I feel compelled to respond to an article written in part about me by emigree contributor Erica Jong. According to the eight hundred year-old sex novelist, my offhand description of Hillary Clinton's arms as "flabby" means that I'm a misogynist and a sexist who is guilty of "Momism," which she describes as an "Oedipal obsession with the bad mother -- to counter a boy's attraction to his good mother." The whole of her argument is based upon my use of that one word, "flabby" -- which she argues is evidence of my typically male tendency to fixate on the appearance of female politicians. Like other sexist men, I apparently trained my monomaniacal focus on Hillary's appearance while while ignoring the paunches, liver spots and comb-overs of male politicians.
Jong has apparently never read anything else I've written. Here is a short catalogue of some of the physical descriptions I've used in recent articles about male politicians:
RUDY GIULIANI, former presidential candidate: "Virtually neckless, all shoulders and forehead and overbite, with a hunched-over, Draculoid posture that recalls, oddly enough, George W. Bush, the vestigial stoop of a once-chubby kid who grew up hiding tittie pictures from nuns." Also: "The electoral incarnation of Tommy Lee Jones' acid-bath-surviving Two-Face character." A "bottomless pit of vengeful little-guy ambition."
MARK PENN, former chief strategist for the Clinton campaign: "Penn is the Democratic version of Karl Rove. He even looks like Rove, only he's fatter and more disgusting. Up close in a forum like this, his eyes bulge out of his fat, blood-flushed head; his neck spills out of his too-tight shirt collar; and he generally looks like Jabba the Hutt, his suit bursting at the seams, with only the bowl of snackable live toads suspended at arm's length missing from the picture."
MIKE HUCKABEE, former presidential candidate: "Huckabee, who in recent years has lost 100 pounds, has the roundish, half-deflated physique of an ex-fatty. With his button nose and never-waning smile, he looks slightly unreal, like an oversize Muppet."
TOM DELAY, former House majority leader: "DeLay moves through the aisles like some kind of balding incubus, and as he passes, Republican members instinctively turn their backs on him, not wanting to be caught in the Gorgon's gaze (or, more to the point, be threatened with the loss of a chairmanship or reelection funding)."
JAMES SENSENBRENNER, former House Judiciary Committee Chairman: "An ever-sweating, fat-fingered beast who wields his gavel in a way that makes you think he might have used one before in some other arena, perhaps to beat prostitutes to death." Also: "Your basic Fat Evil Prick, perfectly cast as a dictatorial committee chairman: He has the requisite moist-with-sweat pink neck, the dour expression, the penchant for pointless bile and vengefulness."
MITT ROMNEY, former presidential candidate: An "utter tool...a poll-chasing stuffed suit with a Max Headroom hairdo who will say (or won't say, for that matter) whatever the fuck it takes to get elected." Also: "When it comes to the satanic art of presidential campaigning, this lean, heavily moussed political athlete is a stone prodigy, a natural who glides through campaign events with the aid of some dark supernatural power - a tie-clad, sweat-resistant cross of Roy Hobbs and Rosemary's Baby."
BORIS YELTSIN, former Russian president: "A pig... A human appendage of a rotting, corrupt state, a crook who would emerge even from the hottest bath still stinking of booze, concrete and sausage."
TOM TANCREDO, former presidential candidate: "Vengeful midget."
JOHN McCAIN, Republican nominee: "On the trail, McCain looks equally pathetic -- slow-moving, soft-spoken and physically frail. With his lecturing tone and corny jokes ('Governor Schwarzenegger and I have many similar attributes'), he recalls the moralizing granddad who's not a bad egg overall but who embarrasses the fuck out of you by waiting till your late thirties to give you the birds-and-the-bees speech."
That's just from the last few years. And yet according to Jong, the reason I decided to use the term "flabby" when describing Hillary Clinton is because, deep down inside, I want to fuck my mother. "And love is the problem, of course," Jong-Freud writes. "You cannot fuck your mother so you must revile her."
I mean, wow. And I thought I was a hack.
Erica Jong: Misogyny, Momism and Militarism