Miscellaneous Rumbles

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

151

Ain't varying cultures interesting?

....thinking of Ruger's comment above:

I remember as a curious adolescent pre Hugh Hefner, looking at National Geographic and noticing a real difference in dress codes from North Africa to Central Africa.

I suspect various cultures have different ways of looking at what's acceptable behavior too.

....I'm sure they do.

– F107plus5

If you're going to quote me, please QUOTE me, so I know WTH you're talking about, and can reply.

I'm going to GUESS you are referring to my comment above about how in Muslim culture if the girl does not wear the burka, etc, then she gets what she deserves (according to current Muslim law, in practice). Heck- they don't stop there. If a wife is raped by another man, SHE gets stoned to death for making him unable to resist doing it. It is insanity. This isn't about "different ways at looking at things"- that is just WRONG, period (what I just described)... it does NOT fall into the category of "I'm ok/you're ok"..."everybody's different." It's WRONG. Some things actually ARE RIGHT OR WRONG, and not open to opinion.

I THINK even everyone here could agree on that- that stoning a woman to death because she "made a man unable to resist raping her" is wrong.

153

Parts of the "Muslim culture" you're referring to seems to be stuck in 1400, and other parts are trying to go back to 700. Even the Arab world isn't consistent about it, just as we aren't. We celebrate overt sexuality in our pop and movie star, yet others decry it. "Don't look at my boobs!" is as common a phrase as , "Isn't this a sexy outfit?" or "That's hot!". Double standards abound. Janet Jackson had a "wardrobe malfunction" that appeared to most to be a choreographed part of the show. Stars have always tried to outdo each other with outrageous outfits. The hip hop world is full of these examples. Still, the lesson to be learned here is that if you don't want unwarranted attention, don't openly advertise it.

Conversely, some guys would get turned on by a burka or nun's habit---that's wrong, too. Treat a woman the same way you'd want your wife or daughter to be treated. Simple.

154

"Even the Arab world isn't consistent about it, just as we aren't."

...except we aren't stoning victims to death...

155

Ain't varying cultures interesting?

....thinking of Ruger's comment above:

I remember as a curious adolescent pre Hugh Hefner, looking at National Geographic and noticing a real difference in dress codes from North Africa to Central Africa.

I suspect various cultures have different ways of looking at what's acceptable behavior too.

....I'm sure they do.

– F107plus5

"Huh?"

156

I see this turning by south quickly. I hope I'm proved wrong.

158

AND... don't forget... anything that happens to the woman at that point is ALL HER FAULT.

-roll eyes-

– ruger9

To stop this at the Mason-Dixon line.

Hey Ruger! G'mornin'!

This was the comment I was referring to, but with my blinding 15 WPM typing speed and having to share my desk with a cat who wants to maintain the lions share of the available space, Buddy got his post in before I got mine, so I edited mine and mentioned that I was commenting on your post.

I wasn't putting down some deep thought or argument but just commenting on how in a short geographical distance folks can have a totally different way at looking at things, and people. (Like Slim said in post 153.)

159

I came upon THIS ARTICLE which addresses the charges of Katherine Ross that she was groped on the set by Dustin Hoffman. The article speaks to something that I had been unable to really articulate well in prior postings in this thread. That is, that there were different times and people acted differently during the era of the sexual revolution. That is not to excuse it or to somehow suggest that touching a woman without her consent was morally right. But, it was something that was certainly less frowned upon than it is in today's society.

Thus, I ask again, if someone acted poorly (not criminally, but just boorish) thirty to forty years ago, but has since not acted in that manner, is it appropriate for us to punish them now for having transgressed thirty or forty years ago what is a current standard today? That seems inequitable to me. Now, if someone acted in that manner give years ago, when the sexual revolution was long over and their behaviour was merely boorish, then I somehow view that differently.

Does anyone else share this sentiment? I continue to work through this in my own mind because I am troubled by the behaviour if it was done currently. Yet, I struggle with the more ancient behaviour and view it differently.

160

The repercussions of sexual harassment do not go away with time. The anger never goes away. There is no "closure."

161

The repercussions of sexual harassment do not go away with time. The anger never goes away. There is no "closure."

