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January 12, 2008

Chris Matthews, head case
Posted by Patrick at 04:56 PM * 119 comments

If, like every sentient being who’s ever watched MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, you suspect the guy is the product of some bizarre neurological experiment gone haywire, you’ll probably enjoy this comprehensive takedown by Jamison Foser of Media Matters.

Seriously, the fact that a creepy, obsessional dingbat like Matthews has a national TV-news perch and the respect of his colleagues tells you everything you need to know about our national press corps. These are people you’d edge away from if you ran into them at a party.

UPDATE: Jim Henley compares and contrasts them with ACOAs.

Comments on Chris Matthews, head case:
#1 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 06:13 PM:

Excuse me, I have to go and hurl now.

Then I need to figure out what I did with the brain bleach.

#2 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 06:47 PM:

I have a great deal of difficulty believing that anyone willing to speak and act that inappropriately in front of millions of people hasn't gone much further in private. There must be women he has groped or harrassed or maybe even raped. Surely that level of fear of women has come out in action before.

So if there are investigative reporters left out there, here's one hell of a sensational story waiting to be discovered and written. Come on guys, this one's much flashier and probably has more legs than some Senator cottaging in the airport bathroom.

fidelio, there's absolutely no disgrace in being sickened by that kind of slime; if you find a good way to get the stain out of the cortical folds, let me know. Eww.

#3 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 06:56 PM:

Holy crap!

I've been thinking for a while now that the best model for understanding the press corps was high school cliquishness. The 1996 "Dark Alliance" story about the CIA and crack cocaine, and the way it was treated by the national press, was what illustrated that for me -- the big news media place great value on what they consider to be their own credibility, and paying too much attention to fringey news puts that credibility at risk the same way that hanging out with unpopular kids puts a popular kids' popularity at risk. (Though I may not have actually realized this until Avedon's description of the process in a 2001 Usenet post, when I also had the example of their treatment of Al Gore and the 2000 election to go by.)

But Chris Matthews is something else again! With all this quotes put together like that, his sexism and castration anxiety practically leap off the page.

#4 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 07:05 PM:

The Big Orange K has this also. I'm astonished that he's been allowed to behave this way for this long.

(Where I work, this is considered inappropriate conduct and it can get people fired. And we are reminded of the policy, every year, by sitting through a lecture and film on it. I'd expect MSNBC to have similar rules.)

#5 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 07:33 PM:

It's that kind of thing that demonstrates exactly how much sexism is still basically an "OK" -ism.

Anyone who objects to this kind of thing is just humorless and oversensitive. After all, the feminist movement is over because we've won and everything is equal now.

#6 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 08:18 PM:

Oh, ick. Fidelio, when you're finished with the bleach, would you pass the bottle this way, please? The temptation to reply appropriately to Matthews' comments is damn near overwhelming; I'm amazed that it hasn't publicly occurred. I am thinking of the joke, the punch line of which is: "It looks like a penis, only smaller...." He has the all the emotional characteristics of a weenie-wagger.

#7 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 08:37 PM:

I've been accused of being sexist, and in some ways I suppose I am.

But I don't indulge in foul-mouthed sociopathis braggadocio.

The sexism is just an added topping.

(And, more generally, if Wikipedia can be trusted, HRC was involved in the legal work behind the threat to impeach Nixon. I wonder how many other people involved in that have ever attained her prominence in politics?)

#8 ::: Jen ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 08:45 PM:

If nothing else, Hillary's candidacy is certainly shining a bright light on some nasty cockroaches in our society. Ick.

#9 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 09:42 PM:

I suspect that someone has already has a hostile workplace environment/sexual harassment complaint paid off quietly by NBC.

As far as Matthews is concerned, the sort of respectful workplace training just about everyone who works in the corporate world of government servie has to go through is A) for the little people and B) a symptom of the sort of thing he blames people like Hillary Clinton for: important [white] men like him can no longer do just as they please.
Sara Robinson has a piece over at Orcinus about the emotional adulthood of Matthews and his ilk which you all should read (in fact, everyone should read everything Sara has written over there--she is an immensely insightful person, and even if you don't agree with some of the things she says, figuring out why you don't agree is eye-opening. Also, Dave Neiwert is also mighty sharp, and he's there, too.) If you find that over the months and years, you've struggled to understand why some conservatives are people that you can talk to and do business with, and some just--aren't, many of the things she's written may help you understand this better. If you are a progressive and deal with people who aren't, her stuff is useful. If you're a conservative and find yourself going "WTF?!?!?" a lot these days, her stuff is useful. It's not the same as brain bleach, but I've found her work quite cleansing at times.

