Torn Between Two Nutters

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Kristin Devine

Kristin is a geek, a libertarian, and a domestic goddess. She lives in a wildlife refuge in rural Washington state with too many children and way too many animals and works with women around the world as a fertility counselor. There's also a blog which most people would very much disapprove of https://atomicfeminist.com/

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68 Responses

  1. Avatar fillyjonk says:

    Mixed feelings here.

    On the one hand, I feel like this about how I feel a lot of the fights our political class are involved in at the moment: “Takes one to know one” – in other words, people tend to be guilty of the very insults they hurl.

    On the other hand, it makes me profoundly sad, what you said about women’s husbands often not only not being there for them, but being their main problem. Because I, as a Single Woman, had convinced myself that my life was hard because I was Single (I am still trying to figure out who I will ask to drive me to, drive me home from, and watch over me after the colonoscopy I’m supposed to have this summer, and it is giving me considerable anxiety, and I keep thinking “If only you had lowered your standards a bit and married one of the dudes from grad school, he could have driven you”). So what I’m hearing is that adulthood is just hard and awful for everyone, and there’s no life-path that makes it easier….and that’s not at all reassuring.

    But mostly I’m annoyed at the fact that the people involved are far wealthier and more powerful than I am, at least some of them are older, and yet….I see lots and lots of people acting like big babies, and it annoys me because people imply *I’M* immature because I’m single and childless and I’d rather watch cartoons than, I don’t know, Game of Thrones or something.

    We really are in the stupidest timeline and I wonder how we got here. The more-Calvinist side of me says “we probably deserve it” but man, it sucks.Report

    • Avatar InMD says:

      I wouldn’t look at it quite like that. I’m only a few years into my marriage (my wife and I might as well have been married for a couple years before we actually were in terms of how we were living) but one thing I’ve learned for any relationship that passes the honeymoon stage needs to be treated as a perpetual work in progress.

      Part of that is being able to hear the kind of frustrations Kristin is talking about, not lose your shit, and find a productive way to figure it out. Another part of course is being able to examine your own frustrations critically before just taking it out on your spouse, being pragmatic about how to handle them, and learning to legitimately forgive. None of these things are easy and people fail at them, at times on a pretty epic level.

      To me the take away isn’t that marriage is awful, but more that you can’t cruise control your way into a happy functional life or relationship or whatever else.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      But mostly I’m annoyed at the fact that the people involved are far wealthier and more powerful than I am, at least some of them are older, and yet….I see lots and lots of people acting like big babies

      After working in both academia and government, and private industry, I have come to realize that far too many people are wealthy and powerful precisely because they act like big, entitled babies; and for some reason, that gets interpreted as ‘driven’, ‘confident’, or whatever other term helps other people convince themselves that such a person deserves wealth and power.Report

      • Avatar fillyjonk says:

        Yeah, I saw an instance this spring of someone’s emotional fragility and tendency to blow up at people being catered to in a way that I would not be catered to. On the one hand: I suppose I should be proud/glad that people are comfortable criticizing my work when it deserves it. On the other hand, it feels unfair that this other person keeps to get doing things the suboptimal way just because no one (including me) wants to deal with one of their tantrums.

        Adult life is stupid.Report

      • Avatar jason says:

        Totally agree. I once saw the company commander of a Marine raider company lose his shit because I didn’t have the key to the locker with his cereal. (on a WESTPAC the zeroes brought their own civilian cereal)Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        You’re fired!Report

    • Avatar atomickristin says:

      Replying to filly above!!!There are things that are good about being married, and things that suck about it.

      I don’t think there is any ideal. Everything I’ve ever done and experienced carried with it massive unforeseen downsides, marriage included.

      I will say this – my website involves medical issues (since it’s fertility-related) and there are quite a few guys who are not very supportive of their wives’ medical issues, either. As in, not only would they not be willing to drive (at least not without great complaint) but they’d forbid or at least argue excessively about certain treatments due to expense or “not believing in them”, etc. I wish it wasn’t that way, but it is for some (even here in America and the UK and Europe, where you’d think it would be more egalitarian.)

