I’ve wondered, in this gilded age of the outing of pervs, bullies, predators, and sexual assaulters, when will #MeToo go #TooFar, if it hasn’t already? The ouster of Harvey Weinstein from his on-high perch amid the Hollywood elite has been brilliantly a coup. And the way it went down, by the reportage of teeth-whitened actor offspring-cum-failed TV talking head, Ronan Farrow, made Weinstein’s downfall all the more savory.
But I think if there has been a tipping point in the vigor of the “movement”, it arrived well before the Brett Kavanaugh hearings with the cringingly awkward (I’m searching for a word the opposite of debauchery) — romantic fumbles — of comedian Aziz Ansari.
Excruciatingly, we’ve been fed details about his attempts to put on the moves in his apartment with a date after dinner, one time in New York, now some time ago. Even the pit-viper media saw through its bloodlust and hunger for carnage to call the account — sex done badly — and at its most wincingly pathetic and uncool.
In movies, the nerd is supposed to get the girl at some point, swooningly. That’s what we’re all in it for, the rough road and triumph of the underdog representing parts of us. But holy shit, real life lived out by our man Aziz just doesn’t go that way. And to boot, with this woman’s claim to be part of #MeToo too, we’ve all but become the fly on their wall — and word by limp-worthy word, we lived it.
Then just like that, with #MeToo wielded on account of someone’s bad date — POOF — geeks from across the Seven Realms who cling to hope of someday hooking up, now fear actually getting to the point of doing so. And altruistically, the tidal wave of good-cause risks quieting again to a still pond with just momentary disruptions by horseflies across its murky surface. Harvey Weinstein may have been arrested, but it’s a long, long way for him being convicted, and cry-wolf-claims will only serve in giving him cover.
Of course as soon as anyone pops up his head and speaks out about #MeToo abuse and overuse, suddenly his head goes on a platter. And some someone from sometime in his life cocks back, takes aim and whales away with a claim. If ever I become someone notable, I wonder who, if anyone, would try taking a swing. That’s what #MeToo is becoming apt to leave in its wake — a body count of innocents. I suppose this is where me having been bullied finally becomes virtue, and I can be thankful for the embrace of the victim culture we now exist in.
There won’t be anyone stepping up to a mic in the minutes before a school board meeting to confront me about how horrible a prick I had been in school — like a Texan named Greg Gay did in confronting his middle school bully who went on to become School Superintendent — chiefly because I spent most of that time taking the hits, turtled in a stifling shyness. And also because I’m not a bully. When though did being the maligned and the victim become something to strive for? That’s not a badge I ever want to wear — me winning out now because I had spent too much time cowering, slouched below life’s frag and missile fire.
Even afterward, when I found my footing and stride in my twenties, not making good on promises to call-back a girl, nor reneges on my vows that this WASN’T just a one-nighter — that might have made me a heartbreaker (in her words) or an asshole (words from several different hers). But now in the new atmosphere of #MeToo going #TooFar, I brace for reclassification from shameless dater to super predator. Now in #MeToo, #TooOften a regretted consent gets reimagined as victimization — so someone can bandy a moment for their #MeToo too.
Moreover, are past actions something to lug like dust-covered boxes you keep taking with you? How about you and your attic baggage? The little bits of cruelty you’ve cast, then boxed away and keep carrying with you. I bet you can think of one or two. Is there ever the time you get to move forward from yours? Or me from any of mine? Who gets to decide?
So, was it POETIC or UNFAIR for Greg Gay to confront his old middle school tormentor in Texas who became School Superintendent? Was it a reckoning long overdue? Or did his tormenter hold regrets, and over the years gone by become someone better from it?
On the other side, I wonder for the high school classmate of mine who endured taunts from other girls — with constancy, for years. Was she right in swallowing those abuses, to stay mum, now with decades gone by? Do these girls get a pass for the bad that they cast because that gets chalked up to being teens being catty?
One of these bully girls grew up to become a thoughtful champion of victims. And while my classmate lives still with the bruises of being bullied and their life-shaping resonance, still she stays mum. When does #MeToo call for her girl bullies too?
Call it the pales of growing up and move forward. But then, why not for Greg Gay’s bully — or a Brett Kavanaugh? Or does #MeToo get to be selective? Political? Can we let it go DEFCON 5 and weaponized? Who holds the launch codes and keys? And who fat-fingers the button? Does that all muddy the cause of #MeToo and mire a movement that cast light on hideous malevolence?
Sad. There really are bullies and pervs and assaulters still out to bully and assault and perv on. So long as attention-seekers crow and #MeToo to oblivion and #TooFar, real survivors will have to shrug and trudge on — and shout through the noise from the #VictimTrendy to prove actual bad is good enough for their #MeToo to topple real predators. Girl. Boy. Listen. Speak loud. Be careful. There can be casualties in wrong words you may say just to join in. And then all the bad Harveys go oozing in escape when #MeToo goes #TooFar and collapses asunder.