Saturday, July 19, 2008

Coming Soon to TeeVee: Butch PhD!

(Photo Credit: Rachel Maddow Official Web Site)

We would have pounced on this story yesterday when the New York Times reported that Butch Goddess Rachel Maddow is next on the list for a show of her own on MSNBC, but my typist was busy being a big drama queen about having a sinus infection of her very own. (Perhaps she was jealous of mine?) She lay on the couch most of the day, except when she was lying in bed, and devoted a considerable amount of mental energy to trying to decide whether her chest felt like it was being crushed in a vise or sat upon by, um, the late Chris Farley. How crummy did she feel? So crummy that instead of going to see the opening day of the much anticipated (in our house) Mamma Mia, the moms stayed home last night and watched last year's grim family flick, The Savages, with Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman. (Verdict? Awesome perfs, nice tribute to the salvific power of dogs [in the end], but not exactly what the doctor ordered for cheering up a sick chick.) Moose is feeling better today, thanks to the healing powers of antibiotics, Theraflu, Motrin, and an excellent bowl of Tom Kha Chicken soup Goose had brought in from a nearby Thai place that actually delivers. (Go on, suburban MD readers. Click on that link, and show a good neighborhood joint some love. The steamed dumplings are yummy, too.)

Anyway: back to Rachel. Y'all know Dr. Maddow (she has a PhD in poli sci from Oxford) is tops on the list of Famous Butches We'd Most Like to Date or Be here in Roxie's World. We've been dreaming of her having her own show for quite some time and would be delighted if MSNBC gave Maddow a timeslot in an effort to redeem itself from the idiocies of the caveman lefties who otherwise dominate its evening programming (yes, Chris Matthews, we mean you, as well as Mr. Unhinged by His Delusions of Being the Second Coming of Ed Murrow, Keith Olbermann). We're so excited by the idea that we can't even get upset about the fact that the Times story didn't run a full-on face shot of Her Butchness, instead using this admittedly odd back-of-the-head pic at the top of the story:

(Photo Credit: Bess Greenberg, New York Times)

Melissa McEwan cranks up some good feminist indignation over the Times' strange photo selections over at Shakesville, but we're going to continue with our happy dancing and our fervent praying that Rachel will actually replace Tweety when his contract is up for renewal next year. Oh, what a day of rejoicing that would be!

In the meantime, Rache, we took a vote and have decided to let you have Butch PhD (coined right here in Roxie's World) as the title for your show on two conditions:
  • you must promise not to sacrifice one iota of your butch fabulousness in order to succeed in television. That means: no skirts, ever; no more makeup than is absolutely necessary to keep from looking like a corpse under those harsh lights; no tight, polite smiles when the Neanderthals start dissing some chick as a way of getting laughs or ratings.
  • you must permit us to declare ourselves the Official Dog Blog of Butch PhD: The Rachel Maddow Show. That means: unconditional love, even when you screw up, though we will have to call you out on that; the devotion of the sizable Tough Girls Caucus here in Roxie's World, not to mention the Smart Kids, the Political Junkies, and the Boys Who Dress Just Like You; access to a sophisticated if quirky audience who for some reason appreciates news and cultural commentary from a canine/queer point of view. We don't know if you're a dog lesbian or a cat lesbian, but you gotta love that demographic, no matter what!
We know you're probably being deluged with advice and adoration from sycophants, hangers-on, and wannabes right now, but we hope one of your loyal butch followers up there in the lesbo-land of western Massachusetts will find a way to get this humble blog post to you. Roxie's World is ready to help in any way we can to advance your career and the cause of butch visibility. Call us, Rache. We are eager to please. You. Really.

(With thanks to Dog-Eared Book, who knows just what it takes to cheer up a sick chick.)


  1. Butch PhD, yee haw, Rox! Or AMEN. Would be great to have her with her own show. . .I am so tired of those (didn't your buddy Mark Twain call them) self-important gasbags, who've done more to degrade political discourse in this country than, yikes, the politicians themselves (and that's hard to believe, not to mention quite a feat). We need more strong, highly visible women in this country, and the Rachel Maddow Show would indeed be fab. Take no prisoners, Rache.

    And what is it with the NYTimes and pics of high profile women? The Return of the Repressed on Parade?

  2. Anonymous5:00 PM EDT

    I guess I'm marginally happier that the time slot at MSNBC is going to Maddow than to yet another straight clueless white guy, but Maddow really disappointed me this spring with her willingness to cheer along with the misogyinist bunch at NBC and MSNBC when they thought Obama might be able to actually "beat the bitch." One of the things I liked about her radio program is that it was all about the media critique--the slavish, unquestioning devotion the media gave Dear Leader as soon as he could declare war somewhere. But, over the course of the primary, she stopped the critique of the media if it was blowing sunshine up Obama's skirts, and when it was pathologically hateful toward Clinton.

    IOW, although she's a dyke, she's dead to me now. I'm a pretty ambitious person, but I just can't see selling out my intellectual record for a mess of MSNBC-flavored pottage, as I think she has done. I'm pretty sure the price of acceptance in the Boys Club means that she won't be a voice for feminism and LGBTQ issues--she will be assimilated into the borg. (But, as always, I'll be happy to be proved wrong about my grimmer predictions.)

  3. Oh, go ahead and rain on our parade with your absolutely spot-on critique of Maddow's sell-out spring, Historiann. We stopped watching MSNBC after a certain point in the primary season and so probably missed the worst of what you describe. There is of course a steep price to be paid for getting the kind of access Maddow is on the verge of getting. I really hope your grim predictions are off, though, because it would be so wonderful if she could bring a genuinely alternative POV to television. Fingers crossed.

