We’ve long known that Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad. Now it appears that the gods make those marked for destruction really stupid, too.
I don’t know how many people outside the United States have noticed the roaring frenzy of sexual abuse allegations that has now become a centerpiece of American public life. Each news roundup leads with the latest accusations. Every day a new alleged miscreant pops into view. It’s a wonder that London bookmakers haven’t yet started taking bets on who’s going to be next.
The allegations range from forcible rape to lewd comments to kissing “without consent,” and everything in between. (How many first kisses take place with consent? “You may kiss me now.” You want that in writing? Witnessed and notarized?) The most common alleged offense seems to be groping.
Rarely are distinctions made between actions that constitute serious crimes that ought to be punished accordingly as opposed to what until recently was considered ordinary male initiative. For example, the charge that decades ago Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore sexually fondled a 14-year-old girl (criminal and disqualifying, if true) is conflated with having taken a 17-year-old on a date (with her mother’s permission and without any allegation of sexual contact) or maybe having signed a high school yearbook.
The undifferentiated mixing of felonious and – dare I say it? – normal behaviors amid a welter of allegations shouldn’t be surprising when we consider that the real target isn’t so much sexual assault or misconduct as commonly understood but masculinity itself. Lean in! Smash the Patriarchy! (Does anyone have any idea what a functioning society would look like once any remnant of patriarchy is rooted out? Has there ever been an example of one, aside from some marginal little group starving in a jungle or desert somewhere?)
Never mind that for centuries our society held up a concept of the gentleman who was obligated to respect, protect, and defer to women, reinforced by customary sex roles and Christian moral restraints. But women don’t need that kind of oppression! A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle! We are then shocked that the social breakdown of moral traditions leaves women face to face with the savages among us.
Stupidity reigns. Reflecting the demented certainty that “there’s no difference” between predatory older men preying on younger females and the much rarer cases where the sexes are reversed, judges have made a point of handing down draconian sentences to women involved with teenage boys. (Mysteriously, the youngsters themselves usually don’t appear to be particularly upset.) In Nevada, a 34-year-old woman was convicted of lewdness with a minor for kissing a 13-year-old boy and putting his hand on her breast – and was given a life sentence. She’d have gotten off lighter if she had killed the kid. (Meanwhile, on the homosexual side of the ledger, the “twink” culture is alive and well.)
Last year, in view of the media feeding frenzy over Donald Trump’s hot microphone comments about women’s allowing rich and famous men to take sexual liberties, it became clear that there was little clarity about what does or doesn’t constitute impermissibly lewd thoughts, words, and actions. The following helpful guide is even more applicable today:
1. LEWD. This means the way virtually all men sometimes think about women, with varying degrees of frequency; the verbal expression of such thoughts by some but far from all men, usually in circumstances of privacy; or acting on such thoughts by a distinct minority of men who assume, often correctly, that they can get away with it because of their wealth, fame, social standing, or good looks. Lewdness, so defined, is inherently threatening and demeaning to women, frail flowers that they are, whom society must rigorously defend against men's lewd thoughts, words, and actions pending final eradication of testosterone.
2. NOT LEWD: ACCEPTABLE. This means that because women are rough and tough and can do anything a man can do except way better, they may, to varying degrees, think about, talk about, or act towards men in a manner analogous to men's lewdness towards women. This is entirely acceptable. However, if men respond positively to women's non-lewdness, so defined, that may constitute lewdness on their part depending how women feel about such response.
3. NOT LEWD: VIRTUOUS AND PRAISEWORTHY. This means any thoughts, words, or actions formerly considered immoral and falling under any category of the designation LGBTQILSMFT [watch this space for future additions] or certain artistic genres (e.g., hip hop). Such virtuous, praiseworthy non-lewdness, so defined, must be celebrated in parades, awards, and government-sponsored expression. Criticism of or disrespect for – or even insufficient enthusiasm for – this category of non-lewdness constitutes hate speech and is grounds for social ostracism, economic ruination, and, increasingly, legal sanction. [And in the international arena is it justification for aggression against retrograde countries.]