The Fear that Someone, Somewhere, Might Be Aroused

Donald Trump’s pick for labor secretary is Andy Puzder, the successful CEO of CKE Restaurants, which operates Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. Puzder is a smart critic of Obama’s reign of regulatory terror against American businesses over the past eight years, which is a big reason for the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression.

But what our progressive friends seem most upset about concerning Puzder’s nomination is that, as Vox declares:

Like Trump, Puzder is very open about how much he enjoys objectifying women, and how he likes to use that objectification as a business strategy. … For the last decade or so, Carl’s Jr. has been known for running controversial TV ads featuring models eating hamburgers in various gross, oversexed ways.

Vox’s link is to the progressive feminist site Jezebel, which also has a big problem with images of beautiful women eating hamburgers. And ThinkProgress assumes a clear connection between using alluring women in an advertising campaign and opening the floodgates to systemic pay discrimination against working women.

I’m not the first to point out that all this anger and angst on the left is eerily similar to criticism from the Christian right during the 1980s over jiggly women on network sitcoms. Today’s progressives sound as shocked and appalled over the prospect that American men might become (gasp) aroused as the American Family Association and the Moral Majority were back then.

Which really shouldn’t be surprising. In today’s progressivism, feminist prudery and censoriousness (think campus fainting couches and safe spaces) extends to demands that erotic expressiveness be strictly controlled and regulated—or, if that’s not yet possible, treated with contempt—at least when its focus is heterosexuality and especially with regard to the working classes. This is evidenced by the scorn evoked by sexy waitresses at the restaurant chain Hooters. (If erotic imagery undermines heteronormality, it gets a pass.)

Female radio host Dana Loesch, author of the book “Hands Off My Gun,” blogged in defense of Puzder:

Are the ads modest? No. Are they sexist and exploitative? Well, that depends on whom is being exploited. … Were not the women in the ads paid? Were they unaware that they filmed a commercial? The audience for whom this commercial was made are the ones being exploited, exploited by a company, to part with their dollars.

To the left, however, marketing and commercialism are perhaps the gravest sins of all.

20 Comments for “The Fear that Someone, Somewhere, Might Be Aroused”

  1. posted by Throbert McGee on

    Dear Stephen,

    Please stet the “somehwere” in the headline. It sounds very Jan Brady, and in the context, this works. Also, please consider changing “someone” to “some-hwun,” for consistency.

    • posted by Jim R. on

      T.M., you apparently didn’t get the Mencken allusion:
      “Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”
      ― H.L. Mencken

      • posted by Throbert McGee on

        Of course I got the Mencken allusion — I graduated from UVa, it’s not exactly a charm school.

        I was just commenting on the typo, which I think was rather fortuitous.

  2. posted by Houndentenor on

    Nice diversion, Stephen, but a few ads isn’t the worst thing about this or any of the heinous Trump cabinet picks. This is a fiasco. You were right not to vote for Trump. Why are you defending him and his rogue’s gallery now?

  3. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    In a free market, you sell what you have. Soft-core porn ads sell. Nothing wrong with it.

    A little off the point, sitting here in the middle of a snowstorm, I’m thinking it must be August — the slow news period when there’s nothing important to talk about. Thank G-d for that.

  4. posted by Jorge on

    This Vox article is nothing more than a filler project by someone who gets paid by the letter and doesn’t have enough real work to do. It belongs in a tabloid publication.

    I don’t have a problem with a single word of it. Its tone, however, is much too serious. The domestic violence accusation (and rebuttal statement) is truly an odd section. It deserves to be reported but there’s just something creepy about an article that goes from a serious discussion of inflatable models in bikinis to a 30-year ago allegation of domestic violence to the old boys club. It’s one of the most poorly-constructed essays I’ve ever read.

    The correct way to write an article touching on so many disparate points is to make it a ‘”Three things to know about [Insert Name.]” But as Mr. Miller says, then you wouldn’t be able to pretend-stealth the sex card.