#10 ::: moe99 ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 09:44 PM:

My letter to MSNBC (and thanks for the heads up Patrick--I've also posted this at Kos):

Dear MSNBC:

I am a 55 year old attorney in Seattle, WA. I graduated from law school in 1976 from the University of Kentucky, My class was the first class to have more that 20% of its members as women. Despite this, I was subject to abuse by certain members of my class and their spouses because I, as a woman, was taking up a space that should by rights have gone to a male. Furthermore, my first week in law school, the graduate dorm I was living in had a barbeque Friday night. Another graduate student attempted to engage me in conversation and enquired about what I was in school for. When I responded that I was in law school, his retort was quite telling about the tenor of those times, 35 years ago. He said, "W'all Ah d'nt know legal secitaries had to go to law skoo! (southern accent intended)" And he meant it.

It is unfortunate that even with the passage of 35 years, we still have folks in life such as that yokel at the barbeque. It is even more unfortunate that one of them, Chris Matthews, is in such a high position. Given his stated and repeated prejudice against women in positions of power, you do yourself no favors by keeping him in the public eye. As a result, I plan to boycott MSNBC until he is fired.

signature omitted

#11 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 09:44 PM:

#7: Hillary Rodham was a staff attorney for the House Judiciary Committee in 1974.

#12 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 09:48 PM:

Nurse Ratched.... Some talking mouth at NPR referred to a woman who moderated one of the debates (and who wasn't especially forceful--she kept letting the candidates get in an sentence or two after she'd told them they were out of time) as Nurse Ratched. Maybe that's where the commentator picked up that particular insult.

#13 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2008, 10:18 PM:

Just so you understand what my employer thinks of equality: our president/CEO is a woman. So is our VP in charge of human relations. (Also, about a third of the lower-level management is female. The occasional person who can't work for or with women (there are some: I worked with one a few years back) has to adjust their behavior or find someplace else to work.)

#14 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 03:58 AM:

And just in time, we have Sweet Jesus, I Hate Chris Matthews.

#15 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 04:08 AM:

I'm speechless. And that doesn't happen often.

#16 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 09:26 AM:

PJ #13:

I wonder how much of the visceral reaction against having a woman as president has to do with whether you've worked for women before. People in my generation have, mostly--a bunch of powerful people working at my office are women, and it's pretty much been that way throughout my career, so it doesn't seem odd or unnatural that you'd have powerful women capable of making decisions. Maybe if you've never been in that situation, it seems unnatural or weird?

I must have seen Chris Matthews at some point on TV, but I'm not sure I'd recognize him. The article makes him sound horrible. Is he really as bad as the article describes? I'm willing to believe almost anything bad about the MSM, but I have no idea whether this is right or not.

#17 ::: Josh SN ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 10:14 AM:

I sincerely believe 98% of the credit for stringing up Matthews this way (he's surely awful) goes to Bob Somerby of the Daily Howler.

This article, from November 16th not only points out Matthew's "hate her" line but also goes into how Matthews described it when a person asked McCain how to stop the "b*tch"

This is a profile of Matthews, in three parts, from the week before, which goes specifically in depth on Matthew's sexism:

November 12th
November 13th
November 14th

The Howler may not cover a whole lot of topics (mostly it is the inanity of, in his words "our national press corps" (a phrase he's used at least since 2002, quite often, and perhaps, long before that, a play on a phrase from two centuries ago, perhaps?)) but I have never found him to be wrong.

#18 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 10:14 AM:

MSNBC is my primary cable news source (note: not my primary news source). Fox News is brain-damaged. CNN is too flabby.

I see a lot of Chris Matthews ("CM").

Things you know about CM if you watch a lot of him: He grew up Catholic in Philadelphia. He has a bunch of brothers, all of whom (I believe) are Republicans. He sees himself as a "blue-collar" working stiff. He sees himself (perhaps an attempt to identify with his brothers) as One of the Guys. He has a constant hard-on for politics. He sees himself as an Old Pro of American politics. He's nowhere near as savvy about American politics as he thinks he is. He displays many of the well-worn characteristics of those who purport to be One of the Guys: he professes confusion about What Women Think and/or Want; he is suspicious of, awed by, and attracted to intellectuals and the "elites". He thinks he's just Telling It Like It Is, and so forth.

I don't think complaining to MSNBC will do any good. I think CM is precisely what MSNBC wants in a host. His audience appeal is a variant of the appeal of Don Imus, only less crude & rude. The audience is The Guys, and so having a host who is One of the Guys is just the thing as far as MSNBC is concerned.

But here's the thing: having seen so much of CM, and having written so many irate emails to him, and having been appalled by so many of his pathetically transparent attempts to be One of the Guys, I actually think he is salvageable.

