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The Rape of the American Women

David Berger

10/14/17

 

If I were a political cartoonist, I would draw a copy of the Rape of the Sabine Women and make the male faces look like Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Cosby, and, oh yeah, Donald Trump.  As Claude Rains says in Casablanca, “I’m shocked to find out that there is gambling going on in this institution!  Shocked!”  Well, OK.  I’m shocked to find out that men in powerful positions sexually harass and rape women.  Shocked! 

 

When Bill Clinton was impeached for having sex with “that woman” with whom he denied having sex [What’s your definition of sex?], a book came out that chronicled the sexual affairs of all of Clinton’s predecessors in the Oval Office.  It’s a pretty extensive and tawdry list.  If I had read that book as a child, or even at age 12, I might have been surprised, but being a man, I’ve known a lot of other men.  Guys talk to each other in ways that they don’t talk to women, so the idea of sexual abuse of power, although not appealing to me, should be well known to every man in America. 

 

Of course, women, being the abused parties, also talk among themselves and are equally aware of this phenomenon.   Neither men nor women have ever wanted to publicize what’s been going on.  Men don’t want to lose their jobs and wives and/or go to prison.  In the past, women were afraid of losing their jobs and their reputations as ladies.  Society forced them into feeling shame for being a sexual victim.  Now that shame stuff is starting to get old.  Starting is a beginning.

 

I’ve been in a few positions with some power—obviously not on the level of the aforementioned abusers, but I’ve been in the position of hiring and firing women and/or helping them in their careers.  I also taught college students for 30 years.  Although I have had relationships with a number of women, some of which I could have helped, there was never a sexual quid pro quo for two reasons: first of all, my professional and artistic integrity prevents me from advocating anyone who is undeserving.  Secondly, I don’t want to have sex with anyone who I am not attracted to in that way and who doesn’t want me for the same reason.  How pathetic does Harvey Weinstein sound on that tape where he dispels all his proclamations of innocence?  What pleasure could there be in enjoying yourself, when you know that you are physically inside of a woman who hates every ounce of your being at that moment (and probably every moment for the rest of her life)? 

 

But maybe this isn’t about sex.  Maybe it’s really about power and feeling contempt for other people.  The idea that I could feel better about myself if I know that others were beneath me is a common disease that is practiced by millions worldwide and leads to greed, slavery, and war.  It’s older than rope.

 

So why all this furor over Mr. Weinstein?  The Motion Picture Academy threw him out and is deciding whether to take back his Oscar.  I’ve got to laugh at the insane hypocrisy at work here.  Wasn’t the Academy formed by the original studio heads who were notorious for foisting themselves on starlets with the tacet promise of a role? 

 

When I was a young man, I had actress girlfriends who told me numerous stories of invitations to directors’ and famous actors’ apartments.  One actress explained the game to me.  She said that if you don’t sleep with them, you’ll never hear from them again.  If you do sleep with them, then they got what they wanted, and you’ll never hear from them again.  The way to be successful (and she was good at this), was to flirt with them, and make them think that you’ll sleep with them, but postpone the showdown as long as possible.  Hopefully, they will be so desperate for sex, that you’ll get a part and then you can turn them down.  The only way this really works is to get a career-making role where the industry needs you more than you need them.  What a game! 

 

Why should an artist (or any woman in any walk of life—this behavior is endemic to all positions of power) have to endure such demeaning treatment?  The answer is that we live in a society where men control just about everything, and powerful men get there by lusting after power.  Only the lustiest rise to the top.  Once on top, they surround themselves with sycophants and from then on believe their press notices (as we say in show biz). 

 

So, I repeat, why all this furor over Harvey Weinstein?  He is one of hundreds of thousands of American men doing this stuff every day, and one of hundreds of millions of men around the globe involved in this sordid behavior.  Maybe we can’t police the morals and ethics in other countries, but we could pass some federal laws and enforce them right here and right now.  Starting with the Pussy Grabber-in-Chief.  That’s right—Donald P.G. Trump.  If Harvey could be kicked out of the Motion Picture Academy and have his Oscar taken away, why can’t we take away Trump’s phony election win and kick him to the curb, or better yet, tar and feather him and run him out of town on a rail? 

 

Oh yeah, I just remembered.  We can’t do anything bad to Donald because the Republicans in Congress are all afraid that if they don’t go along with what they used to think was bad behavior and dangerous policy, they will lose their jobs.  Trump may be a pussy grabber, but these guys are just pussies.  How about standing up for America?  Or are you all afraid that we’ll find out that you are no better than the Manchurian Candidate in the Oval Office and his swamp-draining carpetbaggers?  You’re all just in it for the money.  Ooh, and maybe for the sex.

 

When I think about our Founding Fathers risking their lives standing up to the most powerful nation on earth at that time, it makes me sick to my stomach to see this country sold to Putin and his American oligarch friends.  I would say, ”God help us,” but then my aunt would answer, “God helps those who help themselves.”  It’s time that we Americans demand a “government of the people, by the people and for the people” before our nation perishes from this earth.  Step #1: the 25th Amendment.  Do it now, before we are dragged into World War III and Trump declares martial law.

 

For those of my readers that only want me to talk about music, I apologize, but these are desperate times.  Be assured that the next essay will be about music, and it’s going to be a good one. 



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  • Graciela on

    Offering specific proof, albeit belated, of Chris Byars assertion: in my days as a struggling young singer in San Francisco, a dancer girlfriend supporting herself as an escort had an awful experience with a Mr. Shollenberger—a name she’s never forgotten, and actually asked me use here when I told her about this post (we’ve remained lifelong friends)—who was in an important position at the State Department (she looked him up a few years ago, and he still worked there at that point).
    Just because she was paid to have sex didn’t make it okay to abuse her, or make her feel subhuman. Unfortunately writing his name here won’t lead to any public consequences, but she said it means something to say it to someone other than me. (Full disclosure: at the time I was supporting myself working as a photographer’s model, but found other employment after a few months when, although there was no sex involved, I started feeling like the line was blurry enough with some clients’ requests that there might as well have been. Luckily not too long after that I started making enough money gigging that I could give up day jobs altogether—woohoo!)

  • Chris Byars on

    Professor: on my State Dept. tours, Embassy colleagues have shared with me that when a CoDel (Congressional Delegation) comes to town, it’s usually a “hookers and blow” tour.

  • Christiana Drapkin on

    Don’t just be distracted by the cliche “downfall of the big and powerful.”
    Watch out for your children, for your students, the promising young kids. There are so many two-bit coaches (sports or otherwise), Svengalis (in the arts, theater, music) who promise the parents to make their kid a star. I’ve seen parents look the other way, now you see it now you don’t style, letting their children drift into harm’s way.
    Not only is the young developing artist initiated into a sordid scenario, maybe even handed around to other associates. A child, so eager to please, pegs one’s self-worth on the judgment of a trusted “teacher” or manager, the girl or boy can be left utterly unmoored, morally and in regard to their own creative development. What a tragic seduction, a waste of talent, and incredible damage to one’s spirit and sense of self-worth, no matter whether one will pursue the path of art or just trying to grow up into a decent person.

  • Greg Proios on

    David, you can talk about any subject you want as far as I’m concerned, and I’m sure the majority of your friends and readers of this blog would agree….and as you always say, “onward and upward”. Peace, brother.

  • Jim Miller on

    Yes, the 25th Amendment is the closest we have to a “vote of no confidence.” Unfortunately, getting re-elected and sucking up to the Koch brothers – instead of listening to your own constituents – is the rule of the day.



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