A partial defense of Tucker Carlson's apology to Joe Biden
M. Catharine Evans has an excellent point in her criticism of Tucker Carlson's "apology" to Joe Biden, but there is a larger issue that is also worth considering. Yes, Biden has been a jerk for decades, physically imposing himself on women of all ages, but most objectionably on little girls, many of whom have been caught on camera cringing and pulling away from his unwelcome touching.
He has gotten away with this because he is a powerful politician and because he is what used be called a glad-hander, an extrovert who radiates joy at meeting people. People have cut him a lot of slack because of these two personal factors. It has allowed him the room to get away with behavior to obviously makes some people uncomfortable. But it is also worth noting that at least one purported victim, Stephanie Carter, whose picture with Biden has been widely circulated as proof of Biden stepping over the line, says the touching was not unwelcome. And in fact, review of video of the encounter shows that the famous photo (copyrighted by Getty, visible here) captured but one moment that appeared to be a cringe, while the rest of the touching was not so obviously unwelcome:
Cropped from a YouTube screen grab.
Here is Tucker's opening monologue:
The larger point was developed in the interview with Heather Mac Donald (alas, I can find no video of the interview).
Update: Peter Barry Chowka has found video of the inerview, and I embed it below:
That point is that feminists are claiming the exclusive right to define heterosexual encounters of all sorts as inherently unequal and troublesome. We are being catapulted into a form of neo-Puritanism, only with no redeeming spiritual qualities of the original. All encounters between any man and any woman are now seen as problematic and ought to be feared. Citing Nancy Pelosi's comment that she treats people as if they have a cold, Carlson and Mac Donald properly lamented that we are being taken to a brave new world that is very cold, with the possibilities of personal warmth between the two sexes now rejected in favor of a steely posture of suspicion and fear.
Relations between men and women are not always a bad thing, even though a faction of the angry feminist movement sees them that way. Does anyone else remember the t-shirt that said "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle"? Fish don't need bicycles to survive as a species. Without heterosexual relationships, our species dies out. With birth rates below replacement level in much of the economically advanced world, that is happening, and the trend seems to be accelerating.
Now, I think Tucker is, along with an insightful and brave analyst, a showman. He used his "apology" to Biden as a bit of shtick, a means of grabbing attention. In my view, Biden is at the same time a jerk and also a victim of people who have agendas of their own. If Carlson had said something more even-handed along these lines, it probably would have gotten less attention than the apology gimmick did.
Hey, it's television.