Campbell noticed right away that something was bugging me. I guess I wear my emotions like a flashy T-shirt, for everyone to see or maybe it was just my hair that I forgot to brush. “What’s eating you my friend, you look like shit, if you pardon my French,” he said.
“Clare and I had an argument and we never argue. I can’t believe this #metoo campaign has wedged itself into our marital bliss.”
“Oh,” Camp as we all call him, said with a raised eyebrow. “That’s a touchy subject, if you pardon my pun, with clear sides but no clear winners.”
“Well exactly. I just read that letter from ‘Le Monde’ to her this morning, which was signed by over 100 female French writers, academics and artist, Catherine Deneuve among them. They denounce the #metoo campaign as a witch hunt against men. They also say it puts inappropriate and clumsy sexual advances on equal footing with violent aggression and rape, which diminishes the later which are real punishable crimes.”
“It’s mostly about control, not sex,” Camp said, “and men in positions of power, as we know, can be corrupted. Women on the other hand do have the power to say no or when there are real transgressors, like that sleazy Moore, there is the law. But the public forum leaves no chance for the accused to defend himself.”
“That’s what I said but Clare claims that it is about time women stood up and not tolerate this endemic, inappropriate behaviour by these men any more.”
“And do what?” I argued. “Legislate moral behaviour? The state has no place in the relationships between men and women. Their mandate is to educate the citizenry so they can make proper choices and behave in a civilized manner.”
“From the military to the entertainment industry men have harassed women without consequences for far too long,” Clare said, standing her ground. It is at this point I left to come here.
“She is right you know, and it’s true, these transgressions are intolerable,” Camp said, making me feel even worse.
“But to legislate morality will cast us back to a puritan age, which was the opposite of feminism and freedom of expression. Also this #metoo movement portrays women as victims which is anything but equal and only plays into the hands of the religious zealots who do not even want to talk or educate about sexual behaviour.”
“I agree with you and believe this campaign has overshot the mark,” Camp said in an attempt to pacify me.
“Just look at all the magazine covers at the checkout in the grocery store. It’s all about sexual allure, body hype and who sleeps with whom. Is that helpful?”
“I guess, Clare watched Oprah’s speech at the Golden Globe awards. Very powerful and some even say presidential,” Camp said, trying to focus the conversation.
“Yeah, I watched it as well. She is a very accomplished woman who has come from humble beginnings to become one of the biggest entertainment moguls. On the other hand she did not accuse anybody by name nor did she condone trial by the internet. “
“We should ask Vicky, what she thinks of it all,” Camp said.
I waved Vicky over and asked her straight out what she thought about this #metoo campaign.
“Well fellows, having worked as a server in bars for a few years I’ve had every form of interaction with my customers, from simple flirting to ass pinching to sexual proposals to outright lecherous harassment and even a couple of marriage proposals.”
“Oh, and how do you deal with these, eh, advances?” I asked
“I ask them to stop or swat their hands away or threaten them with emasculation or a phone call to their wives. That usually does the trick.”
“In other words you deal with them yourself. Did you ever complain to your boss?”
“What’s the point, it’s the nature of the beast. Believe me, all those actresses knew that Harvey was a pig but they still met him in his den, wanting that gig. He produced some great movies though.”
“As did Polanski. I’m with you. You have to separate the work from the man. Do you think Picasso or Marlon Brando were choir boys?”
“I do not condone accusing anybody in public,” Vicky said. “If I have an issue with somebody I’ll deal with them directly or there is always the police and the law for real assholes. You two need another drink?”
“Do we ever! Thanks Vicky.”
“There is a woman in Britain who want’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ pulled from the shelves, claiming the prince had no right to kiss a sleeping girl without her consent.”
“Have we all gone nuts or what?” Camp said.
“I’ll better go home and make up with Clare. I hate it when we’re not agreeing and she is usually right in these matters.”
“She’ll forgive you,” Vicky said, “ask her out for dinner.”
“Like a date?” I said, kind of liking the idea.
“Yes, girls like to have fun. Tell you what fellows, maybe I‘ll start a new hash-tag and become famous. How about #notme,” she said, followed by a throaty laugh.
Very funny and astute.