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The Presumption of Virginia Thomas

Here’s the text of a voice mail that the Supreme Court Justice’s wife left on Anita Hill’s machine:

“Good morning, Anita Hill, it’s Ginny Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. Okay have a good day.” (emphasis added)

I don’t know much about “Ginny” other than her involvement in conservative causes. But this is surely one of the most offensive messages ever committed to posterity.

In the first two emphasized phrases, she implies that Hill was lying (otherwise, why the request for an apology or the assumption that she did something unfair to her husband?) The third emphasized phrase asks Hill to pray, a highly presumptuous and inappropriate request (whether or not Hill happens to be religious, and whether or not Thomas knows this). It’s the kind of literally holier-than-thou stuff that makes even some religious folks cringe. And then there’s the condescending “come to understand” finale.

Well, almost finale: Let’s not forget to “have a nice day.”

I don’t know what, if anything, Ms. Thomas was trying to accomplish. If it was a sincere effort to reach out, she’s without a clue. But I suspect there’s something more to it than that. What that might be, I can only speculate.

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  1. NY LiberalConservative
    October 20th, 2010 at 15:33 | #1

    Thank you. “Cringe” sums up my reaction perfectly. I cringed multiple times for multiple reasons.

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