2017

L’affaire Harvey Weinstein

There were raging hurricanes drowning humans, pets and property; there were torrential floods sweeping away children and entire families; there were blazing fires incinerating lives, belongings and treasured mementos; there were avaricious wars devouring innocent lives; there were terrorist bombs; there were murders, gang violence, kidnappers and traffickers . . . and . . . then . . . there was L’affaire Harvey Weinstein!

And the winner of most discussions, views and print material from all of the above listings that were occurring during the same time? Yes, indeed! It was L’affaire Harvey Weinstein and the salacious sex! We quickly forgot the Las Vegas murders, and, short of a radical, extremist, super-hyped terrorist attack occurring domestically, or in Europe, it was that story which grabbed our attention more than any other, proving that no event grips us more than sensational sex! How pathetic we are!

Within a few hours Harvey Weinstein was upturned from a rich, powerful, famous and absolutely brilliant movie producer into a cardboard cutout of his sorry self! And, as we say in Arabic: after the cow falls, the knives become many. Weinstein was now that fallen cow, and out of the woodwork came the flashing knives avidly lunging into his carcass, driven more violently by the many who had been unashamedly complicit, acquiescent and silent for so very long! How utterly opportunistic and hypocritical!

Unfortunately, this kind of behavior has been going on for a long time. Some examples: the numerous enlisted women being sexually assaulted while serving; the rape of women in Japan, Iraq and Afghanistan and wherever some of our troops are; several of our sons continuing to sexually assault their fellow students on our campuses and on and on it goes. Perhaps our indignation and horror this time around, though, is because that artificial veneer of our iconic glitzy and glamourous Hollywood was now being tarnished? Only now are we mortified enough to rise up with this upheaval of outrage? We are truly wretched!

Nevertheless, and after all the dust settles, could this become The Seminal Moment which is going to transform the sexual predators of our world? And did Sandy Hook change our gun laws? Huh? Will this scandal begin to tame all the carnal abusers? Will it put that vile instinct of taking advantage of mostly young, inexperienced, naïve and scared women out of commission? After all, there have been Weinsteins galore since time immemorial. And, even while that scandal was still playing itself out, there were many Harvey Weinsteins out there and all across the world continuing to unabashedly wield their dreadful deeds of intimidating, groping and raping women. Cads like these will not be deterred so easily. In their understanding this “goes with the territory” of being Powerful and/or Wealthy and/or Famous. They generally feel that they are Untouchable and that they are Entitled to this repulsive Behavior simply because “boys will be boys!”

Needless to count how many times I was horrified when I was living in Beirut as I heard of fathers encouraging their sons to rape the maid as an initiation rite into the world of sex. How many rapes have I heard of since living in the free West despite sex being readily available? How many little girls are raped and abused every single day across this dismal world? How many are sold into sex trafficking, and who are these monsters who would commit such crimes? How many men have we heard of who fly over to the Philippines, to Indonesia, Vietnam and other such countries in order to have an orgasm with little virgin girls, some as young as eight and nine years old?

It makes my skin crawl simply to think of such crimes continuing to happen every single hour of every single day all across the globe and in every sector of our societies.

Harvey Weinstein is not an Aberration!

The proclivity for sexual deviation has been a constant in our world since its inception. And we, women, have only whispered about it throughout history. In fact, we were often complicit facilitators of such lascivious behavior. At the end of the day, we, as mothers and women, have raised the sons that are committing these heinous acts, haven’t we? Every woman should think of this, and of our possible role in such behavior.

Therefore, aside from aggressively pushing for Equal and Human Rights for all females worldwide, how do we, in the US, recalibrate a culture that sells sex and female objectification as a commodity serving the Mighty Dollar throughout every venue at its fingertips: fashion, makeup, vacations, home décor, cars, food and even pharmaceutical ads being just some of those overly “sexed up” exploitative venues that do nothing but trivialize sex and encourage deviant behavior? And, in our extremist way of finding solutions, are we now going to restraint every natural instinct of fun and flirtatious exchanges between the sexes? Is our solution to be “throwing out the baby with the bathwater” as we are prone to do on most issues? Another failed social experiment whilst trying our hands at social engineering? That would be truly unfortunate!

Sadly, the young impressionable minds are receiving the consistent message that sexual interaction is a casual, irresponsible, superficial, animalistic, hedonistic, five-minute-Tinderella act where “Stop” is ignored. How do we stress and convey to them that our intimate interactions ought to be an act of love between two consensual and mature partners that brings with it a deep sense of responsibility, consideration, affection, mutual respect, admiration, tenderness and the desire to give, as well as to receive, pleasure, while also talking honestly about the complexities of human relationships and how they can sometimes be frustrating, unexciting, with ups and downs that require hard unselfish work?

In other words: for humanity to call itself truly Civilized shouldn’t we be elevating all of our emotions, feelings, sensual pleasures and gratifications, our actions and reactions on every level to a much higher plateau than the one we have designated and accepted for ourselves thus far? If we do not then we should not act horrified when rape, war and all criminal activity continue to occur as has been the case for the past twenty centuries of our existence. Moses brought down the Tablets and thought that he would civilize his people – the Jewish people of those days – and make them adhere to a higher level of thinking and behavior than the immoral one that they had been on. He did not succeed. Neither did any other Prophet. And here we are, dealing with the Harvey Weinsteins of our world!

