Tuesday, February 18, 2014

For Members Only

One thing I do to help out around here is regularly harangue Maine Today Media about its lack of female political columnists.  Recent commentary published by MTM written by women suggests my Herculean efforts may be starting to finally pay off, but even more enlightening on the topic is an opinion written by a self-described “powerlifting pundit, paleo practitioner and paternal force for good.” We’ll call him “Dan the Man,” or “DTM” for short.

My simple rational argument is as follows: The male-dominated public conversation about politics feeds the male-dominated political landscape that causes war, climate change, the wage gap and overall degradation of civilized society. Over and over I make the case to MTM with the hope my refrain becomes an ear worm. (Not a mean, bitter ear worm – a nice friendly one)

Perplexed about why a mainstream newspaper doesn’t want to appeal to a mainstream tribe of thinkers like me who read the local op-eds and listen to morning talk radio with clenched teeth and a racing heart until near-death by exasperation? Me too! Only an editorial Epipen administered by NPR or the New York Times brings me temporary relief of my whiteguyitis symptoms. I seek an antidote to the underlying disease.

Major advances over the past two weeks offer a glimmer of hope that a cure to debilitating whiteguyitis is likely attainable in two or possibly three hundred years.

Last Sunday, MTM’s “Insight” section included the usual slew of opinion pieces written by white guys covering foreign affairs, national politics and Maine’s governor, but added to the mix was a riveting article written by a woman about hot flashes.

Menopause is a tough first act to follow, but this week Insight did not disappoint. Politics was “analyzed” again by the usual suspects, and a woman was given ink to offer her well-researched article about life after Jazzercise.

Calorie-counting and fantasizing about being a backup dancer at a Cher concert is heady stuff, for sure, but what aroused my interest was Dan the Man’s essay about the use of social media and the rise of the GOP.

Making the excellent point that moderate Republicans need to reign in extremists, DTM uses a titillating, very insightful pun. He writes, “a tweet from a member of Congress can add to the national debate. On at least one occasion, however, a member of Congress actually tweeted a photo of his member, and it is hard to come up with an example of a bigger self-inflicted public relations blunder.”

Hard, indeed.

I’m no columnist, but I thought a “member” was a person who belongs to a group. Who knew certain male body parts achieved personhood?  It’s no wonder women aren’t allowed in this club. We’re outnumbered two to one.

(Is it really hot in here, or is it just me?)