That “locker room talk” BS is what we call a Red Herring, which is something distracting or misleading that draws attention from the matter at hand.
Let no one say that cad is not brilliant at controlling the conversation (i.e. marketing, PR, etc).
When that tape was released, his apologists and sycophants realized the seriousness of it and were desperate for something — anything! — that would enable them to go on supporting this amoral, shifty, opportunistic aggrandizer. Confirmation bias is a helluva thing, as is cognitive dissonance. “Resolve it, oh great one! Give me an excuse!”
So he did. He said one of maybe only two things he could have said to accomplish that goal: a Red Herring.
“Locker room talk.”
It is seriously brilliant. (Haven’t you learned not to underestimate him? Brilliance and sociopathy go hand-in-hand so often, it’s boring to even talk about.)
It’s brilliant because it controls the conversation. Now his supporters can roll their eyes at how everyone is overreacting, because it’s “just locker room talk,” and everyone has participated or been around that, right?
Now we have no choice but to engage in conversations focused on the term “locker room talk,” which means that every point we make is within the bounds of that conversation; even our insistence that this is NOT just “locker room talk” is an insistence made in the context of that proffered term.
Voila! Conversation controlled.
But let’s dissect this Red Herring, shall we? It’s the best way to reveal its intellectual and ethical poverty.
We have only 2 choices (and some corollaries) when assessing this mountebank’s BS term:
A. He really does (or did) make a habit out of grabbing people’s genitals, groping them, surprise-kissing them, etc.
If you think this is okay, it is only because you are either 1) a sociopath yourself, or 2) blinded by political expedience. The cure for the latter is to imagine your daughter, wife, mother, or YOURSELF in such a situation. Suddenly the political cobwebs clear, and you feel a near-murderous rage well up in your heart at the very idea. Very enlightening.
If A is the answer, then it means this man who wants to be president has no respect for other people’s rights and boundaries and thinks it’s okay to use his power to take what he wants from anyone he wants to take it from.
Is this the bumper-sticker America we like to brag about? Is this the land of the free and the home of the brave?
B. He was exaggerating to appear more…what? Manly? Cool? Powerful?
Sorry, apologists, but this answer also provides you no solace.
First of all, if B is the answer, then his own sense of masculinity must be whisper-thin and very fragile. By his own account, he thinks that masculinity is important and superior, so it stands to reason that he wants to project strong stereotypical “MANliness.” But everyone knows the more you have to insist that you ARE something, the more that thesis is called into question. I don’t go around all the time insisting that I’m an English professor or that I am 5’7”. Those things are in evidence, so I feel no need to assert them.
And really, isn’t it sick to assume that your claims of violating people’s human boundaries with impunity is a sign of power? What kind of person defines power that way?
Apparently this lout thinks that sexually violating women is actually the kind of thing that makes one powerful, and will thus be impressive to other men who admire power.
Think about that for a second. THIS is the man you want to support? A man who casually assumes that he will impress other men by talking about how he has no respect for humanity and personal rights and boundaries? Do we want either him OR those who are impressed by that anywhere near the head of our precious union? Are we ready to end this grand democratic experiment so soon?
I love profanity. Honestly. Even when I was a church-going lad I didn’t think profanity was wrong, but merely a matter of time/place/circumstance. My credentials when it comes to profanity are solid; like the Dad in Christmas Story, I take pride in my ability to weave great tapestries of profanity that hang indefinitely in space.
I have participated in many profanity-laced conversations in locker rooms and elsewhere, believe me, and I absolutely love irreverent humor (as long as it isn’t leveraged against any individuals). But this was neither humor nor good old fashioned profanity. This was one man speaking in a clear voice to another man when he thought the conversation was private.
While it is true that I have indeed heard guys in locker rooms brag about how they love to violate women sexually, my reaction was to avoid them altogether from then on. “Asshole,” I would mentally note. I had — and have — no desire to associate with such people, and I certainly would never ever want them in charge of something I care about.
This is not a “holier-than-thou” attitude or me trying to come off as morally superior. This is BASIC, what I assume any ethically conscious person would do: disassociate yourself from people with dangerous, anti-human ideas. I am shocked that so many otherwise seemingly ethical people would NOT react that way.
I know, I know: It’s politics, right? A lot of conservatives feel like they HAVE to support that boor, because he is on the conservative “side.” But honestly, can there be anything more conservative than protecting and respecting the rights, boundaries, and safety of our wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, and fellow citizens? Watch an old Western sometime, those idealistic operas of thick mythologized conservatism — anyone doing or saying that kind of thing would be hanging from the gallows by sundown. Posses would spring up throughout the town and people would forego jobs and meals to go find that rascal and string him up! And not a liberal among them.
If you are among those who feel the need to hold your nose and vote for that miscreant, I suppose I understand. Do what you have to do.
But have more respect for yourself than to be a lackey apologist for such a man. Have some decency.