If Only Idiocy Was Confined to Texas

One of my favorite blogs, as I’ve noted here before, is “Juanita Jean’s, the World’s Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc.” In a recent post, Juanita Jean takes Texas’ Lt. Governor Dan Patrick to task for being, as she delicately puts it, “a damn fool.”

Juanita is too restrained.

We have a few minor problems in Texas.  We are next to last in education. We are first in uninsured children. Our maternal death rate has doubled, making it twice what it is in Turkey and Chile. Our roads and bridges are crumbling. A quarter of Texas children live in poverty.

And what is Dan Patrick concerned about?

Keeping men out of ladies’ rooms.

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-9-39-33-amThere ya go.  This man is burning rocket fuel to Crazyville.

You can write this on the barn with waterproof paint:  Dan Patrick thinks about sex waaaaay too much.

If this idiocy was confined to Texas (a state which sometimes seems to have invented embarrassingly bad public policy), that would be one thing, but this fixation on who uses what bathroom is hardly unique to Texas.

Given the real issues America faces, it seems incomprehensible. But I do have a theory. (Yes, I always have a theory…cockamamie as some of them may be.)

We have a cohort of Americans–mostly older Americans, and mostly but not exclusively men–who wake up every morning to a world they no longer understand. Technology is complicated. Their position in society is no longer secure. Minorities are asserting legal rights. Change is constant. Media outlets looking for “clicks” and eyeballs tell them that terrorists and criminals are everywhere, just waiting to pounce.

They are convinced that they are losing America–and it’s true that they are losing the America they imagine they used to occupy. So they support Patrick and Trump and others like them. They desperately want to put black people back on the other side of the tracks and gay people back in the closet. Those efforts aren’t going so well–so they’ve shifted the focus to transgender folks. After all, transgender equality is a “Johnny-come-lately” civil rights movement–and fewer people actually know transgender people.

They may not understand climate change or economic policy or what’s happening in Aleppo or what the hell Snapchat is, but they do know what restrooms are.

On the other hand, most of them definitely do not know what irony is.

As a number of people have pointed out in the wake of the “grab her by the p—y” tape, the same men who have been absolutely horrified at the thought of a transgender person urinating in the same restroom with their wives and daughters–the same men who are hellbent to protect the “sanctity of the stall”– are the ones dismissing Trump’s braggadocio about his sexual assaults as “locker room talk.”

This isn’t about transgender folks. This is about the loss of male privilege. If anyone is going to assault their women, it had better be (their version of) a real man!


  1. One of the things that keeps bothering me even about the men who *have* condemned Trump’s bragging about sexual assault is that they so often frame it in terms of, “I have a daughter or wife…” It seems that they cannot bring themselves to recognize that sexual assault isn’t okay until they see it in terms of some *other* man taking an object that they see as rightly *belonging* to them.

  2. They are afraid of ” our wives and daughters” being groped by trans people, but they are supporting a Groper-in-Chief. Go figure.

  3. “We have a cohort of Americans–mostly older Americans, and mostly but not exclusively men–who wake up every morning to a world they no longer understand.”

    “This is about the loss of male privilege.”

    This old American woman is trying to understand enough technology to be able to use my computer to keep up with the changing world today. I already understand and recognize the panic regarding the “loss of male privilege” which is fueling Trump’s campaign. I do not fully understand transgender issues but I do accept them…that transgenders are real people and their issues are real. I also fully understand who and what Donald Trump is and what he stands for and am appalled at the number of Americans, primarily women of all ages, who flock to his support and will vote for him. They have no idea of the hard-fought-for rights they will cause all women to lose; along with massive losses to Blacks, Hispanics, all LBGTQs, legal and illegal immigrants, Jews, Muslims, refugees…and the list goes on.

    I am one of those older American women, living in Indiana and trying to keep up with this changing world but the entire fiasco of presidential election is standing in the way of progress – including needed government progress which is at a standstill. Trump seems to have gained support from women after bragging about grabbing their pussy – I refuse to use anything but the word he used – maybe this is what they want.

    It is long past due for Hillary Clinton to refer to Trump’s latest stupidity briefly, to remind her supporters and all others that investigations of her have had negative results, and to return to telling us what she will do to improve this country and how she will attempt to accomplish these goals.

