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I thought it was certainly inappropriate
October 20, 2010 10:03 AM   Subscribe

"I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day."

Nearly twenty years since Clarence Thomas' Supreme Court confirmation hearings, his wife, Ginni Thomas, has asked Anita Hill to apologize.

More reactions
posted by Mister Fabulous (136 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Also, can I have the pube from the Coke can back?"
posted by klangklangston at 10:04 AM on October 20, 2010 [21 favorites]


"Clarence, I just wanted to reach across the interwebs and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my Constitution. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day."
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:06 AM on October 20, 2010 [45 favorites]


Just bonkers.

“I did place a call to Ms. Hill at her office extending an olive branch to her after all these years, in hopes that we could ultimately get past what happened so long ago,”

Extending an olive branch...by asking for an apology. One of these things is not like the other.
posted by rtha at 10:08 AM on October 20, 2010 [35 favorites]


Extending an olive branch...by asking for an apology

I was going to post the same thing. How very like the Congressional Republican idea of compromise. "This would be so easy if you just agreed with me."
posted by DU at 10:10 AM on October 20, 2010 [34 favorites]


Denial ain't just a river, etc
posted by mrgrimm at 10:10 AM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


SNL's Seth Meyers: "I can only imagine this means Ginny Thomas is WAY behind on her to-do list."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:11 AM on October 20, 2010 [18 favorites]


Why can't we just get along, you lying sleazebag?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:11 AM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


This sounds straight out of the Vito Corleone playbook. "I want there to be no bad blood between us...so if you let me have your sports book, no bad blood."
posted by notsnot at 10:11 AM on October 20, 2010


She should have posted to AskMe first.
posted by davejay at 10:11 AM on October 20, 2010 [21 favorites]


Yeah, I heard they want to do a movie on this whole incident and call it An Inconvenient Truth -- ah, the wacky fun of trying to air-brush the past!
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 10:12 AM on October 20, 2010


Hill says that she heard that Ginni Thomas always thought that Hill had a thing for Thomas. This would be in keeping with that.

Obvious fuck up, as Ginni Thomas had to cancel her NPR interview today. Sounds like she let her personal issues get in the way of what she is doing. It is sad in a way.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:12 AM on October 20, 2010


Switching back and forth from this to the Christine O'Donnell Constitution thing just cracked my brain open. "Jesus Christ... GAAAH! JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!... No, seriously, what the fuck???"
posted by Madamina at 10:12 AM on October 20, 2010


NOW we can post the New Yorker piece.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:13 AM on October 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


There are times I wonder what the fuck is wrong with some people.

This is one of those times.
posted by quin at 10:13 AM on October 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


This raises a question that has occurred to me repeatedly over the last few years:

Is the term "douchebag" gender neutral?
posted by bjrubble at 10:15 AM on October 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Just to add insult to injury, I see she called at 7:30 AM on the weekend!

Also, don't these sort of ill-advised phone calls usually get made late at night after a few beers?
posted by TedW at 10:16 AM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apologize and pray on it or you will ruin my 20-year-nap from which I'm just awakening forever.
posted by blucevalo at 10:16 AM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I just linked this as a comment yesterday in the open thread about Thomas rather than startup a whole new hatefest.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:16 AM on October 20, 2010


I'm not a rich man, but I am lucky enough to have a handful of mind-bogglingly rich friends. I love 'em dearly, but sometimes they are almost inhuman in their disconnection from everyday reality and human affairs. As in, the kind of people that use "summer" as a verb. The kind of people that have never, ever done something as mundane as wait in line at the grocery store. The kind of people that have never lifted anything heavier than money.

These are the kind of people that think it perfectly reasonable to do something like this, and then really, honestly, from the bottom of their hearts, consider it an "olive branch."

Hello, Ginni Thomas.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:17 AM on October 20, 2010 [30 favorites]


Seriously, did Clarence program her to wake up from her 20-year-nap and make the appointed phone call and leave the appointed voice mail as planned on such-and-such a date?
posted by blucevalo at 10:17 AM on October 20, 2010


Oh man, did I laugh when Tom Ashbrook said she bagged on his show today.

That is some serious crazypants drunk dialing. Let it go, lady!
posted by theredpen at 10:17 AM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought Anita Hill was called to testify at the hearing. So this request makes it sound like she pursued Thomas in court, when that's not what happened. Or am I misremembering things?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:18 AM on October 20, 2010


More likely, Thomas and/or her handlers sought to create a diversion. Funny coincidence: the very morning of the voicemail, the New York Times published "Activism of Thomas's Wife Could Raise Judicial Issues," which asks whether it isn't kind of problematic for a U.S. Supreme Court Justice's wife to start a Tea Party-linked organization "dedicated to opposing what she characterizes as the leftist 'tyranny' of President Obama and Democrats in Congress" -- and then go dialing for donors in her capacity as its leader. It's reasonable to expect that individuals and corporations might throw money at the spouse of someone so influential -- or that she might reveal those names to him. But the organization's 501(c)(4) nonprofit tax status allows it to conceal its funding sources. So there's no telling who first helped Liberty Central open its doors in late 2009 with two gifts of $500,000 and $50,000, or who's paying Thomas's salary now -- in short, whether there's a potential conflict of interest.

