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Thu Sep 27, 2018, 09:10 PM

Brett Kavanaugh and the Adolescent Aggression of Conservative Masculinity

"I love Kavanaugh’s tone,” Donald Trump, Jr., tweeted fifteen minutes into Brett Kavanaugh’s opening statement in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was referring to the judge’s wildly emotional performance, in which he alternated between shouting, as he blamed the Clintons and the Democrats for conspiring to torpedo his nomination to the Supreme Court, and weeping, as he spoke about the pain that he and his family have experienced in the weeks since accusations of sexual assault against him became public. Kavanaugh choked up and sobbed as he described his father’s detailed calendars, which apparently inspired his own calendar-keeping practice; he seemed unable to gain control over himself, gasping and taking frequent sips of water. The initial impression was of naked emotional vulnerability, but Kavanaugh was setting a tone. Embedded in the histrionics were the unmistakable notes of fury and bullying. Kavanaugh shouted over Dianne Feinstein to complain about the “outrage” of not being allowed to testify earlier; when asked about his drinking, by Sheldon Whitehouse, he replied, “I like beer. You like beer? What do you like to drink, Senator?” with a note of aggressive petulance that is hard to square with his preferred self-image of judicious impartiality and pious Sunday churchgoing. Lindsey Graham eagerly took up the angry-man mantle, using his allotted five minutes of questioning to furiously shout at his Democratic colleagues.

What we are seeing is a model of American conservative masculinity that has become popular in the past few years, one that is directly tied to the loutish, aggressive frat-boy persona that Kavanaugh is purportedly seeking to dissociate himself from. Gone are the days of a terse John Wayne-style stoicism. Now we have Trump, ranting and raving at his rallies; we have Alex Jones, whose habit of screaming and floridly weeping as he spouts his conspiracy theories is a key part of his appeal to his audience. When Kavanaugh is not crying or shouting, he uses a distinctly adolescent tone that might best be described as “talking back.” He does not respond to senators. He negs them. His response, when he is asked about his drinking, is to flip the question and ask the senators how they like their alcohol; his refusal to say whether he would coöperate with an F.B.I. investigation brings to mind a teen-ager stonewalling his parents. If Kavanaugh is trying to convince the public that he could never have been capable, as a teenager, of aggression or peer pressure, this is an odd way to go about it.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/current/brett-kavanaughs-adolescent-temper-tantrum-before-the-senate-judiciary-committee

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Reply Brett Kavanaugh and the Adolescent Aggression of Conservative Masculinity (Original post)
ehrnst Sep 27 OP
dhill926 Sep 27 #1
MountCleaners Sep 27 #2
dlk Sep 27 #3

Response to ehrnst (Original post)

Thu Sep 27, 2018, 09:13 PM

1. this asshole is as qualified to be a Supreme Court justice....

as the orange asshole is to be president...

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Response to ehrnst (Original post)

Thu Sep 27, 2018, 09:21 PM

2. What struck me was...

...how immature this guy was - in his fifties now, but his demeanor is that of a frat boy.

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Response to ehrnst (Original post)

Thu Sep 27, 2018, 10:35 PM

3. Toxic Masculinity is Ugly

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