1 Sigh. Driving home from Maryland via the Capital Beltway for the first time in many years, I saw the white and gold spires of the D. C. Mormon Temple (above), a local landmark, rising in the distance, and remembered that an an upcoming overpass had long been famous for the inspired bit of graffiti scrawled on it decades ago, perfectly placed to compliment the fantastic structure. It read “SURRENDER DOROTHY!,” in script, for decades. I don’t know when it was painted over, but it’s gone now.
Why would they do that? It was a part of area lore, it was clever, and it was always good for a smile. Some humorless bureaucrat decided to make the world a little less fun for no good reason. Of such small, heartless gestures is life drained of joy, drop by drop.
2. Last night, in the 11th inning of a memorable, back and forth World Series Game Two between the Astros and the Dodgers, Charlie Culberson of Los Angeles hit a two out home run to narrow the score from 7-5 Astros to 7-6. Nonetheless, Culberson’s team was one out away from losing a game they appeared to have in the bag when they were leading 3-1 in the 9th. (Indeed, the Dodgers did lose after the next batter struck out.) Despite his team’s plight, Culberson celebrated his home run like he had just won the game, or at least tied it. He screamed, he raised his hands, he high-fived everyone in sight. Joe Buck on the Fox broadcast speculated that Culberson might have had the score wrong, and believed that his home run tied the game.
No, said Culberson. He knew the score. “I never would have imagined hitting a home run in the World Series, and I did that. I pointed to my parents in the stands and pointing to my wife,” Culberson explained. “I was just having fun out there, nothing more than that.”
Except you’re not supposed to be having fun when your team is facing a devastating loss, Joe. That was bad form, bad taste, selfish, and obnoxious. The Fox cameras even caught a Dodger coach in the dugout turning around, disgusted , and saying to the still ebullient Culberson, “Come on!”
That’s Ellen Degeneris ogling Katy Perry’s breasts. Ellen is gay, as we all know. Explain to me why this conduct is funny, acceptable and harmless, but a male heterosexual behaving similarly, for exactly the same reason, would be sexual harassment. You have 30 seconds…
Time! What’s your answer!
The answer is that if the “victim” regards the attention and conduct as welcome rather than unwelcome, it isn’t harassment. However, this is problematical, as those who observe the potential victim accepting the otherwise harassing conduct as acceptable receive the message that the conduct itself is acceptable regardless of the individual subjected to it.
If women want a cultural standard that men are treating women in a degrading and unjust fashion by making sexual comments, gestures and related conduct in public, then women, and especially female celebrities, must be held to the same standard.
The actress next to President George H.W. Bush in this photo has accused the 93 year-old wheelchair-bound ex-POTUS of sexually harassing her. Heather Lind wrote on her Instagram account,
“….I got the chance to meet George H. W. Bush four years ago to promote a historical television show I was working on, he sexually assaulted me while I was posing for a similar photo. He didn’t shake my hand. He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side. He told me a dirty joke. And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again.”
Bush, Sr.’s spokesman issued two-part statement to CNN yesterday saying,
“President Bush would never — under any circumstance — intentionally cause anyone distress, and he most sincerely apologizes if his attempt at humor offended Ms. Lind…At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures. To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke — and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.”
Observations and Musings
- A 93-year-old ex-President has no more right to harass a young woman as any other man. That conceded, might it not be kind and reasonable to cut someone like Bush a break, based on generational divides, age and infirmity?? I’m not sure it is; I’m just asking.
And what is that joke? Maybe someone should tell 41 that he needs better material.
- UPDATE: The joke, I’m sorry to say, is that Bush would say his favorite magician was “David Cop-a-Feel.”
- The spokesman’s explanation seems plausible. On the other hand, I’ve seen an awful lot of elderly men use their age as an excuse to cop a feel. They used to make jokes about Grandpa pinching young girls as if it was a privilege of age. And of course, there was “Tyrone F. Horneigh”…
- I still have this uncomfortable feeling that there needs to be some virtual statute of limitations on these accusations. If some woman publicly accuses me of harassing her five, ten, or twenty years ago in an incident I don’t even remember and that doesn’t sound like anything I would ever do, what is my recourse?
Why didn’t the alleged victim speak up at the time? What if she’s just trying to harm me now? What protection do I have? Shouldn’t I have a chance to apologize, or explain before I am condemned?
- This sudden rush to accuse famous, successful and prominent men of past sexual harassment may not be a witch hunt, but it certainly could easily become a classic example of one, especially given its weatherization potential for partisan warfare.
5. It must be exhausting to be constantly looking for examples of racial offense. Still, episodes like the Great Racially Stereotypical Sugar Pops Character Scandal do make me wonder why the corporate ethics alarms aren’t more up to date.
A drawing on the back of the current packaging of Kellogg’s Corn Pops showed a mall scene featuring anthropomorphic Corn Pop characters engaged in various activities as the basis for kids games and puzzles. All of the cartoon Corn Pops were more or less Corn Pop-colored accept one, the brown one, which was apparently the janitor, as he was buffing the floor:
Graphic Novelist Saladin Ahmed, currently writing the Black Bolt series for Marvel, tweeted,
“hey @KelloggsUS why is literally the only brown corn pop on the whole cereal box the janitor? this is teaching kids racism.”
(I wouldn’t eat a Corn Pop that was that color, either.)