Connecticut state rep. tells 17-year-old girl he has a "snake under my desk" that can help her with shyness

Snippet from a Connecticut State Appropriations Committee hearing about a program to help students overcome shyness:

17-year-old-girl: "I am usually a very shy person, and now I am more outgoing. I was able to teach those children about certain things like snakes that we have and the turtles that we have... I want to do something toward that, working with children when I get older."

Connecticut state Rep. Ernest Hewett (D): "If you're bashful I got a snake sitting under my desk here."

Hewitt later responded to critics: “If she had said elephants, I would have said elephants.”



  1. I don’t see how an elephant is any better with it’s 2 larges ears and long trunk. Why is this guy so mean to animals.

  2. God that’s like something I’d read off 4Chan…

    Seriously dude, that kind of humor has a very narrow window of possible acceptability and this sure as hell isn’t it.

    1. This is only half the story.

      …he explained to the Hartford Courant that he did not have a history of questionable behavior, he cited his lack of female interns as evidence of his clean past. He told the Courant:
      I purposely will not have female interns. My intern now is a male. I want to keep it like that. I’ve had female interns in the past that sit in my office all day. I thought it was totally weird and I didn’t want another. As a matter of fact, I went four, maybe six years without having an intern at all because of stuff like that. I have a male intern, the last two I’ve had were male.

      He went on to say that he could not choose to hire only male interns, but would prefer not to be assigned females, because
      that way that keeps me good and that keeps everybody else good.

        1. Give it a week.  He’ll be screaming, “Demonic raisins, I rebuke you!”

          1. I thought the quote was “stay thee evil raisins” but I can’t find it on the Intertubes right now…

      1. I guess it’s good that he’s aware of this weakness, and avoids situations where he might do something bad. It would have been better if he’d had that same awareness during that hearing.

  3. Remember this is the state where two years ago one of the state representatives said that we shouldn’t legalize medical marijuana because he had a friend who smoked weed and his ear fell off. The representative from NORML had to stand up and say with a completely straight face, “Well from what I understand that’s a very uncommon reaction.”

    1. I am absotively certain I would have had to be removed from the room for hysterical, uncontrollable laughter.  And possibly quoting from the incredible melting man,  “Oh MY GOD it’s his EAR!”

      But yeah, that puts the snakes and elephants in perspective, I guess.  Thanks!

  4. Listen to the audio, he’s clearly complimenting her by saying that she doesn’t seem very shy. In the vein of “if you’re shy, I’ve got a bridge to sell you”.

      1. Of course that explanation makes sense.  But it was stupid.

        I’ve heard people say similar–“You did X?  If you did X, then I got a Y right here.”  She had mentioned snakes, and it could conceivably be the first “Y” that came to mind.

        I’d tend to give the benefit of the doubt–unless this guy has a history of that kind of harassment.

          1. “State Rep. Mae Flexer, D-Danielson, said Monday that Hewett’s “snake” comment last week wasn’t the first example.
            “We know he has a history of bad behavior, and we made a choice not to expose young women to that behavior just like no young woman or any young woman should have to be exposed,” to it, Flexer said.”

            Right. So you made a choice to deprive young women of opportunities so that you could keep a man who isn’t safe around half the population in power.


          2. “There were “at least a handful” of incidents involving Hewett and females prior to her serving on the committee, she said. It was primarily verbal sexual harassment, which could include anything that creates a hostile work environment, she said.”

            OK, I stand corrected.  That definitely pushes it toward NOT giving him the benefit of the doubt in this case.  Sounds like a creep.

    1.  When I first came across this story I had the same reaction after listening to the clip.  I had to hear it knowing no one is that stupid.  So I feel bad for this guy – trying to be cool and say clever and coming out with that.  But then again, he should have had the sense at that very moment to have said, whoa – that didn’t come out right.

    2. I agree that’s exactly what it sounds like.

      It was an incredible stupid thing to say — and may have been said with sexual intent, I don’t know — but he certainly wasn’t saying he has a trouser snake that can “help” her with her shyness.

    3. …he’s clearly complimenting her by saying that she doesn’t seem very shy.

      Well she probably is NOW.

  5. “If she had said elephants, I would have said elephants.”
    I’m confused.  Is his penis as long as a snake or as big as an elephant?  

