The Governator Calls the Question (again)

Which side are you on?

There is a war between men and women; and it is a class war. People don't like to hear this. Nearly all of us find ourselves in this war in contradictory ways that both obscure its bipolarity and leave the violence of this war un-categorical, and therefore subject to manifold concealments. That is why I want to present it in a categorical and bipolar way. It is a war in which there are bonds of kinship and even love that cross the line.

And it is a war that is terribly unequal: a war of men against women, as separate, complimentarily inseparable, socially-constructed classes. It is not characterized by mere equality, but by structural domination-and-subordination. Gender as a class-system is imbricated with economic class, and with race and nationality.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger infamously remarked in a recently released tape, "She maybe is Puerto Rican or the same thing as Cuban. I mean they are all very hot. They have, you know, part of the black blood in them and part of the Latino blood in them that, together, makes it." The polarized reaction to his remarks were more illuminating than the remarks themselves. The former bodybuilder is already on record as a misogynist who makes unwelcome advances to women, and who disparages males by devaluing females (calling them "girly-men").

Schwarzenegger quotes on the record:

"Bodybuilders party a lot, and once, in Gold's - the gym in Venice, California, where all the top guys train - there was a black girl who came out naked. Everybody jumped on her and took her upstairs, where we all got together."

"I get laid on purpose. I can't sleep before a competition and I'm up all night, anyway, so instead of staring at the ceiling I figure I might as well find somebody and fuck... we had girls backstage giving head, then all of us went out and I won. It didn't bother me at all; in fact, I went out there feeling like King Kong."

"Sex was simply another kind of exercise, another body function... I didn't have time to take one girl out regularly and go through a normal high-school romance with all its phone calls and notes and squabbles. That took too much time. I needed to be in the gym. For me it was a simple matter of picking them up at the lake, and then never seeing them again."

So sayeth the blonde beast.

For those who say people can change, I'd be the last to disagree. But his suggestion that there is something called "Black blood" or "Latino blood," that makes one "hot" was recorded this Spring. A reference to blood as being Black or Latino is clearly the reflection of a belief in innate racial characteristics; and only the most disingenuous apologists for the Governor of California will deny that the notion of "hotness" in women with skins darker than Arnold's is very closely bound up with the belief that Black and Latina women are (1) promiscuous, and (2) un-rape-able. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a racist; and he is a misogynist. In his own words. On the record.

He is apologizing, because even most public figures who share his general world view know that such direct expression of those beliefs can be very politically damaging. Afterwards, we are all supposed to let it go -- the offending individual has expressed his remorse -- accept his lame excuses and explanations, and pretend that he doesn't represent the views of most white people about brown people, or most men about women.

(One of the more remarkable things about the coverage was that his remarks were declared to be ethnically or racially "insensitive." The sexual objectification of women was INVISIBLE.)

Our networked society, however, defies the discipline that a political party can impose on its operatives. It gives voice to the loose-lipped of the Amerikan mainstream, and so we hear from those who refuse to serve up their poison unadulterated, as well as the worst paid flaks. As readers peruse their remarks, consider my assertion that men are at war with women, that they see them as subordinates who must be subdued and colonized, a bit like the Bush administration sees Iraq. And just as there are collaborators in Iraq with the occupation, there are women who collaborate in their own -- and their sisters' -- subjugation.

Schwarzenegger had said of Republican Bonnie Garcia, "Black blood mixed with Latino blood equals hot." ... Garcia, whose parents are from Puerto Rico, insists there was no need for Schwarzenegger to apologise, saying she refers to herself as a "hot-blooded Latina" all the time. -Indo-Asian News Service

State Sen. Martha Escutia, a Democrat who chairs the California Legislative Latino Caucus, said Schwarzenegger "has never been disrespectful to the Latino community." - Michael R. Blood, Associated Press

As Sigmund Freud supposedly said: Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar... Same with things that are said about race. Sometimes something said about race isn't racist, but sometimes we're all just too PC to face up to that fact. John Gibson, Fox News

Blog commentary:

People need to stop being so rediculously (sic) PC. He was complimenting them!

