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Late Night: Pity the Rich Man’s Man

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Poor Larry. Now he’ll just have to go home and cry into his GIANT PILE OF MONEY. I get that it sucks you don’t get a job you want, no matter how rich you are, but can we please start differentiating between people with real problems and people whose resumés are just a line short of their desires? Not everything is just like Hitler and slavery.

And this Michael Wolff column isn’t THE most offensive thing in USA Today, but that’s just because it’s USA Today and we grade on a curve around here:

The public bake-off between the economists Lawrence Summers and Janet Yellen for the job of chairman of the Federal Reserve has boiled down, practically speaking, to discriminatory hiring practices

Janet Yellen’s stand-out credential is that she is a woman.

A) Being a woman is so totally a major advantage in a world that lets a dudebro columnist characterize the FUCKING FED CHAIR APPOINTMENT as a “bake-off” and reduce a woman whose CV looks like this:

She led the San Francisco Federal Reserve from 2004 to 2010 and has been Vice Chair of the Fed since then. So she’s served across multiple chairmen, in multiple positions, during good economic times and during the depths of the financial crisis.

to just some affirmative-action-hire chickadee.

Larry Summers’ main drawback — or, certainly, among his most conspicuous characteristics — is that he is not.

Larry Summers’ main drawback is that he was wrong about everything important in the past decade economically. But yeah, let’s focus on his penis. It must be really awful in some way, to scuttle his Fed appointment all by itself. Yikes.

Gender begins to distinguish a political point of view, too. That Summers might be more partial to banks than Yellen is pretty much billed as a gender result.

Summers, as a certain kind of dominant man, is aligned with Wall Street, and hence with money, and hence with the existing power structure. He embodies the inclinations that have gotten us into so much financial trouble.

Yellen, as an unshowy (read middle-aged) woman, is more academic and collegial in nature, and has done long and unheralded stints in government; she represents the collective self and hence a higher level of public selflessness and probity.

You hear that, dudes? You’re genetically unable to focus on the common good, because you’re a man. You came out of the womb predisposed to believe everything out of the mouth of anyone wearing a Goldman Sachs nametag. Must be nice, to not have to make any decisions on your own.

I expect this kind of “men are animals, they don’t have brains at all” thinking from my football halftime beer commercials. Not so much, from my major newspaper columnists.

And if women are unable to align themselves politically with the existing power structure, well, Mitt Romney will have to give a lot of red states back:

As it happens, both Summers and Yellen are mainstream Democrats whose relative points of view really do not seem to differ all that much.

Um.

If you go back to the Fed’s December 2007 transcripts — the most recent we have — you’ll find the Federal Reserve predicting that the economy would avoid recession. William Dudley, now the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said that “fear is diminishing, which implies less risk of a crisis developing from this source” — “this source” meaning the bad mortgages that would imperil Wall Street and the world a year later.

You’ll also find Yellen voicing a prescient note of pessimism. “The possibilities of a credit crunch developing and of the economy slipping into a recession seem all too real,” she warned. In ensuing years, Yellen pushed for the Federal Reserve to do more to combat an employment problem that she didn’t see abating — advice that Bernanke and the rest of the FOMC eventually followed, when their optimistic forecasts proved terribly wrong.

Um.

Recession Is Over, White House Adviser Says

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2009

Tell me more about how the only differences between them are between their legs, Mr. Wolff!

While it might have seemed very difficult to find, especially at such a pinnacle of professional accomplishment, a way back to some of the most vapid, dumbed-down and oppressive gender roles and descriptions, we have found it.

And the jokes start to write themselves.

A.

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Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel is a 10-year veteran of the newspaper business. She publishes First Draft, a writing and politics blog, with her partners Holden, Jude and Scout. She is the author of the books Chicago's Historic Irish Pubs (2011, Arcadia Publishing, with Mike Danahey) and It Doesn’t End With Us: The Story of the Daily Cardinal, about a great liberal journalism institution (2007, Heritage Books). She also edited the anthology “Special Plans: The Blogs on Douglas Feith and the Faulty Intelligence That Led to War” (2005, William, James & Co.) Her work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Daily Southtown, Sirens Magazine, and Alternet. She lives in Chicago with her husband, two ferrets, and approximately 60 tons of books.

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