Programming Note


I haven’t been watching the vital Congressional testimony taking place today, but I have been following it, largely through the lens of social media and online news sources. Particularly when considering the courage it took for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford to go to that chamber and recount the worst moment of her life in front of a fleet of privileged men who were at best politely indifferent to her pain and at worst cautiously hostile to it, I feel cowardly, like I’m watching a scary movie through the narrow slits between fingers that mask my face.

Still, I am exhausted by the rage and aching sympathy I feel despite the distancing tactic I’ve adopted. I can only imagine — or, rather, I can’t truly fathom — what today must be like for those who are survivors of sexual assault or harassment, for those who have been reflexively dismissed because of their gender, for those who have endured the worst of a power structure that boxes out their concerns.

I have struck myself a requirement to put something in this space every day, but I can’t bring myself to tap out my usual breezy assessments of pop culture. And this moment certainly doesn’t require another male voice weighing in. I’ve already tapped out more words than I’ve intended.

Instead, I’d like to redirect any who stumble here to…

—Lili Loofbourow, writing for Slate: “The awful things Kavanaugh allegedly did only imperfectly correlate to the familiar frame of sexual desire run amok; they appear to more easily fit into a different category—a toxic homosociality—that involves males wooing other males over the comedy of being cruel to women.”

—Jia Tolentino, writing for The New Yorker: “In college, fraternity costume parties, engineered to encourage women to dress as sluttily as possible, felt to me as distant from actual sex as Trump’s remark about Tic Tacs: men seemed to be getting women to doll themselves up as ‘tennis hoes’ to their ‘golf pros’ just to prove that they could.”

—Liana Schaffner, writing for Teen Vogue: “While our male counterparts apparently drank and partied with impunity, my classmates and I had to endure morality class, where we learned that French kissing outside of marriage is a sin because it could lead to arousal, which is also a sin unless you intend to conceive a child, because birth control is (surprise) a sin.”

—Emily Jane Fox, writing for Vanity Fair: “’I still have a fear of being outed. You see how people are questioning [Ford] about her character and her choices—why didn’t she come forward? What was she doing in that room? Why was she in a swimsuit?’ she said. ‘But for a lot of us who kept silent for a long time, we’ve been waiting for an opportunity to right this. You can’t talk about trauma without talking about shame, because it gets hardwired into the experience. But shame can’t survive the spoken word.'”

—Jessica Valenti, writing for Medium: “You don’t have to be an abuser to enable abuse, and over the last few weeks, Americans have watched that reality play out on the national stage.”

—And finally, for anyone who might reasonably need a goddamn break from thinking about this, the ludicrously brilliant Taffy Brodesser-Akner writing about Bradley Cooper for The New York Times.