The circus that is this presidential campaign has just added a new act: Trump’s 2005 hot mic recording of a conversation between he and Today Show host, Billy Bush. Donald Trump was having a conversation with the then Access Hollywood’s host, who is the nephew of President George H.W. Bush, as well as others as he was driving to a TV set for a soap opera cameo.
The discussion centered around Trump’s attempt to have sex with a married woman and the ability to do “anything” with women because of his stardom. It concluded with provocative descriptions of the soap actress coming up the bus to meet the two and then Trump and Billy Bush exiting the bus aware of greeting cameras and crew.
The video was released the same day Wikileaks released thousands more of Hillary Clinton’s private emails and speech transcripts.
Donald Trump responded to the 2005 video with the following. “This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”
Hence we have the discussion of “locker room banter”. This term is a colloquial phrase used to describe guys in the locker room discussing, bragging, describing, judging, and critiquing girls and their body parts. Its been glorified in movies and appears to be a rite of passage for any male who takes a PE class or plays a sport. Guys have a “code”, and no one tells us girls if we were spoken about. But we know. We’ve always known. Many of us are disgusted by this behavior and some of us, intrigued. But no one publicly knows the content or substance of the conversations that occur because of “the code”.
The video with Donald Trump’s hot mic, however, allowed women to peer over the shower stall and listen in. And as expected, it was lewd, crass, and filled with exaggerations. Unfortunately men talk about women. and women about men, like this all too often. So why the shock?
Firstly, we’re reminded of it when we don’t want to be. No one wants to think about Donald Trump drooling over a woman or trying to get her to sleep with him. We especially don’t want to hear him discuss our private parts. As with Bill Clinton, even if Donald Trump is 100% correct about the former President’s alleged locker room banter on the golf course, we don’t want to hear or think about that either. Presidents and presidential candidates are not suppose to appear human. They eat, poop, have sex, drool, pass gas, size up women etc. true, but we don’t want those images coming into our minds. We like to think of our leaders as superhuman. They aren’t, in any shape, way or form, but nevertheless, we want to think of them with a cape. And we’d like our enemies to imagine them formidably as well.
Secondly, we’re reminded that the “mic” can always be on. Over the last decade we’ve come to realize that NOTHING is private. Our emails, phone conversations, dorm room, etc. can be on camera at any moment. People can hack into baby monitors and spy on our infants for pete’s sake. We’re getting more and more paranoid that someone is always listening and watching.
Thirdly, what you say 11 years ago or even 20 years ago can come back to haunt you. Locker room banter, marketing meetings, marital fights, coworker play can all come back to haunt you in the future, so you mentally retrace every conversation you’ve ever had and pray nothing embarrassing was recorded or remembered.
So is locker room banter going away anytime soon? Nope. As much as we’d like it to its in our blood. As long as sexual attraction exists, someone is going to be in the center of a small crowd describing their muse to slobbering bystanders.
What will change, however, is the image of our leaders. Listening to their lewdness, reading their emails, and discovering all we’re discovering about our candidates makes us sick and causes us to lose trust and respect. Any leader who isn’t trusted nor respected, cannot succeed. So what happens when we remove the sheep’s clothing? Will anyone be electable?
The politician is human. The human is an animal. Therefore politicians are animals. Its a breed we may never understand. Maybe we should discuss this instead the next time we’re in a locker room…..