Thursday, November 30, 2017

Obits On The Front Page

I don't have too much to say about all the sexual harassment scandals (except that they should be considered on a case-by-case basis, since some seem to be far worse than others).

But it is weird to live in this moment when everything seems to be coming out.  Just yesterday, there were so many new stories, led by Matt Lauer, that I lost count of all the names being ousted.

Some people get their paper each day--or the modern equivalent of the paper--and go to the obits to see who died.

Now you check to see who's the latest guy to be accused of abuse.  It's not quite the obits, though it does kill their career. (For a while, anyway.  I assume while some are so far gone their main hope is to hold on to their money and freedom, others are probably already plotting their return--a while in rehab, followed by an apology tour and a piece in major media explaining how they've been humbled, perhaps?)

I guess the question now is not only who will be next, but how long can this go on?  My guess is a pretty long time, since no one wanted to report on this stuff for at least the last few decades (or forever, except in spectacular cases?), but there was plenty going on.

PS Here's a list The Hollywood Reporter has compiled of entertainment figures who have been accused since Harvey Weinstein.  There are over fifty names.


Anonymous Denver Guy said...

This should be named the era of schadenfreude.

I will watch Will Ferrell's "Land of the Lost" with a new appreciation that Lauer was correctly cast as a dick.

10:46 AM, November 30, 2017  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There must be a scorecard somewhere keeping track of all the cases. I'm pretty sure there have been at least 50 guys to have been named so far, and hundreds of accusers.

11:11 AM, November 30, 2017  
Blogger New England Guy said...

Harassment Bingo is a thing. It even made the Kelly cartoon in The Onion

1:59 PM, November 30, 2017  
Anonymous Eobard Thawne said...

Since I don't work in Hollywood or the news media, I don't have a very clear sense of the work environment there. I don't have a sense of how many people Matt Lauer or Roger Ailes or Harvey Weinstein met each day, how many of these meetings were private, how many of these people knew each other, etc.

It seems to me that this would make a big difference in the work environment. For example, at McDonald's the vast majority of working hours are visible to every employee simultaneously. At traditionally hierarchical jobs, the low-level employees effectively form a subculture (regardless of whether they are unionized) -- so any conversation between the boss and one employee is immediately shared with the other employees. In traditional class societies this is true as well (in Jane Austen novels, the gentry know that as soon as one servant in the household learns the latest scandal, every servant in the house will know it, and within a couple days all the village will know it). This greatly contrasts with, say, a publishing company: the editor at Doubleday speaks to each author separately, and the authors might not have ever met each other.

Since I don't know what the Hollywood/TV news worlds are like, I don't know if employees talk to each other much, which makes these stories hard for me to comprehend. Did these bosses expect that the women who were mistreated wouldn't tell their coworkers? Was this a reasonable expectation?

2:57 PM, November 30, 2017  
Anonymous Eobard Thawne said...

So the questions I have in my mind might not be sensible questions. But it seems to me that in the case of someone like Matt Lauer, the women in his office might be divided into the following categories:

(1) Women whom he never made sexual advances toward.

(2) Women whom he made advances to, and who accepted his advances and engaged in various hanky-panky with him.

(3) Women whom he made advances to, and who rebuffed him gently and inoffensively, thus letting him down without any hurt feelings.

(4) Women whom he made advances to, and who rebuffed him, but who were upset about it and felt misused.

We are hearing a lot about women in group 4, and rightfully so. But clearly there are women not in this group, including other famous women who worked with him and are acting surprised today.

But I wonder: Once the first wave of stories dies down, will the press start wondering which of these other women were in group 1, 2, and 3? And if we do find out, will women in these groups be seen as victims ("yes, we used to praise her as the most famous female reporter, but now we pity her because she had to sleep with her boss to get that job"), or as clever entrepreneurs ("we respect the integrity of the women who refused him, but we also respect the ingenuity of the women who said 'yes' to further their careers"), or as enablers ("when her boss crudely propositioned her and she did what he wanted, she encouraged him to think that was acceptable workplace behavior")?

3:06 PM, November 30, 2017  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a difference with entertainment and media versus everything else. In movies and TV, there are a ton of beautiful young women trying to get ahead in a highly competitive business. Many men are willing to take advantage of this. In fact, this is a major reason some men wish to rise high in these industries. Also, on the other side, there are some women willing to be taken advantage of, as it were.

3:10 PM, November 30, 2017  
Anonymous Eobard Thawne said...

Anon -- Your point can be made even stronger by noting that one important factor in hiring an actress or TV reporters is her beauty. This is expected and accepted, and even in the post-Weinstein world I am not aware of anyone decrying sexual abuse who has propsed that this be changed. By contrast, women applying for jobs as sheriffs, Marines, lawyers, or engineers are not supposed to be judged on their beauty.

Of course, there are also tons of women in show-biz who don't appear on film or on stage, but who work behind the scenes, and in theory their attractiveness isn't supposed to be a factor.

6:38 PM, November 30, 2017  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tend to think that specially focusing on sexual behaviors of women employees is perhaps a source of the problem. Nobody is asking who Roger slept with to get ahead

3:20 AM, December 01, 2017  
Anonymous Trick Junction said...

huh its a big problem ...

7:09 AM, December 01, 2017  

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