The Bitter Mind of Bernard


A man goes home and masturbates his typical fantasy. A woman on her knees, a woman tied up, a woman abused.

A woman enjoys intercourse with her man – as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously.

The man and woman get dressed up on Sunday — and go to church or maybe to their “revolutionary” political meeting.

~Bernard Sanders, 1972


It was 1972.Man_and_Woman_0

At the start of the year, Brooklyn-born Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American Congresswoman, announces her candidacy for President, briefly fusing the women’s movement and the civil rights movement.

Congress votes to send the Equal Rights Amendment to the states for ratification.

The second wave of the woman’s movement spreads across the country, buttressed by the premier publication of Ms. Magazine, the growth of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and thousands of consciousness-raising (CR) groups.

For the first time, women are admitted to Dartmouth College and hired as FBI agents. Women are allowed to take part in the Boston Marathon. Sally Priesand becomes the first rabbi in the U.S.

The classified ads are still segregated, listing jobs for Men and Women. Law enforcement still ignores calls for domestic battery. Newspapers still relegate women to the back pages under the “Society” section. Young women are encouraged to pursue the helping professions. Abortion is illegal. Men are not allowed to cry. Women are not permitted to be angry.

The whole of society is experiencing growing pains, pushed toward a forceful delivery of liberation by the generation known as the Baby Boomers.

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While this tumult is going on, a 31-year-old, unemployed  Jewish fellow from Brooklyn named Bernard Sanders pens his shallow thoughts on what he dubs “this man-woman thing.” The college grad sends them off to a rag called Vermont Freeman, which publishes his essay in February 1972.

Sanders opens his piece with lines sure to tantalize those “free” men.


A man goes home and masturbates his typical fantasy. A woman on her knees, a woman tied up, a woman abused.


I imagine women reading this in 1972 exploded with fury. “Male chauvinist pig,” would’ve been the chosen epithet. Gloria Steinem would articulate a fiery response damning the master/slave dynamic, that sadomasochistic orientation which glorifies humiliation and pain and regards females as sexual objects. As a woman reading this 44 years later, I feel disturbing nausea; this bile in the mouth.

These are the ideas of U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who presents himself as the bringer-of-revolution. These are thoughts of a fully matured man, a college graduate, during one of the most profoundly revolutionary eras in American society. They represent misogyny at its bleakest; they are exactly the old school, male-dominated ideology that feminists battled in 1972 and still fight today.

After belittling women and establishing his sexual dominance in print, Bernard next encourages women to escape the bonds which he describes. “Women, for their own preservation, are trying to pull themselves together,” he tells his readers.

Bernard has no inkling that in giving his blessing to our struggle, he has separated himself from us and from our struggle. Just the phrase, “trying to pull themselves together,” is a diminishing five words that drips of condescension. Women are not falling apart, as he implies. No, society is screwed up. The patriarchal system that has women on their knees – in his essay, in every room, in every city, in every state – is what women are challenging. [Synch the chorus: You missed the point. You missed the point. You really missed the point.]

Mind you, before Bernard jots down his inconsequential thoughts, women have already begun the radical shift in minds with their analyses of patriarchy in Sisterhood Is Powerful; Kate Millet has published Sexual Politics; and females are finally admitting to faked orgasms and to their love for one another.

Bernard continues his pseudo-intellectual scribbling. After plumbing the depths of his consciousness, he arrives at the-all-too-common shift away from the victim’s issue (sexism) and onto the oppressor.

And Men. Men are in pain too. They are thinking. Wondering. What is it they want from a woman? Are they at fault? Are they perpetuating this man-woman situation? Are they oppressors?

The sheer simplicity of this mind called Bernard is staggering. What thoughts have passed through it to produce such rhetoric? Very little, when it comes to perceiving that males are at the core of sexism. But Bernard goes on, engaging in a conversation which may or may not be imaginary.

The man is bitter.

“You lied to me,” he said. (She did)

“You said that you loved me, that you wanted me, that you needed me. Those are your words.” (They are.)

Bernard opens the door to victimhood, that self-aggrandizing, egocentric trip, and falls into its hole of absurdity.

It is no wonder that the leading feminists and feminist organizations shun Bernard as a presidential nominee [Gloria Steinem, the Feminist Majority, Terry O’Neil and NOW, Ilyse Hogue and NARAL, Richard Socarides, Stephanie Schriock and EMILY’s List, Cheryl Saban, Cecile Richards and Planned Parenthood, Reshma Saujani and Girls Who Code, Lily Ledbetter, Amanda Marcote, Sady Doyle…the list goes on and on].

