Tucker Max, the bestselling author and self-proclaimed “frat-boy David Sedaris,” makes me glad that adolescent boorishness usually goes along with illiteracy. His stories—-centered on the abuse of alcohol and of women, in both cases extreme—-are generally better to ignore than deplore

One of Max’s favorite games is to act aggrieved and misunderstood by people who refuse to recognize his supposedly deep feminism, a practice he’s taken to new lengths after several Planned Parenthood clinics declined to be renamed in his honor in exchange for a $500,000 donation. He blasts them on his blog (highlighting in the original):

If you think Tucker Max hates women, how to do you explain him giving 500k to PP? Well, they said this made me . . . MORE anti-woman?  HAHAHA! . . .  So to these people, cutting a 500K check to help women out is ANTI-WOMAN!! Politicians cutting money to PP is anti-woman, and now, so is me giving money to PP. I guess regardless of what I do, I’m against women.  That is kind of awesome when you can make someone so angry, they can’t even be ideologically consistent in their criticism of you.

Well, Tucker, I would be happy to offer you a philosophically consistent criticism. Sleeping with a woman in a situation grossly blurred by alcohol and outside the bounds of marriage—-a situation in which consent, the only moral criterion you recognize, is impossible—-indeed is “anti-woman,” not to mention vicious in the extreme. To subsequently pay for the woman’s abortion, as you have boasted of doing in several instances, is only to commit another act of violence, both on the woman and on your unborn child.

Having said that, I sympathize with Planned Parenthood’s reluctance to be associated with Max. His egregious treatment of women falls short of even their relatively flimsy notions of “reproductive health” and “women’s choice.” Yet it’s the very weakness of those ideas—-their refusal to recognize a purpose for human sexuality beyond recreation—-that opens up cultural space for his particularly irresponsible brand of misogyny.

Articles by Matthew Schmitz

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