The XX Factor

Jason Whitlock Makes Don Draper Look Enlightened

It’s been a whole day since I first read Jason Whitlock’s column defending ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips, who was fired from the network after having an affair with a 22-year-old production assistant, and I’m still not sure what to make of it.

Whitlock’s main point is that “[a] little off-the-books nookie should not infringe on man’s ability to discuss bats and balls in October.” I’m going to set aside the obvious fact that a job at ESPN is a privilege, not a right, and if an employee does something to embarrass the network, of course he can be fired. (Yep, the woman got fired, too .)

If I didn’t know better-if, say, I didn’t know that Whitlock has riffed on this before and that we did not have the Internet thousands of years ago-I’d say this column is a fossilized relic from the Neanderthal era. Reluctant as I am to steer traffic toward it, you really must read it for yourself . America’s hardworking men are locked in “battle against Pussy Galore.” Phillips is merely a victim to the forces in society like “women enter[ing] the workforce” and “Viagra, exercise, makeup, perfume, hair extensions, shaved legs, clothes that revealed cleavage.”

In Whitlock’s world, monogamy is outdated and men - heterosexual men , especially-should not be constrained by it. It’s not their fault, after all, if they can’t honor their marriage vows, what with all the hussies in the next cubicle. And why should little wifey mind, as long as she’s getting enough money to buy groceries and clean aprons? And well-off men positively deserve extramarital sex: “[A] moderately famous man earning between $250K and $500K a year should be allowed a mistress he can see weekly, one week-long, $8,000 vacation he can take with his mistress and five strip club nights with his boys a year.” Double those income parameters, and Whitlock grants the man two more strip club nights a year and a love nest for his little tartlet.

Seriously, Jason. What about a woman earning $250,000 or $500,000 a year? If you think sex outside marriage is a right for everyone, why do you keep talking about men as victims of women? Why don’t you throw in just one little reference to the extramarital desires of women?

What is particularly galling about Whitlock’s Don Draper shtick is that he should know better than to say such stupid things. Whitlock wrote a column (since pulled from saying that Rush Limbaugh shouldn’t own an NFL team because Limbaugh had said that slavery “had its merits” and that James Earl Ray deserved a Medal of Honor. Of course, Limbaugh had never said any such thing and Whitlock had to apologize .

But Whitlock can’t hide from these comments. They’re attached to his byline. And he should know that sexism is just as bad as racism.