Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Victor Davis Hanson on Labyrinths and Herman Cain

Again, Victor Davis Hanson sets current events and stories in historical, even mythic, perspective.
"'Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here,' is the placard that Herman Cain must have read last week when he descended into the Sexual Harassment Inferno, from which he has not yet emerged."
Dr. Hanson comes right to the point on the absurdity of modern thinking.
"Stranger still, this metamorphosis of liberated women into Victorian-era puritans was accompanied by yet another wild card: Sex was now everywhere. The old probity was gone, whether through blonde bombshells with low-cut dresses on the news, raunchy language and acts on reality TV, or soft porn on mainstream cable packages. Today’s mall is a showcase of trashy overt sexuality among even preteens. It was almost as if the more sexual suggestiveness became ubiquitous, the more we reverted to New England puritanism. The office coffee break with colleagues was now more explicit and yet more prudish than its 1950s counterpart — in the sense that almost no topic was taboo, and yet any careless flippant sexual remark could boomerang as a career-ending offense."
Then there is the blatant hypocrisy.
"Both supporters and detractors agree that Cain should know by now that alleged misdemeanors by Republican frontrunners are always more serious than known transgressions by Democratic rivals. All true — and all irrelevant in the age of liberal indulgence and exemption where noble ends sometimes must justify tawdry means. Yet it is not quite clear whether Cain is supposedly guilty of attempted, fantasized, or foiled womanizing of the sort that Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich have confessed to actualizing. Or is he just a little creepy, in the manner of Al Gore and his masseuses, or the late Strom Thurmond and his wandering hands, or the late Ted Kennedy and his late-hours frolicking?

"Note there is no exemption for Cain even though the charges date from over a decade ago . . . .

"Cain, who has not as of yet actually been accused of engaging in sexual intercourse with a female subordinate, finds himself in the 'sexual harassment' labyrinth, from which there are few paths out in the present era."
Not to mention the lack of the normal mention of white women's supposed inordinate fears of black men--which even Barack Obama referred to in speaking of his grandmother as a "typical white person" and a woman "who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street."
"Oddly, so far no African American spokesman has stepped forward to 'contextualize' the charges in the long history of sexually charged stereotyped slurs about supposedly undisciplined ascendant black males."
Dr. Hanson amplifies the disjunction in media treatment of Herman Cain's race.
"Yet Cain also wins greater scrutiny, not exemption, because he is black — or at least a certain sort of black. In addition to his conservatism, his voice, bearing, grammar, and diction, even his showy black cowboy hat, bother liberals in much the same way that Joe Frazier was not Muhammad Ali and Clarence Thomas was not Anita Hill. Black authenticity, as defined by Southern mannerisms and darker complexion, amplified by conservatism or traditionalism, earns liberal unease. Rarely has anyone been so candid in confessing just that unease as were Senators Harry Reid and Joe Biden in their backhanded praise of Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign. I think Reid ('light-skinned,' 'with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one') and Biden ('I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy') both were trying to say at the time that Barack Obama did not look or sound like someone analogous to Herman Cain."
Cain is not the only one in the labyrinth. The media with its pretzel-like moral and reasoning standards have pushed American society into its own labyrinth. How to get out?

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