Good morning, fellow Firepuppies! And how are you all this fine Saturday morning shading into afternoon?
Those of you in the Minnesota contingent of Firepupville probably are all too familiar with the twit-and-wisdom of Katherine Kersten, the StarTribune’s most prominent wingnut welfare hire (well, next to D.J. Tice) and a monument to what conservatives think of as affirmative action. Kersten, who is trying to out-gulch Miss Gulch in terms of goosestepping wrongness disguised as morality, is now attacking a local college, St. Thomas, for not being right-wing enough.
This is a place, mind you, that in the words of a recent letter writer to the Strib, features these charming throwbacks to Kersten’s favorite time when conservative anti-female morality unquestioningly ruled the roost: “Threatening notes slipped under doors. Racist graffiti placed on campus posters. A white hatemonger [Ann Coulter] welcomed. A black peacemaker [Desmond Tutu] turned away. A commencement speech made to denigrate women.”
But that’s still not enough for Miss Gulch. One little sin wipes out all those atta-boys.
My favorite part of Kersten’s unintentionally hilarious piece:
Admittedly, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is not exactly the best vehicle for such a project. In literary circles, it’s utterly passé — conjuring up long-vanished bogeymen like televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker.
Yannow, Miss Gulch, when I think of The Handmaid’s Tale, I don’t think of Tammy Faye Bakker, but of people like you.
If you’d actually read the book, you’d know that its real focus isn’t on televangelists. It does, however, have a lot to say about people who are co-opted and corrupted into turning against and assisting in the subjugation of their beloved mothers, sisters, daughters, and other persons who share their gender.
What must make the book hit painfully home for you, Ms. Kersten, assuming you’ve actually read it and not just skimmed the Amazon reviews, is that Atwood didn’t just make it all up: As she told BBC interviewer Harriet Gilbert in 1996, all of her examples have either happened in the past or were (and are) happening today, both in and out of the US.
Just as Auschwitz had its Kapos, and France had its collaborationists, the women of the book’s America — renamed “The Republic of Gilead” — had to suffer the Aunts, the women who, in exchange for special privileges from the male Commanders, were the main on-the-spot enforcers of female subjugation.
How does it feel to be an Aunt, Ms. Kersten? How does it feel to be working to shove your sisters off the ladder so you can be a Queen Bee and get special doggie treats from the guys?
Is it worth it?