Harvey Weinstein and the Whole Damn Thing

I stuck my hand into a hornet’s nest on Facebook, when I posted the quip, Breaking News: Woman found who has never been propositioned by Harvey Weinstein.” For those who don’t follow North American news, Harvey Weinstein, one of the most powerful movie producers in history, is being sued by multiple women for his decades-long practice of sexual harassment; some of the charges include rape.

While most Facebookers responded positively, a number of female friends were disturbed, perceiving this as making fun of the victims’ suffering and humiliation. That was, in fact, the opposite of my intent, which was to reflect acerbically on Mr. Weinstein’s outrageous—and probably prison-worthy—behavior. Nevertheless, I took the post down immediately (I left the quip on Twitter, along with an explanatory addendum). Several people chastised me for “caving in to political correctness.” But the issue is clearly more complicated than that.

The Weinstein morass has resulted in a wave of revelations by women, and some men, about previously unrevealed sexual assaults (search #MeToo to find these on Facebook and elsewhere). One of the negative responses to my post was from a normally carefree cousin who alluded for the first time to an “unspeakable” incident in her past. My heart breaks. I do not think sexual assault is funny. Ever.

But perception is complicated. Some years back I guest spoke at a family retreat center. I was on a roll when a boy suddenly left his front row seat. Mock-offended, I chastised him mercilessly for disrupting my presentation. The audience roared. To my shock, the camp director stomped up to me after the program and announced that, because of my “obvious hatred of children,” I would never be invited back! Then he stormed away. As I was leaving the building, the boy and his parents ran up to me, laughing uncontrollably, and thanked me for creating their “favorite moment of the weekend!”

We’ll never bring all of our perceptions into perfect alignment. But we can care enough to listen, and try to understand (a job that ends on our deathbeds). And in the meantime, we can

Avoid as many hornet’s nests as possible. 

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Popular Culture & Entertainment, Quips and Quotes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Harvey Weinstein and the Whole Damn Thing

  1. But then again, if we have hornet’s-nest-avoidance upper most in our minds, we run the risk of becoming mik-toast and irrelevant, instead of tackling issues head-on with passion, as you usually do, Mitch. What I do, all too frequently, is respond to a perceived slight without stopping to think, “well maybe they didn’t mean it that way…maybe they were trying to say…”

    Liked by 4 people

  2. If there is a hornet’s nest within 100 miles, I will step into it. I also have the unsavory ability of creating one. Yep, God’s still working on me, someday I might get it right.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. nancyehead says:

    I feel like the world is turning into a landmine field of hornets’ nests. Sadly so.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. smzang says:

    “We’ll never bring all of our perceptions into perfect alignment. But we can care enough to listen, and try to understand (a job that ends on our deathbeds). And in the meantime, we can” (Amen and Amen!)

    “Avoid as many hornet’s nests as possible”

    Now, you know that last comment is going to start a whole new discussion. : )

    Seriously, the world has become a painful place for so many. It is hard to state an opinion without hurting someone, albeit unintentionally. I bet Satan thinks he has
    us right where he wants us. I’m betting God’s army will win…as long as we have good
    and wise people to guide the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. LOL! You have my empathy, I too have a way of stepping into hornet’s nests. Humor can be hard for some people to accept, too. I’d avoid it but shoot, the ability to eventually laugh about sexual assault speaks to the healing power of God and His power to transform us.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. woodtic says:

    You can hand out $100 bills and someone will say you’re a bad man. Have you ever paused to think of all the non-news that gets so much attention while real news is often ignored? I am sure the public media discloses only what they want in order to advance the agenda of their high-up buddies. Stick to talking leaves drowning & stuff (just sayin)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. dtbrents says:

    I had not heard of the man until he was on the news last week. I now understand why Ashley Judd lashed out at the man checking her out at the airport.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. notdonner says:

    In a perfect world, what we mean would be received without interpretation through feelings and experience. I find – through my spouse, friends, and colleagues sometimes – that what I write or say has not been received in the manner I was trying to convey. And apologize, and work on being more like Jesus.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. John S says:

    I guess some of us are just not that important on or off Facebook for people to get upset with by our comments.   I have tired on Facebook to steer clear of Political or even Religion topics.  I have some friends who seem to have fun stirring things up on their posting.  That is all they seem to post.  I have even taken some of those off my friend list, because I am tired of what they are posting.  By the way that goes on both sides. At the jail I can tell right away if someone wants to explore a relationship with God or just argue or debate.  I really do not have the time to argue or debate because their are so many who truly do hunger for a relationship.  Sometimes Mitch I am one of those who hunger for a relationship. John

    Liked by 1 person

  10. toutparmoi says:

    As others have said, stepping into hornets’ nests can be nigh on impossible to avoid. When I read your comment I laughed. The Weinstein morass has been prominent in the news here, and I particularly liked Emma Thompson’s observations on the issue.

