Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Topless in Stepford

Aside from his Paleolithic outlook on social policy, the shameless embrace of his Dear Leader and his Wagnerian take on war-as-a-force-that-gives-us-meaning, there's always been something about John McCain that I have found personally a little creepy. It's always been hard for me to pin down, but it was always there.

And, finally, here it is:
"McCain felt so comfortable at the event that he even volunteered his wife for the rally’s traditional beauty pageant, an infamously debauched event that’s been known to feature topless women.

“I encouraged Cindy to compete,” McCain said to cheers. “I told her with a little luck she could be the only woman ever to serve as first lady and Miss Buffalo Chip.”
This on top of the infamous "At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt!" comment to the proposed future Miss Buffalo Chip back in 1992. AND on top of the whole "The First Mrs. McCain" history the guy trails behind him.

I understand that the guy is a politician. He lies. He uses people. Sadly, the path to the top in our self-indulgent, self-centered, delusionary Republic has become so slippery (greased with the slippery residue of contributor largesse) that American politicians can't really do anything else. If we were presented with a candidate that dared to tell us the truth to our faces, who dared to deal straightforwardly with others (people he loathed but needed politically, people he loved but were too politically or socially radioactive to stand by) we would drive them into the desert. We have already.

But there is a bright line. And for me McCain crosses it with his gratuitous misogynistic nastiness.

Jezebel puts it better than I can:
"...John McCain offered up his 54-year-old wife as a contestant. And, let be frank, he didn't do it just because she's pretty or has an enviable body for a 54-year-old woman or because he's proud of his wife's brand of socialite beauty. He did it to pander to the crowd's idea of appropriate masculinity, and that apparently includes over-sexualizing your wife and the mother of your children for the amusement of a few people in a crowd. McCain offered up the thought of his wife objectifying herself for the sexual gratification of others (at his suggestion) in order to get a couple of chuckles, inspire some male fantasy and make a few "friends." Fun!

And you might say that John McCain didn't think of it as an objectification ritual, or that he didn't know that it involved nudity and displays of stimulated sex acts or whatever. Well, then, why wasn't he offering to get his very pretty daughter Meghan up on stage? Suggesting a 24-year-old woman participate in a just-a-beauty pageant wouldn't be so outside the the norm, if he thought it would be just a beauty pageant. But he knew that it wasn't, and he doesn't think of his daughter in that way and wouldn't in a million years as a father suggest or even intimate that his daughter should get on stage and flash her breasts, ass and (potentially) her external genitalia at a group of strange men for admiration, money or votes."

The thing is, I like women. I like them as people, like the often-slightly-not-guyish way they think (sometimes; sometimes the gender difference is so small as to be indistinguishable). I like them as inspiration, as comrade, partner and the embodiment of life and love, birth and death.

Being a guy, I also like to look at them. But not just as bodies. I like the way they do things as differently as walk, sit and stand. I like the difference between their bodies and mine and the similarities thereof. I enjoy them both as individuals and as poetry, art and music; I understand how guys through the ages have composed sonnets to them, wanted to live their lives with them, fought with and for them, died for them.

I like to think that the people who want me to look up to them like women (both individually and collectively), too. So here's a guy, a guy who wants my vote to be the Chief Executive of our nation, suggesting that his late-middle-age, very-proper-verging-on-Stepford-wife hang out her reproductive hardware for the appreciation of ten thousand bikers? And doesn't know with a sunset-like certainty that his spouse isn't going to drop-kick him square in the balls for saying it? And fear that? And what that says about his marriage in particular and his attitude towards women in general?

Let me say for the record: eeeewwwww.

I'm sorry, John, but this is just one more speck on the mountain of evidence that as "Presidential timber" you're some seriously crooked softwood. If you want to lead a Republic, or a nation that pretends and is supposed to be a Republic, among other things you have to have a better attitude towards 51% of your fellow citizens than this.


sheerahkahn said...

And just when you think they've sunk as low as they can go...McCain busts out the jackhammer, and goes deeper.

Lisa said...


He creeps you out because you are a special sort of man. You go beyond mere objectification to seek the worth in a worthy woman, or fellow human, for that matter.

You correctly say that if a politician dealt in truth, we'd drive him into the desert. So it is with most of our fellows: we don't want the truth, we want our perceptions validated.

In this event then, McCain "told the truth." He spoke these people's language. Offensive as that may be to a refined ear, perhaps biker culture is a more honest mirror of our intransigent cultural misogyny.

