Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The predator and the prude

Usually I think Terry Gross of NPR's Fresh Air as one of the smartest interviewers around. But today I've got a quibble to raise. In a recent interview with the New York Time's Maggie Haberman who has been making a career of covering Donald Trump, Gross initiated this exchange (somewhat shortened here to pull out a point):

GROSS: Let's talk about Vice President Mike Pence's role for a moment. What is his role in the Trump White House?

HABERMAN: It's evolving. You know, he has been sort of searching for the right spots to pick to put himself in. ... He's been sort of the Trump translator with Congress. He is a confidant to the president in a way that we often don't see vice presidents, although I would say that the relationship between Barack Obama and Joe Biden was quite close. But this vice president is the person whose opinion Trump wants sought or weighed or measured in some way on almost everything, regardless of what it is, before he makes a final decision.

He trusts that Mike Pence has his best interests at heart. He does not believe that Mike Pence is doing anything to undermine him. And for Trump, that is enormously important. ...

GROSS: But they are so different, I mean, just on the level that President Trump bragged that he grabbed women by the P-word because he had enough power to be able to do that. Mike... And whereas Mike Pence, you know, it's been reported, like, won't dine alone with a woman unless his wife is accompanying him. So it's hard to imagine them being compatible.

HABERMAN: Yes. And when - yes, it is hard to imagine that. And yet, it actually has worked. ...

Of course it has worked. For both these unreconstructed male sexists, all women are only occasions of aroused awareness of sex, not co-workers, or colleagues, or, heaven forfend, friends. Sure, they work out their alienation from the always dangerous female differently. Trump predates; Pence subjects himself to purity rituals. But the content is the same.

1 comment:

Brandon said...

"[A]ll women are only occasions of aroused awareness of sex, not co-workers, or colleagues, or, heaven forfend, friends."

I don't think Trump and Pence regard all women that way. For instance, Trump saw Clinton not as a source of arousal, but as a virago to be vanquished, certainly not as a worthy opponent.

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