their anger since they know no one who likes or respects Ms. Palin. And politically they remain within the fold.

    This is also compounded by the fact that for the past few election cycles the progressive wing of the Democrat party has become increasingly mired in conspiracy theories and a willingness to believe that the root of all evil is George Bush, KKKarl Rove, Cheney, etc. The similarity between the Iraq war and the way the Democrats viewed Bush and World War II and the way the Republicans viewed Roosevelt are stunningly.

    The upshot is that since Bush is not running the progressives began to smear Palin not just for her political positions but in any way possible whether personal or made up. It is easy for these pogroms to get out of hand and they clearly have. But since they are self reinforcing they become difficult to stop. The feminists that failed to work through the Kubler/Ross model combined with a few others who are too immature to act responsibly are now caught in an irrational cycle of vitriolic ranting against Ms. Palin. It is too bad but not unexpected.

    Thus the anger at Clinton lost is misdirected from Obama to Palin. This permits the angry individual to vent her spleen and still vote for Obama, who everyone knows will result in the perfect world order. In fact, this dissonance may account for the extreme vitriol of these people.

    The real problem here is the irrational belief that if only we elect Obama then everything will be right and good in the world.

    Mark “maddog” Sherman

  20. Suzie says:

    Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem were trashed as racists during the primary by feminists supporting Obama. My best guess is that they are trying to salvage their work by now supporting Obama, even if they have to publish half-truths (i.e., lies) to do it. I respect both women for all that they have done and that they continue to fight, despite all the grief they get. But I wish that they understood that Obama supporters are never going to like them. Sadly, the same goes for Hillary and Bill Clinton. They can work hard for Obama, but I guarantee that many of his most ardent supporters will never forgive them.

    Google any of their names and “racist” and you’ll see that these accusations live on, on the Internet.

    Pardon my linking to my own work, but earlier, I quoted from a Racialicious post that attacked white feminists for not doing more to support Michelle Obama. The comment can be turned around to apply to Palin:
    “… it is clear that the feminist ideology of some women only extends as far as their favorite candidate. … Why are so many women standing silent, and worse, abetting the demonization of another woman of substance?”

  21. Suzie says:

    Whoops, here’s the link: http://echidneofthesnakes.blogspot.com/search?q=suzie+tami+racialicious

  22. cellocat says:

    Oh, I agree with you about Obama personally, but for a lot of people I know, the idea of Republican lite is still less scary than another Repub.

  23. Miley says:

    This is a great post Violet. And I found it via another great post on this topic

    For me the refusal to call out Obama’s putting gay bashers on stage is really becoming a sore spot with me and feminist ‘leaders.’

    Watching various groups thrown under the bus by a “Democratic” candidate was bad enough. Seeing feminism do the same is frightening.

  24. donna darko says:

    I quoted from a Racialicious post that attacked white feminists for not doing more to support Michelle Obama. The comment can be turned around to apply to Palin

    The problem with the Third Wave is lack of balance and proportion: many more POC did not support Clinton or Palin.

  25. Shane says:

    I think what Suzie says as far as motivation is pretty accurate. Its as if these prominent feminist figures who supported Clinton in the primary think that they have to serve penance for the grave sin of not supporting HopeenChange earlier, and be even more enthusiastic to show they’ve been converted. I assume its also so that nobody will think they were being racist (which way too many people think is synonymous with not supporting Obama for policy reasons). Unfortunately they don’t think that being critical while sticking to the facts is enough, which is the weird part. Palin’s not good, McCain’s not good (neither is Obama) and there’s plenty to critique them on for without making up stuff, and if they could just be truthful their shift would be a lot easier to understand.

    Maybe its because that sticking to facts also raises uncomfortable questions about Obama. Though it is a nice reminder of the essentially Rovean style of the Obama campaign all along—go on and on about how the other side is being so dirty and playing the ‘Politics of Fear’ while you’re using those tactics much more bluntly yourself, without anybody caring. They have very little right to call anyone liars. What they’re criticising their opponents for is most likely what they’re already doing.

    What makes it worse, I think, is imagining the opposite. If Clinton had won the primary (and I’m sure things would be different if she had) there is no way that the many figures who supported Obama would have turned and uncritically endorsed her. She’d have kept getting shit for being corrupt, racist, more of the same, an ice queen, against CHANGE, whatever. But that’s all OK, because supporting Obama means never having to say you’re sorry.

