The “Save Tom Brokaw” telethon was the last straw. “MeToo” is now the Titanic and it just hit the iceberg. Just like we saw in the movie, sinking is going to be a slow and scary process but it’s inevitable. Everybody on board will be scrambling for survival by any means necessary. And just like on the Titanic, there are people of noble character who will perish unjustly and there are people of corrupt constitution who will be spared – and then they will get to spin their own fairy-tale of bravery in the face of death and survival against all odds.
Evidently the weight of the moment finally got too heavy for the women of the MeToo Movement to carry. In the end maybe it was more of a “moment” than a “movement” anyway. But whatever you call it, its over now. It’s done. It’s toast. I’s outta here like last year. And the irony is that it was women themselves – largely women of progressive political persuasion – that put it to sleep. They put it down like a beloved golden retriever with an incurable condition. In this case the incurable condition was the malignant tumor of selfishness in an undertaking that demanded unshakable selflessness to survive.
Here’s a message to all of the women of NBC who signed the letter in support of Tom Brokaw: you cannot throw out the rules of the game when somebody you like is losing. Otherwise the game is rigged and it loses all credibility. Don’t you sophisticated, worldly, powerful and independent women know that? Some of my favorite journalists and commentators signed that letter publicly vouching for Tom Brokaw’s character and I know damned well that they understand perfectly well what all of this means. By endorsing that public statement that good ol’ Tom was actually there covering the story when Moses parted the red sea and traveled with the three wise men to help deliver the sweet baby Jesus from the Virgin Mary, they were intentionally undermining the claims of a woman who said he harassed her 25 years ago. Andrea Mitchell, Rachel Maddow and Mika Brzezinski know that but apparently they just didn’t care. And that was disappointing because I expect a lot from them.
The message they sent was clear and it is a death blow to MeToo whether they like it or not. Women who have the power and privilege of a public platform CAN AND WILL intercede to pull one of their own out of the meat-grinder of sexual harassment allegations and sexual misconduct accusations. They may not be able to stop the legal system from working through a case but they sure as hell can tie up the jury of public opinion so that anybody who was inclined to watch the story unfold just moves along to something else. By making any formal statement at all they can take the wind out of the sales because the case ends up looking like little more than conflicting opinions amongst equal stakeholders about some event that took place many years ago. And that is a terrible injustice because sexual engagements are (typically) of a highly intimate and personal nature. So however sweet and kind and gentle and Godly a man might be in his dealings with 98% of the women he interacts with, that 2% that knows he’s Max Cady from Cape Fear is no less injured or impacted.
Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner pioneered this maneuver when one of their dear friends and writing partners was facing rape allegations. Its been a while since anybody even thought about Murray Miller and the irony that such a progressive writer on such a “girl power” show like HBO’s “Girls” could be suspected in the rape then 17-year-old actress Aurora Prenneau who fell asleep at a party they were attending several years ago. The victim’s disclosure of the rape died a quick death because the story became the open letter that Lena and Jenni published to the media calling her a liar. Of course when the public went nuts Lena came out and took it back but the water was already muddy and the damage was done. If there has been any movement in the case, it hasn’t been reported anywhere. So in the end, she and Jenni, (and certainly Murray) got exactly what they wanted. They were so smooth that the tricky politics of race were almost entirely ignored in the reporting by major media outlets, with the accused being white and the victim being black.
The most distressing factor in the whole Brokaw affair is the searing hypocrisy involved by the people that progressives like myself are generally down with in public debates. It does not help that it also reflects every reason why the MeToo movement could not have continued to move forward without falling down. The MeToo media machine is structured as top-heavy moral superiority trying to walk on the wobbly legs of moral relativism. Consider the exasperated cries of MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace months ago that “women are to be believed!” when she appropriately attacked Donald Trump for calling his accusers liars.
Her colleagues at NBC all co-signed on her indignation. Then, when the sainted Tom Brokaw was being tried by the MeToo kangaroo court, those same women jumped into the fray to lead objective viewers to label Linda Vester a liar.
The Brokaw saga also forces us to confront the reality that some accusations probably ARE bullshit: either motivated by revenge, bitterness, jealousy, greed or just plain lunacy. Nobody really knows but the two people involved and if people want to be real about this thing, harassment is oftentimes in the eye of the beholder. If a guy asks a woman he works with out too many times after she’s said no, does he deserve to be lumped in with the jack-ass who tried to leverage his authority into a “quickie” on top of his desk? Hell no – and we all know that. But some of those leading the MeToo chants are too lazy to deal with these incredibly important nuances or they are too obsessed with collecting scalps. And what’s the difference between “sexual harassment” and “sexual misconduct”? Where in the hell does “unwanted advances” fit into all of this? That is what Brokaw was accused of and that’s a slippery slope if there ever was one. Isn’t it an “unwanted advance” every time some jerk at a club gets handsy on the dance floor or kinda presses himself against a woman he’s talking to at a crowded bar?
Is it actionable to just be an asshole? Is this even really abnormal behavior? And isn’t an appropriate punishment social humiliation and sexual frustration in the moment as opposed to career demolition 25 years later? Don’t pretend those questions don’t matter, ladies, because when somebody you love and respect was facing the abyss all of you started asking them.
And the moment you started asking those questions, and then decided to vouch for Tom and torpedo Linda, MeToo was over. Ladies, you just can’t have it both ways. No two sets of rules can exist here. The stakes are too high and there are real lives involved. So if any one woman out there is not entitled to tell her truth to the public without an opposition chorus drowning out her solo, then NOBODY gets to sing. And because those are now the new rules of MeToo, MeToo is officially THROUGH.