Discover more from The Bulwark
Flesh Peddling To Own the Libs
Raymond Arroyo is the perfect distillation of modern conservatism.
1. Victoria’s Secret
If you want to see the single purest distillation of modern conservatism so far in existence, I beg you to watch the first three minutes of this clip where Laura Ingraham has Raymond Arroyo discuss Victoria’s Secret.
Let’s unpack this.
First: If you’re not familiar with Raymond Arroyo, he’s the Catholic Greg Kelly—a once sort-of respected cable-access host who finally found mainstream fame by going full MAGA. (And in the course of his heel turn, helped destroy EWTN. We have talked about this before.)
Now here’s what happens on the show:
Ingraham introduces the topic—Victoria’s Secret.
Ingraham and Arroyo both stipulate to being alarmed at how Victoria’s Secret ad campaigns have, for years, promoted a pornification of America.
Arroyo: “Laura, over the years, you and I have both criticized Victoria’s Secret for gratuitous advertising, for its objectification of women, flesh peddling to men.”
But now Victoria’s Secret has changed its brand. The company is getting rid of supermodels in lingerie and pivoting to normal-looking famous women with messages about social responsibility.
One of these new Victoria’s Secret brand ambassadors is Megan Rapinoe.
Ingraham then quotes Rapinoe: “[Victoria’s Secret’s message] was patriarchal, sexist viewing not just what it meant to be sexy but what the clothes were trying to accomplish through a male lens and through what men desired . . . [it was] very harmful.”
This seems very close to Arroyo’s long-standing complaint!
But Arroyo replies: “Now you see, I would argue that she’s wrong.”
More Arroyo: “It’s not only patriarchal, it’s matriarchal. Let’s remember what Victoria’s Secret is selling: lingerie . . . it’s bedroom attire designed to excite men and lead to intimacy—procreation!”
He goes on from there.
Shorter Arroyo: Peddle flesh to own the libz, bitches.
There’s so much to say, yes? Once upon a time, Raymond Arroyo was against the objectification of women and the idea of flesh-peddling for the benefit of men.
But now Megan Rapinoe is against the objectification of women and flesh-peddling for the benefit of men. So Arroyo’s position is that objectivization and flesh-peddling are great, because how else is a man supposed to get it up for his woman and make babies?
And this dude executes the entire pivot in 90 seconds.
I kind of wish Megan Rapinoe would come out against cigarettes and in favor of seatbelts.
2. Democracy = Ded
Yesterday Republican senators invoked the filibuster to close off a vote for debate on S.B. 1. There were not even 10 Republican votes to hold a debate on voting rights. Not vote for S.B. 1.
Just to debate it.
But that’s cool. I’m sure once the Manchin bill gets there, plenty of Good Republicans will be eager to debate voting-rights protections. And if there aren’t, then I’m sure it’ll be much more important to preserve the Sacred Filibuster than to establish some minimal standards for how the basic act of democracy can be exercised.
Because process >> outcomes. Or something.
Anyway, I bring this up because I got an email from a reader yesterday that struck me as dead-on:
Rich Thau’s piece yesterday was really a gut punch. That’s kind of funny because I already knew in my gut that what he found was true. So, I reiterate my conclusion: If your democracy is under attack and campaigning to save it is a losing issue, your democracy is going to fail.
If Shark Attack Politics works and voters think it’s wrong to talk about insurrection, but right to worry about trans athletes and Critical Race Theory—then you’re already in the death spiral.
I don’t know what the answer is except to keep fighting. That’s what we do at The Bulwark, every day. Come with us.
3. Frisbee Golf Money
This piece is everything we love about the Ringer:
When Paul McBeth first started playing in professional disc golf tournaments, he’d crisscross California in his father’s 1978 Dodge Ramcharger. His dad had mostly used it to rock-crawl in the desert outskirts of Los Angeles. The top of the SUV was sawed off and the side windows were smashed out. The doors were so dented they looked like topographic maps. The windshield was scarred, and the gas pedal was missing. When storm clouds gathered, Paul kicked a metal bar to the floor as he tried to outrun the rain.
His next few cars weren’t much nicer. . . .
In the decade since, McBeth’s disc golf career has soared. He’s won the PDGA world championship five times and the United States Disc Golf championship twice. In 2010, the PDGA championship’s total purse was $33,782; at this week’s event, the men’s winnings are expected to be upward of $150,000. McBeth has earned more than half a million dollars from his performances. He is, undoubtedly, the most accomplished disc golfer in the world.
But except to a subset of hardcore frisbee fans, his more impressive accomplishments have come away from the course. In February, disc golf manufacturer Discraft announced it had extended McBeth’s endorsement deal to a guaranteed $10 million over 10 years.