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DonRocks

The Fall of Harvey Weinstein - A Crack in the Glass Ceiling

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In a way, Harvey Weinstein has committed transgressions even worse than Bill Cosby, because in addition to being a sexual predator, he was a psychological predator, guilty of abusing his power in the worst possible way (abuse of power is one of my personal pet peeves).

Even here in this community, Weinstein has had some influence in our Film Forum.

Two early articles about this situation surpass all others I've seen, and are worth remembering. Although there was probably some inter-publication rivalry as to who got the story out first, and the NY Times technically "beat" New Yorker by five days, it seems as though New Yorker was very much on top of this story, and bided their time in publishing it - from a reader's point-of-view (which includes 99.9% of the population), people couldn't care less which publication breaks a story.

Oct 5, 2017 - "Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harrassment Accusers for Decades" by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey on nytimes.com

Oct 10, 2017 - "From Aggressive Overtones to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein's Accusers Tell Their Stories" by Ronan Farrow on newyorker.com

I would appreciate hearing from some females regarding what, if anything, the average male can do to completely smash the glass ceiling, end sexual abuse, and put an end to things such as this forever: Is simply living a good life enough, or should males be doing something more pro-active?

When a Presidential candidate can say the things he said (about grabbing women by the p****, etc.), and still be elected, that does not bode well for American women.

This tweet  by Larry Flynt could not possibly be more ironic ... or could it?

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Human interaction, both individual & societal, has always included coerced & forced dominance by those with power over those with less juice. The relevant question, to me at least, is what expressions of this are considered acceptable to individuals, communities & societies at any given point.  And I have to admit that, as with most things these days, I’m thoroughly confused and bewildered by our current situation.  Polarization seems to be the word of the day in this realm as well, at least from what I read, hear & see.  I see no behavioral guidelines that wouldn’t be applauded by some while reviled by others.

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On 10/15/2017 at 11:28 AM, DonRocks said:

I would appreciate hearing from some females regarding what, if anything, the average male can do to completely smash the glass ceiling, end sexual abuse, and put an end to things such as this forever: Is simply living a good life enough, or should males be doing something more pro-active?

As far as this female is concerned, males should feel free to offer any ideas as well. This isn't women's problem to solve.

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On 10/18/2017 at 4:42 PM, dracisk said:

As far as this female is concerned, males should feel free to offer any ideas as well. This isn't women's problem to solve.

This is fine, but I've always believed that the victims of discrimination (or equivalent) should be the ones whose words carry the most weight, and need to be listened to the most carefully.

Example: Racism - I would ask Black Americans, Native Americans, etc., what they think the biggest problems are, and what their opinions are about the best ideas to address these problems.

Sexism - Ask females.

Disability Issues - Ask the disabled.

Sexual Orientation? Ask the LGBT community.

Elder Abuse - Ask the elderly.

Etc., etc., etc. - This doesn't mean that others can't voice opinions; merely that I personally assign more weight (or, at least, more *initial* weight) to those who have been discriminated against.

I've practiced this in this community since 2005: If someone says something offensive to certain groups, and I get a couple complaints from members of those groups, I sit up straight and pay careful attention to what they're saying - this has only happened a couple of times in 12+ years, but I'm *always* available to anyone who wishes to voice concern about any issue.

This is nothing earth-shattering; just lending an ear, as well as encouragement to speak up, to those who have been traditionally suppressed or ignored - I don't think white males are your best bets for designing solutions to these types of problems, although they shouldn't be dismissed, either (after all, what you're currently reading is a white male issuing an opinion).

Personally? I'd be eager to live in a society with female leadership - or at least give it a try for awhile.

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Hoo boy, earlier this week Les Dames d'Escoffier and Women Chefs & Restaurateurs held a town-hall meeting entitled, "Does the Restaurant Industry Have a Weinstein Problem?" [Answer: more than you'll ever want to know.] One of the people I saw promoting it was someone whose husband I have personally witnessed drunk off his ass and groping a young girl. Be careful what you ask for, that's all I'm saying.

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7 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Hoo boy, earlier this week Les Dames d'Escoffier and Women Chefs & Restaurateurs held a town-hall meeting entitled, "Does the Restaurant Industry Have a Weinstein Problem?" [Answer: more than you'll ever want to know.] One of the people I saw promoting it was someone whose husband I have personally witnessed drunk off his ass and groping a young girl. Be careful what you ask for, that's all I'm saying.

Rape in the storage room. Groping at the bar. Why is the restaurant industry so terrible for women? By Maura Judkis and Emily Heil November 17 at 9:00 AM on washingtonpost.com.

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Sure, there are degrees. But, if you believe in stuff like "broken windows" policing and that micro leads to macro (as the article says above), there is no real reason for him to have opened his mouth. What is the line and why should women have to be continually approached with this? "It's nothing, it's just a butt slap..."  "Oh, it's nothing, I just made a pass at her at the office party but I was buzzed up..." "Oh, she swatted me away when I tried to kiss her.." "Oh, well, after she said no, I eventually did stop ... just wasn't reading her right"

Yes, a butt slap isn't child molestation. Have we learned anything when Matt Damon opened his mouth in this setting? I'm not sure that I have, except that he has probably done somethings in the past that weren't great. It's fine. The comments don't make me think he's smart, understanding, or sympathetic to the cause. I mean, really, do you think he added anything valuable to the conversation? Do we know which people butt slapped and which masturbated in front of them and which actually raped people? Who knows? I just don't see value in dismissing this... why should you even be slapping someone's butt at work? I stopped doing that weeks ago :) But, seriously, I don't even touch my co-workers. 

I will end with this.

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3 hours ago, Simul Parikh said:

Sure, there are degrees. But, if you believe in stuff like "broken windows" policing and that micro leads to macro (as the article says above), there is no real reason for him to have opened his mouth.