    Also, we may be overly invested in the politics of visibility 'round here, but we confess to getting
    Goosebumps (and Moosebumps and Roxiebumps) when we see someone as butch dykealicious as Maddow is making it in the MSM. That makes the pottage a little tastier, for us at least.

  4. Historiann,

    Goose here. Thanks SO MUCH for reminding me of how Maddow sold out in the spring, of how she had me spitting my red wine across the plasma and muttering "she's drunk the kool-aid," when she, in your apt words, "stopped the critique of the media if it was blowing sunshine up Obama's skirts, and when it was pathologically hateful toward Clinton." Moose is correct that we stopped watching MSNBC at one point. Perhaps it was the Pennsylvania primary or maybe earlier, but I remember one night starting to fix dinner and it became clear at 6:30 that Clinton had won but the guys on MSNBC had convinced themselves that Obama was going to pull an upset, so as her lead grew wider and wider they kept saying it wasn't over. The Republican commentators on BOTH MSNBC and CNN were calling it for Clinton and still the desperate white boys persisted. And Rachel went along. I couldn't believe my eyes and ears, which leads me to. . . .

    As I was reading your response, I thought "how could I have turned such a blind eye to something that made me ill at the time; how could I have become amnesiac?" Since June 7 and watching that magnificent, wise, generous speech, I have been in a kind of daze about all of this. In Europe, we had no HRC gear visible for most of our travels (that was happenstance of carrying conference bags, etc), and Europeans had been told that "American academics all love Obama," so most conversations about the American presidential election would start off slowly, tentatively. But the minute one of us blurted out, "I voted for Hillary Clinton and I stand by my vote" or some such thing, said European--whether it be a German, French, British, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Swiss, Italian, Irish, Greek, Scottish person (I could go on; we were at a conference for 6 days)--would say "what is wrong with your country? why is she not the Democratic nominee?" Now none of them really dislike Obama, but they don't see any there there. And they were full of admiration for Hillary Clinton. Admittedly, this was just our experience, but it happened between 75-100 times (remember, we were at a conference), and I was really struck by their contempt for and/or bewilderment at the Democratic party. By the time we were enjoying a sumptuous dinner in a private home overlooking the Oslo fjord, we had come to expect what happened there: not a single Norwegian or British dinner guest could understand the sexist, belligerent treatment of Hillary Clinton.

    So we've come off of this trip with conversation after conversation that puts the lie to much of the MSM's reporting. That's been in tandem with the fact that I look back in horror at the spring. When I think of what was said, what was written, about a fine upstanding very dedicated citizen, Hillary Rodham Clinton, it takes my breath away and I want to deny that it occurred. But to deny that it happened is madness. To deny that Tim Russert was an active, hate-mongering participant just because he is dead is wrong. 18 million people voted for the woman, more than voted for Obama, and the Democratic Party acts as if those 18 million votes and voters mean nothing. It's truly mind-boggling that Democrats are apparently so weak that differences of opinion cannot be tolerated, that difference must be belittled, made fun of, even called out as immoral or as racist. When the Republicans and George W. Bush did that--act as if he had won by a landslide rather than squeaked out or stolen a "victory"--in 2000, I can't say I was surprised. But the actions of the DNC on May 31 broke faith with me, a loyal Democrat for more than 30 years.

    If he had it "in the bag," as Russert claimed, why the shenanigans at the end? Why reallocate votes in a way that had never been done before. Why shout hateful words at Hillary Clinton's supporters? Why say "get over it" instead of "what can the presumptive nominee support that would make you lean favorably toward him?" Why not ask "What do you think the Democratic Party is ignoring?" instead of repeat, "get over it." Instead, we get a faux anti-war "movement" based on lies or on actions that are as significant as Moose and I carrying anti-war signs in protest several times. To read a trenchant analysis of the faux anti-war "movement" see (thanks to our friend Margie for pointing us to this).

    Rachel Maddow stood back and let all be when this was unleashed in the spring, and I was willfully being amnesiac about that. Thank you for reminding me of her dirty compromises. Still, I'm happy that there's a dyke in line to replace one of the sad, angry white boys who staff most of MSNBCs shows. We can try to push her back to the radio show Rachel you describe. But once you start being gutless in the way she's been gutless, it's, er, hard to take back one's courage. I'll push her to do that, keeping your incisive, spot on critique in mind.

    European after European asked me why we are still so sexist. I stammered my weak responses.

    Let's hope the tasty pottage turns out truly to be a Brave One.

  5. Anonymous1:39 PM EDT

    Sing it, sister! And thanks for your very interesting comments about Europeans who followed the primary. It was simply astonishing--and I'm fully convinced that that's what historians of the near future will be talking about foremost when this primary campaign is analyzed. Neighbors of ours who went to South America last year told us that South Americans were praying for a Clinton to be in the White House again--it was very clear to them that a speedy means of restoring our international reputation would be to elect Clinton, who could then send out Bill to repair the damage and restore relationships. (And remember those adoring crowds when HRC and Chelsea went to Africa in the late 1990s?)

    And, I'm sorry to burst your bubble about Maddow! I (hearted) Rachel too, but I just don't see her as a change agent any more. But, I'll probably watch once in a while (when I'm in a hotel or visiting family and therefore have access to cable). I hope you'll do some progress reports on RM's new show, and let us know if you think she's adding something new and exciting, or if she's toeing the line of her new corporate masters. (And, I think you're right that it was the PA primary, when MSmenBC were in full delusion mode that Obama was going to pull it out, despite his chronic lag in the polls that only seemed to widen when he bothered to campaign there.)


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