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The "Girlie Men" insult

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By now I imagine some or all have you have heard about Gov. Schwarzenegger's speech in which he called Democratic politicians here in California "Girlie Men".

Gay groups, women's groups, and of course the Democrats are all in a huff about it, and demanding an apology.


Peronally, I think it's hilarious, and quite good-natured of Ahnold to quote from a well-known parody of his own persona.


Fuck all of 'em, if they can't take a joke!


La Trix (A Proud Girlie Man)

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Guest msclonly

He has been using favorite lines, since he first appeared on TV.


It is funny, and worth rolling on the floor laughing about the uproar to try to win back some of the votes. But again I predict, that he will have the last laugh, regardless of what he does.



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Waxing political here at Governor Girlie Man, 'it takes one to know one'! He has done nothing to stand-up to the largest government union in California, the prison guards. A 20% wage increase over 2 years, and unlimited sick time?? Any of us could be so fortunate.

Balloon-armed Viennese buffoons were cluess on SNL, apparently the Govenator missed the joke...

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RE: The "Girlie Men" insult


I lived in California for 25 years, and watched its state government with some interest that whole time, from Jerry Brown to George Deukmejian to Pete Wilson to Gray Davis and then moved to NYC. Each of these characters had his ups and downs, each was watched with interest by California's celebrity-obsessed media as if his personality (or in all but Jerry's case, lack of it) was the central issue in state government.


But it isn't. California's government is structurally legislature-centered, and the legislature has held the balance of power since it went full-time in 1966. That power was centralized in the hands of the Speaker of the Assembly, most famously Willie Brown, who really determined policy for the state. Term limits (6 years for the Assembly, 8 for the Senate) went into effect in 1990, and destroyed the longevity of legislative leadership without affecting the legislature's power. What this has meant for the past 14 years is a well-known governor trying to make coherent policy according to his lights and a legislature which remains powerful but is essentially faceless and amorphous. Its leaders change every few years and so have almost zero public recognition and therefore little public pressure is brought to bear on them personally.


Legislative Democrats have thrived in this shady and sheltered environment, have become an entrenched majority through ultra-precise redistricting in essentially unchallegeable districts which reliably return the majority party nominee, whoever that may happen to be. So to a very large extent the legislature is untouchable and unreachable by the ordinary voting public as well as by governors of either party. Gray Davis in fact had less success with the legislature than Arnold is having.


California state government is awash in special interest money in a way rarely seen before in American history. Gray Davis was the premier practitioner of this art, and it is one of the main reasons he was so roundly hated even by his own party.


The infamous California ballot initiative process has been the only effective counter to this, which explains its extraordinary success, and also its use and misuse by special interests of all types, who cloak their real agendas in popular issues. That the initiative has been the only real way to change things fundamentally really is a comment on the uselessness of the legislature as an expression of public will, which has declined to almost nothing.


So my analysis of Arnold's remark is that he wants to get this corrupt legislative system onto the screen of public awareness. His great political gift is the outrageous statement. Every time he says something off-color, it gets huge coverage, and so does the issue he is highlighting. He is probably the shrewdest politician to have been elected governor in many a year, and knows exactly what he is doing. In my opinion, he is setting up a constitutional challenge to the legislature, probably to return it to part time, in order to make the governmental process more accountable to the electorate by diminishing the legislature's in-the-shadows money-power nexus. I would not be surprised to see him get behind a real redistricting reform as well.


What's really going on here is Schwarzenegger's attempt to break through the steel plate armor of entrenched, anonymous Democratic legislative privilege, which has in fact sold itself to the special interests he names and many others as well. That he uses an off-color gay-related image -- which as others have pointed out is a pointed reference to comic criticism of his own career -- is not politically correct. I of course deplore it, while secretly admiring his ability to shatter the bell-jar echo chamber of ordinary political language and connect viscerally and effectively with the voters.

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RE: The Girlie Men


Arnold is just expressing Republican displeasure that Ron Reagan decided to address the Democratic Convention.


As for Arnold's personality, I'll take the word of his fellow artist:


>>Mapplethorpe, Assault with a Deadly Camera by Jack Pritscher, Ph.D. shows Robert fondly remembering Arnold's posing for him in the mid-70's when Arnold was still just a humble California bodybuilder:


"Arnold was cute. He sat with all his clothes on and we talked. He's nice. He's bright. He's straight. The gay bodybuilders I've been with are so 'roided out they're like fucks from outer space. I can't relate to all the mass. It overshadows personality. Arnold's soul is big enough to fill his muscle with his person."<<

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Guest msclonly

Only the Girlie Men think it is an insult!


