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Friday, November 17, 2017

Groping

I'm not sure how I feel about all the recent groping and sexual assault allegations, from G.H.W. Bush to Al Franken to Roy Moore to most of Hollywood and beyond.

First, I wonder if I had been a very public figure for my 58 years and constantly photographed and imaged, if due to sheer bad luck, one of my hands was caught in a possibly awkward position on camera. I don't think so, but I really don't remember where my hands have been for every second of my life. It wouldn't've been intentional, but I don't know absolutely for sure.

And during my career, I've been alone with a woman (and also a man for that matter) one-on-one more than once. They could accuse me of doing anything during those times, and while not true, it might've been thought plausible, especially by enemies (if I had enemies).

Once, I texted my wife "I love you!" (plus some heart emoticons). A not uncommon thing to do. Unfortunately, I had selected a female employee's text address instead of my wife's and the text went to the female employee. This particular female employee thought it was hilarious (especially my obvious and extreme discomfort with the whole thing). But a different female employee could potentially have made life very difficult for me, even if she eventually lost any lawsuit (which she probably would have because it was pretty obvious I was trying to text my wife).

In court in a criminal case, something has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt for the defendant to be convicted. In the court of public opinion, especially the opinion's of one's ideological opposites, the merest hint of impropriety seems to be enough to convict and destroy the life, or at least the career, of the accused.

And are women really so fragile? A hand brushing against a buttocks or breast is a life-long traumatic event? Or even a single forced kiss (like Franken is accused of)? Isn't that reason enough by itself never to hire a woman - because she's too fragile and easily traumatized?

And then there's Hollywood. As a parent, a common complement to the parent goes something like, "Your child is so beautiful - she could be an actress!" And I used to think, "Oh my god, I hope not!" And why did I hope not? Because it's always been common knowledge that an awful lot of actresses and models have had sex with an awful lot of casting directors and agents for the purpose of getting work. This is nothing even vaguely new. What seems to be new is that a woman can use sex to get herself a role and then accuse the casting director of sexual harassment after her work finishes.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think the any of the above is right or moral or ethical. But the zealous fervor that's bringing down all these people also doesn't seem quite right or moral or ethical to me. But I'll admit, I'm not quite sure why.

23 comments:

Peter said...

Imagine you are a 15th century European Catholic deeply troubled by corruption and doctrinal rigidity/lunacy in the Church. You stand for and even agitate for reform at no small risk of retribution from the Church and the loss of friends and family. Suddenly out of the North, from people who you always thought agreed with you, comes a whirlwind of repressed anger expressed by destroying monasteries, dethroning the Pope, proclaiming bizarre and objectionable religious doctrines, smashing beautiful religious art (like today's Islamicists), and menacing you for your equivocations and subtleties. Would you have had anything more to say than "Easy guys, that's a bit too much and not entirely what I meant."?

It's still early days, but we may be about to witness what a puritan reaction looks like. It's richly deserved and the culmination of several generations of moral failure by men and repressed female resentment. But there are going to be casualties and defending them is going to be made to look like siding with reprobates. Even though I approve generally, I'm already rolling my eyes at those women whose memories of having their butt groped thirty years ago are so traumatic they can't hold back their tears at press conferences and need Gloria Allred to hug them. But if I say so, that would be proof of my lack of empathy, the ultimate contemporary sin. So my only answer is to suggest we men withdraw from the company of the sisterhood, rediscover the delights of male companionship with brandy and cigars and tell our sons they'll have to figure out how to mount a Counterreformation.

I must say, however, I'm getting a little cranky with my American friends who seem unable to avoid reducing any public issue to a con/prog, left/right/ Dem/GOP brawl. This is surely a social issue that should be bipartisan, if not apolitical. But I've been tracking this fairly extensively and widely and I'm depressed by how so many people drown out serious social commentary by linking it to the fortunes of their favourite party. I'm starting to think that, if on a Monday a new breakthrough in medical science was announced, by Wednesday most of America would associate the pros with one of Hillary or Donald and the cons with the other.