We humans across this sorry planet of ours have continued to turn a blind eye on deviant behavior of all kinds and sorts, always making ourselves believe that it is “those other than us” who behave in these horrific ways. The truth is that we are all complicit for ignoring these issues for so very long and pretending that all will be well with our superficial world, because: “It is What It Is.”

And so . . . the Oscar goes to . . . and we will probably all applaud! Again! And, then, again!

Revolting!

2017

Heartache & Misery

The hurricane had barely hit Houston when there was a frantic rush to save the pets. Aid workers, airplanes, crates, National Guard, humane societies and doctors were deployed in a massive evacuation process that transported those hundreds upon hundreds of poor animals to the many different locations across these United States. One could not but be moved by this compassionate operation!

She said: “If only they cared for people as much as they do for animals in our country!” Her words were startling, in a way, and remained at the back of my head as I viewed the latest images of human heartache and misery on my television screen and thought to myself: what a strange dichotomy this is!

Just in these past two weeks we had the CEO of Equifax testifying before Congress about the massive breach that occurred within that company putting at risk the private information of about 145 million people. The breach was due to two factors: human error, in that the negligent security team member in charge of placing a certain required patch on the Equifax system didn’t do their job; the second factor was technological, in that the Equifax system did not detect that the patch had not been placed. Believe it, or Not: One Person, One Human Being, One Cog in the Security Machine put at risk the credit information of 145 million people! The CEO resigned and was rewarded with a ninety million compensation package!!! Go figure!!!

Then on October second, I woke up as I usually do in the wee hours when even the birds were still sleeping. It was a fresh and brisk dawn heralding the arrival of a fall season that I love. Much as I enjoy my cup of coffee and cigarette in these few pre-dawn minutes with my own thoughts and feelings, I dread going in and switching on my television. What, I wonder, is the disaster of the day going to be, for, it seems, that there is a new dramatic catastrophe greeting me every single morning?

And, certainly, there it was: the blood-curdling events in Las Vegas the preceding evening that ended up with a tally of 58 dead Human Beings and over 500 injured Human Beings! All due to One Murderer! How can this even be remotely possible? I am aghast! The world is aghast!

I have been in a daze since that morning, listening to all the stupid talk and frivolous analysis by Mainstream Media Personalities who seem to wait in giddy anticipation for such tragedies in order to make themselves sound more important and relevant; for Corrupt Politicians to go on the air and spout out their decadent opinions about the morbid event with discussions of guns and gun laws – and reasonable legislation that they won’t execute – and get their day’s five pathetic minutes of fame!

As a political junkie myself, with opinions galore that I am constantly mouthing off, I find that talking politics today seems to be so senseless to all the innocent dead, their families and loved ones. No one can console them enough for losing a Human Being out to enjoy an evening of fun and entertainment. We, and all our loved ones, families, friends and neighbors have attended concerts and events at arenas and other venues. It could have been any one of us, or ours, being massacred that fateful evening.

At the end of the day, the blame for that carnage is on Every One of Us!

It is we, the People, who prove every day that we are Unkind, Cruel and Wicked. It is really Us who have abandoned our Civic Duties while in search of our own selfish and egocentric satisfactions at the expense of All and Everything else, and we disregarded our fellow human beings at home and all across the planet while in search of those trivial needs and wants. It is Us who get all riled up and directed this way and that by an irresponsible media that is concerned only with its revenues, and by corrupt politicians engaged in the game of playing politics with our lives and well-being. Alas, we continue to elect those same ones! How could we but be responsible for all the tragedies and chaos that we moan and groan about when we are silent as the vultures in our political and corporate lives continue their bleeding of every decent, moral and ethical law on the books? It is Us who are not demanding better while in venal pursuit of our immediate pleasures, because we are too neglectful to be constantly engaged in our political, societal and cultural issues shrugging them off with the mostly flippant: That’s Just the Way It is. Yes, the unfortunate reality is that it is Every Uncivilized One of Us who is responsible. You, Me, He and She. All of Us.

Here we are, becoming more and more paranoid and in a constant state of worry and anxiety due to all this chaos! All around us the toxicity of our planet is increasing so that we don’t know anymore whether to fret about our computers and devices being eavesdropped on and hacked, or the electronic systems of the tens of vendors that we deal with on a daily basis, or all the myriad issues challenging us daily. We don’t know anymore whether the next threat will come from corrupt Political Un-Leaders, hacks, a breach, a home-grown or foreign terrorist, a pathogen; a hurricane, a flood, an airplane, a truck, a concert, or a drone. Certainly we cannot underestimate the fact that none of us, or any of our institutions, have yet adjusted to the Pandora’s Box of Technology in this Information Age with all its positives, negatives and humongous unknowns. Quite terrifying!

Yet, Internet and Information Age notwithstanding, I am absolutely convinced that it is every one of Us that is causing all our chagrins, and until we care enough about all of humanity and much less about our own individual selfish pursuits then our condition will never ever improve, and none of us should be surprised when the next mass act of violence occurs . . . it is not anymore a question of If, but only a question of When and How Devastating and Heart-breaking!!