Department Of The Partridge Of The Week
It’s that time of the year again. As has become a tradition much maligned anticipated in our neighborhood, moiself will be hosting a different Partridge, every week, in my front yard. 
Can you guess this week’s guest Partridge?
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Department Of Perhaps The Writer Of The Story Should Rethink
The Use Of The Modifier, “Successfully”
Dateline: Wednesday morning. Moiself reads these two opening paragraphs of a story published the previous evening in The Oregonian:
“The very morning he left a residential drug treatment program he successfully completed, a Douglas County man went straight to his former drug dealer and bought a pill.
Hours later, (the man’s) grandparents found the 25-year-old in a barn on their ranch in rural Drain, dead from acute fentanyl intoxication….”
(“Oregon man dies from fentanyl hours after leaving treatment.”
The Oregonian 11-29-22)
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Department Of Yes! Yes! See This Movie, Yes! Yes!
But With Caution
Caution as in, perhaps a trigger warning?
I was literally shaking as I left the theater.
She Said. Everyone should see this movie…however, moiself has a feeling that only those who understand the experiences will have the inclination to do so.
Yep, moiself was rattled, even though I knew (most of) the facts of the story the movie tells – of how NY Times investigative reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey (and journalist Ronan Farrow, working separately and simultaneously on the same story for The New Yorker) broke the Harvey Weinstein story and later wrote a book about both HW’s many abuses and their experiences investigating them (She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement).
Kantor and Twohey shared the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for public service with Ronan Farrow, for their reporting on the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault and abuse scandals.
Harvey Weinstein, that serial rapist and sexual abuser of women and girls (at least three of his victims were teenagers at the time of their assaults; one was sixteen), has four daughters, whose ages range from twenty-seven to eleven. Can you even imagine being one of them?
As I said wrote, I left the theater shaking, not with surprise but by the reminders that, with his goons and enablers and attorneys and accountants and other sycophants, HW almost got away with it. Hell, he DID get away with it. For. Decades. And he wasn’t alone…and in how many workplaces, from Mom and Pop stores to multinational corporations, did and do predators continue to get away with it?
The movie touched on much more than the HW story itself. It brought to mind the universal experiences of women abused by powerful men, some of which came out during the subsequent Me Too movement, some of which are ongoing, and most of which are lost to history, blackmail and extortion, victim-blaming and shame, and fear.
In one scene Kantor, a mother of two young daughters, is talking with Twohey, who’d just recently had her first baby (also a daughter), and who has dealt with some postpartum depression. The story the two reporters are investigating is stressful; particularly wearing on them is the psychological damage they have seen inflicted upon HW’s victims, whose lives have been turned upside down (and careers ruined, in many cases) and who are too fearful to come out on the public record against such a powerful man…  …and who live under a dark cloud of futility and despair. I wish I could recall the exact dialog, but the essential vibe of the brief but powerful scene is this: the two reporters briefly wonder aloud about how whether the frustration, fear, and depression experienced by many women might be the result of the pervasive drag-down common to the female experience: of having to deal with the burden of being female in a world where men still overwhelmingly hold and abuse power and act on the assumption that they can do whatever they want to any woman who is lower than them on life’s totem pole. 
One of many powerful scenes in the movie involves several minutes of static video – footage of a NYC hotel hallway – while the reporters listen to audiotape of a “conversation” between HW and one of his victims (she was wired by the NYPD after reporting her assault). I need another word for conversation; I found it brutal to listen to, as HW harangued and pleaded and whined and threatened and interrupted the woman as he tried to get her to accompany him to his hotel room for a “meeting” (that’s where he does *all* his business meetings, he insisted,  and she is being so mean and unreasonable for refusing him, he pouts, and trying to embarrass him and “nothing” would happen, he promised “on the life of my children”  ). And the woman was resisting and trying to get him to listen to her tell him how uncomfortable he was making her feel, and to answer her questions about why he had assaulted her (grabbed her breast) the previous day (“That’s just what I do,” he dismissed her complaint) and he went on and on, not taking her “no” for an answer, and repeatedly interrupting and talking over her….
I’d never had a sexually psychotic, sadistically bullying film producer try to intimidate and/or lure me. Still, it all seemed so…familiar.
