A Processing of What “Due Process” Means Is Due

It’s a bit difficult to discern what kind of argument Emily Yoffe is trying to make in her recent article in The Atlantic entitled “Does Anyone Still Take Both Sexual Assault and Due Process Seriously?” what with the haze of redundant and disingenuous proclamations of sympathy for sexual assault survivors and all. Her argument, which is further obfuscated by ill-considered appeals to the holy juridical tenet of “due process,” appears to be that sexual assault is now purely a partisan issue, which threatens to undermine justice itself. (Yoffe has been harping on this issue for years, straddling the thick line between “I empathize with survivors, I really do” and “this is a zero-sum game in which believing women makes men victims.”)

In reference to the Kavanaugh hearings, Yoffe argues, “Republicans — adopting the rhetorical style of the president — dismiss accusers. Democrats mock the idea that fairness and due process are necessary for the accused.” The tragic result: “Democrats’ disregard for unbiased and impartial fact-finding in their rush to embrace the slogan #BelieveSurvivors may actually have helped confirm Kavanaugh.”

Let’s start with the obvious.

I’m not sure which Ivy’s law school Yoffe attended, but she must have skipped the lecture on the difference between a criminal trial and a job interview. I know I’m not making a novel point here, but when was the last time you filed a Fifth or Fourteenth Amendment due process case against a potential employer who opted not to hire you? Let us review the concept of “due process” as enshrined in the Fifth Amendment:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Unless one considers a Supreme Court seat “private property” that had been bestowed upon Kavanaugh extralegally prior to his confirmation hearings, I fail to see a violation here, even had he not been confirmed. (I’d put the odds of a case arguing that a sense of entitlement equates to “private property” coming before the current SCOTUS at 12%, but it has yet to occur and is hence not settled precedent.)

On to the Fourteenth Amendment, which I would like to remind everyone was adopted during Reconstruction in a (failed) attempt to prevent Southern states from de jure re-enslaving African Americans after the Civil War, and was not, indeed, intended to guarantee Yale Law grads their dream jobs:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Kavanaugh, even had his confirmation not been “plowed right through” (oh, the semiotics), would have escaped with his life, continued to rove about the land as his whims dictated, and retained his nearly $1 million in net worth.

Still, according to Yoffe, Democrats’ (admittedly politically-motivated) decision to take Dr. Blasey at her word somehow showed an utter disregard for “due process” rather than a simple (if in some cases feigned) recognition of her humanity while she relived a sexual assault in front of a panel of hysterically hostile men and their female ‘Zonie sicario. And that total contempt for justice on the part of Democratic senators — rather than the GOP smear campaign aimed at Blasey, the White House’s obstruction of the FBI investigation of her allegations, and Mitch McConnell’s sociopathic machinations — explains Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Lady, whose side are you on again?

Oh, right. Men’s. If we take a look back at Yoffe’s ouevre, she seems inordinately concerned with what she terms the “excesses” of the Obama administration’s 2011 expansion of Title IX protections for women on college campuses, enshrined in the famed “Dear Colleague” letter that instructed colleges and universities to use the “preponderance of evidence” standard (meaning, basically, that they were directed to side with the party who seemed more credible) to determine what course of action to take in the event of a sexual misconduct allegation.

Universities do not administer lethal injections, seize students’ assets (of their own accord), or deprive students of their freedom when adjudicating campus sexual assaults, they simply decide how to ensure that they don’t allow their campuses to turn into hostile environments for women. Universities are not “states,” nor do they wield the same forms of power over their students that governmental institutions do over citizens.

Yoffe seems to have failed to make that distinction throughout her tenure as a constitutional law expert for The Atlantic. She went out of her way to track down and interview young men whose lives had been “ruined” by Title IX cases, decrying the lack of “due process” in campus sexual assault proceedings and thus tacitly declaring her fandom of the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal cases which actually do present the possibility of depriving someone of “life, liberty, or property.”

Here’s the thing: campus disciplinary proceedings in sexual misconduct cases are administrative procedures carried out by private or semi-private institutions (state- and federally-funded colleges and universities do not, by dint of that funding, morph into governmental agencies — this fact is settled law). Due process does not attach to administrative procedures, it applies to civil and criminal cases as outlined in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments that dictate the parameters of governmental action against citizens.

Obviously, Yoffe has no idea what she’s talking about (hey, Atlantic, I’ll take her job if you ever figure that out), so that’ll be enough about her.

(The argument I’m about to make isn’t a completely new one for me, so I apologize for the redundancy if you happen to be one of the zero people who has read everything I’ve ever written.)

What happens when we apply the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard in criminal sexual assault cases (never mind in college administrative hearings)? It results roughly in a net of 6% of rapists ever seeing a consequence, that’s what. The presumption of innocence is generally a laudable bit of legal philosophy, as is the guarantee of due process, but something funny happens in rape cases: because the burden of proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” falls onto the prosecution (i.e. the victim), a rape victim is required to prove a negative, that she did not consent to sex. The presupposition, then, is that women wander the Earth in a constant state of consent and that they must prove that they temporarily revoked it for the period of time during which an assault occurred.

Sans a firsthand witness other than the defendant, this absurd requirement applies even when there is DNA evidence and verified injury. Seriously. “She likes it rough” has come to be one of the more common — and successful — defenses against rape charges in which the perpetrator’s DNA has been collected from the victim and she has documented injuries derived from the encounter (thank you, porn industry).

Does anyone believe men don’t know this and act with it in mind? The de facto result of this particular arrangement of legal reasoning and procedure is that rape is legal 94% of the time. Why would Yoffe (or anyone else other than a rapist) be alarmed at the prospect of a disruption of this situation? That was a rhetorical question.

The law works exactly as intended because the law was encoded and elaborated by men, for men. That women are demanding via #MeToo and #BelieveSurvivors that women’s humanity be taken into account in sexual assault proceedings — whether they occur in college administrative hearings, job interviews, civil cases, or even/especially criminal trials — does threaten to upend some of the foundational concepts of our legal system.

And? What’s the problem, again?

Let’s say we were to make one simple move and replace “beyond a reasonable doubt” with “clear and convincing evidence” as the evidentiary standard in criminal sexual assault trials:

According to the Supreme Court in Colorado v. New Mexico, 467 U.S. 310 (1984), “clear and convincing” means that the evidence is highly and substantially more likely to be true than untrue; the fact finder must be convinced that the contention is highly probable.

You know, allow judges and juries to apply common sense when deciding whether an assault has taken place, rather than allowing defense attorneys to undermine victim testimony with irrelevant personal slander about the victim’s fashion sensibility, alcohol consumption, or sexual history, and then giving jurors to believe that that “evidence” holds as much weight as all of the other evidence presented at trial if it creates a “reasonable” doubt. Juries are not, as a rule, “reasonable” when it comes to sexual assault trials because we live — as even ol’ Yoffe will admit — in a misogynistic society in which women are assumed to be manipulative liars and men are assumed to be tellers-of-truth even when they’re obviously lying their fucking faces off (see the Kavanaugh hearing).

That sexual assault trial juries (and judges) cannot be relied on to apply reason can be easily illustrated by comparing rape trials to theft trials. Rarely does a defense attorney convince a judge or jury that the owner of a stolen car loaned it to the thief, because that’s fucking ridiculous. It’s also ridiculous to believe that a woman who has reported a rape to the police, endured a gynecological exam and evidence collection that includes having her genitalia photographed, and withstood recounting the experience in a room full of hostile strangers is probably just a lying whore. But alas.

Perhaps instructing juries as to what “clear and convincing evidence” means might make them behave a little more reasonably (probably not, but it’s worth a shot). Who loses in this arrangement other than premeditated rapists? This is not exactly a radical proposition, nor would applying the “preponderance of evidence” standard be, and neither would necessarily violate the due process clauses of either the Fifth or the Fourteenth Amendments (these standards are already used in some criminal cases).

“Beyond a reasonable doubt” does not derive from the Constitution but from precedent, which renders it open to modification via much simpler means (kinda like Roe is about to be). I am, however, aware that modifying standard of proof precedent to make rape cases easier to prosecute would be well-nigh impossible with the radicalized MRA Supreme Court we’re now saddled with despite the “lack of due process” poor Brett endured.

The Object and the Missing Subject, the Effect and the Missing Cause (Part 3)

I must be stupid. I keep thinking that, any day now, the reasons women don’t report sexual assault will cease to be the hot topic du jour and I’ll be freed of the sense of responsibility to provide yet another gruesome illustrative personal example.

Remember that whole “most fucked up things that happened between the time I grew boobs and turned 22” scale? As ghastly as the events in the prior two posts were, part one clocked in at a mere four (I might put it at a six now that I’ve thought more about it) and part two clocked in at an eight. I must have been subconsciously saving the incident that topped the chart for the occasion of Brett Kavanaugh’s elevation to the post of Most Eminent Rapist in the Judicial Branch. It’s kind of a fitting analogy, given that it happened a long time ago, everyone was drunk, and no one anyone would listen to remembers any of it.

Tijuana — that wonderland of donkey shows and all-you-can-drink nights packed with underage revelers, that bastion of free-market capitalism (at least when it comes to sexual exploitation and OTC opiates) — was a mere thirty miles from my parents’ house. Like all teenagers who grew up anywhere near an arbitrary dividing line between draconian drinking-age laws and total freedom, I crossed that border semi-regularly to patronize various party palaces and drink the night away to the tune of “Boom Boom Boom” by the Outthere Brothers with thousands of other teenagers and the Marines who made the trip down from Camp Pendleton to prey upon the female ones.

