Pop Goes The Political Culture, Week of September 17, 2018
by Rebekah Kuschmider, MPU-cohost
Welcome back, MPU-inverse. How are you? I’m exhausted.
I would like just one week in 2018 to last an actual week. It seems like weeks this year have all lasted about a century and a half. They are all jam-packed with headlines that would make Jerry Springer go “Nah, man. That sounds too fake. Can’t sell it.”
But it’s not fake! It’s all happening! We really do have a Supreme Court nominee being questioned about his role in a sexual assault. Rod Rosenstein really was saying stuff – maybe joking, maybe not – about the president being unfit to serve. There really are going to billions of tariffs on Chinese goods right before the holidays! IT’S ALL REAL!
We’ll talk about all this and more on the podcast for for now, let’s check the lighter side of the world. Here’s all the news that’s not fit to ‘cast.
Be Less Crazy: This week has a lot of women losing their damn minds as we discuss the validity of sexual assault allegations and what constitutes valid enough. It feels like women are screaming “Just treat them all as valid and investigate them all and don’t pick us to pieces!” and large swaths of men are saying “Yeah, ok, but how do we know bitches don’t just be cray?”
If you are getting defensive and want to say “That’s not what men are saying, Rebekah, what we mean is…” Just stop. Stop thinking and keep reading. This next part is for you.
Feminism has been a powerful movement. Women have worked for centuries to make sure that the women who come next have it just a bit better than they did. And it’s worked. Women in America today have it better than women in America have ever had it.
It’s better not because women have gotten better. It’s better because men have gotten less crazy.
Let me explain. In a fantastic interview in 2014, Chris Rock – who is a fucking oracle for our time – summed up the state of progress for black people by saying this:
“There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before…So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.”
The same is absolutely true for women. It’s not that women have changed; it’s that men have gotten less crazy.
But I’m here to say that some of you are still kinda crazy and you have to stop. Just stop. If you’re the guy saying “Well, why didn’t she report it at the time”, if you’re the guy saying “He was a teenager”, if you’re the guy trying minimize the emotional wallop of seeing an sexual assailant being seriously considered for the Supreme Court, this just 2 years after an alleged sexual predator was elected president, you are still too crazy. You are still making it harder for women.
This is true if you are a woman or non-binary too. If you are in any way making excuses for Brett Kavanaugh, you are still too crazy.
Listen, I’m a grown up and I can handle the IV drip of rage I feel when I see people being deliberate obstacles to the progress of others. I grew up on it. But my daughter is six years old. She hasn’t been handed a plateful of rage yet and my job as her feminist mother is too reduce the helping of rage she’ll have to digest in her lifetime. Maybe I can’t give her a life of unadulterated joy but I’ll be damned if she has to be as angry as I am. As my mother was. As all the feminists before her have had to be.
So for the sake of the girls and kids of color and LGBTQA kids all coming up: be less crazy.
Wolfpack: If you’re depressed and/or angry about the previous section of this column, it’s ok. I am, too. Fortunately, we live in a time when Abby Wambach gives kickass graduation speeches as women’s colleges and we can watch them online. I strongly encourage you to watch her right now and then throw away your own red riding hood. It’s time to be the wolf you were always meant to be.
That’s all I’ve got this week, folks. Be less crazy and be like a wolf. Maybe that will make everything all better. Meanwhile, tune in to The More Perfect Union Podcast when it drops on Monday!