Herman Cain’s been getting a big bang out of a little buck, at least as evidenced by his recent ad campaign:
This past Friday I addressed this on The Barbershop. The quick and dirty of it is that I think Cain’s ad isn’t really geared towards folks who are likely to vote or lean Democrat, so that isn’t really the right space from which to analyze the ad. What we need to think about is the average southern white male working class voter. What are they likely to see here? Someone speaking truth to power, who is willing to flout the normal conventions in order to “take our country back.” Whatever you think about those politics, and for people like me they ARE problematic (take our country back from WHOM? for what purpose?), I think the ad works.
We also talked about a recent proposal to spend resources on making HPV shots mandatory. The shots, currently targeted to young women to prevent cervical cancer are now urged on boys as well to stave off the possibility of anal and throat cancer. Because these forms of cancer are associated with sexual activity many are concerned that parents are unlikely to support such a move. But for me the costs loom large–the shots cost $300. I don’t know what the rates of cervical cancer are, but the rates of anal cancer appear to be low–about 5,000 per year. Not sure the benefits outweigh the costs here, although this might be an instance in which an argument could be made for extending the government’s ability to negotiate drug costs with companies.
This particular proposal made me think about an aspect of the Amber Cole case that I don’t think anyone has considered. Both Jimi Izrael and Mark Anthony Neal take the role of the father–with Jimi channeling the rage of a parent seemingly helpless to keep his daughter from participating in her own objectification, and Mark analyzing the politics of respectability involved in focusing on Amber rather than the young boys in the video. But while both explicitly focus on Amber’s mental health, they only implicitly deal with Amber’s PHYSICAL health. Women are more likely to contract a variety of sexual diseases than their male counterparts. This combined with market forces that simultaneously seek to infantalize women prematurely age them, and the fact that adolescents aren’t as developed as adults, makes it essential that we spend the same degree of attention of increasing women’s sexual health that we spend (rhetorically at any rate) on keeping black boys out of jail. And in as much as we understand this story as the Amber Cole story as opposed to the INSERT BOY NAME HERE story it means we focus on our daughters.