mirabile dictu

Lysistrata Deconstructed: A New War of the Sexes

Do we want to wake up every morning and read a list of liberal men accused of sexual harassment?

Sorry, it gets ridiculous.

Here’s where I draw the line:  Garrison Keillor.

Yes, I have my sexual harassment stories, of course, but how can Keillor be fired before the investigation of harassment?   I hate Twitter, and would never post at #metoo, but before I proceed in this partial defense of famous men, let me share my worst story.  Call it #whohasn’tbeen?

I was at a job interview.  I sat for an hour in the waiting room.  I was told to pop across the street for a physical, because the interviewers were too busy to see me yet.  The doctor listened to my heart, lungs, etc.  And then suddenly my shirt was off and he told me to run in place.   Before I left he said, “Let’s keep this between ourselves.”

I felt disconnected and rattled, to say the least.  I  didn’t mention the physical, because it was not the kind of thing you chat about at a corporate interview.

Was I surprised that I didn’t get the job?

After this incident, I became a master of the word “No.”  It is very effective.

The daily reports of sexual harassment began in October in Hollywood. Yes, sexual harassment abounds in Hollywood.  No surprise there.  I’ve always understood Hollywood is founded on sex.  Youth, beauty,  breast implants, plastic surgery, tight abs, waxed chests…  With all this, I’m amazed there’s talent, too.

Hollywood is so far removed from the realm of my experience that I paid little attention to the accusations until the newspapers began to go after writers.  I do know writers.

For instance, Glenn Thrush, a New York Times reporter in Washington, was fired after he was accused of sexual harassment, i.e., groping young women colleagues at bars.  Let me get my head around this.  There’s a lot of groping at bars.  And so he lost a book deal with Random House:  he and a female colleague had a contract to write a  book about Trump.   The women who complained, as I understand it, were able to fend him off.  Surely the corporation should have issued a warning  before firing him.

Which begs the question: Should a person be fired for being an asshole?  If that’s the case,  I have a long list.  But the problem is, some assholes are talented, smart, and powerful.   In a strange way, they are our friends; they are allies.  Not personal friends, but fellow friends of  literature, or friends of art, or friends of democracy.  You don’t have to like all your friends.

Every day, there are many new names.  So many names.  Yesterday it was 78-year-old John Casey, the National Book Award-winning author of Spartina and a professor emeritus at the University of Virginia.   A young MFA graduate  said he inappropriately touched women on the shoulders, back, and even the butt at readings.  Ms. X, I don’t know if your accusations are true, but that generation of men is like that. They were not raised by feminists.   My advice:  Frown, move away, move their hand away,  say No, and that will probably do the job.   He’s a great writer.  Don’t take that away from us.

And today another old man, Garrison Keillor, 75,  the humorist, writer, and creator of A Prairie Home Companion, has been fired by  Minnesota Public Radio.  He is under investigation because of a colleague’s accusation.  MPR has banned The Writers’ Almanac and reruns of A Prairie Home Companion.  I am not a fan of A Prairie Home Companion, by the way, but whatever the accusation, it should be illegal to fire someone before the investigation is concluded.

And don’t you think the Republicans are thrilled to see the Left divided, and their liberal opponents in the media crushed?  The lists distract from the destruction of our society and our country.  And the attention is focused on sex, instead of the very important elections and egregious destruction of our country.

Obviously, we need better sexual harassment training and assertiveness training in the workplace. But, more important, we need to elect liberal/radical women in politics, fund Planned Parenthood t, keep abortion safe and legal, assure equal pay for equal work, reverse climate change…

That list goes on.