Ep 423 – Infants on Louis C.K., Sexual Misconduct, and Moral Panic

Panel Discussion

Posted November 19th, 2017

Bob is joined by Glenn, Tom, Matt, Randy, and friend-of-the-show Lindsay Hansen Park to discuss comedian Louis C.K.’s sexual misconduct in the context of “the reckoning,” the post Harvey Weinstein moment. See below for a couple of resources mentioned in the episode.

When Does a Watershed Become a Sex Panic?
https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/when-does-a-watershed-become-a-sex-panic

 

How We Can End Sexual Harassment at Work
https://www.ted.com/talks/gretchen_carlson_how_we_can_end_sexual_harassment_at_work

Bob

Glenn

Matt

Randy

Tom

  • Jason Jordan Smith

    A “compassionate witch hunt?” The very term witch hunt implies sacrificing innocents based on a priori assumtions, just in case we can’t identify the perpetrator of the ipso facto crime we believe took place. With respect, that sounds a bit Orwellian. No wonder men are frightened.

    And the “privilidged” of society? The oppressed vs. oppressor paradigm is just a neo-Marxist way of saying Proletariat vs. Bourgeoisie. Historical evidence suggests that’s a dangerous way of looking at things.

  • How long ago was the Jimmy Swaggart “scandal?” 1991, I think. He paid prostitutes to strip while he masturbated. He purposefully never touched anyone. They were of age and paid, so the situation was different, I guess. He cried his eyes out a couple of times in front of his congregation and it all went away.

    I just watched a movie released by Sarah Silverman in 2005—filmed in 2004. She tosses off jokes about sexual assault and harassment in general, and about Weinstein in particular, like it ain’t no thing, like everyone knows all about that shit. That’s just the way it is. That was thirteen years ago. It’s called “Jesus Is Magic.” Of course, Sarah Silverman is about as indelicate and anti-PC as one can get, but her references to sexual harassment were downright casual: Like, duh. Of course, all of the stuff that’s in the forefront now, Weinstein, Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey, Donald Trump, Roy Moore, Al Franken, etc., etc., etc. went on in the interim—and for decades before that, unchecked and, at least as far as the media and the Corporate Oligarchy are concerned, unnoticed.

    Something IS different all of a sudden. What and why now? What I find truly fascinating is that the President of the United States has admitted to offenses of the same magnitude or greater than the accused entertainment industry figures who are being effectively fired from jobs left and right, and yet we are not talking about the President’s infractions—nor is he. Talk about a very large elephant in a very small room. Why is no one worried about being stepped on? Lindsay has a very deep point there: Following Trump’s victory we saw what our country truly values. It shocks and hurts and befuddles.

    I’m with Bob (I’m usually with Bob). The call-out culture that Lindsay spoke of often operates in the “vanquish mode.” That is, they want the perceived perpetrator destroyed rather than deterred or rehabilitated and you’re either with them or against them. It really is a variety of mob-mentality. And these are supposedly the good guys.

    There definitely is a standard Politically Correct Social Justice Warrior (PCSJW) narrative and if you vary from that, you will be ignored. People won’t argue with you, they simply won’t respond to or acknowledge anything you say. You’ll be like the TBM who admitted that the CES Letter makes some good points: You won’t be shouted down, but you won’t be acknowledged or responded to, either. You become an outsider. The whole PCSJW phenomenon is extremely tribal—you belong or you don’t. I’ve experienced this online and with my ultra-mui-mega liberal friends in Santa Fe.

    I had pretty much given up on paying any attention at all to politics or podcasts, but this was a really good discussion. You did good, Bob. Don’t let the Binars or the Ferengis get you down; you just see farther than they do. And Lindsay’s is a very welcome voice. Do it again.

    • Thank you for the kind words and feedback, Saint Ralph.

      • This wouldn’t be the Bob Caswell who asked a question at the Harris, Weinstein, Shapiro event would it? How exciting! (If it is, that is.)

  • Jay

    The thing that bother’s me with the backlash (appropriate or not) against Louis C.K. is that it sends a signal to all other abusers that they need to do whatever they can to silence victims and keep this out of the public eye. I bet that right now there are lots of celebrities paying lots of “shut up” money to victims and involving lawyers so that none of this stuff surfaces. If this kind of information surfaces, you’re toast. If you can keep it hidden, your celebrity status is in no way diminished, even if you’ve done terrible things.

    • Zeke

      Agreed, the takeaway here is to get lawyered up and attack your accusers with everything you’ve got. I really think louis would have gotten through this completely unscathed if he’d gone that route. The abusers who’ve done much worse are paying no price whatsoever comparatively speaking.

      My question is “Why are these issues not important to women?” Women could put a stop to this behavior in a heartbeat if they chose to. As the largest voting block women could easily get their way on any issue (like protecting children, improving education, LGBT rights, universal healthcare, equal pay etc.), but for some reason they elect to not seize power and certainly not to wield power, even though they hold ALL the power…………

  • david

    I’m willing to invest $100 and 100 hours to learn about the feminism that Lindsay speaks of.

