The Human Stain pollutes us all

Who ever would have predicted that it was a bad idea to nominate a Human Stain for president?  Who indeed. As many in my Twitter timeline have pointed out: only every woman you know.

Many people are noting that the Human Stain has made insults and outrageously offensive comments about people who are ethnically and religiously different from him and his base.  Jeffrey Goldberg tweeted last night, “My record of sexually harassing women is a distraction from the real issue, which is my record of racism and xenopobia.”  It’s funny because it’s true!  But here’s why I think the offensive remarks caught on tape are a little different:

They’re personal to one woman.  It’s crazy that insulting entire nations and ethnicities would be less inflammatory than insulting and demeaning one specific person, but that’s the crucial difference.  The Stain’s comments about Mexicans were linked to a policy position:  build the wall.  The comments about banning Muslims from entering the U.S. also articulated a specific policy position.  But his remarks about a specific woman, bragging that “you can do anything. . . grab them by the pussy,”–what policy position does that suggest?  The Grab Them By The Pussy Act of 2017?

There’s no policy.  He’s just shown us very clearly once again who he is.  I’d argue that that person was fully evident going back to June of 2015, but YMMV.  No sentient woman over the age of 20 is surprised to hear this.

Trump will likely still get 40% of the vote.  Think about that for a minute or two before returning to your schadenfreude.  (But do enjoy the righteous indignation this weekend!)

19 thoughts on “The Human Stain pollutes us all

  1. It’s really kind of stupefying, without being surprising. Comments won’t avail, so I can only report: The regional newspaper, the only one I could find today, buried *all* political stories on page 5. The top one, in 50-point font, headlines “Trump: Illegals being let into U.S. to vote.” Second story (based on Soviet hacking, released via yet another sexual assault suspect): “Clinton ‘far removed,’ speeches show…” Three: “Republicans rush to condemn remarks from 2005 video” (no person named in headline). And there was no need for one of those “following content may be graphic or disturbing…” warnings. As graphic as it got was “And when you’re a star, they let you do it…” “Grab them… you can do anything.” Maybe a story about roughhousing with a staffer on the campaign plane, putting somebody in a headlock or something?. The guy across the street from me has a yard plastered with “Trump/Pence” signs, and two young kids, one of them a girl. Should go over for a cautious dialogue, but he looks kind of scary.


    • The Human Stain should, like the Cat in the Hat’s pink ring, outlast his candidacy if there’s any justice. But there will be a huge proportion of Republicans who will be eager for the United States of Amnesia to take over.


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  3. No sentient woman is surprised to hear this, as you say, Historiann. Every time that he dominates the news cycle with another outrage (going back to “so where are the nuke codes?”) I think, “this one will do it. They’ll see what he is now, for sure.” But the bar gets lower every day, just like my opinion of his supporters.

    Forty percent of the people would (and are about to) vote for a flaming dumpster fire if it wore the correct party label, and this is what’s so depressing about the state of the republic. The fact that he might win this election is beyond terrifying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it’s sad that 40% will vote for a dumpster fire. OTOH, that’s a result of our two-party system. If we had a parliamentary democracy with 3-5 parties instead, the Human Stain would never get even as close as the LePen party or the UKIP get in France & in the UK, respectively.


  4. I’ve spent a lot of time following this election and a few things come to mind…1) While I can’t stand the phrase “proud to be an American,” I do think that I am insulted as an American that this a-hole is being put forth as a serious candidate and leader of the most powerful nation on the planet. Right before the debate, 538 was only giving HRC a 55% chance of winning the election, down from around 90% it had been forecasting a few months back (I’ve noticed that 538 is a bit more volatile than other statistically-driven prediction sites). 2) I haven’t spent an inordinate time talking about the election with my students, but a couple of times I have checked in with them. Most of my students are non-white and being students, as you could imagine, they are against Trump. One particularly vocal student said HRC and Trump were equally as bad and he was considering voting for Gary Johnson. I later found out he was from Indiana and had served in the military–I mention this not so much to make an assumption or slap a label on someone, but just to point out, as so many studies have confirmed, that one’s politics is often connected to one’s demographic profile. Anyway, there was so much I could have said, but I had to tread carefully as I’m not tenured and so much of my job is dependent upon customer satisfaction surveys…ahum, I mean student evaluations. We had a pleasant conversation after class and he repeated his talking point, talking about some BS he had heard about Benghazi. I was at a loss and just kinda stunned. There was so much I could have said about how Benghazi was way overblown; how saying HRC and Trump were equally as bad was the worst kind of false equivalency; how libertarians like Gary Johnson are terrible on the environment, civil rights, and have a rather simplistic view of framing the relationship between the state and market, etc. But I just kinda left it at that. It’s a cruel irony that you can practically spend a lifetime studying issues and then the moment you are put on the spot, you have so much to say that nothing comes through. You are frozen…


    • I don’t think you should think of yourself as having to avoid all controversy, steviebill83, just because you’re precarious faculty. You can model respectful engagement with your students ideas and give them tools for investigating their world and the competing claims of political campaigns and media coverage.

      I honestly don’t think students will be resentful–or even surprised–that the majority of humanities scholars prefer the Democrat to the Republican. Stereotypes about “liberal academia” aside, the fact is that one party is unafraid of hearing and using scientific and historical facts to inform their policy decisions; the other denies what reasonable people will recognize as reality. Additionally, Trump’s campaign, even moreso than other elections over the past 25 years, is at war with the whole concept of knowledge and expertise as important qualifications for the presidency.