With all of the problems we face in today's world, we spend our time on something like this - what a joke! ... But let's keep trying to make stories where there are none - that's what is good for the real problems of the world... Hot or not - who cares? ... Those complaining about what he said should be reported for insinuating that latinos are not hot - isn't that the same? Isn't that a slam on those who want to be known as "Hot". Where do you draw the line on what you can say and not say?

If Arnold had done this in New Mexico he would be behind bars as it is now status quo for women to lie to law enforcement to end a mans career, profession and livelihood (sic).

Garcia earlier told the Times she often calls herself a "hot-blooded Latina." Doesn't sound like THIS gal is afraid of her sexuality.

Political correctness is way out of control these days. People are pretending to be much too sensitive because they think they can get something out of it. I applaud Bonnie Garcia for downplaying this harmless remark. Actually, I think she's pretty hot too. Why are today's women so affraid (sic) of sexuality? For today's women, it has become a badge of dishonor to be thought of as sexy. What a shame.

He's just pandering to the Mexican/American voters... This will come back to bite him. The ladies are HOT, but the gentlemen are JEALOUS. They might not let their wives and girlfriends go to the polls in November because of this... Karen, what about Ahnold is showing, that all Austrians like sweets?

Well at least he speaks his mind! There could be some truth in what the governor says!

I don't know Arnold real well but I have been on a ski trip with him as part of the group (back when we were young and beautiful) and I can tell you, without hesitation, Arnold is a highly motivated and intelligent individual.

yeah big deal. i'm cuban and i'm not offended. though i see why some people might find this sort of comment annoying, if unchecked. but sounds like he was sort of joking around, and lord knows we all do that!

Arnold is still the man! Besides...if it is an inside joke then why be offended? Unless of course what he is saying is not true at all?

This is complete and utter BS. I fail to see the problem with the comment. Now I am pissed at Schwarzenneger (sic) for being such a pussy for bowing to these whiners. Get a backbone Schwarzenneger (sic)!

well, it may be a little bit racist but at least it wasn't blatantly insulting, just biased. it could have been a lot worse.

What is it with republicans and the footinmouth? I don't think his comments were terribly racist just unbelievably stupid. Question to Schwarzenegger: At the time of his missspeakings (sic) were both hands on the table?

C'mon, it's Arnold. Give it to him because he's awesome. He should be the next President. Too bad he was born in Austria (I think that's right).

The reason that so many Democrats are also giving this guy a pass is that the Democratic Party is almost as white-male dominated (don't tell me about their figureheads; I've been studying Dems for ten years) as the Republicans. The issue here is that these were not simply racist remarks, alluding to a belief in racially-encoded characteristics in the circulatory system; the position of women in this society is still one of such structural subjection that overt expressions that sexually objectify women, that reduce women's value (for men) to their constructed desirability as a willing servant of what men perceive to be men's "bodily functions" (it is in fact a question of colonization and power).

The invisibility of this issue serves to perpetuate that power. The ridicule of those who remind us of it as "PC" perpetuates that power. The devaluation of women in everyday speech (girlie-men, pussy, bitch) perpetuates this power. The dismissal of charges against anyone who engages in the devaluation of women, as they laugh, as "just humor," perpetuates that power. The economic dependency (note, I did not say inequality, as if there was some separate measure) of women perpetuates this power. The socialization of women into that dependency perpetuates that power. The way we educate women, and men, perpetuates that power. The fact that many women, regardless of the law, still live under the daily threat of violence from men -- often men who claim to love them -- perpetuates this power. The fact that representations of women -- in "entertainment," in advertising, and in pornography -- consolidate the sexual objectification of women in an inescapably ubiquitous way perpetuates that power. And so I make the claim that most men are still collaborators in the war on women.

But we don't have to be. And we don't have to give California' Governor a pass.

There was an old union slogan back in the day -- before business unionism and outsourcing and McCarthyism -- that laid it out plain and simple with regard to the bosses and the workers. It applies here, too.

Which side are you on?