MOOD SWINGS

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When I lived in New York back in the seventies the first women’s bank opened. A running joke at the time was that once a month it would be a bitch to get a loan.

This is one of the oldest false, terribly inaccurate stereotypes of women, that they are flighty, subject to whims, and hence less consistent and less dependable than men; Richard Brooks, in The Boiling Point, wrote that, “Women are superstitious, sentimental, and romantic.” In the mid-nineteenth-century New Englander Adrien Ely wrote to his classmate Aaron Olmstead that females were “little devils”, to “beware lest the little damsels with their laughing, swearing eyes…bedevil your heart, and lampoon you as they do most men.”

Myths like this have remarkable staying power, despite centuries of evidence to debunk them. But possible help may be arriving from a most unlikely source.

The current president, Donald Trump, is a master of inconsistency; in fact he is an extremist. Is he building a wall? A fence? Just improving border security? Does he hate the party of Hillary Clinton or is he looking forward to working with the Democrats? The New York Times headlined a report that the capital was “bewildered” by his contortions. Particularly fleeting is his connection to individuals. This week’s stalwart is next week’s coward and buffoon, not just fired but humiliated. Bret Stephens wrote in the New York Times:

“Who are the “cuckservatives” now?

“I use the epithet — “cuck” is short for cuckold — since it’s the one Trump’s most vociferous supporters hurled at mainstream Republicans they accused of caving in to the moral bullying of liberals, especially on the subjects of race and immigration.

“But now it’s the president who is doing exactly that, making the case for DACA beneficiaries in terms his base most condemns: as ‘good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military’ and who don’t deserve to be thrown out of the country simply because their parents brought them to the United States as children. It’s the kind of thing Nancy Pelosi — or, worse, John McCain — might say.”

Even more problematic, Trump makes his decision not on the basis of reasoned arguments, but as flighty whims. Thus, Stephens’ next observation is terribly potent:

“In other words, there is no “pivot” at work in the presidency, in the mold of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s leftward turn during his governorship of California. There’s a mood swing.”

Stephens, accurately and tellingly, refers here to the president as “moody”, the classic derogatory term for women. He has hit on something critical.

Andy Borowitz recently pointed out that no one has done more than Donald Trump to prove that white people are not superior.

And now, Donald Trump, the most male, puffed-up, pseudo-macho figure ever in American politics, is similarly putting the lie to yet another false belief, that men are stronger and more consistent. Instead, the president is worse than any third-grade male’s depiction of a “girl”. Thank you for helping dispel that myth so thoroughly, Mr. Trump.

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