Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Anita Hill explains weathering a confirmation farce and why she's voting for Biden, of all people

Trevor Noah, Professor Anita Hill
Trevor Noah, Professor Anita Hill
Screenshot: The Daily Show

Professor Anita Hill hasn’t let her experience at the center of what, until then, was the most bruising Supreme Court nomination process of all time define her. Now the Chair of the Hollywood Commission, formed to combat discrimination and sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment industry, as well as being an esteemed professor at Brandeis, Hill advised Trevor Noah on Tuesday’s Daily Show that it’s vital to remember—whether hosting a late-night comedy show or being put through the televised mangler of a televised, intensely personal public hearing about how your proposed Supreme Court Justice former boss is a grotesque sex creep—that, “There are bigger and better things to come, but you have to push for them.”

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For Hill, the last 30 years since her 1991 testimony about how still-Justice Clarence Thomas was a sleazy, power-abusing sexual harasser have been dedicated to defining herself on her own terms as educator, activist, and author—even if her experiences facing down the full force of sneering misogynist skepticism led her to devote herself to the cause of justice for women and others whose identities have marked them out as targets for half-formed male monsters. You know, like now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whose spittle-flinging threats against anyone who dared believe the eerily similar testimony of Professor Christine Blasey Ford who—some 27 years after Hill testified against Thomas—wrenchingly described how noted beer-blackout enthusiast Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her.

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Hill did the talk show rounds in a vain attempt to prevent dispiritingly familiar history from repeating itself (now we have at least two credibly accused sexual predators making the highest law in the land). And now, with fringe conservative Amy Coney Barrett poised—thanks to bottomless Republican hypocrisy—to move the Supreme Court even further toward Gilead, she’s putting herself out there again, even though she concedes that said GOP shamelessness will likely make Barrett’s appointment inevitable. Saying that Barrett’s addition will lend more Americans “little confidence in terms of getting to equality” (on many, many fronts), yet Hill told Noah that “There are other ways to fight . . . You have to keep the faith.”

For Hill, that means being willing to vote for Joe Biden, an understandably fraught decision, considering how then Senate Judiciary Chair Biden led the charge to discredit, dismiss, and otherwise victim-blame Hill back in the day. Still, as Hill told Noah, the alternative is voting for Donald Trump, so she’s planning to think of the big picture when it comes to the fate of women’s rights, disability rights, racial justice, LGBTQI rights, voting rights, healthcare, and the fate of American democracy and vote for the man whose watery non-apologies for his handling of the Thomas hearings she’s not giving much credit. (You know, since she’s not an entitled whine-baby willing to toss Donald-fucking-Trump another disastrous four years in a fit of privileged purity-pique.) “My job is to keep pushing for that change,” Hill told Noah of her vote and future plans, explaining, “We have to push him and his administration” in order to assure that a vote against Donald Trump isn’t where the fight stops. “What I’m really trying to look for is equality, very broadly speaking,” said Hill.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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