FYI, this is a personal rant, as well as, an open letter to Leeann Tweeden and Al Franken.
While I think it's productive, even healing, to get all the sexual misconduct allegations out into the internet aether, there comes a point where "me too" degenerates into "might as well pile on because... not trending."
That low point sadly came today when Leeann Tweeden alleged that Senator Al Franken forcibly kissed her and groped her breasts. The following are random thoughts I had about this news story...
- Tweeden mentioned that seeing the picture of her and Franken (just after it was taken, presumably) brought up new feelings of shame. I wonder how she feels now that potentially millions of new people (like myself) are seeing it for the first time?
- You can clearly see space between Franken's hands and her breasts. He's obviously pretending to touch her boobs - and the face he's making, looking back at the person taking the photo - is the obvious giveaway. Plus, actually groping her would have woken her up. And she admitted to not realizing what had happened until she saw the photo after the fact.
- A colleague kissing you (or attempting to kiss you) is not assault, and I'm not even sure it falls into misconduct territory. The way she describes it, "forcing his tongue in my mouth" makes it seem scandalously sinister... as opposed to letting his tongue just lie there and waiting for the grace of Dread Cthulhu to move it around for him? Human beings take action. We do things. Force is exerted so we can walk and talk. That's how the universe works.
- If you don't like something, say so at the time. I realize that people freeze up, get confused, or don't know how to react in the moment. Then make your thoughts known the next day or the day after that. Waiting 11 years to publicly denounce a fellow entertainer for hitting on you and taking a humorous photo is petty, attention whore, butt hurt, weak sauce. Yes, it's at your expense - you're a human who fell asleep not in your bed and someone took a picture that playfully ridiculed you - get over it. No one is above being made fun of.
- Obviously, our fellow human beings should be treated with respect. Yet, everyone has to acknowledge that those same human beings are also potential sex partners. We all have naked bodies, genitals, boobs, butts, etc. underneath our work attire. I guarantee you that if men suddenly regarded the women around them as purely non-sexual beings, women would complain even more than they do now (if that's even possible). Not to mention that the human race would eventually die out from lack of boning.
- Leeann, your non-story actually detracts from the real stories of men and women who are coming forward with serious allegations. What's next? Some guy on the other side of the TV leered at your breasts while you were hosting Poker After Dark? Yes, that was me. And millions of other men. But today... today, I don't want to see your beasts in a revealing outfit. Today, I don't want to even think about your breasts. Today, I don't want to imagine Al Franken almost doing something that I've thought about doing a thousand times in my 42 years on this planet (squeeze your breasts). Today, I just want to finish writing this stupid blog post and forget about the day that sexual misconduct jumped the shark.
- I remember two or three weeks of muted outrage just before the 2016 Presidential election with women coming out alleging sexual misconduct by Donald Trump, but WHERE THE FUCK WAS ALL THIS OUTRAGE BACK WHEN WE REALLY FUCKING NEEDED IT?!? Because every day that Trump is still in office, America is only half the country it should be.
- Satirical versions of both Leeann Tweeden and Al Franken will appear in my upcoming location-based, post-apocalyptic RPG adventure Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport (available sometime next week). Besides blogging, writing social commentary science-fiction is a way for me to work through all the bullshit and injustice in this world.
Thanks for listening. If you'd like to add to the discussion, please feel free to do so here.
p.s. Just a few seconds ago, I read that Leeann Tweeden is a Republican who once said in the men's magazine FHM that she wants to make Democrats pay. Hmm...