That’s not the worst thing about the string of stupid right-wing responses to Harvey Weinstein’s history of predatory sexual behavior and alleged rape, but yes, it annoys me a little that these hacks get paid well for spewing bullshit.
The revelations about Harvey Weinstein’s predatory sex history has drawn much more attention from right-wing pundits than Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly or Trump, because Weinstein’a Hollywood liberal, and he donates money to Democrats, so they’re free to condemn him without hurting their side. And they can use Weinstein to take shots at feminism, premarital sex and Democrats, which excites them more than taking shots at rapists or condemning the ability of the rich and powerful to silence women. And in fairness, it’s up to the usual quality of right-wing thinking on rape and harassment.
•Ross Douthat, for example, gets space on the NYT’s editorial page to agree with Weinstein the real issue is 1970s permissiveness: “Never so many divorces, never so many abortions, a much higher rate of rape, an S.T.D. crisis that culminated in the AIDS epidemic.” Um, no. We had higher reporting of rape. We had a high rate of divorce (assuming Douthat’s accurate, which can be a mistake) not because of culture but because n0-fault divorce had become legal and a lot of people were ready to fly. And abortion had just become legal and hadn’t yet suffered the thousand restrictions the right-wing has wielded since (the religious right thought abortion was moral at the time).
Saying society’s to blame is a conservative standby, like assertions women get raped because of hook-up culture or not being virgins. And sorry, Douthat, Roman Polanski slipping a 13-year-old girl booze and drugs, then raping her, is not some natural outcome of Hollywood free love and premarital sex. Saying so makes you no different from any other Polanski rape apologist.
•Next up Dennis Prager who confuses “objectifying women” with “finding women attractive.” Plus the bizarre claim that women would sooner look at a woman stripping for other men than look at a man getting naked (no, it didn’t make sense in the original).
•David French resorts to the classic right-wing argument that fussing about consent is baaaad. We liberals believe consent is the only important thing so we’re fine with crap like bosses banging subordinates (as noted at the link, French assumes or chooses to think if consent is important nothing else is — and he even equates pressuring a subordinate for sex as “consensual” if she says yes) And it’s bad for women because men feel free to proposition women for one-night stands because Evil Liberal Morality says those are okay, and so women are not protected from men having sex with them without offering marriage, which supposedly never happened back in the good old days.
•SF novelist John Ringo saves me the trouble of ever reading his books by explaining that women who get angry at Trump for no good reason (“Donald Trump said some needlessly crass things and alleged to have groped women”) do so because they’re angry at Weinstein and other liberals, but they’re afraid “they might be thrown out of the in-crowd” if the speak up (rather than, say, blacklisted by a Hollywood powerhouse). So Democrats are ultra-evil and conservatives are off the hook. And liberals are at fault for not stopping Weinstein
It’s true the NYT spiked a 2004 story about Weinstein, and it has those rape-apologist columnists. But it also broke the more recent story; where were those vigilant right-wing media outlets Breitbart and Fox News? And as for self-policing, how much did the right-wing media do about Ailes or O’Reilly? Or Trump, beyond tut-tutting a lot.
Ringo, at least, isn’t primarily a political columnist. Neither is accused abuser Woody Allen, who thinks the big issue is a witch hunt for predators and men getting sued for perfectly harmless flirting. Which is an old argument. And an old argument.
•Sebastian Gorka argues this proves Mike Pence is right — if Weinstein never met women alone, they’d be fine. Overlooking that he did meet women in the company of others, who were then sent out of the room. And that not meeting with a major Hollywood player could be a real problem for women’s careers. I guarantee you, if Hilary Clinton had become president and would only meet alone with women, the right’s stance would be that a)she’s a man-hater and b)probably a lesbian. It’s only okay as long as women are the ones who suffer, since their careers don’t matter anyway.
And more generally, blaming the women — for being alone with Weinstein, for dressing too sexy, whatever — is crap. It’s always crap.