If you want to believe stereotypes about New Jersey, aka Dirty Jerz or “the only state with a State Smell, you’d probably expect its governor to be a rough-around-the edges brute. Governor Chris Christie is just that, and in spite of his former presidential hopes, tends to come across as the kind of person one would never want as a dinner companion. This past Sunday, Christie was speaking at a Mitt Romney campaign event and responded to female hecklers with a comment displaying his utter lack of couth. In response to their chants about jobs “going down,” he snapped back with “you know, something may be going down tonight, but it ain’t going to be jobs, sweetheart.” Just watch.
Keep in mind that this display of trash-mouth is not some deftly hidden gaffe that Christie was trying to talk his way out of as soon as he made it. The video is posted proudly on the New Jersey GOP YouTube Channel with the title “Something May Go Down Tonight, But It Ain’t Going To Be Jobs,” We have officially entered the “I am rubber, you are glue” era of politics, and all immature school-yard style references to sex acts and bodily functions will be entertained to make whatever policy-driven point that needs making, I suppose. Christie is truly a jerk, but I don’t think that’s the worst of it.
Christie’s oral sex joke was directed at a group of women; a group he targeted with that comment not coincidentally but as a blatant display of misogyny. There is no way that he would have made that comment to a group of men, and there is no way that a woman could make that comment to anyone and continue to be taken seriously as a political force (I don’t even want to think about what fate a black man who made such a comment would meet). The fact that Christie is relishing his moment of misogynistic triumph isn’t just a bold political move, it’s disgusting. Here is a man who knows that he has the privilege of maleness (and whiteness) and, instead of recognizing what is and is not appropriate for universal human decorum, chooses to wallow in his social good fortune like a pig in slop. It’s one thing to be clueless about the privilege that society grants your demographic, but it’s an unforgivable other thing to flaunt that privilege for all to see.