Friday, February 5, 2010

In which Scott Lee Cohen is accused of "steroid and domestic abuse"

That was the way Chicago Public Radio just referred to the charges against the Democratic candidate-elect for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois.

Maybe this is nitpicky, but "steroid and domestic abuse"? Really? That's a complete misuse of parallel structure, given that the two meanings of "abuse" in these sentences are totally different. It's like referring to "green and hand jobs," or "Colombian and Diet Coke," or "spiking volleyballs and drinks." Since the shared word between the phrases carries a different meaning in each phrase, using them together is confusing at best.

The reason why it's particularly egregious in this case, though, is because in many people's heads, drug abuse and domestic violence are still thought of as parallel, in that both of them are essentially private affairs. If you want to fuck up your body or your relationship, the logic goes, that's up to you -- because your relationship (and by implication, your partner) is yours to fuck up if you so choose.

It's not like this phenomenon is rare, either -- a Google search turns up 1.7 million results for "drug and domestic abuse."

Also in two articles about allegations that he "forced himself sexually on his ex-wife," Huffington Post and the Sun-Times refuse to use the "R" word to describe this -- I guess because when it's your wife, it's a domestic dispute rather than rape.

Of course, there are real connections between steroid use and domestic violence that we should be talking about -- both directly through skyrocketing testosterone levels, and indirectly because both spring from a conception of masculinity in terms of dominance through aggression.

While we're at it, it's worth mentioning that the guy's a pawnbroker on 48th and Ashland who poured $2 million of poor black people's his own money into his campaign.

Dear Democratic Party of Illinois: this is why I will never, ever vote for you.

Dear voters of Illinois: what made this seem like a good idea? Has anyone heard anything good about Scott Lee Cohen?

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