My Blog Week: September 15 to September 21
A Word on the Week
Justice Brett Kavanaugh returned to the spotlight this week, when the NYT published fresh info on his party-time encounters with women. I will attach a link, and not otherwise mention the name of someone who appeared in last year’s news, of whom the Kavanaugh yearbook made reference as [ ] “Alumnius”. My theme is that, speculatively, and despite the judge claiming to have “admired” this woman, the evidence—the word “alumnus” implying successful completion of some task; the fact that until the coverage of the Kavanaugh nomination, she had been ignorant of these references—fits the theory that what they were doing involved voyeurism.
Sexual harassment is being confronted in America; the burdens women have borne for decades are being exposed.
But, fellow Americans, in the 1970s and 1980s, something changed in the landscape. Small towns everywhere, any that were large enough to have at least a strip mall, also sprouted a Radio Shack. That was benign enough, in making a neighborhood norm of the Gadget Nerd…any of the species, at least, who were not also dirty peepers. But it was Nirvana for those who were. Let’s take 1978 as a mooted year, and recognize that the average trusting person had no idea of “spy” gear, the full catalog available in cameras and microphones. She may even have believed that, for being able to do such a thing to someone, no decent (appearing) person would choose to. Ha, ha.
Now, peeping is not a prank; it is a crime. But high school and college boys, trading secrets among themselves, might characterize it as a prank. Let’s, in our hypothetical case, say a woman student is studying engineering…or it might be law, or science…computers, certainly…
The men in these fields don’t respect her, and they don’t want her there. It seems funny to them to “bug” her dorm room.
And I don’t have to tell you sort of thing they obtain to use against her. You know why men spy on women in their bedrooms.
There are a couple of points to consider about the unharvested guilty parties, who think (and this crime is so difficult for its victims to prove, they may be right) that they’ll never be caught. They can be sheriffs, judges, state representatives, district attorneys, and no one who votes for them will ever know the opportunities they’ve cost their victims.
She graduates with an engineering degree. She joins professional societies and an alumni group, thinking these organizations will help her career, not guessing they will keep her in company with her original harassers. The dirty business follows her in the background, and she doesn’t suspect the source of her difficulties adjusting, professionally. It is quite possible male engineers of the 80s accept and propagate an argument that salaries negotiated were meant for working men to support their families, and a single woman is, in effect, taking money that doesn’t belong to her. She’s up against misogyny to begin with, and may attribute the hard time she’s given to that alone.
Point one: behavior is corollary to treatment. She tries to start a friendly conversation, and others act as though they know a funny, funny joke about her. She loses trust; she behaves warily; she is eventually labeled uncooperative, not a team player, not a good fit for the department.
Point two: peepers are not, as shooters are not, exclusively isolated weirdos. They can be organized weirdos, with a purpose in mind.
With luck, as this type of crime has become all the more facilitated by technology, and because secret victimization costs us a great deal, sets us back in ways from which, in our lifetimes, we may never recover, we will began to see the Women’s Justice Movement expand into tackling invasion of privacy, with all its consequences.
The Permissive Environment
Discounting the many things not interesting (only bizarrely familiar) about the Canadian Prime Minister’s embarrassment, an observation or two.
(First, a link to a Vaudeville documentary available on YouTube, that teaches a little worth knowing on the subject of blackface.)
I think many of us in the general public find it somewhat jaw-dropping, this strange recurring predilection. You would suppose certain public figures weren’t educated, as were the rest of us…
The salient thing about the permissive environment, is that rather than its inmates fighting the temptation to do wrong, peer pressure forces them to actively resist temptation to do right. Groups, the more elitist the more so inclined, turn their backs on the world, and speak chiefly to one another. Thus they don’t get the world’s point of view. It’s worth bearing in mind, that where administrators, bosses, parents, even friends exist, someone…but particularly the adults with authority who hold responsible positions…should step right up to say, on such festive occasions, “You’ll need to go home and change that costume. On campus we don’t allow it.”
Or, “It’s a violation of club rules. As president, it’s my job to enforce the rules.”
Imagine that, from a person in charge!
And, by the way, we shouldn’t let the background people in these photos slide.
But what to do? The indignation is well-earned, but those who have shown themselves willing to, and capable of, growing up, should be allowed to apologize, atone, teach that lesson to others. On the plus side, all the publicity might actually achieve the cultural shift, and future private-school lads will be told by their pals, “Bad look, dude.”
Monday, a Jumping Off poem, “Remains of Your Legacy”; in Tuesday’s Impresario, part seven, the fair opens, and the impresario launches his spiel. Wednesday, a poem from The Poor Belabored Beast, “Her Bid for Freedom”. Thursday’s Catastrophe finished the eruption of 1851, and discussed other seismic events in the Antilles. Friday, a new episode of The Totem-Maker, in which a fable is told, of a princess with a wishing totem. Saturday, another Jumping Off, “Adverse Possession.”
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: September 15 to September 21
La Catastrophe de la Martinique: seventy-four