For my readers who may not have experienced TJ in the 90s (or been to Thailand or whatever), I ought to set the scene. On the average night, the clubs on Avenida Revolución and the avenue itself were slathered in piss, puke, and stumbling, blacked-out children who — if they weren’t already oblivious to the very real dangers that surrounded them due to sheltered upbringings in the upper-middle-class suburbs of San Diego — had been rendered so by a deluge of Dos Equis and off-brand tequila, the latter often having been delivered in the form of a “popper.”

(Poppers aren’t available just anywhere; they’d be classified as assault in places where people don’t know how to party. A popper can take many forms, but it usually begins with someone surreptitiously handing $5 to a man with a tequila bottle and a whistle and pointing out a friend/victim, then standing back to watch as the poppero puts the victim in a chokehold, pulls their head back, pours tequila down their throat while tooting his whistle, then does one of two things: if the victim is male, the poppero will shake his head around, then spin him in a circle and let him loose; if the victim is female, he will often pick her up, put her over his shoulder, twirl around a few times, then unceremoniously dump her on the ground. In either case, the victim will usually be dizzy enough to fall ass-first into a puddle of beer and vomit before rejoining their friends. I told you, it’s a real party.)

As fun as this all sounds, it isn’t that much wilder than, say, a Georgetown Prep house party or a frat party at — I don’t know — maybe Yale? However, there was a special service available to the young male patrons of TJ night clubs: almost any bartender in town, for a small and negotiable fee, would “roof” the drink of his customer’s choice and turn a blind eye to whose hand that drink ended up in. An attendee at a Georgetown Prep house party or a Yale frat soiree who wanted to roof someone usually had to do it himself. Ah, the benefits of overseas travel.

By the time I was nineteen, blasting down the I-805, parking in San Ysidro, walking across the border, taking a taxi to Club A, irritating Border Patrol officers on my way back into the US, and then somehow getting back home was old hat. So, when two acquaintances, Jenn and Shauna, suggested one Wednesday night that we hit up Club A and I couldn’t think of a better idea, I got in the car. We found ourselves sitting in a half-empty club by about 10 PM, besieged almost immediately by a couple of unremarkable bros who insisted on buying us drinks. (Nothing seemed out of the ordinary at the time, but it’s noteworthy that this was the first time I had ever gone to TJ without a boyfriend or male friend.)

I wasn’t Hank Williams, Jr., but I wasn’t exactly a lightweight at nineteen. On countless prior occasions, I had graciously endured multiple poppers on top of several beers and made it home safely with most of the night intact in my memory the next day. Not so this time. I remember drinking exactly two beers, and then — bang — I woke up in a strange room in my underwear to find two nameless dudes looking at me with trepidation.

I had nary a clue where I was, what had happened, or who these motherfuckers were. I couldn’t think straight or talk properly, but I was petrified. My most immediate concern was getting clothed and getting away from these two strangers. I mumbled an inquiry as to where my clothes were and they claimed they didn’t know. I asked them where we were. They told me the name of the town, an exurb of San Diego with a reputation for redneckery, and I realized that I was an hour east of Tijuana and an hour southeast of my house. I asked them how I got there, and they hemmed, hawed, and then told me they had found me drunk somewhere in Tijuana and decided to take care of me. Riiight.

Realizing that I was alone in the company of two dudes who had probably drugged and violated me, I asked meekly for some clothing and access to a bathroom (so that I could check myself for signs of, uh, forced entry) and a phone (so that I could call the people I was with the night before to come and pick me up). What I should have done, according to characters as varied as Lindsey Graham and my own dear aunt, was run outside naked, scream for the police, and submit to an immediate gynecological exam.

I can’t explain why, but that thought just didn’t occur to me. I also didn’t think of grabbing the cordless phone one of them was holding and dialing 911. Another big fuck-up on my part. Instead, when he insisted on dialing the number himself, I gave him Jenn’s phone number. He handed me the phone once she answered, I told her she needed to come and get me, and when I asked him for the address, he demanded I hand the phone back to him so that he could give her directions to a Circle-K rather than the house at which these two knights in shining armor had selflessly stood vigil over me the night prior.

I got into the shower, relieved to be (sort of) alone, and inventoried my injuries before scrubbing myself raw from head to toe. I know, I know, I was destroying evidence. The rohypnol (or whatever it was) hangover must have diminished my detective’s instinct.

When I emerged from the bathroom wearing one of these dudes’ clothing, they drove me to the Circle-K. Jenn showed up a few minutes later, and when I got into her car, the owner of the clothing I had borrowed requested that I return the pants I had on. So I did. And I rode an hour home — and entered my parents’ home (they were, thank god, out at the time) — in nothing but underwear and a plain white t-shirt that homeboy figured he could afford to let go. Cheap date, I was.

On the ride home, Jenn told me she recognized both of the dudes as the bros from the night before who had bought us drinks. I blankly asked why she let them take me with them, and she said I was too fucked up for her and Shauna to carry me. I had apparently tried and failed to crawl through the cigarette butts and bodily fluids in the street to get away from the club. When Jenn and Shauna tried to pick me up and couldn’t, the two dudes appeared, assured them they would take care of me, hoisted me up, and carried me away. Jenn and Shauna went on to have a night of adventure and hilarity, unencumbered by the responsibility of caring for me, the details of which Jenn recounted to me for the rest of the trip home, pausing only to laugh at me for not having any pants on and for being a “lightweight.” I just sat there.

I don’t know, given that this occurred in 1996, if anyone involved recognized what had occurred as something called rape, myself included. I don’t know if these two dudes were experts in pharmacology and knew I would be too out of it for most of the day to even think about trying to remember the route from the house to the Circle-K. I don’t know why they hid my clothes from me and/or disposed of them (and I really don’t want to) but either left my underwear on me or put them back on me. I don’t know if the owner of the pants was concerned that they might contain traces of his DNA or if he just didn’t want to donate his Dickies to some slut he had picked up in TJ (I’m assuming it was the latter since I still had my underwear in my possession).

They were clearly aware that they had done something wrong, though I’m not sure whether that sense derived from the situation as a whole or something in particular that they had done that I didn’t and will mercifully never know about. They must not have been that concerned, or they would have killed me and/or dumped me somewhere. Maybe they were new to the game.

After I got home, I took the shower of the century, deposited the white t-shirt and my underwear in the trash outside, and retreated to my bedroom. Then the narcotic fog began to lift and was replaced by an erratic, broad-spectrum terror.

What had these dudes done to me? Did I have HIV now? Herpes? Syphilis? Why had Jenn and Shauna let them take me? Why had Jenn laughed at me? Would everyone find out? Would people call me a whore? Was I pregnant? Who the fuck were these guys? (All I could say for sure was that one had a shaved head and the other one had shoulder-length hair and that one of them lived in the city of Alpine, CA.) But, the most devastating question that looped through my mind endlessly was, why didn’t anyone care enough to do anything to protect me? (This was the incident that finally convinced me I was on my own on that one. Slow learner.)

Neither parents nor police nor friends nor medical professionals nor my motherfucking diary entered my mind. The shame and fear didn’t leave any room for any of that. My chief concern was finding out as quickly as possible whether my health was in danger and then devising a means to forget that anything had happened at all.

I could walk past either of these assholes on the street today and not know it, but they were strangers and I was drugged the last time I saw them. Had they been high school or college acquaintances, I probably — a supposition based on my prior reaction to similar situations — would never have done anything but warn other girls away from them. I definitely wouldn’t have bothered enduring a fruitless entanglement with obtuse cops before the statute of limitations ran out. Were I to magically remember their names and faces and find out one or both of them were being groomed for positions of weighty authority, I’d like to think I would come forward, despite knowing it would result in fuck-all but misery for me and a hiccup for them.

Just for laughs, I’ll speculate on how an investigation of this event at this late date would play out (for starters, it wouldn’t, because the statute of limitations passed twelve years ago). I could provide investigators with the year and season it occurred in, the details above that I remember, the name of the town in which it occurred, the layout of the room I woke up in, and the names of people I had told about it prior to coming forward (I started telling people about it about six years after it happened, when the memory of it would erupt out of nowhere and shake my sense of self and self-worth to the ground). I could pass a polygraph administered by the king of the CIA. This sounds kind of familiar.

Jenn and Shauna, on being interviewed, might remember what had happened, but maybe not. It was 22 years ago and it didn’t happen to them. If Jenn remembered it at all, it would probably be due to her having driven me home with no pants on. Though sexual abuse — especially of intoxicated and/or incapacitated women — was as normalized as listening to Sublime at that time, she would surely recognize when thinking about it now that something untoward had occurred. But she wasn’t in the room. This also sounds familiar.

It would just be another case that highlights the unique failure of the juridical philosophy of the presumption of innocence when it comes to rape. Just another instance of a misogynistic society — when presented with the choice between recognizing a woman’s humanity rather than giving a man the wealth of benefits that comes with the slightest of doubts — shrugging its collective shoulders.

Fuck it, right?

(Nah. I’ve gotta write a post in the immediate future that includes a detailed analysis of the US legal/political system and offers some kind of inchoate roadmap to remedying this situation — at least in part — and then convince everyone to get on board and effectuate it. I also have to see someone about these delusions of omnipotence.)

That’ll be the end of this series.

A Quick Note on Brother Brett

Quick. Does anyone know a single person who is so dedicated to the goals of a national political party that they would willingly place themselves between a rabid, violent mob of anti-abortion zealots and their holy grail? The idea that Dr. Blasey has fabricated her accusation simply to further the goals of the DNC — in spite of the catastrophic consequences to herself, her career, and her family — is absolutely fucking ridiculous.

But about ol’ Brett.

