Courting Disaster To Courting Rituals: The New Face Of Sexual Congress
Now appearing in a hell near you: Matt Lauer. The uber-successful NBC host of the Today Show has become the latest news notable to be removed from his job for sexual indiscretions. An unnamed NBC colleague accused Lauer of inappropriate sexual behaviour. The network also hinted at other unsavoury stuff in its press release announcing his abrupt firing.
Boom. He was gone over night.
Lauer joins Charlie Rose, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, Mark Halperin, Eric Bolling, Garrison Keillor…. maybe we should just list the people who haven’t been accused yet to simplify things. After decades of legendary journalist lions roaming the newsroom like Simba, plucking interns and EAs from the office for their pleasure, reckoning has arrived in a very sudden stop.
These deposed journos are people out of time. Remnants of a previous culture seen in Mad Men, where the spoils of success were the accessible young things. Think The Apartment in a newsroom and you have an idea of the culture.
(In the interests of balance there are also examples of gay men like Kevin Spacey plundering their staff and women who promoted their boy toys to national prominence after the come-hither stare. But these only seem to have occurred in the arts community— so far.)
This culling has come in a time when societal sexual dynamics are undergoing a sea change. The positive aspect of this process is the removal of predators and guys who won’t say no. What is less clear is exactly what constitutes sexual assault when a rejected kiss or invitation back to the penthouse— ended by acceptance of that rejection— now is also seen as assault.
According to public women from Hillary Clinton to Kamala Harris to Ashley Judd, every woman should be believed when she cries rape. Due process is irrelevant when sexual misbehaviour is alleged. Point final.
When every type of sexual proposition is rape, the rules are simple. But watch feminist icon Nancy Pelosi’s staggering, evasive defense of accused colleague John Conyers to see just how complicated the equation becomes when it’s someone you know and like who’s caught in the flytrap.
Or how about Girls creator Lena Dunham, a proponent of “all women should be believed”, when a male writer on her show is a victim? Suddenly she was all about hearing both sides. Luckily, the sisterhood set her straight, and she’s now blithely pointing fingers again.
This Spanish Fly Inquisition occurs at a time when the society has become blurringly hyper sexualized. As discussed here by Canadian author Mark Steyn, it’s okay to promote explicit sexual images to eight-year-olds. The Victoria’s Secret TV shows and SI Swimsuit edition programs are culturally safe.
Even the most graphic porn is easily available online. But when this titillation results in someone acting on that stimulation, then it’s a societal calamity. Because, like rape, the mania surrounding it is not about sex. It’s about power.
The current cull of libidinized men— along with its more frenzy cousin, the campus rape mania— are attempts by a fanatical cult to re-order the sexual norms between men and women in an increasingly feminized society. A cursory examination of the new rules of engagement favoured by the likes of Lena Dunham shows something more along the lines of a visit to the registry office to acquire license plates than an agreement to consummate a relationship.
Steyn uses the quaint term “courtship rituals” to describe what they’re trying to replace. This is the Magna Carta of hooking up— a loose series of unspoken agreements and suggested prohibitions that govern the journey from dinner dates to overnights. They also suggest a series of escape hatches when one party gets cold feet.
As the Lauers and Roses show, these rules have been interpreted differently where power comes into the equation. The notion that an eminent news reader enjoys the droit de premier nuit over a colleague is not part of that we want to perpetuate.
But we also don’t want a romantic ritual to be reduced to some clinical inquisition either. The concept of encoding consent via a 60 Minutes interview about intentions (“Is that one position or two? Which body parts are off limits? Are you planning to vacate before morning?”) is absurd. But to the social planners, having a bill de faire for future prosecution is where this is headed.
Modern feminists appear determined to impose this chastity belt on sexual congress. They seem not to care whether eliminating the five percent of bad actors sends the entire cast off the stage. Because the reaction will not be for men to lash out against these strictures. The likely result will be more like removal from the process entirely by men who fear retribution.
Margaret Atwood thought the patriarchy would end love as we know it. But the new sexual dynamic might in fact be the matriarchy driving men away. Let’s see Hollywood make a movie of that.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy.is the host of the podcast The Full Count with Bruce Dowbiggin on anticanetwork.com. He’s also a regular contributor three-times-a-week to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster, he is also the best-selling author of seven books. His website is Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com)