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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

 
Tucker Carlson: He-man

by digby

He's a he-man if you think telling completely unbelievable stories about how you used to beat up gay's for hitting on you to be "he-man" activity, which he apparently does:

Via Media Matters,
From the August 28 edition of MSNBC Live at 9 p.m. ET:


CARLSON: Let me -- let me put it this way. Whether he's gay or not actually is not our business, and I do think it's indefensible that the newspaper in Idaho spent a year interviewing 300 people to answer the question, Is he gay? That's none of your business. Having sex in a public men's room is outrageous. It's also really common. I've been bothered in men's rooms. I think people who do -

SCARBOROUGH: Really?

CARLSON: Yeah, I have. You know what, Let me just say.

SCARBOROUGH: Wait, hold on a second. Dan, hold on a second. I don't mean to take over, but have you been bothered in public restrooms, Dan? Because I know I haven't.

CARLSON: I have. I've been bothered in Georgetown Park. When I was in high school.

ABRAMS: Really?

CARLSON: Yes.

SCARBOROUGH: Wow.

CARLSON: And let me just say, I think --

SCARBOROUGH: That's something.

CARLSON: -- people should knock that off. I'm not anti-gay in the slightest, but that's really common, and the gay rights groups ought to disavow that kind of crap because, you know, that actually does bother people who didn't ask for being bothered. So yeah, I think it's outrageous that he did that.

[...]

SCARBOROUGH: Hey, Tucker?

CARLSON: You know what I mean? It's insane!

SCARBOROUGH: Was he the guy in Georgetown, Tucker?

CARLSON: No, actually. I got that -- my point is -- let me just say --

ABRAMS: Tucker, what did you do, by the way? What did you do when he did that? We got to know.

CARLSON: I went back with someone I knew and grabbed the guy by the -- you know, and grabbed him, and -- and --

ABRAMS: And did what?

CARLSON: Hit him against the stall with his head, actually!

[laughter]

CARLSON: And then the cops came and arrested him. But let me say that I'm the least anti-gay right-winger you'll ever meet --

[laughter]

CARLSON: -- but I do think doing this in men's rooms appears to be common. It's totally wrong, and they should knock it off. I mean that. I think it's -- I can't bring my son to the men's room at the park where he plays soccer because of all these creepy guys hanging around in there. I actually think it's a problem. I'm sorry.



That's like some gothic high school tale from the 1940's. And it's just as credible. Really, does anyone think this actually happened? I don't. (And then cops came and arrested the guy? Please.) I think Tucker's odd obsession with gay men's room sex is revealing, actually. He seems to be have had quite a bit of experience with unwanted male attention (even today he won't let his son go into a public bathroom) while other straight guys say they very rarely if ever have this kind of interaction. One can't help but wonder what kind of signals 'lil Tuckie is sending out.

Furthermore, if Carlson and his high school pal, whom he allegedly left the bathroom to find and then came back to assault this gay man, did this as a result of the guy "tapping his feet" on the floor and sliding his foot under the stall divider, as Larry Craig admitted to doing, then Tuckie knows a hell of a lot more about gay cruising signals that the average straight fellow. I asked my husband if he would have had a clue what it meant if someone did that and he didn't know what I was talking about.

When the "signals" are that obscure, only the people who are in on the code know what's going on. Everyone else just thinks it's some guy sliding his foot around weirdly and tapping his toes while he sits on the toilet and they don't respond. The guy moves on to someone who knows the code and responds that they are interested.

In other words, if Tucker is picking up these signals as a gay come on, then he's far more clued in to the gay world than any straight guy, except maybe a cop, would normally be. We don't know, of course, what really happened to Tucker that day when he was "bothered" in the men's room. Perhaps it was really aggressively sexual and traumatizing. But he didn't make any distinctions and made the case that he'd been a victim of someone like Craig, so Craig's behavior is all we really have to go on.

As far as the raucous laughter on the show when he described banging that guy's head against a wall for having the temerity to make a pass at he-man Carlson, well, these are probably the same guys who would call a woman who was offended at a man's crude come-on, a castrating bitch. You can't win.

I confess, I'm a little bit surprised at the reflexive response of hearty male laughter to violent gay bashing on that show, though. Dan Abrams, the general manager of MSNBC and participant in that conversation, is reputedly gay.

On the other hand, he and Scarborough may have just been laughing at the complete absurdity of the poncy Tucker's story from beginning to end. I'm actually leaning that way.



Update:
To be perfectly clear here. Aside from the "gay panic defense" that Carlson apparently believs excuses bashing someone's head against a wall for making an unwanted sexual advance, Carlson's logic on the rest of this is equally disturbing and wrong. By bringing this story up in the context of Craig's admission, Carlson was implying that the case against Craig was that he was arrested for making crude, unwanted passes at innocent straight men and boys. That's not the case.

There is evidently a very deliberate and complex signaling that goes on that someone who wasn't clued in would never get, much less be offended by, because it requires that the target respond in a certain way before it goes to the next step (as the cop in the case did.If someone does feel weird about these signals they are easy enough to repel. Obviously, the reason they are so tentative and obscure is in order not to cause a disturbance.

The reason the police were in that bathroom wasn't because Craig and his ilk were preying on innocent straight teenagers but because they were meeting up with mutually interested gay men for a casual sexual encounter --- which may be icky, but it's not the same thing as deliberately "bothering" straight high school boys. Carlson made it sound like lots of gay men make a habit of doing that. It's not true.

There are laws against having sex in public and if someone makes a crude pass in a bathroom you certainly have a right to tell him to fuck off and the cops have a right to arrest him. Nobody has a right to bash his head against a wall. And Tucker doesn't have a right to say that gay men like Larry Craig, ---as reprehensible a hypocritical perv as he might be --- make a habit of preying on little boys which is what he was saying when he said he couldn't let his son go into the bathroom in the park because of all the creepy guys hanging around.

Tucker has now "clarified" his remarks. He says that he didn't actually bash the guy's head against the wall, he and his friend just held him until a security guard showed up. (This presumably means there was no police report either.)

Apparently, his bragging about bashing the gay guy's head against a wall for having the temerity to "bother" him (today he characterizes it as "grabbed" him and "assaulted" him) was just a fish story.



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