To sum up yesterday’s performance by the Phil Hendrie character who has been nominated to the Supreme Court:

I came away knowing four things about Brett: he played some serious JV ball, he’ll rape anyone he wants to and kick anyone’s ass who dares to mention it, he wants to see the goddamn manager immediately, and the boy fucking loves beer.

I mean, for real. If you took a shot of beer every time Kavanaugh expressed his enthusiasm for drinking beer during that hearing, you would have been as wasted by 4 PM as he was when he tried to rape Dr. Blasey.

It almost doesn’t matter how credible Dr. Blasey’s testimony was (extremely); Kavanaugh demonstrated yesterday that he isn’t intellectually or temperamentally qualified to make a decision about anything save a fantasy football draft.

Brett is an unhinged, wrathful sports hick who is most definitely a rapist (and likely a serial one) and lacks the judiciousness required of an ATV salesman. He delivered his opening statement with the acuity, spittle, and panache of a shitfaced wrestler. Ron “Tater Salad” White — with zero preparation or prior knowledge of the details of the case — could have responded on Kavanaugh’s behalf to the questioning he faced with more grace and eloquence than he did. He either didn’t bother to prepare for questioning at all — in which case he’s winning an unwarranted arrogance contest with Tekashi 6ix9ine — or he did and he’s just a fucking belligerent dunce.

What’s surprising isn’t that Donald Trump nominated this middle-aged frat try-hard or that the contemporary GOP plans to follow him straight to hell. It isn’t even surprising that he managed to wend his way through Yale Law and onto a federal bench (the boys’ club is real). What’s truly shocking is that, after that performance, there remains a single person who can think of him as anything other than the peewee football coach you wouldn’t allow your kid to play for.

I don’t know where this guy belongs, but it’s closer to angrily slamming 32-oz mugs of Pacifico by himself at a corner table at the bar of a Ruby Tuesday than it is to a Supreme Court seat.

I could go on for a few thousand more words, but it’ll have to wait.

The Object and the Missing Subject, the Effect and the Missing Cause (Part 2)

Last week, while I served as the designated driver for my mom and her two best friends, one of those two friends — a self-proclaimed football fanatic — apropos of zilch, brought up the statement Jamie Naughright made on Inside Edition back in October recounting a 1996 incident in which Peyton Manning sexually assaulted her. My mom’s friend was incredulous, wondering aloud, “Why would you bring up an incident from twenty years ago? Why didn’t she report it back then?” She was clearly under the impression that no such assault had ever occurred.

My initial mental response was, “Bruh, are you fucking serious right now?” But I played it cool and informed her that, not only had Naughtright reported the assault immediately after it occurred, but she was also awarded a settlement from the University of Tennessee over the incident because it actually happened. I also regaled her with eye-witness tales of Manning’s behavior during his stint as the King of UT; he made a habit of attending frat parties with a posse of members of the UT defensive line, where he would approach women who were with their boyfriends, grab them by the crotch, and then turn to those boyfriends (he apparently didn’t bother to address the female victims’ reactions) and say, “What are you gonna do about it, faggot?” and walk away laughing. (Sue me, bro.)

This is all a bit of a digression. I mean, it’s obvious that Peyton Manning is a psychopath — if for no other reason than the fact that he bros down with Papa John Schnatter, who is clearly a serial killer — but Shaun King has already addressed that fact and this case at length. What struck me was this woman’s baseline assumption that the victim was a liar, an assumption based on the incorrect and irrelevant belief that a significant chunk of time had elapsed between the “alleged” assault and Naughtright’s decision to report it, when in reality she had simply decided to revisit it in the context of the accusations against Harvey Weinstein and the nascent #metoo movement.

This lady ain’t no outlier. Though things have improved slightly with the emergence of the ubiquity of sexual harassment and assault as a topic in mainstream discourse, it remains the case that victims of assault can and should expect to be met with suspicion at a minimum — and more likely with overt hostility — even from other women who have almost certainly had similar experiences. The barriers to reporting are all still firmly in place, and they include far more subtle and disappointing discouragements than the cop who shames a victim for not wearing a burqa or having had the temerity to drink in public, or the attorney who defends his client by framing the victim for the crime of trollopdom.

I could make a bullet-point list of those forms of discouragement, but that would make for boring reading, so I’ll go with another bit of gruesome personal experience instead. In part 1 of what is apparently going to become a stream of trauma vomit, I described a series of incidents that were a “four on the ‘most fucked up things that happened between the time I grew boobs and turned 22’ scale.” The following is maybe an eight, so if you’re squeamish, stop reading now and go watch this instead.

In the late spring of my sophomore year, just as the flood of bullshit I recounted in the prior post had begun to recede, I went on a Memorial Day weekend camping trip with my best friend, Randy (his real name) and his older sister, Molly (not her real name), who was eighteen. It took some serious maneuvering to convince my parents to let me go, maneuvering that included Molly coming over to the house to assure my parents that she would watch over us fifteen-year-olds with the vigilance of a horse charged with the care of a dog. What she didn’t mention was that there would be three more campers in attendance — friends of hers who were all dudes aged eighteen to twenty — by the names of Danny (not his real name), Mike (not his real name), and Justin O’Brien (his full real name, which I’ll go ahead and use since he’s dead now — details to follow).

I didn’t mention these three either, naturally, as I knew it would be an instant deal-breaker and I had no plans to hang out with any of them anyway. My only plans included Mickey’s Fine Malt Liquor and tubing in a river with my BFF, but it didn’t quite turn out that way.

Molly had recently been spending less of her time with the usual carousel of surf bros I encountered when I was at Randy’s house and had taken up with Justin, a wigger who dabbled in Chicano culture by means of calling other white guys “guetto.” She had a huge crush on him, which she had confided to me on multiple occasions and which I didn’t really get. He brought Mike, another guetto who fancied himself a cholo, which he at least had a slight claim to by dint of dating the only chola in town whose bangs were teased and lacquered so high that they had to back her up a foot for her yearbook photo. Let’s call her Daniela. The third member of their crew, Danny, was one of about five black guys in town and was the older brother of my best friend from junior high, so I knew and liked him, unlike these other two clownish strangers.

Justin, as wiggers/poser cholos are wont to do when in the presence of a black guy or a Chicano, spent about half of his time making racist jokes to prove to someone that he was so down that he could insult people to their faces without getting his ass kicked. It was real clever crossover shit, too, like calling Danny “La Beno,” which he repeatedly explained was Spanish for “Uncle Ben,” the rice brand with a photo of a black guy on the box. I doubt he realized he was tacitly calling Danny a faggot by using the feminine article, given that he didn’t even know the Spanish word for “uncle,” but I’m sure he would’ve been jubilant had he known that he was being permitted that offense as well.

So, one Saturday morning, we all set off in Molly’s car for an Indian reservation about an hour from home. We had to stop along the way to fill two coolers with various malt liquors, of course. Despite the fact that I was only fifteen, I was the only person in the car with a reliable liquor store hook-up, so they sent me into Sami’s Liquor with all their money and orders to spend every dime of it, and to make sure I bought a twelver of Coors Banquet and at least six 22s of Cool Colt, a short-lived menthol-flavored variation on Colt 45 released in the early 90s.

I’m dilly-dallying here, aren’t I? We got to the campsite, didn’t set up a fucking thing, and started drinking at around 1 PM. Being a teenage lightweight, I was absolutely wrecked by 3, my tubing plans scuttled by my inability to walk. All I could do was sit at the picnic table, smoke cigarettes, and slosh my head back and forth to convey my unwillingness to pull my shirt up each time the request was made by Justin or Mike. (Danny didn’t make any such requests, but I can’t say why definitively.) I’m not sure where Randy was, but I announced that I had to find a place to pee, and Mike offered to escort me to the bushes about a hundred yards away and act as a lookout. That ain’t what happened. The details are hazy, so that’s all I’ll say on the matter.

I stumbled back to the picnic table and told Randy I wanted to go somewhere else, so we went and sat on a rock and continued to drink. I didn’t say anything about what had just occurred, and he didn’t ask. (I wasn’t privy to the conversation that occurred ’round the picnic table until I heard tidbits later third-hand, but I’m sure I could recreate it with about 99% accuracy without having to ask anyone who was there.) When the sun went down, we wandered back to the area where we were ostensibly to sleep and attempted to figure out how to set up a tent while drunk in the dark. I gave up quickly and slumped at the picnic table, leaving everyone else around a fire someone had built about 75 feet away while Randy and I were gone.

A few minutes later, Justin wandered up to me at the picnic table, pulled his dick out, and stuck it in my face, making a verbal demand I don’t suppose I need to quote. I put my hand up to shield my face, started crying, and told him to get the fuck away from me. Instead, he pulled the side of his hoodie out so as to obscure the finer visual details of what was happening and began a pantomime designed to make it appear to everyone sitting around the campfire that I had acquiesced to his demand, while I continued to sit there, cry, and shield my face. I was too afraid to look, much less get up and walk away. He eventually went back to the campfire, and I went and hid in the car for the rest of the night.

The next morning, Randy told me Molly was incensed that I had “stolen” Justin. I had spent the prior day drinking, hadn’t slept for one second, and was in such shock that I couldn’t speak. I just went to the cooler, took out all of the remaining Mickey’s, and returned to the rock I had been sitting on with Randy the prior afternoon. He followed, we drank ourselves stupid, and we woke up the next morning to get back into the car with these four to go home. Once I got there, I was still completely befuddled and couldn’t handle being alone in my room, so I went over to Randy’s house to try to talk to him about what had happened.

