The Knife is Coming

Top brass at advertising giant Interpublic Group of Cos. told its 20,000 US employees last week they had until year’s end to complete sexual-harassment training. The cession quizzes employees on what to do when a co-worker discusses weekend sexual exploits at work or when a colleague comes on to a colleague’s girlfriend after hours…

Women are crucial to our business,” says Mr Roth [CEO]. “We need our environment to be safe for all.”*

(All boldings mine.)

Let me put the two statements together for you in a familiar television-like form.

John, Mary and Peter work together in the same office. One day, they go out together for drinks after work. Jane, John’s girlfriend – who works elsewhere – joins them. Peter flirts with Jane (JANE); he even slip her his cell-phone number. Mary (MARY) feels unsafe.

It’s bat shit crazy. Is there no limit to the absurdities we will listen too peacefully?

If a man can create an unsafe work environment for a female colleague by hitting on another woman employed somewhere else and who welcomes the advances, is there any limit to what constitutes sexual harassment?

How about Mark looks at Jeanne – whom he does not know – at the bus stop, and Mark’s coworker, Jennifer catches his look and feels unsafe?

Will anyone shout: “Absurd”?

Myself, I don’t see just absurdity, here. Since the Weinstein explosion less than two months ago (but still no lawsuit to tell us what really happened, if anything), I have begun to discern an attempted mass castration. If there is nothing men can do to stop from being sexual harassers who make women feel unsafe – even indirectly as in the example, above – it’s the fact of being a man itself that is offensive and that needs to be repressed. The knife is coming, ladies and gentlemen!

The most disturbing and the most worrisome aspect of all this mass movement is the lack of backbone demonstrated by many male decision-makers, such as Mr Roth, in this story, who hardly needs the operation, by the way.

Not far behind, is the passivity- so far – of rational women who stand to lose a great deal of peace of mind and other benefits, to the extent that the mass surgical intervention succeeds.

Note that I am not hinting at conspiracy. With the powerful domination of a few newspapers and of fewer TV channels, with the effectiveness of the social media, conventional conspiracies have become obsolete. Throw wet garbage and see if it sticks. If it does not, you and your actions will have been forgotten tomorrow anyway. Some harm done; no price to pay!

What needs to be done? Fight back. Denounce every crazy statement. Affirm rationality. Be ready for a little temporary social exclusion. You will soon find that most people are on your side. They just couldn’t believe what they saw and heard until you gave them a shout-out .

*From the Wall Street Journal, Nov. 11 2017, P. 1

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About Jacques Delacroix

I write short stories, current events comments, and sociopolitical essays, mostly in English, some in French. There are other people with the same first name and same last name on the Internet. I am the one who put up on Amazon in 2014: "I Used to Be French: an Immature Autobiography" and also: "Les pumas de grande-banlieue." To my knowledge, I am the only Jacques Delacroix with American and English scholarly publications. In a previous life, I was a teacher and a scholar in Organizational Theory and in the Sociology of Economic Development. (Go ahead, Google me!) I live in the People’s Green Socialist Republic of Santa Cruz, California.
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5 Responses to The Knife is Coming

  1. gpessah1 says:

    I wish you wrote more on this blog..

  2. Ken Riggs says:

    I generally accept the statistical argument that not everyone can be considered a predator. Have you considered the very real relationship between power and sex? It would seem a natural for a sociologist. It seems to be a difficult and interesting topic, apparently with motives on several sides and in several directions. And then there is the historical dimension. I’m not sure a single measure could be derived. I have sympathy with this discussion but fell it is not enough to justify its closing paragraph..

    • You are probably right, Ken. As get older, I become more and more superficial. I also hold the illusion that if I throw up in the air a good idea once in a while, someone younger may pick it up and run with it and do more with it than I would. I am bolder than I used to be. I suspect that many younger people (relatively younger ) are like I was forty years ago: overly humble. I m doing something to embolden them, I hope and I think.

  3. Ken: More belated answer for you. Here is one thing I know on the relationship between power and sex. Every man who had held publicly any ounce of power will confirm that the smell of power is an aphrodisiac to many women. Even teachers, with their ridiculous amount of quasi-power, will tell you this. Of course, I am relying on anecdotal evidence but it’s abundant, highly visible and it used to be well known. It may have become a taboo subject recently. Everything is becoming a taboo subject. That’s a feature of the rise of authoritarianism.

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