      I hope I’m not bumming you out, LOL. I hope it reassures in some way to know that single women definitely envied at times by those who made other choices.Report

  2. I haven’t thought about this too hard, but you really made me think it out and I tend to agree. What exactly is being gained by George Conway getting into a Twitter spat with Trump? How is it making the world a better place? He’s just publicly venting, reveling in the RTs and kudos. And it’s making his wife’s job more difficult.

    The ONE reservation I have is that this might just all be a game to them. It stirs up controversy and Trump loves controversy. But overall, I think you are right about how people are reacting to this. If we take it all at face value, Galloway really is being a selfish jerk.Report

    • Avatar Mr.Joe says:

      My first take is that is just as likely theater. I have a hard time believing that all this is happening without Kellyanne being on board. Kellyanne starts to feel shaky at work, or is not getting enough air time; so George hops on TV or twitter to slam Trump. She becomes the focus of the moment for twitter/media, goes on TV to defends Trump and pivots to whatever the talking points of the day are. Trump sees her being oh so loyal over even her husband. Twittersphere feels bad for the horrible position she was put in and feels sympathy for her. All wins for Kellyanne.Report

      • Avatar Mr.Joe says:

        FWIW… While nothing so craven as this, my partner and I have done things in this vein. For us it is working as a supportive team. eg. “Just tell them it is my fault. They already dislike me, expect me to be screw up, and you need to preserve the relationship.” Or “I’ll be the bad guy on this one, you got it last time.”Report

  3. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Great post. Personally, I lament the decline of even a modicum of stoicism among men as of late. Sure, the practice of stoicism can be taken too far and leave you with an unfeeling shell of a man, but that doesn’t mean the philosophy is without value.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    George is right. Kelly Anne is wrong and willfully served a corrupt and morally bankrupt administration headed by an empty shell of of a man with no redeeming values.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin says:

      Guess she had it coming, then.Report

      • Avatar veronica d says:

        That’s not a fair response.

        But seriously, she does have certain things “coming to her,” such as a profound loss of reputation, dignity, and respect. This is as it should be. She works for Trump, and in particular as a public “mouthpiece.” She is paid, in a sense, to be his face. What should the outcome be? Should it matter that she is a woman?Report

  5. Avatar Bill Stephenson says:

    Kelly Conway is paid to defend Trump. Her husband is not. We don’t really know what Kelly personally thinks of Trump but I’ve not heard her complain about her husband tweeting his opinions on Trump or that he’s asked her to stop working for and defending Trump.

    And I’ve not heard him disparage his wife publicly in any way for working for Trump. Seems to me these two are doing quite well at letting each other think for themselves and do the work they’ve chose to do.

    The idea that he should sit quiet at home is every bit as silly as a man saying “a woman has to know her place”. If you ask me, these two are a great example of how a marriage should work.

    And the part about him saying “Frankly, I do it so I don’t end up screaming at her about it.” shouldn’t be taken as him blaming her for what’s frustrating him in regards to Trump. That’s a leap on your part. Both my wife and scream “about” Trump and neither of us blame each other for him being where he is.

    If my wife was getting paid what Kelly is and was determined to squeeze as much as she could out of that opportunity I’d back her up on that, and she’d do the same for me. But neither of us would demand the other sit quiet about Trump. That’s asking too much of anyone.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin says:

      Ok so the next time my husband’s boss keeps him late at work I should post on Facebook about what a big fat jerk he is while questioning his very sanity. And then I’ll put up flyers around town. And hire an airplane to fly around with a banner that names him by name. And that should be considered entirely reasonable.

      As a woman I find it just a tad offensive that you compare “a woman knowing her place” with a man publicly humiliating his wife and undermining her ability to do her job. Because that really truly IS a woman not knowing her place, now isn’t it?? He wants her to resign, she doesn’t wanna, he’s gonna make her pay because she didn’t know her place.