Molly was home, but her three escorts had since departed. Molly and her friends, all girls 3-5 years older than I was, had — due to my red hair — called me Pippy since I was twelve. That’s not terribly clever, but it was better than what Molly came up with when she saw me that afternoon: Pimpy. This goddamned fool was under the impression that I — not the two dudes who were three and five years older than I was — had been the instigator of two incidents of sexual assault. She was sure my plan had been to blow her crush all along, and she was fucking furious and vicious about it. I stayed in Randy’s room.

Later that night, Justin came back over and joined her in calling me Pimpy. I nearly lost my fucking mind. Randy went into Molly’s room and asked them both politely to stop, to no avail. I continued to hear calls of “Pimpy” through the wall that separated Randy’s room from Molly’s until I got up, went into the room, and screamed at Justin that, if he didn’t tell Molly the truth about what had happened at the picnic table — that I had not, in fact, sucked his dick in front of five other people — that I would go into the kitchen and find an instrument with which to murder him. Miraculously, he did, but it didn’t matter. That was the least of my problems.

School resumed the next day, and I walked into a class I attended with Daniela, Mike’s girlfriend and younger sister to one of my best friends, who was also in the class. Before I saw her, that friend came over, sat down next to me, and quietly told me that Mike had told Daniela that he had “cheated on her” with me and that it was all my fault. I couldn’t fucking believe it. I mean, I guess Mike had to know that Justin and Molly weren’t going to keep their mouths shut, so he did what any rapist with a sense of self-preservation would do, but I was gobsmacked.

I didn’t get much time to process my confusion, however, because Daniela was already striding across the room toward me, her right arm raised in the air. I knew what was coming, so I got up and prepared to defend myself, though I sucked at fighting due to lack of experience. All I knew how to do was grab her by the hair and duck her blows. I have no idea how long it went on for, but by the time our illustrious teacher, Mr. Toma (his real name), bothered to stop laughing and get up to separate us, I had a lock of her hair in each of my hands and we were both bleeding from the face.

The principal asked us what had catalyzed the fight. I refused to speak, naturally, and, to my shock, so did Daniela. We both got suspended for the remaining week of school, the principal and our parents convinced this was just another fight between a chola and a guetta. (It was a common occurrence. My friends in the class told me that Mr. Toma hung Daniela’s hair that I had pulled out over a trophy in the classroom, which didn’t surprise me as he was known for using the word “beaner” in a class chiefly populated by Mexican-American students.)

Despite having been suspended, both Daniela and I were permitted to submit our yearbook quotes. That year’s prompt was “last will and testament.” Daniela’s quote: “I leave my leftovers to ______ _______.” I don’t remember mine, and I don’t have a copy, but her sentiment was preserved for posterity in any case. There are copies of it in the basements of lord knows how many of my friends and acquaintances.

The school year was over, so I assumed I would at least be spared the indignity of being called a whore in public for several months, but no dice. Daniela had my phone number and my parents’ phone number, and she made liberal use of both at all hours of the night. I told her brother what had happened, and he believed me and tried to intervene, but what teenage girl is willing to believe her boyfriend is a rapist? She came over to the house one night and destroyed about $5000-worth of headlights, tires, fenders, and windows on my mom’s car. The following morning, my parents came into my room to angrily ask me what the fuck I had done to bring all of this on myself.

I was so stuffed with shame and fear that I couldn’t speak. I wasn’t indignant. I had begun to think that, had I not gone, had I not gotten drunk, had I asked Molly to take me to pee, had I known the difference between chivalry and predation, had I resisted more, had I been a fucking taekwon-do master, none of this would have happened.

Mike wouldn’t have been bragging to Justin and Danny that he had ejaculated in me, putting me at risk of disease and pregnancy, Justin wouldn’t have been emboldened to approach me at a picnic table and stick his dick in my face in front of a crowd, Molly wouldn’t hate me, I wouldn’t have gotten into a fist fight and been suspended from school, my social life and reputation wouldn’t have been destroyed, my parents wouldn’t have received hundreds of phone calls’ worth of inchoate and profane screaming, my mom’s car would be intact, my parents wouldn’t suspect me of having done something so terrible that it warranted the kind of retaliation one usually only sees in response to a fucking murder, and everything would be as relatively cool as it had been once the furor over the last goddamn time this happened to me had died down.

If the object can’t see the subject, how the fuck can anyone else? The only common thread I saw in any of the misery of the preceding six months was myself, which is exactly what social conditioning had taught me to do. I wasn’t particularly easily cowed as a teenager, but I still started to think that — if people kept doing things like this to me — maybe I wasn’t worth better treatment, and maybe I couldn’t expect any better. Maybe this was just how shit was. From whence would I have gathered the fortitude and certainty to report any of this to my parents or the police?

I suppose I could saunter into a police department today and report Mike for rape, but I’m not going to because it would be 100% pointless. As a joke, let’s say I did. First of all, the statute of limitations on rape in California is ten years, and this happened in 1993, so they would tell me to piss up a rope. Even if that weren’t the case, can you imagine the questions I’d be asked?

Cop: Why are you reporting this now, as opposed to right after it happened?

Me: Well, when it happened, I was a teenager, and I was afraid and didn’t understand what had happened to me. I was also afraid my parents would find out I had lied about who was going camping and that I had been drinking.

Cop: Oh, so you were drunk. Are you sure you didn’t just have consensual sex you regretted later?

Me: I’m sure. He had a girlfriend and I was friends with her brother. I also didn’t like him.

Cop: Are you sure you aren’t just saying he raped you because you are ashamed that you slept with your friend’s boyfriend?

Me: She wasn’t my friend, her brother was. I didn’t sleep with him, he assaulted me. I was fifteen and wasted and he was twenty and close to sober. Isn’t there a law about intoxication and consent? Aren’t there statutory rape laws?

Cop: Was there a struggle? Do you have photos or evidence of bodily damage?

Me: There was, and there was damage, but I didn’t have the clarity of mind to document them because I was a scared child, not an SVU detective.

Cop: Well, this will be a hard one to prove. Also, this guy may have a career and family now. [Wrong. He’s still a fucking loser. But who cares?] Are you sure you want to disrupt all of that?

You get the point.

Twelve years later, at Randy’s wedding, I asked Molly what the fuck she had been thinking, and she apologized and responded that she had been in love with Justin and that she was angry that he “chose me” over her. I responded with a barrage of incredulous recriminations, aghast that she would be angry that he chose to assault me instead of her, that she continued to believe the story he propagated despite the fact that I had forced him to tell her the truth. It was easier for her to blame me than confront the idea that she was in love with a cretinous monster, and she probably continued to believe it until he did something similar to someone else and her boyfriend stabbed him to death nine years after he did it to me.

The demand that women — and teenage girls especially — report sexual assaults despite the socially-inculcated certainty that they are always somehow at fault and won’t be believed by anyone is a cruel and calculatedly dishonest trap set by men who benefit from under-reporting and by women for whom the recognition of what men think of us and the ubiquity of what they do to us is simply too much to bear. It’s such a juggernaut of psychological violence and intimidation that I’m flabbergasted when anyone actually does report an assault.

The task of raising girls with the self-esteem and self-assurance required to recognize mistreatment for what it is seems impossible given the systemic misogyny of a society that refuses to acknowledge or confront the depravity it foments in boys and men, but that’s not the whole of it. When women absorb the idea that other women are untrustworthy foes in the contest for male attention and approval, who are girls supposed to turn to for help when men hurt them? When the whole of a society operates under the assumption that all girls and women are manipulative and dishonest and that men are straightforward and reliable, there is no safe harbor.

“Believe women” is a cool slogan and all, but how the fuck are we supposed to make it happen?

The Object and the Missing Subject, the Effect and the Missing Cause (Part 1)

Roy Moore just lost by a mere four votes or so despite the fact that he’s a serial child molester who lives in his own private version of Gunsmoke. The president is a rapist. Every famous dude in America — of every political stripe — has been fired or has stepped down from his job for sexually assaulting someone. Still, while the #metoo movement is laying bare the ubiquity of the abuse that all women face, there is no real concomitant movement to recognize the ubiquity of abusive behavior among men and boys or to determine the source of that behavior.

I’ll tell you a little about the source of that behavior.

Southern California is an exceedingly harsh environment to grow up in. The emotional depravity that seems to emanate from the starkly bright, spiritually empty, inescapably dull, brown landscape isn’t unique in the world, but it stopped seeming natural or unavoidable once I finally left and life, thankfully, ceased to resemble a Bret Easton Ellis novel. After recently reading about the suicide of 13-year-old Rosalie Avila after she had endured years of torment from her peers in Yucaipa — a smallish town just outside of San Bernardino — memories of growing up female in suburban San Diego began to reemerge from whatever part of my mind they have been sequestered in.

Thankfully, for Rosalie’s sake, the content of the social media bullying she endured hasn’t been made public (though I’m sure I could find it were I to make the slightest prurient effort). Still, it wouldn’t be an outrageous stretch to guess that she was terrorized for being brown and female. Everyone knows what form bullying takes when directed at an adolescent girl. Double that for girls of color.

I often wonder how one could quantify the potential, kindness, and brilliance the world loses when it is routinely beaten out of children by their families and by popular culture, and when those children turn around and unleash their anguish on other young victims (and go on to do so as adults). What would Rosalie have become if she had survived the abuse heaped upon her? How many other girls are enduring the same abuse now, and how will it alter their futures? How many imaginations have been snuffed out by the hatred this culture has for young women and people of color? How many little boys who were on track to become decent men have succumbed to the pressure to suppress their decency in favor of the capricious cruelty that adolescent society, the cult of masculinity, and popular media culture promote and reward?

How can these young people be convinced that anything outside of the nightmare they live in exists? What is the mechanism by which some victims of childhood and adolescent abuse survive and come to use their experiences to better the world, and how can it be provided to those who need it the most?