I don't know how long ago he started calling Bullsh*t on the War in Iraq, but he's been doing it for some time now. And when he gets to ragging on about it, he's pretty effective, in that "Old Uncle Chris who used to be for the war but is now against it" sort of way.

I think if you have any interest in salvaging him -- and I don't say anybody should spend the time or energy on doing so, but he could be an effective advocate for the left (in that [purportedly] down-to-earth, blue-collar, working stiff sort of way) -- then you ought to spend your time trying to persuade him, not MSNBC, to see the error of his ways.

I'm forced to be around a lot of fans of the right-wing and so I am fully familiar with most of the right-wing media and those who host for it. There are a great many hosts who are worthless and who cannot be salvaged. Chris Matthews, despite all of his many, many faults, is not one of them.

#19 ::: Josh SN ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 10:49 AM:

Michael,

I do not agree that CM is salvageable, but he probably should get more credit than anyone else for questioning, even before the Iraq War, the claims of the administration about the war.

Did he do enough? No. Did he take an adversarial stance "Show me some evidence, administration, or back on down!"? No. But he did openly wonder and doubt.

Bob Somerby makes that clear, too.

#20 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 10:52 AM:

A very interesting take, Michael.

#21 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 03:11 PM:

As addenda to what Michael said above, from Wikipedia:

As a young man Matthews supported Barry Goldwater, but was inspired to become a Democrat by Eugene McCarthy's pro-civil rights and anti-Vietnam war platforms. When Matthews first arrived in Washington he was given a patronage job as an armed officer with the United States Capitol Police[1]. In Washington Matthews worked for four Democratic politicians. He worked in the U.S. Senate for five years on the staffs of Senators Frank Moss and Edmund Muskie before himself campaigning for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, losing his party's nomination to Pennsylvania Congressman Joshua Eilberg in the Democratic primary in 1974. He was a presidential speechwriter for four years during the Carter administration. Matthews later worked six years as a top aide to long-time Speaker of the House of Representatives Tip O'Neill.

I remembered the O'Neill stint, but not the others. Having once had a nodding relationship with Senator Frank Moss, if he were still alive I'd ask him about Matthews. I surely didn't know Matthews had actually run for Congress.

#22 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 04:50 PM:

That kind of fear of women/castration anxiety is way beyond pathological.

I have to confess that I really don't get Hillaryphobia. She's a smart, intelligent woman, married to a smart intelligent man with a roving eye (but she gets blamed for it, not him; and she gets blamed for staying married to him, which, frankly, I can't understand at all). As an alternative to the Republican élite, she seems to me to be much like her husband (talk a bit to the left of centre, govern a bit to the right of centre), but she's attacked as someone to the left of Ché Guevara. It makes no sense to me. Maybe that's because I'm a complete idiot, but I doubt it.

#23 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 05:03 PM:

When I first saw Matthews on TV, I noticed one that he tends to ask his guest a question, which the guest starts answering, but doesn't complete because Matthews cuts him off. Really annoying.

#24 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 05:51 PM:

Serge: That's a common trick on such shows. It's not as bad as Limbaugh's habit of cutting the mike off of a caller, explaining what the caller was "really" saying and then, "countering," it.

When the, intended, victim of the, pose a loaded question, and then cut them off/derail them, doesn't let it happen, it's wonderful. I recall seeing Scott Ritter flatten O'Reilly, in Sept. 2002, when O'Reilly was trying to make him admit the Iraqis had chemical weapons, and Ritter refused to let O'Reilly get away with it, both the loaded questions, and the derailment. Ritter stayed on topic, and O'Reilly had to cope with watching Ritter eat his lunch.

#25 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 07:22 PM:

#21:All plausible Democratic candidates get attacked as if they were to the left of Ché Guevara. It's a Repubican common tactic. (Actually, have the Republicans tried to paint Obama this way yet? I don't remember.)

I think she's getting attacked in this way, at least right now, not because she's a woman, but because she's viable. I do think the attacks are more shrill and even more nonsensical than usual because they can't wrap their minds around the notion of a highly successful, viable female candidate though.

(Yes, this ignores the attacks she received as First Lady, or wife of presidential candidate. But I don't remember those attacks painting her as too liberal.)

#26 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 07:22 PM:

#21:All plausible Democratic candidates get attacked as if they were to the left of Ché Guevara. It's a Repubican common tactic. (Actually, have the Republicans tried to paint Obama this way yet? I don't remember.)

I think she's getting attacked in this way, at least right now, not because she's a woman, but because she's viable. I do think the attacks are more shrill and even more nonsensical than usual because they can't wrap their minds around the notion of a highly successful, viable female candidate though.

(Yes, this ignores the attacks she received as First Lady, or wife of presidential candidate. But I don't remember those attacks painting her as too liberal.)

