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Unexpected Correlations

People sometimes say that I focus on second and third-order causes, but I'm really more interested in first-order causes of unexpected correlations and parallels, such as the fact that women are significantly more likely to participate in the Resistance than men, or that one of the strongest predictors for a state supporting Bernie Sanders in the primary was lack of ethnic diversity, or the strong tendency of serial killers, mass shooters, and terrorists to be male, or the intense gender divisions in my industry.

In this case, we have another unusual situation, which is that numerous people have (apparently independently) drawn a parallel between Comey's questioning and the treatment of sexual harassment victims. A couple of different explanations present themselves:

1) The way in which Comey was questioned was actually perfectly representative of other such situations involving a heavy imbalance of power, and observers are making the connection to gender because the events of 2016 are still fresh in their minds.

2) The way in which Comey was questioned specifically resembled the way in which sexual harassment victims are treated because he was being questioned by the Congressional Republicans, who have a lot of personal experience intimidating victims of sexual harassment and abuse. When intimidating this new target, they naturally fell back on their past experiences.

3) The way in which Comey was questioned was similar to the handling of other situations involving a heavy imbalance of power, but had an unusual resemblance to the treatment of harassment victims because of the broader gender dynamics affecting the political scene. To a certain (almost entirely unconscious) extent, the modern day Right is devoted to defending the right of men to be shitty to women (with all the usual provisos about intersectional Gardenfors spaces). Comey represents a major threat to that, and so he elicited a more gendered response.

All of these options have interesting implications for gender dynamics in our culture, but I don't pretend to know which is correct. It's probably a combination of the three, as usually seems to be the case with this sort of thing.

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