So changing the subject may have seemed like a very good idea that morning. And what better opportunity for the Thomases to play offense about their persecution at the hands of the media and the tyrannical left than by resurrecting their gripe with Hill?

If that was the plan, it didn't work because Hill didn't bite. She sat on the voicemail for a week thinking it was a prank, then notified campus security, which alerted the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

posted by fallacy of the beard at 10:18 AM on October 20, 2010 [40 favorites]


Is the term "douchebag" gender neutral?

@bjrubble: No, not really... But I believe my personal favorite, "Asshat," can apply to both the dimwitted ladies and gentlemen of contemporary American culture.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 10:19 AM on October 20, 2010


Talk about adding insult to injury.
posted by crunchland at 10:20 AM on October 20, 2010


So. Much. Rage. Right. Now.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:20 AM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


That picture of Clarence Thomas reminds me: people, please neuter your male cats; an un-neutered cat will not only act in inappropriately sexual ways, but will also get all jowly.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:21 AM on October 20, 2010 [17 favorites]


It's worth remembering that since the original Hill-Thomas circus, the author of some of the most vicious attacks on Hill's credibility has recanted and disavowed the right.
posted by availablelight at 10:21 AM on October 20, 2010 [12 favorites]


More likely, Thomas and/or her handlers sought to create a diversion. ... If that was the plan, it didn't work because Hill didn't bite.

Now that is a fascinating idea. Thanks.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:22 AM on October 20, 2010


Blazecock Pileon: I thought Anita Hill was called to testify at the hearing. So this request makes it sound like she pursued Thomas in court, when that's not what happened. Or am I misremembering things?
When I first saw this story this morning, I thought that the voicemail was asking for a "full explanation of why you did what you did to my husband," which made sense. But the voicemail actually said "... what you did with my husband."

That interesting phrasing leads me to believe she's not asking for an apology for the testimony.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 10:22 AM on October 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


(1) the answer to seeing shit slide down the wall ought not be flinging more shit at the walls.
(2) As I wrote elsewhere this morning, this is not an olive branch, it is an olive switch.
posted by boo_radley at 10:25 AM on October 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Men have wound up in divorce court for way less than what Clarence Thomas Did.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:25 AM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Previously
posted by humanfont at 10:27 AM on October 20, 2010


That interesting phrasing leads me to believe she's not asking for an apology for the testimony.

So then Clarence Thomas perjured himself at his hearing about having the affair? I feel like there's a missing piece to this.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:30 AM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Brian Lehrer Show takes call-ins from listeners, asking who they would like an apology from
posted by rosswald at 10:30 AM on October 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is consistent with Republican thinking. It's not enough for them to push you down, kick you, and take your wallet, they want you to thank them, to commend their kicking skills, to apologize for not having more money in the wallet, and then admit that you really deserved it.
posted by Legomancer at 10:32 AM on October 20, 2010 [24 favorites]


It is sad in a way.

It is sad in the way in which I am laughing my ass off.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:32 AM on October 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


Perhaps this will start a lovely trend of sexual offenders' current significant others calling their partner's victims and demanding they apologize for reporting. When asked. Under oath.
posted by bearwife at 10:33 AM on October 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ginni Thomas is a major Tea Party player.

Their polls must really be falling off a cliff for her to try a diversionary tactic as risky as this.
posted by jamjam at 10:35 AM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't see Hillary calling up Monica...
posted by morganannie at 10:36 AM on October 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hillary knows the person to be upset with is not Monica, but William J. Clinton.
posted by Mister_A at 10:39 AM on October 20, 2010 [15 favorites]


Also, don't these sort of ill-advised phone calls usually get made late at night after a few beers?

7:30am could well come at the end of a long night and looooots of beers. Of course I'm sure she wouldn't drink "beer", so perhaps looots of drinks with ice cream and alcohol in them.
posted by edgeways at 10:39 AM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with the plums that were in the icebox and which I was saving for breakfast. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day."
posted by bondcliff at 10:40 AM on October 20, 2010 [53 favorites]


Lately I have started calling the little girls that my girlfriend beat up in 6th grade, demanding apologies from them. But they say she already got her apology -- specifically, her fists got the apology, because why was their face in the way? Huh? Why? Why, little baby? You gonna cry?
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:41 AM on October 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


Ginni Thomas... where have I heard... oh yes, another whacked-out Tea Bagger. (note that link is from March of this year)
posted by Old'n'Busted at 10:44 AM on October 20, 2010


Hillary knows the person to be upset with is not Monica, but William J. Clinton.