Clovis e Adri said...

Part of the problem with the 'zealous fervor' is that everything gets swept under the same label, to the point that abusers who preyed upon children are placed side by side, in the avalanche of news, with someone who stole a kiss from a grown up journalist.

Even though I share Peter's feelings of a comeuppance, I guess the final results won't be pretty either. When you start with everything being a scandal, you end up with pretty much nothing more being such.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: " When you start with everything being a scandal, you end up with pretty much nothing more being such."

Or, each side thinks the other is scandalous while ignoring their own, so the hate continues to grow.

Peter said...

to the point that abusers who preyed upon children are placed side by side...with someone who stole a kiss from a grown up journalist.

I assume you are talking about Moore and Franken and initially I agreed with you. Grown men stalking girls hovering around the age of consent are every father's nightmare and scream serious danger. Franken seemed more like a twelve year old horsing around. Yuck yuck. But there is danger in rushing in too quickly to opine on what is serious and what is not. That picture triggers another kind of atavistic fear that I think both men and even women today can be slow to understand, that of breach of trust. She thought she was with someone she admired and assumed he respected her enough as a co-professional that she could put herself in a vulnerable position by falling asleep in his company, only to find herself publically embarrassed by frat boy antics. I think I can understand why a modern "tough" professional woman would feel outraged and degraded by that--maybe especially a modern tough professional woman. But I don't know if she does.

What was in play was her humiliation and betrayal, which transcended whether she would or would not have been interested in some playtime with Al or been offended by a come-on from him. I think something analogous occurs in a lot of the so-called "date rape" cases we hear about, but nobody wants or knows how to separate this issue from words like rape, assault, etc., so they try to draw straight lines along a continuum from violent rape to "unwanted touching" and we end up with tears and trauma for thirty year old gropes and suspected revisionary histories. Everybody focuses on consent and what it means because they don't know how to focus on anything else. We no longer have a generally accepted theory of sexuality that includes an awareness of basic human nature and the dangers and complexities of sexuality, so consent has become a kind of legal Rubicon between perfectly acceptable and even healthy anything-goes-and-it's-nobody's-business behaviours and outrages with very serious consequences. That works more or less well on the edges, but in the middle it's a recipe for never-ending controversy.

BTW, on the subject of humiliation, what is with the sheer creepy vulgarity of a lot of these men? Forced "tonguing", masturbation, public butt-groping and other proofs they considered these women to be nothing more than receptacles for their hormonal urges. Are they taking lessons about how to woo a lady from porn? I know the bad old days were full of horrors, but at least women could fantasize about Rhett Butler and got flowers and a nice dinner out of it.

Finally, one of the New York magazines did a piece on how Disney will now have to rewrite all the old fairy tales. For example, the prince who kissed Sleeping Beauty must now be condemned for sexual assault because he should have known a woman in a magically-induced coma cannot give her lawful consent.

Clovis e Adri said...

Peter,

---
Finally, one of the New York magazines did a piece on how Disney will now have to rewrite all the old fairy tales. For example, the prince who kissed Sleeping Beauty must now be condemned for sexual assault because he should have known a woman in a magically-induced coma cannot give her lawful consent.
---

Well, we are just coming full term with their original intent:

"According to folklore researcher and retired professor D.L. Ashliman, “many fairy tales owe their longevity to an ability to address tabooed subjects in a symbolic manner” (“Incest in Indo-European Folktales,” 1997). It is not surprising, therefore, to learn how many of these seemingly benign tales have descended from darker stories involving themes of adultery, incest, cannibalism, rape, murder and mutilation."

Peter said...

Thanks Clovis. That rings true for sure. I remember very well when my children were pre-schoolers how grateful I was that the old fairy tales helped me fulfill my duty as a responsible parent to expose them to thorny subjects like incest and cannibalism. They're never too young to learn the important stuff, are they? Goodness knows what they would have gotten up to without them. :-)

Clovis e Adri said...

