I'm sure a lot of guys would just shrug at Bush's uninvited and unwelcome attempt at massaging German Chancellor Andrea Merkel's shoulders.
On Majikthise, Lindsay notes:
Every woman will recognize the guy who sidles up and starts "casually" giving you a backrub without even looking at you, because he wants to preserve deniability in case you freak out. Like any practiced groper, Bush stares right past Merkel as she recoils from his touch. The play fails, but he just moves on, eyes averted, like it's her problem. ("Oh my God, there's a hysterical woman displaying inappropriate behavior! I'll just pretend I don't notice her egregious gaffe.")
terrance on Republic of T points out that Bush has also kissed and groped men. And of course there's the smoochy relationship he has with Joe Lieberman.
As a gay man, Iâ€™ve had my share of unwelcome gropes. (And Iâ€™ve been know to grab a groper by the wrist, turn him to face me, and ask him what he thought he was doing.) Itâ€™s not funny or flattering. At best itâ€™s assuming a familiarity that doesnâ€™t exist between two people. At worst itâ€™s a way of dehumanizing someone reducing them to a body part to be groped, and itâ€™s a way of asserting dominance; an unspoken way of saying â€œI can put my hands on you any time I want, and thereâ€™s not much you can do about it.â€
In comments on Republic of T, "Steve" writes:
I gotta be honestâ€¦youre statements are mind-blowingly childish. Get a lifeâ€¦get a jobâ€¦get something to do instead of sit on your ass all day and come up with stupid things to bitch about. Is Bush an idiot? Did he act a fool in doing what he did? The answer to both is clearly Yes. Did he have misogynist intent? Did he do it to degrade Merkel? The answer to both is No.
You see, this is how male privilege is defended. It's the "oh he didn't mean anything by it" argument. Women are supposed to just smile when a man decides he would like to massage her or fondle her or grope her or, well, fill in the blank, fellas. "Steve" just does not get it, because he cannot see beyond his own comfort.
"Kathy" has a great reply:
I worked in business for many years and mostly with men in the industry I was in and I recognize this readily. I am grateful for your understanding commentary. It is so insulting. It is a way for a man who is insecure about women to put a woman in her place. If you donâ€™t think so, imagine Bush doing this to Vladimir Putin! First, he wouldnâ€™t have the nerve and second what do think Putin would do? This is the German chancellor for goodness sake! Are you kidding me??!!!! Bush may not be drinking but he is certainly acts like a guy in a bar who has issues with women (I have never met an anti-choice person - especially men - who didnâ€™t have mommy issues).
"Jeff" comes up with the most absurd apologia:
â€™ll tell you what the big deal is. Itâ€™s called phallophobia. Itâ€™s an irrational fear of male sexuality. Some man touches some woman to which she chooses to find uncomfortable and itâ€™s time to roll out the hyperbole!
Why the German head of state should just accept Bush's "male sexuality" -- or any woman should just accept any man's sexual expression through touching her body -- is beyond me. But hey, "Jeff" is not only blinded by his privilege, he's offended that anyone should challenge it.
By the way, "Jeff": what you call "phallophobia" has a grounding in reality. It's called rape, harassment, molestation and violence towards women. Of course you wouldn't think it's a big deal. After all, you're not being manhandled in that way. --And if you were, I bet you'd do a lot more than shrug your shoulders, as Chancellor Merkel did.
To me, President Bush has always been scary -- even the idea of "President Bush" was scary to me well before November 2000 -- but now he's gotten personally offensive (to Merkel) and, well, rather embarrassing for America. Can't the guy just keep his hands (and bombs) to himself?