Because CNN sports anchor Larry Smith's contention that dogfighting is worse than raping a woman just wasn't offensive enough, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Paul Zeise figured he'd go ahead and say what's evidently on lots of sports commentators' minds:
"It's really a sad day in this country when somehow ... Michael Vick would have been better off raping a woman if you look at the outcry of what happened. Had he done that, he probably would have been suspended for four games and he'd be back on the field. But because this has become a political issue, all of a sudden the commissioner has lost his stomach for it."
I'll just give you a moment to let that sink in.
Vick would have been better off raping a woman because then no one would have cared.
The best part is that his apology appears to be to Michael Vick, rather than, ya know, the women whom he suggested ought to have been his target: "I regret the poor choice of analogies I used to characterize a professional athlete's legal situation." Oh, well, that's all right then. As long as we've cleared up that he didn't mean to misrepresent the good Mr. Vick's legal situation. Fates fucking forbid this shitbag regret that he talked about women like pieces of meat and sexual violence against them like it was No Big Deal.
I honestly don't even know what to say anymore. American men clearly need a serious education about rape and sexual assault against women; even lots and lots of good men who would never assault or harass a woman just simply aren't aware of how prevalent it is.* But I just don't know what it's going to take to get this national conversation started.
I despair at the lack of outrage. Rape serves as constant fodder for jokes among way too many men; I cannot even watch an allegedly progressive-minded comedian without being slapped in the goddamned face with "a bit" about a man who raped his own wife to wrap up his show in spectacular fashion. This is not healthy. Our culture is sick with misogyny, and we keep treating it with increasing doses of apathy then wondering why it never heals.
And if you haven't yet noticed the plague, then you're not paying enough attention.
So let me hold up a magnifying glass once more to the words of Paul Zeise: "Michael Vick would have been better off raping a woman." A woman. Any woman. Maybe someone you know. Maybe me. Doesn't matter. Every woman is invoked by these words.
He would have been better off raping a woman because then no one would have cared.
The worst part about it is that it's probably true.
* If I'm not talking about you, then I'm not talking about you, know what I mean? No need to take offense if you're a dude all up to his neck in rape awareness. Of course, if you really are that dude, you already know what a rare bird you are, and I don't even need to say this to you.
[H/T to Blogenfreude and Shaker Kevin, both via email.]