Tuesday, June 13, 2006

TBW addiction

Don Hazen from AlterNet challenges progressive journalists and writers to ignore the Tall Blonde Woman in the Short Skirt with the Big Mouth:

Today is the devil's day, a celebration for the evildoers; that's right, it is 6-6-06. [...]

And on this day, the devil herself -- the Tall Blonde Woman in the Short Skirt With the Big Mouth (TBWSSBM, or TBW for short) -- has a new book out. You know who I'm talking about. I will not mention her name, nor the name of the book, the publisher or any of her previous books. She is releasing her book today as "a little tribute to liberals." The time has come to ignore this woman.

He's right. As satisfying it is to rage against the TBW, it does no good and considerable harm. The extremists of the Republican Party are masters of setting the agenda, forcing the issues and framing the terms of the debate. Arguing against the TWB just gives her publicity and reinforces her frames. It just helps keep her message front and centre in the public eye. And don't be fooled: the TBW is said to be easy on the eye (perhaps to Republicans and men who haven't seen a woman for twelve years), and as such she gets far more attention than her words deserve. There are hundreds of wingnuts spreading hate and bile across America, and yet the TBW gets far more liberal media attention than any other.

Hazen's solution, to just ignore her, works. Imagine if all those "liberal media" newspapers, television stations and so forth just refused to interview her. Sure, she's still get her message across, but she'll just be preaching to the choir, and no longer speaking to the moderate audience.

Sadly, so many people just don't get it. Reading the comments on the AlterNet article, person after person points out the irony of Hazen writing an article telling people not to write about TBW -- and no doubt each and every one of these folks were so swelled up with pride that they were sooooooo smart to notice the irony that they were in danger of drifting off into space.

Newsflash bozos: recognising irony doesn't make you a great wit. Perhaps half of one. To get the other half, you have to realise when the message needs to be said, despite the irony, and let it be. Or at least read the comments and realise that your brilliant comment has already been said a dozen times before.

Sadly, some people don't get it unless it is laid on with a trowel. For those, here it is: yes, we should ignore the TWB. But the first step in ignoring her is to spread the message that she needs to be ignored. Without that message, she'll continue to get attention and publicity for years to come. The plan is simple: a few short days or weeks of telling everyone to move on, followed by the cold shoulder, or never-ending publicity to the TWB. You choose.

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