Offensive Remark of the Week: Sometimes You Gotta Smack Up the Bitches Edition

There’s apparently some MSNBC show called Morning Joe. I’ve never seen it — I almost never watch TV news unless I’m waiting for election results or a debate. But Media Matters apparently watches, and check out what they caught this morning: Joe Scarborough warned his female co-host Mika Brzezinski that if she didn’t respect his authority(!), he’d have to give her a smack:

HARWOOD: I think, Joe — I know you were holding back, but I think that [Florida Gov.] Charlie Crist [R] endorsement might have had even more juice than a Scarborough endorsement. What do you think?

BRZEZINSKI: I think so.

SCARBOROUGH: I, actually — I don’t endorse anybody because, as you know, I’m a journalist. However, there’s no doubt, there are two things —

BRZEZINSKI: [laughing]

HARWOOD: I get it.

SCARBOROUGH: –that hurt — Mika, don’t make me backhand you . . .

Ha! I see! Because she was being uppity, right? She laughed at you inappropriately in front of other people, bruised your fragile male ego and so you had to put her back in her place. With a backhand! Get it? Not just violence, but gendered violence! You know, like how a man gives his wife a good, harmless smack because she overcooked his chicken, just so she remembers who’s boss.

Damn, Scarborough, that was a close one. You could have almost looked like a guy who maybe didn’t hate women openly and randomly. Way to dodge the bullet.

Media Matters also has the video. I have to say that I was half-expecting that he said it in a joking, mocking sort of way — which would have still been wrong and inappropriate, but not quite so jaw-dropping. But no. If it is a joke — which, if ever forced to address it, he undoubtedly will claim it was — he certainly didn’t say it that way. In fact, it’s said in a very dismissive sort of tone, an afterthought, an aside. Not only did it seem like a real play for power, but one that he made almost unconsciously. Before watching it, I knew what he was going to say and I was waiting for it, but was still startled when I heard it.

We’re not talking a little friendly push on the shoulder, something that men and women who know each well often do, including your occasional talk show co-hosts. He said “backhand.” Have you ever heard a man say that he’s going to “backhand” another guy (except maybe in a joke where he was calling said guy a “bitch”)? I haven’t. My husband and personal expert on all things male hasn’t either and said that in his expertly-male opinion, the word would not be used in that way. “Showing you the back of my hand” is something reserved for women, children and maybe the occasional unfortunate canine. It’s violence either way, but here it’s also the special kind of violence designed not to express anger, but solely to assert control over a person and tell them that they are unworthy — usually because they have a vagina.

But in the spirit of fairness, let’s allow Scarborough to defend himself:

SCAROBOROUGH: — in a very bad way this morning because she’s a big McCain fan, her brother works for McCain, so she’s very excited.

BRZEZINSKI: Well, I’m happy for my brother.

Well that makes it okay.

(Though strangely enough, I hate McCain too, and actually had the world’s shittiest day of sitting in traffic on the thruway for about 5 hours in the middle of a fucking blizzard and wind so strong you could hardly stand, all to do some immigration bullshit that we’ve already done because it’s an excuse for the government to get an extra $500. And yet, I have still managed to get this far into the day without saying something extremely misogynist. The things willpower can do.)

And anyway, come on, you gotta admit — if there’s anything funnier than misogynist humor, it definitely has to be misogynist humor that invokes domestic violence. Can’t you take a joke?

0 thoughts on “Offensive Remark of the Week: Sometimes You Gotta Smack Up the Bitches Edition

  1. jovan byars

    And this is the guy who “replaced” Don Imus on MSNBC in April 2007.

    Scarborough is an idiot and a bonehead.

    Reply
  2. Ran

    He says it just so casually and offhandedly (← no pun intended) and keeps going with his sentence, as though backhanding people (and threatening to backhand them) is something he genuinely does every day. It’s so crazy.

    I’ll take your word for it that men only threaten to backhand women; honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone threaten to backhand someone, so on this point I agree with your husband in a rather meaningless way.

    Reply
  3. somedumbwhiteguy

    Watch the video with an opposite gender person. I suspect you’ll have different viewpoints on what exactly happened and whether the words in text have the same meaning on the live video.

    Thanks for the post Cara!

    Reply
  4. BettyBoondoggle

    “middle of a fucking blizzard and wind so strong you could hardly stand”

    I couldn’t even make it out to the bus stop yesterday. I tried four times, and when the front door of my apartmant building was ripped off and blown down the street, I gave up and stayed home. I hate winter.

    And I have nothing to say about this douchebag except this – die in a fire.

    Reply

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