Two scenes later, Twohey and Kantor, both women in their early 30s, are seated at a table in a local pub with their editor, a woman in her late 60s. They are there to discuss the HW investigation. Two men enter the bar, spot the reporters, and began flirting with them. One of the men approaches their table and invites the reporters to join him and his buddy (he doesn’t even make eye contact with the older woman; it’s as if – surprise! – she’s invisible to him). Kantor is sitting with her back to the man; Twohey politely but firmly declines the man’s invitation. The man persists. Twohey declines again, says that they are having a conversation and don’t want to be disturbed, and the man persists and interrupts and she declines several times (each time louder than her previous decline), the last time rising to her feet and yelling at him that she’d told him “…we are in a conversation and you need to FUCK OFF!” Both men retreat, making smarmy remarks about how they know what those women “need.” Twohey apologizes to Kantor for yelling; Kantor assures her —reminds her – “Don’t say you’re sorry” (for standing up to bullies).
How fucked up is it – that women are conditioned to say they’re sorry, even when rightly and righteously reacting to someone else who is in the wrong? The bar conversation scene, following the chilling audiotapes scene, was an obvious juxtaposition of a specific instance of harassment with What Women Endure On An Everyday Basis ®, in both professional and social situations.
But I can’t get out of my mind something that occurred to me after the movie was over. I don’t think it was the director’s conscious attempt to put that observation into my mind. Still, it is powerful, and it is this:
She Said tells the story of the investigation into sexual assault and harassment, in HW’s Miramax Films in specific, and the movie industry in general. Ironically (or not), a common trope in romantic comedies – one of the most successful movie genres – is that of the ardent male suitor who pursues his female love interest despite her having little to no interest in (or initially even repulsed by) him. He won’t take no for an answer…and the movie rewards him for that, and presents his perseverance in a positive light. He’s a man who knows what he wants! And he goes for it! His love interest is worn down by his persistence and finally says yes to him, whether for the moment or for life.
I repeat: in cinematic romcoms (and often also in “serious” movie love stories) the protagonist is rewarded for his dogged pursuit of someone who is not initially interested in him. Even when the object of his desire says no, it’s his job to change her mind. This kind of character is lauded in romcoms for behavior that in any other situation is essentially stalking. And what happens in the movies? He “gets” his prize. He is rewarded for his stalking persistence; he is rewarded, and praised and even presented as a romantic role model, for not taking no for an answer.
Of course, this convention only applies when the romantic protagonist is male. If the pursuer is a female who is persistent and won’t take no for an answer, then she is presented as a neurotic/sociopath who’s going to boil your bunny.
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Actually…not. Moiself got so twitterpated with the She Said subject matter that I’ve no energy left for other topics. Except for maybe a brief interlude considering the therapeutic value of looking at pictures of unbearably cute baby animals wearing Santa hats.
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Punz For The Day
Friends ask me how I sneak candy bars into the movie theater.
Well, I have a few twix up my sleeve.
Speaking of movie treats, how does actor Reese eat her ice cream?
What do you call movie a gunslinger with glasses?
A French director wants to open a floating cinema in Paris with drive-in boats.
I just think that’s in Seine.
Some people forced me to watch a horror movie about clowns by punching me all the way to the cinema.
Yep, they beat me to IT.
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May all of our animal friends look unbearably cute in Santa hats;
May you always and confidently guess this week’s Partridge;
May you always know when to take no for an answer;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 Specifically, in our pear tree.
 The majority of HW’s victims were not well-known Hollywood stars (although there were several of those), but Miramax aides and clerical staff, way down on the totem pole and with no public interest in their stories.
 And to such men, all women, simply by being female, are lower than them on that totem pole.
 And, as HW told so many of his young, naive victims, who were film industry novices, “That’s how it’s done in Hollywood.” Being new to the business, most of them thought he knew what he was talking about and that *they* were ignorant stupid and/or were the ones sexualizing the meeting invitation by even being suspicious of its location.
 That was HW’s favorite tactic, to promise (that he wouldn’t do anything sexual, or that he was telling the truth), “on the life of my wife and children” – which one HW associate said was the no-fail tell that HW was about to lie.