‘What About Bill?’ Sexual Misconduct Debate Revives Questions About Clinton

To counter damage from the “Access Hollywood” tape recording him boasting about groping women as well as allegations by a number of women that it was more than just “locker room talk,” Mr. Trump recruited Ms. Broaddrick and other women who had accused Mr. Clinton to join him on the campaign trail last year.

.. “It’s about time,” Kathleen Willey, another woman who accused Mr. Clinton of sexual harassment, said Wednesday in a telephone interview from her home in Richmond, Va. “We’ve waited for years for vindication.”

.. Paula Jones, another accuser, said they were not taken seriously until now. “It’s like me and Juanita and Kathleen have been screaming for years for someone to pay attention to us on the liberal side, and it’s like no one would hear us,” she said by telephone. “They made fun of me. They didn’t believe me. They said I was making it up.”

.. Many chose to defend him for his White House trysts with Ms. Lewinsky because, despite the power differential between a president and a former intern, she was a willing partner. To this day, Ms. Lewinsky rejects the idea that she was a victim because of the affair; “any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath” when the political system took over, as she wrote in 2014.

.. Ms. Willey later said she suspected the Clintons were somehow involved in the death of her husband, which was called a suicide.

.. Gloria Steinem, who at the time wrote a column generally defending Mr. Clinton, remains unmoved by time.
.. Nina Burleigh, a journalist, wrote a column at the time joking that she would give Mr. Clinton oral sex for protecting abortion rights.

Roy Moore and Our Faith in Our Abilities to Assess Others’ Character

It should not surprise us that Roy Moore fans are treating the Washington Post story as a personal attack upon themselves; on some level, it is. The article asserts, in effect, “the man you thought of as a good man for all these years was, at least in the late 70s and early 80s, not a good man. Your judgment and ability to assess others’ character is faulty.” This fact is true of all of us, but no one likes being confronted with it.

I would argue the solution for this is simply to stop seeing public figures — whether political figures or celebrities — as role models and stop putting them up on pedestals. The ability to win elections, perform well on camera, perform great athletic feats, or other extraordinary traits is not synonymous with good character.

.. then later saying, “I don’t remember going out on dates. I knew her as a friend. If we did go out on dates then we did. But I do not remember that.” If they did indeed go on dates and Moore simply doesn’t remember it, then the allegation isn’t “completely false, false and misleading.”

.. David Brooks asks an extremely important question, one that I suspect many of the most prominent media voices of 1998 will want to avoid confronting. [T]he uncomfortable thing for a lot of progressives, frankly, is how much did the Clinton thing create this whole environment? How much did tolerance of Bill Clinton create the environment in which the rest of this was given permission?

.. Gloria Steinem responded to the allegations against Bill Clinton with a position some characterized as a “one free grope rule”: if a man backs down after making one undesired sexual advance, he has done nothing wrong.

.. By the very fact of having spent time alone with him, they have, in the eyes of rigorist teachings of Islam, violated the rules of modesty that women are required to follow

Steinem, Sandberg and Judd on How to End Sex Harassment

“Fathers have a big chance to do this just by listening to their daughters, and showing them that they’re worth listening to. Co-workers can do this by not commenting on a woman’s appearance when they wouldn’t say the same of a man.

“This is not rocket science,” Steinem added. “It’s empathy.”

.. We need not just sensitivity training, but also accountability. That means firing not only the men who sexually harass but also the men and women who are complicit.

.. “People need to be afraid not just of doing these things, but also of not doing anything when someone around them does it,” Sandberg said.

.. One dismissal sends a stronger message throughout an organization than 10,000 hours of sensitivity training.

.. Men have sometimes been prone to disbelieve victims’ stories, and one of the most distasteful aspects of the Harvey Weinstein scandal was a rush to refocus blame by questioning why female victims didn’t speak up earlier or go to the police. That tendency to victim-shame is precisely why survivors are reluctant to speak up

.. a new ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 54 percent of American women report having received unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances
.. Civil rights weren’t just a “black problem,” the Holocaust wasn’t just a “Jewish problem” and sexual harassment and discrimination are more than just a “women’s problem.”
.. “Put peer pressure on each other to treat women better.”

Camille Paglia on Hugh Hefner’s Legacy, Trump’s Masculinity and Feminism’s Sex Phobia

Hugh Hefner absolutely revolutionized the persona of the American male. In the post-World War II era, men’s magazines were about hunting and fishing or the military, or they were like Esquire, erotic magazines with a kind of European flair.

