"Where has everybody been?"

How much do I love Bob Herbert? Let me count the ways:

1. "With Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's win in New Hampshire, gender issues are suddenly in the news. Where has everybody been? If there was ever a story that deserved more coverage by the news media, it’s the dark persistence of misogyny in America. Sexism in its myriad destructive forms permeates nearly every aspect of American life. For many men, it's the true national pastime, much bigger than baseball or football. Little attention is being paid to the toll that misogyny takes on society in general, and women and girls in particular."

2. "The cable news channels revel in stories about women (almost always young and attractive) who come to a gruesome end at the hands of violent men. The stories seldom, if ever, raise the issue of misogyny, which permeates not just the crimes themselves, but the coverage as well."

3. "It just so happens that the Democratic presidential candidates are campaigning this week in the misogyny capital of America: Nevada. It’s a perfect place to bring up the way women are viewed and treated in this society, but don't hold your breath. Presidential wannabes are hardly in the habit of insulting the locals."

4. "The sexual mistreatment of women in the military is widespread. The Defense Department financed a study in 2003 of female veterans seeking health assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Nearly a third of those surveyed said they had been the victim of a rape or attempted rape during their service. … There continue to be widespread complaints from women about rape and other forms of sexual attacks in the military, and about a culture that tends to protect the attackers."

5. "We've become so used to the disrespectful, degrading, contemptuous and even violent treatment of women that we hardly notice it. Staggering amounts of violence are unleashed against women and girls every day."

6. "If we've opened the door to the issue of sexism in the presidential campaign, then let's have at it. It's a big and important issue that deserves much more than lip service."

What's embarrassing (for the national media) is that such a simple, blunt assessment of institutional misogyny has the capacity to make me positively swoon.

What's crazy is that the ideas that Herbert elucidates are still considered controversial.

What's sad is that this column won't be the catalyst for a sincere and lasting conversation on this topic, as it should be.

Thanks nonetheless, Bob. It means something to us, if no one else. (And thanks to Kevin for passing that along.)

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