Back in February, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote a column that was widely discussed due to its analysis of the sexual politics of the Enron fiasco. Dowd offered up a warmed-over version of women as moral arbiter for civilization by noting that all of the whistle blowers in the Enron fiasco were women and all of the corrupt executives, of course, were men.
What does this gender schism mean? That men care more about inflating their assets? That women are more caring about colleagues getting shafted?
It is men’s worst fear, personally and professionally, that women will pin the sin on them, come “out of the night like a missile and destroy a man,” as Alan Simpson said during the Hill-Thomas hearings.
. . .
At Enron, it was men who came up with complex scams. And it was women who raised the simple question, “Why?”
So where’s the follow-up? In the intervening months we’ve seen Martha Stewart in all the papers and broadcast news accused of insider trading. A female Colorado firefighter intentionally started a massive forest fire that threatened Denver earlier this summer. And, of course, celebrity publicist Lizzie Grubman got drunk and intentionally backed her car into a crowd of people.
Following Dowd’s usual script, any day now we should being seeing some hackneyed op-ed explaining how these three incidents are not isolated acts related to those individuals, but rather carry some important lesson about men and women which only Dowd can properly distill. I can hardly wait.