Men are hound dogs, and suddenly it is news.
Not all men, I hasten to add. Most men are good, decent people, despite the hand life deals them, and that is admirable.
Men in positions of power, authority, or fame, though, tend to be hound dogs. Turns out it is true that power corrupts. Right now, the heat is on famous guys. Powerful guys. Guys who in the past were too big to fall. Guys who probably thought you should feel honored to be sexually assaulted by them.
Men in power, famous men, have always had the perk of using women (and men and boys) however they wished. It’s part of power, doing whatever you want to whomever you want, simply because you can.
Now women and men are feeling emboldened to speak up about what has been done to them. The big change is that they are believed when they tell their stories.
What kicked off this latest hue and cry were the accusations against Harvey Weinstein. Apparently, he’s been slime-balling his way through actresses for decades, but suddenly an actress spoke up about it, then another, then more, and wow, blink, he goes from one of the most powerful men in movies to unemployed. A guy like that going down for his sexual assault behavior? That was new and strange.
Then men started falling like dominoes.
Their individual responses to their falls made a big difference to how I felt about them. Louis C. K. said, “Yes, those stories are true, and I am sorry.” All right. No attempt to deflect or weasel out of his actions.
Kevin Spacey, on the other hand, said, “Oh, yeah, by the way, I’m gay,” without addressing the issue of forcing his attentions on young men who did not want them. My opinion of him went from “one of my favorite actors” to “eeyew.”
A friend sent a simple culpability test to me: “Part of the issue is degree - when did he do it? What did he do? Is he genuinely contrite? Is he still doing it after his 40s?
“Is he still doing it now? Shoot him.”
Due process is so tedious.
This same friend points out to me that hound dog behavior is not all about power. It is also about testosterone, which begins by driving men to scatter their seed and diversify the gene pool, but can end with truly heinous behavior. I cede her that point, and give testosterone its due for its part in men behaving badly. Tip o’ the hat to testosterone.
My trouble with the current furor is that it is happening so fast. It feels like a lynch mob, and that makes me uneasy. Mistakes will be made. Also, Americans have the attention spans of cats. This will be a big deal for a while, then it will become so last year.
I have a theory that some of the passionate rage coming out now is misdirected because there is one big powerful hound dog we have not yet been able to touch. We must wait for due process, which is so tedious, while we hope and pray our military will have the sense and backbone to refuse if they are ordered to use our nuclear arsenal.
I hope this present reckoning for sexual predators will bring about permanent changes for the good. I especially hope that women, I hope that all victims of sexual assault, will continue to be listened to and believed, but I do not believe that male privilege, power, and hound dog behavior is going away. You think powerful men are going to let go of all that easily?
If they care what people think, perpetrators’ behavior will become more complex. They will go to great lengths to look like they have relinquished their abusive ways, while the abuse continues, but more deeply hidden. That’s the tactic I have seen used by lying scum in the past, anyway. They go to incredible lengths to keep doing what they’ve always done, while trying to make you think they’ve changed. They’re kind of dumb and predictable that way.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Republicans have pushed their Mystery Tax Bill through both houses of Congress, so billionaires will be having even more money. BILL-yuns and BILL-yuns, as Carl Sagan used to say. And when you have BILL-yuns, you can be any kind of darn hound dog you want.
Note: no disrespect is intended to the canine species by use of the phrase “hound dog,” which is a reference to the song, “Hound Dog.” © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC. Songwriters: Jerry Lieber/Mike Stoller. Originally recorded by “Big Mama” Willie Mae Thornton, and quite different from the Elvis Presley version.