In my most recent post, I criticized Madison Cawthorn severely. I said, and I quote:
Madison Cawthorn is a jerk
Cawthorn’s behavior is gross
His behavior is atrocious,
The prejudiced behavior of his peers can never justify his own bad choices,
I encourage everyone to strongly condemn his assaultive behavior, loudly and often. There’s no excuse for it.
among other things. Yet I was accused of making excuses for Cawthorn’s behavior.
Most of y’all are missing the point. When people have criticized Cawthorn lately, in the specific context I made the subject of the last post, people have been asserting this his behavior is the result of being secretly gay, or not so secretly impotent, and thus entirely unmasculine, a failure as a man.
I was trying to articulate a wish that our entire community would do better than that, and so I did not point out any one particular person or comment, but I originally wrote a version of this over one Wonkette where these types of comments were being made:
There were more, including quite a few focussing on his supposed secret gayness and not so secretly flaccid penis.
The point here is intersectionality, people. Just because he’s a white, rich boy doesn’t mean he’s immune to ableism. And even if you don’t give a fuck about Cawthorn, there’s the splash damage you cause by assuming people wouldn’t be acting badly if they were straight, or were more masculine, or could get laid.
I said repeatedly that Cawthorn’s behavior has no excuses and should be criticized. I also said I would focus my criticism away from one single aspect of his bad behavior, his tendency to talk about sex a little too much, a little too loud, a little too publicly. This smacks of defensiveness, yes, but to be perfectly frank, I don’t expect people to have this conversation competently or appropriately, so I don’t want to have that conversation anymore. Too many people have used this as an excuse to call him sexually incompetent or gay, and there are more harmful choices to critique anyway.
There are many problems with Madison Cawthorn, but I don’t give a fuck whether or not he’s gay, and I don’t give a fuck whether his dick gets hard. Not only that, but when people focus on these things they only make ableism worse.
It’s not me making excuses for Cawthorn’s bad behavior. It’s the people who are saying it’s all because he’s a limp dick, cowardly faggot, whether they put it that bluntly or put effort into trying to be clever while saying it. I have said over and over, including in my last post, that there’s no excuse for his bad behavior and that we should criticize it. Criticize away. But the people who think that it’s okay to call him a sexually incompetent nancy boy are also causing problems here, and those problems must also be addressed.
People on Wonkette understood what I was talking about just fine, but maybe that’s because instead of me mentioning the sexual criticisms of Cawthorn (which I did, but which people seemed not to read) they actually saw the toxic crap that was being written. Even if no one spoke up against it, maybe there was already a question in the back of their minds that made the more gentle approach I used in my last post more effective in that context.
This is an intersectional world, and Cawthorn, like all of us, is an intersectional person. As I said, he’s a jerk, but he’s a complicated jerk. Blame the fuck out of Cawthorn for his bad behavior, but if you can’t do that without being homophobic, sex phobic, and ableist, maybe just shut the fuck up until you can learn to do better because spreading that shit on the walls isn’t actually helping.