.. Hefner reimagined the American male as a connoisseur in the continental manner, a man who enjoyed all the fine pleasures of life, including sex. Hefner brilliantly put sex into a continuum of appreciative response to jazz, to art, to ideas, to fine food. This was something brand new. Enjoying fine cuisine had always been considered unmanly in America. Hefner updated and revitalized the image of the British gentleman, a man of leisure who is deft at conversation — in which American men have never distinguished themselves — and the art of seduction, which was a sport refined by the French.

.. Hefner’s new vision of American masculinity was part of his desperate revision of his own Puritan heritage. On his father’s side, he descended directly from William Bradford, who came over on the Mayflower and was governor of Plymouth Colony, the major settlement of New England Puritans.

.. What do you think about the fact that Trump’s childhood hero and model of sophisticated American masculinity was Hefner?

.. the mainstream media based in Manhattan, particularly The New York Times, was hopelessly off in the way it was simplistically viewing Trump as a classic troglodyte misogynist. I certainly saw in Trump the entire Playboy aesthetic, including the glitzy world of casinos and beauty pageants. It’s a long passé world of confident male privilege that preceded the birth of second-wave feminism. There is no doubt that Trump strongly identified with it as he was growing up. It seems to be truly his worldview.

.. Many mainstream voters are gratified by his reassertion of male pride and confidence. Trump supporters may be quite right that, in this period of confusion and uncertainty, male identity needs to be reaffirmed and reconsolidated.

.. What Playboy doesn’t know about well-educated, upper-middle-class women with bitter grievances against men could fill a book! I don’t regard Gloria Steinem as an expert on any of the human appetites, sexuality being only one of them. Interviews with Steinem were documenting from the start how her refrigerator contained nothing but two bottles of carbonated water. Steinem’s philosophy of life is extremely limited by her own childhood experiences. She came out of an admittedly unstable family background. I’m so tired of that animus of hers against men, which she’s been cranking out now for decade after decade. I come from a completely different Italian-American background — very food-centric and appetite-centric. Steinem, with that fulsomely genteel WASP persona of hers, represents an attitude of malice and vindictiveness toward men that has not proved to be in the best interest of young women today.
.. Gloria Steinem, Susan Faludi, all of those relentlessly ideological feminists are people who have wandered away from traditional religion and made a certain rabid type of feminist rhetoric their religion. And their fanaticism has poisoned the public image of feminism and driven ordinary, mainstream citizens away from feminism.
.. I hugely admired the early role that Steinem played in second-wave feminism because she was very good as a spokesperson in the 1970s. She had a very soothing manner that made it seem perfectly reasonable for people to adopt feminist principles. She normalized the image of feminism when there were a lot of crazy feminists running around (like Valerie Solanas, who shot Andy Warhol). That was Steinem’s great contribution, as far as I’m concerned. Also, I credit her for co-founding Ms. magazine and thereby contributing that very useful word, Ms., to the English language, which allows us to refer to a woman without signaling her marital status. I think that’s a tremendous accomplishment.But aside from that, Steinem is basically a socialite who always hid her early dependence on men in the social scene in New York.

.. I have always felt that feminism should transcend party politics and be a big tent welcoming women of faith and of all views into it. Also, I hold against Steinem her utter, shameless hypocrisy during the Bill Clinton scandal. After promoting sexual harassment guidelines, which I had also supported since the 1980s, Steinem waved away one of the worst cases of sexual harassment violation that can ever be imagined — the gigantic gap of power between the President of the United States and an intern! All of a sudden, oh, no, it was all fine, it was “private.” What rubbish! That hypocrisy by partisan feminist leaders really destroyed feminism for a long time.

.. hat Hefner espoused and represented — the art of seduction, where a man, behaving in a courtly, polite and respectful manner, pursues a woman and gives her the time and the grace and the space to make a decision of consent or not

.. Instead, what we have today, after Playboy declined and finally disappeared off the cultural map, is the coarse, juvenile anarchy of college binge drinking, fraternity keg parties where undeveloped adolescent boys clumsily lunge toward naive girls who are barely dressed in tiny miniskirts and don’t know what the hell they want from life. What possible romance or intrigue or sexual mystique could survive such a vulgar and debased environment as today’s residential campus social life?

