I usually prefer to ignore Glenn Beck these days, but his response to the whole Herman Cain situation is actually pretty typical of the various ways that all sorts of people are failing miserably to address the situation with anything approaching decency or competence, so I figured I'd take a moment to comb over it. You see, Beck decided to write a letter of "dating advice" to Herman Cain, and it might pack more fail into a single document than has ever happened in the history of creating documents.
A few double takes were done Tuesday night when Beck emailed his mailing list with this subject line: “Dating 101: Glenn tells Cain how to handle the ladies
The first word of this is utter failure. Cain is alleged to have done a lot of things, but none of them can really be called "dating", in the sense that we Americans use the word. Dating is understood in our culture as an ethically sound behavior that people therefore perform openly. If you're on a date with someone, for instance, you're generally not going to freak out if you randomly run into a friend. Cain is accused of having an affair with one woman, which is generally understood as different than boring old dating. He's also been accused, repeatedly, of sexual harassment. This isn't like dating or having an affair, and I'm deeply sick of people conflating the two. Cain doesn't need advice on how to "handle" the ladies. If he is, as he claims, in a monogamous marriage, then he shouldn't be handling ladies at all. And no one needs to handle non-consenting ladies.
“Another day, another Herman Cain sex scandal,” writes Beck’s email. “The truth is so hard to find amidst all the lies these days, it makes it hard to say with certitude whether or not all of these accusations piling up against former pizza tycoon Herman Cain are in any way legit. Are people just trying to gain their 15 minutes of fame, or is Herman Cain as prolific a scorer as Wilt Chamberlain?”
Trying to set an Olympic record of wrong, Beck? First of all, sexually harassing women is not "scoring" with them, and anyone who convinces themselves of that is quite literally the most pathetic piece of shit ever to slither out of the gutter. You don't accuse someone of "scoring" with you. Please stop conflating grab-ass with the unwilling and sexual contact between consenting adults. Please. I beg you.
But what really bothers me is the proliferation of Cain's preferred explanation for how all these women are coming out of the woodwork all at once, which is that it's a giant conspiracy against him. Or that he somehow has managed to meet more mentally ill women with attention-seeking disorders than roughly any other politician in history. In the first instance, you'd have to accept that the Democrats---or even the Republicans---have the means and desire to organize this elaborate conspiracy, but they chose to do so against someone who never really had a chance in hell of getting the nomination, much less winning the presidency. (Obama wishes he could go up against Cain, believe me.) In the second instance, well, all things are possible, of course, but the likelihood of that happening is incredibly low. It's telling how sexist our society is that we still have to allow for the extremely unlikely possibility that deceitful attention-seeking mental disorders are so common amongst women that they affect like 5% of women that Herman Cain seems to have met.
This whole thing really has been a remarkable demonstration of how rape apologists and other sexists have really set the bar for believing women who complain of sexual harassment and abuse absurdly high. Beck is far from the only person carrying on like there's an equal probability between the possibility that a half dozen separate acquaintances of Cain's are lying, crazy bitches and that they may just be telling the honest truth. That's ridiculous. Especially since mentally ill people spinning stories tend to have a history of doing so and the stories they spin are often unbelievable. Nothing that Cain is said to have done is unbelievable, and in fact, the mundanity of it only adds to the believability.
Later in the email: “Dating 101: Glenn tells Cain how to handle the ladies. Herman Cain’s constant flow of sexual misconduct allegations against him sparked a heated debate on radio today. What are the types of situations at work that are acceptable to engage in and which are unacceptable?”
Simple: sexually harassing women is unacceptable. Stop pretending that you don't know this, assholes of the world. As any woman could tell you if you bothered to ask, when a man harasses you, watching you squirm with fear and discomfort is part of the pleasure he takes in doing it.
“I’d be a fool as a CEO or a head of a company to have dinner with a good friend who is also an employee. I’d be foolish to do that. … There’s just no reason to put yourself in that situation. Why would I put myself in that situation?”
Beck is lying. He works in media, where socializing with colleagues is more common than not. But this is even more offensive than that. The problem is not men and women who work together being alone in the same way two male colleagues would be alone. The problem is the choice to sexually harass someone. Either Beck is implying that men can't behave properly if left alone with a woman for a moment, or he's falling back on the "lying bitches" paranoia that suggests that women will claim sexual harassment at the drop of a hat. Either way, he's wrong.
“Women and men do not think the same way,” said Beck. “I’ve been trying to tell my daughters, who will tell me, ‘Dad, he’s just a friend.’ Is he? He’s 17 years old and he’s just a friend? Really? If he’s gay, I buy it. If he’s not, no, he’s not. No, he’s not. He wants sex. Period. Women and men think differently.”
Great lesson to teach your daughter, that the only value you have to men at all is sexual. Now, it may be true that a 17-year-old girl might consider if her friend is actually a Nice Guy® only pretending to be her friend to get her in the sack. But a blanket assertion that the only thing men want from women ever is sex, and that women have no value to men outside of that? Let me remind you, Beck is making this statement in the context of work life. He's quite literally saying that men cannot look at a colleague and see them as "good at accounting" or "an excellent graphic designer". If a man comes into your office and says, for instance, "Hey, would you be interested in working on this project together?", Beck is saying it's literally impossible---unless he's gay---to be asking you because he thinks you'd be good at the job. No, he just wants your vagina. Because that's all you are to men.
Sad that guys like this are allowed to fucking raise daughters, isn't it?