Very Fine People On All Sides

American Gothic, with a twist

Jesus Fucking Christ. At long last, are there no decent people? I swear to God, were Lot alive and living in the U.S. today, I believe we might be well and truly fucked.

I mean, we know the President is one of the more reprehensible beasts to ever trod the earth. The guy bragged about the probability of his fucking his own daughter, if only she wasn’t, you know, his daughter.

He’s also been accused of sexual harassment by more than a dozen credible people; counts a convicted pedophile among his close friends; and famously boasted of plying a married woman with a shopping spree to try and loosen her knickers. He is the country’s first avowed “grab ’em by the pussy” Chief Executive, a congenital liar, a business fraud, proud draft-dodger, and multiple bankrupt. So, yeah, that’s the dear leader.

One of the chief enablers of the President’s political fortune was the founder and head of something called the Fox News Network, the name of which itself is an exercise in fraud. Guy by the name of Roger Ailes, who is now thankfully dead, and whose rotten soul is without question being tormented for eternity in a Circle of Hell even Dante may not have been able to imagine, for the horrible whirlwind of mendacity and ignorance his media empire inflicts upon the nation – and for having been a skeevy bastard in his own right.

Then, of course, there’s that lying liar, Bill O’Reilly, who was FOX’s biggest star for years, who got rich lying to gullible Americans about every single fucking topic he ever took up on his lying piece of shit television program, so much so that he had $32 million dollars of his own money with which to settle a single sexual harassment claim brought by one of his employees. He settled several others over the years, too, for somewhat lesser sums, one might presume.

Lest one mistake rich, conservative Republicans for holding a corner on the market for being total dicks, however, the media spotlight recently seared a hole in the reputation of the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, a rich, liberal Democrat who apparently lived much of his adult life in the movie business as if maintaining a casting couch was a personal prerogative. He’s now been fired from his position as head of The Weinstein Companies, the studio firm he founded and ran with his brother, amidst a shitstorm of allegations ranging from actual rape to garden-variety creepy behavior leveled at him by everyone from famous actresses to women who worked as assistants at his company.

In the past two weeks, thousands and thousands of women have popularized the hashtag #metoo on social media, with posts testifying to their own mistreatment and sexual harassment by (mostly) male bosses and colleagues, bringing a new collective awareness to the understanding that many, many, many men are indeed pigs, and that the behavior of men like Weinstein and O’Reilly is not a feature of some bygone era but rather something that has always gone on and still goes on in all walks of life, not just in the entertainment industry or the political arena.

But wait, it gets even worse. As the Weinstein “scandal” unraveled, it came to light that Lisa Bloom, an attorney highly regarded for her victories in civil rights cases and for representing women in the very kinds of sexual assault matters that brought Weinstein and O’Reilly down, previously worked for Harvey Weinstein and knew all about the fact that her powerful client slept around on his wife and sexually harassed women at will. Bloom’s work for Weinstein could end up destroying all the good will and credibility the daughter of feminist icon Gloria Allred ever earned promoting and defending women’s rights.

It’s not at all clear where the bottom of this rancid spiral of ignominy will finally play out but surely the news that political journalist Matt Taibbi may be another one of “those guys” is a kick in the gut to anyone thinking misogyny could have a political bias. Taibbi, a prominent successor to Hunter S. Thompson’s legacy of political reporting at Rolling Stone magazine, a lion among smart, left-leaning writers, who is responsible for some of the very best critiques of the policy failings of everyone from George W. Bush to Barack Obama to the current occupant of the Oval Office, incredibly shares a writing credit on a relatively little-noticed book entitled, “The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia.” In the book, Taibbi and his co-author Mark Ames recount the days they ran an English-language newspaper together in Moscow during the late-1990s. Suffice it to say, there are passages in the book the authors originally labeled as true stories – but which Taibbi now calls “satire” – that would not seem far-fetched to any woman posting a #metoo remembrance on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram today.

Sunshine has been called the greatest disinfectant. If shedding light on the Harvey Weinsteins, Bill O’Reillys, Lisa Blooms, and Matt Taibbis of this world can put an end to the degrading, demeaning, insensitive, toxic environments women and people in unequal power relationships have suffered to live and work in for so long, then let the sun shine wherever it may.

UPDATE: And the hits just keep on coming. Last night Twitter was aflame with tweeters commenting on the news that STAR TREK: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp leveled charges against two-time Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey, saying Spacey “was trying to get with me sexually” when Rapp was just 14 years old. Incredibly, Spacey clouded an otherwise seemingly heartfelt apology to Rapp for “what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior” that he claimed to now be unable to recall specifically, by choosing the occasion to also come out as a gay man. The reaction of the LGBTQ community was predictably dismissive.


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