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Toobin calls out Kavanaugh's 'weird' interview

CNN Chief Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin criticizes Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's decision to grant an interview to Fox News.

Posted: Sep 26, 2018 5:08 PM
Updated: Sep 26, 2018 5:13 PM

The #MeToo reckoning is still coming — not just for the prominent men who use their power to exploit others, but also for the boys they once were. We are recognizing, finally, that misogynist men are made, not born.

The task, now, is to interrupt the making.

As he seeks confirmation to the US Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh has taken great pains to paint himself as a champion of women and girls, a strategy employed to undercut Democratic assertions that he would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Then came an allegation of sexual assault while Kavanaugh was a student at Georgetown Prep high school, made by Christine Blasey Ford, who attended a neighboring school. Then another allegation that Kavanaugh pushed his penis in the face of a classmate at Yale. He vigorously denies both accusations.

But now there's Kavanaugh's Georgetown Prep yearbook. It is rife with sexist sexual innuendo about "Renate Alumnius" (Renate Schroeder being a girl in Kavanaugh's broader social circle back then) and "FFFFFFFourth of July (a lewd and predatory term).

In a more feminist world, such casual misogynist cruelty would be rare. But anyone who has passed through high school knows that the language employed by Kavanaugh and crew is indeed quite typical of teenage "boys just being boys." And that's exactly the problem: Teenage boyhood continues to accept, sometimes even hinge on, misogyny and ill treatment of girls — usually girls over whom boys have relative social power.

Then we wonder why those same boys become the men who mistreat women, discriminate against us in the workplace, or look the other way when other men harass, bully or abuse us.

It can be jarring to realize just how deep misogyny goes. Renate Schroeder Dolphin, who was the butt of Kavanaugh and friends' "alumni" joke, previously had signed a letter of support for him, proclaiming his respect for women when she knew him in high school.

She told the New York Times she was not aware of the yearbook reference when she signed the letter and said in a statement that the "insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue."

To add insult to injury, Kavanaugh's lawyers claim that the yearbook entries don't mean what we all know they mean. Instead, they insist, the "Renate Alumnius" jokes were reflective of a deep respect for Renate, and only indicated that she had gone to dances and events with Kavanaugh and his friends.

("Judge Kavanaugh and Ms. Dolphin attended one high school event together and shared a brief kiss good night following that event," his lawyers' statement reads. Dolphin denied this through her lawyer: "Brett must have me confused with someone else, because I never kissed him.")

Everyone can see that Kavanaugh's denials are obvious BS, because we all know teenage boys don't make in-group sexualized jokes about women they respect. We viscerally know what "Renate Alumnius" means because we are collectively fluent, after long experience, in the subtle language of misogyny.

And we also know how it feels to have our fluency in that language denied. When women identify disrespect or demand better treatment, we are often the ones who are punished, or told that our version of events doesn't reflect reality. The denials from Kavanaugh's lawyers are practically Trumpian: Yes, it says what it says and we all know what that means, but you can't believe your lyin' eyes.

But this dishonest defense of entitlement, this propping up from an early age of the male version, doesn't work as well as it used to.

Indeed, whatever happens with the Kavanaugh nomination, one hopes that this ugly turn through his teenage past will at least help us to stop raising boys in this way. Ideally, we would raise kind — not casually cruel -- more nurturing, responsible boys, because it's the right thing to do for boys and girls.

But even if we raise boys to avoid misogyny and bad treatment of women under threat that it simply might curtail their bright futures, that's a good start, too. We'll take it as a win for now.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 21960

Reported Deaths: 908
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin7421549
Ramsey255198
Stearns195912
Nobles14782
Anoka124156
Dakota116438
Olmsted57010
Washington55329
Kandiyohi4711
Rice3962
Clay38625
Scott3742
Wright2631
Todd2200
Sherburne2172
Mower2061
Carver1822
Benton1672
Steele1440
Martin1265
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Houston20
Kittson10
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Lake10
Roseau10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 17676

Reported Deaths: 477
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk3821112
Woodbury264028
Black Hawk169240
Linn93676
Marshall87511
Dallas86417
Johnson6057
Muscatine54540
Wapello5174
Crawford4872
Tama39824
Scott3419
Louisa3369
Dubuque32316
Jasper25716
Buena Vista2520
Pottawattamie2207
Sioux2040
Washington1848
Wright1240
Plymouth1181
Allamakee1184
Warren1120
Story951
Poweshiek888
Mahaska858
Bremer676
Henry671
Clinton601
Des Moines591
Boone550
Cedar461
Guthrie433
Taylor400
Benton391
Jones360
Monroe354
Clarke350
Iowa330
Osceola320
Shelby310
Clayton313
Buchanan310
Marion300
Webster281
Fayette260
Hamilton250
Madison251
Monona240
Winneshiek230
Cerro Gordo221
Lee210
Davis200
Grundy190
Lyon190
Harrison190
Cherokee180
Floyd181
Jefferson180
Mills160
Delaware150
Butler150
Hancock140
Keokuk140
Greene130
Sac130
Appanoose133
Humboldt130
Ida130
Hardin130
Howard120
Jackson120
Audubon121
Cass110
Clay100
Page100
Winnebago100
Dickinson90
Carroll90
Van Buren90
Chickasaw80
Franklin80
Kossuth80
Emmet70
Adair70
Montgomery60
Union60
Lucas60
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