Erick Erickson is no stranger to having his columns torn apart (or “fisked,” as we say in internet parlance), and I went after him before over a column that called for secession and compared liberals to ISIS. Well, the conservative keyboard warrior is back at it again, with a column today titled: In Light of the Weinstein Situation, Let’s Re-Visit Mike Pence’s Rule About Meeting With Women Alone.
Let’s break down this monstrosity. Just like last time, my comments have a white background, and Erickson’s column a grey background.
He begins by linking to Heather Graham’s piece at Variety, saying this was the key part or it—highlighting the bolded text in the middle.
The question — and this is not an excuse — is what defines sexual harassment in the workplace? He didn’t explicitly offer a trade — sex for work — even though I knew that was what he was implying. And I hadn’t gone to his hotel. I know this is an inner dialogue many women have — it’s part of what’s holding so many of us back from sharing our stories. We don’t want to be attacked for reading into something that may or may not have been there. We don’t want to be looked at as weak for not being able to handle ourselves in a business run by men. We don’t want to lose work by being defined as a Difficult Woman. We don’t want to be the first or only voice in the room.
Erickson then made an obvious point.
For those keeping score at home, Mike Pence could never be accused of wanting to have sex with someone other than his wife in these sorts of situations because he avoids putting himself and the other person into these situations.
This sick worldview that permeates the GOP asserts that all men are uncontrollable sex-hungry demons who will assault any woman who doesn’t acquiesce to their insatiable need for sex. Men simply occupying the same space with a woman presents a problem for women—and in Erickson’s column, there is no room between a man who jerks off into potted plants in front of horrified women and a man who refuses to be alone with any woman. Whatever his intentions, his piece presents this as a binary choice. Apparently all non-Evangelical Christians are sexual predators. Let’s keep moving before my head explodes.
The very same leftwing activists and Hollywood stars now running away from Harvey Weinstein were assailing Mike Pence for having a rule of not dining alone or taking meetings alone with women.
This is actually very true, but also, if you’re just realizing that Hollywood is overflowing with selfish hypocritical douchebags, welcome to society.
It puts them in unfair and inferior positions. Nevermind that there is zero proof of this.
Here we see Erickson’s penchant for bad writing combine with his general cluelessness to create a clusterfuck of words that don’t make any sense. What is there zero proof of? Pence putting women in unfair and inferior positions? Weinstein? Leftwing activists? Do the italics mean he’s being sarcastic? Someone might want to give Erickson an object lesson on the important difference between pronouns and proper nouns. This column is already enough of a mess without this confusion thrown in.
In fact, there is ample evidence that Pence routinely promoted women in his office into positions of power and also that, though the media fixated on his rule with women, he never went out to dinner with the guys in his office either.
Protip to any aspiring writers out there: if you say that something “never” happened, make sure you link to evidence that corroborates it, lest your assertion be betrayed by a quick Google search using your exact wording while returning no results.
The media and the left savaged Mike Pence for his principled stand, but they will never run stories about Mike Pence sexually harassing women. They’ll never run stories about women unsure whether Pence was propositioning them or if they were reading too much into something. And Mike Pence’s wife, who is the most important person in Pence’s life, will never have to worry about his fidelity.
See guys? It’s easy to not sexually assault women. Instead of relying on morals and self-control taught to you over the years by your parents and the community, just completely remove yourself from any and all interaction with women and you can’t assault them. A foolproof plan! I can’t see any way that this would have unforeseen adverse consequences.
Meanwhile, Harvey Weinstein is supposedly off to sex rehab clinic. The man who joined the Women’s March and pretended to be the feminist and was lauded by all the people savaging Mike Pence turned out to be the monster they projected onto Mike Pence.
There actually was an excellent column hidden inside this bonkers argument, and it’s that a lot of those who decried Trump’s monstrosity enabled Weinstein. Hollywood deserves to get endlessly raked over the coals for this, and every conservative should take them to task over their unimpeachable hypocrisy. Where this piece went off the rails was Erickson half-heartedly putting forth the assertion that Pence’s “no women ever” worldview is the correct one to hold, and the piece became defined by this weird juxtaposition that it created between Pence and Weinstein—where American men are presented with only two outcomes: accept a life as a sexual predator, or cut yourself off from the other sex entirely, with seemingly no room in the middle.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.