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Identity Politics Gets Into Our Pants

Gender Politics and Political Justice

Instead, we lost an important liberal senator, because in his former role as a TV comedian he made an awkward “fish-lips” kiss rehearsing a skit and for mocking-up a silly gag photo on a tedious, many-hour C17 flight from Afghanistan back to the US. The woman who accused him had been voted “Top Hooters girl of all time” at a Hooter’s 25th anniversary dinner and had done many such USO tours. I recall Raquel Welsh at the Bob Hope USO show in Pleiku and Hope’s gags on Ms. Welsh’s ample attributes. That was a different time; and the war then was one of the nation's most morally reprehensible. In today's ongoing saga of sexual misconduct, I’ve never read so many stories about men in bathrobes exposing themselves and male masturbation outside of a Dr. Ruth episode. The New York Times is still averaging two or three stories a day. This Sunday, in a huge, top of the fold story with photos, celebrity photographers Bruce Weber and Mario Testino are outed as abusing male models in a version of the classic casting couch ploy: If you want the job, you better do this for me. Accusations in the shaming cycle range from outright rape to exposure to bumptious kissing. If one is on the Liberal side, accused culprits tend to wring their hands and say two things: “My memory is different” and “If I offended anyone, I’m really, really, really sorry.” If you’re a conservative Republican, you either claim the charges were fabricated whole cloth for political reasons or, if you’re rich and famous, you pay a whopping fee. Heavy pressure to resign or be fired is implicit in the process. Of course the distaff version of all this has happened and was reported in The New York Times: Next to stories on the sexual misconduct of Dustin Hoffman and Russell Simmons, Andrea Ramsey, a 56-year-old Democrat running to take a Republican congressional seat in red-state Kansas was accused by a male employee of firing the gentleman ten years earlier for not responding to her wish for sex. She denied the charge by taking the “my memory is different” option, although she didn’t elaborate on her memory and she didn’t apologize. She did withdraw from the House race. The shaming cycle has also been turned by some into an opportunist political football. Dayna Tortorici, an editor of the journal N+1, writing about the white male backlash, tells of a right-wing activist exploiting sexual misconduct charges against a leftist activist -- with no apparent sympathy for the victim in the account; the interest was to attack an enemy's vulnerability. She cites an adage: "In the game of patriarchy, women aren't the other team, they're the ball."

story | by Dr. Radut