Moral Chernobyl: A Place Where Kids Die Young

As the father of an only child who just graduated from a college in—of all places—Colorado, I was deeply saddened to hear that disgraced FOX News personality Eric Bolling’s only child Chase was found dead at his campus in Boulder. Apparently the boy had overdosed on some drug or other. Naturally, speculation about suicide runs rampant, given the notoriety that Eric had lately collected about the family name. At the very least, Chase must have been driven to the drug in a retreat from a situation that, by several accounts, was tremendously upsetting to him.

And understandably so. When your dad is accused of photographing his membrum virile for the benefit of certain women he wished to impress and sending them the portrait—and when his defense is a heated, “I don’t remember doing that!”—your filial universe has to be turned inside-out. Really, Dad? You don’t remember? So that’s something you just practically never do with the photos you take of Mr. Johnson?

At the same time, it occurs to me that a good many other segments in our society might share a little of the blame for this boy’s fate. What about the U of Colorado, and our colleges in general? What have they done to curb the culture of easy hook-ups, boozy parties, easily available drugs, and aloof professors? Professors, yes… for most of this boy’s teachers are bound to have known who he was. Because his dad was a hated Trumpista employed by the hated FOX network, did they decline to reflect for a moment that he was probably going through a very hard time? Did they, perhaps—God forbid—even add to his burden with a snarky comment or two? I almost don’t want to know.

Of the state of Colorado and pharmacophilia, I will say nothing, for I think little more needs to be said than this: when you acknowledge before young people the acceptability of altering unpleasant moods artificially, you purchase a small share of tragedies like Chase’s.

I’m not going to let neo-feminism off the hook, either. I think Bolling Senior probably has some utterly disreputable behavior to answer for, as I wrote weeks ago; and his “manly” bluster on behalf of Mr. Trump did not reassure me last year that his and my notions of male maturity had much in common. Yet as a young man in the Eighties whom women frequently refused to date a second time after the first adventure failed to land us in bed (thanks to my religious scruples and my distaste for exploiting giddy fools), I sincerely wonder just how many guys living in Eric’s New York fast lane get good results from obscene selfies and all the rest. I’m guessing that certain women must respond to such things in an encouraging manner; and I’m willing to suppose, even, that some of the women who accused Bolling months after the fact weren’t overly insulted until the hunt for his head was on.

How much of this crap—the lewd photos, the leers, the pawing, the dashes to a hotel at midday, the frolics on the office couch… the later fallings-out, the belated charges, the counter-charges, the broken marriages, the public disgrace, the professional meltdowns… the drinking, the drugs, the deep depression, the longing to be out of this world—how much of it would envelop us if feminists long ago had decided that imitating the very worst male behavior wasn’t necessarily the best way to prove they “had balls”?

How many young people have died because the older generation has created a moral Chernobyl amid whose toxic fumes they were somehow supposed to find adulthood without guidance?

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Strong as a Man But Must Be Treated Like a Lady… Really?

When I first read that FOX’s Eric Bolling has been accused of sexual harassment and suspended from his normal employ, I thought of previous crusades against the likes of Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly. Ailes appears to have been a genuine creep—but of a strictly verbal variety, in whom lewd or off-color remarks probably have more to do with manipulation than with sexual lust. O’Reilly’s greatest sin was apparently to have cracked a blonde joke about serial guest and token liberal, Kirsten Powers. Charles Payne has also been smeared and suspended lately. If FOX’s own hierarchy had booted him out for having pressured a white woman into having an affair, CNN and all the rest would have screamed and howled racism until the rafters shook… and you know what? They would likely have been right. But because Payne worked for FOX despite his African genetic material, his succumbing to the kind of slip that the left-wing elite routinely absorb before their first cup of coffee is something on the order of Ganelon’s betraying Roland.

At any rate, I was primed to be unsympathetic to Bolling’s accusers. If rats smell of character assassination for both financial and ideological ends, then I smelled a rat. I’m not a frequent consumer of FOX News, I hasten to add—or of any other news outlet. I gather bits and pieces from sources on TV and, even more, on the Net, make serious and mandatory corrections for probable bias, and then try to figure out on my own what’s going on in the world today.

Unhappily, the allegations make Bolling sound about as big a creep as Ailes—perhaps a bigger one, in that his solicitations went beyond the verbal. When I read of the charges that Caroline Heldman publicly shared, they were far beyond jokes about blondes or even being called “Professor McHottie” on the air. I don’t like men who behave this way. I never have. I can imagine Bolling being one of those men because of the way he rhetorically steamrolled everyone but Trump during last year’s primaries: it’s one of the things that made me desist from ever turning to FOX for information in 2016. No man (let alone a husband and father, like Bolling) should bombard a woman in the dressing room and through email with salivating comments about her looks and offer to arrange a lively toss in the hay. Need I say that a gentleman of the old school would have slapped a swine up one side of the skull and down the other for speaking that way to his sister… but now that feminism has contemptuously driven the gentleman from our midst, or tried its darnedest to do so, this is what women routinely put up with.

I’ve made that point in this space elsewhere. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Bolling did most of what he’s charged with. (The rebuttals I’ve read all repeat that Heldman is a whiney socialist professor who runs to every protest march with a placard: hardly a response to the details of the accusation.) Though Heldman is indeed a feminist—and an academic feminist, at that—I’m not going to take her to task for having very publicly bruised feelings while singing the refrain, “Stop treating me with kid gloves!” The point that rivets my attention in this case is much simpler. Caroline, why didn’t you stop doing the FOX gig? Once you figured out that Bolling was a sniffing hound, why didn’t you sever all association with him and his outfit? Why did you appear on his show dozens and dozens of times? Was the money that good—or the fame and the exposure, maybe? But if those were adequate compensation for Bolling’s leers and pitches, time after time, then… well, then: you got paid, my dear. And the price paid to you was what you set upon your honor—you yourself!

Honor. Gee, here I am talking like Beau Brummell. But if young women like Professor Heldman want men to behave like gentlemen, ideology notwithstanding, then they themselves must cling to certain qualities of the lady. Fair’s fair. When a man behaves dishonorably, a woman is equally dishonorable to continue putting up with him until she gets everything from him that she wants.

My suspicion, from what little I’ve read about Caroline Heldman (and it’s pretty fascinating), is that she has transferred the resentment she feels toward a dominant, rabidly Pentecostal father to other males, whom she can punish for their bullying at strategic moments without suffering any guilt… but I’m not Dr. Phil.