Takes two to tango but you caught my drift.
posted by morganannie at 10:46 AM on October 20, 2010


7:30am could well come at the end of a long night and looooots of beers. Of course I'm sure she wouldn't drink "beer", so perhaps looots of drinks with ice cream and alcohol in them.

HEY Anita
hey
I was uh thinking about the thing with my husband and uh
holy shit
they have this thing on home shopping that's like a vase but also a knife
weird
ANYWAY uh i was having a cookiedoughtini and it got me thinking about how i dont like you very much
so anyway i hope you could maybe apologize
you know we could like bury the hatchet or whatever
...
holy shit this vase is fuckin weird
so anyway cool
hit me back, lovey
posted by Greg Nog at 10:49 AM on October 20, 2010 [33 favorites]


Actually, OneMonkeysUncle, "Asshat" is a gendered term. The feminine version is "Assmillinery".
posted by rmd1023 at 10:50 AM on October 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


the most infuriating aspect of the story for me has always been how thomas and his people cynically used the issue of race as cover--and did so in ways that neither republicans nor thomas himself would accept or believe in any other context. more than any other aspect of the guy, including the sexual harassment itself, this marks him as irredeemably despicable.

i do think it is interesting that ginni thomas is involved with the tea party, considering the movement itself is an evolution of the hypocrisy and bogus claims of victimhood the republicans cut their teeth on in these hearings, not to mention that degree to which palin has been cut from this blueprint, even down to the claims of high-tech lynching.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 10:51 AM on October 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


"OK. Have a good day."
posted by binturong at 10:51 AM on October 20, 2010


Black robe and swill
I believe Anita Hill
Judge will rot in hell
It's the song I hate
posted by item at 10:54 AM on October 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


I don't see Hillary calling up Monica...
posted by morganannie at 10:36 AM on October 20 [+] [!]

Hillary knows the person to be upset with is not Monica, but William J. Clinton.
posted by Mister_A at 10:39 AM on October 20 [+] [!]

Takes two to tango but you caught my drift.
posted by morganannie at 10:46 AM on October 20 [+] [!]


Above all, I'm sure that Hillary doesn't need a phone call to make both Monica and Bill understand perfectly that someday, somehow, she's going to get even. And if it takes a phone call, it won't be to either of them...
posted by Skeptic at 10:56 AM on October 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


bjrubble the masculine form is "douchebag". The feminine form is "douchebaguette".
posted by ubernostrum at 11:01 AM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Above all, I'm sure that Hillary doesn't need a phone call to make both Monica and Bill understand perfectly that someday, somehow, she's going to get even.

Normally, I would favorite this. But her "It gets better" video has earned her one week of me saying nothing bad about her.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:02 AM on October 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


cookiedoughtini

!

*heads to kitchen by way of liquor cabinet*
posted by From Bklyn at 11:03 AM on October 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


Interesting - the unedited version of Youth Against Fascism has the lines

"yeah the president sucks
he's a war pig fuck
his shit is out of luck"

edited to:

"yeah the president sucks
he's a war pig skunk
I'm here to shoot him up"

Im 1992, I suppose it was okay to threaten to murder the Commander in Chief as long as you weren't foul mouthed abut it. Good work there, Tipper!

posted by item at 11:05 AM on October 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Shouldn't it be Clarence who apologizes for his uncouth behavior towards Anita?
posted by caddis at 11:06 AM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's less than a month before the election. Republicans need ten more Senate seats to regain power. They are competitive in eleven races for Senate seats that are currently held by Democrats. In order to win back the house, they need to win all but one of those races. But, unless Chris Coons drops dead (heaven forbid) Delaware will go to the Dems. So that means the R's need to win every single Senate race in which they're competitive in order to regain power.

And that's not going to happen. Most projections are showing a 6 or 7 seat gain for the R's.

Thomas' organization, Liberty, is doing its damndest to get Republican candidates elected. And this ridiculous non-story is giving them attention and publicity.

So, mission accomplished.
posted by zarq at 11:06 AM on October 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wait, Ginny Weasley wants Hermione to what, now?
posted by Legomancer at 11:07 AM on October 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


In order to win back the house,

I mean, the Senate. Not the House.
posted by zarq at 11:09 AM on October 20, 2010


Shouldn't it be Clarence who apologizes for his uncouth behavior towards Anita?

