Miscellaneous Rumbles

Is It Just Me, Or Is This Happening At A Dizzying Pace? (No Guitar …

1

I awoke this morning to news that Matt Lauer had been fired by NBC News as news co-anchor of the Today Show for allegations of inappropriate workplace conduct. Just a few days ago, it seems, the highly-respected Charlie Rose was fired by CBS News (as co-anchor of its morning news program) and by the Public Broadcasting System) for sexual harassment allegations.

And now I have just read that Garrison Keillor, the beloved former host of Prairie Home Companion and current host of Writer's Almanac, has been fired by Minnesota Public Broacasting for improper behaviour.

Let's be clear about this: The bad behaviour as alleged to have occurred by Harvey Weinstein, and the countless others who have been named in his wake, has to end. The use of power by men or women to gain sexual favors from others is flat out wrong. There can be no equivocating on that. But, we are seeing a tectonic-like shift in society right now and it is most evident as we see these people for whom we have developed respect over the years be knocked down off their perches where we have placed them.

The Today Show without Matt Lauer? No more Charlie Rose interviews on PBS? These people, and the many others like them, have to suffer the consequences of their bad behaviour, but our lives as members of the public are forever changed by these events. Certainly, life will go on without them and the others that are sure to come behind them. But, let's acknowledge that we are living in a moment right now of huge upheaval where society is saying that this kind of conduct is no longer tolerable.

A friend of mine and I were talking some days ago about the potential changes that events likes these may have on how men and women interact, even outside of the workplace. Some people are simply more flirtatious than others. Yet, they mean nothing by it and certainly do not intend to intimidate or harass others. What was once acceptable forms of flirtation, however, will now be stifled due to the fears of how the other person may be receiving the remarks. It would not surprise me in the least if, prior to intimate moments, one or the other has their partner sign a document stating that their actions are consensual and nothing more, merely to protect each of them from later claims of non-consensual actions.

Again, these are dizzyingly bewildering times.

[Can we please agree not to turn this thread into a political food fight? Please? Politics have no place in this discussion.]

3

Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

4

Yup, i agree with adsy81. If a person is arrested and convicted, then fire away, suspend on hearsay? Nay. A local cop was just fired and arrested and sentanced. Hard evidence. Next, i will be arrested for thinking lustful thoughts...or this post.

5

Typical American reaction of overreaction. We let things go on for decades unchecked then when one falls everyone has to go PC. I don't know how anyone can go on a date anymore without a lawyer and a contract.

6

I'm a father of two daughters and had to explain the Bill Clinton debacle to them early in their lives, not easy but it was a lesson in double standards.

7

Times are indeed changing. The old guard is falling and it’s their own gall that is their ruin.

8

I think it's really complex, and that complexity is compounded by the fact that the standards and expectations have changed really quickly.

In some cases, it's pretty clear. Whipping your weiner out at someone who doesn't want to see it, or being a grown man sticking your hand down the panties of a 14-year-old girl have always been wrong, and I really hope no one would try to defend either action.

In other cases, maybe it was OK back in the 80s or 90s and the standards changed. I was watching "Stripes" the other day and was struck by how much of it would be really uncomfortable, if not downright unacceptable now. Expectations change. Not too long ago, grabbing a butt may have make you a bit sleazy, but you weren't getting fired for it. And now you are. Deal with it, and keep your hands to yourself.

Regardless, though, while I understand that both are unacceptable, I do hope that people keep some sense of scope around these accusations. I'm not sure what that scope looks like, but I do hope we don't consider someone making inappropriate comments to be equivalent to forced sexual assault. Because when we look at the range of men accused lately, the accusations against them vary a LOT. Some appear to be flat out predators. Other appear to have not got the memo about changing norms, much to their regret.

"Innocent until proven guilty" is a whole other kettle of fish. In many of these cases there is no legal route to proving it. You have to ask yourself if you believe the man, or his accusers. And that can come down to an awful lot of things.

I do hope partisanship is not one of those things. If it is, you're a shitty human being. It's not OK just because the person votes the same way you do. That's seriously smurfed up.