.. Today’s hook-up culture, which is the ultimate product of my generation’s sexual revolution, seems markedly disillusioning in how it has reduced sex to male needs, to the general male desire for wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am efficiency, with no commitment afterwards. We’re in a period of great sexual confusion and rancor right now. The sexes are very wary of each other. There’s no pressure on men to marry because they can get sex very easily in other ways.

.. What Hefner’s death forces us to recognize is that there is very little glamour and certainly no mystery or intrigue left to sex for most young people. Which means young women do not know how to become women. And sex has become just another physical urge that can be satisfied like putting coins into a Coke machine.

.. But if feminism means anything, it should be encouraging young women to take control of every aspect of their sex lives, including their own impulses, conflicts and disappointments. That’s what’s tragic about all this. Young women don’t seem to realize that in demanding adult inquiry into and adjudication of their sex lives, they are forfeiting their own freedom and agency.

.. there are so many hugely rich women stars in movies and music who should be using their millions to fund the creation of production companies precisely for the kind of hiring that they want. All those wealthy performers with their multiple houses — how about selling one of them? And let them do whatever feminist projects they want and see if they can sell it to the general public.

.. Multiplying like bunnies: Hefner was making a strange kind of joke about the entire procreative process.

.. I think feminism is wildly wrong when it portrays men as the oppressor, when in fact men, as I have argued in my books, are always struggling for identity against the enormous power of women.

.. Hefner created his own universe of sexuality, where there was nothing threatening. It’s a kind of childlike vision, sanitizing all the complexities and potential darkness of the sexual impulse. Everybody knows that Hefner’s sexual type was the girl next door, in other words, the corn-fed, bubbly American girl who stays at the borderline of womanhood but never crosses it.

.. Hefner’s women may have been uncomplex as personalities, but they were always warm and genuine. I never found them particularly erotic. I much preferred the Penthouse style of women, who were more femme fatales. Hefner’s bunnies were a major departure from female mythology, where women were often portrayed as animals of prey — tigresses and leopards. Woman as cozy, cuddly bunny is a perfectly legitimate modality of eroticism. Hefner was good-natured but rather abashed, diffident, and shy. So he recreated the image of women in palatable and manageable form. I don’t see anything misogynist in that. What I see is a frank acknowledgment of Hefner’s fear of women’s actual power.

 

Will Liberals Give Weinstein the O’Reilly Treatment?

As Camille Paglia noted in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, prominent feminists like Gloria Steinem didn’t waste any time discarding sexual harassment guidelines when it came to Bill Clinton’s sexual predations as president. Principle rapidly gave way to partisanship and political opportunism.

Mr. Weinstein clearly understands this calculus. In the wake of the Times report, he issued a cringe-inducing apology: “I came of age in the ’60s and ’70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then,” as if in the good olde days of the women’s liberation movement it was totally acceptable to ask a 20-something colleague to bathe you.

He promises “to do better” and “conquer my demons.” He misquotes Jay-Z. He says he has hired a team of therapists to “deal with the issue head on.”

But the real heart of his message was that he will be an even better progressive if given a second chance: “I’m going to need a place to channel that anger so I’ve decided I’m going to give the N.R.A. my full attention.” He’s also making a movie about Donald Trump.

And if the virtue-signaling isn’t enough, the man who has bankrolled Barbara Boxer, Charles Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand — the list goes on and on — is determined to pay out much more. “One year ago, I began organizing a $5 million foundation to give scholarships to women directors” at the University of Southern California

.. And if the virtue-signaling isn’t enough, the man who has bankrolled Barbara Boxer, Charles Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand — the list goes on and on — is determined to pay out much more. “One year ago, I began organizing a $5 million foundation to give scholarships to women directors” at the University of Southern California

.. what’s telling is that Ms. Bloom and his other advisers seem to believe their best chance of salvaging their damaged client is, like the Catholic Church of yore, to pay for his sins in the coin of liberal affirmation. The behavioral issues will take time.

Harvey Weinstein’s Media Enablers

.. we’re hearing a lot about how the story of his misconduct was “the worst-kept secret” in Hollywood and New York.

.. The real story didn’t surface until now because too many people in the intertwined news and entertainment industries had too much to gain from Mr. Weinstein for too long. Across a run of more than 30 years, he had the power to mint stars, to launch careers, to feed the ever-famished content beast. And he did so with quality films that won statuettes and made a whole lot of money for a whole lot of people.

