Tuesday, April 10, 2018

So inextricably linked

Currently for the daily songs I am doing weeks of things where there is a category that I have been interested in exploring, but where I don't think there are enough songs for a month. There has been a week of songs by actors, and songs from non-Disney cartoons, and I'll probably wrap it up in about two weeks with a week of country songs.

The tricky one was songs with celebrity cameos, because suddenly all of these songs that came to mind had cameos by people with abuse allegations against them. Hey look! There's Al Franken! And Michael Douglas!

I did use both of theirs, and I left some songs unused that might have been worse, but if we look back we are going to find a lot of things.

Recently I saw it pointed out that David Letterman has a new show, and he got Barack Obama as his first guest, but he also had repeated workplace relationships that led to extortion and a hostile environment for other employees.


That may describe it too well, because some of the hostile workplace issues for the women who were not in relationships make you wonder how consensual the other relationships were; it gets messy. The point is, this came out at a time before #metoo had gained momentum. It's out there, and known, but doesn't seem to matter. Maybe that's because other people did worse, but it's questionable. In the meantime, some people are having to debate getting rid of comfort films that are important to them, and teachers are looking for new books they can feel comfortable assigning, and we are starting to have people apologize for signing petitions in favor of Roman Polanski and working with Woody Allen, but there's a lot of unfamiliar territory.

I have emphasized listening a lot, but there are a few more things we can think about.

I really appreciate Peter Jackson coming forward about the blacklisting that Weinstein did against women who refused his advances:


Granted, it probably didn't look like blacklisting at the time, but probably sincere and helpful advice: "Don't work with them! They're difficult." People who will harass and abuse aren't going to have any compunction about lying. This makes thinking about things that might have been sabotage a good area for reflection. Have you been warned off about anyone? Could there have been ulterior motives?

It may also be helpful to examine humor. Frances McDormand gave an important and practical Oscar acceptance speech. Lots of men found it hard to mention without calling her crazy. A lot of that seems to be based on her not wearing makeup. Is that a good reason to discount someone's words? Part of the whole Tony Robbins thing was explaining how now men can't hire pretty women because of harassment. How possible is it to find that perfect spot between not so pretty that you are a threat to abusive men, but still pretty enough to not be a crazy witch?

People used to call Ann Curry crazy too, and I never thought about it much. Once you hear about the target harassment that she received on the set of Today, that could explain part of it. If you add to it all of the other things that happened with Today but to other people, and listen to the stories that are coming from other newsrooms, well, it's probably really convenient to always be able to call a woman crazy or difficult and not have it questioned.

That leads to my final point today: think about the things we don't talk about. It's rude to talk about money, but that is also very convenient to keep people from examining gender-based wage disparities, and unfair business practices, and many things that support the people who are economically on top.

It's not polite to talk about sex, but that leads to a lot of women never really getting to enjoy sex or to even come near that without being labeled a slut.

It's rude to make a scene, but then the person who is rude and unafraid to be rude gets to slide. That's not to encourage rudeness, but our silence provides tacit acceptance of many things that may be terrible. With enough silence we may not even know what needs to be changed.

Cui bono?

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