Friday, April 27, 2018

the #MeToo beast takes its first real bite

Writer, actor, comedian, and "America's dad" Bill Cosby has just been sentenced to prison after having been convicted of three counts of "aggravated indecent assault" against one of his many accusers, Andrea Constand, now 45 years old. Each count carries a maximum penalty of ten years' prison time; Cosby is 80 years old. Some are speculating that, whatever the sentence, Cosby won't actually spend that much actual time in prison, but even if it's only a year or two, that's a hell of a way to spend the twilight years. Cosby's punishment might be even lighter than that, though:

[Retired NJ supreme-court judge Michael] Donio said an average person with no prior criminal record would likely get five years in the case. However, extenuating circumstances affect the Cosby sentencing. Donio said Cosby's lawyers, who've promised to appeal, likely will argue a prison will be unable to take care of Cosby, who has said he is completely blind. If they can successfully argue this position, and a jail assessment agrees, Cosby could get house arrest or probation.

We're starting to see the axe fall on the men who stand accused in the face of the #MeToo movement that has swept the country and the globe. Bill Cosby is a pretty big fish; it could be that others of his stature, or greater, will be next.

Meanwhile, I'm reading news that NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw stands accused, by two women, of sexual harassment. Where does this end? How hard is it not to be handsy around the womenfolk?

This is a weird period in history, though, because the #MeToo movement—which began as a social-media-fueled response to sexual harassment, especially in Hollywood—has swollen into something so colossal that all of its parts are no longer evolving in the same way. There are parts of the movement that have become, as some feared, a witch hunt that is taking down men who have done nothing particularly wrong. Other parts of the movement have become a joke, thus opening themselves to satire. Yet other parts of the movement seem to be altering the national tenor of sexual politics to the point where some men feel it's now impossible to have anything like a normal relationship with a woman, and at the same time, some women—now armored in the righteous anger of the movement—are beginning to feel an overinflated sense of power and entitlement. (There is, as you can imagine, a great deal of overlap between and among these parts.) It's not the best time to be a heterosexual man, it seems.

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