Monday, September 17, 2018

Megan Garber on “boys will be boys”

At The Atlantic, Megan Garber writes about Brett Kavanaugh and the claim that “boys will be boys.” Two excerpts:

Here is the deeper venality of the boys-being-boys defense: It normalizes. It erases the specific details of Christine Blasey Ford’s stated recollections with the soggy mop of generalized male entitlement. What red-blooded guy, after all, its logic assumes, hasn’t done, in some way, the kinds of things Ford has described? Who, as a younger version of himself, hasn’t gotten stumble-drunk, pinned down a woman, groped her, tried to undress her, and then, when she resisted, held his hand over her mouth to muffle her screams? (“It was drunk teenagers playing seven minutes of heaven,” the Fox News columnist Stephen Miller tweeted, derisively.)


Americans talk a lot, these days, about norms. What will be preserved, in the tumult and chaos of today’s politics; what is worth preserving; what will fall away. Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court was already, in the profoundest of ways, a matter of norms: It will determine, almost inevitably, whether the women of America maintain autonomy over their bodies. Here, though, in Christine Blasey Ford’s claim that a young Brett Kavanaugh compromised her autonomy in another way, another norm is being litigated: the way we talk about sexual violence. Whether such violence will be considered an outrage, or simply a sad inevitability. Whether it will be treated as morally intolerable . . . or as something that, boys being boys and men being men, just happens.
I vote for morally intolerable. And I suspected from the start of the hearings that something dark and violent in Kavanaugh’s history might come to light. If Ford is telling the truth (and I believe her account is credible), Kavanaugh is unfit for the Supreme Court — not only because of his actions as a high-school student but because of his denial today.

comments: 5

Pete said...

“What red-blooded guy, after all, its logic assumes, hasn’t done, in some way, the kinds of things Ford has described?” Well, *this* red-blooded guy, for one.

Sean said...

Is "venality" being used correctly here? Not "veniality?"

Michael Leddy said...

I think venality is right, suggesting corruption and selfishness. I had to look up both words to make up my mind. I might have chosen evil instead.

Frex said...

"the soggy mop"---nice turn of phrase!

Michael Leddy said...

Yes, esp. when characterizing male entitlement.