Here’s what it looks like when someone with impeccable left-wing credentials gets quizzed in the media for suggesting that women secretly crave sexual violence. Skip to 1:40 for the key bit. The point here isn’t that Meyers, a late-night comedian, was supposed to grill the guy a la “Firing Line” — although he’s plenty capable of doing Stewart-esque political hits on disfavored targets when the mood strikes. The point is that he goes out of his way to downplay Sanders’s old “rape” column rather than ask him about it straightforwardedly yet seriously, as surely would have happened if this guy was a garden variety Republican. The column’s nothing but a punchline here for a lame joke about the success of “Fifty Shades of Gray.” In fact, Sanders probably could have gotten away with laughing it off and not commenting at all since Meyers doesn’t seem inclined to press him. Instead he says something perfunctory about being a bad fiction writer and that’s the end of it — while Meyers actually tries to cut him off by saying, “Okay, great.” Membership on the team sure has its advantages.
He gave the same “poor fiction” excuse to Chuck Todd over the weekend on “Meet the Press.” But his old column wasn’t fiction; it was nonfiction, an attempt to explain how traditional gender roles condition women to desire degradation. He was presenting the gang-rape fantasy as something that many women actually have. If he wants to run away from that now, he could at least say something pretend-thoughtful like, “My understanding of women has gotten better over the years as women have felt more comfortable speaking out about their experiences.” The “bad fiction” non-answer is just his way of saying, “I don’t want to talk about this so stop asking me.” Mission accomplished.
Update: On a not at all related note, via the Free Beacon, a highlight reel of comedy’s finest speaking power to truth.