Thursday, August 30, 2007


From Media Matters courtesy of AlterNet:

On the August 28 edition of MSBNC Live, hosted by MSNBC general manager Dan Abrams, Tucker Carlson, host of MSNBC's Tucker, asserted, "Having sex in a public men's room is outrageous. It's also really common. I've been bothered in men's rooms." Carlson continued, "I've been bothered in Georgetown Park," in Washington, D.C., "when I was in high school." When Abrams asked how Carlson responded to being "bothered," Carlson asserted, "I went back with someone I knew and grabbed the guy by the -- you know, and grabbed him, and ... hit him against the stall with his head, actually."

And Carlson's response, from an update of the same article:

Let me be clear about an incident I referred to on MSNBC last night: In the mid-1980s, while I was a high school student, a man physically grabbed me in a men's room in Washington, DC. I yelled, pulled away from him and ran out of the room. Twenty-five minutes later, a friend of mine and I returned to the men's room. The man was still there, presumably waiting to do to someone else what he had done to me. My friend and I seized the man and held him until a security guard arrived.

Several bloggers have characterized this is a sort of gay bashing. That's absurd, and an insult to anybody who has fought back against an unsolicited sexual attack. I wasn't angry with the man because he was gay. I was angry because he assaulted me.

Transcript and video here.

So "bothered" became "grabbed" less than twenty four hours after he told the story, and "hit him against the stall with his head" apparently actually meant "held him until a security guard arrived." Tucker's second story rings more true to me, but it is still disturbing that the smiling and dapper conservative mouthpiece felt compelled to characterize the incident as a gay bashing. Needless to say, he was also characterizing gay bashing itself rather favorably. I assume that this fancy flight of rhetoric was intended to firmly establish his own masculine sense of heterosexuality--perhaps Tucker was surprised when the other two men on screen with him claimed to have never been "bothered" in men's rooms; maybe he felt he needed to prove his attraction to women by signaling a casual willingness to beat the shit out of men who try to pick him up. Who knows? It is certain, however, that Carlson was presenting anti-gay hate violence to his television audience as something justifiable under certain circumstances. And, you know, that's extraordinarily irresponsible because anti-gay hate violence is a really big deal: stupid rhetoric definitely eggs on people who are inclined to act rather than speak. That is, whether he meant to or not, Carlson just contributed to an overall cultural climate that makes being gay dangerous.

But really, Carlson's just an idiot. I don't think he's evil.