    She is helping elect Donald Trump along with the media that cannot get enough of his hateful words and his ugly face. This campaign has become one with only one candidate and one issue; Donald Trump and his rights as a rich white man. The GOP is still supporting him, contrary to their denials, and will see that he is elected. Hillary is helping him in all 50 states and our U.S. territories by concentrating her campaign on Trump and his issues…not only in Texas where he is already a winner.

  4. Yall oughta go take a look at JUANITA JEAN’S, THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS BEAUTY SHOP IN THE WORLD. Truly fine folks hang out there. I’ll be lookin’ for you.

  5. I think you will find that the cohort you mentioned is not actually suffering from poverty and difficult situations. They live in isolation, “protected” from threatening relationships and are fairly well off. They are afraid that things will happen to them and what might happen if…. They don’t know any GLBT, people of color and different ethnicity, but are focused on what might happen if they would have to deal with them. They only know what Fox News has told them and talking to others who can confirm their biases. It should be no surprise that Amish people are big supporters of Mr. Trump. Simply because they are isolated and do not know anyone who might constitute a threat to them. Fear of what you do not know and making a judgment about that situation without being in it is simply prejudice, a prominent characteristic of these folks who carry such ideas.

  6. “This is about the loss of male privilege” and “white privilege” and “Christian Privilege”..

    Instead of “Make American Great Again” the caps should read “Give Us Back Our Privilege”.

    When Trump’s numbers started dropping after the second debate, someone said .. “The twilight of the angry old white men.”

  7. Aimee, two additional things bother me about the men who now are backing away fro the short-fingered vulgarian. None of them are saying they can no longer support him “because I have a son” who should not grow up thinking that such behavior is right (can’t take credit for that, but it’s on point). And, that’s their last straw? We’ve long passed the point where there’s any moral redemption in repudiating Trump; it’s all about self-preservation of political careers for them now. We all know it, and we all will remember on November 8.

  8. I think more people know a transgender person than know they know a transgender person.

  9. Patrick; they may say they are backing away from Trump but…how many have said they will NOT vote for him? They don’t have to vote for anyone; it is not a requirement. Some have said they are supporting the Republican party, not Trump. Trump is not a Republican; he believes himself to be in a popularity contest and has no concept of what a president stands for or what they are required to do. He has lived by his own rules, changed them at a whim, and is in for major surprises if elected. His primary asset, aside from his money, is that he is fodder for SNL comedy skits and has been for more than 20 years.

  10. It’s the same situation in IN and other states. Texas is not unique. I suspect (no proof) that these straw man issues are created by ALEC or equivalent to divert attention from those serious issues that require and deserve attention and resolution. Hatin’ the LGBT or whomever just keeps the public’s focus on that and not on how poor public education is performing or how bad the roads are.

  11. The nature of change is itself changing and the pacing is intolerable to those of conservative bent. They feel threatened by everything from toilet seat preferences to Putin to Iran to black presidents and a whole list of other things and events much like those in usafacture feared the central workshop and assembly line efficiency with the advent of the Industrial Revolution (see the Luddites). What we need most in schools is not what Google can tell us; we can use our synapses to learn how to learn and adapt ourselves to new and rapidly changing political, economic and social environments (which are nearing exclusive corporate control if not already). A tree that cannot bend will break in a storm, the old saying goes, and our pace of change is challenging, to be sure. However, if we understand Lakoff’s framing game and the pacing of change and act on them, we can survive Trump idiocies and enrichment of the few very nicely and not only retain but expand our tattered democracy to the benefit of all. I think the total loss of democracy can only result in a failed state not worthy of survival, which doesn’t have to happen, but the prospect of which may explain my activist attempts to save our democracy from the ravages of dictators and money changers, however they may disguise themselves as economic, political and social messiahs.

  12. JoAnn,

    This gets back to a concern you voiced a week or so ago about Donald Trump being forced to step down.

    The following is from Wikipedia. I didn’t know about this until this morning.

    Susan Hawk resigned from the position [of Dallas District Attorney] on September 6, 2016.[4][5] If Hawk had stepped aside a week-and-a-half prior, citizens would be voting for the next district attorney of Dallas County in November 2016.[6][7][8] Instead, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, will choose a replacement, likely another Republican.[9][8]

    Trump appears to be in a free fall.

    My question is: What or who can prevent Donald Trump from voluntarily stepping down as the Republican presidential nominee like SUSAN HAWK has done with the result that Mike Pence is now the Republican presidential nominee? I’m no expert in this area. Maybe Sheila or someone else on the blog knows the answer.