– lx

But, that is a different issue than the one that I have raised. (Maybe that was by design because you are evaluating other aspects of this very large societal issue. If so, carry on.)

My point was that the rules have changed on us as members of society. What once was tolerated is no longer. If someone who acted boorishly 35 years ago has since evolved with society's views about their conduct, and no longer acts in that manner, do we punish them nonetheless because their conduct is not tolerable under today's rules?

We could say that unwelcome advances on another person were never okay and should never be tolerated. Okay. But, I don't think that that reflects the evolution that our American society has experienced since the Sixties. O that it were a perfect world where our behaviour was always noble. But, for most of us, we have learned from our prior mistakes and have experienced emotional growth.

The manner in which racial minorities were viewed and spoken of was much different in the Thirties than it is today. Do we judge someone's remarks or views on race expressed then by today's standards and values? Or do we take into consideration where we, as a society, were at the time that the remarks or views were first expressed?

162

To stop this at the Mason-Dixon line.

Hey Ruger! G'mornin'!

This was the comment I was referring to, but with my blinding 15 WPM typing speed and having to share my desk with a cat who wants to maintain the lions share of the available space, Buddy got his post in before I got mine, so I edited mine and mentioned that I was commenting on your post.

I wasn't putting down some deep thought or argument but just commenting on how in a short geographical distance folks can have a totally different way at looking at things, and people. (Like Slim said in post 153.)

– F107plus5

You do know -I- wasn't saying that, right? I mean, I typed it- but it's the extremist Muslims who think that way, not I.

163

While genuine sexual assault is reprehensible and needs to be cut out from society as quickly as possible, I personally tend to have a problem when possible "slip-ups" and genuine mistakes are reported years later as assaults. Perhaps it due to my first encounters with what I will call "courtship" for the sake of keeping this from being too inflammatory.

I pretty much grew up backstage in live theatre from 1968 through 1974 (ages 14-20), and that part of my life has had a serious influence on me ever since. Most of it was good, but I do feel the need to hold my tongue sometimes, lest I be mis-labelled as a liberal radical. However, for a moment, I'll re-enter my own WayBack machine and come up with two examples of my own, and my responses to them.

I was once propositioned -somewhat aggressively, but sans touching of any sort- in the washroom by a male costumer who mistook my interest in stage makeup as artistry for something it wasn't. I was 14, and he was in his late 20's. I said "no", he said "okay, then" and that was that.

Working together on another show, a slightly older young lady came perilously close to becoming my own personal "Mrs Robinson" as she decided that a certain young man needed an "education" in the ways of women. She partially succeeded, to my great embarrassment at the time. I was not quite 16 at the time. She was over 18, and while nothing actually happened in a technical sense, there was partial nudity, a bit of groping, and the chance of discovery by co-workers. Her intentions were obvious, even to me at age 15.

Should I now charge her with assault? Statutory rape? Should I go after the costumer in the media? Worse, will they come after me after all these years?

Why? I learned from both. I learned I could say "no", be believed and still be able to work alongside someone without fear. I learned that sometimes, the male is not the agressor. And yes, you can say "no". So be it. Lessons absorbed.

Moreover, this was (and still is) a fairly small, close-knit community, and I still see the young woman from time to time. We're still friends. Unfortunately, the costumer, something of a flamboyant sort, was lost in the early years of the AIDS epidemic, but we spoke with each other every time we met before he got too sick, and my wife and I both attended his memorial.

And that's what bugs me in the back of my brain. Was every event portrayed now as assault truly that? If it was, then throw away the key, but in some cases, if there is room for misinterpretation or misunderstanding then we need to be aware that these are human beings, and as such, seldom perfect, whether we put them on a pedestal or no.

Things are seldom as black and white as some would have us believe. And remember, this is not to excuse anyone guilty of genuine crimes, only to encourage everyone to think a little bit more.

164

Ric, I understand what you're asking and it is a valid question. But you'd have to get specific on what constitutes "boorish" and what constitutes sexual harassment. What is happening today is the result of massive cultural/judicial/legal failure to recognize a form of assault, verbal and physical, usually occurring between a "superior" and subordinate in a school or workplace environment.

The Hoffman/Ross incident is a singular and quite particular circumstance and I don't think typical.