  6. Now if she had said “stubby little worms” I’m betting he would not have said the same.

    1. Really it was the “under this desk” part that’s offensive. I don’t care what he names his junk.

  7. I love how the defense against deeply inappropriate behavior is always, “No, no, I’m just profoundly incompetent!”

    As though it’s totally understandable that a man who makes his living with his words is completely oblivious to their meanings.

      1. Sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice.     Though I’m not sure this is quite advanced enough to make the cut.

        1. Sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice.

          And vice versa.

        1. Malice is intrinsically stupid, isn’t it? At best, it’s an idiotic waste of resources.

  8. I think you nailed it; he just has a very convoluted sense of semantics. That’s really the only explanation that accounts for his belief that substituting elephant should clear up any misunderstanding. 
    Otherwise, it’s just beyond belief. It’s not conceivable that he was trying to suggest, at a public meeting, that an encounter with his snake would help improve the girl’s life. 

    While it was both funny and disturbing to believe someone could be so crass, I have to agree–he was just being clumsy.

        1.  I didn’t get the Zombocom reference there, ah, how much I enjoy doing anything I want to at Zombocom!

    1. This happened a few days ago.  Why do we not already have Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg singing Snake under my Desk?  And Samuel Jackson ranting about this motherfucking snake under his motherfucking desk?

  9. He should’ve gone with the standard cure for shyness or unwelcome strangers:
    “Buy a shotgun…  buy a shotgun…”

  10. Aside from the senator’s comment… I encourage anyone who thinks that shyness is a personality problem that just needs to be fixed to read Susan Cain’s fantastic book on introversion – Quiet. It does a fantastic job of laying out the case for why we need shy people and introverts in our society, and questions the decades old view that we all need to be chatty and outgoing. Without knowing too much about what Connecticut is doing, I hope they’re not planning some sort of boot camp for introverted kids.

    1. It’s not inherently a problem, but if you’re a shy person who wants to go into a career like teaching or politics then it certainly can be a disadvantage.

    2.  I grew up an introvert, and in many ways still am. However I also am glad that I’ve gained the ability to communicate with others when I want to do so. I get your point, but to me introversion is lacking the desire to be with others, shyness is lacking the ability to speak at times you wish to.

    3. If they are planning a boot camp, I’d like to suggest R Lee Ermey as chief counselor. 

    4.  Introversion and shyness are very different things.  Shyness is a handicap* except in the case that someone of the opposite sex finds it cute.  Introversion vs. extroversion is a tradeoff rather than a straight handicap.*  I’m glad I’m an introvert and always will be but I’m also glad at the progress I’ve made getting over my shyness.

      *I don’t mean to make light of disabilities by saying shyness is a disability.  I just couldn’t think of a better word.

      1. Shyness is a handicap* except in the case that someone of the opposite sex finds it cute.

        Well, I guess I’m fucked. Or not, literally.

  11. This was dumb to say. Really dumb. It doesn’t help he keeps digging the hole. However I can’t help but be irritated at the Limbaugh-esque “journalism” that presenting this story. The quote is truncated with a lot of audio between what she said and what he said. It was hardly a perverted zinger. Most people won’t bother to look into the audio. Those that did might be driven to turn it off by the woman’s rendition of a scene out of the movie Cluess she drones on with for over a minute and half before we get to the punchline. Meanwhile the reporter will gladly cash in on what should be a mildly amusing story by sensationalizing it with some crafty editing.

    1. And the fact that he’s been outed as a serial sexual harasser?  Is that enough context for you?

      1. I’m sure each and every one of those incidents was a innocent, misunderstood joke. As he would happily explan to you over a nice dinner at his place. And breakfast, too. Ha ha, just kidding.

  12. Just listened, and the intent is not there. He’s complimenting here in a joke that didn’t work, and didn’t have any intended fratboy leanings to my ears. She did not at all sound offended either.

    Sometimes a snake is just a snake.

    1.  Sometimes a Freudian slip is just a Freudian slip (see other comments with evidence that he shouldn’t be around impressionable women, for their sake)

  13. Interestingly choice of alternatives… the use of “elephant” has pretty much exactly the same connotations as “snake” depending on where you are. Probably the most used in Japan, but not exactly unknown elsewhere.

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