he video: When two accomplished women vying for one of New York's two Senate seats get together for their one and only debate, they must focus exclusively on pressing issues like unemployment, foreign affairs, and the national debt, right? Well, don't forget mommy porn. In the Oct. 17 meeting between Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Republican challenger Wendy Long, the question "have you read Fifty Shades of Grey?" somehow made its way into an otherwise serious political discussion. (See the clip below.) The question, directed at Long, was posed by moderator Liz Benjamin, the host of Capital Tonight on YNN, which sponsored the event. The crowd erupted in laughter while Long responded, simply, no. A laughing Gillibrand also responded in the negative. "Me neither, for the record," Benjamin said before quickly moving onto the next question.
The reaction: Bringing Fifty Shades into the debate was totally inappropriate, says Jeanne Sager at The Stir. "Meant to elicit absolutely zero information that can help a voter shape his or her opinion, the question was meaningless at best, sexist at worst." Agreed, says Adam Martin at New York. "Can you imagine a moderator asking Sen. Chuck Schumer and a male opponent the same thing? We can't." Judge for yourself:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- There's a number of reasons the grammar of this headline could infuriate you
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How to be more satisfied with your life, according to science
- The contentious policy at the heart of Cliven Bundy's armed standoff with the government
- How to flirt, according to science
- The Warren Buffett formula: How you can get smarter
- This Japanese toilet should make Americans very worried
Subscribe to the Week