#27 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 08:02 PM:

John Chu #s 24/25: As I recall, she was seen, back when Bill was in the White House, as a big advocate of the 'Nanny State' as well as a woman who took an excessive interest in political ideas (those of Amitai Etzioni, if I recall correctly).

#28 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 11:43 AM:

If Matthews were directing his vitriol at Obama, and had a long history of crazy racist dialogue, I suspect there would be no discussion of whether or not he can be "salvaged". I don't understand the moral trade-off of 'well, he's a rabid sexist asshat but at least he's against the war'. We're not talking about a little cluelessness here; the guy is a misogynist.

I don't think complaining to MSNBC will do any good.

Correct: complain (politely) to their advertisers and explain why you will no longer be purchasing their products.

#29 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:03 PM:

The problem with that plan is that, unless some hardy soul volunteers to do it for us, we have to actually watch his show (albeit with the sound turned off) to find out who his advertisers are.

#30 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:05 PM:

Has Obama been painted as to the left of Ché Guevara? Not exactly, but the "Obama Hussein, the Muslim" has been floated, and is lingering in the Freeper-zone, so the angle of whispering campaign is probably set.

mythago: I think the reason people think misogynists to be salvageable is that it's not seen as being so intractable as racisism.

I don't really agree with it, given his age; and the apparent long-standing nature of the hatred, but I can see where those who are less invested in being sexist asshats might be able to have the error of their ways shown to them.

I don't know why the idea that sexism is less entrenched in those who have it than racism. In some ways I think it's because the culture has less antipathy to the idea of it; that, or the basis for it is so strongly resident that the inertia of sexism is harder to overcome, and those who aren't resisting it aren't seen as being as bad as those who are using skin color to isolate, and denigrate, a group.

#31 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:19 PM:

Jokes, gags, and jeers about gender are considerably more accepted and tolerated than the same types of comments about race. In fact, without gender stereotypes, half of the comics out there would be speechless.

#32 ::: JerolJ ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:16 PM:

My wife and I watch a lot of MSNBC, because the alternative is unacceptable (CNN and Fox). I can handle Matthews' misogynist rants far better than the delusional barks coming from Lou Dobbs, Wolf Blitzer, etc. Plus MSNBC has Olbermann and I shall no other gods before him.

Anyone see Matthews breaking down as Hillary won in New Hampshire? At one point he was this close to a nervous breakdown and Olbermann was looking out of the corner of his eye like he was expecting Matthews to shape-shift or something.

#33 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:16 PM:

This is why I have basically given up on watching televised news.

That Foser article was jaw-dropping. If Matthews's statements about Clinton's gender had been, instead, statements about Obama's race, he would have been crucified in the court of public opinion.

(And rightly so, but that is beside my point.)

Oh, yes, no double standard here, move along...

#34 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 04:50 PM:

#27 mythago: If Matthews were directing his vitriol at Obama, and had a long history of crazy racist dialogue, I suspect there would be no discussion of whether or not he can be "salvaged". I don't understand the moral trade-off of 'well, he's a rabid sexist asshat but at least he's against the war'. We're not talking about a little cluelessness here; the guy is a misogynist.

The reason I suggest he might be salvaged is because I have seen guys like that salvaged.

If you find a tool out there in the barnyard you can knock some of the rust off, squirt a little oil at it, and get it to help you in your work, then I think it's worth the effort. If you or anybody else don't see it that way, that's fine. I said I wasn't suggesting anybody go to the time and trouble. You don't have to make me into some moral traitor to the cause about it.

#35 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 04:53 PM:

Michael 33: I read mythago as disagreeing with you very forcefully, but not as painting you as a moral traitor.

#36 ::: sara ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 08:21 PM:

So we're supposed to give a pass to misogyny in men over 60 when they present it as humor?

Not.

To take a much more minor example, the Washington Post also should retire Gene Weingarten. Gene is the much inferior replacement of Dave Barry on the last page of the WP Magazine section; his shtick routinely includes men-are-from-Mars, women-are-from-Venus and arguments with an imaginary feminist. Granted, I mainly read the WPM for the restaurant reviews, but coming across Weingarten on the last page spoils my appetite.

#37 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 10:15 PM:

I'm not sure anyone would be an adequate replacement for Dave Barry.

#38 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 10:52 PM:

Michael, please rest easy: if I were calling you a "moral traitor" I'd do so straight-up. As Xopher said, I'm merely disagreeing with you.

If you're arguing "sexist assholes occasionally get over themselves," that's one thing; but you're arguing that Matthews has some kind of utility (anti-war) and therefore his sexism should be weighed against that, not considered as an isolated evil. And that is, in fact, making a moral calculation about how terrible bigotry really is.