    Does anyone know how I can go about this?

    • Jose Galdamez

      Patreon

    • Karl

      Hi David, I would check out Feminist Mormon Housewives, if you haven’t already. They’ve been my primary educators on feminist perspectives, and most of them haven’t scared me too much, hehe.

  • parcelbombsmurf

    Thanks for the provocative podcast.

    I agree with Bob’s apparent contention, that Louis CK’s conduct was more of the misdemeanor variety than Weinstein’s felony variety. I also think Bob can make this observation without condoning sexual misconduct. There was definitely a tone of condescension against him during the podcast from certain other poscasters. I don’t think he was being unwarrantedly defensive.

    While Bob’s stance, at first glance, may seem obvious, it brings up an important fact. Each case of alleged sexual misconduct should be examined separately. Women do make frivolous claims of sexual misconduct. I have personally witnessed it. We need people to listen to victims, but we also need to be open to the idea of considering that claims are false or with mitigating facts. Some panelists are apparently willing to be signed up for a “witch hunt” because they want to err on the side of believing victims. I would suggest, rather, that we avoid erring. We can’t do that unless we take Bob’s approach and analyze each case separately.

    • Thanks for sharing your perspective, parcelbombsmurf.

  • Thomas Moore
  • David Skidmore

    how much money do i have to give to patreon to hear the part where everyone explained to Randy that it isn’t just attractive women that deal with these issues?

  • LTJFan

    So where does forgiveness come in? I’m not saying that there should be punishment or consequences or that some of these men should ever be forgiven. At some point do we say (for example) Louie CK did something gross and inappropriate but he has admitted fault, sought help, and has apparently changed so now I will give him another chance.

  • Karl

    This Bill Maher clip made me think of Bob’s part in this podcast episode… I think this is what he was getting at…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1MZRowhMtc

    • Karl

      But for the record, I am against all unwanted sexual behavior. I think the infants’ majority is right that there may be a risk, when Maher says this, that some listeners will tend to use it to excuse the lesser crimes/misdeeds, or to minimize the pain victims experience… that would not be right. But I think we should be able to acknowledge degrees without excusing behaviors or shutting down victims. Louis CK didn’t do what Weinstein or Cosby did. But when I imagine being stuck in the room with him jerking off while looking at me, I mean, really think about what that would be like, that is really quite horrifying, and then if I imagine being a women (and not knowing what he’s capable of in that moment… in hindsight, it seems that is the worst thing he’s done, we think we know he would never rape someone, but you wouldn’t have the benefit of hindsight if you were in that room). So, yeah, it’s just terrible. So, of course he doesn’t get a pass. I also try to psycho analyze Louis CK… what was he thinking? Was he mildly delusional and actually thought they were into it? It’s possible that he was doing real harm, while thinking he wasn’t harming anyone. That is the most generous interpretation I can imagine. And even that wouldn’t excuse him, but it would support the conclusion that these are really important conversations to be had, about consent, power differences, how moments like these are experienced differently by males and females, and so on.

      • But can we acknowledge degrees without being accused of excusing behaviors or shutting down victims? THAT’s the question many are struggling with right now… Wait for it… queue response of, you know who’s really “struggling?!” Women who are harassed! And the circle is complete, and the snake has eaten its tail. Maybe walking and chewing gum together is difficult after all. 🙁

    • Yes, I tend to agree with this. Also, I think the clip just before this one is also worth sharing… in which Saru Jayaraman explains the connection between the extremely low restaurant business minimum wage and sexual harassment. This is a major problem in need of more attention. https://youtu.be/zgOIu8S6xVk

  • dblagent007

    A couple of thoughts. First, this conversation reminds me of the engineer at google who was fired for writing about why diversity initiatives at Google are flawed. The sad thing to me is that he was fired for not what he actually said, which was largely backed up with legit scientific evidence, but for how it was characterized by the mob. Google had to acquiesce to the mob and fire him or risk the mob turning on the company.

    Second, this reminds me of one of Jonathan Haidt’s chief complaints – the lack of viewpoint diversity at universities and, especially, the way different viewpoints are oppressed through social pressure rather than public debate using reason, logic, and evidence. The same thing is happening throughout society and social media seems to have amplified this phenomenon.

    Third, I think the focus should be on helping people like Louis C.K. change and return to a fully-functioning role in society. This is largely how Europe treats criminals and it seems to work. I think we should do the same with people like this. And, yes, this means rationally evaluating factors such as the seriousness of the behavior, the amount of the behavior, and how recently the person engaged in the behavior to determine how that person should be treated.

    The world is full of shades of gray, but humans rarely see anything other than black and white.

    • Thanks for sharing, dblagent007, lots of good food for thought here.