There’s Something About Todd

I strongly advise you not to read this post. Your browser has a Back button. Use it.

I don’t know what it is about Todd Akin.

The whole point of the Weekly Sift is to filter the junk and hype out of the news so that you only read stuff that is worth your attention. But success in that venture depends on my ability to leave something alone once I’ve determined that it’s not worth either your time or mine.

Todd Akin is not worth your time or mine. So you shouldn’t read this post and I certainly shouldn’t be writing it. And yet, I can’t seem to ignore him. I suppose it’s that infuriating combination of ignorance, self-righteousness, and self-assurance. So many intelligent, thoughtful people could be interviewed on TV, but aren’t. And yet, there’s Todd Akin, displayed in my living room! And why am I writing about him? I’m just making it worse.

But I can’t stop myself, so let’s get this over with: In interviews promoting his new book — which I refuse to link to; I still have that much control — he says he knows what he did wrong in his “legitimate rape” interview: It was just a bad choice of words. He should have said “legitimate case of rape” instead, because then the liberal media couldn’t have slandered him by making it sound like he thought a rape could be legitimate.

Let’s plug that into the transcript and see how it plays:

CHARLES JACO: So if an abortion can be considered in the case of, say, a tubal pregnancy or something like that, what about in the case of rape? Should it be legal or not?

REP. TODD AKIN: Well, you know, people always want to try and make that as one of those things: “Well, how do you—how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question?” It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate [case of] rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.

Well, the insensitivity is unchanged: Raped women aren’t real people who deserve our compassion, they’re just a “tough sort of ethical question” that tricky interviewers use to try to trip Akin up — like “Can God make a rock so big He can’t lift it?” or something. And after this tough question gets sorted out by the higher mind, it really just comes down to who to punish — the rapist or the fetus. The woman is a bystander.

The junk science about female physiology is still there; two years later, and he still hasn’t educated himself. And he’s still implying that only violent rape really counts. (What about roofies? Even in Akin’s alternate universe, would an unconscious woman’s body “shut that whole thing down”?)

Most importantly, he’s still saying that women who claim they got pregnant from a rape are probably lying, because “that’s really rare” in “a legitimate [case of] rape”.

So no, I don’t think he fixed anything.

Here’s what’s reprehensible about Todd Akin, and it’s got nothing to do with his choice of words: Even given two years to think about it, he still believes in a legal system in which rape is a viable male reproductive strategy. (They’ll put you in jail if they catch you — and if the woman can prove she didn’t consent — but the law will force your victims to bear your children, so your genes will live on.) He believes in that system so strongly that he’s willing to seek out junk science to justify it.

I’m going to stop writing now. To everyone who made it this far: I’m sorry. I really am. Try to do something more worthwhile with the rest of your day.

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  • Jill Herendeen  On July 21, 2014 at 9:43 am

    IMHO, you’ve summed up Akin’s problem well. Though one could add that being able to legally, safely, readily control their fertility themselves is the leading reason European women live longer, at all socioeconomic levels, than American women. As well as the likelihood that this jerk got air time because the MSM want the public to believe that there’s some sort of legitimacy to his mindset–to keep the 99% busy fighting each other over subjects which don’t impair the 1%’s ability to rake in their money, instead of, say, getting together and going after the 1%. Which is also way better for the network than reporting on something which is actually newsworthy (which would almost inevitably involve the 1% looting the 99% in some way).

  • samuraiartguy  On July 21, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Pretty much covers it. The insanity, junk science, insensitivity and arrogant misogyny kind of sticks in the brain, like a vibrating, toxic, radioactive peanut ON FIRE. The urge to shout at it, rail against the STUPID, and somehow SHUT THE @*$&^% THING THE HELL UP is almost impossible to resist.

  • DJR  On July 23, 2014 at 1:45 am

    Why writing this was necessary: Some people don’t get that no means no, so you have to say no one more time, as many times as it takes. Hopefully, voters will clarify this at the polls during the next election. Till then, I say we give him a microphone and let him keep trying to fix this.


  • By Foreigners in Egypt | The Weekly Sift on July 21, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    […] This week’s featured posts are “Gaza as seen from a distance” and “There’s Something About Todd“. […]

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