In 1998, I went to Scotland. I studied there, spent some months learning that Scotland is a country. That, in words later appearing in “Trainspotting,” the English may be wankers, but the Scots were colonized by wankers.
I also learned – no, I set about to learn – to enjoy drinking Scotch.
And I did.
Nineteen years later, sipping my nightly Oban (it tastes like pussy, apparently), I’m a bit awed. It’s not an easy task to appreciate. But damn.
I don’t know anything about political advertising, social networks, or much else. But this is what I’d like Facebook and Twitter and Google to do: I want them to devote considerable resources to analyzing who advertises what, and to presenting what they learn continuously, both in highly granular form and in visually appealing high-level summary form. And I want this to be done by either an external consortium with access to each company’s data or, failing that, an internal team walled off from the rest of the business and incentivized cleverly.
For example, I’d like a table showing precisely how much was spent on various issues, issue categories, and candidates, by precisely whom, precisely when. And I’d like a series of scaled pie charts summarizing the data in the tables, showing, for example, geographic targeting of issue and candidate ads, keyword selection, and the like.
I don’t have much faith in any tech platform’s ability to limit harmful ads, but I have enormous faith in the power of transparency and information.
Tell me why this shouldn’t happen?
Her face is long, her skin, pale and clear. Her straight brown hair is just a little wiry. Her lips are delicately painted bright red, a shade that matches – perfectly – her red turtleneck, tucked into a black knee-length skirt, pulled tight across her D-cup breasts.
Her hips flare out. Childbearing hips, one might say.
Her eyes, blue, are piercing, haunting.
Today, as the Harvey Weinstein saga unspools, I once again sympathize with an unlikely sociopath.
His behavior is abominable. Inexcusable. Horrendous. For years, he used his power to harass and assault women with impunity. He’s a monster, and I feel horrible for all the women he violated, or threatened, or who forewent opportunities out of fear of him. I’m horrified by the number of people who made the very rational decision to be silent about what they knew about him – or even to joke about what they knew about him. It’s remarkable that I – a man with zero connections to Hollywood – knew that Harvey Weinstein had a “casting couch,” that somehow, everyone knew, but still, no one knew.
But none of that is interesting. It’s what everyone is saying.
I’ll say something different. (That’s why you read me, isn’t it? Because my take on things is a little bit skewed, off to the side?)
I feel for Harvey Weinstein. I don’t excuse him. But I feel for him. Clearly, he’s a man with a deep, irremediable lonely chasm in his heart – one with which I’m painfully familiar. Somehow, he convinced himself not just that he was entitled to “massages” or whatever it was he was seeking, but that he needed them, that the women he was pressuring to give him what he wanted had enormous power over him. Listen to the recording of his awful, painful, shameful, scary interaction with Ambra Battilana Gutierrez. Listen twice, actually. The first time, listen to her, to her fear, discomfort, anxiety. It’s brutal.
But then, listen again. Listen to him. To his monstrous use of power to pressure someone to do something she didn’t want to do, yes. But don’t stop there. Listen, too, to his pleading, his desperation, his need. I know that need. That sense that somehow he was in a life-or-death struggle in that moment, and that he was facing death.
I’ve never met Harvey Weinstein, and I could give two shits about his being fired by his brother and close friends on the board of the company he built. I don’t care about what this all will mean to his career. He probably will never make another movie (or maybe, like Roman Polanski and Woody Allen – men whose movies I’ve loathed forever, he will). But I do care about his suffering. He is a man, a human, in tremendous pain. He’s been in this pain for decades, it seems, and sadly, he’s made sociopathic use of others to escape his pain.
I’ve done that too, of course.
In my case, I harmed only those closest to me. Never those I used. Not because I’m better than Harvey Weinstein. I’m not. It’s because my endowment of traumas and coping strategies didn’t drive me to harm others in the way his did. (See what I wrote about Dahmer.)
