Lisa Zeiger

“...if [a] man is any kind of man, he’ll allow himself the awesome power, the wonderful beauty, of uncontrollable male passion.” —Mark Judge

Current discourse on “sexual assault “ focuses heavily, sensationally, and pruriently upon the “sexual” half of the expression; minimizing the threat or reality of death or injury represented by its other half, the word “assault.” Assault is the grievous bodily harm resulting from whatever female body part collides with a man’s “uncontrollable” passion, or, more often, rage. Obsession with the “sexual,” i.e. genital, by right and left alike, forecloses any sort of analysis of rape as just one of numberless violations--not the ultimate, only the most symbolic--inflicted on women by the blend of greedy sadism with con-artist sentimentality which found and fund patriarchal society and politics.

#MeToo is not the beginning of the end, but the end of a beginning. By vigorously and collectively outing, and wherever possible, prosecuting sexual crimes, we see at last that they are not rare aberrations of disturbed individuals, but standard male strategies of control as commonplace as they are putrid. Our recovery, as women, from our trance-like complicity with such tactics requires the sacrifice of false securities and fallen idols. We must not only punish malign male sexual behavior, but storm and transform--and in some cases abandon-- the institutions that inculcate and shelter it. We must be willing, if necessary, to walk out—or away—with just the clothes on our back.

From frat antics to unequal wages; from career ruin by liberal moguls who hire Black Cube to spy on females who spurn them, to hush money contracts invalid on their face; from abortion restrictions that so delay lawful early procedures as to make the horror of late-term abortion the patient’s last option (Kavanaugh himself recently protracted exactly such a case, involving an immigrant, on the D.C. Circuit), to he-said-she-said testimony before kangaroo Congressional “hearings” sans investigation or witnesses: the entire present-day parade of patriarchal wrongs against women, from creepy to criminal, is all the more hateful because of the governmental speech that purports to explain it all away. Compared to Senator Susan Collins’ slow—”slow,” as in stupid—Vichy-washy droning, I give Mark Judge ‘s purple phallocentrism a pass. Judge’s operative word-- his tell-- is “uncontrollable,” an “un-word” that obviates responsibility.

A manipulative paternalistic altruism was afoot in Senator Chuck Grassley’s oily assurances to Dr. Ford that Congress would do all it could to make her feel “comfortable” testifying, as if comfort were her remedy. Every accommodation was proffered--including a Senate mission to Palo Alto to hear her testimony--everything except a meaningful bite at real justice. Implacably, Grassley refused Dr. Ford’s demand for a renewed FBI investigation into Kavanaugh’s background, and a subpoena to Mark Judge, whose old-boy letter to the Judiciary Committee demurring to testify was blandly accepted.

Politicians like Grassley simply do not possess what Italian-Americans call the “stones” to brazen out--to own-- their own unappealing old-white-windbag “optics.” Instead, the Judiciary Committee has insisted on wheeling in an “Aunt Lydia,” female sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell. It remains to be seen this morning if, in hiring Ms. Mitchell, the Committee has unwittingly hired, not the beard they required, but a tough cookie; the very hit man to bring them down.

Whatever the short-term outcome of today’s hearing, an even shorter fuse is pending.

Set it off.