This. And why did it take so many comments in this thread for someone to say it?
posted by morganannie at 11:11 AM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


And why did it take so many comments in this thread for someone to say it?

i think because for most of us it's kind of like reminding us that water is wet.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 11:14 AM on October 20, 2010 [40 favorites]


Asking for an apology renders any subsequent apology empty. It really does baffle me how people persist in failing to get this.
posted by Decani at 11:15 AM on October 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


My favorite thing about this story is the quote pulled from Anita Hill's book:

“Virginia Thomas and I have never met,” Ms. Hill wrote. “And one can imagine that she is guided by her own romantic interest in her husband when she assumes that other women find him attractive as well.”
posted by something something at 11:16 AM on October 20, 2010 [24 favorites]


Wait, Ginny Weasley wants Hermione to what, now?

Now that was some hot slash.
posted by maxwelton at 11:16 AM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just a note: Thomas called Hill's work number, which explains the timing. She wasn't being thoughtlessly pre-coffee rude. She wanted not to talk to Hill directly. She wanted to leave the voicemail.
posted by kipmanley at 11:18 AM on October 20, 2010 [10 favorites]


Shouldn't it be Clarence who apologizes for his uncouth behavior towards Anita?

This. And why did it take so many comments in this thread for someone to say it?


Because everyone treads lightly out of fear of setting off The Judge.
posted by COBRA! at 11:20 AM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dear Ginni,

Thank you for your message.

Because the actions I reported about your husband were, are, and will always be true, you are essentially asking me to apologize for seeking justice against injustice. You are asking the truth to apologize to a lie. I won't do it, no matter how fervently you buy into your husband's denials.

Pray if you want. OK. Have a good day.

Sincerely,
Anita Hill
posted by mreleganza at 11:22 AM on October 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


bjrubble the masculine form is "douchebag". The feminine form is "douchebaguette".
posted by ubernostrum at 2:01 PM on October 20 [+] [!] No other comments.


Barbarians. The feminine form is "douchecutelittleChanelclutch."
posted by toodleydoodley at 11:30 AM on October 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


something something mashup of hillary campaign 2am advertisement something something
posted by odinsdream at 11:31 AM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Actually rmd1023, you are somewhat incorrect- "Assmillinery" is feminine, but it is also the plural or mass form ("Assberdashery" would be the masculine). Ginni Thomas would be an "Assbonnet."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:31 AM on October 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


i am wondering now to what degree the republican affection for war is a simple misunderstanding of the meaning of olive branch.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 11:33 AM on October 20, 2010 [20 favorites]


"No. That won't be possible."
posted by iamkimiam at 11:37 AM on October 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


*boggles*

It's been said before, but I'm increasingly of the opinion that everyone in the Tea Party movement is in on some sort of bizarre performance art project. It's the only thing that makes sense. Next, Rand Paul is going to marry a ferret or something.
posted by brundlefly at 11:39 AM on October 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


I hear she also wants Hill to replace the shawl, or at least some cash, but not a gift card so that she can purchase it wherever she is able to find the right piece.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:39 AM on October 20, 2010 [39 favorites]


Kind of like the scene from Princess Bride:

"Oh, you wish to apologize to me? Very well, I accept."
posted by imneuromancer at 11:41 AM on October 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


""Asshat" is a gendered term. The feminine version is "Assmillinery"."

My assberdasher is unisex.
posted by klangklangston at 11:43 AM on October 20, 2010


I remember going to the ABC Appliance Warehouse with my parents in 1991, them looking for refrigerators or washers or some such couple hundred dollar durable goods. The televisions had on the hearings, and I remember my mother grabbing all of us and storming out after the salesman made disparaging comments about Hill in front of my mother. "They will never get my business again," said my mom, and they didn't.
posted by klangklangston at 11:46 AM on October 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


"That picture of Clarence Thomas reminds me: people, please neuter your male cats; an un-neutered cat will not only act in inappropriately sexual ways, but will also get all jowly."

There are a lot of things that are funny about this post, jokes about castrating Clarence Thomas are so very much not among those things
posted by Blasdelb at 11:52 AM on October 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


iamkimiam: ""No. That won't be possible."

Ah, the Judith Martin gambit.
posted by boo_radley at 11:55 AM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


When did the term "pray on it" start giving the speaker license to hold any contemptible viewpoints but still feel holier than thou?

I never came across this kind of thinking before, but I am a product of an urban environment and my only experience of religions was either Roman Catholic or Judaism. Twenty years ago was the first time I heard the phrase "pray on it" and it struck me because it sounds more like "to prey on". It was being used by an acquaintance of an inlaw who was embarking on something stupid, but seemingly invoking the phrase "well, I prayed on it" absolved the speaker of all culpability.

And for Mrs Thomas to ask Anita Hill to "pray about this" is a level of creepy passive aggressiveness beyond comprehension.
posted by readery at 11:55 AM on October 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


Oh, don't play into Thomas's martyr bullshit with that lynching jive. This ain't no goddamn lynching, and even linking to one as some sort of marmish concern over lopping a damn sexual harasser's balls off is namby-pamby nonsense.
posted by klangklangston at 11:56 AM on October 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


Wow, Ginny Thomas is even stupider than Joey Buttafuoco's wife Mary Jo, who refused to believe that Joey had ever cheated on her even when she was shown the hotel registries he'd signed — and that was after the young girl Joey slept with shot Mary Jo in the head.

