Forget about that: According to this, George H.W. Bush declared his favorite magician to be "David Cop-a-Feel" and groped a woman's bottom.
The Omnivore says: What the fuck?
It is not--or, at least, should not be shocking that this sort of thing happens--but that an 80+ year old ex-president is using what might be the world's least classy "pick up line" to grope from his wheel-chair is a level of ridiculousness that exceeds The Omnivore's expectations.
Please know that The Omnivore's expectations go pretty high. It takes a lot to shock him--but David-Cop-A-Feel clears the bar easily. That's before you throw in the wheelchair.
What's Going On?It appears that the age of being quiet about sexual harassment by powerful men is over--Cosby escaped--but he might be the last one. Clearly there is sufficient momentum right now to air these accusations--and women are more willing to back each other up. It's also noteworthy that while Bill O'Rilely blamed God for the "lies", George H.W. Bush apologized for his actions.
In other words: it doesn't all seem to be made up. In fact, given that Bill-O shelled out 32 million bucks, it doesn't really look like any of it is made up.
Essentially, if we look at the headlines over the past year or so, it looks like we've crossed an inflection point of silence to talkin'.
The Ramifications?The obvious ramification is that some people are gonna get their careers hit--pretty hard, it looks like--maybe fatally. The public's view of this looks akin to the change on drunk driving when it went from something you did because you were a cool dude who could handle his liquor to something you didn't do because you weren't an asshole.
Are there any other ramifications? Maybe.
- The Omnivore considers that in some organizations--for some women--there was, in fact, an "exchange of value." Now, it was non-consensual--coerced by the men in power exploiting their victims--but in terms of the net-net, is it possible that landing a lead role in a movie was "worth it"? Did anyone think like that? Was there a channel of ambition that this behavior created that some people exploited? Maybe.
- The Omnivore does not think that these claims are false--not now--not yet--but in the future could this be weaponized? Sure it could. Get five women with a decent spread of interaction--work up a story. Have them all tell it. Or threaten to tell it--and extract money. This sort of thing violates the rules of keeping secrets (one, two, by three people it's no longer a secret). It also would require a good roll-out and some decent acting. Remember--there has to be no visible collusion before the allegations. The blackmail has to be done without any traces (unrecorded voice conversations). There has to be interactions without other people present. The Omnivore thinks this is unlikely to be put together--but are we going to reach the age of VP Pence's "never dine alone with a non-wife-woman"? Maybe.
- How deep will the initial blow go? The Omnivore didn't see Halprin or Bush coming. The Omnivore, on the other hand, wasn't terribly surprised by Weinstein (the "casting couch" was coined to describe exactly this, after all). However, if this is more rampant than we think it is, could we see a deluge of people being credibly accused? How does this impact politicians? Entertainers? Professionals? Could we see a kind of "extinction event" in some sectors (Hollywood!)?
- Does this make women leadership more valuable? Women seem to be less likely to sexually harass than men--or, if it happens, at least it has a different cultural valence to it. If you are trying to protect your company do you prize women at higher levels because they are less likely to abuse their power in this case?
Some Parting Thoughts
There is a case to be made that Social Justice-style cultural changes are coming fast--maybe "too fast." (don't read too much into that--the 'too' just kind of refers to the elasticity of the culture's ability to absorb shifts--if changes happen "too fast" we have more chaos and disruption than if they happen slowly). If this isn't just a blip and is more of a cultural change it'll be a sign that something really has shifted--and that's noteworthy because we don't see that all that often.