    After I’d read more of your post, I could see how others might have found your one-liner offensive, but felt they’d misinterpreted it. And there’s the rub. Jokes are particularly subject to misinterpretation, but they’re also an extraordinarily good way to get some truths across. Plus, we would live in an extraordinarily dull world if no-one ever made any!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Edward Sosa says:

    Electronic communication is a tricky business—even text messages in close circles. I have to clarify enough in face-to-face conversations so I can say with all certainty that I haven’t always come across as intended via electronic communication.

    That’s why I give others the benefit of the doubt after they consistently show they would never intentionally hurt anyone. From my vantage point you’ve done a pretty good job of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. BelleUnruh says:

    I laughed at the joke. My whole family has a dark sense of humor. We joke about something that happened yesterday and ask, “Too soon?” I’ve been assaulted, but I think that joke is great.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Roos Ruse says:

    Uh… Wait… We’re past the Cosby monstrosities and on to the next… I admire your sense of humor, Mitch, and your spot-on decorum. What’s more IMHO till we all sprout wings, we’re gonna goof up at some point, so it’s best to learn, laugh and live on.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Then again some people are offended by just about anything. Even Jesus offended people rather often and I don’t think he regretted that. I’m like you. I’d rather NOT offend anyone but if they are going to be offended I’ll give the problem to whom it belongs. and it belongs on THEM. IN the case of Weinstein, where was all the offense over all those years of which Hollywood does all the time? OH, no they are glorified and if we say something against them, then they are also offended. I say, so be it. Your joke stuck much deeper than a mere joke for it was about true. NOw that is what should be a shame and offense that this dude can do what he did and be successful. Now then, we have to weed out the other thousands who do the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      It’s one of the darker facts of movie biz that over the years there have been quite a few studio execs who wielded power to gain sexual and other immoral favors. Jack L. Warner, former head of Warner Bros, was infamous for the “starlet’s entrance” at the back of his office. But then, power corrupts in any field, business, politics, trade unions, etc. “The heart is deceitful above all, and desperately wicked.”

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Ann Coleman says:

    I think it’s terribly difficult to avoid offending people these days, because some people seem to be just looking for a chance to be offended. That being said, when we realize that our words have caused someone else genuine hurt, then either apologizing or removing them (if they are written) is a good response, along with an explanation that we didn’t mean it the way it was taken.
    Joking is especially difficult, because some people feel that laughing at problems is the same as ridicule, whereas others feel that laughing at problems is a way to cope with them. I think you handled the whole thing well, from start to finish.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Pingback: Shout Out | What Next; Behind Roo's Ruse

  17. A former coworker once quipped, “Society would be perfect, if there were no people in it.” Things like this help me understand her statement all the more.

    I understood your comment perfectly, and I do regret that you took it down. Truth be told, freedom of speech extends even to those we disagree with.

    As for the last portion, I do hope you went over that guy’s head, and dealt with the matter. What he said, and how he said it, were unprofessional and unacceptable. That the kid’s parents took no offense ought to have been proof enough that he was overreacting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      I told the camp director about the kid’s parents’ reaction, and that didn’t change his mind. So, no, I moved on.

      Like

      • It’s sad how so many people are allowed to inflict their wounds and brokeness on ithers without consequence. I also deeply lament the fact that the art of disagreement is somehow becoming a lost art. You and I are both skilled in it, but for some odd reason the public seems to have become disconnected from it. I have to wonder why. Thank God my wife is also skilled in this art, else my home life wouldn’t be worth anything. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Nora Lamar says:

    Mitch, we all offend people when not meaning to. We all, and when I say we all, I mean all humans, knock on hornet’s nests. All you can do is try and have goodwill towards everyone and be honest. I know your heart so it wouldn’t occur to me to take offense at your One liner. I knew it for what it was. But if someone is offended I like your approach, to not make light of their response. You’ve attempted to make amends and that’s all any of us can do. I admire you and how you handle things.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. It’s a different world, Mitch. My sense of humor gets me into trouble at times, but anyone who knows me, knows I would never purposely hurt anyone. This generation is not wired the same way we are. I’ve always found humor helps alleviate anxiety over things we can’t control. Now, we need to beware the modern day thought-police. Another great post, Mitch! On point all the way!

    Liked by 1 person

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