Love In a Time of Scandal

February 11, 2013
By

By Brittney Cooper and Treva Lindsey

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The following conversation took place on Sunday, February 10th, 2013. What began as a Facebook conversation among several dynamic black feminists/womanists (Joan Morgan, Mark Anthony Neal, Kaila Story, Tanisha Ford, and Yaba Blay) about Brandon Maxwell’s “Olivia Pope and the Scandal of Representation,” evolved into the following piece in which Brittney Cooper, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University; co-founder of the Crunk Feminist Collective) and Treva Lindsey, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia) collaboratively discuss Maxwell’s piece and offer a black feminist perspective on one of television’s most compelling and complicated Black female characters to date.

images-1TL: For an hour on most Thursday evenings for the past several months, several of my black feminist folks gather on social media for delicious and intriguing conversations. We react, engage, signify, testify, but most importantly, we stake a claim in our right to pleasure. We enter into a celluloid world where the prevailing moral schema is “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for Dat.” We delight in the deeply flawed characters and find ourselves emotionally invested in their individual and collective unraveling. We lust for the Scandal and we entice in scandalous, salacious, raw, and imperfect representations.

So when I read “Olivia Pope and the Scandal of Representation” as well as much of the commentary echoing the core arguments in Brandon Maxwell’s piece, it left me wondering if he and those affirming his analysis and I are watching the same show. Furthermore, the piece sparked an immediate and visceral reaction from me regarding the usage of Patricia Hill Collins’ groundbreaking work, and to a lesser extent bell hook’s work. Using a “controlling images” argument and a history of representations of black women in popular culture to convince us that Pope is a “political mammy” and a 21st Century Jezebel?— I vehemently disagreed.

 

BC: Exactly, Treva!

When I read Maxwell’s piece it disturbed me on a few levels.

First, interrogating one’s own position as a Black man, particularly when one identifies as a Black male feminist, would seem to be a prerequisite for intervening in and so stridently critiquing a show centered around a Black woman.

imagesSecond, I am really disturbed at this invocation of Patricia Hill Collins’ work on controlling images because it is done really badly. Can Black women ever have an unapologetic sexual self in public without being called Jezebel? How is it that a Black woman who owns and runs the company is called a mammy because of her nurturing moments? Nurturing is not the same thing as being maternal and if she were less concerned about others she’d be called a Black bitch!

But I also really like this other thing you are saying about the pleasure that Black female viewers in particular seem to derive from the show. How do we think about Black women’s politics of pleasure (to quote Joan Morgan) around this without suggesting that Black women have been hoodwinked and bamboozled or are otherwise operating in a kind of false consciousness?

 

TL: I am right there with you. What’s up with the inability to recognize and savor in black female pleasure being derived from Scandal? Maxwell only briefly acknowledges the popularity of this show among black women, but then dismisses and/or makes light of how some black women, and more importantly, some black feminists/womanists engage with Scandal and Olivia Pope. Perhaps what immediately stood out for me was the point of departure for the critique: Olivia Pope is the “changing same;” a character that can be easily located in the damaging and dehumanizing history of (mis)representations of black women in popular culture. What of a black feminist cultural critique that commences with an analytical framework centered around a politics of pleasure?

images-3For me, one of the primary questions driving any black feminist cultural critique I would do of Scandal would be why are some black feminists not only tuning in every week, but using their online communities to publicly share their enthusiasm about Olivia Pope and Associates. Consequently, I’m ready to engage in meaningful, thought-provoking, and incisive conversations about the show. Being a fan of this show does not and will not inhibit me from offering critiques. BUT I refuse to start from a critical standpoint that does not even entertain the possibility of a politics of pleasure. I remain suspicious of any critiques identified as black feminist cultural criticism that do not seriously interrogate pleasure.

 

BC: Yes, Black women’s articulations of and desire for pleasure must remain central to the interrogation. And our assertions of pleasure run up against Maxwell’s arguments about faulty representation in a really embodied way. He asserts that Liv, Harrison and Edison, the Black characters, are all summarily “flat.” I really take issue with this characterization. Yes, I would like to know more about Olivia’s backstory. I mean, why doesn’t she have homegirls?! I’ve long been convinced that some of the bullshit Fitz spouts at her would not stand if she had crew that she could talk things out with. But on the other hand, the deeply conflictual nature of her relationship with Fitz, that conundrum of loving somebody that you ain’t supposed to love, is a very personal dilemma. It is used as a vehicle to represent her interiority on the show, and I refuse to concede that it’s an illegitimate vehicle, just because the object of her affections is illicit. In other words, we can’t deny the interiority of her struggle because we don’t like whom she’s struggling over.

images-4Maxwell also says that she’s nothing more than a “political mammy,” but really? Is Judy Smith, the real-life fixer, merely a mammy? Isn’t that a failure of imagination on the part of critics to see Black women as powerful and running shit. Mammies didn’t run shit, they weren’t wealthy, and if The Help taught us anything, it is that Black women domestics’ lives were always severely circumscribed by the recalcitrant racism of white folks.

 

TL: I am so glad you brought up interiority as well as the real Judy Smith. She became invisible in this analysis as well. Not only is she a real-life fixer, but a co-executive producer of this show. Her voice is important to at least consider when we think about actual black women’s bodies and voices when examining this show.

I think the silences and moments of pause in the show can be read as brief glimpses into the interior life of Olivia. It does not resonate as “voicelessness” to me, but as a subtle depiction of her complex humanity. These moments are restorative, but often plaintive. It doesn’t all have to be out there or be “loud” to be engaged and explored. There are several moments on the show when Liv is reflexive and quiet. You mentioned in an earlier Facebook conversation that you read those moments as possibly providing a very public black woman an opportunity to be private. I find that quite powerful. Yes, I want her to have a circle of friends and to have certain “girlfriend”-oriented conversations about her love life. BUT, those quiet moments serve a rich purpose in providing an alternate view of black women’s emotionality. I identify with those moments of quiet and seek those moments. I love that we don’t get to know so much about her- the show pivots around her unfolding/unraveling and requires a patience that our society so often denies to black women. This impatience informs an expectation of black women as wholly public subjects whose fullness can be captured in less 20 episodes of an hour long drama.

 

images-2BC: Yes to all of this. The idea that we are supposed to know all of her inner workings comes from this unquestioned societal expectation of Black women always being public objects, not subjects, available for scrutiny rather than engagement. And we are uncomfortable with her love struggle being worked out in an interior way because we are used to seeing Black women scrapping with other Black women over dudes in the most exterior, public, and dare I say, ratchet of ways.

This failure of folks to really understand what it is that, to use your words, “entices” us about this show, suggests that Black women remain in a deep epistemological darkspace wherein we (our motivations, our desires, our struggles) elude detection, remaining unknown and unknowable, other than to ourselves. Some consider this a failure of representation or bad writing, but I think it is deeper than that.

 

images-2TL: Preach. I too believe that the unspeakable resonates in profoundly moving ways. That’s also why I find it interesting (for lack of a better word) that folks say this show doesn’t deal with race. I see it all over this show, but it’s in the depiction of or perceived “invisibility” of the interior lives of the show’s characters where I see race, gender, class, and sexuality being negotiated. The conflation of interiority and flatness is dangerously uncritical. You miss hearing the lower frequencies of black women’s experiences when you encase them in historical tropes without exploring the specific contours of the world they inhabit. If these characters were flat, why would we passionately demand wanting to know more about them? We have insight and want to delve further because they intrigued, frustrated, disappointed, and attracted us. These responses do not derive from flat characters.

 

BC: Right! I love that…the lower frequencies. Sounds kinda Ellisonian. And frankly, when Liv voiced her feelings about love on this last episode, I was disturbed! She wants pain and confusion.  When Black women do voice their feelings, they don’t necessarily conform to the things we think either. Her desires, both voiced and intimated, all totally and continually defy respectability politics. The respectable thing would have been to let Edison wife her and give her babies. She declined that respectability narrative, and I think that also makes folks really uncomfortable. Because I mean do we know how to deal with a Black woman who knows what she wants even when what she wants is and sounds painful?

 

images-3TL: I felt that too. Not that I wanted her to want Edison and what the “respectable” life offered, but I had to pause when she offered her definition of love. And while I still find her understanding of love quite disturbing, I delighted in her choosing (dis)respectability. That scene made it abundantly clear that respectability would not save her from heartache. Edison offered respectability but not happiness, and that certainly makes a lot of folks uncomfortable.

 

BC: Respectability but not happiness! Yes! Preach!

images-6The other thing is: Is Harrison really flat? You said some intriguing things about what moves you about him on FB. He certainly moves me :).   I think some brothers are really uncomfortable with Harrison, not because he’s underdeveloped as Maxwell claims but rather because, in playing the devoted teammate and the person who keeps everyone at the office together, Harrison plays a role that is usually reserved for Black women. I guarantee that if this had been the narrative of Black female secretary, brothers would not be decrying the underdevelopment of the character.

So this failure to recognize his intelligence, devotion, and team player ethic as positive has me looking askance at brothers who should be desiring a different kind of Black masculinity with their feminism.

 

images-5TL: All of this! Harrison is quite compelling for me (for many reasons, one of which involves my unabashed pleasure in seeing him), as his relationship with Olivia and his relationship with Huck produce some of the richest moments on Scandal so far. We actually develop questions about Harrison, his humanity, his moral compass—but are provided with very few details about how his interiority shapes his decisions and the relationships we see him in thus far. He’s one to watch, as his gradual unveiling should prove to be one of the better story arcs Scandal has yet to unleash.

Now, if being unwaveringly devoted, intensely intelligent, and loving (in ways that we don’t know fully understand yet) renders him one-dimensional, I become confused about what we mean when we identify a character as one dimensional or flat. Harrison could in fact be a particular “feminist vision of masculinity” and I believe the actualization of that vision got some of these folks in their feelings. Harrison definitely got me feeling some type of way too… but that has more to do with my black feminist erotic map.

 

BC: Yep. Scandal got black dudes feeling all their feelings. As you point out, Harrison is smart, loving, and devoted and frankly unintimidated by a powerful Black woman, and many brothers seem to have a real problem identifying with him, which makes me think they have a real problem identifying with him as a possible feminist vision of Black masculinity.

