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Trish Kinney Headshot

Massa's White Collar Playground

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The very first time I ever watched Glenn Beck's show was this week when Eric Massa was his guest. It was clear from Beck's hilarious set-up, including the questions he had written on a blackboard, that his expectations were high. In fact, there seemed to be salivating involved.

What followed was absolutely unwatchable, except that it was hard to turn away. There was something about Eric and Glenn together that seemed to make them both worse than they already were, if that is possible either theoretically or realistically. Later I saw a set of clips from "the interview" on Countdown and the fabulous Lawrence O'Donnell, in for Keith, was doing a little salivating of his own, thrilled even to introduce such a trainwreck.

I saw enough to know that there is strong evidence to support the theory that Eric Massa is a white collar serial sexual harasser, at the very least. He is that special brand of sexual controller that has used his intelligence, sense of superiority, ambition, and understanding of power to accommodate his needs. It was all there in his own answers. Glenn was so busy trying to extract that which he believed was going to change our nation that he missed the most basic clues as to who Eric Massa is.

The biggest giveaway was the particular language that Massa used to support his version of taking responsibility for his actions. I didn't have the stomach to count how many times he said he "owned" his behaviors. And the piece de resistance was when he properly asserted that it didn't matter what he intended with his inappropriate actions, it was how those actions were received by the other guy. And of course there were the excuses as to why his intentions were actually harmless, citing this is how it was done in the Navy but apparently not in Congress and he should have realized that. Who knew that such standards were measured by tolerance of male to male tickling? And in hindsight, he supposed it was a bad idea to become so close to his staffers, to actually live with them because who could afford a place in DC? And, after all, they were young bachelors. Indeed.

It seems likely that Massa has been successful in creating and sustaining this sexual culture around him for a very long time, one that he could defend as not really sexual but was confusing and demeaning to his subordinates. But when telling is involved, power shifts. His resignation signals a groundswell from which even he realized he could probably not recover. I doubt it had much to do with national politics but more the politics of sexual power. But you know, he didn't really mean it that way. But if they took it that way, well, that's all that really matters. Now that he's been exposed.