To me, Delaware GOP Senate Candidate Christine O'Donnell is many things, few of them good. She's a breathing example of my increasing inability to distinguish reality from satire of reality. She's a real-world cartoon character. She's a walking, talking example of how defiantly stupid politics has become. She's an apparent attempt to draw out, for political advantage, exactly the sort of coastal elite hubris that my last few sentences expressed.
What I didn't expect is that she'd be sympathetic. But today she is.
Gawker, an internet leader in belabored, douchey Gen-Y post-ironic detachment, posted a Halloween-appropriate anonymous young man's account of an alleged sexual encounter with Ms. O'Donnell. I say "Halloween appropriate" because (1) the alleged encounter happened on a recent Halloween, and (2) the young man's account, combined with Gawker's decision to pay him "in the low four figures" for that account, is almost supernaturally creepy.
The young man isn't anonymous any more. He's Dustin Dominiak. And, in the part of the creepy Gawker anonymous hit piece that best limns his character, he finds adult women with pubic hair to be off-putting:
When her underwear came off, I immediately noticed that the waxing trend had completely passed her by.
Obviously, that was a big turnoff, and I quickly lost interest. I said goodnight, rolled over, and went to sleep.
Maybe Dustin Dominiak has, through some unlikely quirk of fate, only previously encountered clean-shaven women. Or maybe he's only encountered women on-screen. Or maybe he likes eight-year-old girls. There's no way of knowing. Of course, the sort of man who would accept payment in the low four figures to tell an anonymous story about a sexual encounter with a famous woman is a person of low character, so I don't think we can rule anything out.
The result of Gawker's decision to publish Dominiak's extremely unsettling story has been almost universal revulsion from all sides of the political spectrum. As far as I can tell, the guys at guys at Sadly, No — whose formidable abilities at satire and humor are matched only by their long-term crippling issues with women — are the only ones morally dysfunctional enough to take a semi-pro, semi-belittling stance.
The condemnation is deserved. Gawker seems to be taking the position that this is an appropriate take-down of sexual hypocrisy. Certainly O'Donnell has spent some of her life as a professional moral scold, though she seems to be running away from that angle in this campaign. I find her previous life as a first-stone-throwing talking head to be obnoxious and more a little pathetic. But there's something very different about this particular take-down. Dominiak's account drips with creepy and voyeuristic misogyny, and Gawker's payment to him is grotesque, somehow made worse by its petty amount. Is O'Donnell a hypocrite on sexual issues? Quite possibly. Is some comment on that appropriate, just as it was for so many male politicians who solicited men in restrooms or sexted pages or cheated on their wives whilst campaigning as moral scolds? Quite Possibly. But I can't read this account without feeling that Dominiak has grave issues, and not just with O'Donnell — and that Gawker's decision to run the piece reveals nasty issues of their own. Dominiak and Gawker reveal a level of hatred of their topic based on her being a woman that the stories about hypocritical men just couldn't match.
O'Donnell will get some sympathy votes from this, though she is still very unlikely to win. Gawker will get more contempt, which it probably won't care about. Dominiak will need to change his name, or he may find it very difficult to get a job or a date ever again from anyone who uses Google. He deserves that.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- Shock, Dismay In Academia At Scorpion Acting Like Scorpion - June 28th, 2017
- Free Speech Triumphant Or Free Speech In Retreat? - June 21st, 2017
- The Power To Generate Crimes Rather Than Merely Investigate Them - June 19th, 2017
- Free Speech, The Goose, And The Gander - June 17th, 2017
- Free Speech Tropes In The LA Times - June 8th, 2017