  13. We miss the significance of what is happening unless we realize the importance of distinguishing between two distinct orders of events: those happening in the visible and external world, the actual fall of nations, destruction of states, and the domination or threatened domination of the vast majority of mankind by a relatively small minority [I would also include a presidential election], between events of that order and those happening in the minds of men. In this latter sphere we face above all a MIRACLE OF BLINDNESS. It behooves us therefore not merely to face the facts of yesterday’s folly but inquire how it came about that we did not see it to be folly. We are confronted by two miracles, not one: one of a material and another of a moral order. It is the latter which explains the former. Yet it is the mental lapse which we overlook.
    I insist upon the “miracle of opinion” because there will be a tendency now to say: “Well, in any case we have seen the facts at last; and it serves no purpose further to labor the point.”
    It is quite evident that the ready, noisy, unanimous acquiescence in a League to Enforce Peace had no deep roots in understanding. It responded to a mood, a desire, an intention to get rid of war, never to have the tragedy of 1914-18 repeated. BUT THE ROOTS OF UNDERSTANDING AND CONVICTION were so shallow that a few blasts of demagogy, the provision of a few convenient scapegoats on which to blame the involvement of the country in the last war, and pre-occupation with domestic issues and party politics, suffered to sweep the whole thing away.
    Are we to learn by experience? Whether we do or not depends upon our interpretation of experience. Experience does not teach itself, as a glance at the lives of some of our neighbors will suffice to show. Whether or not wisdom comes out of past events depends upon A TRUE READING OF THEM.

    “Let the People Know” by Norman Angell (New York: The Viking Press, 1942) pp. 57-59

  14. If Trump were to voluntarily step down–a farfetched scenario given his bloated ego–GOP rules require the RNC to convene and choose a successor. Pence would not automatically take the spot. With 26 days to go, ballots across the US printed, state dates for substitutions past, and some half-million early votes cast, this simply isn’t going to happen. And the rules do not allow the GOP to force him out–they can only fill vacancies that arise by virtue of voluntary withdrawal, death, etc.

    They’re stuck with him, and with the base that continues to support him.

  15. “… and the domination or threatened domination of the vast majority of mankind by a relatively small minority [I would also include a presidential election], …”

    Marv; this quote from your comments pointed out to me an apparently unrecognized danger – or crux of the current election problem – which hasn’t been shouted to the rooftops and it is too late to begin. The President of the United States is the most powerful position on the planet and it is currently headed for destruction. I will say again; whichever way this election goes, it will NOT go peacefully. You are familiar with the old adage, “A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link.”. Today, in the United States of America, our weakest link is the entire Democratic Party. The impropriety by the DNC of ignoring Debbie Wasserman Schultz and claims of rigging the electoral process in Hillary’s favor and eventual ousting of Bernie Sanders is but a small part of this weakness.

    The Republicans managed to showcase 17 possible presidential nominees; some totally ridiculous, and others who might have been a viable option, dropping quickly by the wayside with the GOP supporting their loss. This brings us to where we are today; with the first woman presidential candidate who is not trusted (mostly unjustified) and disliked, with a virtually unknown choice for her running mate. The Democratic party has done no better with this election than the Republicans did in 2008 and 2012 – did they WANT to lose the election, saving Trump as a surprise nominee? He has been “news” for decades. Does the Democratic party WANT to lose this election? They have put forth little effort to seek out candidates and currently spend their time and campaign ads attacking Trump giving him more media exposure. The only E-mail newsletters I receive from them are asking for money; I view these donations as adding to Trump’s media coverage.

    I have lost all trust in the DNC at this time; I believe my election options are pitiful but will cast my votes for them, return home and get back to praying for hope of survival and a lessening of my fears for all of us.

  16. JoAnn,

    Does the Democratic party WANT to lose this election? They have put forth little effort to seek out candidates and currently spend their time and campaign ads attacking Trump giving him more media exposure.

    I don’t believe they want to lose the election. However, I don’t believe they want to really win it in the right way. They lack the necessary CIVIC COURAGE to lead in these extremely dangerous and difficult times.

  17. Amiee, is your comment aimed at all men? Many of the remarks here lately have been directed at men, not some men but just men.

  18. Donald Trump is a coarsened example of human behavior for men and women to be avoided at all costs. He embarrasses and endangers our country on the world stage.

