Brett Kavanaugh needed to project a certain type of masculinity on Thursday, so he talked about sports. He was captain of his high school varsity basketball team. He played football too, offense and defense. He lifted weights. He ran track. He supported other women playing sports. He’s coached his daughter’s youth basketball team. He’s even been to one of the most iconic stadiums in the sport that calls itself America’s pastime. For good measure, he even dropped a reference to Title IX, the gender equality law that forced colleges to offer more women’s sports. He was quite the sporting man. Kavanaugh described his high school conversations as something straight out of a movie: “We talked about life, and football, and school, and girls.”
The hypocrisy of this ideal is easily enough disproved. Florida State. Penn State. Florida. Baylor. The other Baylor scandal you’ve already forgotten about. Minnesota. Michigan State. Ohio State. Stanford. Harvard. Amherst. Steubenville. Bixby. USA Gymnastics. USA Taekwondo. USA Diving. USA Swimming. Maryland. Central Florida. This list could go on, but let’s cut to the chase and get to the closer: Kavanaugh’s beloved alma mater, Yale.
It’s no surprise at all that Kavanaugh ignored all this well-documented history and reached for the comfortable cliché of the moral and masculine athlete. It’s an image and ideal that’s grown up right along with the idea of America as a world power.
This is the sort of 1950s/1960s culture porn that Trump promised when he coined “Make America Great Again” as his campaign motto.