I’ve felt overwhelmed in recent weeks. I’ve started posting about it on at least 5 occasions and then each time deleted my meagre thoughts. There really are no words.
But there need to be words.
The presenting issue has of course been the public exposure of endemic and persistent sexual abuse in the workplace. The big names are well known: Weinstein and Spacey. The surprise has been a global fallout with all kinds of other things coming out of the woodwork almost daily in the so-called the Weinstein effect. It’s not just impacting Hollywood – but global entertainment industries, journalists, and politics. The UK has seen the resignation of senior Cabinet ministers as a result. #MeToo has ricocheted the world.
I actually think it’s more accurately the Trump Effect. For sure, he is still US president (for now…). But I just wonder if the sheer brazen ghastliness of his boasting and treatment of women generally – “When you are a star, they let you do anything” etc – and subsequent election, created the tipping point. Nothing seemed to derail him, but enough was enough and so at last individuals had the courage to call out lesser mortals than the president. In time, let’s hope and pray it’s just a matter of time before he too is brought to book.
But the sex isn’t the half of it. Actually. It’s been wrongly attributed to Oscar Wilde, bizarrely enough. And more disturbingly, it was quoted by Kevin Spacey’s character on House of Cards, President Frank Underwood.
Everything is about sex, except sex. Sex is about power.
It is not entirely accurate, of course. It is woefully reductionistic and probably too Freudian for modern sensibilities. But there is something in it. Especially in the light of recent events. That is why anyone who fails to sympathise with the silence of victims has completely missed the point.
So we need to think about power and we need to talk about power.
I’ve been talking about this for a number of years. I’ve touched on it in Q before. But I simply can’t leave it be. So I’ll be considering a few aspects of this in the coming days.