The “October: Not Surprised At All” Edition
TWITTER: Lauren Zalaznick
I’m sorry to have to talk about disgusting things this week.
There are at least two issues.
1) Creepy Clowns
At the risk of being stalked by a bunch of them just to prove me wrong, I just don’t believe that there are that many “creepy clowns” to justify calling it an “epidemic.” Everyone is worried about journalistic integrity and accuracy in reporting. Yes, it’s important when reporting on international news, politics, and (until Friday my favorite scandal) “Bridgegate.” But this is important, too. Journalists need to re-phrase the reporting on the ‘crisis’ and accurately report that not one “creepy clown” has actually been sighted. Rather, what is POSSIBLY true is that people DRESSED as creepy clowns have been sighted.
Perhaps I will start the I’m-Not-A-Creepy-Clown-I-Am-Just-Dressed-Like-One Anti-Defamation League. However it would be a small membership because for some reason most people dressed as clowns do, in fact, seem creepy. To me. Oh wait, Stephen King disagrees and actually did come out and defended clowns. That’s terrifying, too.
I think the whole thing is a fad — not the people dressing up as creepy clowns — I think it’s a fad to say you’ve seen them. The time is nigh for mass hysteria and the manifestation of the collective unconscious.
Even if people dressed as creepy clowns were menacing me on a street corner, it would be preferable to the other fright that plagued New York this summer that was scarier than other summer terror since Son Of Sam. Okay not that scary but definitely more disgusting. The perpetrator was a mentally ill man with few resources but, like many a serial killer, he sought out women as his targets.
Now, just a couple of days ago, it turns out that someone who is rumored to be an apparently sane PhD with all the resources in the world actually mailed “feces,” as the New York Times headline has it — that’s right — actual shit in padded envelopes — to 4 other philosophers. The recipients are, not coincidentally, three women and a man all involved in a heated battle over the treatment of women and people of color in the field. It is online trolling gone analog in the most rarefied of places, not the bowels (pardon the expression) of Reddit or Twitter.
Okay, so what could possibly be any worse than marauders dressed as creepy clowns and/or a reverse mugger who puts poop down your pants or another bout of literal anti-feminist shit-slinging?
2) I can’t even.
Well, maybe I can.
Out of the bajillion words that have now been written since Friday’s actually-not-so-surprising-to-me video, the only place for me to directly enter this conversation is to say that it is my opinion that Trump’s m.o. is extreme, but the theme and pervasiveness of this kind of “banter” is not. Many will disagree.
I think men who can be honest say that, while this level of implied threat, actual condoning of unwanted groping, on the edge of violence, seeking control, using the coarsest language is extreme, the theme and frequency of the “banter” is pervasive. I’m not saying that the defenders of Trump’s enthusiasm for assaulting and demeaning women is “normal,” as many would have it. I am saying that in locker rooms, carpools to work, golf courses, trading floors, data rooms, coders’ conferences, gyms, bachelor parties and boardrooms the line between “she’s hot,” “great tits,” “I’d do her,” “I’d fuck her,” and that piece of tape isn’t as distinct as we’d all like to imagine. Similarly, for men to be outraged and disgusted “on behalf of their wives and daughters” isn’t enough. Be outraged for yourselves. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had a secret child with his family’s nanny, who himself faced charges of unwanted groping, and who replaced Donald Trump as the host of The Apprentice is outraged and will not be voting for Trump!
This is a place where I think a lot of men actually do know, like so many women, what it’s like not to be able to say something or do the right thing when it’s so clearly wrong, even when it’s happening to them. Women have to push the gropers away and still ask to get their start-up funded or for feedback on their Powerpoint deck. Men have to stifle the urge to say something to a boss who’s just said something horrifying in the boardroom moments before the woman in question walks in, but knows that boss holds the mortgage payment and tuition in the palm of his hand.
Here, each week, we read together the thousands and thousands of cases of everything from violent trolls to casual sexism to today’s examples of women getting shit on, literally — whether by a maniac or a PhD. So in the wall-to-wall coverage of one of the most shocking examples of brutal sexism we’ve ever seen captured on tape, during an extraordinary run of just those things presented live, maybe this is an opportunity to connect the dots between the the egregious monster on display in the tape and the casual sexist, the “sure, I’d fuck her” conversation starter or its equivalent that we have surely all been in, seen, or heard.
For more (not always disgusting or repulsive or fecally related) news during the week follow me on Twitter @LZSundayPaper.
Thanks this week to my own tipsters who include: David, Susie, Jules, Gabé, BZ, PKD, Rich, Emily, Perri, Scott, Lena, Jason, Caren, Karen, Lucy, and Anne.
Everyone else — keep sending anything of interest — or your questions/comments — : here.
It’s still appropriate to say Shanah Tovah/Happy New Year and wish everyone an easy fast — for Yom Kippur or that juice cleanse you’re contemplating.
THE PIC(K) OF THE WEEK:
Hi — See above rant/screed!
NEWS: BUSINESS, TECH, MEDIA, & INTERNATIONAL:
ARTS, FASHION, SPORTS, LIT & POP CULTURE:
AND WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE ABOUT:
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