      This is NOT him questioning Trump’s actions behind closed doors or with friends or even honestly answering a question a reporter asked. This is him going out and deliberately courting controversy in such a way that it harms his wife at work (and even in future employment – because I’d not want to hire her knowing her husband was an unknown quantity). And for what? To repeat a story gobs of other people have already told.

      And he didn’t say he screamed about it. He said he screamed AT HER. Words have meaning.

      I think a lot of people are blinded about how problematic this is because it involves Trump.Report

  6. “Over time I’ve come to encapsulate it this way: “Whenever I really need my husband, he’s not only not there for me, but he suddenly becomes the biggest problem I have.””

    Putting politics aside, this is great point that all men should read. I try to not be this way; I don’t always succeed. A good example is what my dad’s second wife said about him. She had an issue where she had to pick up her daughter from school but a work thing came up that she couldn’t get away from. She called my dad in a panic. She said her first husband would have yelled at her for creating problems. My dad just said, “Oh, that’s not a problem. I’ll go pick her up.”Report

  7. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    Since the article isn’t about me, I can proudly state that I’ve almost very nearly mastered “maybe just staying out of the way.”Report

  8. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    “Whenever I need my husband to support my decision to defend a raging sociopath who rips children from their mothers arms and locks them in a secret gulag of prisons, he isn’t there for me! “Report

    • Avatar atomickristin says:

      EVERY man that demeans, belittles, mistreats, controls, or abuses his partner thinks she had it coming and will tell people at great length how terrible she was. And a good many men will agree with him and say that she did have it coming.

      You think it’s justified in this case so it doesn’t matter. It’s not justified. It’s never justified for a man (or woman) to mess with their partners’ employment and ability to make a living. This has to be a hard line we draw in society. Because if you allow it when you think it’s “justified” and she “deserves it” in your mind then there is always some set of circumstances where someone thinks it’s justified and that she deserves it.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        You’re right, in that when awful people do awful things to other awful people, the actions are still awful.

        I’m just having a difficult time summoning up much sympathy for the victims of the Night of The Long Tweets.Report

  9. “Whether you like her or or whether you don’t, she’s real, and she’s spectacular. Kellyanne Conway’s very existence is a beacon for all women, seriously. And yet despite all this, despite her many stunning accomplishments, her husband thinks it is just fine and dandy to undermine her success for his own momentary gratification, instead of keeping his dumb mouth shut (like wives have done to support their husbands since mouths were invented.)”

    Well said! Loved this Kristin! 👍🏻Report

  10. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Yeah, I do this to Maribou from time to time.

    Sigh.Report

    • Avatar Maribou says:

      You do it significantly less than you used to.

      Which is the best any of us can hope for about any of our suboptimal reactions to our partners’ needs, IMO.Report

      • Avatar Maribou says:

        It’s a bit paradoxical, but I also think that the moment in a relationship where one partner stops having a particular adverse self-centering reaction to the other partner’s needs is *also* the point at which the needing partner feels safer expressing said needs. Which can lead to both of them feeling like the adverse reaction happens *more* often than it used to, when objectively the reason for that is just because one person isn’t carrying out the conversation in their head and squashing themself before it even happens 10 times for every one time it happens out loud….

        (phrasing it that abstractly because there have certainly been plenty of times where I had an adverse reaction to your needs, not necessarily the same one, but something just as bad – and I think it may be some kind of very common feature of relationships).Report

  11. Avatar Jay L Gischer says:

    I am super hesitant to believe I understand what’s going on between spouses. For instance, I’m pretty sure Kellyanne likes the (verbal) rough stuff, it’s what she does for a living. It seems possible that Trump is a terrible boss, but the job is really good for Kellyanne career-wise, so she’s staying. But George is mad at how he treats her, and would really like to just punch him (as would so many of us). But he can’t, so he contents himself with Twitter. Possibly he does so with Kellyanne’s quiet consent.

