Of Rats and Asses

Since the last Media Circus — the one where I lambasted Maureen Dowd and her nudnik pal Max Mutchnick — news coverage of the presidential primaries has reached either the nadir or the zenith, depending on your taste for sick amusement. Mine’s pretty damn high, so I’ve been in a very merry mood since Ted Cruz responded to the National Enquirer’s cover story about his alleged serial adultery by blaming Donald Trump and uttering what may well be the greatest line in the history of American politics: “Donald Trump may be a rat, but I have no desire to copulate with him.”

Gail Collins, in a transparent effort to keep the op-ed page of the New York Times from careening into the topic of bestiality, took the easy way out by wondering what the statement means. But Gail! The sentence’s meaning is perfectly clear! As is so often the case with sexual intercourse, a but lies at the crux of the matter.

Restated, the alleged serial adulterer Cruz’s comment would go like this: “Despite the possibility that Donald Trump is a rat, I still don’t have any desire to get fucked by him.”

Media Circus

The alleged serial adulterer Cruz could have avoided making himself the laughingstock of the nation had he been just a little more careful with his conjunctions: he said “but” when he meant “and.” Or did he? We have yet to hear the true, um, inside story from a rodent close to the alleged serial adulterer speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid antagonizing his erstwhile sex partner. With any luck, we’ll read all about it in the National Enquirer.

By the way: cheers to MSNBC’s hunky Ari Melber for managing to keep a straight face when clarifying the reason why the news channel deigned to report a story that came from such a disreputable source. The Enquirer, Melber solemnly explained, is notoriously inaccurate, not a reliable source of information. But, Melber quickly continued, the instant the alleged serial adulterer Cruz made a statement about the Enquirer’s story, it became legitimate news. Melber is right; the National Enquirer isn’t known for its fealty to — what’s the word? — truth. But every once in a while it gets a story right. For example, Anthony Perkins learned that he was HIV-positive by reading it in the National Enquirer.

Still, Melber’s restraint in the face of a juicy journalistic gift from the gods was most amusing. Just imagine the unrestrained glee in editorial offices around the country when the alleged serial adulterer Cruz opened the door to the story of his own alleged serial adultery as covered by the sleazebag Enquirer. Gifts like this don’t fall from the sky every day.

“Face to face with history, all new excitement you’ll agree —North Carolina!” These chipper lyrics are from a tourism jingle that was inescapable at one point in the 1960s. The dwindling number of tourists and businesses visiting North Carolina will certainly come face to face with history now that the Republican-dominated state legislature has voted — and the Republican governor has signed — into law an utterly unprecedented regulation that specifically forbids localities from enacting anti-bias protections for LGBT people. So much for conservative claims about the wisdom of local governance. In North Carolina it’s now illegal to make discrimination illegal.

Editorials across the country blasted the law, the legislature, and the governor, Pat McCrory. In North Carolina alone, the major newspapers all agreed that the law was an embarrassing stain on the state. The Charlotte Observer: “It was, in the end, about a 21st century governor who joined a short, tragic list of 20th century governors. You know at least some of these names, probably: Wallace, Faubus, Barnett. They were men who fed our worst impulses, men who rallied citizens against citizens, instead of leading their states forward. This is what Pat McCrory did Wednesday. In just 12 hours. It wasn’t the stand in the schoolhouse door. It was a sprint past the bathroom door and straight into the South’s dark, bigoted past.”

The News & Observer in Raleigh: “What the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act is really about is respect, or rather the ultimate expression of a lack of it — insult. McCrory and his fellow Republicans who control the legislature have used this shoddy bill to slap people in the face. They’ve used it to reject the difficult and often brave efforts of transgender people to express who they are. Instead, transgender people are told by this law that they are whatever sex appears on their birth certificates. That the insult may be born more of ignorance than meanness does not excuse it.”

The News & Record in Greensboro: “In Louisiana, legislators from the backwoods and bayous haven’t overturned gay, lesbian, and transgender protections in New Orleans or even Shreveport. Similar protections are found in the ordinances of Atlanta, Ga.; Miami, Tampa, and Orlando, Fla.; Dallas, Austin, and Fort Worth, Texas; Boise, Idaho; Bloomington and Indianapolis, Ind.; Lawrence, Kan.; Louisville and Lexington, Ky.; St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo.; Omaha, Neb.; and on and on. In North Carolina, however, it’s painfully obvious that official state policy is hostile to the gay and transgender communities. From Amendment One to a law allowing state officials to refuse to facilitate legal same-sex marriages to, now, repealing local protections against discrimination, the state of North Carolina has made it abundantly clear that this population is unwelcome — whatever attitudes cities hold to the contrary… It was a sad day for North Carolina and its cities.”

And finally Asheville’s Citizen-Times: “The PPP [Public Policy Polling] poll also showed one thing that likely isn’t in dispute, that the legislature has an approval rating of 18 positive and 52 negative. It’s no surprise they’re hoping to find a group less popular than themselves to be the attention of the public’s focus. They need a devil. Sadly, they’ve decided their own constituents will suffice.”

But, predictably, the braying ignoramus element also demands to be heard. Here’s Larry Thornberry in the American Spectator: “Sex is not a matter of whim or choice. It’s a matter of far more important and unchangeable things, including but not limited to brain function, chromosomes, hormones, and plumbing. You can pump a man full of female hormones, deprive him of all that unfeminine hair, even deprive him of his marriage tackle. But that doesn’t make him a her. It just doesn’t. No matter how much progressive ideologues insist that it does.” And the world is flat, Larry. It just is. No matter how much science insists that it isn’t.

This dingleberry person is self-evidently a moron, as is the commenter on a Breitbart.com article about the North Carolina law, who writes, in toto, “Boys have a penis. Girls have a vagina.” Uh, no. Boys do not share a single, vast penis; girls do not collectively have one ginormous ‘gina. What the writer means to say is “Boys have penises. Girls have vaginas.” But although this moldy verity is now grammatically correct, it is still simply not true. Some boys have vaginas; some girls have penises. Sex is biological; gender is cultural. We aren’t talking sex when we talk trans. We are talking gender, the cultural expression of one’s innermost self through clothing, hair, and other forms of appearance and presentation. Hence the term transgender. Get it? No? Then please — until you do — just shut up.

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