Casual sexism, British-style, in the Houses of Parliament

In Britain, a mirror-world scandal of harassment and abuse is unfolding. Like its American counterpart, it reaches into high levels of entertainment and government. But unlike America, the "jocular contempt for women" that Richard Rorty feared would return is already on merry display in Parliament itself.

"When I met the Israeli deputy prime minister, he stormed out of the meeting. The Secretary of State got a much more cordial reception," said Sir Desmond Swayne, a conservative MP. "Is it just because she's a lady?"

The smarm! The transparently false detachment! The bad comic timing! The sublimated, sneering rage! Affectation as the failure state of eccentricity! If all this is your cup of tea, be sure to check out the latest from Peter Hitchens.

Update: more from this charming "Sir Desmond" character:

The current ‘feeding frenzy’ of allegations where the most minor risqué remark is reported in the same breath as a very serious criminal offence is just absurd. It is just about as proportionate a reaction as the Junior Anti Sex League in George Orwell’s 1984.

As, I tweeted last week, I recall my housemaster’s advice when he reminded us of the rule that no boy be alone with a girl in his study “believe me boys, this is for your own safety”. I suspect that a number of parliamentary colleagues wish that they had had that advice, and taken it.

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