Esther Armah always reminds me though that just because folks are feminist in their politics doesn’t mean they are feminist in their emotions or relationships for that matter. And so I think that a lot of self-declared Black male feminists get the politics, but haven’t done the emotional work of deconstructing patriarchy at the level of emotional need and desire, which means their rhetoric will be awesome and their relationships with women will look janky as hell. As will their cultural criticism.

 

images-1TL: Say it! This brand of cultural criticism often re-empowers heteropatriarchy and politics of respectability and that works to de-center black women and the bodies of knowledge and criticism black women founded and live in on a daily basis.

This conversation has been so helpful in processing my initial reaction to this article and the conversations I’ve had over the past 24 hours. I cannot not overstate the importance of materializing a commitment to the black feminist practice of collaborative and dialogic inquiry.

 

BC: Yes, I think that we have meaningfully modeled what Jacqueline Bobo calls “Black women’s interpretive community,” and I’m glad we could convene this space and try to make some meaning out of all this together.

 

TL: See you Thursday 10/9c. Now let me put my elbow length white gloves back on and let the rest of the Gladiators know, #itshandled.

_____________________________________________

brittney-cooperBrittney Cooper, Ph.D. is assistant prof of Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers. She’s also co-founder of the Crunk Feminist Collective and blogs there as Crunktastic.

IMG_0459-1Treva B. Lindsey is an Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her research and teaching interests include: black feminist thought, African America popular culture, critical race and gender theory, and U.S. history.

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92 Responses to Love In a Time of Scandal

  1. David on February 11, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Interesting response.

  2. David on February 11, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Interesting response.

  3. David on February 11, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Interesting response.

  4. David on February 11, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Interesting response.

  5. B on February 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    This definitely covers more of the things I like about the show, and I really appreciate all the points about black women’s interiority. What I loved about the breakup with Edison is that I watched them assert different philosophies about love and show the audience that their wants/needs don’t match. I get what Olivia was saying but I was applauding when Edison said that love wasn’t supposed to be painful. People break up when they want different things!

  6. B on February 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    This definitely covers more of the things I like about the show, and I really appreciate all the points about black women’s interiority. What I loved about the breakup with Edison is that I watched them assert different philosophies about love and show the audience that their wants/needs don’t match. I get what Olivia was saying but I was applauding when Edison said that love wasn’t supposed to be painful. People break up when they want different things!

  7. B on February 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    This definitely covers more of the things I like about the show, and I really appreciate all the points about black women’s interiority. What I loved about the breakup with Edison is that I watched them assert different philosophies about love and show the audience that their wants/needs don’t match. I get what Olivia was saying but I was applauding when Edison said that love wasn’t supposed to be painful. People break up when they want different things!

  8. B on February 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    This definitely covers more of the things I like about the show, and I really appreciate all the points about black women’s interiority. What I loved about the breakup with Edison is that I watched them assert different philosophies about love and show the audience that their wants/needs don’t match. I get what Olivia was saying but I was applauding when Edison said that love wasn’t supposed to be painful. People break up when they want different things!

  9. Aishah Shahidah SImmons on February 11, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Foremost Brittney and Treva, this is an excellent and important e-conversation. Thank you for your Black feminist critical engagement.

    I’m struggling, however, with a lack of engagement about all of the political ramifications of this show. I have not missed one episode since its first airing. I watch it religiously (multiple times for different perspectives, thanks to my DVR). In my mind’s eye, this is more than Black women’s representation… Judy Smith is a *very* problematic (for my politics) person… Bush I, Clarence Thomas, Contras, BP Oil Spill, on and on and on. She was/is not on the (radical) Left side of justice but the (rabid, my words) Right (wing) side of (IN)justice. She nor Olivia Pope represent the progress that I believe so many people literally fought and died for… I’m also aware that they don’t have to represent it either.

    As Michael Simmons always says “Equality is the right to be mediocre… Equality is the right to be a right wing conservative…” They don’t have to be radical lefties and perhaps that is progress.

    I completely agree that this is much more complex than jezebel and mammy…

    I also want to be aware of and critically engage the overt and covert political messages that are passed off as entertainment… I struggle with being so caught up with characters whose politics do not resonate with mine. I’m talking way beyond Democrat vs. Republican.

    This, for me, is about conservative politics being passed off as liberal politics in Black woman’s face/body. In my mind’s eye, it’s *very* dangerous (entertaining) territory. I’m aware that I’m an active participant. I affirm that I’m very conscious during my engagement. At the very least, I sincerely hope that I’m constantly interrogating the messaging as opposed to absorbing it in the absence of critique.

    Again, thank you for this e-dialogue.

    In Black Feminist Sisterhood!

    • Aishah Shahidah Simmons on February 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      The Scandal Behind Scandal, which was written by SpriritHouse and Jonathan Daniels and Samuel Younge Fellow Dean Steed touches upon many of the issues that I grapple with every single week that I tune in (and record) Scandal. It is also an insightful read.

      http://www.facebook.com/notes/ruby-sales/the-scandal-behind-scandal/10152410095185389

    • Claire Oberon Garcia on February 12, 2013 at 10:56 am

      Thank you for your very insightful response to the conversation~ very affirmative of the authors’ perspective but holding us all accountable~

  10. Aishah Shahidah SImmons on February 11, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Foremost Brittney and Treva, this is an excellent and important e-conversation. Thank you for your Black feminist critical engagement.

    I’m struggling, however, with a lack of engagement about all of the political ramifications of this show. I have not missed one episode since its first airing. I watch it religiously (multiple times for different perspectives, thanks to my DVR). In my mind’s eye, this is more than Black women’s representation… Judy Smith is a *very* problematic (for my politics) person… Bush I, Clarence Thomas, Contras, BP Oil Spill, on and on and on. She was/is not on the (radical) Left side of justice but the (rabid, my words) Right (wing) side of (IN)justice. She nor Olivia Pope represent the progress that I believe so many people literally fought and died for… I’m also aware that they don’t have to represent it either.

    As Michael Simmons always says “Equality is the right to be mediocre… Equality is the right to be a right wing conservative…” They don’t have to be radical lefties and perhaps that is progress.

    I completely agree that this is much more complex than jezebel and mammy…

    I also want to be aware of and critically engage the overt and covert political messages that are passed off as entertainment… I struggle with being so caught up with characters whose politics do not resonate with mine. I’m talking way beyond Democrat vs. Republican.

    This, for me, is about conservative politics being passed off as liberal politics in Black woman’s face/body. In my mind’s eye, it’s *very* dangerous (entertaining) territory. I’m aware that I’m an active participant. I affirm that I’m very conscious during my engagement. At the very least, I sincerely hope that I’m constantly interrogating the messaging as opposed to absorbing it in the absence of critique.

    Again, thank you for this e-dialogue.

    In Black Feminist Sisterhood!

    • Aishah Shahidah Simmons on February 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      The Scandal Behind Scandal, which was written by SpriritHouse and Jonathan Daniels and Samuel Younge Fellow Dean Steed touches upon many of the issues that I grapple with every single week that I tune in (and record) Scandal. It is also an insightful read.

      http://www.facebook.com/notes/ruby-sales/the-scandal-behind-scandal/10152410095185389

    • Claire Oberon Garcia on February 12, 2013 at 10:56 am

      Thank you for your very insightful response to the conversation~ very affirmative of the authors’ perspective but holding us all accountable~

  11. Aishah Shahidah SImmons on February 11, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Foremost Brittney and Treva, this is an excellent and important e-conversation. Thank you for your Black feminist critical engagement.

    I’m struggling, however, with a lack of engagement about all of the political ramifications of this show. I have not missed one episode since its first airing. I watch it religiously (multiple times for different perspectives, thanks to my DVR). In my mind’s eye, this is more than Black women’s representation… Judy Smith is a *very* problematic (for my politics) person… Bush I, Clarence Thomas, Contras, BP Oil Spill, on and on and on. She was/is not on the (radical) Left side of justice but the (rabid, my words) Right (wing) side of (IN)justice. She nor Olivia Pope represent the progress that I believe so many people literally fought and died for… I’m also aware that they don’t have to represent it either.

    As Michael Simmons always says “Equality is the right to be mediocre… Equality is the right to be a right wing conservative…” They don’t have to be radical lefties and perhaps that is progress.

    I completely agree that this is much more complex than jezebel and mammy…

    I also want to be aware of and critically engage the overt and covert political messages that are passed off as entertainment… I struggle with being so caught up with characters whose politics do not resonate with mine. I’m talking way beyond Democrat vs. Republican.

    This, for me, is about conservative politics being passed off as liberal politics in Black woman’s face/body. In my mind’s eye, it’s *very* dangerous (entertaining) territory. I’m aware that I’m an active participant. I affirm that I’m very conscious during my engagement. At the very least, I sincerely hope that I’m constantly interrogating the messaging as opposed to absorbing it in the absence of critique.

    Again, thank you for this e-dialogue.

    In Black Feminist Sisterhood!

    • Aishah Shahidah Simmons on February 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      The Scandal Behind Scandal, which was written by SpriritHouse and Jonathan Daniels and Samuel Younge Fellow Dean Steed touches upon many of the issues that I grapple with every single week that I tune in (and record) Scandal. It is also an insightful read.

      http://www.facebook.com/notes/ruby-sales/the-scandal-behind-scandal/10152410095185389

    • Claire Oberon Garcia on February 12, 2013 at 10:56 am

      Thank you for your very insightful response to the conversation~ very affirmative of the authors’ perspective but holding us all accountable~

  12. Aishah Shahidah SImmons on February 11, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Foremost Brittney and Treva, this is an excellent and important e-conversation. Thank you for your Black feminist critical engagement.

    I’m struggling, however, with a lack of engagement about all of the political ramifications of this show. I have not missed one episode since its first airing. I watch it religiously (multiple times for different perspectives, thanks to my DVR). In my mind’s eye, this is more than Black women’s representation… Judy Smith is a *very* problematic (for my politics) person… Bush I, Clarence Thomas, Contras, BP Oil Spill, on and on and on. She was/is not on the (radical) Left side of justice but the (rabid, my words) Right (wing) side of (IN)justice. She nor Olivia Pope represent the progress that I believe so many people literally fought and died for… I’m also aware that they don’t have to represent it either.

    As Michael Simmons always says “Equality is the right to be mediocre… Equality is the right to be a right wing conservative…” They don’t have to be radical lefties and perhaps that is progress.

