I am pretty sure oral sex has been a topic of word-slinging for thousands of years.
In order to write this I inventoried some of the times when it seems to have risen to the point of national political upheaval, and some examples emerged fast-
- The Washington Post editor who chose to nickname the Watergate informant Deep Throat after a disturbingly famous film of the same name.
- The lopsided “affair” between a teenage intern and William Jefferson Clinton.
- Recent, renewed accusations against the mayor of Seattle concerning the sexual abuse of at-risk teenagers who are now fully articulate adult men….
Just to name a few.
Which raises some thorny questions.
Would Colbert have said the victim of the Oval Office hook-up was a holster for a member? Would he have said the same about Bill’s spouse? Or other world leaders?
I doubt it.
I admit that I simply won’t google whether the term Mr. Colbert used for oral sex was cobbled together by him or whether it was a lexical entity prior to all of this.
I kinda don’t want to know.
But what I do want to know is whether anyone has discussed all the linguistic implications of what Colbert said.
What we know from context is-
- He was angry
- He was not afraid to drag sign language users, primates, and concussion victims into the list of insults
- Context clues as well as the purely derogatory “only thing good for” component of the reference to oral sex suggests non-consensual sexual contact more than a relationship of mutual affection between consenting adults
“Non-consensual” at least for those of us who had to read it in the morning paper.
Which is why I write. I don’t have a problem with Colbert expressing his anger toward the President or disagreeing with him. I have a problem with Colbert’s utter and complete insensitivity to countless sexual assault survivors of all ages and genders who have ever been forced into what Colbert describes…as a joke?
He doesn’t seem to have considered how his obscene and dehumanizing language about a power-uneven and sometimes non-consensual sex act might sound to any rape or sexual abuse survivor.
That, coupled with earlier sexually and racially charged terms for Asian Americans suggests Colbert may share the very same white-man-locker-room entitlement he claims to abhor in the President.
There are clearly many ways to perpetuate a rape-tolerant ethos. I just wish Colbert hadn’t shown us how.