Upon reconsideration, maybe she's not stupider, but she's definitely in the ballpark.
posted by orange swan at 11:57 AM on October 20, 2010


i am wondering now to what degree the republican affection for war is a simple misunderstanding of the meaning of olive branch.

Well, duh, if you aren't going to beat somebody senseless with any given branch you pick up, why pick it up in the first place?
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:08 PM on October 20, 2010


"...what you did with my husband." has a very different connotation than "...what you did to my husband."

So, Ginny Thomas, care to let the public in on what you think was done with your husband?
posted by Revvy at 12:08 PM on October 20, 2010


would have been cool for hill to go for the rush/foxnews school of quoting a source: "i would like to thank ginny thomas for calling me to apologize, and as she requested, i will pay for her husband to stop indiscriminately extending his olive branch."
posted by fallacy of the beard at 12:13 PM on October 20, 2010


doh, pray
posted by fallacy of the beard at 12:14 PM on October 20, 2010


> bjrubble the masculine form is "douchebag". The feminine form is "douchebaguette".

If we want to be perfectly reciprocal about this, wouldn't the feminine term be something like "ball scrubber" or "glans baster"?

Or - shudder - Q-Tip
posted by mmrtnt at 12:15 PM on October 20, 2010


I'm of the opinion that if there is good evidence a person acts in some sexually predatory way, then castrating jokes are totally a-o.k. Would laugh just as hard if a white dude was involved.
posted by angrycat at 12:17 PM on October 20, 2010


Another take on this.

Personally, I think Anita Hill would make a great SC Justice. I read some of her stuff years ago and she's brilliant.
posted by mareli at 12:20 PM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Ginni Thomas would be an "Assbonnet."

I believe we have a winner...
posted by mmrtnt at 12:20 PM on October 20, 2010


When did the term "pray on it" start giving the speaker license to hold any contemptible viewpoints but still feel holier than thou?

Once again: It's about hurting enemies.

That's always what this stuff is about. Jesus, the third comment in a right-wing blog thread I read about this was "LOL! Oh man the libs are going to be fuming over this!" This wasn't an "olive branch," it was a prank. How many times have there been threads on this or other sites where right-wing Christians started using "I'll pray for you" as their own F-words? It's part of the nasty, carefully-tested language.

Every single bit of Thomas' call was designed to be, and let's reflect on the irony here, harassment. She called on a Saturday morning to intentionally get voice mail. She couldn't be hung up on or interrupted. She was ready with a statement to confirm it with a "I'm the victim here" mentality. And she delivered a simple, vindictive, "when did you stop beating your wife" style of message. I'm surprised her statement wasn't followed up with the traditional "oh, well I'm sorry.... if you are upset." Again... it's your fault I've just attacked you.

I really don't know the meaning of why Thomas chose to do this, now, at this moment. But it's not spontaneous. It's far too... perfect as red meat for conservatives and rage induction in the left. It's a practical, self-satisfying way for someone to use their power over an enemy to show them that they can hurt them and look clean while doing it.

So, again, irony. Because the most common place you usually see that is in sexual abuse.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:28 PM on October 20, 2010 [15 favorites]


I thought "assberdashery" was a reference to an anal quickie.
posted by nickmark at 12:38 PM on October 20, 2010


...Something about sleeping dogs that lie?

And adding to bizarre inappropriateness of her request is that Ginny Thomas is the only person in that trio who doesn't know what really happened.
posted by applemeat at 12:39 PM on October 20, 2010


In addition to being intellectually challenged as compared to his brethren on the court it appears that Justice Thomas is also ethically challenged.
posted by caddis at 12:49 PM on October 20, 2010


one can imagine that she is guided by her own romantic interest in her husband when she assumes that other women find him attractive as well.”

That is a fantastic, lawyerly dis.
posted by Miko at 12:49 PM on October 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


jokes about castrating Clarence Thomas

Just to clarify: I do not now avocate, nor have I ever advocated, the castration of Clarence Thomas. I do, however, advocate the castration of cats, in part because if they are not castrated, they will develop the heavy, low-slung cheeks of Clarence Thomas. Who is, to my knowledge, not a cat, nor has been castrated, but who has some surprisingly round and cat-like jowls. He is a human judge. He is on the Supreme Court.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:58 PM on October 20, 2010 [32 favorites]


ubernostrum: the masculine form is "douchebag". The feminine form is "douchebaguette".

mmrtnt: If we want to be perfectly reciprocal about this, wouldn't the feminine term be something like "ball scrubber" or "glans baster"?