No, this is not an argument that sexism is worse than racism (or vice versa). But it's astonishing that open sexism is acceptable in a way open racism isn't, as though women sorta deserve the hate so you can't blame the guy too much.

#39 ::: Cynthia Wood ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 10:53 PM:

Maybe not, but I think I'd settle for not nausea-inducing.

#40 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 11:17 PM:

#38 mythago: Michael, please rest easy: if I were calling you a "moral traitor" I'd do so straight-up.

You brought up a "moral trade-off". I don't see how that doesn't make me into a guy who is being accused of making one.

If you're arguing "sexist assholes occasionally get over themselves," that's one thing;

That's the one thing I am arguing. Nowhere did I say that we should cut him slack because he's against the war. What I meant to say was that he was salvageable because he has the insight to see the war is a terrible eff-up. If he has insight about that, I don't think it's useful to assume he can't be brought around to equally helpful insights on other matters. I was unclear about that and I'm sorry.

... but you're arguing that Matthews has some kind of utility (anti-war) and therefore his sexism should be weighed against that, not considered as an isolated evil.

No, that is what you and apparently others are saying I'm arguing. I'm not.

And that is, in fact, making a moral calculation about how terrible bigotry really is.

And that is precisely where things have gone wrong here. I'm not making that moral calculation. I have never made that moral calculation. I would never make that calculation.

On the one hand, I apologize that I was unclear. On the other hand, I don't appreciate being accused of making that sort of calculation on such flimsy evidence.

If I may stoop to Arguing From Authority here: By Patrick's response, it seems to me he grasped what I was saying. If he got me and others didn't, it may be because he knows me better than others in here do.

#41 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 11:53 PM:

Michael Weholt: Looking at what you wrote again, I can see you aren't arguing that the decent things Matthews is doing now make up, in some way, for his apparent misogyny (I don't know if his attitudes toward Clinton spill over to other women, though given the virulence of his general reactions [esp. the one about how no one can seriously expect men in the military to take orders from a woman] don't incline me to think it's an attitude he limits to Clinton).

I can also see how it might look that way to other people, sort of like libel by juxtaposition (to be honest, it looked enough like that to me, that when mythago said you were doing such a thing, I didn't think, "wait a minute, she got it wrong).

Maybe Matthews is salvageable. If he is, his being a decent fellow on other things has nothing to do with it, and including the things he's done right made it look as though you might have been considering that a mitigating circumstance.

#42 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 12:13 AM:

Terry Karney @ 41:

Thank you for looking again.

I acknowledged I could have been clearer and straightforwardly apologized for not having been so.

I don't blame people for not knowing me well enough to know I wouldn't engage in such a calculation. I should not have based what I wrote on the assumption people would know me that well.

On the other hand... I do think it would help if people took the time to ask for clarification rather than to launch off a series of accusations based on their own set of assumptions.

#43 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 12:47 AM:

mythago, #28 & #38: Word. That it hasn't happened is one of the clearest illustrations of the relative social acceptability of sexism that I've ever seen.

And you're absolutely right also that complaining to MSNBC won't do a thing. Complaints mean that people are watching, and that means RATINGS. They don't care whether you watch because you like him or you hate him; all that matters is that you watch them and not someone else.

#44 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:11 AM:

#43, Lee

They'd really hate my reaction to this whole conversation, then. I thought, "Who?" After reading a bit I decided that all I needed to know was that he's an ass.

Too bad there's no way to make that opinion matter to them.

#45 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 01:25 PM:

Michael 40: If you were talking about a "moral tradeoff" (which you were not) that would make you a moral trader, not a moral traitor. To be a moral traitor you'd have to commit moral treason.

___ 42: On the other hand... I do think it would help if people took the time to ask for clarification rather than to launch off a series of accusations based on their own set of assumptions.

Unfortunately, people often don't notice ambiguities. They simply interpret what you say and are convinced they have it right. Only after you explain can they see the ambiguity. Someone who read you as saying Matthews might be worth salvaging because he's against the war would not be making an accusation by calling that a "moral tradeoff." That is what a moral tradeoff IS.

For the record, I read you as saying that his change in stance on the war was evidence that he was capable of seeing reason on some issues, and that therefore he might be salvageable on the sexism issue as well. I disagree (his irrational sexist hatred of Hillary is IMO a sign of a deeper mental illness), but I understood you. I apologize for not saying so earlier.

Look, this was a misunderstanding. People reacted reasonably to an incorrect reading of your post. I think mythago just left out the word 'if' in 'But you're arguing...'. Now that everyone knows that you weren't arguing that Matthews should be kept because he's against the war, can we just let this whole thing drop? No one thinks you're a "moral traitor." No one here, anyway!