Too many men (and I have no doubt we'll be hearing about the rare women soon) have gotten away with unprofessional behavior for far too long.

165

I still see the young woman from time to time. -Kevin Frye

If she's still a young woman, then the bigger problem is that she's likely a vampire.

166

I still see the young woman from time to time. -Kevin Frye

If she's still a young woman, then the bigger problem is that she's likely a vampire.

– Afire

You just never know, do you...

167

lx, so that we are clear here, I think that, at no time, was it appropriate for a superior to use that position of power and influence to negotiate sexual favors. So, my thoughts of an evolutionary process would not include those actions. Nor would it include criminal conduct.

Boorish behaviour would include, without limitation, sexual innuendo, remarks like the one that Dustin Hoffman allegedly made to the young woman who came to take his breakfast order, or other crude remarks.

168

Ric, I understand what you're asking and it is a valid question. But you'd have to get specific on what constitutes "boorish" and what constitutes sexual harassment. What is happening today is the result of massive cultural/judicial/legal failure to recognize a form of assault, verbal and physical, usually occurring between a "superior" and subordinate in a school or workplace environment.

The Hoffman/Ross incident is a singular and quite particular circumstance and I don't think typical.

Too many men (and I have no doubt we'll be hearing about the rare women soon) have gotten away with unprofessional behavior for far too long.

– lx

Just saw this one today http://www.nydailynews.com/...

Interesting that the media, and the audience, need the juicy details. Reports of rape are just not good enough without.

The above article is interesting in that she claims she said no in every way. But, she let the other girl even feel her tits when asked. The 'victim' thought letting her do that would make it stop....

Why didn't she get up and go home?

The Matt Lauer thing....the woman comes in his office and sits down. He says 'unbutton your shirt'....and she does it??? Of course we know thanks to the media that Matt then yanked her pants to her knees, bent her over a chair, and banged her into unconciousness.

I can't help but think there must have been some earlier interactions, maybe improper, maybe not, maybe wrongly interpreted, that led up to this.

But what if there wasn't? Then it'd appear that Lauer committed a violent rape. His actions like Weinstein, and Cosby are the acts of a mentally ill person. We should recognize that I think first before just chalking everything off as a males abuse of power.

In my working days I never once started a meeting by standing with my pants down and weiny hanging out.....even though I was the most powerful person in the room.

Society is not giving a lot of good folks a fair shake right now....ease up on the old men would ya'.

169

lx, so that we are clear here, I think that, at no time, was it appropriate for a superior to use that position of power and influence to negotiate sexual favors. So, my thoughts of an evolutionary process would not include those actions. Nor would it include criminal conduct.

Boorish behaviour would include, without limitation, sexual innuendo, remarks like the one that Dustin Hoffman allegedly made to the young woman who came to take his breakfast order, or other crude remarks.

– Ric12string

You are always clear, Ric, and I never meant that you thought those actions were okay. Perhaps boorish behavior is better termed boorish speech? Behavior suggests actions to me. It is hard to split these hairs.

170

Ric12, your point is a good one.

I was watching the 50th Anniversary of "60 Minutes" program, and I noticed in the older clips just about everyone smoked cigarettes. We now know that second hand smoke is dangerous. Should those smokers be sued? Of course not. I agree that boorish behavior from decades past is something to just shake our heads over, not prosecute.

171

I came upon THIS ARTICLE which addresses the charges of Katherine Ross that she was groped on the set by Dustin Hoffman. The article speaks to something that I had been unable to really articulate well in prior postings in this thread. That is, that there were different times and people acted differently during the era of the sexual revolution. That is not to excuse it or to somehow suggest that touching a woman without her consent was morally right. But, it was something that was certainly less frowned upon than it is in today's society.

Thus, I ask again, if someone acted poorly (not criminally, but just boorish) thirty to forty years ago, but has since not acted in that manner, is it appropriate for us to punish them now for having transgressed thirty or forty years ago what is a current standard today? That seems inequitable to me. Now, if someone acted in that manner give years ago, when the sexual revolution was long over and their behaviour was merely boorish, then I somehow view that differently.

Does anyone else share this sentiment? I continue to work through this in my own mind because I am troubled by the behaviour if it was done currently. Yet, I struggle with the more ancient behaviour and view it differently.

