Plan J From Outer Space, And Related Scary Tales

All right, all right, “Plan J” is not really from outer space.  It’s really from the ever fertile mind of Democrats and the resistance, who are now dedicating their efforts on a new, weird, cultural theory to get rid of Donald Trump, one that has its dark routes in Salem, Massachusetts. Plan J—that’s my name for it, not theirs, as I explained here—isn’t quite as bizarre as the Ed Wood camp classic the headline evokes, “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” (If you’ve never seen it, shame on you: you can become culturally literate here) but it’s a lot scarier.

As it has been recently defined, Plan J holds that if  women, who must be believed, accuses a man of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, no matter how long ago the alleged offense occurred, whether or not it relates to the accused individual’s current psoition,  whether there is any supporting evidence, whether the alleged incident or incidents were a criminal or a civil violation, regardless of how serious they were and regardless of whether the alleged offender denies the allegations or whether the accusations were known to those who placed him or her in their current position, the targeted individuals must be shunned, punished, and forced into virtual exile, if not erased from the culture entirely.

By establishing the new due process-bypassing, proportion-defying and fairness-erasing  social norm, those who have seen their Plans A through I (also enumerated here) either fail miserably or founder have new hope that they may  yet force the President of The United States to resign, thus bypassing those messy and inconvenient things called “elections.”  In order to set this bold new social norm, every celebrity or powerful person who even vaguely fits a Trumpish template regarding accusations of sexual misconduct must be hounded, attacked, derided or shamed.

It’s really remarkable. Of course, Plan J only became feasible as a result of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and the subsequent rush of #MeToo-ers to see who they could take down, rightly or wrongly.

There is a certain perverted brilliance to Plan J. Sexual harassment is a filthy, unethical perk of the powerful that had been allowed to harm too many for too long, and was an accepted feature of too many cultures, like government, business, and show business.  Thus the pent-up fury sparked by the revelations about Weinstein was justified. But as with The Terror that followed the French Revolution, the legitimate anger and determination to reform the culture also created a different kind of power that corrupted the reformers. The ability to destroy with a pointed finger is intoxicating.

In many cases, the results have been beneficial: the identification of corrupt cultures and the unmasking of genuine workplace predators like Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Matt Lauer. In other cases, the fates of the accused have seemed wildly disproportionate to the offenses, although often the reaction of the accused have hastened their demise. The tally of individuals taken down by this frenzy now totals 97 men and one woman—Wait! Make that 98 men: Jerry Richardson, the owner of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, announced that he was selling his team hours after the NFL announced that it would be investigation sexual misconduct claims against him.  Thus Plan J was born: Hey! Why not President Trump?

If due process and sufficient evidence weren’t required to destroy so many others who once had power and influence, surely Sen Kristin Gillibrand’s insistence that as long as she and enough Trump-hating journalists found his accusers “credible,” the fact that none of the alleged acts were criminal, that they did not occur while he was in office and could not possibly be impeachable, and the fact that he was elected with the public’s full knowledge of the allegations were no longer a bar to an effort to force him to resign.

Plan J!

It

Just

Might

WORK!

There are logical and ethical problems that have to be steamrolled in the process, however, if “the resistance’s” dream is to come true. For the principle that any alleged sexual misconduct that a elected official may have engaged in before being elected to become the rule, a lot of lesser figures have to be sacrificed, along with a lot of tenets of basic fairness. For example:

  • Senator Tom Carper has to be frankened, doesn’t he? (D-Del.)? After all, he admitted to spousal abuse, as in striking his wife (now ex-wife, not surprisingly), when he ran for Congress in 1982. Obviously physical violence is at least as unacceptable as sexual harassment, isn’t it? A punch or a slap is worse than an attempt at non-consented kiss, isn’t it? The miscreant admitting actual battery as Carper has is conveys more of a mandate for dire consequences than #MeToo allegations when the accused denies them, doesn’t it?

Doesn’t it?

We would have to accept the virtual guillotine used on star BET  commentator and talking head Tavis Smiley as fair and proportional, right? That means that we would agree that allegations only are still sufficient to not only punish a powerful figure who has earned influence in the culture, but erase him. PBS suspended the distribution of Smiley’s talk show after an investigating “multiple, credible” allegations against him. A PBS spokesperson explained,

“PBS engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after learning of troubling allegations regarding Mr. Smiley. This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley. The inquiry uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to today’s decision.”

Got that? If the allegations–-which Smiley denies, just as the President and Franken (sort of)  deny the allegations against them—involve conduct that is inconsistent with the culture’s evolving values and standards, that’s enough to lower the hammer.

Tavis Smiley’s touring stage production based on his book “Death of a King” has been canceled because of allegations of sexual misconduct by the former PBS host. The multimedia production, focusing on the last year of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, had been scheduled to kick off in Brooklyn on King’s birthday, Jan. 15, and come to the Chicago Theatre on Jan. 20. But a statement on the Chicago Theatre website says the tour was canceled “due to unforeseen circumstances” and offers ticket refunds.The 40-city tour’s producer, Mills Entertainment, said Friday that “in light of the recent allegations” it is “suspending our relationship with” Smiley. “We take seriously the allegations,” the statement added. The show was to include musical compositions by pianist Marcus Roberts and three 12-by-12 foot screens showing footage of King and his inner circle during his last year alive…

Dozens of artists lose their jobs as a result of this. Audiences who are interested in Dr. King lose the opportunity to see the show. Millions of dollars are lost. This is all to prove  that the allegations are taken seriously, even though Smiley denies the accusations. This sequence has to be seen as reasonable before the argument behind  Plan J can be deemed legitimate.