    I completely agree that this is much more complex than jezebel and mammy…

    I also want to be aware of and critically engage the overt and covert political messages that are passed off as entertainment… I struggle with being so caught up with characters whose politics do not resonate with mine. I’m talking way beyond Democrat vs. Republican.

    This, for me, is about conservative politics being passed off as liberal politics in Black woman’s face/body. In my mind’s eye, it’s *very* dangerous (entertaining) territory. I’m aware that I’m an active participant. I affirm that I’m very conscious during my engagement. At the very least, I sincerely hope that I’m constantly interrogating the messaging as opposed to absorbing it in the absence of critique.

    Again, thank you for this e-dialogue.

    In Black Feminist Sisterhood!

    • Aishah Shahidah Simmons on February 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      The Scandal Behind Scandal, which was written by SpriritHouse and Jonathan Daniels and Samuel Younge Fellow Dean Steed touches upon many of the issues that I grapple with every single week that I tune in (and record) Scandal. It is also an insightful read.

      http://www.facebook.com/notes/ruby-sales/the-scandal-behind-scandal/10152410095185389

    • Claire Oberon Garcia on February 12, 2013 at 10:56 am

      Thank you for your very insightful response to the conversation~ very affirmative of the authors’ perspective but holding us all accountable~

  13. Nicole on February 11, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Great read — actually I’m still reading and processing — but one thing I wanted to comment on was the comment about the lack of girlfriends/outside friends in Olivia’s life. One, none of the characters seem to have friendships beyond the characters in the show. So she’s not unusual in that respect. But two, as someone who once worked in the field of politics, it isn’t that foreign to find someone at high levels who doesn’t have a lot (or any) friends who are not in the same field or who work closely with them. Your work and personal life are blurred and combined in politics. At least that was my experience.

    • Zenzele on February 13, 2013 at 7:37 pm

      I agree with you, Nicole. I worked in a legislative office, and the same thing happened – the job, especially during the legislative session, could be all-consuming, which rarely left time for a life outside that circle.

  14. Nicole on February 11, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Great read — actually I’m still reading and processing — but one thing I wanted to comment on was the comment about the lack of girlfriends/outside friends in Olivia’s life. One, none of the characters seem to have friendships beyond the characters in the show. So she’s not unusual in that respect. But two, as someone who once worked in the field of politics, it isn’t that foreign to find someone at high levels who doesn’t have a lot (or any) friends who are not in the same field or who work closely with them. Your work and personal life are blurred and combined in politics. At least that was my experience.

    • Zenzele on February 13, 2013 at 7:37 pm

      I agree with you, Nicole. I worked in a legislative office, and the same thing happened – the job, especially during the legislative session, could be all-consuming, which rarely left time for a life outside that circle.

  15. Nicole on February 11, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Great read — actually I’m still reading and processing — but one thing I wanted to comment on was the comment about the lack of girlfriends/outside friends in Olivia’s life. One, none of the characters seem to have friendships beyond the characters in the show. So she’s not unusual in that respect. But two, as someone who once worked in the field of politics, it isn’t that foreign to find someone at high levels who doesn’t have a lot (or any) friends who are not in the same field or who work closely with them. Your work and personal life are blurred and combined in politics. At least that was my experience.

    • Zenzele on February 13, 2013 at 7:37 pm

      I agree with you, Nicole. I worked in a legislative office, and the same thing happened – the job, especially during the legislative session, could be all-consuming, which rarely left time for a life outside that circle.

  16. Nicole on February 11, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Great read — actually I’m still reading and processing — but one thing I wanted to comment on was the comment about the lack of girlfriends/outside friends in Olivia’s life. One, none of the characters seem to have friendships beyond the characters in the show. So she’s not unusual in that respect. But two, as someone who once worked in the field of politics, it isn’t that foreign to find someone at high levels who doesn’t have a lot (or any) friends who are not in the same field or who work closely with them. Your work and personal life are blurred and combined in politics. At least that was my experience.

    • Zenzele on February 13, 2013 at 7:37 pm

      I agree with you, Nicole. I worked in a legislative office, and the same thing happened – the job, especially during the legislative session, could be all-consuming, which rarely left time for a life outside that circle.

  17. gryph on February 11, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    the hypocrisy is delicious. i mean, where are all the black feminist critiques of pope as the ‘black super woman’? or the way that whiteness is celebrated in the show the way other ethnicities are not? or how the story written to have viewers come to the conclusion that pope belongs with fitz and not his white wife.

    if fitz was black, black women’d not be as interested in the show. ‘black feminists’ would talk about how it is offensive to black women because olivia’s being
    used ‘as his mule’ or ‘jump-off’.

    but. despite hooks going on and on about white capitalist patriarchy, make fits a white man and this revamped ‘super woman’ is suddenly a ‘complex character’. it is just that black women perform one of their historical roles, as suggested in django unchained: actively protecting whiteness and organizing so that their interests ‘naturally’ ally with white power. and then, of course covering that little ‘scandal’ up.

    beyond all the little cutesy academic tern brought up, the show’s success among black women speaks to the anxieties that some black
    women feel about having to find – or make – their own ‘obama’ like michelle did (some figure the best way to do this was swirl and make a bi-racial baby) rather than compete with michelle, or obama’s white single mother. and faced with this, it is easier and more profitable – and more destructive – to fantasize en masse about the white man they wish they had. rimes – as a tv writer -knows her audiences psyche and presents their secret longings to them in a way that can ‘guiltlessly’ enjoy. that’s what popular writers do. gender theorist like lindsey and cooper purport to be, are to do better. latino woman had their white man fantasy with ugly betty, and the sista’ll be damned if they miss out.

    given the black feminism of the past and its critiques of white capitalist patriarchy, scandal’s – and awkward black girl’s – post-racial black woman-midwifed white supremacy should rather offensive. but, the fact that so many black women are willing to shut down, ‘superficialize’ and divert so as to not engage that, reality really makes quite the statement about ‘black women’s racialized sexual politics’ and what ‘black feminism’ is really about. it also offers some useful insight into why black-black relationships are often so unnecessarily fraught.

    and it’s not just a gender things. we’ve seen it in black men. black men do all sort of mental and ideological gymnastics to preserve their access or right to white women. and now, we are seeing white-loving black women come out the ‘race- pride’ closet.

    with all the talk about black marriage and relationships, the simple what doesn’t make it into the convo is that many black people would really rather be with white people and so mistreat, degrade or disappear other black people to do so; or so as to not have a reality compete with that white fantasy. and, now – like white folks do – fall back on a meritocratic, colour blindness to explain away behaviour that is indisputably white supremacist.

    it goes beyond relationships. those attitudes undermine black anti-racism in that they
    show that blacks believe white supremacy to be fine once it benefits them – or people that they identify with. this double underlines the fact that black people are ‘oppressed’ not by racism so much but by black’s worship of whiteness. they sabotage themselves to pay tribute
    it, for it alone can takes them where they want to go.

    the ways that otherwise intelligent black women so jealously guard ‘scandal’ and ignore its ‘complex’ white supremacy, like the chatter and shameless backslapping that was cooper’s and lindsey’s ‘discussion’ is another example of that. entertaining though.

  18. gryph on February 11, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    the hypocrisy is delicious. i mean, where are all the black feminist critiques of pope as the ‘black super woman’? or the way that whiteness is celebrated in the show the way other ethnicities are not? or how the story written to have viewers come to the conclusion that pope belongs with fitz and not his white wife.

    if fitz was black, black women’d not be as interested in the show. ‘black feminists’ would talk about how it is offensive to black women because olivia’s being
    used ‘as his mule’ or ‘jump-off’.

    but. despite hooks going on and on about white capitalist patriarchy, make fits a white man and this revamped ‘super woman’ is suddenly a ‘complex character’. it is just that black women perform one of their historical roles, as suggested in django unchained: actively protecting whiteness and organizing so that their interests ‘naturally’ ally with white power. and then, of course covering that little ‘scandal’ up.

    beyond all the little cutesy academic tern brought up, the show’s success among black women speaks to the anxieties that some black
    women feel about having to find – or make – their own ‘obama’ like michelle did (some figure the best way to do this was swirl and make a bi-racial baby) rather than compete with michelle, or obama’s white single mother. and faced with this, it is easier and more profitable – and more destructive – to fantasize en masse about the white man they wish they had. rimes – as a tv writer -knows her audiences psyche and presents their secret longings to them in a way that can ‘guiltlessly’ enjoy. that’s what popular writers do. gender theorist like lindsey and cooper purport to be, are to do better. latino woman had their white man fantasy with ugly betty, and the sista’ll be damned if they miss out.

    given the black feminism of the past and its critiques of white capitalist patriarchy, scandal’s – and awkward black girl’s – post-racial black woman-midwifed white supremacy should rather offensive. but, the fact that so many black women are willing to shut down, ‘superficialize’ and divert so as to not engage that, reality really makes quite the statement about ‘black women’s racialized sexual politics’ and what ‘black feminism’ is really about. it also offers some useful insight into why black-black relationships are often so unnecessarily fraught.

    and it’s not just a gender things. we’ve seen it in black men. black men do all sort of mental and ideological gymnastics to preserve their access or right to white women. and now, we are seeing white-loving black women come out the ‘race- pride’ closet.

    with all the talk about black marriage and relationships, the simple what doesn’t make it into the convo is that many black people would really rather be with white people and so mistreat, degrade or disappear other black people to do so; or so as to not have a reality compete with that white fantasy. and, now – like white folks do – fall back on a meritocratic, colour blindness to explain away behaviour that is indisputably white supremacist.

    it goes beyond relationships. those attitudes undermine black anti-racism in that they
    show that blacks believe white supremacy to be fine once it benefits them – or people that they identify with. this double underlines the fact that black people are ‘oppressed’ not by racism so much but by black’s worship of whiteness. they sabotage themselves to pay tribute
    it, for it alone can takes them where they want to go.

    the ways that otherwise intelligent black women so jealously guard ‘scandal’ and ignore its ‘complex’ white supremacy, like the chatter and shameless backslapping that was cooper’s and lindsey’s ‘discussion’ is another example of that. entertaining though.

