Man Without Qualities

Monday, June 17, 2002

Waiting For Big Mo

For some reason it has become common for columnists, mostly women and mostly liberal and silly (Maureen Dowd – aka the Big Mo), but occasionally conservative and substantive (Peggy Noonan), to wonder out loud at just how much GOOD women suspended in "male-dominated" systems do. Coleen Rowley (the woman who wrote the FBI memorandum) and Sherron Watkins (the woman who wrote the Enron memorandum) are only two recent examples - but Ms. Dowd especially can tell us about so many more.

Now, just what can U.S. Magistrate Michael Watanabe and U.S. Attorney John Suthers be thinking by trying to keep Terry Barton, the Forest Service technician who burned down half of Colorado, in jail without bail?

First of all, don't they realize that they are both men? This obvious act of male supremacy and jealousy over a feisty female seizing the quintessentially male image of FIRE will not go unnoticed or unpunished. For God's sakes, couldn't they at least have found a female Assistant U.S. Attorney to argue the matter before a female magistrate? Messrs. Watanabe and Suthers should each be required to see "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" ten times and read every Maureen Dowd column published this year five times just to obtain absolution for their egregious new-age sin.

Now it's true that burning thousands of people out of their homes and casting an entire state into chaos is not entirely civic minded - but need I remind the authorities that we are talking about something provoked by a letter from an estranged husband?! And don’t they “get” that Ms. Barton was burdened, even righteously maddened, by having to work within the male-dominated Forest Service?! The woman was obviously abused by men. Surely Ms. Dowd will be able to whip up a little "Thelma and Louise" perspective on this one no lo sweatto.

Let's just get one thing straight: Women are responsible for everything good that has ever happened in the world (heads up, Mr. Vermeer, I'm talking to you), except that women are absolutely never, ever responsible for their own actions, especially when there is an estranged husband skulking around. Jeez - every right-thinking pop feminist knows that Russell "Rusty" Yates was the one really responsible for killing the Yates children - and that Andrea was obviously insane, which made "her incompetent to stand trial. Texas criminal law on insanity as a defense [being] illogical and archaic and an embarrassment to a progressive society." And don't forget that Andrea had a male doctor. Didn't Messrs. Watanabe and Suthers learn anything from that miscarriage of justice?

It's incredible that one has to keep reminding people about such obvious things.

But surely the Big Mo will give it a try this time, too. I can hardly wait.

UPDATE: Some people are already getting into the spirit. The New York Times reports a Colorado couple had this reaction to Ms. Barton:

"Bob and Leeann Cunningham ... are evacuees from Indian Creek, a subdivision well southwest of Denver. She was willing to sympathize. He was not."

"'I feel sorry for her,' Mrs. Cunningham said. 'You can't be mad at her.'"

There. That's the ticket. Big Mo, take note.

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