Mary Katharine Ham

I'm probably gonna get it for this, but I gotta say something about the Scarborough comment.


Yesterday, I was amazed that Scarborough would say such a thing. I was trying to come up with some way that the phrase meant something other than a stripper pole. "Surely, he didn't just imply that Thompson's wife is a stripper because she happens to be young and pretty?," I thought. It seemed totally out-of-line and disrespectful.

Today, we find out from USA Today that Scarborough may have been referring to the very trendy "stripper" work-out (championed by none other than Carmen Electra):

A spokesman for the news network said this afternoon, though, that thecomment has been taken out of context and that it is "irresponsible" tosuggest Scarborough was employing sexual innuendo. "Works the pole"could have been a reference to poles that some strippers use in theiracts. MSNBC says it was a reference to an exercise routine that agrowing number of women are performing.

All right, I read that and thought, "that's a pretty far-fetched explanation," but I went on a search for context and found it at Captain's Quarters:

UPDATE III: CQ comenter Rich says the segment started off with thetraffic and weather reporter, Tracy, talking about how she "works thepole" for exercise to stay in shape. That topic continued for sometime, and then Craig Crawford came on, which is when Scarborough madethis comment.
Capt. Ed says this doesn't mitigate the comment very much. I would agree with him if the substance of everyone's complaints had been that Scarborough shouldn't be commenting on Thompson's wife's looks at all. But everyone was upset, and the clip made news, not because he commented on her looks, but because he implied that she was a stripper or a whore based upon her looks.

But I don't think he actually did that. I'd have to hear the whole clip to be sure but, if in fact, the weather reporter was talking about her stripper-pole work-out before the segment about Thompson's wife, then "works the pole" becomes a much less offensive euphemism for "hey, she's in pretty good shape, huh?"

Still juvenile and not befitting a decent conservative commentator, but let's concede that it's not the same as calling her a stripper. The stripper work-out has been a pop-culture topic for years, is fairly popular among young women (mostly in major metropolitan areas, where gyms are edgy/silly enough to offer it), and the topic was apparently introduced by a woman on the show who uses the work-out.

Joe Scarborough's guilty of acting like an obnoxious, lecherous morning-show jock instead of a respectable political commentator, but he doesn't seem to be guilty of calling Jeri Thompson a stripper out of the blue, which would be qualitatively worse. He ain't completely off the hook, but it's not as bad as it seemed yesterday.

Should Thompson's wife be afforded more respect than Scarborough gave her? Yes, and Scarborough didn't do conservatives any favors by deciding to wax pervy about her:

Liberal talk show host/blogger Taylor Marsh writes that the remark "sure does tell the story of what Republicans think of women."
Thanks, Joe.

Allah says we can expect more disrespect as the Fred campaign goes on, from different quarters:

If Fred’s so-crazy-it-just-might-work Internet strategypans out and he does snag the nomination, expect a whole lot more ofthis from the proud progressive feminists of the left during thecampaign. Not the mainstream parts — they’ll want to do it but knowthey can’t get away with it — but among our friends in the nutroots.It’ll be vicious and relentless and eventually one of them will go toofar with their little photoshop habit and we’ll hammer them into awatery blue paste over it.

And, yes, now that you mention it, I am concerned that I'm less offended by Scarborough than Allah is. What's the world coming to, huh?

All of this is contingent on the reports about context being accurate, but if they are, I think it makes a difference.

But either way, Joe should stop gunning so hard for the Imus shock-politico slot, and behave like an adult.



Mary Katharine Ham

Mary Katharine Ham is editor-at-large of HotAir.com, a contributor to Townhall Magazine.

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