Friday, Dec 15, 2017
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Culture Shock

CULTURE SHOCK

Drumbeat of allegations rolls on

  • Sexual-Harassment-Franken

    Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., apologized Thursday after a Los Angeles radio anchor accused him of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour and of posing for a photo with his hands on her breasts as she slept.

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  • Alabama-Senate-Moore-3

    U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore

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  • Sexual-Harassment-20

    Six women accused film director Brett Ratner of harassment or misconduct in a Los Angeles Times report.

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Talking Heads frontman David Byrne once sang tent revival-style of an awakening, when what I imagine to be a successful businessman “in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife” discovers that these trophies to his success have no value or connection to him.

“This is not my beautiful house,” Byrne sings. “This is not my beautiful wife.”

“Once in a Lifetime,” then, is a song about a crisis of identity and its chorus of “same as it ever was” conveys the acceptance.

Sexual-Harassment-Franken

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., apologized Thursday after a Los Angeles radio anchor accused him of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour and of posing for a photo with his hands on her breasts as she slept.

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But this kind of awakening isn’t just once in a lifetime.

These last few weeks it’s been almost daily, with allegations involving some well-known men in Hollywood accused of everything from inappropriate behavior and being a creep to pedophilia and rape.

Harvey Weinstein. Kevin Spacey. Dustin Hoffman. Louis CK. Jeremy Piven. Richard Dreyfuss. George Takei. Steven Seagal. Jeffrey Tambor. Ben Affleck. Danny Masterson. Andy Dick. Brett Ratner (director). Roy Price (head of Amazon Studios). John Singleton (director). Matthew Weiner (creator of Mad Men).

Even Maumee native Robert Knepper.

And, as we know, the list extends well beyond Hollywood.

There’s a senator (Al Franken), a potential U.S. senator (Roy Moore), presidents (George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump), one reverend (Jesse Jackson), and even those in the media (Mark Halperin, Michael Oreskes, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes).

This isn’t everyone who’s been accused. And certainly more will follow.

It’s happening with such frequency that I almost feel conditioned to expect to read about another allegation every time I pick up a newspaper, go online, or go through my phone’s newsfeed.

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Some of these people have denied the accusations. Some have owned up to it, issuing apologies for their actions. Careers have been ruined and may be in jeopardy. If nothing else, our perception of some of these people is different. Can anyone ever again watch a Louis CK stand-up act in which he jokes about masturbation without feeling queasy?

For many of us, this becomes personal, as it did with the multiple Bill Cosby drug and rape allegations.

Recently I thought back to Charles Barkley’s controversial remarks from nearly 25 years ago that he wasn’t a role model.

“I am not a role model,” he said in a Nike commercial. “I am not paid to be a role model. I am paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court. Parents should be role models. Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.”

Barkley took a lot of grief for this statement and that sentiment, particularly in the era of Gatorade’s hugely successful “Be Like Mike” marketing blitz.

But the truth is that everyone wanted to be like Michael Jordan, but no one could. And that Barkley wasn’t a bad role model; history has shown he’s certainly better than looking to Cosby as a mentor from afar.

While we may idolize our sports stars, Hollywood’s celebrities have never really been role models. We like the characters they play, sure, and by extension we even feel like we know these actors and actresses. Some of us are envious of their successful careers and all that comes with it: the big car, the beautiful house, the beautiful wife.

But we don’t look up to them.

And based on the above list, nor should we.

Hopefully this movement to hold these men accountable won’t stop until the sexual misconduct and crimes do.

This means there will be names added to this list that will surprise me, perhaps even horrify me. People I never would have expected.

It also means this list could take weeks, months, maybe even years to be complete — if ever.

Until then ...

Same as it ever was.

Same as it ever was.

Contact Kirk Baird at kbaird@theblade.com or 419-724-6734.

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