9

With reference to the standard of "innocent until proven guilty", that is a legal standard. We don't deprive someone of their freedom without giving them a chance to prove their innocence.

However, employing a person in your business is not something which requires application of a legal standard. Terminating someone's employment, no matter the financial hardship that it may admittedly cause, is not the same as depriving them of their liberty.

We use different standards in non-legal activities. We don't require that children be tried in a court using the "innocent until proven guilty" standard; no, as parents, we conclude what we think actually happened and then mete out appropriate punishment. So it is for these men's employers.

10

THe United States has too much Puritanism in its DNA to ever have a healthy and balanced way of dealing with sexuality. Even Britain has somewhat recovered from Victorian mores.

I have to believe there are societies that are less messed-up about it than we are! And by "messed up," I mean both the predatory and mean-spirited actions of powerful men (let's be honest, it's EXTREMELY rare for women to have the kind of powerful positions to do that kind of abuse, let alone to flaunt it in that way) AND the overreactions to unproven accusations.

11

I do hope that people keep some sense of scope around these accusations. I'm not sure what that scope looks like, but I do hope we don't consider someone making inappropriate comments to be equivalent to forced sexual assault. -- Baxter

I too think that it is wise to try to draw distinctions between outright criminal behaviour (e.g., child molestation, rape) and inappropriate behaviour. It is wrong to lump them into the same category of wrongdoing, and I think that it is equally wrong to lump them into the same category of punishment. Yet, all forms of sexual harassment should be punished in some manner. The difficulty is trying to formulate some means of evaluating the conduct and devising the appropriate punishment to fit that conduct. I think that that is the point where we find ourselves right now -- trying to figure that out in our own minds.

12

I'm glad to see this happening, and I think it's a shame some of it is already getting swept under the "Too PC" rug, and people are finding arguments against the whole #metoo phenomenon. It's about time women stop tolerating all the incredible crap most of them have to deal with on a daily basis, and about time men learn and society changes.

If you have to ask out loud "what you can and cannot do/say around a woman these days?", you're part of the problem, and I can't imagine your having a mom, sister, or even good female friend.

13

With reference to the standard of "innocent until proven guilty", that is a legal standard. We don't deprive someone of their freedom without giving them a chance to prove their innocence.

However, employing a person in your business is not something which requires application of a legal standard. Terminating someone's employment, no matter the financial hardship that it may admittedly cause, is not the same as depriving them of their liberty.

We use different standards in non-legal activities. We don't require that children be tried in a court using the "innocent until proven guilty" standard; no, as parents, we conclude what we think actually happened and then mete out appropriate punishment. So it is for these men's employers.

– Ric12string

Yes, I agree Bob. It was used as a general statement. I’m an outsider to your legal system so you are far better placed to comment, but we have a concept of unfair dismissal.

To my legally-untrained brain, if a person is terminated for an alleged incident that occurred whilst under the employ of the terminator, and that incident was proven to be false - be it through a court of law, employer inquiry or similar - does the terminated then not have the right of their job back? And the ability to seek compensation for their unfair termination?

14

I don't think all these people will be ostracized.

You pay the consequences, you say your apologies and you move on.

I can't think of a time I've witnessed such behaviour in a workplace.

15

I can't think of a time I've witnessed such behaviour in a workplace.

Which behavior, specifically?

16

.....oops, I've been distracted.

17

Sexual harassment ruins lives. Talk to someone who's been subjected to this before you judge. Leaving a job or a school because of a superior's unprofessional behavior is a major life-changing event, not always for the better.

18

The "Casting Couch" has been around for something just short of forever...

There are as many solicitations as there are inappropriate advances...

After a while, to many playing the game, there is no difference...

Fast Forward, 2017, let's go Viral!

Time for Revenge...

Now stepping back 20 years, I had to intervene in 2 such Workplace incidents.

Not Hollywood, not TV, not the Theater. It was a Manufacturing business.

In one case it was inappropriate advances by a much older married man to a younger attractive mother of a Pre-School child.

In the second it was co-workers, sitting side-by-side everyday, approximately the same age, the Male neverendingly harassing the Female to put her down.

It happens.

