Tina Does Hillary

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THE PLANK MARCH 10, 2008

Tina Does Hillary

Hillary gets the Tina Brown treatment in Newsweek. It's an entertaining read for several reasons--maybe none more so than Brown's horror at encountering, for the first time apparently, the sheer drudgery of reporting on a campaign; in Brown's words, "It's like being trapped in a moving bathysphere." (And how many writers has she sent to live in that bathysphere over the years?)

But the point of Brown's article, so far as I can tell, is to paint Hillary as the champion of the "Invisible Woman":

It's a revolt that has been overdue for a while and has now found its
focus in Clinton's candidacy. In 1952, Ralph Ellison's revelatory
novel, "Invisible Man," nailed the experience of being black in
America. In the relentless youth culture of the early 21st century, if
you are 50 and female, the novel that's being written on your forehead
every day is "Invisible Woman." All over the country there are
vigorous, independent, self-liberated boomer women—women who possess
all the management skills that come from raising families while holding
down demanding jobs, women who have experience, enterprise and, among
the empty nesters, a little financial independence, yet still find
themselves steadfastly dissed and ignored. Advertisers don't want them.
TV networks dump their older anchorwomen off the air. Hollywood studios
refuse to write parts for them. Employers make it clear they'd prefer a
"fresh (cheaper) face."

I'm not sure if the plight of the suburban empty-nester who can't find stylish clothes for herself at the mall is akin to the plight of a black man living under Jim Crow, but that's evidently Brown's thesis--and she's sticking to it:

It was hard not to be caught up in the euphoria at the Columbus
Athenaeum when her primary results started to come in. I found myself
jammed between two exultant Columbus ladies, a high-fiving yoga-studio
owner in her 50s and a human resources director of a software company
roughly the same age. They were raising the roof along with the band to
the old 1965 McCoys hit "Hang on Sloopy."

For all the
invisible women, it's the only anthem they've got. And for their sake
alone, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton should not give up the fight.

And Hillary should stay in the race for Brown, too. After all, as her author's bio notes, Brown's currently working on a book about the Clintons. I don't think that book becomes a best seller if Hillary's the junior senator from New York when it comes out.

--Jason Zengerle 

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posted in: the plank, business, entertainment, labor, law, social issues, hillary rodham

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