Last night I received a really ugly private email message from someone about my most recent post, which commented on Maureen Dowd’s op-ed piece in the New York Times regarding the Sotomayor confirmation hearings. I would not normally make note of such things, but in this particular case, I think there needs to be a bit of explanation. In the headline to my post, I quoted Dowd’s use of the phrase “Sonia Legree” which she used as a satirical metaphor to characterize Judge Sotomayor’s ongoing efforts to distance herself from any kind of “empathy” (a vague and vastly overused term in this set of hearings). The judge has made it appear that she would put her own mother in jail if the law said it should happen. “The law is the law.” On NPR this morning Nina Totenberg characterized the judge as “sphinxlike” in her blandness. (Thank God for Senator Al Franken asking about Perry Mason yesterday.)
My correspondent last night clearly did not read the Dowd piece (or if she did, she totally mis-read it), and she addressed her diatribe to Ms. Dowd, not to Virtual Farm Boy. Unfortunately, I don’t have a direct line to Ms. Dowd, so I can’t pass it along.
I still think the whole confirmation hearing process is dysfunctional, and in this particular case there are strong and disturbing undertones of sexism and racism that have permeated this display of Grand Political Theatre.