– Ric12string

"Presentism", or judging the past using the moral/ethical/social standards of the present, is not limited to discussions like the topic here. It has become so common that, in some arenas, it is accepted without comment anymore. It is often used to imply or illustrate the superiority of one era over the other. After all, moral superiority feels good, and history provides ample opportunities to feel superior to those who have gone before.

Even archaeology, where the pressure on the archaeologist to provide an interpretation of their findings has been a steadily increasing problem for a generation, has been affected by presentism. For some fields, and some institutions, the imperative to provide an 'acceptable' interpretation - one that uses the standards of the present to illustrate the failings of the past - has become the norm.

Today, nearly everyone admits that slavery is bad. However, 150 years ago there was more disagreement (with guns) on the subject and 300 years ago the prevailing opinion was that slavery was good, that it was somehow 'right'.

Certainly we are the more enlightened, and certainly holding another human being in bondage as property is morally indefensible, but the fact is that it has not always been so. If we are to understand the actions of those 150 years ago, we should judge their decisions and actions by the standard of the society in which those actions occurred. Then we can compare and contrast them with our present standards.

For those who have only experienced the social standards prevalent in the 1960s indirectly through shows like "Mad Men", and know only the standards of the present, those earlier standards may seem perplexing (or enticing, depending on one's proclivities). However, they were the norm at the time.

It was once normal, although not usually appreciated by the recipient, for airline passengers to pinch or slap a "stewardess" on the behind. Now, at least in the US, it is punishable by law and entails jail time and a fine. Society changed.

Inability or unwillingness to control their impulses has been the downfall of many, and not just men. However, judging something that happened in 1967 by the standards of 2017, while it may seem morally or emotionally right, seems to me to be logically insupportable.

172

Well reasoned and articulated, Timthom62.

So, then, what becomes of those who are accused with very old allegations and nothing since? Do we grant them a pass without any repercussions at all? In the case of sexual misbehaviour, just how far back do we go to see if there has been any subsequent misbehaviour? I suppose that implicit in that query is when did we evolve from this more primitive view that men could/should seek to obtain whatever they were granted in terms of sexual favors to today's more enlightened view? Ten years? Twenty years? Thirty years? Remember that Anita Hill's testimony at the Clarence Thomas Senate confirmation hearings was in 1991, some twenty-six years ago. So, surely we have to go back further than that, don't we? Can't that be identified as something of a game changer in informing men that there were limits to appropriate behaviour?

173

Who is this hypothetical person with old accusations and nothing since? I can't see where you can arbitrarily set a point in time as to what is/isn't acceptable. The point of the accusers is that sexual harssment was never acceptable to them (mostly women), only to a culture of perpetrators (mostly men). I think the only way to "judge" this is on a case-by-case basis. Due to statue of limitations legislation and the very nature of these bad acts conducted in private, the accused will never see the inside of a court. What we're witnessing is an unprecedented massive cultural shift.

"Presentism" is real and tricky thing to navigate; as someone with a degree in history I'm well aware of it's limiting viewpoint.

174

Well, we often like to say (me included) that we have to judge some things on a case-by-case basis. However, that doesn't give the evaluator (like you and me) carte blanche to evaluate each case without any guidance whatsoever. There have to be some overarching parameters that help us evaluate each case on its merits.

So, what are those principles that guide us? Recency -- how long ago was the last occurrence? Frequency -- is this an isolated instance or has it happened repeatedly? Severity -- was it an unwanted kiss from a misreading of the other's desires or was it something that bordered upon a forced sexual encounter?

I have to tell you that I am conflicted about this whole subject of sexual harassment. Not because I have engaged in it (which I have racked my memory trying to recall if I have and, fortunately, can't recall any such incidents -- whew!!), but because I just don't think that we should see this in a binary manner. There are shades of grey, rather than merely black or white. I hate to unnecessarily throw people on the ash heap of society if they have otherwise been significant contributors to making our lives better. So, I don't have any answers here, but I am encouraging that we collectively think these issues through because they may help each of us forge an approach to these issues that works for us. What works for me may not work for you, but we may each come up with an approach that works for each of us.

