To borrow a catch phrase from George Takei: Oh My! What a field day for the snarksters! Could we possibly be living in a better time? Pre-election daily life has turned into a satire of pre-election daily life.
Such a plethora of new material with each news cast, tweet, and so-called presidential debate, one hardly knows where to begin. It’s a 24\7 cornucopia of undignified absurdity. You can’t make this stuff up. Fortunately, or unfortunately, you don’t have to.
Our very culture is being challenged in unexpected ways. For example, many bridge players are considering an alternative to the trump card, and Aleppo is now being pronounced with a rising inflection and spelled with a question mark at the end.
Late night talk show hosts, political satirists, and Alec Baldwin, among others, are having a field day. While I usually stand with those who have not made their fame and fortune by mocking politics, at a time like this even I can’t resist the temptation to jump into the fray.
Trump dismissed the lewd comments he made to Billy Bush about grabbing women “by the pussy” as meaningless locker room talk. There’s an irony in that last sentence which I will not dignify with an elaboration. You figure it out. It’s the nature of “locker room talk” that I really want to explore.
Unfortunately, when Trump referred to his remarks as “locker room talk,” most of us got the reference. The general wisdom holds that locker room talk is the sexist banter that occurs among guys when females aren’t around. But is it?
The Urban Dictionary specifically defines locker room talk as “…the crude, vulgar, offensive and often sexual tirade of comments guys pass to each other, usually in high school locker rooms.”
Referring to this as high school behavior implies that most males evolve to a higher standard of discourse. But clearly, not all of them. Some have trouble letting go, even at age 59.
And who knows locker rooms better than professional athletes? Judging by the flurry of tweets on social media, many sports heroes were offended by Trump’s labeling his salacious comments as locker room talk. LeBron James adamantly declared that “we do not disrespect women in our locker rooms.” And sports writer Bill Pennington says that frequently the talk he hears in locker rooms is about municipal bonds. I take this as evidence that most men do mature, while others suffer from arrested development.
I assume from this locker room analysis that as males move on in their lives, so does the conversation. So where are those randy high school students of yesterday? Are they still hanging out in locker rooms, and if so, what do they talk about now?
I don’t claim to know for sure, but if I were a fly on the wall of the local golf club, this is what I might hear.
“Joe, good to see you. Where have you been?”
“Had a knee replacement. This is my first day back.”
“Yeah? So how’d you play?”
“Whatta you think? Terrible! I used to par the third hole. Now I shot a seven. I’m giving up this game.”
“So who’d you use?”
“Whatta you think? A five iron.”
“No, I mean your doctor. Who’d you use?”
“Dr. Millman! What’d use him for? He’s a butcher.”
“I heard he was the best.”
“No, he’s not the best. You shoulda asked me. I know the best. The guy that did my left hip. He’s the best.”
“So tell me his name for when I need the other knee. Wait a second, I dropped my hearing aid. As soon as I find my glasses I’ll look for it. So where did I put them?” I just had them a minute ago.”
“Here’s your hearing aid. I found it.”
“Thanks. Are you staying for lunch?”
“Yeah. I’ll meet you in 15 minutes. I have to take a pee.”
“Only 15 minutes. That’s pretty good. See you in the dining room.”
“OK, order me some soup. I’m getting implants.”
So, if my little winged insect is an accurate reporter, then I draw this conclusion. Boys will be boys. From high school wise guys to senior citizens, the locker room talk is still about anatomy. Only now it’s about their own.