Hit the road, Jack

12 10 2017

Enough with the fucking men.

Oh, I know, I’m supposed to say Most men aren’t predators and #NotAllMen and maybe even Some of my best friends are men, but, honestly, enough.

It’s not just Harvey Weinstein (who deserves every shitty non-violent thing coming to him), or Donald Trump, or Roger Ailes or Bill O’Reilly or R. Kelly or Bill Cosby, not just Hollywood and the media and politics, but the university (see here and here and here and . . . ), finance, tech, and pretty well any damned place where men and women work.

And whose fault is this? I think you know.

Yes, it’s women’s fault that men harass them (us), for not being professional, for being too casual, for being too sexy, for being naive, for being too yielding, not fighting back, for having the goddamned audacity of daring to walk into the world in our female bodies.

(And, oh yes, men are also abused—see Terry Crews and Corey Feldman—which serves to demonstrate that shitty male sexual-power dynamics can ensnare anyone.)

If there are rumors or whisper campaigns? Well, maybe that’s not the real story, or maybe it’s just women misinterpreting things, or, y’know, maybe there’s just not enough evidence, he-said/she-said, whattayagonnado? And, oh, cmon, that favorite actor/comedian/musician couldn’t really have done that, could they? I mean, they’re famous: why would they have to take what so many would willingly offer?

And then when the harassment and abuse can no longer be ignored? Well, then, it’s our fault for not having IMMEDIATELY reported it or IMMEDIATELY denounced the abuser and, really, aren’t we just a part of the problem with our silence?

This is where I snap. I am unshocked by violence against women, by sexual harassment and catcalling and the everyday-ness of treating women as the sexual adjuncts of men. I should note I have never been sexually assaulted, am not usually catcalled, and have dealt with only a handful of harassers/abusers, so my rage is less personal than ontological: this is how it is to be a woman in our fucking world.

So Harvey Weinstein, a major Democratic donor, is exposed as criminally creepy, and. . . it’s somehow Hillary’s fault? Anthony Bourdain has gone after Weinstein and those who covered for him, but he made sure to take the time to express his “disappointment” in Hillary Clinton.

Yes, the Democratic Party and countless Democratic candidates—including male ones!—have taken Weinstein’s money, but, really, it’s a problem that Hillary’s response has been “uninspiring”, that she said she didn’t know?

Such horseshit, such worm-infested horseshit.

Here’s where the “enough with men!” comes in: if “everyone” really did know, then why is it only the women who should have spoken up? Jane Fonda said she feels “ashamed” for not coming forward a year ago, when she first found out; how many Hollywood men feel guilty for having known for years? How many of them are wondering why they didn’t take those rumors more seriously, didn’t take the women seriously?

Anthony Bourdain: if everyone knew, if you knew, then why didn’t you say something?

I don’t hate Bourdain, enjoyed Kitchen Confidential, and have watched and will likely watch some of his t.v. shows. I’d probably enjoy a barstool-bullshitting session with him, and would be unsurprised to find out he treats people decently. In short, I don’t think he’s a bad guy.

Which is rather the point: He’s not a bad guy, and he manages to slam a woman for not reacting in the right way to a bad man.

