Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ben Stein, You Are the Worst

I didn’t think that I would be envisioning rolling up a newspaper and hitting Ben Stein on the nose over and over again before lunch today, but sometimes your day gets away from you.

Former game show host and minor character actor Ben Stein wrote a particularly vile piece over at the American Spectator (brought to my attention via Alex Pareene at Salon) about the rape allegations pending against IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Here are some choice bits:
People accuse other people of crimes all of the time. What do we know about the complainant besides that she is a hotel maid? I love and admire hotel maids. They have incredibly hard jobs and they do them uncomplainingly. I am sure she is a fine woman. On the other hand, I have had hotel maids that were complete lunatics, stealing airline tickets from me, stealing money from me, throwing away important papers, stealing medications from me. How do we know that this woman's word was good enough to put Mr. Strauss-Kahn straight into a horrific jail? Putting a man in Riker's is serious business. Maybe more than a few minutes of investigation is merited before it's done.
No, Ben Stein. NO. I am saying this in my commanding voice, so you learn that I AM SERIOUS about you crapping on the metaphorical rug of decent discourse, respect, sense, etc. It’s a valuable rug.

So you love and admire hotel maids. I’m sure this is a thing you think on a daily basis, how much you love and admire hotel maids; I’m sure you lose track of everyday conversations because you are floating in star-filtered fantasies where you clasp hands with a hotel maid and spin, spin in fields of wildflowers, her apron filled with the wind of your ardent admiration. I’m sure you get flowers for hotel maids on Hotel Maids Day. Except you probably don’t do that, because there is no Hotel Maids Day, because in America we don’t treat our hotel maids very well at all. “I love and admire hotel maids” is an insincere thing you’re saying to mitigate the shitty thing you’re about to say, which is that she cannot be trusted to tell the truth because she IS a hotel maid, and her accused attacker is a very rich and powerful man. “How do we know that this woman’s word was good enough”? Why should a woman have to overcome her hotel maidness to prove that her word is good?

I agree that putting a man in Riker’s is serious business. But the accuser didn’t do that. The police did that, after evaluating the accuser’s claim.
In life, events tend to follow patterns. People who commit crimes tend to be criminals, for example. Can anyone tell me any economists who have been convicted of violent sex crimes? Can anyone tell me of any heads of nonprofit international economic entities who have ever been charged and convicted of violent sexual crimes? Is it likely that just by chance this hotel maid found the only one in this category? Maybe Mr. Strauss-Kahn is guilty but if so, he is one of a kind, and criminals are not usually one of a kind.
I am floored by this logic. I am actually on the floor. I am experiencing carpet burns on my face because of your terrible logic. This woman’s accusation of rape and sexual assault should be questioned because economists aren’t historically rapey? Are you kidding me? I will dance this hustle with you for about eight bars, just to point out that okay, yeah, maybe economists wouldn’t be high on a list of notoriously rapey professions, but shall we investigate some of Strauss-Kahns other roles? Political candidates. They’ve got a squeaky clean record with regard to sexual conduct. Incredibly wealthy men. Also infamous for their discretion.

Also, if we do the ol’ flip-a-roo on your argument, we should probably be investigating criminals who we perceive to be one of a kind because there are others out there like them, right? In which case I should point out that Ted Bundy, serial killer and necrophiliac, was a law student and very involved in the Republican party during the 1970s. He was, in fact, employed by several Republican campaigns.

Oh, weird! Wait a second! So were you. Man. Creepy.


OpenID pureklass said...

Yes. YES. I have little else to add, but had to congratulate you on this epic smackdown. Well done.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Paula said...

Well stated, as always.

I'd ask Ben if he thinks what Goldman Sacks did to the economy and the actual lives of millions of Americans (many, I am sure, his beloved hotel maids) was kinda rapey? Because on that trust scale, a couple pills versus the recent/ongoing economic meltdown ... just saying.

Ask anyone who went to a university with a big-name b-school (Penn, Harvard, Stanford, Chicago) who the least interesting, most pompous, embarrassingly unfunny, self-absorbed, cut-throat competitive and generally disagreeable almost-humans on campus were. When the PhD candidates and med students boo the Whartonites at Graduation, it means something, folks!

2:12 AM  

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