This is the same Bernard who today insists he is a “feminist.” He is the individual who now wants to take back his written ideas, who says the writing was a “piece of fiction.” He is the same person. Bernard Sanders repudiates what is indisputably an adult male’s misogynistic mindset – a perspective so totally at odds with the feminist revolution – for one reason: it may damage his candidacy.

But look again at the 1972 Bernard. Because there are clues to the Bernard of today. And an ugly picture emerges.

You hated me – just as you have hated every man in your entire life…

Sound familiar? I hear Rush Limbaugh and his femnazi vitriol. I hear every repulsive rape-friendly defender of the far right. Yes, this is the same Bernard who wants women to believe his I-AM-A-FEMINIST declaration, while his pitiful, inchoate anger dances around the edges of his tongue and glances sideways through his eyes.

Bernard lets it all out.

You hated me before you ever saw me, even though I was not your father or your teacher, or your sex friend when you were 13 years old

WAIT. A prepubescent “sex friend”? Bernard has moved from his BDSM “fantasy”, away from his sad victimhood and his femnazi reaction to entirely new ground. Now he is talking pedophilia. We can say the word. We need to say the word. There is absolutely no reason to slide this into the dustbin of dismissal.

This Bernard is selling a revolution. This Bernard expects purity tests for one’s degree of progressivism. This Bernard jabs his finger at his female opponent, complains shrilly if she dare interrupt him.  This Bernard says he is a feminist.

Bernard finishes his plaint in the same whiney voice. He clarifies for his audience of men exactly why feminism is bad. Sex. Or rather the absence of sex. For the penis-inspired brains, this is the sole value of the female.

And they never again made love together (which they had each liked to do more than anything), or never ever saw each other one more time.

Cue the violins. The man lost his sex toy.

Bernard can deny. He can minimize. However, he cannot stop thinking people from drawing their own conclusions. Thirty-one year old Bernard engaged in the kind of simplistic reaction that is the mark of a closed mind and dented intellect.

This is Bernard Sanders: an unevolved man who has never forgiven that 1972 woman for her leap in consciousness.

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6 thoughts on “The Bitter Mind of Bernard

  1. Thank you for not giving Bernie a pass on this as has the left. He deserves to be called out on this. He was a mature man when he wrote this and it was PUBLISHED! It is NOT OK!

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    • I agree completely – Bernie was an adult. I tried to put his writing in context. He wrote it at the same time the feminist movement was in high gear, after he had graduated college, and after his so-called civil rights activism. I’m a firm believer in the saying that when one is oppressed, all are oppressed. Bernie is either a blatant misogynist or his social consciousness is thwarted. Or both.

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  2. I entered a comment but it has obviously been deleted. This is fiction, people. Do you think Nabokov was a pedophile because he wrote about one? Or that Dickens was a miser or an alcoholic lawyer because he wrote about them? I heard both men and women talk the way Sanders described in that piece you dredged up and some relationships really were like that – some still are, for that matter. To me, he was describing the way some people really are, not that he felt that way himself. Plenty of people did, and he was describing how messed up people can be. Get over it.

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  3. I disagree with this reviewer’s assessment. Sanders is accurately describing the attitudes of many men and women of that era. He probably heard a lot of men express feelings similar to those he ascribes to “the man” and many women spoke the way “the woman” did. These are not the attitudes of Sanders himself but he had to have heard a lot of kvetching from men about women so he could write this way. Do you believe Vladimir Nabokov was a pedophile in order to write Lolita? Or did he just understand the way such people think and act? Come on, this reviewer is a bit too harsh on Bernie Sanders. He hasn’t acted or voted like a male chauvinist and I am sure that this thing he wrote in 1972 did not describe his own beliefs, then or now.

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  4. The link is broken…page not found. I want to share this everywhere it’s wonderful. Great analysis truly outstanding.

    On Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 2:27 AM, GO BLINDLY wrote:

    > Grace Laine posted: ” A man goes home and masturbates his typical fantasy. > A woman on her knees, a woman tied up, a woman abused. A woman enjoys > intercourse with her man – as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men > simultaneously. The man and woman get dressed up on Sunday — ” >

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    • Thanks for your comment. Yes, I know about Larry & have a post coming out soon that includes him & a few more of BS questionable supporters.

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