    At least the article has some personality to it. But no, women have been objectified in both television and print media since before I hit puberty. Women have never been able to get past the introduction stage of even presenting that problem, must less solving it. (And I say women because as far as I can tell, they’ve rarely gotten to care.) I see no reason to bully someone just because he happens to sell hamburgers and not lingerie.

    “Puzder’s sexism is concerning given the role he would play in establishing federal labor policy.”

    So was Barack Obama’s racism, George W. Bush’s religious fanaticism, and Bill Clinton’s smothering all-American goodness. We’ll survive another administration full of idiots, and the little dogs yipping at their heels, too.

    • posted by Jorge on

      The parenthetical statement should read “they’ve rarely gotten men to care.”

      Speaking of men, how creepy and rude and totally inappropriate would it be I told someone I’d love to see what they’d look like eating a Carl’s Jr. burger? As it is I almost got in trouble telling someone to cover up his face.

  5. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    [W]omen have been objectified in both television and print media since before I hit puberty.


  6. posted by Throbert McGee on

    I would pay to see Mike Rowe dribbling hamburger grease and molten cheese all over his hairy, sweaty pecs. But that’s just me.

    • posted by Kosh III on

      And I’d pay to lick that grease and cheese off him. But that’s just me. LOL

      • posted by Throbert McGee on

        You’d have to beat me at kickboxing for the privilege of licking him clean, Kosh!

        (But then again, maybe Mike Rowe would say, “Come now, lads, there’s plenty of my magnificent manliness for BOTH of you.”)

        • posted by Kosh III on

          Tell you what, you can have Mike Rowe and I’ll take Keith Hamilton Cobb.
          Then we can both satisfy the fear of arousal noted in the heading.

  7. posted by TJ on

    I love it when people talk vaguely about how the other guy is putting all these bad regulations on business. Its so much better then dealing with details, facts or reality.

    Actual Libertarians are – if nothing else – sticking to an ideology. They really do think that the market should decide the fate of lead paint, drug dealers and the weekend.

    However, mostly it’s just a vague and inconsistent complaint about how a vague set of regulations are bad.

    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      However, mostly it’s just a vague and inconsistent complaint about how a vague set of regulations are bad.

      Don’t forget the hysteric hyperbole. “Reign of Regulatory Terror”, indeed. Stephen is really hung up on Robspierre and the French Revolution.

    • posted by TJ on

      one correction. The company wasn’t a pizza chain, but a set of burgers and fries chains.

  8. posted by Throbert McGee on

    Don’t forget the hysteric hyperbole. “Reign of Regulatory Terror”, indeed. Stephen is really hung up on Robspierre and the French Revolution.

    Welp, if you direct your eyes upward, the blog-sign says “Culture Watch,” not “close legal analysis” — for that, there’s The Volokh Conspiracy.

    And honestly, Tom, I thought that Vaughn Walker’s judgment (which you quoted in the thread below) was pretty heavy on hyperbole, and also amazingly redundant — though, admittedly, it avoided outright hysterics.

    It was, however, needlessly long and flatulent, and no more impressive to me than Catholic bloviating about “objectively evil and intrinsically disordered.”

    • posted by Tom Scharbach on


    • posted by JohnInCA on

      “heavy on hyperbole”, “amazingly redundant”, “needlessly long and flatulent” and not “impressive”.

      Gee, sounds like a pretty bad legal decision, no wonder it got overturned.

      Oh. Wait. That didn’t happen.

      You want to know what I don’t think is impressive? Your arm-chair legal analysis.

    • posted by Jorge on

      What’s mere flatulence to that guy is poison to this guy. I regret even looking.

  9. posted by TJ on

    The hot issue – if you will – ain’t the advertising or even the pizza (which I never ranked especially high among fast food pizza market).

    Yes, people may praise or condemn the ads or the quality of the pizza. But that is not the big issue in this case and Stephen probably knows that.

Comments are closed.