    Meanwhile, Trump takes none of this too seriously, despite appearances. In fact, I don’t really trust appearances for anyone at that level. They could quite conceivably all be playing some angle. Let me clarify, I think George is honest in his dislike of Trump, but maybe not so honest when he’s asked “why are you doing this?”.

    Again, I don’t know what’s going on, but protective behavior is, well, frequent.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      These are not public servants, there are reality show people.
      One might as well get upset over what this Kardashian said to that Kardashian.

      Awful people doing awful things to other awful people, all for awful reasons.Report

      • Avatar atomickristin says:

        Everyone on here recognizes that Trump’s incivility wears away at certain social norms, right? Whether he’s faking it (I think he is many times) or whether it’s real, it is still nibbling away at normal behavior.

        George Conway is wearing away at an important social norm in which married spouses are not supposed to publicly undermine each other’s employment status and ability to make a living (particularly when it’s male to female because of the overall baggage involved)

        Some of you don’t care because you don’t like Kellyanne Conway.

        It is STILL harming the social fabric and potentially normalizing this kind of behavior.Report

  12. Avatar Silver Wolf says:

    The added “bonus” is that, odds are, both of these man-children require a full-throated defense or else she is deemed insufficiently loyal. The rational approach, to try and appease both, will only ensure that neither will be happy. I suspect that neither can even contemplate the predicament that their behavior has put her in.

    I really don’t like Kellyanne Conway at all, however, my empathy for her at this moment is complete. Many times, when something bad happens to someone you don’t like, you can say something like “well, they had it coming”. Most of the people who get backstabbed by Trump fall into this category (McCain being a good exception). Being betrayed by a spouse in this way is never acceptable.Report

  13. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Many people across the political spectrum have grave concerns about Mr. Trump’s mental and physical health. Maybe George III shouldn’t voice them because his wife his a paid spokesperson for El Douche but he is most likely in a better position to both observe Trump’s behavior and what amounts to his thought process up close and come to judgment on than most other people.Report

  14. Avatar pillsy says:

    Both these things can be true:

    1. Kellyanne Conway keeps doing disgraceful things in service to a disgraceful campaign and a disgraceful President.
    2. George Conway is being a complete asshole to her.Report

  15. Avatar veronica d says:

    A lot of men (not you, of course, Manly Reader, but a lot) seem to have a burning need to make every moment within a marriage entirely about them.

    Funny thing about narcissists: they seem to attract other narcissists into these weird narcissistic spirals. It might be fun to watch — cuz we love drama — if these two were merely snide celebrities. Given that one is a political leader, well that changes things.

    On the other hand, I have zero sympathy of Conway. I admire ambitious women, but I think we must consider the concrete details of their ambitions. If a woman does a thing that would be loathsome when done by a man, then the fact she is a woman shouldn’t mitigate.

    As extreme examples, I hope that none of us would admire a strong woman who masterfully engaged in imperial war ambitions, nor a strong woman who skillfully managed her slave plantation. Feminism shouldn’t imply that a terrible thing becomes good when a woman does it.

    There are plenty of female scholars and educators and humanitarians, etc. We don’t need to admire the malign. Conway is a dark blot on humanity.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin says:

      This has nothing to do with Kellyanne Conway per se. I actually think the nature of her job makes the case MORE illustrative rather than less.

      You could make this situation about 1000000 other couples where the wife works and her husband dislikes it and is trying to directly undermine her. He would find every noble reason in the world to justify it, and some of his reasons, some of us may even agree with. To counter your examples, how about if his wife, oh, I don’t know, worked performing abortions for Planned Parenthood? Some people think that is a loathsome occupation. And let’s say he wanted her to quit doing that because he was morally opposed to it. Would it be ok for him to take to Twitter to talk about her boss’ mental health in that case? Would it be right for him to take advantage of his position as her husband to embarrass her and Planned Parenthood? Would it be right for people to be secretly applauding it and saying how he had a responsibility to do it?

      People don’t have a problem with what in any number of other circumstances would be considered really rather shocking, sexist behavior. Because it IS Kellyanne Conway. The message of discouragement it sends to women in the work force while simultaneously sending a message of encouragement to controlling jerks who think it’s their job to police their wife in the work force, I think is a very real thing.

