Here’s something I put together for a friend:
Like so many others, I’ve found the sexual harassment allegations against Senator Al Franken to be especially distressing. The allegations are shocking, of course, and I want to make it clear right from the start that I am not going to excuse them. But I’d be lying if I were to say that I haven’t been a fan for a very long time, own several of his books (including one I got him to sign when he spoke in town a few years ago) and can’t quickly dismiss everything he represented to me before I learned about the allegations the way I could for others who have been implicated recently. I have found—and still do find—his humor very agreeable to my tastes, gentle and ironic. More importantly, he uses that humor to effectively argue the logic and humanity of progressive policies and pick apart the cruel nonsense of the neoconservative menace. But I saw the picture of him pretending to grope (if he is in fact pretending) an unconscious woman… and I most definitely am not laughing.
However, there are some points that speak to our current cultural moment and the politics of whataboutism and false equivalencies from the right where it is instructive and important to dispel any notion that this situation is in any way equivalent to the allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, or others who are facing similar allegations.
- Senator Franken made a very contrite apology which was quickly accepted by his accuser. In this apology, he acknowledged that his actions were inexcusable and did not attempt to wriggle out of accepting responsibility. It doesn’t make what happened all right, but it isn’t nothing. It’s a refreshing change of pace from Weinstein’s excuses, Spacey’s deflections or Moore’s attacks.
- While a major network with a conservative tilt went all out to try to discredit Moore’s accusers and normalize his alleged behavior, nobody in the mainstream “liberal” media went after Franken’s accuser, tried to delegitimize her account, or question her motives. Gosh, it almost looks like most of the mainstream media is interested in uncovering facts while right-wing media is more interested in muddying the water.
Ultimately, I don’t even think I should have a say in the question of whether any of this is enough to save the reputation or the career of Senator Franken. I’d like to hear what women have to say about this, and I’d also want to know whether this is an isolated incident or part of a larger pattern. But I don’t think I’m going overboard here, if we—as a society—decide in the court of public opinion that Al Franken should be ostracized from public life just based on what we already know, why shouldn’t Roy Moore or the President be similarly and proportionally punished? Why are we going to decide that we’ll immediately believe the accuser of a prominent Democrat but instinctively reject the word and physical evidence of anyone who accuses a Republican?
I am writing from the arena formerly known as the Pit. I’ve written before about the overall degradation of the fan experience since the much ballyhooed renovation so I won’t harp on it too much. But there was this that I’m pretty sure wasn’t here the last time I was.
Now, that is a video screen on the support structure for the basket. Because of course there’s advertising on the basket support structure. I’ve thought of a number of places I wouldn’t be surprised to see screens blaring ads at me the next time I come here, but I don’t want to give anyone any ideas…
So, this is the first time I’ve really felt like sharing this. Maybe I needed to hear someone else say it first, as happened at the Tax March I went to in Santa Fe earlier today. An elderly Jewish woman spoke quite eloquently about the rise of antisemitism in America and how this is the first time in her life that she’s ever been afraid in her own country. In America. In 2017, no less. Read the rest of this entry
It’s March, which means that I am now taking part in “A Writer’s March,” a challenge from a friend to write more this month. It’s a little bit like NaNoWriMo in the sense of being a month-long challenge, but it’s different too. Less fanatical about a set word count and more about making your own challenge. And for me this year, the challenge is not about how much I’m writing but rather on working in a genre I haven’t really explored.
In order to put my self-published books out into the world, I needed to select a BISAC code for it. You know, try to select the best circular book-industry defined pigeonhole to cram my square books into. The one I chose was Performing arts / Monologues and Scenes. Well, in two volumes, I’ve got a bunch of scenes, but where are the monologues? Recent events have had me thinking a lot about the nature of love—love of self, love for community, love of humanity—and I’ve found on my walks and bus rides as I go about my life have turned into a kind of running commentary. It seemed that to go from there to committing a few of these moments to paper would be a perfect way to wed the challenge to a suddenly perceived need.
So, my goal is to do a dramatic writing project, similar to the ones I’ve done the past 8 Octobers and in January, but this time around with a preference for writing single voice dramatic monologues. I want to have 31 by the end of the month.
About 7 years ago, I worked on a college literary magazine. Today, the rather obscure and specialized call center that I work for either got a call from one of the contributors to that magazine or someone with exactly the same name. Then I arrive home to a faceplant post from one of the editors, mentioning a book by a different author which we reviewed in the very same edition, one which I haven’t thought about for at least the last four years.
And then when I do get to thinking back to those days, I remember the synchronicity of that edition, and how we’d taken a gamble with an unusual form, that 2 months before press time, there were some, if not grumbles, at least a little heartburn over whether what we had would really fit together at all, and then the way over the last few weeks all those missing pieces seemed to just fall into our laps at once.
So, what am I trying to say here? I guess that things have a way of working themselves out, and that maybe I needed a reminder of that in turbulent times. That I don’t want to downplay the importance of action, or standing up for what you believe in, but that a lot can be accomplished with a well-balanced mix of faith and open-mindedness.
As you probably know, I have made it a tradition to write my daily plays every day in October. And there’s a lot to be said about tradition, this particular one got me two full books worth of material. But I also believe that tradition shouldn’t become dogma, so I wanted to mix things up a little bit.
There are other months of 31 days, with other things going on to write about, so why should I stick so obsessively to October? No reason I can think of. Therefore I am pleased to announce that my next set of daily plays will be written this coming January, and that I will be sharing each day’s play will be published on this blog for one month.
As always, I have no more idea of what the coming weeks than you do, but it’s always an adventure and I hope you will enjoy the ride.