I mean, normally that’s YOUR job, gentle and misguided reader. But I’ll give you the day off from following my EULA to the very letter. You deserve this not for any action on your part – puhLEEEASE! – but because I have triumphed over the forces of darkness that have been swirling around my ankles like a choirboy’s cassock at a Vatican audition.
But first: What was your favorite Trump moment of the past week? Mine was his retort to Theresa May, PM of Britain. In case you hadn’t heard, Prime Minister May, in an unprecedented public shaming, chided Trump for displaying extreme, and almost certainly fake, racist, anti-Muslim videos obtained from extreme UK right-wing group “Britain First”.
May’s office condemned Britain First for its use of “hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions.”
The statement continued, “The British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far-right, which is the antithesis of the values that this country represents — decency, tolerance and respect.”
Then, unequivocal condemnation: “It is wrong for the President to have done this.”
Trump, like a defensive high school kid caught red-handed smoking behind the recycling bins and sent to the Principal’s office, decided to “Back atcha” her with a little arrogant, patronizing cyberbullying:
How was he to know that he targeted the tweet to the wrong Theresa May?
Yup, that’s right. Although this sounds like something lifted verbatim from satirical magazine The Onion, it is unfortunately true: Theresa May Scrivener, a 41-year-old British citizen with a protected Twitter account of six followers, said, “I haven’t been able to leave my house. I’ve been bombarded and contacted by press from around the world.”
“It’s amazing to think that the world’s most powerful man managed to press the wrong button,” she said. “I’m just glad he was not contacting me to say he was going to war with North Korea.”
No kidding. Britain First, a hate group, is reviled by most British citizens (who, despite May’s brave words are no slouches in the racism department), is in trouble with the law, and represents possibly the worst candidate for publicizing by a President of the United States that you could possibly choose. From a fringe position of near invisibility to world-wide notoriety in one instant—all thanks to The Donald.
I wonder what the gaffes are that we DON’T hear about…?
“Wearing this to work is #sexual harassment!” proclaims the tweet.
“It’s not other women you’re teasing!”
It’s been published by a young male; the accompanying photograph (left) ostensibly shows a female worker in what might be an office environment (or possibly a brothel somewhere in New Jersey, potato, potato, pronounced differently).
She’s a tasty brunette, as you can see, tall, long-haired and leggy. Curiously, two-thirds of her face is missing, which is either to preserve her anonymity, or which may simply indicate that anything above her neck is of minimal interest, but you can still tell she’s Melania-beautiful, read, exotic; and her tall, leggy, Melania-beauty is more than a little revealed by a mini-skirt —
—is that what they still call them? I was around for the first one, Rudi Gernreich was the designer, I believe, or was it Mary Quant? and it seems a desperately long time ago —
— and a sheer blouse with a plunging neckline displaying more than a single eyeful of toys-for-needy-boys cleavage.
I’m gay, by the way.
The point of this tweet, also hash-tagged #WarOnMen, seems to be that any man skewered by the glance of this radiant smiling siren, who is clearly out for career advancement and willing to go the mile in displays of leg and cleavage to achieve this, would be a victim himself of sexual harassment.
#WarOnMen. First cousin of #StraightPride.
#StraightPride is a ludicrous concept because every day is straight pride; #WarOnMen is ludicrous because men aren’t being outed just because they’re men; not all men are being outed.
Just the ones who behaved like pigs.
Now, I’m all for shades of grey, and cutting guys some slack, and guys being hot for women. It makes the world go round, not that I would know from direct personal experience, but hey. You can’t always partition your brain into “sexual” and “non-sexual” components at will; sex seeps into everything.
But eye-candy is not entitlement. And it is painfully apparent from the current outings of sexual misconduct that men, a lot of men, need to learn self-control, and to stop blaming women for their own failings.
Self-control is not a small achievement for a man. But learning self-control is part of becoming a man, not remaining an eternal teenager; it’s an essential marker of a guy’s maturity.
As the allegations of shameful male behavior pile up, I ask myself: whatever happened to, as it was called in my day, being a gentleman?
Being a gentleman was something fathers or male mentors taught to boys and young men. It was a code that was unwritten, in other words, a cultural phenomenon, and that means it had to be taught by example; absorbed.
Do as I do.
Being a gentleman was a code of conduct based on, first of all, respect for women — that was its bedrock and raison d’être; and though it undoubtedly had sexist thinking behind it then, there is no need for respect to be sexist, no need at all. Respect is always relevant.