      There is a principle here and the principle is pretty important.Report

      • Avatar veronica d says:

        Well put it this way. If my partner worked for Trump, I’d leave them. I wouldn’t create a public Twitter shitshow. I’d avoid being dragged into one (although I can’t promise I’d never slip up). But there is no way I’d stick around with someone who works for that monster.

        Values matter.

        I know we on “the left” are supposed to be the value-less, “situational ethics,” “queer postmodern neo-marxists” — or whatever. However, that accusation is bullshit. What we are is contextual. The values remain. They matter a lot.

        Do I value commitment to one’s partner(s)?

        Sure, but not above all things. I also value dignity and goodness.

        When values conflict, it is a mistake to grab one of the values and treat it as a “rigid” fact. This is sometimes called “principled,” as you have done, but I disagree. It’s the principle of Javert over Valjean. It’s the abstract over the concrete.

        Trump is way, way, way, way, way past any reasonable “moral event horizon” in politics. He is a yawning crack in our political culture, a complete breaking point. He’s a monster.

        She works for him, thus she is a terrible person.

        Her husband?

        Fuck, I dunno. I suppose he’s a terrible person too. It’s like looking at reality TV stars. Yeah their awful, but that’s why we’ve heard of them.

        That’s the part that should give you pause. Why have we even heard of these awful people?

        #####

        I understand the principle you’re asserting. Yes, spousal support matters, and indeed this is gendered. However, this is a terrible example precisely because it is Trump.

        If he had a shred of dignity, he would shut up. Yep. But he also wouldn’t stay quietly married to someone like her. No way.Report

        • Avatar pillsy says:

          Well put it this way. If my partner worked for Trump, I’d leave them. I wouldn’t create a public Twitter shitshow. I’d avoid being dragged into one (although I can’t promise I’d never slip up). But there is no way I’d stick around with someone who works for that monster.

          See, this strikes me as legit and aboveboard.

          What George Conway is doing strikes me as chickenshit.Report

          • Avatar veronica d says:

            Exactly.

            To clarify, my disagreement with @atomickristin isn’t over the husband’s behavior. Instead, it’s her comments in support of Kellyanne, who she described as a “beacon for all women.”

            OMFG no! Jimminy crispies no! She’s horrible.

            Does that mean she “deserves” a sexist husband?

            Wrong question, and so beside the point. She deserves condemnation and scorn. Working for Trump should ruin her reputation in a profound way. She should be shunned.

            Her marriage?

            He should leave her. That is all.Report

            • Avatar atomickristin says:

              IT DOES NOT MATTER THAT SHE IS HORRIBLE.

              You do not get to take a public poll and decide “well, since 60% of people hate this woman, she deserves to be treated terribly by her husband.”

              A woman does not deserve to be controlled and abused by her husband, publicly humiliated, and undermined in her career, for any reason. If she’s unlivable with, don’t live with her, but a spouse harming a woman’s ability to work professionally IN THE LONG TERM is abuse that does not end with the signing of a divorce paper.

              This matters because as I keep trying to express, an abuser ALWAYS sees his/her actions as having been justified. There is not a controlling person on Planet Earth who does not feel entirely, completely justified. No man gets up one morning and thinks “Welp, time to abuse my wife, who is an innocent victim and has done nothing at all whatsoever to provoke me.”

              That’s why “she had it coming” is such a trope.

              Now, as for Kellyanne being a beacon for all women… A beacon has a lot of different meanings. You’re putting a positive spin on it, but a beacon is simply a noticeable feature that you can see from a long way off, like a lighthouse or Kellyanne Conway. She IS a beacon in that sense. She’s in the public eye, we pay attention to what is happening with her and to her.

