“I hadn’t planned on writing anything about A Clash of the Female Titans, last week’s debate in Los Angeles put on by The Free Press, co-sponsored by FIRE, and featuring author Louise Perry, Red Scare podcaster Anna Khachiyan, technopop star Grimes, and (most importantly) activist and writer Sarah Haider, with whom I co-host my ‘other podcast,’ A Special Place In Hell. Most of the time, I don’t have it in me to respond to things I read or see on stages or screens, having exhausted that part of my brain in the first 30 years of my career. Besides, I knew Sarah and I would talk about the debate on the podcast anyway. But as mainstream media coverage of the event begins to trickle in — as of this writing, in the Los Angeles Times and New York Magazine — I find myself unable to hold my tongue.
First, let me say this about my tongue: I hate how the words ‘mainstream media’ taste on it. I try never to say those words, since they give me flashbacks to Sarah Palin’s coinage ‘lamestream media’ and, from there, conjure every half-baked blowhard reactionary who picked it up and ran with it. I also happen to think there’s plenty of mainstream journalism that remains outstanding and, thanks to an at-times frustratingly high bar for sourcing and hard evidence, simply cannot be replaced by even the most rigorous independents. Some examples are here and here, in case you were wondering. There are plenty more where those came from.”