That list of questions makes it sound as though I have no hope for addressing the behavior of the culprits. That’s because I don’t. It’s a rare childhood bully who will even recognize their youthful behavior as a problem when confronted with it in adulthood, probably because emotionally terrorizing others isn’t a behavior that people easily grow out of. That would require a level of self-awareness and empathy that is hard to amass out of thin air. Besides, where would the motivation even come from when the public is too recalcitrant to shift its focus away from victim-blaming and toward the behavior of perpetrators?

Adolescents are routinely exposed to and forced to reckon with behaviors and ideas that are far too harrowing and complex for their young minds to cope with. They all commit and endure cruelties and subjugations that they are completely incapable of comprehending. Some people have argued that this is a result of the lack of purpose and meaning assigned to the life stage of adolescence in Western society. Adolescents are no longer children and aren’t yet adults, existing in a liminal zone of frustration and confusion about why they even exist. There’s nothing to do but emulate and wait, enduring a keen feeling of powerlessness and depersonalization wrought by a materialistic and power-obsessed culture. Cruelty, then, becomes a form of power for people who feel like they’ve been excluded from control over their lives.

Nothing novel there. But there was something peculiar about the social and cultural tenor of Southern California in particular that exacerbated this already noxious reality, and it seems to have metastasized to the entirety of the culture in recent years. When I grew up in Southern California, it was palpably uncool to have feelings of any kind. You didn’t respond to cruelty with tears. You didn’t respond to a reciprocated crush with honest excitement. You maintained the empty, dead demeanor of a sociopath lest you be vulnerable to the terrifying emotional possibilities around every corner. It was also extremely uncool to be intelligent, emotionally or otherwise. You forgot highfalutin words on purpose to prevent the idiot arbiters of coolness from descending upon you with their brutishly stupid rebukes. Everyone was smoothly empty and dull on the surface, their interiority completely invisible if not totally excised.

I think it took me an entire decade to recover. It’s been long enough now that I can afford to reflect on some of it in public, if only for the sake of other women and girls who might need to relate. What I’m about to recount didn’t occur in a trailer park. It wasn’t aberrant. We weren’t “the bad kids.” (Harmony Korine — retch — and Larry Clark were onto something bigger than they realized). This is not an extreme example, but rather the everyday reality that adolescent girls endure in this society until they either die emotionally, actually kill themselves, or rediscover the last glimmer of humanity inside themselves in time to escape and resist.

Sometime near the middle of my sophomore year in high school, I lost the only form of protection teenage girls have from the predations of teenage boys: my boyfriend. Well, I didn’t “lose” him; he decided to sleep with one of my friends while he was watching my parents’ house while we were on vacation. Being only fifteen, I handled it poorly, which means I partied a lot and was susceptible to predatory male attention because having been cheated on had made me doubt my self-worth. Some guy I had had a mild crush on in junior high started paying attention to me. Let’s call him Jack Phillips. At one of many Mickey’s-soaked house parties I attended that winter, I had three too many Hornets and blacked out, only to learn later that Phillips had intercourse with me.

I only discovered this had occurred because it immediately became the talk of the town. Another piece of evidence that something untoward had happened: while hanging out at my best friend’s house playing Toejam and Earl, I discovered a photo of myself and that best friend in which I had been rendered invisible under the etched letters “fuken hor.” I asked him who had done it, and he told me Phillips had, then asked me why I hung out with him. I didn’t know. I was too young to understand the mechanisms at work in my poor decision-making, and I was certainly not emotionally sophisticated enough to shrug it off and recognize Phillips as a psychopath (and an idiot). I mean, I did shrug it off — because that was a social requirement — but I internalized the message in the etching and the idea that Phillips’s stupidity and warped psyche and sexuality were somehow something for me to be ashamed of.

Shortly thereafter, I found myself at yet another party with Phillips. He suggested we drive up to some remote area where teenagers went to party unmolested by parents or cops. I was drunk, I desperately needed to misunderstand the obvious meaning of his treatment of me, and my naivete/denial told me the invitation meant he actually did like me but didn’t know how to express it (dear god, everyone, STOP telling young girls that boys’ abuse is a sign of a crush). We went. He demanded I have sex with him, threatening to leave me at the top of the mountain we had driven up if I didn’t. It was 1993. There were no cell phones. I certainly wasn’t going to knock at the gate of one of the “estates” up there and ask to call my parents to come pick me up, so I started walking downhill. He pulled alongside me and apologized, and I got in the car and let him drunk-drive me home.

That would have been the end of our interactions were it not for the fact that he continued to call me constantly. One night, a friend I’ll call Sarah was spending the night at my house. She had just moved to the area from Utah, which rendered her woefully ill-prepared for the viciousness of a social environment informed more by Sublime lyrics than human decency. She was impressionable and eager to fit in, and for some reason found my interactions with Phillips fascinating. He called while we were sitting in my bedroom drinking yet more Mickey’s (I still can’t explain what I was doing drinking the official fine malt liquor of House of Pain so often; maybe we were white trash) and she told me to invite him over. I did so reluctantly, knowing no good would come of it, and none did.

They ended up having sex in front of me, these two inebriated children with no inkling of the social or emotional consequences of their actions beyond the immediate moment. I didn’t consider it socially acceptable to have obvious feelings about it, so I got up and wandered out into the house so as not to be forced to watch and listen, wandering back in to find Sarah crying after Phillips had climbed back out the window he had climbed in to drive drunk to his next destination. We went to sleep hugging each other, both engulfed in a confused fog of shame and fear.

The next day, she was an absolute mess. Shortly after she went home, she attempted to kill herself by taking upwards of 100 ibuprofen. Her mother called my parents to ask what had happened and they were astounded, having slept through the pointless drunken destruction that had occurred a mere 75 feet from their bedroom door. They naturally demanded that I tell them what went on, but I refused out of shame and some sense of obligation to protect Sarah from the intervention of adults I was sure could not possibly understand what she (or I) was going through. It netted me a month without a phone or a social life outside of school, which was probably for the best.

You know who wasn’t engulfed in shame, fear, parental punishment, and social opprobrium? Phillips. He was at a party the following weekend bragging that Sarah had tried to kill herself because she had had sex with him. In other words, this teenage kid was celebrating the fact that he had enough power to ruin someone’s life by having sex with them.

Men — adolescent ones especially — are so incapable of self-reflection that they can consider a woman defiled, ruined, permanently tainted by having come into contact with their dicks without thinking about what that says about them. He wasn’t ashamed of anything from what anyone could tell. He wasn’t shunned from any social circle, no one bothered to interrupt him to tell him there might be something wrong with what he was saying and doing, and he presumably continued to do it for all I know. He suffered zero social consequences for multiple instances of what today is considered sexual assault and for taking advantage of someone’s natural human need to be liked to the extent that she wanted to die.

Oddly enough (wink wink), people had plenty to say about me and about Sarah and our decisions. It disrupted our lives to the extent that we were prevented from thinking about literally anything else for months. I’m frankly shocked, given how poorly-developed our coping skills and emotional intelligence were at that age, and given the systemic psychological sickness of our social environment, that we didn’t both end up actually killing ourselves.

This incident was maybe a four on the “most fucked up things that happened between the time I grew boobs and turned 22” scale. It was part of what made me a mistrustful, angry jerk by the time I was 16, which didn’t help protect me as much as it led me further away from my true nature. And it was just one small speck of dust in a vast and dark universe of adolescent depravity.

Things are not better for young women today than they were in the 90s, they are exponentially worse. Internet porn, the vicious recent backlash against feminism, the death of the counterculture messages that used to compete with the materialistic and emotionally violent messages of popular media, and the rise of intrusive and inescapable social media have left young women in a much more emotionally precarious position than I ever found myself in, which beleaguers the imagination.

Which brings me back to my main point: I’m not surprised that suicide is on the rise among an ever-younger demographic. Just days before Rosalie Avila did so, a ten-year-old girl hanged herself after being bullied. Months before, an eight-year-old boy did the exact same thing for the exact same reason.

A week doesn’t go by that I don’t hear about an adolescent girl committing suicide after being coerced into sending revealing photographs to some porn-conditioned teenage boy (or some adult predator) who immediately turns around and shares them with all his friends at a minimum, and often with the whole world via social media and revenge porn sites. It’s downright pedestrian these days to read about a teenage girl being gang raped at some party, only to find out later that her assailants have recorded and shared images of her humiliation with everyone they know. The social consequences then fall squarely on her while the rapists get high-fived by their boys.

Teenage society, the law, and even the media have a never-ending supply of opprobrium for these girls, but there is somehow never enough left over for the boys and men who take advantage of them.

Anti-bullying campaigns are not an indication that things are getting better; they’re a begrudging recognition of the enormity of the problem of psychological and physical abuse against and among children and adolescents. The search for the root cause of this epidemic bears no fruit because those doing the searching don’t want to find the answer. Each “investigation” of adolescent suicide comes to the same conclusion: social media is beyond adult control and makes it easier for bullies to target victims.

It’s a facile explanation that allows everyone to shrug and move on without asking why the culture is becoming crueler, meaner, more atomized (and what role social media is playing in that process). It allows the parents of shitty little people to evade the examination of their own behavior and parenting practices. It offers nothing in the way of a solution for the millions of girls (and boys) in America who suffer from depression, anxiety, and PTSD as a result of the way they’re treated by a growing number of underage sociopaths. And it completely elides the role of the perpetrators and a culture that foments and rewards cruelty, and then conveniently overlooks or excuses the behavioral excesses it inculcates.

It isn’t like we don’t know how these kids will turn out. It isn’t like we don’t know how the cycle of abuse works. I wonder how much more filthy laundry will have to be aired before the focus ends up where it belongs: on the perpetrators and the sociopolitical/economic systems that create them.