You are welcome, Peter.

And make sure to tell them how all the good movies they saw had the children on them raped too. It is good to keep perspective on how those horrible stories carry truths on scene and behind it!

erp said...

... darn tooting. Those expletive deleted elves never came to do my chores at night no matter how neat I kept my room or how good I had been during the day.

Strike the names of the perps from the annals of history - take that Grimm Bros and Hans Christian.

Hey Skipper said...

[Peter:] It's still early days, but we may be about to witness what a puritan reaction looks like. It's richly deserved and the culmination of several generations of moral failure by men and repressed female resentment.



I must say, however, I'm getting a little cranky with my American friends who seem unable to avoid reducing any public issue to a con/prog, left/right/ Dem/GOP brawl.

✅✅

BTW, on the subject of humiliation, what is with the sheer creepy vulgarity of a lot of these men?

That is completely mystifying. Why on earth would you want to be intimate with a woman who wants to spit in your eye?

Peter said...

Proof that modern reality is putting humorists out of business.

Hey Skipper said...

No way of knowing, but if Hillary! had been elected, I suspect none of this would be happening.

erp said...

Of course not. IMO this is clearing away the underbrush of males to make way for Michelle Obama's presidential candidacy in 2020 with Donna Brazile as her campaign manager and if some conservatives get swept up too -- all the better.

erp said...

o/t Update

My problems with Captcha were caused by a Firefox add-on that got added at the last update. Disabled it and my problems with NYT and GG are gone. :-)

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] Of course not. IMO this is clearing away the underbrush of males...

Or it could be a long overdue avalanche.

erp said...

... Of ?

Hey Skipper said...

Males who needed clearing from the underbrush.

erp said...

... so even though Brazile has stated this explicitly, you don't believe Michelle is planning to run for president in 2020?

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp's back with her political conspiration theories. I am still waiting for Obama to give that military coup...

erp said...

Clovis, you're attacking the messenger again, instead of debunking the message, if you can. The despicable behavior of all these perverts being exposed at this time isn't a coincidence or a conspiracy, it's deliberately cleaning up for a squeaky-clean Michelle Obama. On the subject of despicable, everyone knew Matt Lauer had a button under his desk that locked the door to prevent a potential victim from leaving !!!! I wouldn't be surprised if the room was sound-proofed as well.

As for Obama's military coup -- you aren't paying attention. He replaced military leadership with his buds, anti-American lefties. All the recent "accidents" with naval vessels and airplanes/helicopers shows how that's worked out.

Doesn't matter if it's deliberate sabotage or incompetence, they need to be weeded out and instead of allowing tranzies and commies (see West Point graduate fiasco) to join the military, we need to make sure recruits are physically and mentally fit to serve our country.

Clovis e Adri said...

Attacking? I am only pointing out your predictions are all wrong. They've always been, every single time you tried one. But you have great difficulty acknowledging errors.

erp said...

Examples please?

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] ... so even though Brazile has stated this explicitly, you don't believe Michelle is planning to run for president in 2020?

No.

I think there are at least several overwhelming problems: Mrs. Obama shows no overt signs of the kind of burning ambition required; the Obama brand has been too tainted by massive Democratic losses at the state and local level; the Obama record doesn't leave much to run on; Americans probably have had their fill of dynasties.

I could go on, but I just don't see it happening. As for Obama and the military, that is how civilian control of the military works. And that it proves once again that the left doesn't do it very well (see Carter, in particular), that's just another reason Mrs. Obama won't be a serious candidate in 2020.

erp said...

Skipper, the left has no bench.

Other than people from the media, sports or entertainment, there just aren't many lefties with instant face and/or name recognition.

I read even Chelsea Clinton is being considered at least by some pundits. Mrs. Obama would be just a figurehead as was the mister. Soros et al. would still call the shots.

It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.