A long-established pattern of male bonding

Moira Donegan has more details on Tucker Carlson’s chatty misogyny with his buddy the lovesponge guy.

In the recordings, Carlson says women are “like dogs”, claiming: “They’re extremely primitive, they’re basic, they’re not that hard to understand.” He insists that women find misogynist degradation pleasurable and makes sexual, antagonistic comments about women he does and does not like.

He calls Arianna Huffington “a pig”, Justice Elena Kagan “ugly” and “unattractive”, and Martha Stewart’s daughter, TV host Alexis Stewart, “cunty”. He says he “wants to fuck” Sarah Palin and called for the elimination of rape shield laws, provisions that make it illegal for defense attorneys in rape cases to bring up an accuser’s sexual history as a way to discredit her. He laughs at a story about a woman being choked and calls Paris Hilton and Britney Spears “the biggest white whores in America”, a phrase that seems to imply that there are other, bigger “whores” who are not white. In other recordings, he makes repeated racist overtures, saying that white men are responsible for “creating civilization”, calling Iraqis “semiliterate primitive monkeys” and creating virtuosic combinations of racism and sexism in attacking Michelle Obama and white women who date black men.

Does it matter? Yes, I think so. Tucker Carlson isn’t a random saddo on a barstool blaming women for what a saddo he is, he’s a star talking head on the US president’s favorite tv network. It’s pathetic that we have to pay attention to Tucker Carlson or Donald Trump or Ivanka Trump, but we do.

The radio shows aired at a pivotal moment for Carlson’s career, when he was transitioning from a bow tied conservative commentator for CNN and MSNBC with pretensions to seriousness into a full-throated avatar of the Republican party’s sexist and racist id.

It’s clear from the recordings that Carlson’s sexist remarks are part of an effort to ingratiate himself with the radio host. Carlson clearly wants the approval of Bubba the Love Sponge, and is trying to establish a rapport with him by making degrading and lewd attacks on people he perceives as their shared enemies – namely, whichever woman they are talking about at the moment. It is a long-established pattern of male bonding in which misogynist aggression is deployed as a signal of irreverent joy and shared virility, a tactic that Donald Trump, the man Carlson so frequently carries water for on his television show, famously termed “locker room talk.

Quite so. The same thing was clear in the Access Hollywood tape – Trump was “bonding” with the other two guys by talking contemptuous hostile smack about women. That, it seems to me, is why Billy Bush’s daughter was so upset by the tape: what girl wants to find out her father snickers at women along with Mister Grabthembythepussy?

It is not especially surprising to hear Tucker Carlson saying disgusting things in these newly rediscovered recordings. Scandal is quickly becoming not only a frequent part of his career, but a seemingly deliberate one – after all, he is fresh off the heels of a number of his major advertisers withdrawing from his show, following his racist comments that immigrants make America “dirtier”. He has shown us who he is before – he shows us on cable television, every weeknight, for an hour. But he has also shown us something about ourselves, about the things we tolerate men saying to men, and about the ways that we are willing to sacrifice young girls to grown men’s worst impulses. These comments are controversial now, and they were disgusting then, but the Media Matters report does not reveal anything new about Carlson. After all, he made these comments more than 10 years ago. It didn’t hurt him then, either.

And it hasn’t and doesn’t hurt Trump.

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