- Originally published on The Big Smoke -
The Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment allegations are mere shrapnel from the explosion that is the ticking bomb of sexual harassment, mistreatment and inequality in Hollywood. We’re going under the assumption of Schrodinger’s “ticking time bomb” of course; thanks to the efforts of many powerful people and the fear of victims, the bomb is in a quantum state of the continual explosion and perpetual ticking. This causes smaller explosions, which is good because injustice needs to be exposed. But also not good because like I said, it is of the bigger bomb, the same that is perpetually ticking and also continually exploding.
When something like this happens, everybody and their dog and their dog’s stylist (because Hollywood) are supposedly obligated to make a comment on the issue. Whether they are a victim or not, whether they are related to the situation or not, whether they have anything new to bring to the table or not a comment must be made.
On the 8th of October, Julian Assange tweeted “America’s leading fake feminist, @HillaryClinton, still silent on Harvey Weinstein.” to which twitter user Candice Aiston quoted his tweet, saying “Guy hiding to avoid rape charges has opinions about how a woman has (sic) responsibility to speak out against (sic) sexual predator.”
Guy hiding to avoid rape charges has opinions about how woman has responsibility to speak out against sexual predator. https://t.co/R32WLiqUQa
— Candice Aiston (@CandiceAiston) October 7, 2017
The irony of this tweet is not lost on me as I assume it is not lost on you either. Since this tweet, however, Clinton has made a statement on Harvey Weinstein but her statement, or pre-assumed lack thereof, or her supposed fake feminism, is not what I’m specifically here to talk about today.
On the surface, this tweet is a funny commentary highlighting the irony of Assange’s statement (if President Trump’s tweets are “statements” let’s just roll with it shall we). But a single statement, a single tweet, a single anything cannot exist in a vacuum void of context. Context is everything.
The argument by many is that Clinton needed to make a comment on Weinstein due to the fact that Weinstein donated money to her 2016 presidential campaign. Surely all these people (Assange included) don’t genuinely think that Clinton is somehow responsible for the alleged perverted nature of a man who chose to support her campaign, a campaign she is no longer running, sexual harassment she may or may not have known about.
I use the word responsible because A) Candice did B) In this case it means to be accountable for the behaviour of those Clinton has a responsibility to and C) One party in the tweet did some shady email things and the other party leaked those shady email things. This has no bearing on the article but I wanted to slip it in somehow because context.
It’s terrible when we so easily find ourselves hoping somebody was assaulted, waiting for somebody with real “credibility” to say something so we know we can justifiably be offended…
The never-ending criticism Clinton endures in the media (deserved so and not) could inspire a PhD thesis and this is not specific to Clinton either. The same can be said of Julia Gillard or any female politician that dares to cause a stir in the media merely by existing in a position previously deemed not suitable for women to occupy.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condemning Assange for his tweet. Call me Swede-I mean Switzerland. In reality, though, Clinton’s “position” on the situation should hold no weight on the reality of the claims (claims made by “regular people” and “A-listers”, though it’s disconcerting that the distinction should matter so much). Assange’s life work is built upon the ethical obligation to speak up when you see injustice – to right wrongs, blow some whistles and fight the man. To make a statement like he did is not out of character, proving that Assange’s own sexual assault charge situation is relatively irrelevant.
Are people simply the construct of the most “popular” perception that is held by them? Perception and context seem to be interchangeable according to the media, which only adds more to the irony of the joke.
Is Julian Assange merely an alleged sex offender making a grossly oblivious statement lacking all kinds of self-awareness?
Is Hillary Clinton simply a “fake” feminist proving her hypocrisy?
As the great philosopher, Shrek once said, ogres are like onions. Much like ogres, people too are also like onions, especially the interesting ones who make a habit of upsetting people and stirring the pot (read: institution). Layers upon layers of irony, complexity, hypocrisy and other words that bounce joyfully and judgmentally along ending in a “y”.
Does Clinton need to answer to the actions of every man in her life? Probably not. Does Julian Assange need to keep holding people accountable for injustices? Probably. Does what either of them say regarding the situation make any difference to the claims or the victims? Probably not. Should people keep speaking up about harmful shrapnel to raise awareness to the ticking-but-also-not-ticking bomb? Absolutely.
It’s a terrible view of society when we can so easily find ourselves hoping somebody was assaulted, waiting for somebody with real “credibility” to say something on an issue as heinous and disgusting as this so that we know we can justifiably be offended and not be put in a complicated situation. A complicated situation discussing complicated things while sipping coffee with friends the next day a world away from the drama.
Don’t let the clever punchline pointing out the irony of a complicated situation be the end of what should be a serious conversation.
That bomb is still ticking.