I keep thinking of the first line of a John Lennon song called, aptly, You Can't Do That: "I've got something to say that might cause you pain." Funny, though, how no one else seems to preface their own statements that way.
Like everyone else, I've had Harvey Weinstein shoved in my face lately, and I cannot think of anyone more repulsive to take up space in my brain. I guess I'm just supposed to NOT think about it, not react too much, react only partially, feel good that "now it's all out in the open", and/or just get on with my own happy life because everything really is still great.
People are going around saying, "Ah! Now, at last, a man like this will be brought to justice."
Just like Jian Ghomeshi. Just like Stephen Galloway. Just like Bill Cosby. It seems that in every case, the man accused of sexual assault drew sympathy, cosseting, and strenuous denial they had done anything wrong. With Cosby, the attitude is "how could you even think such a thing?" This is the Jell-o Pudding man! The next step (which has already happened with the first two, and is just about to happen with the third) is that the whole thing "blows over" and is reburied.
"Oh, no, not THIS time," is the chorus. Oh yes? It will blow over. Just wait. Weinstein will find a role in Hollywood somewhere, the old boys' network (fellow abusers all) will forgive and forget, and he will serve no jail time, while the women he assaulted are haunted for the rest of their lives. (Though really, shouldn't they just forgive him? It's the only way to get over their anger, isn't it? And it's crucial they get over their anger. Anger in a woman is most unattractive.)
I saw a Facebook post or re-post by a young woman I sort-of know, the daughter of someone I used to know actually, just a rant rant rant about Weinstein, with every other word being FUCK! FUCK! FUCK-FUCK-FUCK!!!! This got lots and lots of likes and supportive comments and shares (or, no, sorry! Copy and paste! That's MUCH more noble and spiritual than share), but I doubt if too many will be interested in what I just wrote here. I'm ranting, see. I'm bitter. I'm angry, and that's a no-no. I'm past the threshhold of anger, which ends around age 50 when you are past your female expiry date.
Today I read a Facebook post which was, in essence, one of those gratitude lists Oprah said we should make about everything wonderful in our lives. This was a long one, introduced with, "I know things are horrible in the world, countless people are suffering, and I see all sorts of negative things on Facebook, BUT. . . " It was a list, a long list of a lot of nice things in her life, really nice things, one after another, wonderful and enjoyable and satisfying things, which should have I guess made me feel better.
Instead, it clanged. To me it just reeked of upper-middle-class white privilege. Yes, homelessness is rampant, people's houses have burned down or flooded out, children have vanished, women have been raped. . . and it's really too bad. . . but I baked a lovely pumpkin pie today, and everyone just loved it!
I'm not saying it's "bad" to count your blessings instead of sheep. We all have our Julie Andrews moments - and why not? But this had a definite flavour of "I have all this wonderful stuff in my life, and you don't". It's nice if you can go out for a brisk gallop on your thoroughbred mare at dawn, but hey. . . those beasts cost money. A lot of money. It's nice to have a wonderful six-week holiday in Greece coming up before Christmas, but. . .
All those things she listed were attached to having the means to afford/enjoy them (not that that's an issue to those who have it: they become conveniently oblivious). The blatant smugness I see all over Facebook, with people oblivious to how their words will actually affect others, is disturbing. Of course this person's friends provided the usual Greek chorus of cheers, ooohs and ahhhs that SOMEBODY was (at last) being "positive" about something. How refreshing!
"Hey, YOU had to deal with a fire in your home, YOU lost everything in a flood, YOU got sick, YOU got a divorce or lost your child or your business or your mind, but there's still something positive in the world: I won a literary prize and I lost ten pounds and I went for a charming walk and I. . .", etc. etc. Spawning a hundred likes, a hundred happy-faced comments, a hundred copy-and-pastes.
I don't know what the answer is, and like everyone else I have to live in the present and enjoy it as much as I can (and though it sometimes surprises me, I do: I lived through enough nightmares of chaos and alcoholism and psych wards to appreciate the bliss of an ordinary, sober day). My husband and I have so little money that we have to write down every expenditure to the nearest dollar, and I don't care because going for a walk in the woods is free.
I feel most powerless when I look at Trump, feel most alarmed when people still make jokes about him, as if that helps people and doesn't just temporarily numb them. He might just destroy the world, perhaps believes that is his ultimate mission. Weinstein and his ilk are legion, I am sure, but with anything this traumatic, it comes out explosively at first, then tends to get reburied. It's a cycle, which means, ultimately, that nothing happens.
Trump crudely bragged about grabbing women's pussies and STILL got elected. Probably he got a lot of votes because he bragged about it. God knows Harvey did, and for how long we don't know.
My hope is in my grandkids, not so scarred or twisted just yet, and the hope-against-hope that those three beautiful, accomplished, bravehearted girls WON'T be mauled or molested or nastily propositioned, as women and girls have been for countless centuries. I see no signs of it yet, but puberty looms, and I know what comes next. They become fair game.
Weinstein will buy his way out of jail, Cosby will go doddering into an institution somewhere, Trump will serve his four years, and all the rest will keep on being sleazeballs until a small percentage of them actually have to take responsibility for what they have done. What they have done is leave a mark on someone's soul forever, take their joy and never give it back. No jail sentence, not even the death penalty, could cause that kind of pain.