Harvey Weinstein has millions of dollars, and tons of talent. There’s so much good he still could do, if he can learn to make peace with his demons. I sure hope he does. (And, that he doesn’t take the Bill Cosby or James Deen route.) His initial statement was both ridiculous and, somehow, admirable. On the one hand, how dare he even implicitly justify what he did with reference to when he “came of age.” Sexual assault was never good. Samuel Goldwyn was a pig, I understand, and so, it turns out, is Harvey Weinstein. On the other, if he’s sincere when he writes, “I cannot be more remorseful about the people I hurt and I plan to do right by all of them,” well, then, he may well be on the road to redemption.
When Stoya accused James Deen of having raped her, he issued a mealy-mouthed series of tweets, and I wrote what I wished he’d said, instead.
Here’s what I wish Harvey Weinstein said:
“Obviously, I’m pathetic. There’s no excuse for the ways I’ve used others to medicate my pain, and if apologizing were anything, I would do it. I do do it. I’m sorry. I’m sorry to every woman I ever harmed, either directly or indirectly, through my systematic, repeated, and inexcusable harassment, assault, and cruelty. This includes women I touched against their will, women whose assent I obtained through the use of explicit or implicit pressure, and women who simply passed on opportunities because of what they knew about me. To all those women, and to those who love them, I’m sorry. I plan to do right by all of you, individually, collectively, and societally. I plan to spend the remainder of my professional life devoted to applying my God-given talents to the challenge of sexual assault and harassment. I invite your suggestions as to how I might best do that, and I promise to keep you all posted on the work I plan to do.”
I’m sure others could write a better statement, and, of course, there are his lawyers (who might insist on his massaging some of those words a bit). But that’s what I’d have him say.
As I said, I feel for him. His world is crumbling. As it should. And yet, world-crumbling is an awful thing. If I prayed, I would pray for him.
In the absence of prayer, I simply wish him – and all those he’s harmed – happiness and safety.
And a final note: Here’s a picture of Harvey Weinstein. It’s the only one I could find in which he looks in any way sympathetic.
My cock is aching. It wants to be touched. Stroked. Licked. Sucked.
It’s straining against my jeans. Hard.
I want to feel your hands teasing it, through my jeans. To feel your breath, hot, on it, through my jeans, through my cotton boxers.
Make me break the buttons holding my jeans closed over it. When it’s free, or less constrained, grab it, hard. Squeeze it, tight. Make me know how much you need it. That you need it as much as I need you to have it.
Breathe on it. Exhale, long, slow. Make my boxers wet with your breath. Close your lips down on it, through the fabric. Let me feel your tongue press against it. Make me need you to take it out.
(I’m glad to be writing this.)
She’s not big, but she’s bursting out of her clothes.
Her beige cotton tank covers an orange string bra. The combination manages to create impressive cleavage of her perky A-cup breasts.
Her button-fly jeans are unbuttoned in the middle, where her pubis presses out.
She has tortoise-shell glasses. Wavy blonde hair.
Sometimes, it feels like the universe conspires against me. In recent days:
- My new phone (an “Essential Phone”) has devolved to the point that it doesn’t make or receive phone calls unless I reboot it several times in a row. I’m waiting on a replacement. I’m waiting too long.
- Tinder has once again decided that I don’t deserve a Tinder account. In past times, when Tinder’s deactivated me, I’ve panicked, seeing my path to new partners blocked. This go-round, I just don’t care too much. I have good relationships with several sexual partners, and honestly, I just haven’t had the bandwidth to attend even to those relationships, because of shitty stuff going on my family life. (A relative with whom I’m close is ill.)
- Yesterday, my blog went down. I couldn’t figure out what had happened, or how to fix it. The problem was at the very edges of my technical capabilities, but, this morning, I was able to fix it. Thankfully.
Anyway. I’m here, writing less than usual, feeling less sexual than usual, but I’m here.