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Cohen: Real Men Treat Their Subordinates Inappropriately

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Via Amanda Hess, self- (and by nobody else) described very funny guy Richard Cohen leaps to the defense of Clarence Thomas:

Every 20 years or so, some woman surfaces to accuse the now-Supreme Court justice of being a male chauvinist pig — to resurrect an old term from the tie-dyed era — but falls frustratingly short of making a case for true sexual harassment. Thomas stands nearly alone on the court in his shallowness of his scholarship and the narrowness of his compassion. But when it comes to his alleged sexual boorishness, he stands condemned of being a man.

I know lots of men who don’t repeatedly use inappropriate language and make unwanted sexual advances toward women who work for them, actually. But the key problem here is that Cohen doesn’t seem to understand one of the central issues, which is perjury. Thomas didn’t claim at the hearings that repeatedly asking out and using crude sexual language around his subordinate Anita Hill didn’t constitute sexual harassment. Rather, Thomas denied using such crude sexual language not only around Hill but around anyone. Lillian McEwen’s story is, therefore, very much relevant to whether or not Thomas was telling the truth, which — as Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson have already documented in great detail — he almost certainly wasn’t. And, unlike Cohen, I’m afraid I don’t regard perjury by a Supreme Court nominee as a trivial issue.

But, in fairness, it’s not as if Cohen has any self-interested reason for wanting to declare potential sexual harassment a non-issue. Oh, wait.

[X-Posted to TAPPED.]

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