#46 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 01:40 PM:

#45 Xopher: Now that everyone knows that you weren't arguing that Matthews should be kept because he's against the war, can we just let this whole thing drop?

So far as I can tell, it was dropped at least a day-and-a-half day ago.

#47 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 01:43 PM:

Michael: BORK! I didn't notice the date being yesterday. In my own defense, I will state that sometimes these conversations are quite slow...but the fact is, I didn't look. Sorry.

#48 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 01:56 PM:

My goodness, Xopher just turned into the Swedish Chef for a second.

...did anyone else see that? It was trippy.

#49 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 02:05 PM:

I am, in fact, a were-Swedish Chef. Now you know my sad secret.

#50 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 02:10 PM:

Speaking of culinary leanings... I keep reading this thread's title as "Chris Matthews, head cheese".

#51 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 02:31 PM:

Xopher @ #49 - So, do you undergo your metamorphosis when exposed to a wheel of green goat cheese?

#52 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 03:51 PM:

Tania 51: I don't know what you're talking abork. Um, about.

#53 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 04:25 PM:

Not really related to Xopher sveriganthropic abilities, but now I'm wondering - what is green cheese?

I've eaten bleu cheese, gjetost is a carmel color, I have at home various shades of white and yellow cheese, but I've never encountered green cheese that was smooth. The green cheese I've seen is fuzzy with mold growth. That being said, I've seen cheese black with mold growth. Is the whole "moon made of green cheese" poetic license, but they really meant something like emmenthaler? Any thoughts?

I do wonder about things like this. Especially when I'm supposed to be writing reports that are dull dull dull.

#54 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 04:42 PM:

Tania, 53: Green = unripe.

#55 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 04:47 PM:

Tania, yes, TexAnne has it right. It's the cheese before it sets, while it's still bubbling (for some kinds), leading to craters etc.

#56 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 04:48 PM:

Tania, the very mention of gjetost just made me yak. What's that stuff made out of, rancid plastic?

#57 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 04:51 PM:

Thanks! One more thing to clear out of the clutter of my brain's "gee, I wonder" bin.

#58 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 05:13 PM:

And if you're reading older cookbooks, 'green corn' is what you buy in the supermarket (as opposed to the fully-dried stuff that gets turned into cornmeal). (I suspect that's also the origin of 'green beans', but since many varieties actually are green ....)

#59 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 05:19 PM:

Tania #53 wrote "gjetost is a carmel color". Is that Carmel, California, or Carmel, Israel?

#60 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 06:13 PM:

ethan @ 56... What's that stuff made out of, rancid plastic?

Butter not ask.

#61 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 07:32 PM:

ethan, I can't stand the stuff. Gjetost reeks of goat, as far as I'm concerned. That's not a good thing. I used to work with a group of oceanographers that loved it.

Oh, please. Not the carmel vs caramel debate. Noooo. But, if pressed, I'd say California, because Clint Eastwood is there, and there's something about him that suggests eau de Gjetost.

#62 ::: dido ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:13 PM:

In one of the Little House books (early on) Ma explains exactly the green-cheese/Moon connection.

Both Ethan (56) and Tania (61) are CRAZY. Gjetost is really, really good. You put it on toasted rye bread and it melts and is yummy. CRAAAAAzy. (I also eat lefse, but not lutefisk. That's gross.)

I hate that "trading on my working class background" schtick--more especially because I tend to do it myself a lot.

#63 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:16 PM:

Tania #61: Hmm. You would probably like mannish water even less, then.

#64 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:17 PM:

Tania @ 61... Not the carmel vs caramel debate.

Afraid that you'll have to fudge the facts, again?

#65 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:27 PM:

Serge #64: Well, there's a lot to chew on.

#66 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:31 PM:

Serge, the topic makes me brittle. We all know that puns are soft crack for you.

Fragano , I can't see that (or Hard Gay) from work, so it'll be few hours before I can bask in the divinity of your link.

dido, I eat and make lefse. But no lutefisk or gjetost. The husband consumes it all. Then again, he also eats moose nose soup and whole fried fish, eyes and all. ::shudder::

#67 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:32 PM:

Fragano #63: Call me crazy, but anything that involves a GOAT HEAD should not be called "water".

#68 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:38 PM:

Tania #66: Toffee or not toffee? That is the question.

#69 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:42 PM:

Ethan #67: Well, you could make this substitution, or you could take Pluto Shervington's approach.

#70 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:45 PM:

Tania @ 66... no lutefisk or gjetost

If I can't have a lutefisk, how about a violinisk?

#71 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:54 PM:

Fragano, that is a treacle question.

Serge, I think you're talking out your bass on this one. Or would that be bassilisk?

::Tania notes stony silence from Serge::

#72 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:55 PM:

Michael, Xopher pretty much summed it up, so I won't go into the whole "but I said..." issue again.

