Warning: this post contains a number of sexual references, so if you find discussions of genital endowments inappropriate, you should probably skip this one.
Why am I addressing sexuality in a blog devoted to policy and politics? Because I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that a great number of America’s dysfunctions can be traced to misogyny–and that a great deal of that misogyny is the result of men’s concerns over the adequacy of their endowments–concerns that explain a number of, shall we say, “odd” fixations.
Some of those fixations are pretty well known: the racist obsession during slavery and Jim Crow with Black men’s “endowments” (and fears that Southern women might enjoy being “ravished”) , and the more recent “Incel” phenomenon, where men who can’t find women willing to have sex with them (gee, I wonder why? they sound so nice…) express their grievances by attacking women. And of course, there are those “tough” men who carry their guns to the local Kroger (compensate much?).
But there are less recognized aspects of this particular obsession.
Recently, an article in The New Republic considered some of the weirder aspects of the Right’s fixation with Hunter Biden and his laptop. The article was prompted by Elon Musk’s equally weird “expose” of Twitter’s earlier decision not to indulge the original frenzy around what appeared to most credible journalists as a very sketchy story. (After all, the laptop had been in the possession of Rudy Guliani for a period of time–if there had really been something damaging to Joe Biden, it’s likely we’d have heard about it.)
Despite Musk’s breathless implication that he was about to reveal some nefarious plot to hide wrongdoing, the communications he dredged up and published basically showed a discussion by Twitter’s then content moderators considering whether the story violated their standards. Ho-hum.
But then the article noted the “prurient interest” aspect of the whole matter.
Now: Here’s the psychotic part. As Miller put it: “The offending material that Taibbi revealed was removed by Twitter at the Biden campaign’s request turns out to have been a bunch of links to Hunter Biden in the buff.” And these photos revealed to the world that Hunter has … well, you know … let’s just say that he has been blessed by nature. The New York Post reported over the summer on its actual size. You can go look that up if you wish.
So here, clearly, is still one more thing for the right to hate about Hunter. Don’t laugh. Men don’t talk about it much in polite company, but this is something many men think about to the point of obsession. And isn’t it particularly acute among conservative men, all full of that macho swagger? Isn’t that swagger a form of compensation, like that bright orange Dodge Charger the 61-year-old balding man suddenly decides he can’t live without? And isn’t Donald Trump, who still smarts 30 years later from being dubbed “short-fingered” by Spy, the most insecure of all men along these lines? You surely don’t forget the time he actually made his penis a campaign issue in 2016. It’s not the kind of thing you can unremember.
OK, I’ll admit that I can’t look deep into the psyches of all these right-wing men and so I should not overgeneralize about them. I am not asserting that James Comer, the incoming chairman of the House Oversight Committee who has vowed to make the 118th Congress entirely about Hunter Biden, is thinking about how the first son holsters his Dillinger as he contemplates how he’s going to cut him down to—as it were—size. But I am saying, absolutely, that there is something strange and psychological about the Hunter obsession.
Perhaps it comes down to simply this: It’s all they have, and that makes them insane. Joe Biden has been in public life for half a century and has never been attached to a whiff of financial scandal. It makes the right, especially the Trumpy right, nuts. In Trumpworld, everyone is corrupt; that’s a given. Only schmucks aren’t out to cut corners and game the system. The only difference is between those smart enough to get away with it and those dumb enough to get caught.
Democrats have responded to the GOP’s threat to make the next two years all about Hunter Biden–who has never been part of government– by pointing to the multiple grifts of the Trump offspring, who made out like bandits while occupying high government positions for which they were manifestly unfit. True enough–and certainly more appropriate material for public discussion.
But have you looked lately at squirrelly Jim Jordan, and some of the other Republicans engaged in this particular vendetta?