An (((Asshole Feminist’s))) Guide to the Alt-Right: Part 1

kek

We were seeing the attempt of a handful of pathetically unequipped children to create a community in a social vacuum. Once we had seen these children, we could no longer overlook the vacuum, no longer pretend that the society’s atomization could be reversed. This was not a traditional generational rebellion. At some point between 1945 and 1967 we had somehow neglected to tell these children the rules of the game we happened to be playing. Maybe we had stopped believing in the rules ourselves, maybe we were having a failure of nerve about the game. Maybe there were just too few people around to do the telling. These were children who grew up cut loose from the web of cousins and great-aunts and family doctors and lifelong neighbors who had traditionally suggested and enforced the society’s values. They are children who have moved around a lot, San Jose, Chula Vista, here. They are less in rebellion against the society than ignorant of it, able only to feed back certain of its most publicized self-doubts, Vietnam, Saran-Wrap, diet pills, the Bomb.

— Joan Didion “Slouching Toward Bethlehem,” 1967

People are still flailing around trying to understand “how this happened.” How did the US elect a (rich) bowling league captain from Dayton into the most powerful political post on Earth? As usually occurs when they don’t get their way, liberals have decided that rural working class whites have been duped into voting against their own interests. The only problem with that explanation is that economically insecure rural white people only account for 17% of the electorate.

What actually occurred belies that explanation: every honky in the United States who wasn’t actively campaigning for Clinton and Tim Kaine voted for Trump, many Bernie Sanders supporters included. The DNC and the average urban leftist have done little to counter the image the right and the alt-right have created of the derisive Democratic elitist who spends half their time blaming rural whites for all of the country’s ills and the other half shopping for faux-folksy luxury goods while completely ignoring the realities of the people whose lives they’re romanticizing. That’s a level of full-of-shit that very few people can stomach, much less identify with.

But that isn’t enough to explain why so many white people of every social class and age decided to overlook or — in most cases — embrace the racism, misogyny, and xenophobia of the MAGA crowd. Bernie Bros and the actual left argue that this was a vote against neoliberalism; how many people you know know what the fuck neoliberalism is? How many people you know give a fuck about neoliberalism? (Say that like Steve Harvey.)

They also argue that this vote was a reaction to Obama’s failure to address the root causes of the economic crisis of 2008/9. Uh huh. I mean, he did fail to do so, but no one who voted for Trump could tell you what the root causes of that crash were or who Obama kept around despite their obvious complicity in the crash. Further, the idea that a billionaire would step in and break the bond between Wall Street and Washington, DC is too absurd even for a Trump supporter to take seriously.

Then there’s the theory that people were tired of the status quo and chose Trump because he was an outsider once Bernie Sanders lost the primary. That part may be true, but not in the way it’s usually presented. It isn’t as if Joe Six Pack is sitting in the Oval Office right now. A rich, old, white man is not capable of being an outsider in an old, rich, white man’s FUBU system. The only thing that makes Trump an outsider is his willingness to make brazenly racist and sexist comments in public. (Oh, that and the fact that he’s probably mentally disabled. But that criterion would make Ronald Reagan an outsider in US political culture, so nah.)

No one is confused about why old white men voted for Trump. The world is changing, their position at the zenith of the social hierarchy seems imperiled, women and people of color are getting WAY too uppity, and they weren’t about to see a woman take the place of a black guy in the White House. (If you’d like to learn which variant of Stockholm Syndrome drove old white women to vote for someone who openly admitted to sexual harassment and assault, read Right-Wing Women by Andrea Dworkin; I don’t have time to get into that here.)

But, again, old white people couldn’t have done this by themselves. The DNC was so sure it had a lock on the youth vote that no one bothered to pay attention to what young people are even up to these days. And that’s what we’re here to discuss.

I’ll begin with a few caveats. First, I’m not a beta cuck, so I don’t spend 27 hours a day consuming media. That means that I’m not familiar with every layer of the inside jokes on 4chan, YouTube, and Reddit, so please forgive any minor gaffes I may make by dint of not being a complete dork.

Second, I’m not a millennial. I was born at the tail end of Generation X (thank Christ), which means the Internet and POV video games have only existed for half of my life. I had complex thoughts and experiences before the rise of interactive, neurologically manipulative media platforms, unlike people born, say, ten years after me. Who cares, right? Well, the world mistakenly believes millennials hold a patent on “irony” in the sense that the term is currently used, which is incorrect. Gen X counterculture in the early 90s created that phenomenon. Irony, as it developed in the 90s, consisted of making an ass of oneself on purpose in order to take away the power of materialistic, authoritarian bullies. It worked. That being said, it has gotten away from us and has morphed into the opposite of itself; rather than poking holes in conformity and undermining philosophically empty modes of living, it has been taken up by people who are missing the fundamental understanding of its usefulness. In other words, one of our most effective weapons against political and cultural authoritarianism now serves to further them both, whether on purpose or as a result of the clueless nihilism of those who deploy it (more on that later).

Third, I’m not a liberal. What used to be the party of Mr. Rogers types has become a competitive credulity and self-effacement league that is so repellent to anyone with any common sense or self-respect that I’m surprised there are any members left. Remember, shortly after the election, when Colin Jost joked on Saturday Night Live that Tinder now offered users 37 gender options and that the program was called “Why Democrats lost the election”? Well, that was fucking funny because it’s true. At some point, Democrats are going to have to confront the reality that ideologically and legally dicey propositions such as subjective self-reporting on gender identity are going to drive even diehard liberals out of the tent. I mean, really, who can tolerate listening to some North Face prick make hackneyed, obvious jokes about the stupidity of American Christians he’s completely unfamiliar with and then — in the next breath — demand that everyone show respect to Islam? The Democrats are literally playing themselves and feeding ammo to the alt-right like it’s their raison d’être. Any party that operates on game theory without any cognizance of the aims of the players is bound to lose.

With that shit out of the way, let’s get to lumping people into broad and blunt categories. Everyone’s favorite gay, half-Jewish, Supreme-sponsored misogynist, Milo Yiannopoulos (who would be a misceginator if he weren’t gay), in his “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right” divided the alt-right into “Intellectuals,” “Natural Conservatives,” “The Meme Team,” and “1488ers.” I’m going to largely ignore most of these people for a few reasons.

“Natural Conservatives” and “1488ers” are nothing new. Radical-right white separatists have been around for decades, as have the wide array of non-ironic neo-Nazi organizations everyone is pretending just emerged onto the political scene. No one in, say, North Idaho is surprised at the disillusionment of white separatists with the pro-immigration stance of a Republican party that exists to serve the interests of corporations who need immigrants to suppress wages. The only new development in the world of earnest far-right white separatists/supremacists is that they’ve been given the signal that it’s OK to make a scene of themselves in public again for the first time since the 80s.

Milo’s “Intellectuals” don’t really merit the label, either. Steve Bannon may be a wet-brain alcoholic, but he isn’t stupid. Nor was Andrew Breitbart. But their attempt to coat extremely stupid far-right ideas with a veneer of intellectualism wasn’t working when I wrote about it a few years ago:

I wouldn’t know who Breitbart was had I not seen Dylan Ratigan interview him — and even then I could scarcely pay attention because I lost the ability to be amused by conservative commentators years ago — but apparently he makes the claim that objectivity is a falsehood propagated by the “liberal media” in order to cloak its agenda in an air of factual empiricism, when in reality they approach current events with just as much bias as Rush Limbaugh or any other right-wing demagogue. The debate over whether there is such a thing as a “liberal media” is beyond hackneyed and boring at this point, but it is rather amusing to hear a conservative public “intellectual” question the existence of true objectivity. It sounds oddly reminiscent of, oh, I don’t know, let’s say post-modern liberal academics. That isn’t an accident…[It’s] a new trend among conservative commentators, which is to jettison the Glenn Beck-esque hysteria that has characterized conservative media since Obama’s election and replace it with a faux-intellectualism that will allow even the borderline-illiterate to feel like top shelf political analysts.

And it isn’t working now, either. No actual intellectual is buying into the biological essentialism of the Bell Curve crowd or the theories of female inferiority that emerge from the “manosphere.” These arguments may be compelling to those who have never read anything longer than a Tumblr post, but there really isn’t an intellectual arm of the alt-right that has been anointed as such by anyone but themselves.

That leaves “The Meme Team.” If you ask me, they’re the only sub-group in Milo’s taxonomy that warrant examination, since they’re the ones the DNC are so thirsty for (never mind the GOP, who rightfully fear the alt-right that appears dangerously nihilistic and incomprehensible to them).

Millennial Men in Contemporary Political Culture

Neither political party has the ability to connect with millennials of any stripe because they’re both run by Baby Boomers and a few sellout Gen Xers who have no idea what life is like for a huge generation emerging into adulthood in a world that offers almost zero hope. Given that millennials are the most babied demographic in US history, it’s no surprise that they’re disillusioned with the reality of their lives when compared to what they had come to expect from the worlds their parents curated for them.

The economy has yet to recover from the 2008/9 financial crisis, and the “job growth” since the crisis consists of part-time positions for little (or no) pay and no benefits or security. Even the privileged millennials who manage to finish college are faced with the choice of defaulting on their student loans and borrowing money from their parents so they can intern for no pay or taking a service-sector job that will prevent them from ever pursuing a career position. Why bother? The ones without rich parents might as well throw in the towel now and start popping oxys.