  19. gryph on February 11, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    the hypocrisy is delicious. i mean, where are all the black feminist critiques of pope as the ‘black super woman’? or the way that whiteness is celebrated in the show the way other ethnicities are not? or how the story written to have viewers come to the conclusion that pope belongs with fitz and not his white wife.

    if fitz was black, black women’d not be as interested in the show. ‘black feminists’ would talk about how it is offensive to black women because olivia’s being
    used ‘as his mule’ or ‘jump-off’.

    but. despite hooks going on and on about white capitalist patriarchy, make fits a white man and this revamped ‘super woman’ is suddenly a ‘complex character’. it is just that black women perform one of their historical roles, as suggested in django unchained: actively protecting whiteness and organizing so that their interests ‘naturally’ ally with white power. and then, of course covering that little ‘scandal’ up.

    beyond all the little cutesy academic tern brought up, the show’s success among black women speaks to the anxieties that some black
    women feel about having to find – or make – their own ‘obama’ like michelle did (some figure the best way to do this was swirl and make a bi-racial baby) rather than compete with michelle, or obama’s white single mother. and faced with this, it is easier and more profitable – and more destructive – to fantasize en masse about the white man they wish they had. rimes – as a tv writer -knows her audiences psyche and presents their secret longings to them in a way that can ‘guiltlessly’ enjoy. that’s what popular writers do. gender theorist like lindsey and cooper purport to be, are to do better. latino woman had their white man fantasy with ugly betty, and the sista’ll be damned if they miss out.

    given the black feminism of the past and its critiques of white capitalist patriarchy, scandal’s – and awkward black girl’s – post-racial black woman-midwifed white supremacy should rather offensive. but, the fact that so many black women are willing to shut down, ‘superficialize’ and divert so as to not engage that, reality really makes quite the statement about ‘black women’s racialized sexual politics’ and what ‘black feminism’ is really about. it also offers some useful insight into why black-black relationships are often so unnecessarily fraught.

    and it’s not just a gender things. we’ve seen it in black men. black men do all sort of mental and ideological gymnastics to preserve their access or right to white women. and now, we are seeing white-loving black women come out the ‘race- pride’ closet.

    with all the talk about black marriage and relationships, the simple what doesn’t make it into the convo is that many black people would really rather be with white people and so mistreat, degrade or disappear other black people to do so; or so as to not have a reality compete with that white fantasy. and, now – like white folks do – fall back on a meritocratic, colour blindness to explain away behaviour that is indisputably white supremacist.

    it goes beyond relationships. those attitudes undermine black anti-racism in that they
    show that blacks believe white supremacy to be fine once it benefits them – or people that they identify with. this double underlines the fact that black people are ‘oppressed’ not by racism so much but by black’s worship of whiteness. they sabotage themselves to pay tribute
    it, for it alone can takes them where they want to go.

    the ways that otherwise intelligent black women so jealously guard ‘scandal’ and ignore its ‘complex’ white supremacy, like the chatter and shameless backslapping that was cooper’s and lindsey’s ‘discussion’ is another example of that. entertaining though.

  20. gryph on February 11, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    the hypocrisy is delicious. i mean, where are all the black feminist critiques of pope as the ‘black super woman’? or the way that whiteness is celebrated in the show the way other ethnicities are not? or how the story written to have viewers come to the conclusion that pope belongs with fitz and not his white wife.

    if fitz was black, black women’d not be as interested in the show. ‘black feminists’ would talk about how it is offensive to black women because olivia’s being
    used ‘as his mule’ or ‘jump-off’.

    but. despite hooks going on and on about white capitalist patriarchy, make fits a white man and this revamped ‘super woman’ is suddenly a ‘complex character’. it is just that black women perform one of their historical roles, as suggested in django unchained: actively protecting whiteness and organizing so that their interests ‘naturally’ ally with white power. and then, of course covering that little ‘scandal’ up.

    beyond all the little cutesy academic tern brought up, the show’s success among black women speaks to the anxieties that some black
    women feel about having to find – or make – their own ‘obama’ like michelle did (some figure the best way to do this was swirl and make a bi-racial baby) rather than compete with michelle, or obama’s white single mother. and faced with this, it is easier and more profitable – and more destructive – to fantasize en masse about the white man they wish they had. rimes – as a tv writer -knows her audiences psyche and presents their secret longings to them in a way that can ‘guiltlessly’ enjoy. that’s what popular writers do. gender theorist like lindsey and cooper purport to be, are to do better. latino woman had their white man fantasy with ugly betty, and the sista’ll be damned if they miss out.

    given the black feminism of the past and its critiques of white capitalist patriarchy, scandal’s – and awkward black girl’s – post-racial black woman-midwifed white supremacy should rather offensive. but, the fact that so many black women are willing to shut down, ‘superficialize’ and divert so as to not engage that, reality really makes quite the statement about ‘black women’s racialized sexual politics’ and what ‘black feminism’ is really about. it also offers some useful insight into why black-black relationships are often so unnecessarily fraught.

    and it’s not just a gender things. we’ve seen it in black men. black men do all sort of mental and ideological gymnastics to preserve their access or right to white women. and now, we are seeing white-loving black women come out the ‘race- pride’ closet.

    with all the talk about black marriage and relationships, the simple what doesn’t make it into the convo is that many black people would really rather be with white people and so mistreat, degrade or disappear other black people to do so; or so as to not have a reality compete with that white fantasy. and, now – like white folks do – fall back on a meritocratic, colour blindness to explain away behaviour that is indisputably white supremacist.

    it goes beyond relationships. those attitudes undermine black anti-racism in that they
    show that blacks believe white supremacy to be fine once it benefits them – or people that they identify with. this double underlines the fact that black people are ‘oppressed’ not by racism so much but by black’s worship of whiteness. they sabotage themselves to pay tribute
    it, for it alone can takes them where they want to go.

    the ways that otherwise intelligent black women so jealously guard ‘scandal’ and ignore its ‘complex’ white supremacy, like the chatter and shameless backslapping that was cooper’s and lindsey’s ‘discussion’ is another example of that. entertaining though.

  21. Lysistrata on February 11, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Dear Aishah Shahidah Simmons,

    Here are some questions to consider:
    In the realm of politics, what’s love got to do with it?
    In the realm of love, what’s politics got to do with it?
    “Could politics ever be an expression of love?” — Ellison’s invisible man

    Dear article authors,

    Thank you for such a great article!

    One minor point:
    Although OP articulates a definition of love, that doesn’t necessarily mean that she also stands firmly by it. The definition is spoken as an immediate retort to Edison’s prompting, so I choose to read it as a pretty unreliable utterance. That is to say, I don’t hear it so much as something she actually believes, but more as something she knows or assumes will nettle Edison in that particularly heated moment of verbal exchange. I honestly think that she’s still trying to work out HER definition of love. OP is good at making political decisions; she’s not so skilled at making personal (love) decisions, so if viewers are uncomfortable with the definition she proffered, they should be comfortable with the possibility that she can’t be “on point” about all of the things all of the time! She doesn’t always have all of the (“right”) answers, especially when it comes to heart matters.

    Thanks again!!
    Lysistrata

    • Joy D'Angelo on February 16, 2013 at 9:15 pm

      I disagree with your assessment of Olivia’s answer, as I didn’t feel she was trying to provoke Edison at that point. One, because her response was immediate, and two, it accurately reflected the relationship she has with Fitz. She was cataloging the points of that relationship, and was passionate about those points. She also was saying that she and Edison did not have those components in their relationship. That’s why she says, “don’t you want those things too.” I felt she was trying to explain to Edison why they didn’t work and get him to see what was missing between them.

      However, I do agree with you that her answer wasn’t about her having the “right” answer. It’s simply about where she is at currently. Olivia and Fitz’s relationship is not what most would call “functional.” While Olivia and Fitz have called it love, I would say it’s passion. They meet and have instant, intense chemistry. Fitz at that point knows little about her. Olivia knew of his political ideals – which she admired and was passionate about. She’s not the first woman to call that passionate response, “love.” Great sex clouds many people’s judgement on that score. Having great sex is a wonderful thing, but the murky realm the experience of physical pleasure mean that therefore there is deep emotional connection? This is something that all women struggle with. That is what I enjoy about watching this relationship, and Olivia in particular. She is fully committed to the experience and figuring out what the heck is going on. Olivia and Fitz keep calling their experience love, but in the recent,”Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot” Fitz made the point that intense sexual desire is not the same as love. Maybe it is love between Fitz and Olivia, but based on the information thus far, I’m not so sure. I am however, thoroughly enjoying Olivia’s journey of finding out what she ultimately feels defines love for her.

      By the way, no, I didn’t thing she should be with Edison. He can’t handle her having more power than him. I’m not advocating that love has to be within the traditional marriage framework. However, nor should it be torturous.

      • Tchalla on March 4, 2013 at 4:57 pm

        How in the world could Olivia be more powerful that Edison the Senate Majority leader of the United States?

        • Tchalla on March 4, 2013 at 5:12 pm

          correction he is President pro tempore of the Senate

        • Joy on March 5, 2013 at 4:51 am

          In the content of the world presented in Scandal she clearly is more powerful. She has more insider information and more ability to effect outcomes than he has. She had the power to keep him from going in to see the President in the hospital, which in and of itself says alot. The comparison that comes to mind is Bush and Cheney – who was really more powerful? Olivia is akin to Cheney. Edison simply isn’t privy to the same inside tracks as Olivia, not just because of Fitz and the campaign, but because of all the different things she has “handled.”

  22. Lysistrata on February 11, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Dear Aishah Shahidah Simmons,

    Here are some questions to consider:
    In the realm of politics, what’s love got to do with it?
    In the realm of love, what’s politics got to do with it?
    “Could politics ever be an expression of love?” — Ellison’s invisible man

    Dear article authors,

    Thank you for such a great article!

    One minor point:
    Although OP articulates a definition of love, that doesn’t necessarily mean that she also stands firmly by it. The definition is spoken as an immediate retort to Edison’s prompting, so I choose to read it as a pretty unreliable utterance. That is to say, I don’t hear it so much as something she actually believes, but more as something she knows or assumes will nettle Edison in that particularly heated moment of verbal exchange. I honestly think that she’s still trying to work out HER definition of love. OP is good at making political decisions; she’s not so skilled at making personal (love) decisions, so if viewers are uncomfortable with the definition she proffered, they should be comfortable with the possibility that she can’t be “on point” about all of the things all of the time! She doesn’t always have all of the (“right”) answers, especially when it comes to heart matters.

