It seems now that not only are we living in a post-truth, post-science, post-genre age (thank you Beyoncé for that last one), we are also living in a post-Weinstein age.
The landslide allegations that started with Weinstein and seeped out of the darkest basements of Hollywood, tainting the reputations of men who had formed the cornerstones of our cultural consciousness have not paused for breath in the last few weeks.
I refuse to believe that men are only just figuring out that they have power and that raping people is a bad thing to do.
This is exposing the horrific magnitude of a problem that runs bone deep in our society, which seems to boil down to the idea that women cannot exist, cannot dare to occupy space in the patriarchy without risk of being viewed as sentient fleshlights, existing purely to satisfy the fragile egos and sexual incontinency of powerful men.
The media seems to be reeling from the breadth of the problem, but all the women in my life are nodding, minds ticking over a lifelong narrative of sexual assault.
What concerns me now, is that the focus is starting to shift away from the allegations themselves, and towards both the scale of them and the response to them. The goal posts are shifting.
Louis C K released an ‘apology’ claiming that ‘I never showed a woman my dick without asking first’ and goes on to say that he now realises that he had power over those women because he is a famous comedian. If you stab someone and say ‘well, I asked if I could stab them and now I realise that I had power because I was holding a massive knife’, it just sounds a bit insane, doesn’t it?
I know people want to like Louis C K, and Kevin Spacey and Sylvester Stallone, but these overdue apologies are not good enough. I refuse to believe that men are only just figuring out that they have power and that raping people is a bad thing to do.
How low is the bar? Men like Louis C K are apologising because they have no choice, the atmosphere makes it impossible for them to respond in any other way. Louis C K has spent years discrediting the women who accused him, damaging them irrevocably. He has not seen the light, he has seen the potential end of his career.
Post-Weinstein, the only route to forgiveness is changed behaviour. Sexual assault is wrong and you aren’t getting any medals for knowing that, or for not doing it. Being decent is not an achievement and there is no place for this behaviour in the future. If you haven’t caught up yet, you better start running.