I find the racks of porno mags barely blocked from customer's view in the local convenience store no less offensive because I am not directly staring into a stranger's body; I know what lies beyond the protective cover. We hide it for a reason.

I believe most people need to slot their associates. For that crowd, Mrs. McCain was his "old lady." Period. You are someone's old lady at age 20. A piece of a**. He understands what it is to be a good old boy. It's called "knowing your audience."

Politics is dirty business; when in Rome,... To be high falutin' wouldn't have won him many votes now, would it?

You Know Where You Are With said...

I remember a story from Bill Clinton's first prez campaign, from the New Hampshire primaries, in which he told a female reporter sent to interview him to do his makeup. When I heard that, I thought two things: (1) he would NEVER ask a male reporter to do his makeup; and (2) this guy's got a problem with women.

Ah, yeah.

I can't even begin to comment on the McCain debacle. Well, maybe I can: Prick.

FDChief said...

Sheerah: you'd think he'd have hit bedrock by now, wouldn't'cha?

Lisa: Tak. I'm no saint; I understand where this mindset comes from, and it's not like I haven't seen it before.

The thing is that this guy is supposed to have been through it. He's supposed to have suffered, and looked deep into the Abyss. You'd think that you take a lot of the adolescent woody out of him. It doesn't appear to. I can't get around the feeling that there's something seriously wrong with that kind of mind.

YK: The Big Dog was, excuse the expression, a different breed of cat. He was always a hound; I think he lied about the dope and the women because, like I said, it's Chinatown, Jake, and you have to. Anyone who stood up and honestly said "Well, yep, I smoked me a little weed back then and I like me a little sweet young tail right now." would have been deader than a quail at a Cheney backyard bar-b-que. I never had a problem with his womanizing, other than to think that I wish Hilary had kneed him in the 'nards on "Meet the Press" or something just to show she had enough pride to tell the political press to kiss her ass.

So Bill had a problem, but what to me was a "manageable" problem - he LIKED women, he liked them to cater to his vanity and tell him they loved and wanted him. That's childish, vain and foolish, but that's all.

McCain seems to have a different problem. Anger. More than anger; rage. And the generalized belief that women are some sort of alien, scary enemy, to be tolerated generally, to be subdued when the urge becomes undeniable, but to be feared and loathed when demanding, powerful or troublesome. He deals with his wife like he'd deal with Iran: if they don't shut up, lie still and tell him they respect and fear him, it's bombs away.

Anger is poor counsel, and McCain's attitude towards women seems dominated by anger and dismissal. I don't trust that one little bit.

Lisa said...

"the generalized belief that women are some sort of alien, scary enemy, to be tolerated generally, to be subdued when the urge becomes undeniable, but to be feared and loathed when demanding, powerful or troublesome". . .

Well, yeah. I mean, it's nice and all when people rise above it, and shoot for some rarefied consummation, but in general, women are vagina dentata. Really very scary some of them are, and it only worsens after menopause.

Cindy McCain is no milquetoast, and her pocketbook is larger than his. I'd say she's a power player, but discreet. I don't know that I've read anything re. McCain's view on women that would take him beyond the general conservative pale. Certainly not that he is an abuser.

As for his more than 40 days in the wilderness removing his more juvenile qualities, I would guess just the opposite. To suffer such privation at the prime of one's life might leave a man voracious for tasting all that he could, given the second chance.

I am not excusing objectification nor saying I personally wish for that, but merely recognizing that he is a man among men. Not a man of 1975, or 2008, just a man. I see nothing esp. unseemly, save that relations between the sexes in general are fraught with power plays.

FDChief said...

"I see nothing esp. unseemly, save that relations between the sexes in general are fraught with power plays."

I tend to agree - except for the wierd anger. He seems to resent, even be infuriated at his wife for being willing to enter into the power plays. ISTM that it goes both ways...but he seems to want to have the power play only go from him to her.

That seems childish, to me...

Lisa said...


Yes, the one-way power flow is selfish and childish, but from what I've seen, thoroughly male. Men are esp. invested with a desire to remain top-dog. How much more difficult for the male ego when the current runs the other way.

How doubly conflictual when that sort of man actually desires to capitalize on power by marrying a woman of power, but realizes that he cannot totally co-opt that power. The only move open is to verbally joust and be dismissive. But this is a fine line he walks, for with a woman who is a power player, she will walk if the offense becomes unacceptable.