• Daniel Ethan Finneran

Megyn, Mika, Oh My!

June 2017


In what’s become an endless nose-dive from decency, magnanimity, and courtesy of thought, the president has brought us to new depths. Much like the archaeologist digs or the oceanographer dives, President Trump is navigating nadirs—and bringing us all along for the ride. But unlike the ax-wielding Winckelmann or the curious Cousteau, our president Trump isn’t unearthing anything worthwhile. Nevertheless, with shovels full, he digs away and we’re bound to follow him—wherever it is he goes.


As it turns out, that can be a lowly and pitiful place. In responding to some unkind words Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski had to say about him, Trump shot back with this: “I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!"


It’s a tweet like this that makes me think of the poor bloke at the national archive who’s keeping tabs on Trump’s soundbites A thankless and endless job, no doubt, like Sisyphus pushing a torrent of words rather than stones. But even he, who spends his days adrift in the famous doctrines and proclamations of years past, has to admit—this tweet deserves some analysis. But we must first ask, to what we owe such a dagger-sharp tweet, whose impact is second only to its eloquence? As I said, Trump was responding to two morning show hosts and erstwhile friends, Mika and Joe, both of whom have grown cold toward him in recent months.


Strained as their relationship may be, this wasn’t always the case. Scarborough, a Republican Congressman in a former life, had been one of Trump’s early and only defenders on a network tailored to the Left. He has a tempering presence, Scarborough does, with a broad mind and a contemptuous slant from the Right. More than anything, though he’s incisive and aggressive—qualities Trump likes but doesn’t share in whole (I’d say that of the two, he has but one, but I’ll leave it to you to decide which that is). Things changed though when Trump took office; his relationship with Scarborough quickly soured. The MorningJoe host jabbed at Trump by calling him a jackass, a wannabe populist, and a few other names.


Meanwhile, Scarborough’s co-host and fiancée, Mika Brzezinski, piled on with some jibes all her own. She’s the daughter of the late Zbigniew Brzezinski, the renowned former aid and National Security Advisor to Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter. She was born and raised a Democrat, but her stylistic scorn cuts across the aisle; she’s bitterly caustic with a tongue that lashes and cuts to the quick. She’s lately put these qualities to good use in attacking President Trump. She’s gone after (in her words) his phoniness, untruthfulness, and small-handedness. The last is a hold-over from a Gradyon Carter piece in Vanity Fair, in which the editor mocked Trump’s small hands. The taunt was later picked up (no pun intended) by Marco Rubio in the Republican primary debates. It was against this backdrop that we heard, and can never un-hear, the first ever televised reference to a candidate’s penis size in a public debate (I’m assuming—I’ve not researched this for fear of what I might find).


So, Mika has been unapologetically “anti-Trump” for some time, but that’s nothing new. What’s unusual is the way in which Trump has handled her criticism. In separate tweets, Trump has said that “Mika has gone wild”, that Mika “is off the wall, a neurotic and not very bright mess” and that the “crazy and very dumb” Mika had a “mental breakdown while talking about me”. It’s nothing he wouldn’t say to a man (Trump is nothing if not an equal-opportunity offender) but the most recent tweet about Mika “bleeding from her face” struck many as having crossed a line. It brought back to mind the sanguinary seed he planted when he hinted that Megyn Kelly—another prominent female journalist—was bleeding from eyes or from her “wherever”. By “wherever”, he meant her vagina, as if to say that Kelly was treating him badly because of nature’s burdensome monthly visit.


With President Trump, one is better off attributing to baseness and vulgarity the things he says, rather than thinking them part of some kind of well-scripted animus. But it’s tough to listen to what he says about women without thinking he has it out for women. Whether he notices it or not, Trump tends to attack strong-minded women in an insidious way. His harshest attacks always seem to include an image of blood, something he never uses when attacking men. By using this sort of imagery, he attaches to the woman all of those ancient connotations that menses brings. Those connotations of irritability, weakness, and fragility are at once brought to mind. It’s woman’s inescapable “vice” that shrinks her in the eyes of the other (man, in this case), or in the eyes of alterity, as Simone de Beauvoir might say. It’s this perceived feebleness and uncleanliness that’s imprisoned and shackled her to being one of the second sex.


Again, though, the question is whether or not President Trump consciously thinks about this. If he does and still says such repugnant things, it might be his first sign of a consistent ideology. Sadly, though, it might also be an incorrigible one. But if he doesn’t think about consciously, and just reacts to women without an underlying thought, it stands to reason that he could be amenable to change. It’s possible he doesn’t see the problem in speaking about women and blood in this way. It’s also possible he doesn’t see just how appallingly infused his words are with anti-feminist tones. It’s optimistic, but if that’s the case, he might be ready to improve.


Above all, though, what he needs to learn is this: there’s a clear line between being a controversialist, which can be invigorating and useful, and a misogynist, which is always bad. He’s already crossed the line twice, first with Megyn Kelly and now with Mika. For the sake of every feminist around me and every fiber inside of me, I hope he doesn’t do it again.

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