The Corner


I am no fan of 9-9-9 and not particularly of Herman Cain, but his present woes say more about us than him. Nobody other than the participants knows what went on in his “encounters” with these complainants, and the entire episode is a cautionary tale in the perils of the odious and far too widespread practice of “settling”. But honestly:

There were also descriptions of physical gestures that were not overtly sexual but that made women who experienced or witnessed them uncomfortable.

What does that mean? Because, if you’re going to destroy a man’s life over it, it ought to mean something. A “gesture” that is not “sexual” but that makes women “uncomfortable” enough to threaten sexual harrassment?

But then everyone’s “uncomfortable” these days, aren’t they? On the Sunday gabfests, those sanctimonious pills Bob Schieffer and Tom Brokaw were a-huffin’ an’ a-puffin’ about Cain’s gross irresponsibility in allowing his campaign manager to “promote” smoking in a political ad. Mark Block is apparently the new Joe Camel. It was a close call but the nauseating Schieffer edged out Brokaw in moral finger-wagging, flaunting his own credentials as a cancer survivor. So what? Unlike Schieffer, I quit smoking at 17, when I figured out that a less dorky haircut would do far more for me with the chicks than pretending I enjoyed unfiltered cigarettes ever would. Yet for the first time in decades I feel a sudden craving for nicotine, possibly while making non-sexual gestures of an uncomfortable nature.

What ought to make America “uncomfortable” is that it’s broke and it’s heading for collapse. But, judging from the preoccupations of our media, very few Americans are discomforted by that. On the other hand, even if we were solvent, I very much doubt that a society made up of social arbiters with Brokaw and Schieffer’s tender sensitivities and with millions of its citizens ever more ready to be discomforted by an ever wider of ever more inappropriate if entirely non-sexual gestures would be likely to survive. Or even remain capable of basic social interaction.

Let’s hear what these gestures were. Then we can mandate sensitivity training to eliminate them. Which will stimulate the vital sensitivity-training sector of the economy.

PS While we’re at it, why are so few Americans “uncomfortable” about being held hostage by JetBlue for seven hours on the tarmac at Hartford, Connecticut? All the coverage is pansy-boy stuff about how if they hold you for over three hours without food, water or functioning bathrooms you might be eligible for government-mandated compensation. Big deal. Why can’t you just say “Screw this, I’m outta here”? The fact that hundreds of airline passengers are “comfortable” in complying with this nonsense is way more ominous for the future of the republic than Mark Block blowing smoke rings.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.


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