    Jokes aside though, this stuff is important because it has wider implications too. All that insistence that if we just got enough people to know the truth about what’s wrong it would all work out in the end, that’s been thrown away entirely in the hopes of getting Obama across the line. Its sad.

  26. Carmonn says:

    Suzie, I can’t wait to see the reaction to Biden’s tears at racialicious. I remember the reaction to Clinton’s non-tears. I’m sure they’ll be roughly the same lol

  27. Ciccina says:


    I just bought Hoffer’s book per your prior recommendation, but haven’t had the chance to start reading it. I’m looking forward to it though. :-)

  28. octogalore says:

    Check out: http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20081003/us_time/whysomewomenhatesarahpalin.

    Articles like this present a dilemna. On the one hand, their premise of “cattiness” is deeply sexist. On the other hand, current events seem to be playing out along the lines the articles suggest.

  29. roofingbird says:

    I’m pretty sick of the idea myself, that if women want to get something done, that it has to be articulated or folded in somehow with minority rights. I thought she had one good idea:

    [Why didn’t women—the majority of the population—hold a debate, make the candidates answer to us, and in the process, inform the electorate that our issues are not reducible to “the glass ceiling,” which sounds as if all we want are more CEO jobs?]

    And so I’m wondering, why didn’t she do something about it? She certainly seems to be a person who could make it happen!

  30. roofingbird says:

    You know, I’ve already voted African American twice in my life. Prior to my enlightenment, I would have done it, for a Democrat, again. Whenever I’ve voted, I’ve tried to pick the best candidate, and sorry Hillary, while I voted for you, I almost never pick the winner. Why should I change my poor gaming skills now?

    Let’s do something practical, like working on election and caucus reform! And Violet, you keep it up, wars are lost when the assaults go unchallenged.

  31. marirebel says:

    Thank you for this post and the excellent comments. It seems that liberal feminists intent on trashing Governor Palin are content to use a ridiculous and inaccurate caricature of Palin. The real Palin is far more complicated. I think the caricature of Palin is used because it is far easier to dismiss a person who is as one-dimensional and inhuman as the Palin caricature—a creationist, fundamentalist, anti-sex education, anti-abortion, mindless producer of multiple babies, killer of animals for fun. In fact, the caricature of Palin is meant to dehumanize her and paint her as an “other,” not like us, who can be viciously attacked and hopefully, annihilated. It is easy to mischaracterize Palin because many intellectuals see her as not of their ilk—as uneducated and working class. Interesting that this propensity to dehumanize in order to destroy the other is also part of the world philosophy of George W. Bush.

    I think also that a so-called feminist’s untruthful critique of Palin may involve a self-loathing exacerbated by the narcissistic individualism of our society. We all internalize to some extent the misogyny of the patriarchal world order. While we talk publicly about equal pay, or equal rights, we rarely talk publicly about ways to address the pervasive psychological and emotional wounds inflicted on a woman’s sense of her deepest self by misogyny. What is the point of having equal rights in a society that is hateful and distrustful of women, and predicated on the worldview of the Western white male? This wounding may be exacerbated in our individualistic society where we lack the skills to think and act communally, to reach across the artificial abyss to hear the stories of our sisters, and support our sisters, even though their stories are markedly different from our own.

  32. LindaA1 says:

    I’m about worn out from worming around the web catching feminist icons with their pants down on Palin. The unholy war on this woman candidate seems to be coming from feminist leaders across the board. Steinem, Morgan, Jong, Esler, Feldt, assorted NOW spokespersons – they all know better than this. I’m mystified, taken aback, befuddled, HORRIFIED by the blatant sexist attacks from these legendary voices for women. WTH happened to them?

    For a real experience in pretzel logic, check in with Planned Parenthood founder Gloria Feldt on her blog “Heartfeldt” as she attempts to explain away her brazen misogyny against Palin with her latest post “Why Appearances Matter and Corrupt” which attempt to explain her personal sexist attacks on Palin in her two earlier posts titled “Tightrope” and “What Did Sarah Learn.”


    I’m afraid Obama DOES have magic – the bad kind that creeps in on cat’s paws and silently sucks out people’s souls in the night when they’re not paying too much attention. How else can it be explained that the entire upper echelon of feminist leadership seems to have gone mad?