.. “The unfortunate reality of Hollywood is that if someone has money, then they can generally find some kind of audience of people who are interested in working with them,” said Kim Masters, the editor at large at The Hollywood Reporter. This was particularly true of Mr. Weinstein, who, she said, was known for having “the golden touch” that produced “Pulp Fiction” and “Good Will Hunting,” “The King’s Speech” and “Shakespeare in Love.”

.. She said she wanted to believe that times were changing, given the number of women who have put their names to the words that derailed the careers of Bill Cosby, who faced criminal charges that resulted in a mistrial this year, and Bill O’Reilly. But she also wondered aloud whether trouble had finally found Mr. Weinstein because he was no longer the rainmaker and hitmaker he had once been.

..Ms. Bloom has attributed his missteps to his status as a “dinosaur” who is now “learning new ways.”

.. there is a long tradition of disgusting harassment of women who try to make it in the movie business. (Jack L. Warner, a founder of Warner Bros. studios, was no saint.)

.. Mr. Weinstein paid off his latest accuser in a confidential settlement.
.. he was allegedly harassing women in five-star hotel rooms across the globe even as his company was distributing films like “The Hunting Ground,” a 2015 documentary about sexual assault on college campuses. He also helped endow a “Gloria Steinem” faculty chair at Rutgers; joined a national women’s march in Park City, Utah, in January; and was a big fund-raiser for and supporter of Hillary Clinton.
.. State Street, the bank behind the famous “fearless girl” statue staring down the Wall Street bull, paid $5 million to some 300 female executives after a federal audit determined it had paid them less than their white male counterparts
.. Mr. Weinstein had his own enablers. He built his empire on a pile of positive press clippings that, before the internet era, could have reached the moon.
.. Every now and then, glimpses of his nasty side spilled out, like when he placed the reporter Andrew Goldman in a headlock and dragged him out of a party in 2000. Someone who was involved in that altercation, Rebecca Traister, wrote in New York’s The Cut on Thursday that it didn’t get the media attention it deserved because “there were so many journalists on his payroll
.. Let’s hope that those in the know did not include members of the Los Angeles Press Club, which this year gave Mr. Weinstein its “Truthteller Award,” calling him an example of “integrity and social responsibility,”
.. Mr. Weinstein has hired the emerging leader of anti-press jurisprudence, Charles Harder, who brought the case that put Gawker out of business last year.
.. what the cost would be and for the editors and reporters who conveniently didn’t bother to look into the tales making the rounds.
.. “I guarantee there are many more rocks to overturn.”

Feminist Gloria Steinem Finds Herself Free Of The ‘Demands Of Gender’

GROSS: If I asked you to make a list of the five most important issues for women today, what would be on that list?

STEINEM: Well, I can do it. But I would like to say that the most important issues are those to the women who are listening. I mean, it’s not about dictating to each other what’s important but supporting each other and solving the ones that are in our daily lives.

GROSS: I like that point that you just made (laughter).

STEINEM: However, if you add up, you know, in terms of the numbers of people, I would say that competing for No. 1 would be violence against females worldwide. If you add up all the forms of violence, whether it’s domestic violence in this country, which is at an enormously high rate – I mean, the most dangerous place for a woman in this country is her own home. And she’s most likely to be beaten or killed by some – by a man she knows. Or it is FGM – female genital mutilation – or it is female infanticide or honor killings or child marriage and too-early childbirth, which is a major cause of death among adolescent girls worldwide. So, you know, violence has reached an emergency – well, it’s – I mean, any violence is an emergency. But, you know, collectively…

GROSS: What – well, the sense of emergency has certainly increased with groups like the Taliban and ISIS…

STEINEM: Yes, yes.

GROSS: Truly attacking women and denying them any form of rights.

STEINEM: Yes. No, it’s the extreme forms of patriarchy, often religious – so-called religious – and the violence against females in warzones – sexualized violence in the Congo and, you know, many in the former Yugoslavia. You know, and all of these have mounted up to a real emergency. But tied, I would say, for first place is the ability of women to decide when and whether to have children because that is a major cause of death. The lack of that ability is a major cause of death. And it is also a major cause of inability to be educated or to be free outside the home or to be healthy. You know, so I would say those two concerns, violence – sexualized violence against women and reproductive freedom or reproductive justice are right up there in our focus in every country.