              If a woman who is as prominent and well-known as Kellyanne Conway cannot expect her husband to treat her respectfully, then what hope do any of us women have? Do you see what I’m saying here? If a famous and highly accomplished woman (whether you like her or not) cannot enter the workplace without being treated in a controlling fashion by her husband, and a good chunk of people applauding as a result, what kind of message does that send to all women? Doesn’t it undermine the ability of any woman to feel secure in the workplace? If we do something our husband doesn’t like, and people don’t generally like us and do generally take his side, should we be shunned?

              Abusive, controlling behavior is an actual thing that exists and we as a society should not run a popularity test beforehand to determine whether or not we should defend a woman who’s experiencing it.Report

        • Avatar atomickristin says:

          Then he should leave her. And that is that.

          What he should not do is publicly attack her boss and try to manipulate her into quitting her job by attacking her career and her ability to make a living.

          If you’re with someone who is doing something you cannot abide, leave. Don’t stay with them and torture them and torment them. That is abusive behavior.Report

  16. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    It should be noted that in today’s age, for a particular type of person, getting into visible, purposefully manufactured Twitter wars is how you build your brand, get extra TV gigs, and/or get your followers riled up. And everyone in this story is exactly that particular kind of person.

    All of which is to say I think it’s likely that none of these three people take the feud seriously, nor are they in any way emotionally invested in it, except as a way to get/keep their names trending.Report

    • Avatar Maribou says:

      @tod-kelly I think both of the male participants, at least, are as emotionally invested in it as any evil narcissist in denial is ever invested. Which is to say, enough to hurt anybody who gets in the way of their expression of it, but not enough for it to matter two weeks from now if they find some other mutual target.

      I recuse judgment on Ms. Conway. only for this particular moment in time, as I don’t like or trust her but I also know first-hand how fishing hard it is to pick blueberries as your only source of income. I failed hard at it.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin says:

      And if for the sake of argument they plotted to have George pretend slap Kellyanne and Trump go rushing in and rescue her?

      What about if George pretended to walk in on Kellyanne when she was squatting on the couch in her shoes supposedly disrespectfully and then he dragged her off by her hair?

      Would those behaviors somehow then be ok by the fact that they were fake?

      No, of course not because the fact is, real or fake or part real and part fake, men should not emulate even in pantomime abusive behaviors. Even with the agreement and foreknowledge of the wife. Because as has been said time after time regarding the Trump presidency, watching people in positions of authority act badly does have a ripple effect on the behavior of others. Even if it’s fake, it is discouraging to women in the workforce (many of whom must contend with this kind of behavior on a smaller scale from their husbands) and encouraging to the type of men who think it’s ok for women to get punished by their menfolk if they deserve it, as several posters appeared to allude to in this very comments section.

      And if it’s fake, why are so few people calling out the behavior, then???? If it was fake, it makes Trump look even MORE bonkers and the greater principle would be defended. Nothing would be lost. It would make the left look better, nobler, more principled, more adult. If it was fake, then even more so people on the left should be screaming from every rooftop about how wrong it is instead of snickering about it and taking delight in Kellyanne getting a correction on the old marital chokechain.

      I assume from what I’m seeing that it’s more important to some, including some people here, to score points on Kellyanne Conway than it is to defend the principle that men should not be allowed to undermine their wives’ careers and ability to make a living. It’s apparently more important that she gets her comeuppance than to tell a man that it’s completely inappropriate to publicly humiliate his wife or scream at her or pressure her to quit her job when she doesn’t want to.Report

  17. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Do we know anything about Mr. Conway aside from what we’ve seen of him on Twitter vis a vis Trump? Seems like if we don’t (and I sure as hell don’t) that trying to draw any conclusions about his motivations or his relationship with Ms. Conway is resting on pretty shaky ground.Report

    • Avatar Mr.Joe says:

      ^ Yeah this.

      Two alpha-males in a pissing contest is compelling narrative. So is media savvy public figures creating a bullshit tiff in public to manage the news cycle. Or loving husband creates a bunch of trouble for himself so his wife can look great.