  • Documentary-maker Morgan Spurlock decided to sacrifice himself to the new Terror, or perhaps the better metaphor would be pointing at himself and screaming “WITCH!” Maybe it was all to make Plan J feasible, in which case he’s a “resistance” martyr. Spurlock, who rose to fame with the anti-McDonald’s film “Super Size Me,” penned a confessional titled “I am part of the problem” which he published to his social media accounts.

    “I’ve come to understand after months of these revelations, that I am not some innocent bystander, I am also a part of the problem,” he wrote. “If I’m going [to] truly represent myself as someone who has built a career on finding the truth, then it’s time for me to be truthful as well,” he said. Spurlock said in his confession that he called a former female assistant “hot pants” or “sex pants” in the office without realizing it was sexual harassment. He also admitted to  a sexual encounter with a woman in college who later accused him of rape, though he had believed the encounter was consensual. Obviously she was right, and he was wrong, because that’s the rule that this cultural norm requires…and it’s essential if Plan J is to have any chance at all.

    Thus Spurlock announced that he is hurling himself under the Harvey Weinstein Ethics Train Wreck, firing himself as CEO of his production company, Warrior Poets. Following the Tavis Smiley Principle, Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival pulled Spurlock’s Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken.

If you don’t think this is all certifiably bats, please explain it to me. I do agree, however, that if Plan J is to succeed and an elected President is going to have to resign because of unproven allegations, all known to voters who elected him, involving conduct that if it occurred, dis so before he was even a politician, it has to make sense…along with the deliberate suspension of due process, fairness, and the democratic process.

 

20 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, History, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, Romance and Relationships, Social Media, U.S. Society, Workplace

20 responses to “Plan J From Outer Space, And Related Scary Tales

  1. John Billingsley

    Plan J is Madame Defarge throwing herself on the guillotine expecting the aristos to follow her example. It wouldn’t have worked then and it’s not going to work now. Better initiate Plan K.

  2. JRH

    Well, it “appears” that Democrats are changing their mind, as several have called for Sen Franken to stop his resignation, if it was ever going to occur, because several other folks have indicated that President Trump doesn’t have to resign; and, of course, the Alabama Election is over and there is no Roy Moore to use for GOP bashing, etc, etc. Sen Manchin was on TV this AM explaining that things are going too far and people need “due process”, including his “friend” Mr. Franken. The New AL Senator, Mr. Jones has also somehow landed on Trump’s side on this one and has said Trump should be left alone. I’m really confused.

  3. JRH

    Oops, and there is the rumor of a News Organization that has a “bombshell” story which will out some 20+ additional elected officials for Sexual Harassment, so I guess Congress is beginning to close ranks and get ready to defend their ranks.

  4. Aaron paschall

    If someone like Smiley were to sue for defamation – there certainly seems to be material loss these days – it would fall on the accusers to prove that they were speaking the truth, wouldn’t it? The current standard may not eneable him to prove he was innocent in the court of public opinion, but in the courtroom, they would still (for now) have to prove his guilt.

  5. Fred Davison

    From an interview with Jaron Lanier, inventor and tech critic who left Google for Microsoft to avoid the Groupthink culture that was developing there:

    Due to social networking platform’s algorithms rewarding the loudest assholes to generate advertising dollars:

    There used to be this sense of an arc in history in which, if there was something that seemed like an injustice in society and people worked to improve it, there might be some backlash, but gradually it would improve. Now, what happens is that the backlash is greater than the original thing, and in some ways worse. For instance, the Arab Spring, driven by social media, turned into networks of terrorists. A few women trying to improve their place in the gaming world turned into Gamergate, which, in turn, became a prototype for the alt-right. Black Lives Matter is followed by a rise of white supremacy and neo-fascism which would have been inconceivable until recently.

    Now, I’m just waiting to see what happens with the #MeToo movement, because the same thing always happens with these moments that are social media-centric. That good energy becomes fuel for a system that is routed to annoy another group of people who are introduced to each other, and then get riled up and that becomes even more powerful, because the system inherently supports the negative people more than the positive people.

    Responses like the Mike Pence solution to avoid the possibility of a #MeToo situation, avoid being alone with a woman, will make it even more difficult for women to break through the glass ceiling and be treated as equals in the workplace.

  6. Chris marschner

    Two points come to mind: First, allegations of impropriety can be themselves harassment if we apply the construct of disproportionate power over the accused. Power is not a function of money or standing it is a function of an ability to get others to support you.

    Second, if this is to be the new standard in civil and criminal law as it relates to the determination of liability or guilt we can dispense with lawyers and courts and simply rely on grand juries to determine the facts.

  7. Other Bill

    I think Al’s “unresignation” will be forthcoming any day now.

    One MAJOR problem with Plan J from Brooklyn: There is simply no way on earth Donald Trump is ever, ever, ever going to voluntarily resign from anything. Plan J has been good for winning a few news cycles. Other than that, it is absolutely DOA.

  8. Continuing to implement this newly found social justice power of “purity tests” by means of believing all unprovable accusations it will send our society in a tailspin and down a path to destruction. There is no Utopia; all purity tests regardless of initial intent are doomed to be abused by those who wield the power and end in up utter failure, but of course, the ends justifies the means. If we are to rigidly enforce purity tests then we will “destroy” the lives of everyone who is imperfect – humans are all imperfect – no one will be left out.


    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    MARTIN NIEMÖLLER

    Social justice warriors; be very wary of the powers you are wielding, it leads to the dark side.

  9. Wayne

    Senator Kristin Gillibrand exemplifies the Medieval thinking in this scene:

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