Let's examine a case. But, before we do, let's keep everything civil here. Let's remember that we don't know all of the facts of each case and that there well may be another side or explanation. We are simply talking through scenarios so that we can try to test the limits of our tolerance.

First, let's exclude two scenarios:

  1. Illegal behaviour won't / can't be tolerated. Rape, incest, drugging a victim, behaviour with minors who cannot give consent, etc.

  2. Workplace misconduct which involves a superior seeking sexual favors from a subordinate must be excluded.

Let's talk about Garrison Keillor. Keillor has not been the subject of lots of women coming forward to accuse him. Rather, it was Keillor himself who sent an email to a reporter in which he self-revealed that he had been fired due to misconduct. No one else, including Minnesota Public Radio, has spoken in any detail about the allegations. Only Keillor himself has shed any light upon the charges. So, here is what Keillor says occurred:

“I put my hand on a woman’s bare back,” he wrote. “I meant to pat her back after she told me about her unhappiness and her shirt was open and my hand went up it about six inches. She recoiled. I apologized. I sent her an email of apology later and she replied that she had forgiven me and not to think about it. We were friends. We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called.”

MPR has terminated its agreement with Keillor for the broadcast and distribution of his show, Writer's Almanac. MPR has ceased broadcasting reruns of past shows featuring Keillor. And the show, A Prairie Home Companion is getting a new name. Basically, MPR is wiping the record clean of any reference to Keillor.

So, is the punishment commensurate with what we know about the alleged misconduct? Should something harsher have been meted out to him? Was this punishment too severe? More importantly, should we wipe Keillor from our minds, as MPR seems to think should occur?

What are your thoughts and what principles have guided you in reaching your conclusion?

175

Well reasoned and articulated, Timthom62.

So, then, what becomes of those who are accused with very old allegations and nothing since? Do we grant them a pass without any repercussions at all? In the case of sexual misbehaviour, just how far back do we go to see if there has been any subsequent misbehaviour? I suppose that implicit in that query is when did we evolve from this more primitive view that men could/should seek to obtain whatever they were granted in terms of sexual favors to today's more enlightened view? Ten years? Twenty years? Thirty years? Remember that Anita Hill's testimony at the Clarence Thomas Senate confirmation hearings was in 1991, some twenty-six years ago. So, surely we have to go back further than that, don't we? Can't that be identified as something of a game changer in informing men that there were limits to appropriate behaviour?

– Ric12string

While the concept of statute of limitations covers the civil and/or criminal penalties for many of the actions in question, and accepting the premise contained in the exclusions you enumerate for this discussion - a crime is a crime - the real question is whether there is a commensurate "social statute of limitations" for many of these actions.

This is what brought to mind for me the idea of "presentism".

Remembering the testimony from the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, the societal norms at the time fully placed the burden of proof on Anita Hill. I don't think this would be the case today.

If we are to place ourselves in a position to judge that event in light of the present day standards, then (for those of us who were here at the time) we also have to be willing to judge our acceptance of those past standards at the time in light of the present day standards.

However, the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill situation would actually fall under one of the exclusions, in that he held a position of power over her at the time. I felt at the time that what he was accused of doing was wrong, and I feel that way now. At the very least, it calls into question his judgment - not an insignificant consideration for his position.

However, at the time the societal norms were such that Anita Hill either was unable, or felt unable, to bring the issues to the attention of the proper authorities at the time they were happening. When she did so several years later, during Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearings, the fact that she had not brought them forward earlier was used to discount much of her testimony.

There are some things, like those you mention in the first article of your exclusions, for which there can really be no "social statute of limitation". Regardless of any legal statute of limitations for the crime of rape, the social stigma that follows the accused remains.

For the Thomas/Hill situation, it was undoubtedly a violation of the rules of the organizations that employed them, but at the time the stigma was more often placed on the accuser than the accused. She had to weigh the possible damage to her career against the possibility of redress of grievance for his actions. If we are to condemn the infraction, we also have to condemn the society that tolerated the infraction.

I have no doubt that, in the intervening years, the rules of behavior and the means and environment for reporting violations of those rules at those same organizations have changed.

It was wrong then, but either not seen as wrong, or just 'not seen'. It's wrong now, and more often seen as wrong, or at least less likely to be 'not seen'.

So which standard do we judge it by - then or now?


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