Even with multiple women coming forward to accuse Donald Trump of sexual assault, many of his supporters continue to dismiss the entire controversy as nothing more than faux outrage over mere dirty language.
Uh, no. There’s a huge difference.
My favorite band the last few years has been hair metal comedy act Steel Panther. Some of their songs include “Eatin’ Ain’t Cheatin,” “It Won’t Suck Itself” and “Gangbang at the Old Folks Home.”
Each of these titles means exactly what you think it does. They’re pornographic. Some of you might even think less of me for finding this humorous or entertaining (check out a show or video before judging; the band is awesome) for the same reasons many had problems with Trump’s choice of words in that 2005 tape (including me). Such language is certainly controversial.
The members of Steel Panther portray themselves as drug-fueled, spandex-wearing, misogynistic and narcissistic rock stars. Donald Trump might have used the word “pussy” in that 2005 tape, but there’s no way he’s used it as many times as Steel Panther.
I once had drinks with Steel Panther’s bass player and drummer (“Lexxxi Foxx” and “Stix Zadinia”), whom my friends and I ran into in a bar after one of the band’s shows in Myrtle Beach, S.C. As much as I can recall from that drunken night, there was probably some “locker room banter” happening (Steel Panther are outrageous in their personas, but most of our talk was actually pretty reserved).
But despite any foul language used, if at any moment one of us said that it was cool to walk up and grab women’s crotches, no one would have thought that was okay, to say the least. We might have laughed that anyone would say something that incredibly stupid. We certainly would have been horrified if someone actually did it. Honestly, fists probably would have been thrown if someone did that, and justifiably so.
When I heard the Trump audio last week, I thought it sounded like something a high school boy with no experience with women might say. It was so juvenile. But if taken literally, it was also criminal.
Trump is being accused by multiple women right now of actually doing what he described in that 2005 conversation with NBC host Billy Bush. On that tape he said he could sexually accost women and get away with it because he’s famous.
The women coming forward now are basically saying, “Yeah, that’s what he does.”
This is significantly different from just bad language.
These women say they came forward now because Trump denied engaging in that kind of behavior when CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked him directly about it in the second presidential debate.
Steel Panther portray misogynists as a musical comedy troupe. They are acting. They’re kidding. It’s entertainment.
They say bad words, like Trump has, but that’s something very different — legally and morally — from alleged assault or rape.
You can no longer dismiss Trump’s current troubles as mere foul language. That’s intellectually dishonest. It is also depraved.