Friday, February 25, 2005

Tom Bevan links to Heather Macdonald's magnificent take down of the hysterical Susan Estrich. It's one of the best things I've read in a long time. Here is a small excerpt. Read the rest. And you'll never be able to take Susan Estrich seriously again, if you did before.
Selective quotation cannot do justice to Estrich’s rants. But their underlying substance is as irrational as their tone. Estrich lodges the standard charge in all fake discrimination charges: the absence of proportional representation in any field is conclusive proof of bias. Determining the supply of qualified candidates is wholly unnecessary.

For the last three years, Estrich’s female law students at USC have been counting the number of female writers on the Los Angeles Times op-ed pages (and she complains that there aren’t more female policy writers? Suggestion to Estrich: how about having your students master a subject rather than count beans.). She provides only selective tallies of the results: “TWENTY FOUR MEN AND ONE WOMAN IN A THREE DAY PERIOD [caps in original]” (she does not explain how she chose that three-day period or whether it was representative); “THIRTEEN MEN AND NO WOMEN” as authors of pieces on Iraq.

Several questions present themselves: how many pieces by women that met the Times’s standards were offered during these periods? What is the ratio of men to women among experts on Iraq? Estrich never bothers to ask these questions, because for the radical feminist, being a woman is qualification enough for any topic. Any female is qualified to write on Iraq, for example, because in so doing, she is providing THE FEMALE PERSPECTIVE. (This belief in the essential difference between male and female “voices,” of course, utterly contradicts the premise of the anti-Larry Summers crusade.) Thus, to buttress her claim that Kinsley “refuses” to publish women, Estrich merely provides a few examples of women whose offerings have been rejected: “Carla Sanger . . . tells me she can't get a piece in; I have women writing to me who have submitted four piece [sic] and not gotten the courtesy of a call—and they teach gender studies at UCLA. . . .” It goes without saying, without further examination, that each of those writers deserved to be published—especially, for heaven’s sakes, the gender studies professors!

Self-centered? Thin-skinned? Takes things personally? Misogynist tropes that sum up Estrich to a T.
I have to say, that I had found previously Susan Estrich one of the better liberal commentators I'd seen on TV. She argued her positions reasonably and was willing to find fault with Democrats when they messed up. But I won't be able to respect her opinions after reading her rants against Michael Kinsley. Her terrible allusion to his Parkinson's Disease reminded me of something that I had forgotten: her call for Democrats to make up negative stories about Bush during the election campaign because Democrats lose because they are just too nice. Apparently, that September column was not an anomaly.

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