Male millennials have a unique set of problems. They grew up on violent internet porn, music that celebrates money and fucking, movies and television shows that assured them that they needn’t do anything but sit and wait for a girlfriend to materialize and fulfill all of their bizarre fantasies, and violent video games that taught them to take anything they wanted by any means necessary (and to worship the military, if only for their masculine prowess as portrayed in these fantasy-lands). The world taught them to be lazy and incompetent, then didn’t deliver on the promise that being lazy and incompetent is no barrier to achievement. They also have no idea what’s going on, having fallen victim to the decades-long Republican offensive against public education, and have no social skills because they’ve lived their entire lives being coddled by their parents and interactive media designed to flatter their unwarranted arrogance. Given the growing gender achievement gap, it’s not surprising that young women are choosing to stay single rather than hitch their wagon to some entitled loser.

That leaves young men with two options: become a manipulative, faux-feminist, hipster fuckboy in order to use and abuse women, or — if they’re not handsome or “cool” enough to do that — retreat further from the hopelessness of reality and into the weird, stupid, dark circles of internet culture. It’s no surprise, then, that the “Meme Team” turns to “irony” and anonymous bullying to soothe their bruised egos. Young men have nothing to lose, nothing to hope for, and no ethical reference points. That’s a recipe for pointless chaos.

No one knows for sure what percentage of dudes in their 20s sincerely believe in the alt-right platform of white male supremacy, Libertarianism, and isolationism. No one knows what percentage of them promoted and voted for Trump and his looney message for the lulz. No one knows what percentage of them supported Bernie Sanders and then gave up and became nihilists when he didn’t magically turn the US into Denmark. No one knows what percentage of them place the entirety of the blame for the sorry state of their lives on women and/or feminism (though that’s likely upwards of 80%).

Millennial alt-right internet culture is amorphous and atomized, but the thread that seems to tie everything together is anti-feminism, mistaken self-perceived intellectual superiority, and trolling both for its own sake and as a protective measure for the ego. Oh, and the fact that every single one of these guys is a complete fucking dork. Let’s break it down a little, but keep in mind that there is massive overlap between all of the categories below.

Asshole Atheists

Dear lord, fucking atheists. Is there anything more irritating than a newly-minted atheist basking in the glow of self-satisfaction of having arrived at a conclusion most of us reached before junior high? Self-proclaimed inheritors of the virtues of logic, facts, and objectivity who display none of the above in their arguments, online atheists overlap so hard with incels and internet racists that I doubt there’s one dude out there who is one and not all three.

As Alex Nichols points out, atheism was annoying enough when deployed in response to the evangelical turn during the Bush years, but once intelligent design faded from the political scene, the genius brigade turned their jaundiced eyes on women and feminism:

New Atheism and the Gamergate movement of 2014—which sicced vicious online mobs on female journalists and game designers based on spurious allegations of media corruption—overlapped in several ways. They were both male-dominated, the latter almost exclusively so, and they both festered on nerd-oriented internet forums. Both movements resented women and minorities who asserted themselves within those spaces, ostensibly because it provided an unimportant distraction from their respective goals of destroying religion and uncritically consuming entertainment products. The difference, though, was that Gamergate had no basis in reality. The central allegation of that controversy, that a developer slept with a Kotaku writer in order to secure a positive review of her game, was blatantly untrue. No such review existed, which posed a problem for anyone who viewed himself as the protagonist in a battle “vs. FEMINISM.” In order to continue this all-out war on feminists—the curious replacement creationists for a new decade that lacked for them—these New-New Atheists had to break with reality altogether…

The only surprising thing about this marriage of convenience between the most irritating rhetorical style and the dumbest possible ideology is that it took so long to come about. Whatever merits anti-theism may have with regard to social issues, humanism was never the prime mover for New Atheism’s most devout adherents. They were after the burst of dopamine that comes from feeling smarter than other people, from exercising some pathetic simulacrum of masculine power, from seeing someone else feel bad and knowing they were responsible. Strangely enough, this is also the goal of modern right-wing politics. Just as conservatives discovered they could skip straight to the “angry liberal” portion of the argument by electing Donald Trump, the worst New Atheists discovered they didn’t need atheism at all. They could be just as insufferable alone, on Youtube, spitting nonsense into the vacuum.

There’s no telling whether these fools believe their arguments hold water, but at least some of them have to. Otherwise, I’d be forced to believe they’ve all got unlimited time on their hands and don’t mind wasting it on making YouTube videos from their filthy bedrooms affecting aggressive sincerity just to see how much of other people’s time they can waste.

Ironic” Racists, Anti-semites, Misogynists, and Homophobes

Milo, though he’s disingenuously sanguine about the real motives of the “Meme Team,” makes a point:

Millennials aren’t old enough to remember the Second World War or the horrors of the Holocaust. They are barely old enough to remember Rwanda or 9/11. Racism, for them, is a monster under the bed, a story told by their parents to frighten them into being good little children.

As with Father Christmas, Millennials have trouble believing it’s actually real. They’ve never actually seen it for themselves — and they don’t believe that the memes they post on /pol/ are actually racist. In fact, they know they’re not — they do it because it gets a reaction. Barely a month passes without a long feature in a new media outlet about the rampant sexism, racism or homophobia of online image boards. For regular posters at these boards, that’s mission accomplished.

Another, more palatable, interpretation of these memes is that they are clearly racist, but that there is very little sincerity behind them.

There’s no real way to determine how many of the dipshits who spout racist nonsense online and at poorly-attended rallies are sincere believers in the “ideas” they spread, which is part of the reason most of them choose the forums they do. Maybe they’re just excited at the prospect of saying “nigger” and “faggot” in their little safe spaces under the cover of a handle. Some of them have consoled themselves with the ludicrous idea that their incel-dom can be blamed on the fact that women are out misceginating with black guys instead of staying true to their race. Some of them may even be stupid enough to have been convinced of their genetic superiority by the likes of ol’ Gavin McInnes and his Proud Boys, who hold that straight white men created everything of value in the world (though that could just be McInnes duping them into helping him salvage his career by trolling the public on a hot-button topic).

Oh, where would we be without the Mountain Dew-swilling creators of all that is civilized and worthy! Sorry, not Mountain Dew, milk. That’s right. White men are meeting up in New York City of all places to chug milk together in some kind of fucking dairy-based Fight Club to demonstrate their ability to tolerate lactose. Which, of course, proves that white people are the best people. Or that they’re just bad comedians.

I’ve seen my share of racist, sexist, and homophobic memes, believe you me. Most of the content has to be a joke, however poorly-conceived. How can anti-semitism explode in a time and place when no one can name a Jew other than Jon Stewart? Still, what the fuck is to be gained from pretending to be a racist, homophobe, anti-semite, or misogynist other than the opportunity to flex one’s waning white male privilege in a forum in which no one is around to kick your ass?

Incels and Their Svengalis

In case you’re unaware, “incel” is a portmanteau of “involuntarily celibate.” These guys are NOT kidding. One really wants to feel sorry for incels, but they’re so repugnant that it just isn’t possible. Elliot Rodger was the quintessential incel, and I hate rewriting something I’ve already written, so here’s what I have to say about that:

The culture tells all men that they are owed access to women’s bodies and energy. Sitcoms feature attractive women married to and putting up with mountains of bullshit from blundering schlubs. Movies hammer the idea into boys’ minds that young, hot women, though they may resist at first, will eventually fall into the laps of lazy, misogynistic, overgrown infants like those played by Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill. Porn tells young boys with no other knowledge of sex that women are filthy pigs who just love being gangbanged and ejaculated on by abusive, sneering monsters.

I don’t know why girls rejected Elliot Rodger when he entered adolescence, or whether they even did. There seemed to have been a window in junior high — before he started consuming porn — when that was not the case. He might have been a little awkward, he may have lacked social skills, but it appears that his obsessive sense of entitlement to what he believed other boys enjoyed (whether that was the case or not) took over, coloring all of his interactions and probably preempting any chance he had at relating to girls. He was consumed by the foolish belief that porn and bullshit adolescent male bragging were reality for everyone but him. Once that set in, his anger and desperation probably became palpable in social situations to the point that women — who learn from a young age how to spot signs of danger in male behavior — steered clear.

Without any real contact with women, for Rodger, they became cartoon characters, aliens, beasts, non-human. They were an enemy to be vanquished, a prize to be collected for the achievement of having been born male, the source of all of his frustrated expectations. He absorbed those messages wholesale from mass media culture. Rodger’s memoir reads like a catalog of his consumption of popular media, from Pokemon through World of Warcraft through Halo 2, from Star Wars to the Lord of the Rings trilogy to Game of Thrones, to internet pornography, to MRA discussion forums populated by legions of men railing against women for not fulfilling the fantasies instilled in them by that same media culture.

They’re pathetically off-track and have no chance of solving what they perceive to be the biggest problem in their lives: lack of sex. They spend their days jacking off to internet porn, cultivating anime philias, pining for the day they’ll be able to afford their very own robotic sex doll, and spewing misogyny all over the internet. They’ve become a target market for pick-up artist charlatans like Roosh V who purport to teach men the secrets to transforming themselves from beta cucks into alpha pussy magnets by neg-ing and otherwise manipulating women into getting naked. Once that inevitably fails, they swarm to 4chan, YouTube, and Reddit to air their rape, murder, and necrophilia fantasies.

freemarket

Kekistani Kaos

Old white people don’t know what to make of this goofy cartoon frog in a MAGA hat, even though he helped elect their boy president. Pepe, described here by Dale Beran (who is way too diplomatic in his description), stands in for the cesspool of losers who made him famous:

Viewed through the lens of the people first posting him, Pepe makes nothing but sense. The original comic panels from which Pepe is excerpted feature him getting caught peeing with his pants pulled all the way down, his ass hanging out. Surprisingly, he is unashamed of this, “feels good man” he tells his roommate.