That said, no, I don't think somebody who is that sexist, that invested in hating women is "salvageable". Perhaps he will have a change of heart someday and we can all accept his mea culpa with glad smiles. But, IME, people with that level of gleeful bigotry aren't merely ignorant or parroting stupidities they've learned; they're deeply and emotionally invested in their hatred. They get something out of it. It meets a need. And in sexism, that need is often tied in very strongly to people's emotional lives.

#73 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 09:05 PM:

Tania #71: But almost any answer will syrup.

#74 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 12:50 AM:

But I want to give a good answer. I'll rest my head on my piloncillo and sleep on the question.

#75 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 12:51 AM:

mythago, #72: It also pings really hard at my "just how far is he willing to take it?" button. Remembering the discussion a few months ago about how women are seen as legitimate prey by a certain class of men... let's just say that I sure as hell wouldn't want to be in an isolated area (say, a parking garage late at night) with this guy.

#76 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 01:53 AM:

Tania, #53, I love gjetost!

Re: Matthews, I left the TV on late to watch him on Leno. He was very complimentary of Hillary. Maybe he's trying to look better.

#77 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 02:01 AM:

Marilee, the good thing is that you will never have to worry about me poaching your last piece!

#78 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 02:07 AM:

Tania, I think we should throw a party sometime specifically to exclude gjetost from the cheese plate.

Gjetost lovers would be welcome, but they'd have to go elsewhere for their dirty fix.

#79 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 02:18 AM:

ethan, I could live with that.

I was very excited to try gjetost, I knew all these people that loved it, and I expected to join the ranks. Yeah. Didn't happen.

But, you know, as long as they're downwind, we could let them be in the same room. I think I would like dido and few other folks here, and wouldn't want to completely exclude them.

#80 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 07:23 AM:

Tania @ 71... notes stony silence from Serge

It was either my trying to remain calamari, or my whales of despair being audible from here all the way to Fairbanks, Alaska.

#81 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 11:38 AM:

Tania #74: I've no doubt you'll produce a nougat of good sense.

#82 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 01:43 PM:

Gjetost, to me, tastes like the bottom of a very old milking-parlor floor drain smells.

#83 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 02:33 PM:

Tania #79: Maybe they could leave their gjetost outside and just nip out if they really, really need it.

JESR #82: I don't know from experience what that smells like (I imagine it's pretty far from roses), but it suggests a far more...natural origin for gjetost than I had suspected.

#84 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 04:59 PM:

Tania @ 71... notes stony silence from Serge

You didn't think he was just being gneiss?

#85 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 05:09 PM:

I'll be interested to see Blogostan's reaction to the way Chris Matthews opened his show tonight.

No, I will not say how it went. If you give a big sh*t about the matter, you will track it down. If you give only a medium sh*t, you'll probably be able to find it on Crooks & Liars at some point. If you don't give the slightest sh*t, none of it matters anyway.

#86 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 05:26 PM:

Terry Karney @ 84... You didn't think he was just being gneiss?

That reminds me of one of the first puns I ever made in the English language. That was in September 1982, right after the Baltimore worldcon. I was staying in Queens for a few days, and some of us went to Greenwich Village one night - followed from a distance by one of their neighbors who basically was stalking one of the women. Earlier, to get rid of him, she had earlier said she'd soon move to Alaska. After a couple of hours, he came up to our group and told her: "As far as I'm concerned, you can move to Alaska and turn into an iceberg." Before I knew it, I shot back: "Well, it's better than her turning into an ugly berg." He gave me a Huh? look, but the smile that the woman gave me was priceless.

#87 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 05:50 PM:

Serge: I've made one pun in Russian. It was differently fortuitous, and, of course, falls flat if one doesn't know how Russians count things; it also requires a sense of Russian politics, and history.

But it was nice to see someone who spoke russian get the joke, even if it was a trifle strained.

#88 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 06:04 PM:

Terry Karney... Fortuitous puns are so much better appreciated than the gratuitous ones, aren't they?

#89 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 06:07 PM:

I wish I were to that point in Dutch. I've made a couple of multilingual puns, where something means one thing in English and another in Dutch, but nothing that's purely Dutch.

In time...

#90 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 06:09 PM:

Abi @ 89... No puns in Latin or in Ancient Greek?

#91 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 06:24 PM:

Terry Karney @ 84 - Serge is aa guy that tends to go with the flow, and I try to not take him for granite.

#92 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 06:29 PM:

Tania @ 91... I try to not take him for granite

What's next? Graveling igneominiously?

#93 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 06:31 PM:

Hey, I consider you a basalt of the earth fellow!

#94 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 07:13 PM:

He's certainly not sedimentary.

