The Good Wife
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | 2 USERS: A+
I Am Not The Cheese

Call it the wrong way and you're "being a feminist," barking at shadows that aren't there; call it the right way, and inevitably people on the other side of your understanding -- sexists, Jackie, other feminists -- will say the exact same thing.

So then that becomes the problem. And if you go far enough down that false trail, you get to a place where all feminist-sounding complaints are valid, because if they aren't then none of them are. Suddenly individual choices, thoughts and reasoning don't matter, because you're defending sacred and very much endangered territory. But do it wrong, often enough, collectively or singly, and you invalidate the territory altogether.

Mission creep.

Of course there's a feminist side to every thing that goes down: There's an a priori institutionalized gender imbalance that is always present in everything that will ever happen. And it's not enough to say, like the military does, that gender simply doesn't matter: That's just like white people saying color is irrelevant. It's a form of really gross privilege that goes unnoticed and continues to warp our lives because it's so prevalent. We are all fish and we all have to remain aware at all times that "water" isn't the sum total of reality, it's just the way of things for us right now.

But the opposite reading isn't fair either. No easy answer is ever the answer. You throw your lot in with the rule of thumb and you make yourself lazier and stupider. No doesn't always mean no. Bosses aren't always bad for sleeping with their employees. Fall to the rule of thumb, and you're not only lobotomizing yourself but you're also taking away the choice of the victims you pretend to care so much about. An easy answer is comforting, in the moment, and it will always break your heart, in the long term.

"I know this one," you say, exulting in one thing making sense, and it will -- I guarantee you -- rot from underneath the second you do that. The answer stops being the answer the moment that you find it. We were engineered that way, to be always moving forward.

Any charge like this, scapegoating or misogyny or whatever, is radioactive and must be treated with respect, because if you hold onto it you will get cancer. Given infinite play it invalidates the entire system. Not every criminal case is an ACLU case, regardless of race. Not every woman condemned for a crime is being scapegoated for her gender. We are cagey about it because it looks like a Salem trial: She drowns or floats, and either way she dies. But the truth is that this is scary mostly because it doesn't brook meaningful conversation: It all streams downhill, to an ugly place. Step outside the system, critique the system from inside the system -- in a military trial, say -- and the best you can hope for is to wreck what it's based on, both the good and bad parts. That's why the adversarial system exists, and why judge corruption -- Lifeguards -- are such a serious evil.

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The Good Wife




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