Teresa Heinz Insults My Wife

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Wink posted about how Alan Keyes had insulted him, so now I'm going to post about how Teresa Heinz has insulted my wife and millions of other women.

Teresa Heinz: Well, you know, I don't know Laura Bush. But she seems to be calm, and she has a sparkle in her eye, which is good. But I don't know that she's ever had a real job -- I mean, since she's been grown up. So her experience and her validation comes from important things, but different things. And I'm older, and my validation of what I do and what I believe and my experience is a little bit bigger -- because I'm older, and I've had different experiences. And it's not a criticism of her. It's just, you know, what life is about.

Then we have her apology, which admits that being a teacher or a librarian is a real job. What about being a full-time student in a masters program at a good school? What about being a full-time mom for many years (which Heinz herself has done)? How many people has this woman just insulted? She obviously has no idea what the responsibility of raising children amounts to if she doesn't even think paid teachers count as having a real job until she's called on it and then continues to assume that being a full-time mom isn't a real job even after being called on it . The greatest contribution anyone can give toward the future of society isn't a real job. By the way, this doesn't just apply to women. Wink as a stay-home dad (when he's not at school) is also a victim of this attack, since being a student and caring for his son are what he basically does. I happen to have a part-time job teaching, though that's only a real job as an afterthought, since it's teaching, so I guess it kind of applies to me too.

I think it says a lot about John Kerry that he would marry someone with such values. It's not just that she sounds really mean, though some of the fashion show voters will care more about that. She really is mean, and she's mean to very nice, very hard-working people. Thanks to Polipundit for first bringing this to my attention.

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Responding to Theresa Heinz-Kerry's gaffe that Mrs. Bush never had a "real job" (despite working for 10 years as a school teacher), the First Lady showed grace and compassion. "Mrs. Bush knows that some days are more difficult than others... Read More

6 Comments

Teresa Heinz was just plain stupid to even go there... Laura Bush is so strongly admired. Heinz forgets, in addition to your points, Parableman, that being a highly successful politician's wife carries responsibilities that require a very high degree of professionalism. Laura Bush is a class act and Teresa Heinz can't even begin to compare. "First Lady" is quite a profession in my book. Teresa Heinz embarrasses her husband on a regular basis. Even if it just when she shows that she was a nervous wreck for him at the debates.

Certainly not a smart statement to make. But this?!!:

I think it says a lot about John Kerry that he would marry someone with such values

I knew someone who worked very hard for years on a volunteer basis tutoring grade school kids in a great after school program. When money got tight, and she thought she'd have to switch to a job for which she'd be paid, she put it this way: "I may have to get a real job." She didn't mean to be denigrating the work she had been doing. She valued that work enough to have invested many hours in it -- just as THK herself did with child-raising. Some people just (perhaps unwisely) use "real job" to mean a job for which you get paid. Since the phrase sometimes is used to denigrate work for which one isn't payed, it's not a good phrase to use, and it was a mistake both for my friend and for THK to use it. But that's all that seems to be going on here. As for Ms. Bush's work as a librarian, I took it that THK just wasn't remembering that -- her original statement was "I don't know if...", and her apology wasn't to the effect that she was chinging her opinion about the status of work as a librarian, but that she hadn't remembered that part of LB's history. That's very unwise talk in such a setting (I agree with jenzy's statement, "Teresa Heinz was just plain stupid to even go there"), but I find this slamming her "values" an over-reaction. Here is someone who by all accounts has worked hard for many good causes. So, she verbally shoots from the hip too much. I certainly wouldn't want to be so harsh as to draw any negative conclusions about someone just for choosing such a person as a spouse.

Well, I think there are four different ways of being uncareful in your speech.

1. The most innocent kind is not thinking about your words carefully enough and saying something you didn't intend to say. Bush does this all the time, but there's usually no implication that he didn't intend. He just misspeaks.

2. The worst kind is when you really hate someone, and you let it slip when you're not being careful. I don't ever attribute this motivation to anyone unless I'm fairly sure the other explanations don't fit the data. I get the sense you thought I meant this, but I didn't.

3. Somewhere in between those two in severity is not thinking about your views carefully and having views that entail things you wouldn't support. Presumably this is what Alan Keyes did, assuming he really has no problem with blind adoption, as I suspect he doesn't. This is bad, but it's not as bad as the next kind, which is still not as bad as the second.

4. Finally, we have what I think happened here, simply not realizing that people who hear you might hear your words differently, because they consider those words to be about something else. I guess this is what you're suggesting she did. You're seeing it as not necessarily devaluing stay-home moms (or dads, though this was about a woman) but rather thinking about it in terms of what earns money. You admit that it's infelicitous to do so, but the reason that it's infelicitous to do so is that it sends a message to those who consider being a parent a full-time job, even if it doesn't pay. People in public life need to be very careful about what message they send, and someone who cares about what stay-home parents care about is naturally going to be thinking about that, just as someone who cares about what Asians care about will, by second nature, know not to call an Asian and Oriental or to assume that someone who is Asian must be very smart or know karate.

I think a good parallel is what Trent Lott did when he said stuff about Strom Thurmond that black Americans heard very differently from how he intended his words. His fault was in not understanding how black people would hear his words. That shows he really wasn't concerned about what concerns them.

The parallel here is a lot worse than you make it sound. It means she doesn't have the concerns of stay-home moms or dads in mind. She's not thinking that it's bad to stay home and care for children, since she did it herself for a bit, but she doesn't really seem to me to understand how the ordinary person without lots of money who does that really thinks of the value of their life. So as for Kerry, I think it does reveal something about him that he enjoys being with someone who so frequently reveals that underneath she just isn't concerned about many ordinary people. There are lots of other ways she does this, too. This is just one example. Much of what she had said in her prepared speech at the DNC and in her off-the-cuff comments have come across this way to me. This is just the one that I found most insulting to people like us who sacrifice due to valuing being the ones to put in most of the time and work to raise their own children.

Count me in as one of the ones who was insulted by THK's statement. I don't really like the idea of her as First Lady, let em tell you. If she really wants her husband to win, she should stop makeing public statements; she's consistently making ridiculous and/or insulting statements.

(Note: We don't vote for the First Lady, we vote for the President. The main difference I see between Keyes and THK is that Keyes is the one running for office, while THK is not. I am insulted by both, but THK's comments have a far smaller impact on how I will vote than Keyes' comments [though technically I can't vote for or against Keyes anyway as I live in the wrong place, but I think you understand what I mean.])

One wonders: Where in the hierarchy of different ways of being uncareful in one's speech do we put calling a reporter a "major league a**h***" for writing a negative story or telling an opponent to "go f*** himself" on the Senate floor?

5. Lack of self control when you just simply don't care what people think.

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