Buttigieg Accused ‘American Right Wing’ of Fearing ‘Boobs’ in 2004

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• April 2, 2019 6:08 pm


South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has some thoughts on "boobs," which the Democratic presidential hopeful offered in a 2004 column for the Harvard Crimson.

A week after the Janet Jackson’s infamous "nip slip" at the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII, Buttigieg argued that the national controversy over Jackson's exposed breast was proof that the "American Right Wing is not comfortable with the female form."

Buttigieg then went on to criticize the "ruling Right's" belief that sex is a "horrid scourge," bent on unfairly shielding children from female breasts.  

"It seems odd that an infant is supposed to feed on them, and a grown man is expected at some point to behold them, but for a period in between we feel the need to see to it that no child ever sees a breast," he wrote.

The solution, Buttigieg proposed, is for Americans to adopt more "European" attitudes toward toplessness.

"This prudishness seems quintessentially American; Europeans, who have long been more comfortable with the human form than we, are generally amused by the Puritan standards of American entertainment when it comes to nudity," he wrote. "The French, for example, have no trouble with the appearance of topless women, shown routinely in newspapers and advertisements."

Elsewhere in the piece, the future mayor criticized then President George W. Bush's Attorney General John Ashcroft for covering statues with exposed breasts in the Department of Justice's D.C. building. After comparing Ashcroft's actions to the religious zealotry of the Taliban, Buttigieg argued that Ashcroft should have used the money for what breast aficionado Al Franken suggested: "fighting terrorism:"

It was almost exactly two years ago when John Ashcroft ordered the Justice Department to cover the exposed breast of a statue in the lobby of the Department’s Washington office building, at a cost of $8,000. At the time, some remarked on how this reminded them of other religious zealots who took offense to nudity and to statues—the Taliban came to mind, though in all fairness they preferred blowing up statues to covering them—while others, such as Al Franken, pointed out that another possible use of the money might be more urgent: fighting terrorism.

Buttigieg's column offered other insights into the budding pundit's grasp on politics, such as the repeated observation that "Democratic scandals tend to be sexual, while Republican ones are often violent." It ran every other Monday from 2003-2004. Aside from his thoughts on "the female form," he often criticized President George W. Bush, once declaring that William Butler Yeats’s apocalyptic poem "The Second Coming" written in 1922 during the Irish Revolution "seems almost explicitly about the second coming of the Bush Administration."

Buttigieg's literary abilities first came to light in 2000 when he won the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage essay contest for a piece in which he praised then Rep. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) for being "a powerful force for conciliation and bi-partisanship on Capitol Hill."