Why Rachel Maddow is bad for you, me, and liberal girls everywhere

“Ever been to FACES?”

Let me paint you a picture of my city.

Main Street, Northampton. I’m assuming if you’re reading this blog, you know the city. No? It’s the liberal Mecca of the East Coast. Hampshire College and Smith College. Unshaven legs and crop tops. Ani DiFranco. Moccasins. There isn’t one Romney bumper sticker here, but easily thousands of those goofy “coexist” ones. Also, lots of “no farms, no food,” and “yes farms, yes food,” but whatever.

You’d be hard-pressed to find non-organic beef. And hard-pressed to find beef-eaters. This is a vegan city, a hippie-dippy town with lofty ideals and sunshine souls. A city of weed-smokers and hug-givers. Only gourmet microbrews in these bars — Budweiser? Never heard of it. Bicycles, bicycles, bicycles. Foot traffic. Quinoa and spirulina. Garden tours. Poetry readings. Black-rimmed glasses. Indignance. Consignment stores. Drum circles.

And Rachel Maddow.

On paper, I’m a hippie girl through and through, mostly. I still get emails from MoveOn.org. I recycle, I do yoga, I compost. But I’m starting to want to disassociate myself from liberal girls, and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT RACHEL MADDOW.

There are pictures of Rach, her round rimmed hipster glasses gleaming, hanging in the local tattoo parlor’s windows, the Indian food place around the corner. She’s a local hero. Cute, smarmy, gay, on CNN. And she lives here!!! I was infatuated myself, for a while. You’d see her on the “Rachel Maddow Show” on Friday evenings, grinning that irrepressable grin, saying “but I guess that law only applies to poor black Americans, Mr. Romney.”

I loved her. For a while. But something bad happened to Rachel Maddow in the past year or so. She… got… full of herself.

I am a huge Bill Maher fan, and until recently, a Rachel Maddow fan. But her theatrics and “cluck cluck” dismissiveness of intellgent, adult debate is embarassing. Is this what I — and liberal women across America — are supposed to look to?

It’s not healthy for young liberal women to see this kind of behavior. I don’t see Maddow engaging in healthy, reasoned argument with other intellectuals. I see her weilding celebrity like a weapon and using it to stamp out debate. She’s on a liberal show, where the audience is on her side, and she doesn’t have to listen to the other side’s argument. She doesn’t have to sit through a point she doesn’t agree with — so she doesn’t. She laps up the applause and engages in dramatic, show-offy displays, instead of making serious points. What I see is a woman who’s supposed to be a role model using theatrics instead of facts.

I cringed at the clucky, bad-3rd-grade-teacher way Maddow shushed Gillespie, of the Libertarian Reason.tv, on the panel in Maher’s recent show. “Eh-eh-eh! I’m talking.” This is a show that suceeds because it brings in reasoned adults intelligent enough to argue, interrupt, and debate one another without behaving like children. Rachel sets an awful example of exactly what happens when you become, as Maher calls her, “the liberal darling of America.” She’s the queen on this show, and she’s got the audience, and she knows it.

I want my liberal media to be better than the conservative right. I know they’re nuts. I know they’re going to yell and stand up at their desk and roll their eyes and be saracastic at every turn. I expect that on Fox News, Rachel. I want more from you. Young liberal women need a strong role model — God I sound like a mom — who won’t disintegrate into a yelling, gesturing, dramatic caricature of a journalist when she gets on the big show. At this point, Rachel, I’m old enough to know I’ve outgrown you — but I worry about those Hampshire girls.

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Comments

  1. I knew it! I was watching Bill Maher and thinking “Ya know Rachel, I like you on your own show but there’s something i’m not quite liking aboot you on here … ” and ya hit the nail smack dab on the head. She’s full of herself!

  2. I’m disgusted all over again just reading this. And PS I must have been very fired up to drop a “spirulina” in there — yikes!

  3. I also don’t know how to leave comments.

  4. You know, I actually agree. I love Maddow for what she stands for–strong, intelligent women–but I’m sick of the media (both sides) becoming so biased and cocky. I wish Maddow would present herself more as Colbert and Stewart do–as comedy/news–than as straight up news. I LOVE them because they’re funny and they’re honest but they don’t pretend to be “telling it straight,” if you will. I always agree with Maddow but just for ONCE I would like some media that tells the facts without snark or bias.

    She’s brilliant though.

  5. I am so sad to read this because i know exactly what you mean. Agree wih Cait. I do still like Northampton though. *teehee* Although I will always shave my armpits.

  6. agree agree agree. regardless of who was right or wrong, gillespie won in the “coming-off-not-like-a-douche” contest.

    and duh – we all like noho!!! where the mimoos at.

  7. Tom Gardner says:

    OK, so this wasn’t her best, shining moment. But her show has done some great journalism, and she brings a level of articulate intelligence to TV news and commentary that had been sorely missing. She also has had plenty of guests that she disagrees with, and she is so much more civil and polite to them than those shouters on Fox are. it is like night and day. Having met her a couple of times, I think she is also a very nice and caring person. I don’t think she is full of herself. She is smart and works really hard, which is why almost everyone in the national punditry knows she is one the sharpest tacks out there. I don’t know how any of us would be affected by this kind of national celebrity status. I think she seeks to use her current status for what she believes in, but I get the impression she hasn’t let it change her that much on a personal level.

    • (was obvi waiting for you to comment on this!)

    • Don’t get me wrong, I think she’s incredibly smart, and don’t doubt she genuinely cares about issues very important to me. I still trust her with journalism more than anyone out there, save maybe Bill Maher – but I was just so disappointed to see her performance on this show. I read an article about her in Rolling Stone today that makes me a little more sympathetic toward her, but overall, what I’ve seen from her lately on her own show and others leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It’s more than what I see now, it’s what I’m afraid happens a year or two from now. Anderson Cooper and Keith Olbermann and Soledad O’Brien are all examples to be learned from….

  8. I enjoy her show and have always had a crush one her, but she acted really disgusting and disrespectful that episode. I have recently noticed when she doesn’t get her way and hears an opposing view she can become a drama queen. The last time she went on the show she acted in a similar manner: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5PKtwrFETI

  9. Shannon says:

    Never have watched two people who turn my stomach and disgust me with their level of hatred than Rachel Maddow and Bill Maher.

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