Let me paint you a picture of my city.
Main Street, Northampton. I’m assuming if you’re reading this blog, you know the city. No? It’s the liberal Mecca of the East Coast. Hampshire College and Smith College. Unshaven legs and crop tops. Ani DiFranco. Moccasins. There isn’t one Romney bumper sticker here, but easily thousands of those goofy “coexist” ones. Also, lots of “no farms, no food,” and “yes farms, yes food,” but whatever.
You’d be hard-pressed to find non-organic beef. And hard-pressed to find beef-eaters. This is a vegan city, a hippie-dippy town with lofty ideals and sunshine souls. A city of weed-smokers and hug-givers. Only gourmet microbrews in these bars — Budweiser? Never heard of it. Bicycles, bicycles, bicycles. Foot traffic. Quinoa and spirulina. Garden tours. Poetry readings. Black-rimmed glasses. Indignance. Consignment stores. Drum circles.
And Rachel Maddow.
On paper, I’m a hippie girl through and through, mostly. I still get emails from MoveOn.org. I recycle, I do yoga, I compost. But I’m starting to want to disassociate myself from liberal girls, and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT RACHEL MADDOW.
There are pictures of Rach, her round rimmed hipster glasses gleaming, hanging in the local tattoo parlor’s windows, the Indian food place around the corner. She’s a local hero. Cute, smarmy, gay, on CNN. And she lives here!!! I was infatuated myself, for a while. You’d see her on the “Rachel Maddow Show” on Friday evenings, grinning that irrepressable grin, saying “but I guess that law only applies to poor black Americans, Mr. Romney.”
I loved her. For a while. But something bad happened to Rachel Maddow in the past year or so. She… got… full of herself.
I am a huge Bill Maher fan, and until recently, a Rachel Maddow fan. But her theatrics and “cluck cluck” dismissiveness of intellgent, adult debate is embarassing. Is this what I — and liberal women across America — are supposed to look to?
It’s not healthy for young liberal women to see this kind of behavior. I don’t see Maddow engaging in healthy, reasoned argument with other intellectuals. I see her weilding celebrity like a weapon and using it to stamp out debate. She’s on a liberal show, where the audience is on her side, and she doesn’t have to listen to the other side’s argument. She doesn’t have to sit through a point she doesn’t agree with — so she doesn’t. She laps up the applause and engages in dramatic, show-offy displays, instead of making serious points. What I see is a woman who’s supposed to be a role model using theatrics instead of facts.
I cringed at the clucky, bad-3rd-grade-teacher way Maddow shushed Gillespie, of the Libertarian Reason.tv, on the panel in Maher’s recent show. “Eh-eh-eh! I’m talking.” This is a show that suceeds because it brings in reasoned adults intelligent enough to argue, interrupt, and debate one another without behaving like children. Rachel sets an awful example of exactly what happens when you become, as Maher calls her, “the liberal darling of America.” She’s the queen on this show, and she’s got the audience, and she knows it.
I want my liberal media to be better than the conservative right. I know they’re nuts. I know they’re going to yell and stand up at their desk and roll their eyes and be saracastic at every turn. I expect that on Fox News, Rachel. I want more from you. Young liberal women need a strong role model — God I sound like a mom — who won’t disintegrate into a yelling, gesturing, dramatic caricature of a journalist when she gets on the big show. At this point, Rachel, I’m old enough to know I’ve outgrown you — but I worry about those Hampshire girls.