April 01, 2006

Lay Off the Waitress

You may have heard this story: Michael Scanlon, former Tom DeLay aide and Jack Abramoff partner and current confessed criminal, was turned in to the FBI by his former fiancée (and colleague in DeLay's office), Emily Miller. Previous Raw Story article here.

I want to nitpick on something in the coverage of this story. The WSJ article linked in the first Raw Story link above mentions that Scanlon dumped Miller for "a 24-year-old waitress." Previously, perhaps channeling friends in the know, the Raw Story said that Scanlon's new fiancée (now wife) was a manicurist. The suggestion is that the Other Woman is a low-class dumb young thing. And to show I'm not just making this up, Wonkette describes her profession as "trashy/awesome" (if less so than that of manicurist).

I think this is unfair. Scanlon was I believe 31 years old at the time; a 31-year-old dating a 24-year-old is no great age gap. And waitressing and manicuring are perfectly honorable professions. Some would say they're more honorable than "professional Republican," let alone "Abramoff-DeLay machine crook." So lay off the second Mrs. Scanlon. She's too good for him.

Posted by Matt Weiner at April 1, 2006 01:27 PM

Still more proof, to my mind, that the would-be alternative media are just as willing to dish out the classist, homophobic, and sexual conservativist rhetoric when the target is an enemy and not a friend. "Wonkette" tears into Scanlon in a previous post, intimating that he's gay, for his apparently Metro ways. I'm persistently vexed by this kind of stuff. If you call someone a fag it doesn't make it not homophobic if your target is Republican. Wake up. Mutatis mutandis for the connotations surrounding waitressing, manicuristing, and whatever else this guy's wife is guilty of.

Posted by: Allan Hazlett at April 3, 2006 10:26 PM

Agreed, especially about the homophobia.

(Though I should mention that those Wonkette posts aren't from Ana Marie Cox; she quit at the beginning of this year. Wonkette is now done by some college dropout and the David Lat, who is a real right-winger. Cox might have been better than that.)

Posted by: Matt Weiner at April 4, 2006 05:06 PM

Winkingly suggesting that someone is gay because he's well groomed is only marginally offensive, because the people who are really offended by the possibility are, guess who, the outright homophobes. It in no way rises to the level of "calling someone a fag." You can't even call it outing because it isn't seriously considering the subject as gay. (This distinguishes it from the sort of near-outing such as spreading gossip about, say, senior GOP officials who are actually thought to be gay, in a junior-high version of "Advise and Consent." I'm still not inclined to cut closeted gay Congressmen who further a homophobic agenda a lot of slack. We don't live in the era of "Advise and Consent" anymore.)

And Wonkette is supposed to be offensive. Get with the program people. It is not a serious, high-minded group of Democratic reform activists like Daily Kos (wait, did I just say that?) or Billionaires for Bush.

Class prejudice, on the other hand, is alive and well everywhere, even and especially among the most liberal of elite universities and the professional classes which spring from them. However, there is a time-honored scandal story in which Mr. Bigshot leaves his professional-grade partner for a socially unsuitable young thing. You can't just leave this kind of material alone because it's unfair to waitresses. Henry James would take away your novelist's license.

Posted by: Ben at April 4, 2006 08:01 PM

I knew that Ana Marie had quit, but hadn't picked up on who had replaced her. I find that to be screwed up, but I'm probably being too gender-normative.

Posted by: washerdreyer at April 7, 2006 12:53 PM