    Thanks again!!
    Lysistrata

    • Joy D'Angelo on February 16, 2013 at 9:15 pm

      I disagree with your assessment of Olivia’s answer, as I didn’t feel she was trying to provoke Edison at that point. One, because her response was immediate, and two, it accurately reflected the relationship she has with Fitz. She was cataloging the points of that relationship, and was passionate about those points. She also was saying that she and Edison did not have those components in their relationship. That’s why she says, “don’t you want those things too.” I felt she was trying to explain to Edison why they didn’t work and get him to see what was missing between them.

      However, I do agree with you that her answer wasn’t about her having the “right” answer. It’s simply about where she is at currently. Olivia and Fitz’s relationship is not what most would call “functional.” While Olivia and Fitz have called it love, I would say it’s passion. They meet and have instant, intense chemistry. Fitz at that point knows little about her. Olivia knew of his political ideals – which she admired and was passionate about. She’s not the first woman to call that passionate response, “love.” Great sex clouds many people’s judgement on that score. Having great sex is a wonderful thing, but the murky realm the experience of physical pleasure mean that therefore there is deep emotional connection? This is something that all women struggle with. That is what I enjoy about watching this relationship, and Olivia in particular. She is fully committed to the experience and figuring out what the heck is going on. Olivia and Fitz keep calling their experience love, but in the recent,”Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot” Fitz made the point that intense sexual desire is not the same as love. Maybe it is love between Fitz and Olivia, but based on the information thus far, I’m not so sure. I am however, thoroughly enjoying Olivia’s journey of finding out what she ultimately feels defines love for her.

      By the way, no, I didn’t thing she should be with Edison. He can’t handle her having more power than him. I’m not advocating that love has to be within the traditional marriage framework. However, nor should it be torturous.

      • Tchalla on March 4, 2013 at 4:57 pm

        How in the world could Olivia be more powerful that Edison the Senate Majority leader of the United States?

        • Tchalla on March 4, 2013 at 5:12 pm

          correction he is President pro tempore of the Senate

        • Joy on March 5, 2013 at 4:51 am

          In the content of the world presented in Scandal she clearly is more powerful. She has more insider information and more ability to effect outcomes than he has. She had the power to keep him from going in to see the President in the hospital, which in and of itself says alot. The comparison that comes to mind is Bush and Cheney – who was really more powerful? Olivia is akin to Cheney. Edison simply isn’t privy to the same inside tracks as Olivia, not just because of Fitz and the campaign, but because of all the different things she has “handled.”

  23. Lysistrata on February 11, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Dear Aishah Shahidah Simmons,

    Here are some questions to consider:
    In the realm of politics, what’s love got to do with it?
    In the realm of love, what’s politics got to do with it?
    “Could politics ever be an expression of love?” — Ellison’s invisible man

    Dear article authors,

    Thank you for such a great article!

    One minor point:
    Although OP articulates a definition of love, that doesn’t necessarily mean that she also stands firmly by it. The definition is spoken as an immediate retort to Edison’s prompting, so I choose to read it as a pretty unreliable utterance. That is to say, I don’t hear it so much as something she actually believes, but more as something she knows or assumes will nettle Edison in that particularly heated moment of verbal exchange. I honestly think that she’s still trying to work out HER definition of love. OP is good at making political decisions; she’s not so skilled at making personal (love) decisions, so if viewers are uncomfortable with the definition she proffered, they should be comfortable with the possibility that she can’t be “on point” about all of the things all of the time! She doesn’t always have all of the (“right”) answers, especially when it comes to heart matters.

    Thanks again!!
    Lysistrata

    • Joy D'Angelo on February 16, 2013 at 9:15 pm

      I disagree with your assessment of Olivia’s answer, as I didn’t feel she was trying to provoke Edison at that point. One, because her response was immediate, and two, it accurately reflected the relationship she has with Fitz. She was cataloging the points of that relationship, and was passionate about those points. She also was saying that she and Edison did not have those components in their relationship. That’s why she says, “don’t you want those things too.” I felt she was trying to explain to Edison why they didn’t work and get him to see what was missing between them.

      However, I do agree with you that her answer wasn’t about her having the “right” answer. It’s simply about where she is at currently. Olivia and Fitz’s relationship is not what most would call “functional.” While Olivia and Fitz have called it love, I would say it’s passion. They meet and have instant, intense chemistry. Fitz at that point knows little about her. Olivia knew of his political ideals – which she admired and was passionate about. She’s not the first woman to call that passionate response, “love.” Great sex clouds many people’s judgement on that score. Having great sex is a wonderful thing, but the murky realm the experience of physical pleasure mean that therefore there is deep emotional connection? This is something that all women struggle with. That is what I enjoy about watching this relationship, and Olivia in particular. She is fully committed to the experience and figuring out what the heck is going on. Olivia and Fitz keep calling their experience love, but in the recent,”Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot” Fitz made the point that intense sexual desire is not the same as love. Maybe it is love between Fitz and Olivia, but based on the information thus far, I’m not so sure. I am however, thoroughly enjoying Olivia’s journey of finding out what she ultimately feels defines love for her.

      By the way, no, I didn’t thing she should be with Edison. He can’t handle her having more power than him. I’m not advocating that love has to be within the traditional marriage framework. However, nor should it be torturous.

      • Tchalla on March 4, 2013 at 4:57 pm

        How in the world could Olivia be more powerful that Edison the Senate Majority leader of the United States?

        • Tchalla on March 4, 2013 at 5:12 pm

          correction he is President pro tempore of the Senate

        • Joy on March 5, 2013 at 4:51 am

          In the content of the world presented in Scandal she clearly is more powerful. She has more insider information and more ability to effect outcomes than he has. She had the power to keep him from going in to see the President in the hospital, which in and of itself says alot. The comparison that comes to mind is Bush and Cheney – who was really more powerful? Olivia is akin to Cheney. Edison simply isn’t privy to the same inside tracks as Olivia, not just because of Fitz and the campaign, but because of all the different things she has “handled.”

  24. Lysistrata on February 11, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Dear Aishah Shahidah Simmons,

    Here are some questions to consider:
    In the realm of politics, what’s love got to do with it?
    In the realm of love, what’s politics got to do with it?
    “Could politics ever be an expression of love?” — Ellison’s invisible man

    Dear article authors,

    Thank you for such a great article!

    One minor point:
    Although OP articulates a definition of love, that doesn’t necessarily mean that she also stands firmly by it. The definition is spoken as an immediate retort to Edison’s prompting, so I choose to read it as a pretty unreliable utterance. That is to say, I don’t hear it so much as something she actually believes, but more as something she knows or assumes will nettle Edison in that particularly heated moment of verbal exchange. I honestly think that she’s still trying to work out HER definition of love. OP is good at making political decisions; she’s not so skilled at making personal (love) decisions, so if viewers are uncomfortable with the definition she proffered, they should be comfortable with the possibility that she can’t be “on point” about all of the things all of the time! She doesn’t always have all of the (“right”) answers, especially when it comes to heart matters.

    Thanks again!!
    Lysistrata

    • Joy D'Angelo on February 16, 2013 at 9:15 pm

      I disagree with your assessment of Olivia’s answer, as I didn’t feel she was trying to provoke Edison at that point. One, because her response was immediate, and two, it accurately reflected the relationship she has with Fitz. She was cataloging the points of that relationship, and was passionate about those points. She also was saying that she and Edison did not have those components in their relationship. That’s why she says, “don’t you want those things too.” I felt she was trying to explain to Edison why they didn’t work and get him to see what was missing between them.

      However, I do agree with you that her answer wasn’t about her having the “right” answer. It’s simply about where she is at currently. Olivia and Fitz’s relationship is not what most would call “functional.” While Olivia and Fitz have called it love, I would say it’s passion. They meet and have instant, intense chemistry. Fitz at that point knows little about her. Olivia knew of his political ideals – which she admired and was passionate about. She’s not the first woman to call that passionate response, “love.” Great sex clouds many people’s judgement on that score. Having great sex is a wonderful thing, but the murky realm the experience of physical pleasure mean that therefore there is deep emotional connection? This is something that all women struggle with. That is what I enjoy about watching this relationship, and Olivia in particular. She is fully committed to the experience and figuring out what the heck is going on. Olivia and Fitz keep calling their experience love, but in the recent,”Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot” Fitz made the point that intense sexual desire is not the same as love. Maybe it is love between Fitz and Olivia, but based on the information thus far, I’m not so sure. I am however, thoroughly enjoying Olivia’s journey of finding out what she ultimately feels defines love for her.

      By the way, no, I didn’t thing she should be with Edison. He can’t handle her having more power than him. I’m not advocating that love has to be within the traditional marriage framework. However, nor should it be torturous.

      • Tchalla on March 4, 2013 at 4:57 pm

        How in the world could Olivia be more powerful that Edison the Senate Majority leader of the United States?

        • Tchalla on March 4, 2013 at 5:12 pm

          correction he is President pro tempore of the Senate

        • Joy on March 5, 2013 at 4:51 am

          In the content of the world presented in Scandal she clearly is more powerful. She has more insider information and more ability to effect outcomes than he has. She had the power to keep him from going in to see the President in the hospital, which in and of itself says alot. The comparison that comes to mind is Bush and Cheney – who was really more powerful? Olivia is akin to Cheney. Edison simply isn’t privy to the same inside tracks as Olivia, not just because of Fitz and the campaign, but because of all the different things she has “handled.”

  25. Tasha Rose on February 11, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    This was a refreshing analysis and discussion. I still am trying to wrap my mind around the idea of Olivia Pope as a Mammy in any kind of context. I agree that this show and these flawed characters definitely makes people uncomfortable in a way I haven’t seen in awhile. But overall I think this analysis is the one more closely aligned with my thoughts on the show, for that I thank you.

  26. Tasha Rose on February 11, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    This was a refreshing analysis and discussion. I still am trying to wrap my mind around the idea of Olivia Pope as a Mammy in any kind of context. I agree that this show and these flawed characters definitely makes people uncomfortable in a way I haven’t seen in awhile. But overall I think this analysis is the one more closely aligned with my thoughts on the show, for that I thank you.

  27. Tasha Rose on February 11, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    This was a refreshing analysis and discussion. I still am trying to wrap my mind around the idea of Olivia Pope as a Mammy in any kind of context. I agree that this show and these flawed characters definitely makes people uncomfortable in a way I haven’t seen in awhile. But overall I think this analysis is the one more closely aligned with my thoughts on the show, for that I thank you.