No, because (presumably) a ball scrubber is actually something useful, while douches are harmful and irritating:
Douching is terrible for women; it can lead to infection and irritation. Even teen magazines will tell you this! Douches exist only because women have been told that our bodies are unclean. Douches, and the bags that reportedly accompany them, are terrible, no-good products. Insulting douches doesn’t insult women — the existence of douches insults women.

Source: In Defense of "Douchebag"
posted by Lexica at 1:05 PM on October 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


mmrtnt: "> Ginni Thomas would be an "Assbonnet."

I believe we have a winner...
"

I'm partial to 'shitbarge' but that's just me.

What a sad, bitter angry couple they are. It would take the jaws of life to pry any shred of dignity from their boney, enraged hands. I picture Clarence Thomas laying in his bed at night, pizza boxes and empty bottles of Night Train strewn about, with Anita Hill's testimony on a beta tape looping continuously while he mumbles under his breath, the mean things he'd like to do to her.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:19 PM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


A Clarence Thomas thread with no mention of Fear and Loathing in Elko? What is this internet coming to?
posted by mullingitover at 1:22 PM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


fallacy of the beard: "More likely, Thomas and/or her handlers sought to create a diversion."

Came in-thread to say this. This has no indications of being a mistake, and every indication of a cold, calculated decision to vaguely threaten a woman in order to re-ignite the debate on whether sexual harassment is a real thing. Rest assured, there are plenty of men who still think it isn't and Ginny Thomas would love for those men to vote for candidates who believe "crazy feminists" just make this stuff up.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:24 PM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


What a sad, bitter angry couple they are.

Actually, as much as I hate CT's politics, I doubt this is true (I know less about his wife). All the accounts I've read of him, and heard from people who know him imply that he's a kind, personable human being. He's got gay friends who he is supportive of, he's cordial to people of all classes. All of which makes me really confused about his stance on the court and his near complete silence on the bench.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 1:29 PM on October 20, 2010


Sounds to me like someone took some sleeping pills the night before and woke up earlier than expected. Her super-ego, still asleep, didn't tell her that this phone call might be a bad idea. I doubt she remembers any of it.
posted by chemoboy at 1:35 PM on October 20, 2010


XQUZYPHYR nails it.

The Conservative Right, who may be collectively or individually referred to as The Douchebags, are profoundly cynical and hypocritical. They have a nice, cozy, privileged world, and they mean to keep t that way. They are likely funded by a sinister cabal of Really Big Corporations, who are protecting a profitable world. Upstarts like Sarah Palin are mere pawns who get sucked in to a facile agenda. I can't help being especially revolted by Clarence and Ginnie Thomas, who are so willing to advance an agenda that is bad for non-whites.

I mean, really, what the fucking fuck is wrong with this Ginnie Thomas woman? She's just horrible. If I thought it wouldn't just be unwanted attention, I'd apologize to Anita Hill for what this country put her through.
posted by theora55 at 1:40 PM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


All the accounts I've read of him, and heard from people who know him imply that he's a kind, personable human being. He's got gay friends who he is supportive of, he's cordial to people of all classes.

I can imagine that for a judge, being on the Supreme Court is such a great achievement, that it would be a real tragedy, not just for oneself, but for the country at large, to let some stupid little indiscretion in one's previous years get in the way of its attainment.

And because owning up to that indiscretion - doing the "right" thing - would effectively slam the door on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity..? well, it's obvious; you keep your mouth shut.

But then the press and the opposing party have a field day with it and now you can't backtrack and the Dream is dimming even as you begin to realize it...


Let's just say I can see how being nice to people for the rest of your life could be seen as atonement and help to at least partially soothe the guilt.
posted by mmrtnt at 2:13 PM on October 20, 2010


No, because (presumably) a ball scrubber is actually something useful, while douches are harmful and irritating:

Useful for who? Unless you're grossly overweight, most men I know are perfectly capable of scrubbing their own balls. Hell, most are willing to give them a quick 'scrub-check' in public.
posted by graventy at 2:14 PM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who gets a voicemail asking for an apology, and notifies the security force of the university they work at? What are they going to do, bar the person who left it from the campus? And this voicemail doesn't even seem like grounds to do that.

And what security force, upon hearing a voicemail of one woman asking another for an apology, thinks "Hey, that's a federal crime!" and calls the FBI?

Weird, something has got to have been left out.
posted by overthrow at 2:20 PM on October 20, 2010


Since a douchebag is something that is at best useless and at worst dangerous and always, always irritating I think it's a perfectly gender-neutral insult.







Ugh, but this is all very creepy.
posted by Neofelis at 2:24 PM on October 20, 2010


Maybe this helps explain her loony behavior.

Virginia Thomas: "I was once in a group that used mind control techniques."
posted by JackFlash at 2:26 PM on October 20, 2010


Who gets a voicemail asking for an apology, and notifies the security force of the university they work at?

