Thursday, October 12, 2017

Rebecca Solnit on Harvey Weinstein, Hillary Clinton, and Blaming Women for the Acts of Men

Guest Post by Rebecca Solnit

Harvey Weinstein is Hillary Clinton’s fault, we have learned from many sources. So is eczema and the Civil War and the fact that your child refuses to learn to tie shoelaces and sticks to Velcro shoes. The hairs and stuff that get caught in the Velcro are also Hillary Clinton’s fault, and she could have passed legislation against them if she cared instead of being uncaring. It is also the soon-to-be-divorced Mrs. Weinstein’s fault that her husband is an alleged rapist, except that it is Hillary Clinton’s fault, except that it is the fault of the victims for choosing to be small, young female victims looking for work at the outset of their cinematic careers instead of being Matt Damon, a choice open to us all.

Why are you not Matt Damon yourself? This is your fault. Perhaps you could also choose to be Jason Bourne, which would guarantee your safety every time? Take it from me: the Bourne option. After all I have read in Wikipedia that Bourne these days is “isolating himself from the world and making a living by taking part in savage, bareknuckle fighting bouts,” which is what everyone should have done if they saw Harvey Weinstein rising like a great scary potato over the horizon. It appears that Clinton was in Washington pushing to get the Children’s Health Insurance Program reauthorized while the reports broke about Weinstein’s alleged creepitude, but it’s her fault if she can’t multitask. Likewise it is the fault of young actresses for not speaking just because they were threatened by a terrifying bully, and it’s their fault that if they spoke up no one would have believed them, and of course you can now blame them for what happened, because in Shakespeare’s day there were no actresses, but these women insisted on entering the field, where there were men, and even entering the production facility, where there was this man.

Remember that every time a man commits a violent act it only takes one or two steps to figure out how it’s a woman’s fault, and that these dance steps are widely known and practiced and quite a bit of fun. There are things men do that are the fault of women who are too sexy, and other things men do that are the fault of women who are not sexy enough, but women only come in those two flavors: not enough, too much, and it is the fate of heterosexual men to endure this affliction. Wives are responsible for their husbands, especially if their husbands are supremely powerful and terrifying figures leading double lives and accountable to no one. But women are now also in the workforce, where they have so many opportunities to be responsible for other men as well.

It is Anita Hill’s fault that Clarence Thomas is a creep, and it’s also her fault that he’s on the Supreme Court, and it’s her fault she didn’t speak up about his sexual harassment, and also her fault that she did speak up about it, ruffling important waters when men were trying to fly-fish them, as women do when men try. To fly-fish that is, and the trout that are not biting are the fault of the woman who did not smile at you on the bus this morning, though it is a gospel truth that lady strangers owe you smiles. If we study up, it may be possible to figure out which parts of everything are Anita Hill’s fault. Mary Todd Lincoln: perhaps her faults linger on, and it would be fun to blame her for something, and why did Michelle Obama choose to exercise her right to bare arms? Perhaps that makes her responsible for some mass shootings, which tend to be carried out by men, but not their fault. Someone made them do it, and every time a man does something awful we can all pause for a moment of respectful silence while we figure out who to blame.

It is possible, as I study the situation, that I personally am responsible for the sack of Rome and for Attila the Hun and the Black Death (I wore a lot of black back in the day, still do), but more research is needed. It may also be that my friends Conchita and Amy are responsible for ebola and the holes in the socks of our great men that so afflict their heels when they would rather be thinking of how to serve our fatherland. If I were a man perhaps I would understand why a man just explained to me that Trump is Clinton’s fault and not be baffled about why no one ever said in my hearing that Bush II was Al Gore’s and then John Kerry’s  fault or Ronald Reagan was Jimmy Carter’s fault for that matter.

Evidently it is the fault of Hillary Clinton that there is Donald Trump, and it was wrong of her to put Harvey Weinstein’s donation to work on to her attempt to beat Trump and protect reproductive rights and stuff, instead of donating the money to a cause that benefited women, and it’s her fault that a lot of Americans wanted to vote for, as Laurie Penny put it, the Hog-Emperor of Rape Culture who hunted her onstage in the second debate like Sherman going after Atlanta, only with snorting. After all the Civil War was her fault.

I have spoken. Which I do. Which is one of my faults; I am crafting an apology for that out of dynamite and backhoes which will be ready presently.

San Francisco writer, historian, and activist, Rebecca Solnit is one of the essential voices of these fraught times.  She is the author of seventeen books about geography, community, art, politics, hope, and feminism and the recipient of many awards, including the Lannan Literary Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.  This piece was originally posted at Literary Hub.


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