I like to comment on “issues of the day” well after the initial wave of bullshit has passed. I’m the polar opposite of the media that will shriek a headline today and forget about it tomorrow. I wait until nobody cares and then comment on my irrelevant blog about things that are forgotten. It suits me, I hope you don’t mind.
In this case, I can’t tell if the pervnado is over or the cycle of folks “shocked shocked” at obvious aspects of life will repeat every few years (probably in synch with election cycles). Who can tell these things?
The one thing I can say is I’m going to miss the word “pervnado” (is that not the greatest word?) and in one form or another the current kerfluffle is as old as the hills. In keeping with my “as old as the hills” thesis I’m going to relate a personal story of my own.
But first, let’s run through how we got here. As far as I can tell Weinstein Weirdness erupted last October over the utterly unexpected bombshell discovery that Hollywood, spiritual home of Woody Allen and Roman Polanski, was harboring morally unacceptable jackasses. (Also, the sky is blue.) Waifish snowflakes had no idea! As if a century of warning (like Fatty Arbuckle’s scandal of 1921) wasn’t sufficient.
I can’t remember the exact timeline but somehow this morphed into a “movement” that was subsequently aimed at a Bible thumping politician from Alabama. The ensuing “scandal” deep sixed that particular guy’s campaign while also taking out several sitting members of Congress; most notably Sen. Stuart Smalley of Minnesota. I’m sure more dominoes will fall.
Of course, putting this all on Weinstein’s Weirdness is missing the point. Pompeii, the ancient Roman city, wasn’t buried in 79 A.D. because Mount Vesuvius erupted. Pompeii was fated to be buried sooner or later because the city was built on a goddamn volcano. Surely there were people in 78 A.D. who said “this is a goddamn volcano” and acted accordingly. We will never know who those people are because they wisely got the hell out of the way. They’re not buried in the archaeological evidence.
Are there modern analogs? People who saw pervnado coming? Of course there were. Just about any man in the workplace has known for decades to watch your own ass and make no comments about someone else’s ass because we’re living on a goddamn volcano.
This is where I’d like to tip my hat to our current Vice President. Pence won’t have dinner alone with any female who’s not his wife. The press insulted his “old-fashioned” and “overly moralistic” foolishness. They suggested his “prudishness” was part of a system that works to prop up male power and keep women subordinate. Thus, making him immoral and unsuitable to lead. Pence, as far as I can tell, let them rant and quietly continued behaving like an honest man accustomed to being treated like a dishonest man.
To recap, the press insulted Pence for staying off the volcano just seven months before the volcano stomped all over Hollywood and Congress alike. Events of late 2017 bore out the wisdom of his behavior. As far as I can tell Pence never once said “I told you so.” (I’m sure the temptation was strong.) Today, amid DC’s hive of scum and villainy he’s among the very few with a squeaky-clean reputation.
Now here’s my story. Before I go any further please get your head out of the gutter; it’s not as interesting as you’re expecting. Decades ago, when I was a young curmudgeon, I got a job as a tutor. (As an aside, bringing down an extra buck in hour when you’re starving student because you chose to study STEM instead of studying your navel is the Universe’s way of giving you a hint.) I was hired, along with a bunch of similarly skilled eggheads, to teach math; one on one.
There was a room available for us to teach and we could schedule a tutoring session whenever we liked. My boss, who was female, went through great pains to teach fools like me that “this door should never be shut”. She allowed us to teach math wherever we found it most opportune but insisted “you should never ever be alone in a room with a student”. As I understood it, we were to meet “in public” with the same caution you would use when meeting a dangerous spy.
As an honorable young curmudgeon I was shocked! Did she assume I was a guttersnipe and a cad? (I’m the kind of guy who uses the word “cad”. Isn’t that sufficient evidence of morality?) I couldn’t believe my boss, who was pretty nice person, would even suggest I would do such a thing. Privately I asked about it; “if you think I’m the kind of guy that would behave like that, why did you hire me?”
It’s hard to believe I was once that naïve.
She patiently explained that if there was an accusation I, as the male, would get blamed. She also explained that if there was an accusation and I had let my guard down even once there would be nothing I could do but assert my innocence. She explained there was virtually no chance anyone would believe me to be innocent. She added that an accusation could come from anyone, anytime, anywhere, for any reason; including situations that have nothing to do with me.
She wasn’t condescending and she wasn’t rude. She just told it like it was. “You don’t have to be guilty to be accused. If you’re accused you’ll be treated like you’re guilty. End of story.” In retrospect, it was obvious but I’d never thought that way. That particular lesson stuck with me. In the ensuing decades,I have followed the “meet in public” concept. Like Pence, I see the volcano and act accordingly. It’s not that hard. It’s just common sense.
Which brings me back to pervnado. The only way to stop it is common sense on all sides. Because common sense is so uncommon, the show ‘aint over yet.