Susan Collins Just Not Sure About Infowars Slut-Shaming Christine Blasey Ford
Susan Collins, who is supposed to maybe be our grand savior in the fight to keep Brett Kavanaugh off the Supreme Court bench even though we all know she's going to vote to confirm (well, maybe not now), shared her thoughts yesterday on Brett Kavanaugh's high school yearbook. As a New York Times article revealed this week, Kavanaugh referred to himself in the yearbook as a "Renate Alumnius" -- a cruel joke among his peer group about a girl named Renate whom many of them claimed to have slept with.
Sen. Collins's comment on the revelations in Kavanaugh's yearbook were shared by Igor Bobic of Huffington post on Twitter:
Here's Susan Collins commenting on Kavanaugh's high school yearbook page: https://t.co/HQuHxdOTmL— Igor Bobic (@Igor Bobic)1537904668.0
"I was just handed the yearbook page and I don't know what to make of it. Frankly, at the risk of sounding very naïve, I don't know what many of the references mean and so I just don't know what to make of it. There are rumors -- there are so many rumors -- that there are issues with Christine Ford's yearbook as well. I don't know whether that's accurate or not. I don't know what to make of someone's high school yearbook."
Of course, Senator Collins, should she be unclear on these "references," could always just ... I don't know, read the actual article in which those references were explained? That might be helpful! I don't think any of us automatically knew what a "Renate Alumnius" was prior to reading that, beyond our certainty that Young Brett Kavanaugh was bad at Latin. Because we did not go to that school and had previously never heard of Renate Schroeder Dolphin in all our lives.
While that is certainly ridiculous, it is the second part of her comment that is truly sinister. You see, the "rumors" Collins would have heard about Dr. Blasey's yearbook primarily come from Alex Jones and Infowars, which last week embarked on a fact-free mission to paint her as "captain of the sluts." Whatever that means.
While there is certainly some questionable content in the yearbook (specifically a reference to one of the girls having dressed up as Buckwheat for Halloween), suggesting that this must mean that Blasey Ford had anything to do with any of it is ridiculous. It would be like looking at another high school yearbook and assuming that because a school had a Future Business Leaders of America club, that everyone at the school was in it.
Here is a quick rundown of some of the absurd claims made about the yearbook, from Jones and Infowars:
- That there were references to HITLER. Which, yes, there were, but it was in the form of a comment about a student who thought that people were saying "Hi-ho Hitler" instead of "Heil Hitler." That is pretty far off from a ringing endorsement of the tenets of National Socialism.
- That the yearbooks were all being "expunged." How that is even possible, I do not know. What? Are they sending secret agents to people's houses in order to confiscate their copies of their high school yearbook? Because that sure seems like a thing it would not even be possible to do.
- That a reference to there being "Cast parties, prom parties, post-game parties, pool parties, slumber parties, senior only parties, junior only parties – wherever you looked there were parties," is evidence of ... something.
Most disturbingly, however, Jones repeatedly pointed to a picture of a random girl in a skirt that he -- with zero proof whatsoever -- insisted was of Dr. Blasey, and then went on and on about how it was obviously a come-hither pose, which makes her a "hussy." He then suggested that the best course of action would be to have "Judge Kavanaugh to still testify next week [that is, now] and to have big blown-up poster boards with Christine Blasey Ford spreading her legs in the high school yearbooks."
The point that Jones was attempting to make can be summed up, I suppose, as "Christine Blasey Ford went to a school full of SLUTS and therefore whatever Brett Kavanaugh did to her was totally fine." One would hope that, as a grown-ass 65-year-old woman, Sen. Collins would be fully capable of understanding that even if it were the case that Blasey Ford were promiscuous in high school -- which there is no actual proof of -- that this would not have made it OK for Brett Kavanaugh to have assaulted her.
Additionally, Dr. Blasey is not trying to be on the Supreme Court, so whether or not she was a saint in high school is completely irrelevant.
There is no scenario in which Dr. Blasey's yearbook could possibly matter. She could have posed naked in the yearbook, she could have slept with literally ever single person in Maryland, she could be listed as the Vice President of Future Sex-Havers Of America and it still wouldn't matter. Unless there is something in the yearbook that says "In the future, I plan to falsely accuse Brett Kavanaugh of attempted rape in order to prevent him from being on the Supreme Court, Love Christine Blasey," exactly nothing in her yearbook is relevant.
But Susan Collins knows this.
She also knows that whichever way she votes, she's putting her political career in jeopardy. Republicans will be pissed if she votes against him, and if she votes for him, not only will her reputation as a moderate who isn't too bad on women's issues be completely trashed, but a concerted effort will be put into getting her out of office and replaced with someone who would not vote to confirm an (alleged, we guess) attempted rapist to the highest court in the land. She's hedging her bets, and hoping to give herself a way to make it look like it's not that bad if she votes to confirm him.
While there is not a "right" way to go about this, I think we can fairly say that repeating "rumors" straight from Infowars is about as bottom-of-the-barrel as it gets.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse