So here's the deal: One time Christine O'Donnell got drunk and made out with a dude. They didn't do it, BUT STILL.
Except, well, who really cares? Actually, you do. Maybe not you individually or specifically, but you, we care — all of us media-consuming, web-browsing, gossip-loving masses. We care, and it shows in the traffic: Gawker's "scoop" got 180,000 pageviews in under two hours. And yeah, Jezebel features a link to the story because we are a part of a company that, let's be honest, knows how you work all too well. So it goes.
Nevertheless, the point and problem is this: If the politician in question were a man, this wouldn't be a story — an anonymous woman probably wouldn't even think to contact a gossip site with her story about how she once played spin-the-bottle with Mr. Candidate. Because who hasn't made out with someone? (With apologies to you, over there, looking sheepish in the corner.) Anyhow, big whoop.
Wait — let me revise that a bit: perhaps a lady from Mr. Candidate's innocent past would step forward with such a small faux-scandalous tale, and we'd briefly pay attention to it — but only if Mr. Candidate were viewed as patently ridiculous as is O'Donnell. Really, the dude has got to be captivatingly idiotic in order for this kind of story to be of even the most remote interest. And that brings us back to the Would Never Happen column, because even the most absurd male candidates aren't considered half as loony as their female equivalents are. We might poke some fun at silly Mr. Candidate, maybe there'd be a snicker-inducing viral video — but our attention will wander elsewhere in short order. The man's an idiot; move along, folks, nothing to see here.
But a woman? Well, that's different. First of all, she's a Crazy Bitch, and nothing holds our attention more than a hilariously Crazy Bitch. Oh, she's not, like, a bitch bitch — more like we've transformed her into our silly bitch, our punchline bitch (and no, Jezebel is not innocent here). Crazy Bitch isn't necessarily crazy because she's a woman, mind you — but the fact that she's a woman does make her craziness seem a lot more funny, doesn't it? I mean, women in Congress are a minority, and this Crazy Bitch got a nomination! Crazy Bitch made it this far! Even when she's saying crazy things!
Oh, and it helps that she's pretty, exudes a certain youthfulness, and has a history of saying things about sex. And when a woman says something silly and misinformed about SEX, it's even more interesting, isn't it? Crazy Bitch thinks she can tell us how to handle p-in-the-v! Crazy Bitch doesn't even double-click her mouse! Ha, she so crazy. Let's all shake our heads and smile.
So let's review: Christine O'Donnell is crazy. She has said some astoundingly stupid things, particularly about sex. And now we've got a story about how she maybe pressed some penetration-free flesh, which is interesting and pertinent. We can concede the first two points, but not the latter.
Nevertheless, now that we've got this captivatingly ka-razy narrative going, any little detail helps, doesn't it? It helps us feel like we know her a little more, makes that Crazy Bitch seem all the more like our charmingly clueless "friend." And who doesn't occasionally tease a friend about something dumb? Like her ladybug costume or pubic hair.
We dislike Christine O'Donnell as much as anyone; she is indeed batshit. But just because she's a nutjob doesn't mean her third-base hookups matter. They don't. The fact that she has no grasp of the Constitution? Now that matters.