I’ve been reading about Terry Richardson and Dov Charney, two men who superficially resemble each other in appearance and allegations of misconduct. The thought I have is regarding the Grantland article by Molly Lambert where I’ve popped some popcorn and sat back to read over the comments. The facts of each man’s reprehensible behavior are clear and uncontroversial; the main objection, as I see it, lies in how Ms Lambert has gone so far, in the view of several commentators, to draw parallels to the broader culture and how these men may be more broadly reflective of their times (in this case, the prior decade) than isolated instances of jerks being jerks.
There’s one commentator who upbraids Ms Lambert for being a bad writer, which is a distractor from the real issues raised by the article and the numerous links within it. “I have no ability to follow the logic, so therefore the fault must be in the article, not me.” I’m not claiming to have followed the argument completely either but it did make sense to me, and it’s still incredible to me that in this age where we have sisters, wives, cousins, nieces, mothers, daughters who are all affected when we objectify women, that we don’t spend more time engaged navel-gazing with how complicit we are in allowing it to happen.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how when I was a high school debator twenty-five years ago (sigh), how every disadvantage, which was a mini-argument by the negative “I like the status quo” side, how every disadvantage would end up in nuclear war. (now that was some tortured logic: “Build mini satellites? You’re promulgating nanotechnology, machines will become self-aware and extinguish the human race.”) The links between us allowing lo-fi quasi-pornography American Apparel advertisements and Terry Richardson photographs to exist and be admired and emulated and the culture of the alpha male and the unkillable neoconservative chest-thumping is far less indistinct and nebulous.
I think about this as theVet has returned to work, how our lives have changed and what I should do at home now instead of the nothing I’ve gotten used to. We eat out a lot more; prepackaged foods line our cupboards and freezer. If I don’t like that, it’s within my power to change and affect it, not by insisting on more scratch cooking but instead having me spend an hour or two cleaning up, cooking occasionally and not just lost to everyone else. I think the lesson learned is in how selfish I’ve been and not seeing that clearly reflected.