The grotesque, frowning, sleepy eyed, out of shape, swamp dweller, peeing with his pants pulled down because-it-feels-good-man frog is an ideology, one which steers into the skid of its own patheticness. Pepe symbolizes embracing your loserdom, owning it. That is to say, it is what all the millions of forum-goers of 4chan met to commune about. It is, in other words, a value system, one reveling in deplorableness and being pridefully dispossessed. It is a culture of hopelessness, of knowing “the system is rigged”. But instead of fight the response is flight, knowing you’re trapped in your circumstances is cause to celebrate. For these young men, voting Trump is not a solution, but a new spiteful prank.

This would be sort of funny if it weren’t for the utterly aimless and stupid chaos it has wrought:

At some point, someone at 4chan happened to seize on a coincidence: There was, in fact, an Egyptian god named Kek. An androgynous god who could take either male or female form, Kek originally was depicted in female form as possessing the head of a frog or a cat and a serpent when male; but during the Greco-Roman period, the male form was depicted as a frog-headed man.

More importantly, Kek was portrayed as a bringer of chaos and darkness, which happened to fit perfectly with the alt-right’s self-image as being primarily devoted to destroying the existing world order.

In the fertile imaginations at play on 4chan’s image boards and other alt-right gathering spaces, this coincidence took on a life of its own, leading to wide-ranging speculation that Pepe – who, by then, had not only become closely associated with the alt-right, but also with the candidacy of Donald Trump – was actually the living embodiment of Kek. And so the Cult of Kek was born.

Millennial male nihilism and dishonest, self-serving “irony” have managed to cohere into an Egyptian frog cult with origins in an arcane joke from a video game, the invention of a fake ancient civilization (Kekistan), and a goddamned FLAG based on the Nazi banner that these idiots wear in public as a cape. These people actually think this is funny, that this demonstrates their superior intellect, that trolling the world by inventing a cult and playing dress-up will result in anything other than further isolating them from everyone but other edgelords/shitlords. Or maybe they don’t. Who knows?

Remember when we were all making fun of LARPers? They control the political culture for the foreseeable future and have no discernible goals other than punishing women for not putting out and fomenting further dorkery and chaos, no matter what the cost. We got caught slippin’ big time.

Me too, son.

The mainstream media has collectively lost its mind in the past week over the “shocking” revelation that a movie producer would abuse his power over the careers of aspiring actors in order to sexually harass and assault them, then scare them into silence with the exact same set of implied threats that allowed him to commit the crimes in the first place. Since the vast majority of my readership is female, I’m sure none of you were floored by the revelation, given that this kind of shit goes on literally everywhere all the time and has since the dawn of the age of homo sapiens (and, of course, earlier). While it’s heartening to see the dark and dirty truth blip into the public consciousness, it’s likely that the furor will die down in short order and that everyone will resume the charade. Everything is cool, ladies. We caught the bad guy.

I moved to Hollywood in 1999, just after I turned 21. I had zero interest in being an actor (or having anything to do with the film and television industry); I just moved there because it was an affordable neighborhood (this was 1999) in the closest big city to San Diego, where the people I was hanging out with were such degenerates that I decided I had to jet in order to avoid jail or an overdose. I’d like to say that situation improved after the move, but I just traded in a crew of reprobate upper-middle-class bros for a city full of predatory gutterballs with more money.

One needn’t seek employment in the entertainment industry to attract the attention of unctuous perverts in LA. One of my first jobs on arrival was as a waitress at the semi-infamous Mel’s Drive-In, where James Woods propositioned Amber Tamblyn, 16 at the time, with an impromptu jaunt to Vegas with him and some other senior citizen. He must have made a serious habit of propositioning women a third of his age at Mel’s, because he did the same thing to me (though I had at least reached the age of majority; he was 52 at the time). The remainder of the transaction was as awkward as you would imagine. James Woods was — in my mind — only marginally famous, yet he felt like he was a big enough deal that teenagers ought to jump at the chance to be molested by him. Andrew Dice Clay, the epitome of a has-been at the time, had been 86ed from the establishment for groping waitresses just months earlier.

But it wasn’t just the town’s well-known actors, producers, and talent agents who considered the city of Los Angeles a smorgasbord of potential victims. At that same restaurant, I had two male coworkers who had moved to the city to become famous and were just waiting tables until the entertainment elite recognized their mediocre looks and revolting personalities as star material (the cliché is real, y’all). One was a dude from somewhere in the Northeast named Anthony who insisted on being called “London.” Most interactions I had with him consisted of him pointing at bananas and then at his own dick. (You can find this specimen in the archives of the dating show Fifth Wheel if you’re interested.) The other one, Reagan, managed to behave like a reasonable (though dorky) person at work most of the time, but once put on a Frank Sinatra song and tried to make out with me, despite my obvious lack of interest (that quickly morphed into mortified laughter once he tried to Swingers me).

Then there were the mystery men who sat in my section and, shortly before paying their bill (and just before they decided what kind of tip to leave), would ask me if I was an actress. When I replied that, no, unlike every other young woman in town waiting tables, I had no interest in acting, they would say something like, “Well, you’re gorgeous and you should be. Why don’t you give me your number and I can introduce you to some people.” The conditions attached were unspoken, but were louder than a Miami bass war.

I had to “grow up” sometime, so I left Mel’s and got a job at the corporate office of a national chain of lingerie stores headquartered in Hollywood. The office was mercifully free of men, despite the fact that the company produced clownish lingerie ostensibly designed for men’s entertainment and titillation.  (I mean, I couldn’t see the draw of a red bra with underwires but no cups, so men must have been the target market.) Still, I spent at least 2% of my time at work fielding obscene phone calls.

It got so old that, while perusing online job ads at work one day, I decided to apply for a job as a receptionist at Creative Artists Agency, a fairly influential organization in the entertainment world. The interviewer was about 60 and I was still 21. He spent the entirety of the thirty years or so that I was in his office alternating between licking his lips and telling me I would look good up front and lowballing me on the job’s pay. He kept dangling the promise of becoming an assistant to one of their agents, assuring me that one day I would be a big deal Hollywood agent provided that I was up to the task of working there (and would accept poverty wages). The task was in his shorts. I still don’t know what this asshole’s job title was, or why he was selected to interview me, but I have to assume the intent was to weed out the kind of spoilsports who couldn’t handle a little sexual harassment.

All work and no play makes for a boring account of the wide world of Hollywood sexual misconduct. Through some very odd circumstances, I ended up spending a lot of time with a couple of *dudes who had been famous as teen heartthrobs in the early 90s. They were decent people (they had probably endured some sexual abuse themselves, having been child actors) despite the fact that one was a Scientologist (wasn’t everyone in LA in 1999). But their friends were unbelievable. A crew of trust-fund twentysomethings whose only connection to the entertainment industry was their parents, they were brazen and merciless in their tactics of manipulating hopeful young women into having sex with them by pretending to have connections they didn’t have and promising opportunities they had no access to (and no intention of following through on if they did).

They once took me to a club that was nigh impossible to get into at the time, Barfly, where I stood around picking at my clothing while Corey Feldman (he wasn’t there with us) made an ass of himself on the dance floor and an old fat man chased attractive young women around the room with handfuls of hundred dollar bills. Though it was an odd sight, the only reason anyone made sport of his behavior was that he made plain the (usually) unspoken but pervasive assumption that all young women in Los Angeles are for sale. (Hey, loser, get some game and quit being so extra.)

Then there’s the kid we all used to refer to affectionately as “little Will.” We found it amusing to see a 13-year-old trying to breakdance while in a K-hole. You might know him as The Gaslamp Killer, who has raped who knows how many women now that he’s all grown up and famous and has access to roofies and female fans.

Then there was ol’ “shocked and apalled” Ben Affleck, who regularly staggered his way around my neighborhood breakfast cafe, drunkenly sexually harassing the female staff at 7 AM because he could.

Then there was the *globular millionaire son of a director who had no friends whatsoever and would invite young people (male and female) to his house when the bars closed, shove piles of “free” cocaine at them, and then demand that they perform sexual entertainment as payment at the end of the night, later sending them big-screen televisions in the hopes of a repeat engagement. And the *”photographer” who actually made his living selling ecstasy at Garden of Eden and used the proceeds to lure women half his age to his apartment down the street, where he fed them drugs and bullshit until they acquiesced to his sexual demands (free headshots, anyone?).

These vignettes all derive from the outskirts — if not from outside of — the entertainment industry. You can imagine — and have learned in the past few weeks the specifics of — the heights of sexual menace inside the offices of people with actual power in Hollywood. A city brimming with young women (and men) intent on becoming famous makes a great hunting ground for manipulative sexual predators up and down the payscale.

And let me tell you, I’ve got a lot more where this comes from involving men who are about as closely connected to the entertainment industry as I am to Richard Spencer.

Harvey Weinstein isn’t an outlier. He’s an example of the entitlement of nearly all men in positions of power over women’s careers, and all men who know the threat of violence, rape, and public humiliation keep women polite in the face of harassment and quiet about what happens to us after the fact. Men like Weinstein are a dime a dozen. Every woman I know has a list as long as The Brothers Karamazov of stories of sexual harassment and assault at work, on the street, at school, at parties, at the liquor store, on the subway, at Jimmy John’s, at Home Depot, in court, at a funeral, at a wedding, in line for tickets to see Cats, while shopping for diarrhea medication, and so on ad infinitum.

I’ll dip out with a plea to everyone who can safely do so to come out with their lists in every public forum available to them. I may even recount my workplace sexual harassment stories from my teenage years in a sequel-as-prequel to this post.

*I’d include these people’s names, but I’m sure they Google themselves constantly and would instantly guess who wrote this.