      17-year marriage, both with high powered careers. That is not easy to maintain. My bet (i’d go as high as 3:1) is that their relationship is based on a lot of teamwork and this is all for the cameras, possibly a narcissistic boss as well.Report

    • Avatar Maribou says:

      I know he’s a high-powered trial lawyer with about 500K twitter followers who has been pretty well known as a conservative bulldog since the Clinton years, when he helped turn Paula Jones’ case into a conservative media circus that pretty much guaranteed she was never going to find justice (to be clear, that means he’s less at fault than that other toxic narcissist, Bill Clinton). I don’t think it’s all that much of a leap from “trial lawyer with nearly 500 K twitter followers” to “toxic narcissist” but I can see how some might differ.

      As a public figure, which he is, I think any conclusions people want to draw about him are fine to draw. They may or may not be correct but drawing them is hardly putting anyone on shaky ground.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        I meant shaky ground insofar as the level of accuracy. Folks can do whatever they want. I just think expecting to make accurate judgements of the inner workings of other people’s relationships based on some snippets of how they exist as public individuals is pretty unreasonable.Report

  18. the balls on this schmuck

    This is more or less where they belong.Report

  19. Avatar Koz says:

    Yeah, George Conway is a disgrace. Even in the Trump era, the crap he pulls is genuinely shocking. I don’t know how representative he is of gender roles in American professional marriages, but there’s simply no excuse at all for him as far a I can see.

    Denis Thatcher was a sociable man, but notoriously unwilling to be drawn into conversation about any politically charged topic out of deference to his wife the PM.

    In a bankshot way, this is the sort of thing that keeps Trump around. Simply put, there’s been way too many times where you can’t trust his adversaries to do the right thing.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      In a bankshot way, this is the sort of thing that keeps Trump around. Simply put, there’s been way too many times where you can’t trust his adversaries to do the right thing.

      Surprisingly insightful.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      Does no one remember Martha Mitchell?Report

      • Avatar atomickristin says:

        The mouth from the South, a wife of a Nixon employee who commented extensively and critically about the president.

        It came up when I was researching the piece (I actually didn’t remember because I was too young and it never came up in any history class I ever took). I don’t think she acted properly either. But I do think there is a different dynamic due to gender. There are tons of men in the halls of power and women’s opinions are often written off due to the “women are crazy” narrative.

        It’s quite disheartening to see a woman wielding real political power – which, while not rare, is still somewhat of a novelty – and yet her husband can’t bite his tongue and stand by her.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

          The wife of the Attorney General, who was up to his neck in Watergate and was later imprisoned and disbarred. My memories of her are pretty vague: mostly that she was considered to be a real character who loved to talk out of turn.

          If you believe the Wikipedia entry, which I’d never read before, the Nixon team did its best to make her look like a crazy drunk, because she knew enough facts about the Watergate break-in to be a threat to them.Report

  20. “(not you, of course, Manly Reader, but a lot)”

    Well…..sometimes it is me, more often than I’d want to admit. See, I’m usually self-aware enough to realize when I’m doing it, but I still continue to do it anyway. Not all the time, but too much of the time. I’ll try to remember this OP, maybe bookmark it, to remind me why it’s wrong.Report

  21. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    And that Peter Riefenstahl, so disrespectful of Leni’s career.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin says:

      If you guys really and truly think that Trump’s America is akin to Nazi Germany, then why are you here commenting on a website? Why aren’t you launching a coup?

      The answer is, you don’t think it’s the same thing because you aren’t behaving as if you think it’s the same thing. You’re invoking this name to embarrass me but it’s a false equivalency. If it was a real equivalency neither you nor I would be sitting here. We would be storming the proverbial Bastille – on the same side.

      Thus I really don’t appreciate being linked with a Nazi for trying to call out controlling, borderline abusive behavior that far too many women have to deal with. If something is abusive/controlling behavior then it’s abusive and controlling behavior even when it happens to women we don’t happen to like.

      Is it really that hard a point to see?Report

      • Avatar veronica d says:

        If you guys really and truly think that Trump’s America is akin to Nazi Germany, then why are you here commenting on a website? Why aren’t you launching a coup?