A real man laughs at the humor. Just like they did when they first saw it on SatNightLive!


Sounds like the stove is too hot for them, but they don't want to get out of the kitchen and do something, that isn't in their own best interests! }(

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RE: Only the Girlie Men think it is an insult!


Article from WSJ









A Feminine Hero

Schwarzenegger says something insensitive. This looks like a job for Girlie-Man!



Saturday, July 24, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT


"Girlie-men," Arnold Schwarzenegger called the Democratic members of the California Legislature who, according to the governor, caved in to special interest groups and have consequently thus far refused to pass his stringent state budget. "Girlie-men" is a wonderfully funny phrase, I think, not least for its atonality, inapplicability and fine political incorrectness.


You would think that this is a phrase that could only occur to someone whose first language isn't English, as Gov. Schwarzenegger's clearly isn't. In its almost sweet awkwardness, it is right on the edge of being the kind of malaprop people speaking a second language often lapse into. My mother had a Russian friend who specialized in this; referring to her own aging, she claimed she was no "sprung chicken." Shortly after her husband died, she told my mother that the attorneys had put all her husband's money in "egg roll," when of course she meant escrow.


But in fact "girlie-man" is not the governor's phrase but derives from the dialogue of two comics calling themselves Hans and Franz doing a foreign-born weightlifters skit on a "Saturday Night Live" parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The governor's making use of this material renders it, somehow, all the richer. The text, as academic literary critics like to say, becomes even more layered.






The humorless, who are never in short supply, were quick to point out that Gov. Schwarzenegger's phrase is politically incorrect. His spokesman rushed in to say that the phrase was never intended to question the sexual orientation or even the virility of Democratic legislators. Besides, some of the legislators are women. (Manly-girls, perhaps?) "It's his way of saying they're wimps," the spokesman averred. "They're giving in to the special interests."

But even the word wimps isn't as value-free as one might think. My guess is that wimps stands for womanized pimps, pimp in this context having the meaning (at least it did at Senn High School in Chicago in the 1950s) not of a whoremaster but of someone frail and cowardly. The word wuss, whose etymology cannot be gone into in a family newspaper, is built out of much the same materials.


Other, older words for the governor's "girlie-men" are pantywaists and pansies; also sissies and weenies. In Yiddish the word of choice is fageleh, or little bird, from which, my best etymological guess is, the mean word fag derives. But girlie-man, pantywaist, pansy, wimp, wuss, fageleh, any way you whistle or care to lisp it, the governor, as in those old Charles Atlas ads that used to appear on the back of the comic books of my youth, was kicking sand in the faces of the Democratic legislators of the state of California.






As a comic-book reader in my boyhood, I took immediately to Gov. Schwarzenegger's phrase, and wondered if I shouldn't, right here on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, stake my claim for copyright for a new comic book, let us hope to be followed by a movie with "Spider-Man"-like grosses to ensue, called "Girlie-Man."

Girlie-Man, as I envision him, is slight, well groomed and very carefully dressed, mostly in subtle taupes. He has lank hair, with a receding hairline, and nice hands. Housewives call him in when things go wrong at dinner parties. The arugula wilts just before a large dinner for the boss and his wife. "This" says the man of the house, "is a job for Girlie-Man," who arrives on the scene more quickly than Superman, because he doesn't have to change clothes or even put on a cape. In fact, he designs capes.


In the movie version that I have in mind Girlie-Man is elected a member of the California Legislature, from the Castro District in San Francisco. The governor of the state, a former bodybuilder and a bully, attempts to ram home a tough budget, with less fat than a tenderloin soaked in a lemon-pepper marinade with just the slightest hint of basil.


Most members of the Legislature feel cowed by the governor's strong-arm tactics. He calls them wimps and pantywaists. And it looks like he's going to get away with it, too. But this, clearly, is a job for Girlie-Man, who in the last minute before the final vote on the budget mounts the podium under the speaker of the house, and, reading from the San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook, Volume II, filibusters the Legislature by reading aloud every recipe in the book. The governor is rendered helpless. His budget fails, and California's economy goes down the tubes. But at least he learns a hard lesson: never again to fool with Girlie-Man.


Mr. Epstein is the author, most recently, of "Envy" (Oxford University Press, 2003).

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