  28. Tasha Rose on February 11, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    This was a refreshing analysis and discussion. I still am trying to wrap my mind around the idea of Olivia Pope as a Mammy in any kind of context. I agree that this show and these flawed characters definitely makes people uncomfortable in a way I haven’t seen in awhile. But overall I think this analysis is the one more closely aligned with my thoughts on the show, for that I thank you.

  29. Tasha Rose on February 12, 2013 at 12:15 am

    Finally an analysis of Scandal that more closely matches mine. The discomfort this show brings out in people, both men and women, never ceases to intrigue me. Reading this felt like a breath of fresh air on comparison to the shaming comments that I see so often on social media about this show. I could go, but just thank you for this.

  30. Tasha Rose on February 12, 2013 at 12:15 am

    Finally an analysis of Scandal that more closely matches mine. The discomfort this show brings out in people, both men and women, never ceases to intrigue me. Reading this felt like a breath of fresh air on comparison to the shaming comments that I see so often on social media about this show. I could go, but just thank you for this.

  31. Tasha Rose on February 12, 2013 at 12:15 am

    Finally an analysis of Scandal that more closely matches mine. The discomfort this show brings out in people, both men and women, never ceases to intrigue me. Reading this felt like a breath of fresh air on comparison to the shaming comments that I see so often on social media about this show. I could go, but just thank you for this.

  32. Tasha Rose on February 12, 2013 at 12:15 am

    Finally an analysis of Scandal that more closely matches mine. The discomfort this show brings out in people, both men and women, never ceases to intrigue me. Reading this felt like a breath of fresh air on comparison to the shaming comments that I see so often on social media about this show. I could go, but just thank you for this.

  33. Claire Oberon Garcia on February 12, 2013 at 12:35 am

    Thank you for this lively conversation, but I share other readers’ concerns that it didn’t engage the politics of the show and complexities of the show’s popularity. While Mr.Maxwell’s analysis was clumsy in places, I think that he did raise very important questions and concerns about the political work that the show is doing, and that these questions are worth engaging seriously rather than simply rejecting. I’m all for pleasure ~ Scandal and Downton Abbey are my current drugs of choice for those evenings when I don’t have the energy to do anything but sit on the couch and get lost in a soap opera, but I , too am deeply disturbed by several aspects of Olivia Pope’s character and what I consider the dangerous political and social narrative that the television show affirms. I think one should investigate seriously the contexts of Rhimes’ other work and the real-life Olivia Pope’s role in the world, rather than simply “celebrating” the fact that this work is done by black women. Yes, it’s wonderful that a good black actress has found steady work, but the popularity of the show is both positive and negative for me. Thanks as always to the Feminist Wire for providing provocative and fresh perspectives on important issues and helping me sort out my very mixed feelings about SCANDAL’s success~ and my own participation in it.

  34. Claire Oberon Garcia on February 12, 2013 at 12:35 am

    Thank you for this lively conversation, but I share other readers’ concerns that it didn’t engage the politics of the show and complexities of the show’s popularity. While Mr.Maxwell’s analysis was clumsy in places, I think that he did raise very important questions and concerns about the political work that the show is doing, and that these questions are worth engaging seriously rather than simply rejecting. I’m all for pleasure ~ Scandal and Downton Abbey are my current drugs of choice for those evenings when I don’t have the energy to do anything but sit on the couch and get lost in a soap opera, but I , too am deeply disturbed by several aspects of Olivia Pope’s character and what I consider the dangerous political and social narrative that the television show affirms. I think one should investigate seriously the contexts of Rhimes’ other work and the real-life Olivia Pope’s role in the world, rather than simply “celebrating” the fact that this work is done by black women. Yes, it’s wonderful that a good black actress has found steady work, but the popularity of the show is both positive and negative for me. Thanks as always to the Feminist Wire for providing provocative and fresh perspectives on important issues and helping me sort out my very mixed feelings about SCANDAL’s success~ and my own participation in it.

  35. Claire Oberon Garcia on February 12, 2013 at 12:35 am

    Thank you for this lively conversation, but I share other readers’ concerns that it didn’t engage the politics of the show and complexities of the show’s popularity. While Mr.Maxwell’s analysis was clumsy in places, I think that he did raise very important questions and concerns about the political work that the show is doing, and that these questions are worth engaging seriously rather than simply rejecting. I’m all for pleasure ~ Scandal and Downton Abbey are my current drugs of choice for those evenings when I don’t have the energy to do anything but sit on the couch and get lost in a soap opera, but I , too am deeply disturbed by several aspects of Olivia Pope’s character and what I consider the dangerous political and social narrative that the television show affirms. I think one should investigate seriously the contexts of Rhimes’ other work and the real-life Olivia Pope’s role in the world, rather than simply “celebrating” the fact that this work is done by black women. Yes, it’s wonderful that a good black actress has found steady work, but the popularity of the show is both positive and negative for me. Thanks as always to the Feminist Wire for providing provocative and fresh perspectives on important issues and helping me sort out my very mixed feelings about SCANDAL’s success~ and my own participation in it.

  36. Claire Oberon Garcia on February 12, 2013 at 12:35 am

    Thank you for this lively conversation, but I share other readers’ concerns that it didn’t engage the politics of the show and complexities of the show’s popularity. While Mr.Maxwell’s analysis was clumsy in places, I think that he did raise very important questions and concerns about the political work that the show is doing, and that these questions are worth engaging seriously rather than simply rejecting. I’m all for pleasure ~ Scandal and Downton Abbey are my current drugs of choice for those evenings when I don’t have the energy to do anything but sit on the couch and get lost in a soap opera, but I , too am deeply disturbed by several aspects of Olivia Pope’s character and what I consider the dangerous political and social narrative that the television show affirms. I think one should investigate seriously the contexts of Rhimes’ other work and the real-life Olivia Pope’s role in the world, rather than simply “celebrating” the fact that this work is done by black women. Yes, it’s wonderful that a good black actress has found steady work, but the popularity of the show is both positive and negative for me. Thanks as always to the Feminist Wire for providing provocative and fresh perspectives on important issues and helping me sort out my very mixed feelings about SCANDAL’s success~ and my own participation in it.

  37. AJ on February 12, 2013 at 11:08 am

    The issue is I wish there were more options on TV in the post-Cosby, post-UPN/WB/CW era. Scandal is very problematic and makes for must see TV so people (Black women and men) can discuss while it’s unveiling and gives viewers a reason to keep watching. Did anyone read that NY Times article about Scandal and how ABC doesn’t want to admit that the vast majority of Scandal’s viewers are Black people? Re: Harrison and his “lack of story” see this article from the Hollywood Reporter in which that is addressed: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/scandal-season-2-spoilers-shonda-rhimes-10-months-later-fitz-419125

  38. AJ on February 12, 2013 at 11:08 am

    The issue is I wish there were more options on TV in the post-Cosby, post-UPN/WB/CW era. Scandal is very problematic and makes for must see TV so people (Black women and men) can discuss while it’s unveiling and gives viewers a reason to keep watching. Did anyone read that NY Times article about Scandal and how ABC doesn’t want to admit that the vast majority of Scandal’s viewers are Black people? Re: Harrison and his “lack of story” see this article from the Hollywood Reporter in which that is addressed: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/scandal-season-2-spoilers-shonda-rhimes-10-months-later-fitz-419125

  39. AJ on February 12, 2013 at 11:08 am

    The issue is I wish there were more options on TV in the post-Cosby, post-UPN/WB/CW era. Scandal is very problematic and makes for must see TV so people (Black women and men) can discuss while it’s unveiling and gives viewers a reason to keep watching. Did anyone read that NY Times article about Scandal and how ABC doesn’t want to admit that the vast majority of Scandal’s viewers are Black people? Re: Harrison and his “lack of story” see this article from the Hollywood Reporter in which that is addressed: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/scandal-season-2-spoilers-shonda-rhimes-10-months-later-fitz-419125

  40. AJ on February 12, 2013 at 11:08 am

    The issue is I wish there were more options on TV in the post-Cosby, post-UPN/WB/CW era. Scandal is very problematic and makes for must see TV so people (Black women and men) can discuss while it’s unveiling and gives viewers a reason to keep watching. Did anyone read that NY Times article about Scandal and how ABC doesn’t want to admit that the vast majority of Scandal’s viewers are Black people? Re: Harrison and his “lack of story” see this article from the Hollywood Reporter in which that is addressed: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/scandal-season-2-spoilers-shonda-rhimes-10-months-later-fitz-419125

  41. meguest on February 12, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Also posted this in comments to Brandon Maxwell…My concern about a male grad student (divinity) critiquing a late 30-something African-American female character working in the context of modern-day 2013 professional and political D.C. remains strong. The lens and insight are inherently absent. I find the piece an extreme stretch in modern-day 2013. His piece also did not credit (I couldn’t find it on the page, it you can find then super) the film expert–Donald Bogel–who pioneered research in film and TV by identifying these stereotypes in 1973. Applying them to a black female character in 2013 is a stretch. My emphasis on 2013 is deliberate. We have to move forward and stop putting women and female characters into boxes that don’t fit. Thanks so much for reading my comment.

  42. meguest on February 12, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Also posted this in comments to Brandon Maxwell…My concern about a male grad student (divinity) critiquing a late 30-something African-American female character working in the context of modern-day 2013 professional and political D.C. remains strong. The lens and insight are inherently absent. I find the piece an extreme stretch in modern-day 2013. His piece also did not credit (I couldn’t find it on the page, it you can find then super) the film expert–Donald Bogel–who pioneered research in film and TV by identifying these stereotypes in 1973. Applying them to a black female character in 2013 is a stretch. My emphasis on 2013 is deliberate. We have to move forward and stop putting women and female characters into boxes that don’t fit. Thanks so much for reading my comment.

  43. meguest on February 12, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Also posted this in comments to Brandon Maxwell…My concern about a male grad student (divinity) critiquing a late 30-something African-American female character working in the context of modern-day 2013 professional and political D.C. remains strong. The lens and insight are inherently absent. I find the piece an extreme stretch in modern-day 2013. His piece also did not credit (I couldn’t find it on the page, it you can find then super) the film expert–Donald Bogel–who pioneered research in film and TV by identifying these stereotypes in 1973. Applying them to a black female character in 2013 is a stretch. My emphasis on 2013 is deliberate. We have to move forward and stop putting women and female characters into boxes that don’t fit. Thanks so much for reading my comment.