The kind of person with an intimate knowledge of "harassment."

And what security force, upon hearing a voicemail of one woman asking another for an apology, thinks "Hey, that's a federal crime!" and calls the FBI?

The one that recognizes that harassment via interstate communication actually IS a federal crime.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:26 PM on October 20, 2010 [22 favorites]


Someone claiming to be the spouse of a Supreme Court justice while doing wackadoo shit is probably going to get their voicemail forwarded to the FBI.
posted by *s at 2:30 PM on October 20, 2010


Who gets a voicemail asking for an apology, and notifies the security force of the university they work at?

someone who in the past has been faulted for not making claims of harassment in a timely manner. i'm sure the last thing hill would want to hear, say, if this were the first in a series of harassing calls, is why didn't you report this sooner?
posted by fallacy of the beard at 2:42 PM on October 20, 2010


Thanks for the citation, Cool Papa, the last one seems apt.
posted by mareli at 2:57 PM on October 20, 2010


mmrtnt: "I can imagine that for a judge, being on the Supreme Court is such a great achievement, that it would be a real tragedy, not just for oneself, but for the country at large, to let some stupid little indiscretion in one's previous years get in the way of its attainment."

I think it was a tragedy for the country that Thomas got on the bench.
posted by fryman at 3:00 PM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was entertained by these NYT reader comments.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:11 PM on October 20, 2010


One call, 20 years later, containing no implicit or explicit threats, profanity, or other questionable content, made by a person who isn't even the alleged harassor (who himself was never convicted of anything) is not harassment by any stretch of the imagination.

This is why I say something must have been left out - it is hard to believe the authorities would have wasted their time investigating this call, if the content is as reported.
posted by overthrow at 3:15 PM on October 20, 2010


I would imagine Anita Hill still gets a whole lot of crazy emails and calls, even now, from the nutcase brigade. I'm sure the Brandeis cops keep tabs on them.
Not sure why it was referred to the feds though.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:25 PM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not sure why it was referred to the feds though.

"Professor Hill says this is Ginni Thomas, the wife of the Supreme Court justice."
"Refer it to the FBI."
"Why?"
"Well, first of all, it's technically their jurisdiction because it's a telephone call. Secondly, this department isn't touching this case with a 10-foot-pole. We've got more important things to do. Like policing this university."
"Roger that."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:20 PM on October 20, 2010


My first thought, if I were in her position, would have been that this was from an actress hired for some loathsome James O'Keefe prank, or similar. It sounds like that was something like what she was thinking.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:34 PM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Being the true believer in following the intent of the original framers of the constitution, Clarence Thomas is forced to allow his owner to do whatever she pleases.
posted by pianomover at 4:50 PM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


That must have been one Hell of a coma.
posted by bwg at 5:14 PM on October 20, 2010


Secondly, this department isn't touching this case with a 10-foot-pole

Speaking of 10-foot poles:

"I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. Isn't it time to get Long Dong Silver on DVD, maybe even Blu-ray? You've got to have worn out that VHS by now. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this. OK, have a good day."
posted by kirkaracha at 6:10 PM on October 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Not sure why it was referred to the feds though.

Because they have the power to figure out if it's real or fake, while campus police does not?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:22 PM on October 20, 2010


One call, 20 years later, containing no implicit or explicit threats, profanity, or other questionable content, made by a person who isn't even the alleged harassor (who himself was never convicted of anything) is not harassment by any stretch of the imagination.

One explanation I've read is that Hill didn't believe it could possibly be Ginni Thomas (because face it, that message sounds more like it was left by a sixth-grader having a fight with another over a boy), but rather someone trying to prank, embarrass, and/or harass her. In that light, Hill's decision to turn it over to the campus security office is perfectly understandable. It is, in fact, the most rational thing to do if you're a semi-public figure hated by a not insubstantial portion of the population, many of whom seem quite fond of guns.

If anyone is to blame for Mrs. Thomas's message leaking, it's probably the security office personnel, the FBI or whomever they spoke to. But given how audaciously rude, stupid and cruel that voice mail is, I can't say that I fault the leaker for not being able to keep their mouth shut about it. It's one of those things that almost shouts out "LOOK AT ME! LOOK! LOOK! CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS SHIT?!"
posted by longdaysjourney at 6:26 PM on October 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


According to Chris Matthews, at least, Hill was the one who handed the tape over to the press. Which I don't blame her for. While nothing in the voicemail is itself threatening, it does lead one to think that another shoe was about to drop soon and from a P.R. perspective she needed to get out in front of it.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:12 PM on October 20, 2010


overthrow: One call, 20 years later, containing no implicit or explicit threats, profanity, or other questionable content, made by a person who isn't even the alleged harassor (who himself was never convicted of anything) is not harassment by any stretch of the imagination.