Have we learned anything when Matt Damon opened his mouth in this setting? 

He was asked!

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On 12/19/2017 at 3:04 PM, Simul Parikh said:

It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it.

- Someone smart, a long time ago

I didn't realize this interview took place a long time ago, because that's pretty much what Damon said.

Paraphrasing: 'Deny, deny, deny, push the accusations aside, and you, too, can end up in the White House.'

And if he had said, "I don't wish to discuss this issue," people would have thought he was hiding something.

---

Thought:

For the past twenty years, Damon has been dining at the sex buffet.

He may be smarter than you give him credit for - perhaps he wasn't talking to me or you, or to society; he was sending a warning shot across the bow to any woman who would become a "Bimbo Eruption" to him in the guise of "Sexual Harassment." Or, perhaps, he's as guilty as anyone of being sexually forward, and he's taking preemptive action (it isn't like he needed to grope in order to have all the sex he wanted - refer to Wilt Chamberlain). Listen again to his comment about "scorched earth" - maybe he's not a nuclear physicist, but he has a big, high-dollar movie coming out soon, and he may simply be protecting himself, his fame, and his wealth. We could discuss this endlessly - about whether or not he's guilty of something like this - but until all the facts are in, it would be mere speculation.

I don't know what, if anything, is coming out about Damon, but until it does, unless it does, I agree with what pretty much everything he says - and if there's anything blatant I'm missing, I'd ask that people just come right out and say so, because I don't see it. Maybe he isn't saying anything more profound than "A = A," or "The sun rises in the east," but that doesn't mean I disagree with the statements, even though I may not be learning anything from them.

---

"When #MeToo Goes Too Far" by Bret Stephens on nytimes.com <--- I agree with 100% of this, too.

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The #MeToo movement is an important and potentially constructive chapter in our nation's - no, make that our world's - history (in France, the movement is called <<#ExposeTonPorc>> - Expose Your Pig).

I personally want this movement to work - I want more women in positions of power, and just as importantly, I demand equal pay for equal performance (this is something that's currently being overlooked).

But something is beginning to go awry - both the denunciation of Catherine DeNeuve (even after her clarification to her original statement) and the demolition of Aziz Ansari (his cowardly, anonymous takedown by the President ("Grace") and Vice-President (the laughable Katie Way) of the "I Hate Men Club") are beginning to repel me away from what should be a period of positive change.

"Aziz Ansari Is Guilty. Of Not Being a Mind Reader." by Bari Weiss on nytimes.com

This movement is in danger of hitting a road block, all because some people are veering off-course. I understand the "window of opportunity" mentality, but certain people with a personal agenda or vendetta are the biggest enemy right now to what should be a seminal moment in our nation's history. 

Personally, if I were a Black American in the 1960s, I would have sided with Malcolm X more than MLK, Jr. - if any group of people had put my great-grandparents in chains, tortured them, and then didn't make any type of amends after "letting them go," I would have called them "devils," too - hell, I would have gone a lot further than that. It is my personal opinion (emphasis: personal opinion) that the reason MLK, Jr. has essentially been sainted, and Malcolm X is still seen as a radical, is because MLK, Jr. makes white people feel more comfortable. 

Yet, Malcolm X's "blowtorch denunciations" addressed the problem as a whole; he isn't remembered for going around trying to ruin individuals' lives.

Forcibly raping a woman? Throw them all in jail.
Having sex with someone while they're unconscious? That's rape.
Forcing yourself upon someone without consent? That's aggravated sexual battery.
Threatening a subordinate on the job if they "tell on you?" That's extortion.

As of today, there are several people who are not guilty of any of these things; yet, their good names have been libeled, and their careers - even if they haven't done anything wrong - are permanently damaged, and nothing will repair the damage. Let ye without sin ....

This is a disservice to the myriad of women who have been sexually abused and coerced. In some ways, #MeToo hasn't gone far enough, but certain opportunists have begun to breach its natural boundaries, and people - men and women - are going to begin pushing back.

And that's a damned shame, because it's about time the culture of male dominance and female subservience comes to a screeching halt.

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Why does behavior have to rise to the level of legal criminality to warrant criticism and denunciation though?  It's the stuff that falls one or two steps short of criminal behavior (e.g., casual racism, sexism, homophobia) that's far more widespread and implicitly accepted, but I would argue is just as damaging to oppressed groups and responsible for perpetuating mistreatment.

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6 hours ago, silentbob said:

Why does behavior have to rise to the level of legal criminality to warrant criticism and denunciation though?  It's the stuff that falls one or two steps short of criminal behavior (e.g., casual racism, sexism, homophobia) that's far more widespread and implicitly accepted, but I would argue is just as damaging to oppressed groups and responsible for perpetuating mistreatment.

No doubt. In fact, probably more damaging because it's often undetectable, generally unimpeachable, and surely far more rampant.

On 12/18/2017 at 9:12 PM, DonRocks said:

"Matt Damon Draws Backlash for Comments on Sexual Assault and Harassment" by Luchina Fisher on abcnews.go.com

I heard Damon's entire interview, and there isn't one, single thing he said that I disagree with. 

I think I need to exit this conversation. I'm so far away from understanding what's going on that all I'm going to do is make people angry - I just listened to this entire interview again, and for the second time, there's not one, single word I disagree with. Maybe it's his tone or something, or how long he kept the conversation going - I don't know, but I do know that this is one issue I probably shouldn't discuss, because I'm parsing all the words I hear, and people seem to be filtering them differently than I am. The frustrating thing is that I thought I was - I think I am - an ardent feminist; now I'm becoming reluctant to say anything at all about this topic.

But I still think "equal pay for equal work" is being ignored, and that bothers me.

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