  44. meguest on February 12, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Also posted this in comments to Brandon Maxwell…My concern about a male grad student (divinity) critiquing a late 30-something African-American female character working in the context of modern-day 2013 professional and political D.C. remains strong. The lens and insight are inherently absent. I find the piece an extreme stretch in modern-day 2013. His piece also did not credit (I couldn’t find it on the page, it you can find then super) the film expert–Donald Bogel–who pioneered research in film and TV by identifying these stereotypes in 1973. Applying them to a black female character in 2013 is a stretch. My emphasis on 2013 is deliberate. We have to move forward and stop putting women and female characters into boxes that don’t fit. Thanks so much for reading my comment.

  45. Lili on February 12, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Funny. I would never consider Olivia Pope as nurturing, so Maxwell’s view of her as a mammy is very odd. She certainly displays warmth at times, but her direct manipulations in the lives of her co-workers, who respect her because she strategically rescued them, is not nurturing. It’s the opposite in fact. She is calculated…and then guilt-stricken. A political animal with a conscience–at times.

    • Tchalla on March 4, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      Mammies are often calculating but give the apperance of being nurtiring they were often the most powerful of slaves. She services rich white folk mostly covering up dirty secrets Im sure mammies did that on the plantation.

  46. Lili on February 12, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Funny. I would never consider Olivia Pope as nurturing, so Maxwell’s view of her as a mammy is very odd. She certainly displays warmth at times, but her direct manipulations in the lives of her co-workers, who respect her because she strategically rescued them, is not nurturing. It’s the opposite in fact. She is calculated…and then guilt-stricken. A political animal with a conscience–at times.

    • Tchalla on March 4, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      Mammies are often calculating but give the apperance of being nurtiring they were often the most powerful of slaves. She services rich white folk mostly covering up dirty secrets Im sure mammies did that on the plantation.

  47. Lili on February 12, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Funny. I would never consider Olivia Pope as nurturing, so Maxwell’s view of her as a mammy is very odd. She certainly displays warmth at times, but her direct manipulations in the lives of her co-workers, who respect her because she strategically rescued them, is not nurturing. It’s the opposite in fact. She is calculated…and then guilt-stricken. A political animal with a conscience–at times.

    • Tchalla on March 4, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      Mammies are often calculating but give the apperance of being nurtiring they were often the most powerful of slaves. She services rich white folk mostly covering up dirty secrets Im sure mammies did that on the plantation.

  48. Lili on February 12, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Funny. I would never consider Olivia Pope as nurturing, so Maxwell’s view of her as a mammy is very odd. She certainly displays warmth at times, but her direct manipulations in the lives of her co-workers, who respect her because she strategically rescued them, is not nurturing. It’s the opposite in fact. She is calculated…and then guilt-stricken. A political animal with a conscience–at times.

    • Tchalla on March 4, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      Mammies are often calculating but give the apperance of being nurtiring they were often the most powerful of slaves. She services rich white folk mostly covering up dirty secrets Im sure mammies did that on the plantation.

  49. Anti_Intellect (@Anti_Intellect) on February 12, 2013 at 11:30 am

    The same people who REFUSED to see any redemptive narratives in Shawty Lo’s “All My Baby’s Mamas” are now beating their chests hard DEMANDING that we see redemptive narratives in the characterization of Olivia Pope. Intellectual hypocrisy at its finest. Why is fair analysis warranted in one situation, but unwarranted in another? Oh, I get it. This time the show in question is one that YOU personally are invested in, but before it was just that “other show”. One thing I can honestly say about myself is that I approach every instance of criticism with a fair and equitable analysis. My personal interest or disinterest in a show isn’t going to make me biased towards giving it a fair and thoughtful analysis. Like I said, there are problematic and empowering aspects to almost every media representation, but some of you didn’t get the memo.

  50. Anti_Intellect (@Anti_Intellect) on February 12, 2013 at 11:30 am

    The same people who REFUSED to see any redemptive narratives in Shawty Lo’s “All My Baby’s Mamas” are now beating their chests hard DEMANDING that we see redemptive narratives in the characterization of Olivia Pope. Intellectual hypocrisy at its finest. Why is fair analysis warranted in one situation, but unwarranted in another? Oh, I get it. This time the show in question is one that YOU personally are invested in, but before it was just that “other show”. One thing I can honestly say about myself is that I approach every instance of criticism with a fair and equitable analysis. My personal interest or disinterest in a show isn’t going to make me biased towards giving it a fair and thoughtful analysis. Like I said, there are problematic and empowering aspects to almost every media representation, but some of you didn’t get the memo.

  51. Anti_Intellect (@Anti_Intellect) on February 12, 2013 at 11:30 am

    The same people who REFUSED to see any redemptive narratives in Shawty Lo’s “All My Baby’s Mamas” are now beating their chests hard DEMANDING that we see redemptive narratives in the characterization of Olivia Pope. Intellectual hypocrisy at its finest. Why is fair analysis warranted in one situation, but unwarranted in another? Oh, I get it. This time the show in question is one that YOU personally are invested in, but before it was just that “other show”. One thing I can honestly say about myself is that I approach every instance of criticism with a fair and equitable analysis. My personal interest or disinterest in a show isn’t going to make me biased towards giving it a fair and thoughtful analysis. Like I said, there are problematic and empowering aspects to almost every media representation, but some of you didn’t get the memo.

  52. Anti_Intellect (@Anti_Intellect) on February 12, 2013 at 11:30 am

    The same people who REFUSED to see any redemptive narratives in Shawty Lo’s “All My Baby’s Mamas” are now beating their chests hard DEMANDING that we see redemptive narratives in the characterization of Olivia Pope. Intellectual hypocrisy at its finest. Why is fair analysis warranted in one situation, but unwarranted in another? Oh, I get it. This time the show in question is one that YOU personally are invested in, but before it was just that “other show”. One thing I can honestly say about myself is that I approach every instance of criticism with a fair and equitable analysis. My personal interest or disinterest in a show isn’t going to make me biased towards giving it a fair and thoughtful analysis. Like I said, there are problematic and empowering aspects to almost every media representation, but some of you didn’t get the memo.

  53. Terri on February 12, 2013 at 11:38 am

    I really enjoyed this exchange. I happened to be reading Bell Hooks’ essay “Liberation Scenes” and your multi-voices response feels like what she meant when she wrote of her hopes for “intellectual exchange where people hear a diversity of viewpoints [that] enables them to witness first hand solidarity that grows stronger in a context of productive critical exchange and confrontation.” I also like the conversation format because it is flexible and wily just like the show is — because it is contemporary and because it is continuing to unfold before us. We are beginning in the middle. We don’t want to be controlled by the idea of controlling images either. As for what the show affirms … The Greek stories, Shakespeare’s plays, Morrison novels capture flaws and theatrically render … in “crayon enlargements” dark drives for power, to be loved and other deep needs people have but that characters pursue in wild ways that most people do not and probably should not. I wouldn’t look to Morrison’s novels for role models for my life. But her writings add insight to my life — they give me language and images to navigate life. I’m not really worried that Sula or Beloved will represent all black women or lead young women to be awful people. Olivia Pope is a fixer in a fix. I think to appreciate that you’d have to appreciate that literary characters, which usually aren’t on TV anyway so this is a nice moment, are often dark, in the middle of struggles (with themselves, with others, with society) they are often abstractions of particular dimensions of human nature. I’m afraid that the narrative of the world that the show affirms is that it is a cruel, dangerous place and that people are complicated and often unaware of their own flaws — they in fact derive a lot of energy from it! Scandal is a dark vision of American politics in contrast to the more optimistic West Wing, but borrowing some of it’s stylistic points like talking super fast. Boss and House of Cards are pretty dark too. And as Olivia declared her desire for a life-changing, painful, extraordinary love I thought oh dear nononono but that is kind of what literary characters are sometimes — or maybe that’s fine to want love to trouble you and be an adventure and bring you pain. It kind of will anyway I would think. We get caught up in their struggles though and share their vulnerability to things that are “bad.” They almost always a decision that brings on more drama (a word that’s become associated with unwanted expressions of emotion — but that’s what keeps the story going and I appreciate Rhimes’ willingness to go there and keep going beyond what TV characters usually do. And just like their caught by their emotions, we’re caught by their emotions. I’m going to have to take pressure pills to get through the next season. When I’ve studied other big and troubled characters like Pope – your goddesses, your lost girls, your dangerous women and so forth, there was a greater sense of distance and maybe even a feeling of superiority since I had to go into a distant time period or another language or an obscure form like .. haha a poem or a novel or even a painting. But a television serial that unfolds at home creates a more immediate and intimate experience. Olivia is among us and in some ways about us. Shonda Rhimes is a terrific storyteller. Totally mesmerized. Being troubled by Olivia… all of our feelings and critiques are part of this unfolding story. Olivia Pope is indeed a superhero — a fixer in a fix. And she’s isolated herself from everything personal and is in control but not at all in control. That makes her a character. And I’m not worried about the integrity of feminist critique. It’s an unfolding conversation. And I wouldn’t really judge people for anxieties or fantasies they have about how to fit into this society and have what they want. Scandal is a great challenge to what we learned in school. Maybe love is Olivia’s Kryptonite and maybe Scandal is ours. Staying tuned!

