Monthly Archives: November 2017

The Rules

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                                Harvey Weinstein and Paz de la Huerta

I have never seen comedian Louis C.K.’s act, so I am agnostic about whether or not he is worthy of the lucrative deals (now all canceled) he had with Netflix, Time Warner, and Fox. C.K. is now in celebrity hell along with many of his well-known colleagues because he masturbated in front of five women (as of the latest count) both with and without their permission. Most men (I don’t know about women), I think, couldn’t imagine themselves doing such a thing, but we’re talking about show business where, according to the New York Times:  “For comedians, the professional environment is informal: profanity and raunch that would be far out of line in most workplaces are common, and personal foibles — the weirder the better — are routinely mined for material.”

Apparently the “professional environment” has changed and with a vengeance. Why?

Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley offers the most plausible reason by quoting law professor Ann Althouse: “ ‘My hypothesis is that liberals—including nearly everyone in the entertainment business—suppressed concern about sexual harassment to help Bill Clinton,’ she wrote in an October blog post. ‘Giving him cover gave cover to other powerful men, and the cause of women’s equality in the workplace was set back 20 years.’ She added: ‘Are these allegations coming out now because Hillary Clinton lost the election and the time for covering for Bill Clinton is over at long last?’ ”

Sounds right to me, but I would also cite the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill firestorm as a, excuse the expression, seminal event. Thomas-Hill  provided the feminist movement with a great opportunity to clearly establish the rules for relations between the sexes. (Cynics would call it a power grab.) The new rules sought to abolish the male-supremacist society in which men were allowed to have their way with women. The Thomas-Hill affair and the sexual harassment law to which it gave birth created stringent, if not Puritanical, regulations for male behavior towards women. Now, a male boss or supervisor could not ask a female subordinate for a date multiple times as Clarence Thomas allegedly did of Anita Hill.  Joking about a porn movie in the presence of a grown woman subordinate could also result in a federal court trial and/or bankruptcy (again, allegedly Clarence Thomas).

But then, as Ann Althouse notes, Bill and Hillary Clinton forced feminists and the rest of the political left to rescind the Thomas-Hill rules. Between the time of Thomas-Hill and Clinton-Lewinsky, a woman who made an improper sexual advance” towards a male supervisor was automatically innocent due to the power difference, but Clinton-Lewinsky forced feminists to blame the lowly intern Monica Lewinsky for seducing the “Most Powerful Man in the World.”  When Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton allegedly ordered a state employee, Paula Jones (“trailer trash,” in  James Carville’s words), to accompany him to his hotel room, expose his penis, and direct her to “kiss it,” Ms. Jones was the liar and Clinton the victim.

And then there’s Juanita Broaddrick, a perfectly credible woman in the nursing home business who wanted to discuss state rules for such facilities with then Lieutenant Governor Clinton who lured her to his hotel room and allegedly raped her. The feminists didn’t give her the Anita Hill canonization treatment either; they ignored her. You could make a strong case that Bill Clinton, his apologist wife, and the women’s movement handed guys like Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., and a host of others a license to abuse women.

Now, the New York Times reports that liberals are re-evaluating their unswerving support for the Clintons: “Matthew Yglesias, a liberal blogger who once worked at the Center for American Progress, a pillar of the Clinton political world, wrote on Vox.com on Wednesday that ‘I think we got it wrong’ by defending Mr. Clinton in the 1990s and that he should have resigned. Chris Hayes, the liberal MSNBC host, said on Twitter that ‘Democrats and the center left are overdue for a real reckoning with the allegations against him.’ ”

Speaking of Harvey Weinstein, the authorities in New York are reported to be building a case against him based on the testimony of the actress Paz de la Huerta. She claims that Weinstein raped her on two separate occasions in her own apartment. Call me naive, but how do you agree to meet with a man in your apartment who raped you on a previous visit? Doesn’t she have any responsibility for what allegedly happened?  In addition, Ms. de la Huerta, allegedly again, would walk around naked on the set of the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, shave her private parts in front of the crew and other actors, and was fired for habitually coming to work intoxicated. In the present hang ’em high environment, I wouldn’t bet against Paz.

Growing up in the fifties and early sixties, I almost never heard a woman of any age utter the word “fuck.” For males, the F-word was an indispensable part of their vocabulary, but never in what was called “mixed company.”

The sixties changed all that. Everyone was now liberated from the old norms: in language, dress, politics, music, education, and the rules for sexual relations. The F-word and all the other words used for parts of the human anatomy and sex acts became commonplace for women in mixed company. Women could be as sexually promiscuous as men. Gone were the days when a girl who got pregnant “out of wedlock” was sent away to a distant relative and the “illegitimate” child put up for adoption. Gone also were the “shotgun marriages.” Sex, supposedly, was free and plentiful, and many males gravitated towards activities where it was said to be most available: left wing politics and show business, for example. Weinstein, overweight and not particularly attractive, figured his power as a movie mogul more than compensated for what he lacked in sex-appeal, and I suspect that for some women it did. The same can be said of Bill Clinton who once said: “All the while I was growing up, I was the fat boy in the Big Boy jeans.

I imagine that there are many powerful men, as of yet not accused, who are nevertheless waiting nervously for the sound of the wagon to take them to the guillotine. Henry Kissinger once said that “power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” Is he now sorry he said it? In any case, it looks like he was wrong.

 

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We Ran East, The Police Ran West

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Yesterday’s terror attack in Manhattan made me think of the non-violent war of the lawn signs in my neighborhood between “Hate Has No Home Here” and “We Support (Our Local) Police.”

From the report on the attack in The Wall Street Journal:  Bill Tsapalas, 55, was working from home when he heard “loud pops” just after 3 p.m. Mr. Tsapalas’s apartment overlooks the West Side Highway, and he said when he got to the window he saw people running east along Chambers Street and police running west [my emphasis].

In other words, people like us get to run away from trouble while the cops (and the firemen) run towards it. That’s why I am a member of the We Support Our Police club.