Posted on | January 9, 2013 | 34 Comments
Katherine Webb: Not bad to look at, despite attending Auburn.
“You see that lovely lady there, she does go to Auburn, but she’s also Miss Alabama and that’s AJ McCarron’s girlfriend. You quarterbacks, you get all the good looking women. What a beautiful woman. Wow.”
Why all the outrage? She is indeed Miss Alabama and, the last time I checked, that was what is known as a “beauty pageant.”
While Musberger’s comments may have been a bit gushy, it wasn’t as if he said anything salacious, rude or inappropriate. This involves something I’ve discussed before: Beauty is an objective fact.
Beauty exists independent of our recognition of it. However, in our sexualized “hook-up” culture, male acknowledgement of beauty is presumed to convey sexual interest, a de facto proposition. So when Brett Musberger says Katherine Webb is a “lovely lady” — which she most certainly is — many people hear that as, “I’d hit it.”
Or, as Darnell Dockett might say: “Wing Stop.” (Dockett says that when he publicly Tweeted his phone number to Webb, he actually meant to send it via DM, the kind of social-media accident Neal Rauhauser and his paranoid crew of “Weiner Truthers” claim can only be explained by a Breitbart-coordinated right-wing conspiracy. But I digress . . .)
Feminism and the concern about workplace discrimination have imposed a new sort of puritanism, a kind of neo-Victorian repression in which even an entirely innocent comment can be portrayed as harassment, as an attempt to “hit on” someone. If all acknowledgements of beauty are viewed as expressions of sexual interest (“drooling,” as some have characterized Musberger’s comments), then a sort of taboo becomes embeded in our customs and habits, and thus has radical feminism triumphed by shaming people into silence. The question is, why?
Rush Limbaugh’s Undeniable Truth #24: “Feminism was established so as to permit unattractive women easier access to the mainstream.”
ESPN actually apologized for Brent Musberger’s comments, as if he were the one sending his digits to A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend. We don’t even know if Webb or McCarron were offended.
Rather — and this is what tells you that a powerful taboo is involved — critical thought is immediately suspended and everyone simply reacts according to a culturally normative script, with people saying things they know they’re supposed to say, and everyone is intimidated by fear of being attacked if they ask, “Why all this anger? What exactly did Brent Musberger say that deserves such a firestorm? Why does this ‘controversy’ require an article in the New York Times?”
“It’s extraordinarily inappropriate to focus on an individual’s looks,” said Sue Carter, a professor of journalism at Michigan State. “In this instance, the appearance of the quarterback’s girlfriend had no bearing on the outcome of the game. It’s a major personal violation, and it’s so retrograde that it’s embarrassing. I think there’s a generational issue, but it’s incumbent on people practicing in these eras to keep up and this is not a norm.”
Yeah? Well, it may rather “retrograde,” but let me quote an acknowledged expert on what is “extraordinarily inappropriate” — Ace of Spades:
Did Brett Musberger say that about Katherine Webb? No. He just said she was a “lovely lady.” Does anyone deny that she is? No.
But the praise of beauty implies a negative judgment against the less-beautiful, and this is an inequality that feminists regard as intolerable.
UPDATE: House of Eratosthenes:
If I live to be a hundred and fifty, I’ll never figure out why people allow complete strangers like Sue Carter professor of journalism, all this traffic-cop-go-and-stop authority over whether they’re allowed to notice a woman is beautiful. Why would you do that? Why would you surrender that kind of power? It almost suggests a fear of making personal decisions, even for matters of style and taste.
Some people just crave approval so desperately that they are afraid of saying or doing anything that might risk disapproval. The Left is very good at intimidating people like that, and is also good at ginning up the kind of lynch-mob fury needed to “make an example” of anyone who refuses to cooperate with the Left’s agenda.
UPDATE II: You know who’s not offended by Brent Musberger’s remarks? Attractive women, including those on Fox News:
Kirsten Powers: “He called her lovely and beautiful. People act like he was drooling and saying inappropriate things. To me, this is just Feminism gone awry.”
Monica Crowley: “When I’m watching the NFL and Tom Brady comes on screen, I have some choice words about him. He’s such a hunk!”
Megyn Kelly: “It’s crazy to me that ESPN felt that he went too far in doing what all the judges at the [Miss Alabama] competition did and millions of Americans did as well. I don’t know a woman who doesn’t like to be told she’s beautiful.”
- American Power: “Brent Musburger Under Fire For Comments About Katherine Webb”
- Astute Bloggers: “Proof That Soon It Will Be Illegal for a Straight Man to Compliment the Appearance of an Attractive Woman.”
- Evil Blogger Lady: “Katherine Webb Rule 5.”
- Viral Read: “Bama Dominates BCS, Bama Girls Dominate BCS Viewers”