12/06/2010 12:49 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Reading the Pictures: SNL and Hillary's Private Parts

If you happened to miss it, Saturday Night Live did a "show opening" sketch (ironically called the "cold opening") in which Julian Assange preempts an Oval Office address to give us a "behind-the-scenes" look at what's cooking at "Wikileaks/TMZ." In the piece, there are obvious rips on the philandering Gaddafi and the corrupt Karzai, and then, as you see above, a striking low blow at the expense of the Secretary of State.

In a post at BagNewsNotes, Professor Karrin Vasby Anderson, professor of Communications at Colorado State whose expertise is gender and politics, does a fine job explaining SNL's need to pound this sketch by capturing Hillary "going commando" while stepping out of a cab, and I recommend you read Karrin's entire piece with related Hillary-hate illustrations.

Karrin offers two main points, one particular to gender and the other about the state of our culture.

In terms of the "crotch shot," Karrin does note that male politicians are typically lampooned for their private parts. The difference, though, is that the punchlines always play off something the politician did. This Hillary lampoon and the double-standard, in contrast, targets something she is -- which is a politician who happens to be female. Ultimately, and still acceptable in the culture somehow, that makes her the ultimate sexual punching bag.

Karrin's other point speaks to what -- after this midterm "election as WWF event," and the last two years of racist, religious and indecorous "You Lie!" attacks against Obama -- can justifiably be called "a crisis" in public discourse. (Yeah, I passed on the other word.) Along those lines, this look between Hillary's legs for laughs is nothing isolated or new, so much as the latest example of the hate-sleaze boundary breakdown between DC, NBC and TMZ.


For a breakdown of the latest visual spin, visit BagNewsNotes (and follow our Twitter feed here).