Mar 042016

gopdebate handsYes, this is the level we’ve reached in American politics. I swear that in 4 months Trump and the French people (yes, ALL of them) are going to come out and be like “Guys! Guys! You should have seen the looks on your faces! OMG it was so good! We really got you!”

But to get to the meat of the issue (heh), I’m confused as to why Trump is getting all the flack for saying “I assure you I have a perfectly fine penis” in response to Rubio saying “Trump has a small penis.” I get that the high-road would have been to point out what a childish idiot Rubio was being without directly addressing the question, but that’s not Trump’s style. Given what we saw, why is Rubio getting a pass? Is it that we expect Trump to act more presidential now that he’s the presumptive nominee? Or is it just that everyone is used to bashing Trump now and going with the flow?

From CNN:

Rubio in recent days revived a decades-old old insult, mocking Trump for having relatively slight hands.

“He’s always calling me Little Marco. And I’ll admit he’s taller than me. He’s like 6’2, which is why I don’t understand why his hands are the size of someone who is 5’2,” Rubio said in Virginia on Sunday. “And you know what they say about men with small hands? You can’t trust them.”

[Trump responded] “Look at those hands, are they small hands?” the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination said, raising them for viewers to see. “And, he referred to my hands — ‘if they’re small, something else must be small.’ I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee.”

I did see a couple comments about how “his dick must be tiny, only a man with a tiny penis insists there’s nothing wrong with it.”

I don’t think that follows. Penis size is actually a surprisingly sensitive issue for men, and is another example of how social patriarchy is terrible for men as well as women. I think how a man reacts to penis-insults is a direct result of how his surrounding culture has taught him a Real Man reacts to them, and has nothing to do with actual penis size.

This is my best guess for why Trump is getting the flack that he is. He’s revealing that he comes from a culture where the taught response is to hit back, rather than from the “correct” culture where the taught response is to rise above taking the bait.


I saw a lament that Rubio has been pulled down to Trump’s level. “At least it’s arguably a mildy clever dick joke to say, “You know what they say about guys with small hands. You can’t trust ’em!” Trump’s response insisting that he’s plenty big down there was just crude”

I basically agree. But I do admire that Trump took the stance of “I’m not just gonna let people get away with a wink and a euphemism. I will blatantly point out that you said I have small penis, and will make you own up to the fact, rather than let you pretend you’re being civil due to a mask of cleverness.”

Of course, there are MUCH classier ways of doing that.

Which is to say that once again, the whole issue comes down to class/culture. Trumps actions scream “I AM FROM THE WRONG CLASS TO BE UP ON THIS STAGE!” The media is having a ball pointing out that Trump is from the wrong class. And it’s just going to help him, because that’s his whole appeal.

  2 Responses to “Trump’s Penis”

  1. I think this may be a hammer nail situation. A lot of rational sphere people have written about class recently so you apply class to explain the situation. I think a much more parsimonious explanation comes from the good old self interest. Marco Rubio basically works for wealthy members of the conservative establishment and Trump does not (Trump works for Trump). When Rubio makes a tasteless penis joke, the media outlets controlled by wealthy establishment types do not call him on it because it is not in their interests to call themselves out. When Trump makes a tasteless penis joke the media outlets controlled by wealthy establishment types do call him on it because he represents a challenge to wealthy establishment types. Self interest and hypocrisy do all the work you need here, I think the class angle is jamming in a extra layer.

    • I dunno, it seems to me that your hypothesis is quite a bit more complex. It requires a lot of coordination of shadowy, powerful interests, and implies explicit rational. I find the class-identity hypothesis simpler, because it only assumes that class exists more-or-less as posited in the rational sphere, and that the majority of people who work in the media view themselves as sharing a class with Rubio, but in a separate (and higher) class than Trump, both of which I think are very believable. Accidental coordination due to shared identity (as posited in Does Class Warfare Have A Free Rider Problem) has higher credibility than explicit scheming, IMHO

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