      The Human Stain’s campaign is faltering accordingly–but who would be surprised that experts in SOMETHING are much more supportive of the concept of expertise as a qualification? Only those who, like the Stain, are experts in fuck-all.

      So long as you take them and their ideas seriously, I don’t think students mind if we disagree with them.


  5. I suppose there is something to the saying that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, but it is frustrating that so many Republicans who are now criticizing Trump come at the issue with depressing patriarchal attitudes. Mitt Romney is offended by “hitting on married women” and the insult to “our wives and daughters.” Paul Ryan says that women “are to be championed and revered.” I’m not going to champion or revere Hillary Clinton; I’m going to vote for her for President.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul Ryan’s statement really bothered me, too. As anyone with any training in feminist theory knows, it’s a very short trip from the pedestal to demonization, or from being “championed” to being controlled. Just recognize/treat as equals, for goodness’ sake.

      Liked by 2 people

    • That last statement “’m not going to champion or revere Hillary Clinton; I’m going to vote for her for President.” literally brought tears to my eyes. Yes, plus 1000.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s a scandal because it’s vulgar. We already knew he was a groper, and the repubs seemed to be able to live with that. But grab them by the pussy? Can’t be ignored. And know all the MSM are saying it on air, over and over. Pussy!!!

    But I disagree that it is just one comment about one woman. Maybe there’s no direct connection to a single policy, but there’s plenty of indirect ones to policies that hurt women. And I must admit that I’m tired of sexual harassment being seen as a distraction from the real issues. It is also a real issue. But maybe I just need to lighten up and get a sense of humor. Or take it as a compliment.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Out of misplaced curiosity, I had a look at some of the mainstream comments sections on these stories and the only thing that really struck me was this: as soon as someone comments that this sort of language/attitude is actually pretty common, some dude jumps right in to reply “you just don’t know the right men!”

    It’s fine with me if the Republican party damages itself, at least a little bit, over this, but I just can’t see anything changing. Women will still be subject to the same sh*t tomorrow that they were yesterday. And yeah, Trump will still get a big share of the vote. Whatever. I got my absentee ballot in the mail this week and I’m ready to vote. That’s what matters, getting out the vote.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Behold! I went back to the place today, and the yard across the street plastered with Trump signs? The signs for the incumbent conservative state senator are still there. But the Trump/Pence ones are GONE! It could be just some college kid collecting a souvenir. But later this evening I was talking to the young insurgent democrat who is running a somewhat quixotic campaign against the long-time state senator, and he said some Trump signs have disappeared in his neighborhood too. So maybe a threshold of some kind has been crossed. Agree with truffula, though. This isn’t going to cause any kind of an underlying structural change. It could splinter the Republican party beyond recovery, though.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. The tape scores a perfect 10 on the Offense-o-Meter. Something for everyone:
    1. People against foul language. “Pussy” is extra good because it’s foul enough to offend AND clea enough that most newspapers and TV stations will run it. Immediacy we can see and hear.
    2. Anti-adultery people.Trump was newly married in 2005 and Melania was pregnant.
    3. Those who object to objectification of women.
    4. Women with life experience like that of Arianne Zucker, the actress ganged up on by a pair of sniggering dolt sub-fratboys.
    5. Downticket Republicans + RNC leaders eager to put distance between themselves and their nominee. Who just happened to be dropping in the polls before this leak.
    6. Alpha Male enthusiasts forced to learn that with all that money, all that power, all that entitlement, Donald still couldn’t close the deal with Nancy O’Dell. As their mentor would say, sad!
    7. People against modern-day droit du seigneur.
    Scores even better on the schadenfreude meter.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is the umpteenth thing in this election cycle which is supposed to end The Fascist, who has leveled numerous personal insults in addition to the generic ones. And, for the umpteenth time, Republicans who should have figured that he was toxic last year, are shocked, SHOCKED, to discover what sort of person he is. Cowards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Opportunistic cowards, I think! Yes, you’re right: they knew exactly who they were getting into bed with. Claiming they did not is just stupid.


  11. Just finished watching the debate. Trump seemed to be running for toddler-in-chief. (Waaah! You let her go over and pick on me!) Except my nieces and nephews displayed far more mature behavior when they were two.

    The scariest part, and one Trump was entirely serious on, was his promise to nominate judges like Scalia. And unfortunately, even if we get a Democratic Senate, we can’t count on them rejecting them because of that courtesy of accepting presidential choices thing that the Republicans quit honoring in Bill Clinton’s administration.

    On a small humorous note, I was interested to learn that all Clinton’s donors are apparently big-money people. I’m very relieved to learn I’m a multi-millionaire. I must invite Warren and George over for tea and crumpets.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I think she handled it (and him) just about right. Although when she invoked Muhammad Ali, I couldn’t help but think that Ali would have gone into “Ali shuffle” mode by that point, dancing around the bewildered lug and turning both cheekbones red as beets with flurries of playful taps and cat-like play punches. On the other hand, if it had been a WWW-sanctioned match, Bill would have thrown a suitcase over the ropes and jumped between them to help his partner double-team the clown against the corner posts. Thankfully that didn’t happen either.

    Low point of the event, besides all of them? When Trump started fantasizing about his instructions to his imaginary future Attorney General. High point? At the end, when the Clinton’s stayed on stage to schmooze with the questioners, while Team Trump was already headed for New York on the Learjet. Like the classic old Burrito Brothers song said, “On the Thirty-First Floor, a Gold-Plated Door…”


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