Thursday, August 23, 2007

There's Two in the Hole for Rudy, Too

Michael Mathias points out that Russ Feingold was tabbed by Forbes as DC's most eligible bachelor alongside the city's most eligible bachelorette, Condoleezza Rice.

According to the snippet on Feingold, a "second divorce probably puts the kibosh on any presidential ambitions he may harbor."

A second divorce would do him in, huh? Someone from Forbes better tell Rudy.

And, while they're at it, they should tell Steve Forbes, who's co-chairing Giuliani's presidential campaign.

UPDATE: I initially included the word "messy" in the quote above from Forbes, which it uses to describe Feingold's second divorce. In reality, it appears that Feingold's second divorce was quite amicable. I should've checked more into it prior to relaying the quote -- my mistake.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about a second divorce that isn't, like Rudy's, "messy"?

Just wondering why the Feingolds' divorce is "messy." I haven't read a word that would suggest that -- not here, not in the media. Is the JS not telling us something reported elsewhere? In Janesville, in Madison, in D.C.?

Or -- if their divorce is not "messy," then bloggers ought not toss in that adjective as if it's automatic. Some people divorce with dignity retained for all sides, and especially for the children, so that the family can go forward -- and remain a family.

August 23, 2007  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

Is the "bloggers ought not toss in that adjective as if it's automatic" line a shot at me, Anon?

If so, you should re-read the post -- I'm just quoting Forbes. And the post is actually a shot at Forbes for claiming Feingold's two divorces would be an issue if he ran for president when the publication's chief is co-chairing the presidential campaign of another twice-divorced politician.

I could actually care less whether Feingold or Giuliani had a messy divorce. To me that's a personal matter that doesn't say a whole lot, in and of itself, about either's potential as president (Rudy's reported vindictive nature, which was evidently on full public display during this last divorce is a little more concerning -- but that's not to say it necessarily takes a vindictive person to have a messy divorce).

August 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My, my.

Actually, I was thinking that you quoted Mathias. But you're correct, he did not quote Forbes. Good for him. But -- you did quote him, and without questioning the statement, as you more often seem to do with other statements for which there is no evidence given.

So, yes, you ought to take care not to quote something as if it's true -- unless you can support it, too.
That seems to be the way you work on policy matters. But it also ought to work that way for what you call "personal matters."

And if it's a personal matter, why quote it at all? And if it doesn't pertain to a presidential candidate's ability, why quote it at all? And if it isn't "messy" but a divorce conducted with dignity, doesn't that matter to differentiate Rudy and Russ -- and maybe it matters in terms of taking down Forbes' bias? And also his determination that Russ doesn't matter now as a possible presidential candidate in future?
See the potential for more "shots" at Forbes by questioning his claim that the divorce is "messy"?

And beyond the fun of "shots" at Forbes, let me make the linkage more clear to policy: Automatically equating (or accepting said equating of) divorce with "messy" does matter in policymaking, as it contributes to the right-wing mantra that is screwing up this country.

That "family values" mantra defines "family" so as to deny the value of many families, with many children in this country constantly told that they are from "broken homes." Instead, many are from families that are functioning well in two homes -- and many of them are functioning better than does a broken family in one home.

But, enough on this topic. In general, the rule appplies that if you quote it, you wrote it, too -- if you didn't question it. As to your so defensively dismissing it when questioned as to why you didn't question it is interesting and informative for further reading of this blog. But it probably isn't a policy matter, so -- fine.

August 23, 2007  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

Listen, I had about 15 minutes to post this morning for a variety of reasons. I saw the quote in Forbes, which, for the most part, I -- and I'd say most people -- consider to be a reputable publication. It used the word "messy" to describe Feingold's second divorce. I had no clue how Feingold's second divorce went down, so I had no immediate reason to question the way Forbes described it, especially given that the word "messy" isn't applicable at all to the point of my post (meaning I didn't give it much thought). You could delete the word completely and it wouldn't change the point of my post at all.

In the end, I should've checked out the legitimacy of the word "messy" before quoting it, especially since it doesn't appear to be accurate in the case of Feingold's second divorce. I'll gladly add an update to clarify. (My reaction in the comment above was to your comment that I tossed in the adjective when it came from Forbes. See how easy it is to gloss over things sometimes?)

But to say that I'm reinforcing a right-wing trope by quoting a line with "messy" and "divorce" next to each other is quite a leap. Saying that someone had a messy divorce doesn't mean in the least that all divorces are inherently messy, which you appear to be saying people will inevitably assume when seeing the phrase "messy divorce."

And I've actually criticized that same right-wing trope before on this blog in much the same way that you do in your comment. If you're really interested in my thoughts on the topic, you can read one of those posts here.

August 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for checking, and then making the necessary change.

And glad to see you did so before Forbes' messy reporting got further play not only to the few here but also to hundreds of thousands of readers of the Sunday Journal Sentinel, since your post was quoted this morning -- but without the problematic and, it turns out, quite untruthful adjective applied to the Feingolds.

That is exactly how what you call a leap becomes a bigger problem (and even libel). And a problem it is, per many studies of media. How do you think societal stereotypes slash tropes happen?

August 26, 2007  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

You're still on that perpetuating a trope line, huh, Anon?

If the word "messy" would've made it into the JS, people who didn't know any different would've just figured Feingold had a messy second divorce, not that all divorces are inherently messy.

And, speaking of perpetuating stereotypes, why do you suppose your first thought -- something you didn't check on before commenting -- was that a blogger mistakenly tossed in the word "messy" to describe Feingold's second divorce?

August 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why? Oh, you know how it is when you have only 15 minutes to post.

August 28, 2007  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...


Of course, there's a difference between relaying a quote and coming up with the wrong idea all on your own.

August 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, I don't know if there is any truth to it or not, but there are "blurbs" here and there around the internet that Russ is actually dating Maria Cantwell.

If this is true, then there is no way he will ever be president. Talk about scandal! He needs to find a strong, independent woman who can stand right beside him. Russ can be president, but I do believe only the right woman can help him get there. Spouses do matter!

As for Maria, he should dump her!

September 06, 2007  

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