As of Sunday past, Nov. 18, the news cycle regarding sexual transgressions, alleged as well as admitted, by prominent men in entertainment and politics, was stalled on Roy Moore, senate candidate in Alabama, and Al Franken, sitting senator from Minnesota.
Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein were comfortably settled in their rehab facility in Arizona. My husband and I were driving home from Las Vegas, a six-hour ride during which we were discussing the various permutations and combinations of the male-dominated sins revealed so far. We were listening to NPR and incorporating their observations into our conversation.
As I always do, now that I’m writing for Townbroadcast, I was thinking about my next piece, refining my focus, what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it. When we stopped for lunch, I made notes in an attempt to organize the confusion of our contradictory thoughts and opinions. Here’s my list (please don’t judge the list; it’s made up of quick notes meant to jog my memory for later reference):
Hierarchy of Harm = Sexual Harassment?
• hetero vs. homo
• non-consenting adult vs. pedophile
• to get the job or to stay in the job?
• assertion of power vs. sexual addiction
• socio-economc level (high vs. low profile)
• different cultural ethos from ’50s and ’60s to now (expectations of getting away with bad behavior)
• self-outing as a victim of harassment vs. exposure as result of media investigation
• 15 minutes of fame
• men vs. women
• different personalities that foster victimhood
After sleeping on it Sunday night, percolating all the talking and thinking, I felt confident I could write my article when I got home from my Monday volunteer shift at the library. But by the time I got home a new player was in the mix, actor Jeffrey Tambor. So I had to add another item to my list. Adjusting our thinking when men we admire are revealed to be participants and initiators of this revolting behavior.
Then, before I could begin to write, the evening news announced the fall of Charlie Rose. Yes, Charlie Rose, noted and respected TV journalist of PBS, the CBS Morning Show and a 60 Minutes contributor. I now had sudden, emotional writer’s block.
My son, Nick, believes we are seeing some kind of nationwide moral purge. My husband, Dave, is just plain sick and tired of the depravity. I want to boil it down to a simple, definable social phenomenon. But I can’t. This issue has become far too complex.
So, is this my cop-out to writing an opinion this week? I prefer to think of it as taking an important pause for reflection. This topic is just too damn big to go shooting my mouth off without weighing the gravity of passing judgment. The politicians and media are doing a great job of that, with little or no regard to how foolish they might sound scrambling for the moral high ground.
God knows, each of us is a flawed entity. Each of us displays our hypocrisy to one degree or another. We know there are no easy answers, and the smart ones among us know that we don’t know the answers at all. I’m one of those smart ones. I have no idea what the answers are to the myriad questions my notes pose on this issue.
I hope to take some time to ponder these puzzlers and come back with comments and conjectures, but I certainly don’t think I will have become suddenly enlightened. When I do come back with those comments and conjectures, I really hope you readers will offer your own observations, your own innermost reflections about what is unfolding before us. Maybe, together, we can make some sense of it all.
In the meantime, in light of all that sucks these days, I hope all of you will concentrate on your blessings, and on the many things for which we can all, in unison, be thankful. Have a joyous Thanksgiving. Hug your relatives. Eat too much turkey and pie. And have a deep and pleasant trytophan-induced nap during the football games Thursday. Remind yourselves that we’re all in this together, in this thing called life, and that we need to practice kindness, we need to elevate that within us that is good and repress that within us that is less than good.
Happy Thanksgiving, all!