at the beep, please humiliate yourself


Gracious, this next topic is like shooting largemouth bass in a barrel, but I’m sure most of you have heard that Ginny Thomas – wife of Supreme Court chucklehead Clarence Thomas – left a message on Anita Hill’s answering machine asking her to apologize for 1991. For all you young’uns out there who can’t appreciate the reference, most of us spent that year suffering through Thomas’ confirmation hearings, in which Anita Hill (a former employee) said that he talked constantly of porn that he’d seen, bragged of his sexual prowess, came on to her repeatedly, and a number of other things that made him out to be, at the very least, a disturbing hypocrite.

Despite passing a polygraph test, Anita Hill was painted as a nut and a slut by the right-wing smear machine, and of course, Thomas became one of the worst Supreme Court Justices since the Reconstruction. He was already married to Virginia “Ginny” Lamp, who went on to become a massive Tea Party harpie, using millions of dollars to unseat progressives in Congress – money, not coincidentally, untrackable thanks in part to Thomas’ ruling on Citizens United.



Clarence Thomas himself is a farce, a self-hating, rage-fueled robot made even more tragic by the memory of his predecessor: Thurgood Marshall. He personally hurried his nomination ceremony through Congress despite Chief Justice Rehnquist’s wife’s funeral, and has spent the last 19 years in a wingnut dinghy with one oar, rowing in circles with one hand while giving everyone the finger with the other.

But we get to laugh at his expense, at long last. I’ve oft compared conservatives and Republicans to battered wives, if only because they cling to their delusions like beaten wives putting makeup on their bruises. What else but pure self-bedazzlement would lead Ginny Thomas to call Anita Hill at 7am, nineteen years later, to accuse her of lying?

But painful delusion isn’t the only ingredient; you must also possess the Tea Party’s sense of entitled self-righteousness, the toxically smug belief that you cannot possibly be wrong. In some sick way, Ginny Thomas must have thought she was offering Anita Hill some redemption, invoking prayer and God and whatever else. It’s so goddamn nauseating, but at least we weren’t the only ones nauseated.

Clarence Thomas’ ex-girlfriend had finally heard enough of this bullshit, and corroborated Anita Hill’s story down to the particulars. Again, us progressives – even us very young progressives who were just getting our sea legs in 1991 – try our best not to keep yelling we told you so, but why dwell on the past when there’s so much future left for you to ruin?

Clarence Thomas will continue to foment disastrous opinions and use the U.S. Constitution as toilet paper while evacuating his bowels full of self-loathing. He and Scalia will remain on the Supreme Court until they are in their 90s, kept alive by the pickled acid sluicing through their non-existent hearts, ramming religion and big business down our throats no matter what we do. But you can’t keep a lid on crazy forever, and moments like this allow us a rare gallows chuckle.

0 thoughts on “at the beep, please humiliate yourself

  1. T.J.

    I disagree with Thomas and Scalia about 90% of the time. As a Libertarian, I disagree with the SCOTUS about 80% of the time anyway: one side favors state power, the other favors federal power, and neither gives a tinker’s damn about the text of the Constitution or individual rights.
    In any event, Scalia and Thomas deserve praise for three sets of opinions:
    Their dissents in
    Kelo v. New London (the liberal majority found condemnation for “economic development” is OK under eminent domain), and
    Their majority opinions in:
    Crawford v. Washington and its progeny (guaranteeing the right of a criminal defendant to confront his or her accusers, instead of allowing the State to rely on affidavits to convict people; for example, SBI blood and drug tests) and
    Blakely v. Washington (guaranteeing the right of a criminal defendant to have a jury determine his or her guilt/innocence of the crime charged, instead of leaving part of it up to the judge).
    The proverbial blind squirrels and the nut, but credit is due where due.

  2. Mom

    I remember the confirmation hearings, and was disgusted. But what pushed me over the edge into total revulsion was the magazine cover (People, I think) of Clarence and Ginny, holding A BIBLE as if it were a shield. What a crock of PR merde, I thought then, and my dismay at Thomas’ confirmation has never abated. That cynical display of holy writ to make the case that Thomas was a good Christian and a family man… Echhh.

  3. Anne

    This is one of your finer constructions, Ian:
    “Clarence Thomas will continue to … use the U.S. Constitution as toilet paper while evacuating his bowels full of self-loathing.”
    Sometimes I think we in the U.S. have gone through the looking-glass into Crazy World. I really do. Ginny Thomas must be off her rocker. At 7 am — really??? Did she forget to take her meds the night before?

  4. kent

    Starting with the Bush V Gore decision, and culminating in the Citizen’s United case, the Supreme Court has been instrumental in the ongoing transition from representative democracy to oligarchy. What the Tea Party types, and their monied puppet masters want is nothing less than a return to the world of Dickensian inequality and misery.
    All the while, the conservative architects of the death of American ideals wrap themselves in the flag, braying about the United States’ exceptionalism.
    To paraphrase Max Von Sydow in “Hannah and Her Sisters,” if the founding fathers of the United States saw what was going on now in their name, they’d never stop throwing up.

  5. Lee

    When I first heard the story, and didn’t even know anything about her, I though “Alcohol or Alzheimer’s”. But looking at her she just looks crazy.

  6. Piglet

    I wouldn’t mind being a fly on the Thomas family bedroom wall to hear their pillow talk for the next few weeks. I kinda doubt de judge was overly thrilled to have all that brought up again.
    If I were in the House, I’d petition for articles of impeachment against Thomas.

  7. bridget

    part of me thinks ginny already has well-deserved payback in the form of what must be ongoing and exquisitely agonizing jealousy. how many nights does she lie next to her husband in bed wondering about this or that woman in his office or sphere of influence. when he hasn’t said so much as a tender “darling” or “dear” in years and years – let alone held her.
    unfortunately what would mostly play out as middle-aged rage at a cold spouse has the potential to change all of our lives through supreme court rulings or tea party politics.


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