After the Beep

After the Beep

After the Beep

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Oct. 20 2010 6:25 PM

After the Beep

Emily B., you speculate that the Ginni Thomas phone message to Anita Hill was a calculated way of hurting Hill – you could be right, but I think this call is open to many interpretations because I don't think Ginni Thomas knows exactly why she did it. One of the oddest things about it is that it was made to Hill’s office at 7:30 on a Saturday morning. You can just imagine how many times over the years, her rage rising, Mrs. Thomas has put her hand on the phone ready to make this call then something – temporary sanity? – stopped her. If the call had come in late at night you would think, "That’s the chardonnay dialing." But even someone who nurses a seething sense of injustice for decades, usually once she’s woken up and had a cup of coffee, is glad she didn’t actually make that call the night before. I don’t think she left the message (she knew Hill wouldn’t be at her desk to actually talk to her) as a calculated diversion from a New York Times article on her political activities. The article raised some questions about conflict of interest, but didn’t make her look like a nut. I agree with you, Emily B., that this makes her look like a nut.

The call – 20 years after the events! – reminds me of one of those wives whose husband left her years ago, but now she’s refusing to attend her daughter’s wedding if her evil ex and his second wife are there, making everyone around her miserable. But maybe the people around Thomas actually help keep this wound  festering. I believed, and still do, Anita Hill’s testimony and thought Clarence Thomas was lying (although I’m willing to believe he had convinced himself he wasn’t). Obviously, Ginni Thomas thinks – has to think – that Anita Hill is deluded. But Clarence Thomas has been a Supreme Court justice for almost two decades. You’d hope that some good friends would counsel them that no matter how acute their sense of injustice, they should appreciate that he got confirmed,  life is good, and it’s time to give it up.

Emily Yoffe is a contributing editor at the Atlantic.