#95 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 07:23 PM:

And appears to have the gift of gabbro.

#96 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 07:31 PM:

This is a tuff one.

Ah, foget it . . . I really don't give a schist.

#97 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 07:32 PM:

Agate so tired of these pun chains.

#98 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 07:46 PM:

Really, Xopher?

I tend to marble at them.

#99 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 08:10 PM:

You folk are all so igneous.

#100 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 08:18 PM:

I'm with Xopher: this pun chain has hit rock bottom.

#101 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 08:21 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 100... I guess I shale stop it then.

#102 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 08:21 PM:

Hmm. Xopher, if I didn't like you as much as I do, and doubt the sincerity of your statement, I'd tell you to stick it Upper Jurassic. But, I'd have to be off my marble to do that, because I think you're a lava, not a fighter.

#103 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 08:50 PM:

Tania @ 102... I think you're a lava, not a fighter

"Xopher, what is your secret?"
"I tectonic with every plate I eat."

#104 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 09:10 PM:

I bet Xopher knows how to make the bedrock*. Me, all I can claim is some cleavage, though it's not perfect.

*must resist the urge to make thrust comments. I have an apatite for puns that can only be chalked up to a less than vitreous childhood. But I don't want to be tacky.

#105 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 09:12 PM:

Matthews responds to the s***storm enveloping him. I haven't watched the video, just read the transcript; the words alone don't entirely persuade me that he really understands how offensive he's been. Maybe the video will help.

Media Matters has more on its home page.

#106 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 09:40 PM:

Tania @ 104... I bet Xopher knows how to make the bedrock

Asbestos he can.

#107 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 11:14 PM:

I would like to report with sadness that nowhere in my head is there an appropriate punning use of pahoehoe to respond to the mention of aa earlier in this thread.

Trying to come up with some funny distracted me from the dog hair piling up in drifts on the floor for most of the afternoon, so the failure is not a complete tragedy.

Unlike Chris Matthew's frantic back-pedalling.

#108 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 11:46 PM:

JESR - I'm glad to help provide the distraction. All those geology classes in school had to come in useful for something.

The good thing about Chris Matthews is that he appears to be all talc and no action.

#109 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 12:05 AM:

Tania, it's plane that no cleavage is perfect, all are just diamonds in the ruff.

Serge: the fortuitous nature of it was that I saw I could make that stretch, and there was someone there who didn't need to have it explained.

As for the avalance of geologisms I seem to have sparked, all I can say do is give you a flinty-eyed stare (decisively) and hope you can hammer out some agreement before it goes off the scales and people start moh'ning.

#110 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 02:09 AM:

I tried all afternoon to come up with a good halite/currency pun for Terry, in honor of his LJ title. No luck. :( After mining my brain for anything that qualified for inclusion, I've decided that it's time for me to tuff it up and take a breccia.

#111 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 02:23 AM:

Tania: There is already a play on words in the title (though it seems I may have mis-remembered what I was trying to say; which is OK, the number of people who have that piece of classical trivia in their heads is so small that it still works).

But, in aggregate, I think the inclusion of wordplay is always in ore-der, and I'm flattered that you wanted to use me for inspiration, even if nothing crystalised.

The very salt of the earth you are, more precious than gold.

#112 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 11:11 AM:

Washington Post reports Chris Matthews Backs Off Nasty Remark on Clinton

#113 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 11:17 AM:

Terry,

I always assumed it was a reference to Roman soldiers being paid in salt, sometimes, since it was precious (at the time). Now of course, it isn't worth that much, unlike your blog.

#114 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 12:24 PM:

Nancy: When trying to find a name for the blog (back in 2003... WTF, where did the time go). I recalled (sitting in the library at Walter Reed) that a Roman slave was allowed to keep money; for the buying of freedom. I remembered this as a pecunium.

It seems I misread/remembered it (it was years ago; I have a mind like a sieve) and it's probably some variant of the pecu step.

But it seemed to me, that money to buy one's freedom was better than a mere salary.

All of which came to me in a couple of strange seconds while looking at the registration screen for Lj.

#115 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 01:21 PM:

Terry, the word bumping up against "pecunium" in your memory is "peculium".

Some details are here.

#116 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 01:34 PM:

fidelio: That's the word. I'd change the name, but it's not as euphonious,and I'm attached to that identification. Would that I'd recalled it aright at the time.

#117 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 01:43 PM:

and money is pecunia, pecuniae (1st declension, feminine); I got that confused with pecunium.

#118 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 01:54 PM:

Non plaudite; modo pecuniam jacite.

#119 ::: Mary Aileen suspects spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2012, 08:59 PM:

Leontine might be real, the question is plausible enough, but the URL is fake.

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