Courtesy, and appropriate, dignified behavior, that’s how it manifested; but being a gentleman was a whole concept and not at all stuffy or unmanly. Its insistence on respect for women allowed flirtation within its firm boundaries; it tacitly acknowledged that male sexuality is potentially dangerous, unruly, and has to be contained, and must be contained by any man aspiring to be considered civilized.
(Being considered civilized was something we cared about. Talk about quaint!)
Being a gentleman also embodied civil discourse and restrained speech, concepts that required listening with sincere interest to opposing viewpoints, rather than reacting with shouted obscenities like a spoiled, thwarted child. It required working knowledge of culture; art and music and current events; it revelled in quick wit and intelligence.
But primary and forefront, respect for women.
Where did it go, being a gentleman?
gawd, I feel old.
Woebegone, be gone…
This one hurts.
Guess who turned out to be a jerk when the ladies are around?
I have, because of l’affaire Keillor, broken out in a severe case of Wagner Syndrome.
Wagner Syndrome consists of a nasty rash and a splitting headache that go on for about twenty-three hours, along with a tendency to fall asleep, then awaken with a little yelp to find it’s only two minutes later.
All that, plus:
the cognitive dissonance created by being lost in admiration for a sublime, or a great, or even a merely pretty good, work of art;
aggravated by, despite one’s ethical and moral concerns, admiring the supreme skill, or above-average talent; the numinous creative genius, or the rather amusing fratboy cleverness, that created it;
and at the same time realizing that the man creating it was, in Wagner’s case, an anti-semite, a foul inexcusable spouter of hateful bigotry; or
in l’affaire Keillor, a common-or-garden asshole, at least part of the time, or at least part of the time a pathetic, ageing “isn’t that just like a man” jerk.
And jerk is plenty bad enough.
Keillor waffles; he put his hand on his friend’s bare back to comfort her, he says, but then “my hand was six inches up her back”. That’s not a shade of grey.
Keillor worries that the world will be a dull and joyless place when the day arrives that men can no longer paw women with impunity and call it “flirting”.
Sexual assault and flirting are not synonyms.
There’s a lot of static currently about this so-called “War on Men”, so let me remind you of a legal concept. In fact, don’t believe me, believe this interpretation of Section 256 of the Canadian Criminal Code; the section on assault. Two factors in particular are important in proving assault: intention, and force. And regarding force, I read the following:
An assault includes “the least of touching” without consent. The amount of force used is not material.
The amount of force used is not material. It’s the least of touching without consent. Assault. We already agree on this; it’s common law, it was common law before “feminism” was a word.
War on men? Well, then, let me ask you this: If men hold positions of power, and have always done, and continue to do so, and continue to use their power to discount, degrade and assault women—what choice have women left but war?
which, seeing where the bar is situated, makes me limbo champion of the universe as I touch the back of my balding scalp to my yellowed heels.
I had been thinking it was time to post again, but, being too beaten down and so very dangling on the edge of extinction to really care, I dithered. I dallied. The only thing I had ready was a video, and that would make two videos in a row.
For some reason, I imagined my readers would really care about this.
As if! And once again possessed with that profoundly cynical Weltanschauung—which is a brand of German washing machine that tells you to at least rinse out your skivvies, dude, then locks you in the basement until you comply— I rallied!
What is my solution? Post a cute cat video that’s not even by me! I oughta be horse-whipped. Horse-whipped, I tell ya!
“This is the only cute cat video I will ever post.
UPDATE: I received this heartfelt email from a “fan”:
Dear Wannabe Film Maker Who Can’t Even Operate His Smartphone:
Me and a couple of other male colleagues booked maternity leave so we could watch your “Mayonnaise” epic, which clocked in at 20 minutes of nothing but you stirring an egg in a bowl. Talk about bait and switch! We tried to cancel and go back to work, but you know. Until Planned Parenthood mans up and drops the pro-female PC liberal bullshit, we’re basically fucked.
It’s like, over for us, but maybe you could edit it down a bit, for the sake of. You know. Personkind.
Also, do you know where we can score some good weed? We’ll be at the food bank today, just before it closes. Thanks, dude.
So I had another go at the edit and I’ve got it down to 12 minutes – that’s seven minutes less. This video is now tighter than Kirstie Alley’s thigh warmers. Sorry, culottes.
And THAT’s the way (uh-huh uh-huh) we all now apparently LIKE it (uh-huh uh-huh). Enjoy!
What can you do at 62 with an egg yolk and some oil? If you guessed “get a guaranteed seat on the subway”, you’d only be partially right.
This is the second attempt at this episode, after I forgot to turn the camera on, dropped the yolk in the sink, and watched a large roach stampede by during the first attempt. But if you’re into the “gross factor”, never fear—I make the mayo while smoking.
There’s no planning in any of this, you know. None.