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Douglas MacKinnon, a former press secretary for Bob Dole who describes himself as a proud feminist, uses his op-ed in today's Trib to...well, I'm not entirely sure what he's trying to accomplish.

First, he doesn't like women in heels walking noisily past him and decides this is an insidious new trend (complete with reference to Danica Patrick). Then he decides these stiletto-clad speed demons probably don't really want equal rights because they aren't clamoring to fight in Iraq.

Do you see his point? No? Well, that matters not a whit, as MacKinnon soon abandons whatever it is he was trying to prove about shoes and veers off into Andy Rooney-esque language analysis about why actresses shouldn't be called actors. "It's as if some women think that if they don't have the same label as men they are somehow less than them," he blurts. Um, well, no. It's really as if some people think that everyone doing the same job should have the same title regardless of their gender -- we no longer have "lady doctors" or "authoresses," right? My business card doesn't say "editrix." So why not just call everyone who acts an actor? And, really, has there been widespread lobbying to get rid of the outdated term "actress" anyway? Not that I've noticed. But logic is no match for MacKinnon, zipping away down ridiculous tangents as if powered by his own fancy little kitten-heels.

"Why stop there?" he demands. "Why don't we just call all women 'men' or a woman a 'man.' Isn't that the logical progression of where some are taking titles?" Yes. Yes it is. It's all part of our evil plan, and now you know too much. Guards! Seize him!

"Again, psychoanalysis is not my strong suit," states MacKinnon to the surprise of no one, "but I do think some things are better off left alone. Creating a unisex language being one of them."

Again, does this unisex language movement even exist for anyone but MacKinnon and the imaginary hordes of fleet-footed she-executives who torment him in corridors? Is there so little real news that the Trib needs to devote precious column inches to these sub-Larry King brain farts?

Rather than offer any sort of proof of any of his aforementioned threats to the Republic, MacKinnon lazily concludes his column by suggesting perhaps "I'm just imagining things and need to put in for some couch time."

Why the Trib thought to give space to the maybe-it-was-all-a-dream musings of a rambling nitwit is anyone's guess. Thankfully, there's also a great column from the Trib's other proud feminist, Molly Ivins, today.

Replies: 2 Confessions

If he's a "proud feminist" then I'm a Republican.

Anna @ 07/01/2005 02:23 PM CST


I think in his own Baby-Huey kind of way, he's confusing gender autonomy with gender roles. Feminists aren't out to disguse or hide differences between men and women, but instead to break down the pathological gender role assumptions and prejudices that accompany and manipulate/misrepresent those neutral differences.

He thinks it's hypocricy. If only he'd try to look a little deeper, he'd see the nuance. But I can't expect him to, given the company he keeps.

Mike @ 07/01/2005 03:02 PM CST


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