Comment of the Day: “Desperate Ethics Quote Of The Week: Louis C.K.”

This is a combination of two comments, by the same wise commenter. I thought both were excellent, and together they are better still.

This is La Sylphide’s Comment of the Day on the post, Desperate Ethics Quote Of The Week: Louis C.K.:

Twice a summer I work as a “runner” for two huge music festivals: one country, one rock. I am often in close quarters, or in a car, with very famous people. I’m always professional. I’m always discrete. Rarely am I star struck. (O.k., driving Johnny Depp was pretty cool.) Most stars and their tour managers are kind and thoughtful. But now and then you get a blowhard, or two. One, very well known country star wanted me to share his cigar with him as I drove him to his private plane. “C’mon, sweetheart” as he held out the cigar to me, “it’s not THAT wet…” The whole car went silent. There I was, the only woman in a car with 5 men, a wet cigar, and a wink wink. I played dumb. I blew off his remark with a smile… They all laughed. Here’s the thing: he held no power over me. He couldn’t advance my career or ruin it. I had nothing at stake. And so yes, I can understand these women, in the same industry as Louis C.K., trying to make it, in a hotel room with him and wondering “wtf, do we do now ?!? How much damage will be done if we stay? How much damage will be done if we tell him to GFH? ” So very often, when you are dealing with someone who wields enormous power, it’s like navigating a mine field. For women, there are often split second decisions to be made: do I cross the street now because it’s late at night, I’m alone and he’s coming toward me, or if I cross the street will I anger him and make things worse.”

Maybe that’s where heroes come into play. There is something quite powerful about fear and survival, and being faced with split second decision making when you are always the person in a position of less power; and that has been the case for women, in many ways, for a very long time. I’m not one of those heroes. I admit that up front. I have ducked and dodged and managed to survive. I have dealt with sexual assault; my first at the age of 4, my last on a beach at 15. I have dealt with sexual impropriety and just bad behavior in the workplace. I was not a hero. I was selfish. I made split second decisions for my own survival, but I did not not think long term and what it might have meant for other women if I had spoken up. I own that.

6 Comments

Filed under Comment of the Day, Daily Life, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Humor and Satire, language

6 responses to “Comment of the Day: “Desperate Ethics Quote Of The Week: Louis C.K.”

  1. Other Bill

    Good for you, L.S. To be as together as you obviously are notwithstanding the sexual abuse you suffered at such critical ages and for so long is an amazing and huge accomplishment. Congratulations.

  2. Sue Dunim

    I’ve always taken the view that while presence of mind is good, absence of body is better.

    That means doing the best one can to make sure there’s a means of escape. Selfish, certainly.

    Only once have I been unwise enough not to run away, but to run towards, carkeys in hand, ready to puncture eyeballs as I’ve practiced to do because that’s what we have to prepare for. Fortunately security arrived before I did, I wasn’t the only one to have emergency on speed dial.

    “I was not a hero. I was selfish. I made split second decisions for my own survival, but I did not not think long term and what it might have meant for other women if I had spoken up. I own that.”

    You set standards for yourself that are too high. Admirable, but some things are ultra vires and if you set such high standards for yourself, there’s a danger that you might set them for others too, others not so fortunate or psychologically strong. Please be easier on yourself.

    I have never abandoned anyone short term, and I’ve paid a price for that. Meh. Long term, sorry, too busy being absolutely irrationally terrified to think of that.

  3. La Sylphide

    Thanks, Jack. I’m a bit gobsmacked. I don’t comment here often because I feel I’m so completely out of my depth. There are far more elegant minds here than mine. But please know this: in the few years I’ve been reading your blog, I have moved away from my knee jerk, Facebook meme reaction to most things with which I was confronted. Instead, I work hard to take a more mindful approach. This, of course, is much to the chagrin of my dear theater friends who are drunk on the Kool-Aid. To them, I am a heretic.

    Alas.

    • Glenn Logan

      Alas, indeed, that becoming more thoughtful can somehow be considered a bad thing.

    • “I don’t comment here often because I feel I’m so completely out of my depth.”

      Nonsense. On the contrary, I haven’t read a post of yours yet that isn’t deep, introspective, and illuminating. I wish you’d post more often.

      I think a lot of us worry about seeming to repeat other people’s takes on topics, but regardless of how similar any two commenters are, I think each one still adds the kinds of shades of interpretation that are valid in reaching more perfect ethical conclusions.

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