  19. Politics is a world of disguise. When one gets to look beyond them some clarity is revealed.

    I think that today boils down to progressives vs regressives and Sheila explains clearly why people favor regression. Nostalgia for times when they mattered even if only in their imagination.

    Who would not prefer that to progression into a confusing, changing, unseen, complex, overcrowded, mess where you can’t even count on the climate for God’s sake.

    There is only one argument for accepting the future. Just like this year’s Presidential election, there’s only one choice, the very definition of out of our control.

  20. Marv and Jo Ann, I agree with both of you as far the Democratic Party lacking courage. It was so obvious the DNC and the Super Delegates rigged the Primaries in Hillary’s favor.

    As a Boomer I want to provide this link, before I forget. https://www.theguardian.com/membership/2016/oct/11/middletown-gary-younge-us-election-presidential-muncie-indiana Gary Younge of the Guardian plans to spend a month in Muncie, Indiana reporting on the election.

    Anyway, what the Trumpet has accomplished with his vile, disgusting video is exposed in the extreme the Republican agenda, that woman are objects to be manipulated and controlled. The Trumpets video is not some one off drunken rant in Frat House among the boys. He has consistently demonstrated after his video in his own words his low opinion of woman in general. The Trumpet it would be fair to presume views woman as sexual objects.

    Pence and many other Republicans put a suit on and try to disguise their contempt for woman. The Republicans have now been exposed to the light, as they scramble to defend him, or try to distance themselves one way or another. The Republicans cannot say the Trumpet was foisted upon them, he won their primary and thus reflects their base. Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, meanwhile, told the conservative magazine the Weekly Standard that he wouldn’t characterize unwanted touching and kissing as sexual assault. “I think that’s a stretch,” he said. Side Bar – I wonder what Senator Sessions would say if a man groped and kissed him?????

  21. My wife and I retired to South Carolina where a not insignificant portion of residents first act after waking in the morning is not to brush their teeth (tooth), but to raise their middle finger in the direction of Washington, DC. Texas’s rate of finger raising may be even higher, but its governor is only slightly worse than ours. Here we plead for FEMA money then declaim it , an outsized portion of residents are retired military but hate the government, we vigorously compete for 49th in every social metric that matters, we turn down federal money for education, we adore Trumpism, we refuse to spend for good roads, and we abuse ourselves as aggressively as possible in every way possible. There have always been such people (I hear banjos playing in the distance), but in SC the impression is that they constitute a majority. We deplore federal suggestions for education improvements because the proposed curricula introduce critical thinking, a concept beneath contempt since at least 1820 hereabouts. There are some excellent South Carolinians, even some who grew up here, but their numbers are not large.

  22. I have just early voted here in Florida (can you say 29 electoral votes?) and Hillary is ahead 1-0. I talked to a lady here at the park this morning and she said she didn’t like Hillary but that she was far ahead of Don the Con and that she was voting for Hillary. Hillary is largely the victim of Fox News propaganda endlessly repeated in the best Goebbel-esk fashion to a point where it has been accepted as truth by the unwary (and large swaths of the wary). I told the lady that you didn’t have to love a candidate to vote for him or her. I have made my choice and am proud to say that I voted for Hillary because she is a super-qualified choice among available candidates by reason of experience and intelligence. Political warts and moles after 35 years of exposure and occasional compromise that I thought went too far? Of course! No candidate I voted for after his or her election will do or fail to do what I would prefer to see done or undone. We as citizens have to give those in our party a bit of slack and try to understand that they are on the firing line and we are not, especially with a bunch of tea partiers, billionaires and libertarian nihilists in opposition.

  23. @ Terry Munson – It does not sound like you and your wife are enjoying retirement there. How do you cope?

  24. Very unfortunately, there seems to be quite the competition among the States to see which one of them can do the most damage to it’s citizens — who somewhat confoundedly continue to repeatedly vote in favor of having it done to themselves. Off the top of my head, in addition to South Carolina and Texas, Kansas, Indiana (my birth and former home state), and Arizona (my current residence) come to mind among several others. Nothing like a competition to see who can reach the bottom first and stay there. Ironically, the State that California, which is the most “Blue,” Liberal, and Progressive state in the Union with some of the highest taxes, is leading the Nation in economic growth. Once again highlighting that a great proportion of our citizens now live in a “post-factual” age.

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