Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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The belligerence of male entitlement and the cowardly rituals of male bonding

The Associated Press reports:

He let his anger flare repeatedly, interrupted his questioners and cried several times during his opening statement. She strived to remain calm and polite, despite her nervousness, and mostly held back her tears.

Throughout their riveting, nationally televised testimony on Thursday, Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh served as Exhibits A and B for a tutorial on gender roles and stereotypes. Amid the deluge of reaction on social media, one prominent observation: Ford, as a woman, would have been judged as a far weaker witness had she behaved as Kavanaugh did.

“Imagine a woman openly weeping like this on a national stage and still getting elected to the Supreme Court. Or any office,” tweeted Joanna Robinson, a senior writer with Vanity Fair.

Kavanaugh, nominated to fill a vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, mixed tears with fury in his statement forcefully denying Ford’s allegation that he sexually assaulted her in 1982 when they were both in high school. He choked up at several points when referring to how his family has been affected by the tempest surrounding allegations by Ford and other women. [Continue reading…]

David Rothkopf writes:

Asshole Culture has carved out a very clear, unsavory role in American film, literature and life. Entitled, wealthy bros who take what they want, treat everyone around them like shit and then rise to positions of power is a common trope in our mass culture. And, if you have been following the news recently, you know that it exists at the highest levels of the U.S. government.

In films and books, these jerks usually get their comeuppance. From the downfall of the indulgent rich of Fitzgerald to Philip Roth’s tweaking of the entitled, from the sleazy elites of Bonfire of the Vanities to the snotty villains of every private school movie ever made to greed-driven bros of The Wolf of Wall Street, wealth and privilege set them up and karma ultimately knocks them down.

In real life, not so much. They usually just keep working their way up the greasy pole, covering for and enabling one another and rising generations of assholes to come, their paths assured by aging assholes who came before them and now sit atop big institutions.

Brett Kavanaugh, the GOP leaders in the Senate, and above all Donald Trump embody this subset of the ugliest Americans to such a degree that you can hardly believe they are real. [Continue reading…]

The New York Times notes:

Perhaps the most maddening part of Thursday’s hearing was the cowardice of the committee’s 11 Republicans, all of them men, and none of them, apparently, capable of asking Dr. Blasey a single question. They farmed that task out to a sex-crimes prosecutor named Rachel Mitchell, who tried unsuccessfully in five-minute increments to poke holes in Dr. Blasey’s story.

Eventually, as Judge Kavanaugh testified, the Republican senators ventured out from behind their shield. Doubtless seeking to ape President’s Trump style and win his approval, they began competing with each other to make the most ferocious denunciation of their Democratic colleagues and the most heartfelt declaration of sympathy for Judge Kavanaugh, in a show of empathy far keener than they managed to muster for Dr. Blasey.

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