Between a Tweet and a Tumble

  • Thoughts From the Wake of Everything Awful

    I recently interviewed a graphic designer who made a concerted effort to devote 30 minutes a day to her computer screen for no audience but herself, free from the kind of constraints posed by a client in the workplace. She said that it opened her creative impulses, and through this visual stream of consciousness, she could finally home in on her artistic voice. I thought that the same results might be possibe for writing. Also, that is definitely what New York Magazine is paying Andrew Sullivan to do. 

    I am starting the timer. 

    2017 has been an awful beast. In 2016 we were depressed by the deaths of our heroes; in 2017 we see their fall from grace. It turns out that while we worshipped them, they were depraved, grotesque beings the whole time. Before the Louis CK allegations, I remember very clearly having a nightmare a few weeks ago where a man was masturbating in front of me. I screamed. "That's harassment, you know!" Cut to some older unknown woman in my dream telling me, "It's not like he touched you."

    For those who still don't understand:

    The penis is a strange, strange organ. It has the ability to become a weapon. You don't have to touch me to terrify me and spark my impulse to flee; an erection is an inherently terrifying gesture because of its implications of violence. If I didn't invite this rush of blood, then I don't want it anywhere in my vicinity. 

    The movie industry has been roiled. The art publishing industry has been roiled. And then the Times went after my former boss, a man I think everyone has known for years for his belittling, bullying style of management. I have to be honest; while I stand by the women who have felt harassed by him I wouldn't call it sexual harassment. Pain is relative. To reduce my feelings to the simplest terms, I ask: If you can feel attacked when someone is not attacking you, can you also feel sexually harassed when a person is not sexually harassing you? I describe thte situation more as a man with little charisma or efficacy who was given too much power. Too inexplicably often, power is handed to those with no ability to wield it. I read a Facebook post from a woman and a writer I admire who was quoted in the article of his downfall. To paraphrase, she said that it wasn't about sex, but about power and intimidation, and the problem is gendered because of the gendered imbalance of power. And that for too long, women have been pressed downwards and forced to suppress these feelings, but there's momentum now. The voice inside we've been suprressing is finally free to shout STOP NO WE'RE NOT DOING THIS ANYMORE because finally there's a plurality of voices. Up until now we never considered the possibility of being heard. 

    Two minutes left on the timer. I've prematurely run out of things to say.