If you were aware at the time, or have read the excellent "Strange Justice" you might be more forgiving for Hill's sensitivity to potential threats or harassment. As there was no other way to discount her testimony during Thomas' confirmation hearings, his supporters and the press went for her, personally. Both during, and after Thomas was confirmed. She stood up to it, stuck with her testimony and dignity with extreme bravery and poise, and is an extremely admirable figure because of it. She is, however, a red-meaty sort of bogeyman to those on the right, so getting the chance to drag her into the public eye and through the mud again might drum up some more nutjob fervor. I'd assume that she was wary of that from the start, and yet even a prank might be a real threat, if someone unconnected still cared that much to call.

If I may, though, exhort the fine ladies and gentlemen of the press and the internet to absolve themselves of the mistakes of 1991 by rigourously defending Hill from the ridiculousness that may be about to ensue. She's defended herself admirably once already... she might want help to counter more insidious spin and politics this time around.

tl;dr: Don't fuck with Anita Hill again guys, she really doesn't deserve it.
posted by thusspakeparanoia at 8:39 PM on October 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


Who gets a voicemail asking for an apology, and notifies the security force of the university they work at? What are they going to do, bar the person who left it from the campus? And this voicemail doesn't even seem like grounds to do that.

When I heard this story first thing this morning, i realized I would have done exactly the same thing. Because it would be pretty difficult to tell what it was all about, and the worst-case scenario is pretty bad. The worst case scenario is that it's a threat, or the opening salvo in a blackmail attempt. She's been through enough to know not to mess around and to get stuff on record, and the campus police no doubt know who on the faculty gets more than the usual amount of screwball attention and don't mess around either. To me, her actions after receivint this creepy-ass message are by far the easiest part of the story to understand.
posted by Miko at 8:45 PM on October 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


The wife of Clarence Thomas describes the "hell" of the hearings, her own experience with sexual harassment and her belief that Anita Hill "was probably in love with my husband"
People magazine, November 11th, 1991
posted by blueberry at 11:36 PM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Another thought - the bar for reporting things to the FBI is really pretty low. Anything that might strain the abilities of your local police department to assess an issue and be effective - such as something involving harassment originating from out of state and following on a public political scandal - is certainly within their jurisdiction. I know a few people who have reported something to the FBI - it's not really some kind of out-there, drastic step to take.
posted by Miko at 7:05 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is why I say something must have been left out - it is hard to believe the authorities would have wasted their time investigating this call, if the content is as reported.
posted by overthrow at 3:15 PM on October 20 [+] [!]


I totally agree that something is left out.

She's not asking for an apology for those awful untrue things Hill said about her husband 20 years ago, she's asking for an explanation for why she did what she did with her husband.

Perhaps Clarence slipped and disclosed something that revealed he hadn't been totally truthful back then.
posted by GoodPuppy at 11:16 AM on October 21, 2010


"He was obsessed with porn," she said of Thomas, who is now 63. "He would talk about what he had seen in magazines and films, if there was something worth noting."

...

According to McEwen, Thomas would also tell her about women he encountered at work. He was partial to women with large breasts, she said. In an instance at work, Thomas was so impressed that he asked one woman her bra size, McEwen recalled him telling her.

posted by fallacy of the beard at 8:24 AM on October 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


The wife of Clarence Thomas describes the "hell" of the hearings, her own experience with sexual harassment and her belief that Anita Hill "was probably in love with my husband"
—People magazine, November 11th, 1991


That cover! I'm pretty sure that's Eddie Murphy dressed up like Clarence Thomas.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:24 PM on October 22, 2010


The emerging media narrative of Thomas lying to congress to secure his appointment as a result of this new witness is going to make a interesting political shitstorm. Wife of supreme court justice takes millions from corporations for political work wasn't really catching fire like wife lashes out at perceived rival as new details emerge of the Justice's obsession with pornography. You know the Thomas sex tape is comming. You can just feel it, it's out there. Waiting to be uploaded to some torrent. The fates have this one now. There will be text messages and hookups with whores.
posted by humanfont at 6:03 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Much as I hate linking to Politico, they do set the conventional wisdom in DC:


"The phone call Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife placed to Anita Hill....may go down as a textbook lesson in unintended consequences.

With a single voice mail message, Virginia Thomas managed to rekindle interest in a story many Americans no longer remember or never heard about—and set in motion a series of events that could seriously undermine her husband’s credibility and damage his long effort to distance himself from his controversial confirmation to the court."
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:28 PM on October 22, 2010


When It Doesn't Pay to Tell the Truth.
posted by homunculus at 12:10 PM on October 23, 2010


Clarence Thomas' Ex-Girlfriend Lillian McEwen Throws Him Under the Bus and Backs Over Him a Few Times
posted by homunculus at 1:34 PM on October 26, 2010


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