Savage Death Island is happy to launch a new feature. It’s the greatly anticipated Ways In Which the Internet Sucks feature!
We begin with a charming instance of Whataboutthemen?! appearing this morning on the Atlantic’s website. But first, the backstory:
Meghan McCain — Young Republican, internet columnist, “Colbert Report” guest, and daughter of John — posts a self-portrait on Twitpic.
A “twitpic,” I have discovered, is a photo with a short URL, suitable for tweeting.
McCain tweets this URL.
Uh-oh! In the self-twitpic, McCain has failed to completely disguise the fact that she has breasts. Her “tens of thousands of followers” retaliate for her public femaleness by loosing a torrent of abuse, a Public Shaming Action consistent with the Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women. According to WSJ blog Dijits, McCain responds to the beatdown thusly:
“So I took a fun picture not thinking anything about what I was wearing but apparently anything other than a pantsuit I am a slut. [...] When I am alone in my apartment, I wear tank tops and sweat pants, I had no idea this makes me a ’slut’, I can’t even tell you how hurt I am.”
I will touch on the tragickal patriarchy-blaming implications of that statement in a moment. But first, the whataboutthemen Atlantic piece.
Appearing in a column called “Spatwatch,” with the classy and original headline “Meghan McCain’s Breasts Launch 1000 Ships,” is an account of two dudes who get into it on Twitter over McCain’s photograph. The dudes, if anyone gives a crap, are ABC correspondent Jake Tepper and some knob described as “conservative blogger Allahpundit.”
I don’t know about you, but whenever I see a blog with the word “pundit” in the title, I say to myself, “Jill, that’s one blog you can safely omit from your reading list with every expectation that your life will continue to be fun-filled and carefree.”
The substance — I use the term loosely — of the Tepper/Allahpundit tweetbroglio: Tepper chivalrously attempts to buck up the wounded McCain by instructing her on the intricacies of mob psychology, describing her detractors as “mean 9-year-olds.” Whereupon this Allahpundit dude goes apeshit, his temper flaring because he apparently interprets Tepper’s defense of McCain as a personal affront. The exchange progresses until both dudes have kissed and made up and are stroking each other’s pundits.
I mention this because, instead of discussing the sorry state of affairs that has compelled hordes of dickwads to deride McCain for having boobs, instead of deconstructing the larger, ultra-misogynist zeitgeist of the Internet, the “Spatwatch” piece completely ignores the actual story (i.e. “Woman punished by fans for appearing in public as human being”) in favor of showcasing the egos of a couple of Dude Nation losers.
Same shit, different day.
Meanwhile, observe McCain’s own rhetoric. She clearly knows the rules. Here she is after the shitstorm, commenting the double-standard that just slapped her upside the head.
[W]hen Rep. Aaron Schock or Rep. Jeff Flake post pictures of themselves without their suits on—and their shirts, for that matter—they are proclaimed “hotties.” But put me in a tank top and I am suddenly an embarrassment to the Republican Party and women everywhere.
She grasps that, as a member of the sex class, she exists continuously in a state of pre-porn. She understands that she is only allowed to wear tank tops when she is “alone in [her] apartment.” That’s because, in public, she will be judged by Dude Nation’s occupying forces and their collaborators, all of whom have exacting (but ever-fluctuating) standards with which members of the sex class, who ceaselessly walk a fine line between virgin and whore, must comply.
McCain’s mistake is in momentarily forgetting this detail and imagining herself to enjoy fully-human status.
When her scandalous tank top photo — you’d think it was a shot of a wide-open beaver with a crack pipe hanging out of it for all the attention it’s getting — makes national news, she quickly realizes her error, and — here the spinster butt sprouts a boil — issues an apology to her Twitter fans. She takes down the twitpic and contemplates deleting her Twitter account. She’s sorry if she “offended” anyone by publishing a likeness of her personal self in non-regulation Young Republican-wear.
She has, she says, “learned a valuable lesson about the Internet and the boundaries between personal and public use with social media.”
The lesson? Men don’t have boundaries.
Beatdown successful! Congratulations, Dudes!