Good evening! Welcome to an extremely and regrettably late edition of Sexist Beatdown, starring: Amanda Hess of The Sexist and also, many long hours later, myself!
The lateness of this piece is, sadly, not the only thing that is regrettable: Caitlin Flanagan, the woman we will discuss today, is herself a deeply regrettable lady. Her piece on Alec Baldwin, in which she discusses the (imaginary, please, God) sexual dynamics between the Thomas the Tank Engine star and his daughter: this, too, is regrettable! Finally, the many jokes about psychosexual trauma (which are, in and of themselves, potentially traumatizing: FAIR WARNING) that I made in this piece are no doubt regrettable in the extreme.
Anyway! No time for an illustration today! Let’s proceed!
SADY: hello! who wants to discuss DEEP PSYCHOSEXUAL TRAUMA? Specifically, the psychosexual trauma inflicted on me by Caitlin Flanagan and her latest piece.
AMANDA: sure dude
SADY: I had actually forgotten how deeply weird and wrong Caitlin Flanagan is in the past few years. Back in ’06, her strange psychological issues and/or politics were all the rage. Now she basically has to assert that a famous man wants to sex his daughter in order to get noticed, I guess.
AMANDA: yeah, i’m wondering how much this “book review” about the baldwin family’s psychological problems is actually a concerted effort on flanagan’s part to air her own psychological problems in order to create a cult of personality around herself? it’s too obvious not to be intentional.
SADY: exactly. and flanagan is professionally a provocateur – writing that women should have sex with their hisbands when they don’t want to because it’s their “duty,” writing that working mothers damage their children irreparably with their selfishness, etc. this seems like another Flanagan Launch Party for her new theory, which is: women are basically giant incestuous adolescents, sexually speaking. oh, and divorce -no matter WHAT THE CONTEXT IN WHICH IT OCCURS – will make your child even more incesty, so don’t do it. EVER.
AMANDA: i’d like to indulge flanagan’s presence for a second here. let’s say that (a) alec baldwin is a total hunk, and (b) daughters are immediately sexual replacements for their desexualized mothers (even when their mothers are renowned beauty of film kim basinger)
SADY: sure! let’s say that!
AMANDA: why is divorce bad? then your hunky dad is totally a-vail-able! and he can shower you with all the fancy perfumes flanagan’s mom got or whatever
SADY: this would seem to be true! and yet, unless daddy and mommy are both there to show you the ruins of their faded yet once-torrid sexual passion for each other (which you will, of course, want to spend much time contemplating) you might have fewer chances to flirt with your dad!
AMANDA: i feel so bad for that girl. first, alec baldwin is her dad, and now flanagan seemingly wants to be her, but a version of her that wants to have sex with her dad, alec baldwin. all he did was call her a pig on the phone.
SADY: right? and while that crossed lines, and does seem like verbal abuse, it’s also a thing that I, a person not married to or spawned from a Baldwin/Basinger, feel I have a legitimate right to obsess about. yet flanagan (a) spends a ton of time talking about how abusive baldwin is, (b) furthermore posits the abuse as “almost sexual,” and (c) talks about how hot – and totally universal! – that is at length.
AMANDA: it’s actually kind of awesome. i feel kind of strange that i have to make the point that i’m a woman who doesn’t think her mom is a bitch and doesn’t want to have sex with her dad (or alec baldwin). i guess i’m a boring person to review a book. i kind of like that style: review a book about something fucked up, and try to one-up how fucked up it is. see: linda hirshman!
SADY: which is why i’ll be writing a review of “wetlands” entirely in my own feces at some point. the dad-as-romance thing kind of keys into the whole issue here, which is that flanagan also sees romance-as-dad. women are SUPPOSED to get turned on by guys who are bigger and stronger than they are, and have more authority than they do, in flanagan’s betty draper version of sexuality.
AMANDA: this is why jessica simpson’s marriage turned out so well.
SADY: hahaha. it’s kind of medieval: you will belong to your dad until you belong to your husband, so treat your husband like your dad, and vice versa!
AMANDA: and you will also neglect your children (a broken space heater is still a space heater!) to do so. i can’t really tell if she’s endorsing baldwin’s behavior toward his daughter. i mean she seems to endorse fathers who treat their daughters like girlfriends. i guess that only turns bad when you divorce your real girlfriend and start treating your daughter like your “mistress.” i have so much to learn about parenting.
SADY: i, too, need to learn about parenting. fortunately, i will have plenty of time to read caitlin flanagan’s advice on the issue once my beauty fades. i think she thinks that the only reason baldwin went all Glengarry Glenn Ross on his kid was the divorce. whereas, i submit to you, this could have made him a divorceable man in the first place!
AMANDA: it’s the chicken and the egg, man. we will never know if alec baldwin’s ex-wife drove him to abuse, or whether alec baldwin’s abuse of his wife drove her to divorce him.
SADY: yes, but fortunately it’s not our business: it is the business of noted columnist caitlin flanagan.
AMANDA: ok. i claim her. i will become as obsessed with her as she is obsessed with alec baldwin. i will pen long well-publicized columns insinuating that i want to have sex with her. and maybe her children.
SADY: JOURNALISM! Hurrah!