19

Ric and WB are spot on with this thread. What was once ok in the 70's/80's/PAST actually wasn't ok. Times didn't change because women were not treated as equals but as subservient even though they have always been equals. Men are the ones who need to take a long hard look in the mirror. Then turn around and take a long hard look at their female counterparts.

It is long overdue and I am glad this conversation is happening here because honestly most of the people who post on this thread are older. No judgment but the truth is this behavior is a product of the past and current youth are not ok with it.

Today sex is far less taboo. You can be into almost anything and it is ok so the puritan PC argument is bogus and rooted in hetero patriarchy (look in the mirror). To suggest that CONSENT or EQUALITY are PC is again proof that you are part of the problem. I am single and on Tinder and the whole gamit of dating apps. My female friend runs and online sex product boutique that she is admired for. We are sex positive and it is great to go on dates today. No lawyer no contract just RESPECT and CONSENT.

20

Then turn around and take a long hard look at their female counterparts.

^ May have been part of the problem

21

Evidently I didn't make my point well enough. My reference to the Puritan history in the United States was not at all to justify prurient behavior, but rather that the legacy of Puritanism has colored all of our attitudes toward sexuality in ways we are often unaware of, whether we unconsciously accept it or rebel against it --- or both at once. The commercialization of sexual imagery in advertising (it's everywhere) is only effective because of our collective fascination with what was treated as forbidden, or bad, or shameful, yet also appealing. A society with a healthy attitude toward sexuality would not produce predators like Weinstein, Trump and their ilk in great numbers because the underlying sense of mutual respect and caring that powerjet refers to would be part of the fabric of society, and therefore accepted as normal and healthy.

22

Evidently I didn't make my point well enough. My reference to the Puritan history in the United States was not at all to justify prurient behavior, but rather that the legacy of Puritanism has colored all of our attitudes toward sexuality in ways we are often unaware of, whether we unconsciously accept it or rebel against it --- or both at once. The commercialization of sexual imagery in advertising (it's everywhere) is only effective because of our collective fascination with what was treated as forbidden, or bad, or shameful, yet also appealing. A society with a healthy attitude toward sexuality would not produce predators like Weinstein, Trump and their ilk in great numbers because the underlying sense of mutual respect and caring that powerjet refers to would be part of the fabric of society, and therefore accepted as normal and healthy.

– Parabar

Parabar. Totally agree and was not trying to target you or even the "old guard" in general. The majority of youth today are less sexually active but far more sex positive and egalitarian in general. We are getting there slowly but surly.

23

You mess with the bull, you get the horns. If you think you can get away with it just because you're a boss/star/journalist/man/whatever, think again.

Just using Lauer as the example, they're talking MULTIPLE instances, not one woman one time. Where there's that much smoke, there's likely fire.

Of course, if you're president, all bets are off. And I think Al Franken will get off scot-free as well, his mea culpas will be accepted by the MSM, and that'll be all that matters, unless someone presses charges. Altho it's incredulous for the dems to to attack Moore on this issue, while at the same time NOT attacking Franken and all the others lefties now standing accused. Double standard indeed.

And +1 to everything WB & Curt said.

24

Dudes, it's easy really. Avoid doing or saying anything sexist. Broads don't like it.

25

Hegel (or Frichte) had it right: thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis. There were/are major problems, there's a counter-reaction which may sweep up some, either truly innocent or less egregious, along with the truly disgusting, and ultimately, hopefully a new equilibrium, where some kind of new rules prevail.

True discernment of varying degrees of awfulness, which require disparate punishment, unfortunately is far too nuanced for our highly polarized society and legal/political system.

One fallacy that keeps coming up is the idea that someone who's otherwise wonderful could behave this way in certain circumstances. No one is all bad all the time or all good all the time. Most of us are generally decent folks who still can do things that are embarrassing at best, illegal at worst. My favorite non-apology is the "That's not who I am." Well, not totally probably, but at least partly, as you did do the thing you've admitted.

My favorite justification is that so & so couldn't have done that, I know him. You might know part of him but you don't know everything. Even spouses can be blind to the truth, so can friends & family, let alone someone who " knows" the politician or celebrity. Personal testimonials are worthless in this kind of situation.


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