        There are a few reasons. First, Trump isn’t a Nazi. He’s a fascist. There is a difference. Second, Trump is an incompetent fascist, which (so far) has limited the damage. Third, our democratic systems is still basically working, although it is strained. As long as we still have the right to vote, it is almost certainly better to work within the democratic system, for a host of fairly obvious reasons.

        When I say Trump is a fascist, I mean he has the character of a fascist leader, and his core support comes from a body of frustrated, who have the character of fascist followers. This is fascism, in an early form. However, Trump hasn’t yet suspended elections.

        I suspect he will not. When I say Trump is a fascist, I do not mean to imply that his movement will succeed. However, we should understand what it is, and what success (to the Trumpist) would look like.Report

        • Avatar atomickristin says:

          Veronica, you didn’t bring in the N word. Trust me I understand why any person might not like Trump.

          Someone basically just said I was defending a Nazi which I found a cheap shot. I’m not gonna go down the rabbithole here arguing Trump, fascism, or any of the rest of it. This has nothing to do with Trump, it has beyond nothing to do with Nazis. It has to do with the position of women in society and the workforce.

          But I’m not gonna get called a Nazi sympathizer without at least pointing out that you guys do not actually believe we’re living in Nazi Germany and that remark was hyperbole.

          Make sense?Report

          • Avatar veronica d says:

            I don’t think you’re a Nazi sympathizer. Nor do I think Mike does. Nor do I think you’re a fascist sympathizer. Instead, I think you identify strongly with Kellyanne Conway for personal reasons.

            Okay. I get it. I think I can relate. For example, watching people mock Caitlin Jenner for being trans upsets me a lot, despite the fact I think she is an absolute jackass who deserves to be scorned. The problem is not that people despise her — she’s awful. It’s this: when they mock her for being trans, they mock me too.

            So maybe it’s a similar thing. I don’t know.

            I would never call Jenner a “beacon” for trans women. She isn’t. She’s the opposite.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Of course I don’t think you’re a Nazi, or that Trump is one. I do think that he’s a dangerous would-be dictator: you see him now calling criticism treason (punishable by death, according to his press secretary) and demanding that a congressman who opposes him resign. Given that, calling Trump the piece of shit he is is simple truth-telling, and I don’t find the marital aspects of it primary.Report

        • Your argument–that the marital aspects of this situation aren’t primary–is a good argument. I actually have some sympathy for it as an argument, especially if Kristin is suggesting that marital aspect is primary. [ETA: I really don’t know if she is suggesting that. But if she is, that doesn’t invalidate her other point about how this is a way men tend to act toward their spouses.]

          But you didn’t make that argument at all in the comment to which Kristin was responding. I don’t think you’ve made that argument at all elsewhere in this thread. When you take a situation such as Kristin describes and critique her argument by comparing that situation to Leni Riefenstahl….it’s just possible someone might interpret you as accusing Kristin of being a Nazi. Or perhaps more charitably, someone might interpret you as positing that the situation Kristin is addressing is so similar to what the world saw with nazism that anyone making an argument like Kristin’s is for most intents and purposes siding with something similar to nazism.

          That’s one of the dangers of one-liner comments. Yes, those comments can be funny and witty, if the reader agrees with you and especially if the person you’re lampooning is someone the reader doesn’t agree with. But at the same time, those comments admit of multiple, plausible interpretations. And frankly, their function is to throw other people off balance and to allow the person uttering the one-liner comment to avoid taking responsibility for what they’re saying. It’s almost as if the one-liner-utterer is suggesting the gas lamp really isn’t getting dimmer and dimmer and that any perception to the contrary is all in the other person’s head.

          I say “function” and not “intent,” because I don’t know and I cannot know if that’s your intent. It could very well have been just a witty thing that came to mind and that you decided to write. You have the knack for that and it’s not a bad thing to be skillful at. Sometimes one-liners really are a good answer to an argument. In this case, however, I honestly think it didn’t help the conversation.Report

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