  54. Terri on February 12, 2013 at 11:38 am

    I really enjoyed this exchange. I happened to be reading Bell Hooks’ essay “Liberation Scenes” and your multi-voices response feels like what she meant when she wrote of her hopes for “intellectual exchange where people hear a diversity of viewpoints [that] enables them to witness first hand solidarity that grows stronger in a context of productive critical exchange and confrontation.” I also like the conversation format because it is flexible and wily just like the show is — because it is contemporary and because it is continuing to unfold before us. We are beginning in the middle. We don’t want to be controlled by the idea of controlling images either. As for what the show affirms … The Greek stories, Shakespeare’s plays, Morrison novels capture flaws and theatrically render … in “crayon enlargements” dark drives for power, to be loved and other deep needs people have but that characters pursue in wild ways that most people do not and probably should not. I wouldn’t look to Morrison’s novels for role models for my life. But her writings add insight to my life — they give me language and images to navigate life. I’m not really worried that Sula or Beloved will represent all black women or lead young women to be awful people. Olivia Pope is a fixer in a fix. I think to appreciate that you’d have to appreciate that literary characters, which usually aren’t on TV anyway so this is a nice moment, are often dark, in the middle of struggles (with themselves, with others, with society) they are often abstractions of particular dimensions of human nature. I’m afraid that the narrative of the world that the show affirms is that it is a cruel, dangerous place and that people are complicated and often unaware of their own flaws — they in fact derive a lot of energy from it! Scandal is a dark vision of American politics in contrast to the more optimistic West Wing, but borrowing some of it’s stylistic points like talking super fast. Boss and House of Cards are pretty dark too. And as Olivia declared her desire for a life-changing, painful, extraordinary love I thought oh dear nononono but that is kind of what literary characters are sometimes — or maybe that’s fine to want love to trouble you and be an adventure and bring you pain. It kind of will anyway I would think. We get caught up in their struggles though and share their vulnerability to things that are “bad.” They almost always a decision that brings on more drama (a word that’s become associated with unwanted expressions of emotion — but that’s what keeps the story going and I appreciate Rhimes’ willingness to go there and keep going beyond what TV characters usually do. And just like their caught by their emotions, we’re caught by their emotions. I’m going to have to take pressure pills to get through the next season. When I’ve studied other big and troubled characters like Pope – your goddesses, your lost girls, your dangerous women and so forth, there was a greater sense of distance and maybe even a feeling of superiority since I had to go into a distant time period or another language or an obscure form like .. haha a poem or a novel or even a painting. But a television serial that unfolds at home creates a more immediate and intimate experience. Olivia is among us and in some ways about us. Shonda Rhimes is a terrific storyteller. Totally mesmerized. Being troubled by Olivia… all of our feelings and critiques are part of this unfolding story. Olivia Pope is indeed a superhero — a fixer in a fix. And she’s isolated herself from everything personal and is in control but not at all in control. That makes her a character. And I’m not worried about the integrity of feminist critique. It’s an unfolding conversation. And I wouldn’t really judge people for anxieties or fantasies they have about how to fit into this society and have what they want. Scandal is a great challenge to what we learned in school. Maybe love is Olivia’s Kryptonite and maybe Scandal is ours. Staying tuned!

  55. Terri on February 12, 2013 at 11:38 am

    I really enjoyed this exchange. I happened to be reading Bell Hooks’ essay “Liberation Scenes” and your multi-voices response feels like what she meant when she wrote of her hopes for “intellectual exchange where people hear a diversity of viewpoints [that] enables them to witness first hand solidarity that grows stronger in a context of productive critical exchange and confrontation.” I also like the conversation format because it is flexible and wily just like the show is — because it is contemporary and because it is continuing to unfold before us. We are beginning in the middle. We don’t want to be controlled by the idea of controlling images either. As for what the show affirms … The Greek stories, Shakespeare’s plays, Morrison novels capture flaws and theatrically render … in “crayon enlargements” dark drives for power, to be loved and other deep needs people have but that characters pursue in wild ways that most people do not and probably should not. I wouldn’t look to Morrison’s novels for role models for my life. But her writings add insight to my life — they give me language and images to navigate life. I’m not really worried that Sula or Beloved will represent all black women or lead young women to be awful people. Olivia Pope is a fixer in a fix. I think to appreciate that you’d have to appreciate that literary characters, which usually aren’t on TV anyway so this is a nice moment, are often dark, in the middle of struggles (with themselves, with others, with society) they are often abstractions of particular dimensions of human nature. I’m afraid that the narrative of the world that the show affirms is that it is a cruel, dangerous place and that people are complicated and often unaware of their own flaws — they in fact derive a lot of energy from it! Scandal is a dark vision of American politics in contrast to the more optimistic West Wing, but borrowing some of it’s stylistic points like talking super fast. Boss and House of Cards are pretty dark too. And as Olivia declared her desire for a life-changing, painful, extraordinary love I thought oh dear nononono but that is kind of what literary characters are sometimes — or maybe that’s fine to want love to trouble you and be an adventure and bring you pain. It kind of will anyway I would think. We get caught up in their struggles though and share their vulnerability to things that are “bad.” They almost always a decision that brings on more drama (a word that’s become associated with unwanted expressions of emotion — but that’s what keeps the story going and I appreciate Rhimes’ willingness to go there and keep going beyond what TV characters usually do. And just like their caught by their emotions, we’re caught by their emotions. I’m going to have to take pressure pills to get through the next season. When I’ve studied other big and troubled characters like Pope – your goddesses, your lost girls, your dangerous women and so forth, there was a greater sense of distance and maybe even a feeling of superiority since I had to go into a distant time period or another language or an obscure form like .. haha a poem or a novel or even a painting. But a television serial that unfolds at home creates a more immediate and intimate experience. Olivia is among us and in some ways about us. Shonda Rhimes is a terrific storyteller. Totally mesmerized. Being troubled by Olivia… all of our feelings and critiques are part of this unfolding story. Olivia Pope is indeed a superhero — a fixer in a fix. And she’s isolated herself from everything personal and is in control but not at all in control. That makes her a character. And I’m not worried about the integrity of feminist critique. It’s an unfolding conversation. And I wouldn’t really judge people for anxieties or fantasies they have about how to fit into this society and have what they want. Scandal is a great challenge to what we learned in school. Maybe love is Olivia’s Kryptonite and maybe Scandal is ours. Staying tuned!

  56. Terri on February 12, 2013 at 11:38 am

    I really enjoyed this exchange. I happened to be reading Bell Hooks’ essay “Liberation Scenes” and your multi-voices response feels like what she meant when she wrote of her hopes for “intellectual exchange where people hear a diversity of viewpoints [that] enables them to witness first hand solidarity that grows stronger in a context of productive critical exchange and confrontation.” I also like the conversation format because it is flexible and wily just like the show is — because it is contemporary and because it is continuing to unfold before us. We are beginning in the middle. We don’t want to be controlled by the idea of controlling images either. As for what the show affirms … The Greek stories, Shakespeare’s plays, Morrison novels capture flaws and theatrically render … in “crayon enlargements” dark drives for power, to be loved and other deep needs people have but that characters pursue in wild ways that most people do not and probably should not. I wouldn’t look to Morrison’s novels for role models for my life. But her writings add insight to my life — they give me language and images to navigate life. I’m not really worried that Sula or Beloved will represent all black women or lead young women to be awful people. Olivia Pope is a fixer in a fix. I think to appreciate that you’d have to appreciate that literary characters, which usually aren’t on TV anyway so this is a nice moment, are often dark, in the middle of struggles (with themselves, with others, with society) they are often abstractions of particular dimensions of human nature. I’m afraid that the narrative of the world that the show affirms is that it is a cruel, dangerous place and that people are complicated and often unaware of their own flaws — they in fact derive a lot of energy from it! Scandal is a dark vision of American politics in contrast to the more optimistic West Wing, but borrowing some of it’s stylistic points like talking super fast. Boss and House of Cards are pretty dark too. And as Olivia declared her desire for a life-changing, painful, extraordinary love I thought oh dear nononono but that is kind of what literary characters are sometimes — or maybe that’s fine to want love to trouble you and be an adventure and bring you pain. It kind of will anyway I would think. We get caught up in their struggles though and share their vulnerability to things that are “bad.” They almost always a decision that brings on more drama (a word that’s become associated with unwanted expressions of emotion — but that’s what keeps the story going and I appreciate Rhimes’ willingness to go there and keep going beyond what TV characters usually do. And just like their caught by their emotions, we’re caught by their emotions. I’m going to have to take pressure pills to get through the next season. When I’ve studied other big and troubled characters like Pope – your goddesses, your lost girls, your dangerous women and so forth, there was a greater sense of distance and maybe even a feeling of superiority since I had to go into a distant time period or another language or an obscure form like .. haha a poem or a novel or even a painting. But a television serial that unfolds at home creates a more immediate and intimate experience. Olivia is among us and in some ways about us. Shonda Rhimes is a terrific storyteller. Totally mesmerized. Being troubled by Olivia… all of our feelings and critiques are part of this unfolding story. Olivia Pope is indeed a superhero — a fixer in a fix. And she’s isolated herself from everything personal and is in control but not at all in control. That makes her a character. And I’m not worried about the integrity of feminist critique. It’s an unfolding conversation. And I wouldn’t really judge people for anxieties or fantasies they have about how to fit into this society and have what they want. Scandal is a great challenge to what we learned in school. Maybe love is Olivia’s Kryptonite and maybe Scandal is ours. Staying tuned!

  57. Amina on February 12, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    And how about all the imperialism..all of this glorification of torture..all the race-blindness..all these brilliant black feminists give us this? F this politics of respectability .. this is an issue of life or death, this is united statian propaganda.

  58. Amina on February 12, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    And how about all the imperialism..all of this glorification of torture..all the race-blindness..all these brilliant black feminists give us this? F this politics of respectability .. this is an issue of life or death, this is united statian propaganda.

  59. Amina on February 12, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    And how about all the imperialism..all of this glorification of torture..all the race-blindness..all these brilliant black feminists give us this? F this politics of respectability .. this is an issue of life or death, this is united statian propaganda.

  60. Amina on February 12, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    And how about all the imperialism..all of this glorification of torture..all the race-blindness..all these brilliant black feminists give us this? F this politics of respectability .. this is an issue of life or death, this is united statian propaganda.

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    In our Poem Suites, we bring together the voices of emerging and established poets exploring a common theme. In today’s Poem Suite, two poets explore fracturing, fragmentation and “shards” from feminist perspectives. . Making Mosaics By Leah Ware Gluing the pieces together, One by one, the mirrors go down Along [...]

  • Poem Suite: Monsters magical-weave-mirror

    In our Poem Suites, we bring together the voices of emerging and established poets exploring a common theme. In today’s Poem Suite, two poets explore images of monsters and monstrosity from feminist perspectives.    Mary Shelley: My Mother’s Monsters By Melissa Knox   By the time I came along she [...]

  • Poem Suite: Becoming DSC_0377

    In our Poem Suites, we bring together the voices of emerging and established poets exploring a common theme. In today’s Poem Suite, two poets explore processes of change, motion, and becoming from feminist perspectives.        From “Lesion” By Indrani Sengupta   thereafter   overgrown freckle. overzealous lovemark not [...]