He’s not horrible, but, really, that’s all that can be said.

~~~

When I first jumped on Twitter and started following a bunch of people of color, I’d commonly see withering references to white people (or wypipo)—references which would inevitably lead to white folks jumping into that person’s mentions to say “. . . but not me!”

I didn’t do this, but I understood the impulse: You want to be one of the good guys, and just as if not more importantly, you want to be recognized as one of the good guys. #NotAllWhitePeople. . . .

The original Tweeter would usually react with anything from exasperation to impatience to contempt: If this truly doesn’t apply to you, then why do you need to make this about you?

I understood that response as well, or thought I did. I mean, I could see that the Tweeter had a point, but weren’t they, maybe, a bit. . . harsh?

Well. Yes. And?

I have come to see that the harshness was merited, an honest expression of distrust in the goodness of white people, of skepticism that white people really have any interest in confronting white supremacy, in getting outside of their (our) own whiteness.

I think most men are not rapists, are not harassers, and think most men probably treat people (including women people) decently. I also think most men don’t see themselves as in any way responsible for the culture which make it easy for some of them to behave so horribly.

So, enough. No credit for not being horrible, no credit for meeting minimal standards of humanness.

That doesn’t mean we can’t be friendly, can’t be decent colleagues, can’t enjoy ourselves in a session of barstool-bullshitting, but, when it counts, until I see otherwise, I don’t expect men to step up.

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Circus Maximus MMXVI: Keep on keeping on

6 08 2015

Sorry I haven’t been around much: a combination of delayed after-effects of an antibiotic and a tough week at work has left me in tatters.

But: tonight is the GOPpers first [set of] debate[s], and I wanted to get in a quick hit about Trump before this thing is over:

I think he’d do best not to behave.

There are rules for debates, formal and informal, and while he may be forced to follow the formal rules (whatever they are), there’s likely nothing the moderators can do if he decides to spin off dispatch after dispatch from his own, alternate, universe.

Half a decade ago I considered the possibility of a Sarah Palin run for the presidency, and wondered “how do you fight against someone concerned only with her own creation of the truth?” As I embedded a clip from an old NewsRadio episode (which you can view here; the crucial bit begins around 9:20) as an example of how someone willing to crash through the most basic expectations of argument will beat the person who abides by those expectations.

As I noted then

You can deal with a reality-manipulator, because the manipulator has to have some sense of that reality before she warps it to her own ends. And even that Bush staffer who sniffed to the NYTimes reporter about those stuck in the ‘reality-based community’ and the ability of the Bush admin to create its own reality nonetheless still gestured to reality. They did, in their own baleful way, seek to create new facts on the ground.

[. . .]

So how does someone avoid the physics of politics, the inevitable grinding down and peeling back and failure associated with all political action? You don’t accept that there are any rules, any downs on the other side of up, any nulls to one’s hypotheses; there is only the rabbit pulled out of the hat and the declaration that this is, indeed, magic. And that magic is real.

A Trump who tries to whittle himself down to fit into the role of the “serious candidate” is a Trump who whittles himself down into nothing at all.

No, for Trump to triumph he should keep doin’ that Trump thing.

Won’t help him win the nomination, of course, but it might keep him in the game a while longer.

 





They say what’s up with him

31 12 2012

Presidents are assholes.

Too strong? Misleading, perhaps.

Allow me to clarify: asshole has come to mean something akin to douche or dick—I’ve used in that way when I’ve lamented my own assholish behavior—but there’s an older meaning, closer to prick, which might be captured by the phrase “arrogant asshole”, i.e., someone who thinks he’s all that, the one who’s better than everyone else.

I like President Obama, like seeing the pictures of him with his kids (or with anyone’s kids) or constituents, and there have been moments of his presidency in which I pumped my fist and hissed yes!

But I still think he’s an asshole.

How could he be anything but? He’s the most powerful person in the most powerful country in the world, performing an impossible job, with the only opportunities to be someone other than president tucked into those moments likes cracks in the wall of presidential responsibility. He has to be on, or ready to be on, at all times. He is never not the president.

Who else but an asshole could be president?

To believe that this is a job you could do, and do well, requires a scary level of self-confidence, the kind of calm self-regard that may—may—allow you to second-guess yourself, but only if it confirms your actions or moves you forward. You don’t look back, you don’t wonder what if; you make up your mind, and you do.

Because you’re the fucking president of the fucking Yoo-nited States, and if you can’t do it it can’t be done.

Remember when George W. Bush was asked about his mistakes, and he couldn’t really think of one? Or Bill Clinton’s refusal to admit his fling with Monica Lewinsky and his churlish apology for both the behavior and the lies? They were both so obviously and ridiculously wrong to any normal person—who doesn’t make mistakes? who does that hound dog think he’s fooling?—but normal people do not become president.

I saw a clip the other day of a Barbara Walters interview with the President and Michelle Obama, and there was some bit that Michelle was funnier. The president said, yes, Michelle is funny, but “I’m funnier than people think.”

Asshole. You’re the fucking president of the fucking Yoo-nited States, and you can’t let this one slide?

The president is rather famously competitive—the first lady noted elsewhere in the interview that she doesn’t like to play Scrabble with him because he’s “a little irritating when he wins”—so it’s hardly surprising that he’s going to want to be in it no matter what, but, jeez, man, let it go.

Except, of course, that presidents really can’t let things go. You run for president because you believe that you can catch the things the others let go, and we, the American people, vote for you because we expect you to catch those things and, occasionally, to sling it back out and past everyone else. You expect to win, and we expect you to win.

Is this a fault of the people who run for president, or of the people who vote for him? Both, probably, but even more to the point is the fact that the job is impossible. It is impossible to be president, and yet someone is, nonetheless.

You’d have to be some kind of arrogant asshole to believe you could do the impossible.