Deconstructing Scandals

Louis CK admits sex allegations are true

Most of the media – mainstream and alternative – is framing harassment claims as sexual events… I suppose that is true on one level, but there are two considerations that are non-sexual.

To me, and from a distance, these events seem to be about power more than sex. People in positions of power, usually men but not always, seek to reinforce that power by taking liberties with people who have less power: those above lording it over those below. This drive to power – to get it and maintain it – manifests itself sexually.

Some of these guys might have had power taken away from them in the past – and they want it back, even at the expense of others. Others might fear losing the power they have.

Can there really be sexual gratification for the abuser with these events? If the true motivation was purely sexual, well, there are countless people out there (men and women), especially on social media, who are up for anything. This includes women who actively seek extreme sexual experiences and unusual behavior.  Then there would be no legal issues and perhaps even some satisfaction involved in the consensual nature of it all.

If CK Louis really wanted to exhibit himself to a strange woman in a hotel room, for sexual reasons, he could have gone onto Craigslist or Tinder or other sites that are even more specific for this, and find a woman willing to drive 50 miles right away. But he did not.

Again, its about power.

Good Series

Narcos, on Netflix, is very well done. A lot of time and attention went into the historical detail. The cultural context is accurate. Good acting. Good writing. It’s a larger-than-life series.

It brings back memories, not that I was ever into cocaine. But us American teachers would go clubbing in the mid-1980s in Port-au-Prince, up the mountain in Petionville. Clubs like “Babylon.” The Colombian narcos were in their full glory. Major partiers.

I vacationed in Colombia with my kids and ex-wife, who had many friends there, and these coca wars seemed like a distant memory. The country seemed very safe. We stuck to the coffee country near Manizales.

I’ve always had a good feeling about Colombia and, last week, bought a ticket from Panama to Cartagena. My current plan is to bounce back and forth between the two places. I can work online in the morning – a long morning of 5 – 6 hours – at academic editing. Then close the laptop and help with the training aspect of a local rugby team or something. Drink coffee.

Over a year or two, I need to set up an alternative living situation for my mother, because a nursing care facility in New York will be exorbitant. So there’s that. I’m headed to Latin America (again).

I’ve been given a lot of lives this go around, more than I deserve.

Sunni-Shia Plastic Chess


I’ve repeatedly made the argument that the Korean peninsula is a stage, a game. Previous posts have pointed to the absurdity of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

Perhaps some people are convinced by a wooden table set up in a swamp, with four 2008 Sony TV set up to look like monitors of the atom bomb. The charade goes all the way back to the 1950s. The Manchurian mind fuck, as the movie tipped off.

I think that North Korea is a UN Security Council special administrative district, but that it’s above the pay grade for their formal leaders to know much.

I ought to just relax and have a warm beer: Otto Warmbier, above. Actor. British, not American. They drink warm beer there do they not?

This bogus tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran is similarly contrived. Both governments are puppet regimes.

The Saudis were set up by the British Empire and collaborate very closely with Israel. Saudi Arabia’s oppression, its beheadings, all form a separate category of porn for the usual circle jerk.

Now Saudi Arabia wants its citizens to return from Lebanon, the only real semi-democracy in the Middle East, and a nice place, to Saudi Arabia, a backwater with no water.

Iran could have imploded the US government several times with inside information but chose not to.

The controllers want to lock and load another region for crisis, to at least have the option of pulling the trigger. So, and I know I’m mixing metaphors, but we have two plastic games of chess going on, Korea and the Middle East.

What’s next?

Step Backward

tr   The Trump administration – in an effort to protest Cuban policies such as restrictions on freedom of movement – is implementing restrictions on Americans’ freedom of movement. That’s a special kind of stupid.

As reported in the news: “New Cuba policy will restrict travel for Americans. American tourists will also no longer be able to travel to Cuba on individual people-to-people exchange programs. They must travel now with a sponsoring organization or, if there on educational travel, with an American group or university.”


Decathlon in China







Enjoying my view – less than 30 days left in China.

Worth a Look

There is a fascinating movie, called The Discovery, with Robert Redford and Jason Segel.

On one level it is about what happens to consciousness when we die. At the subatomic level we go to another place, and the movie has a plot around all that.

They also discover that people contain deep memories, perhaps not of their own in this present life but from past lives, or from alternate realities. The movie implied that there are multiple and parallel versions of this reality. The Mandela effect suggests that as well.

I will post more substantial things in the coming week, but I wanted to call attention to this thought-provoking movie.


In Scheme of Things

The recent Hollywood scandals, launched by Harvey Weinstein, has reignited the politics of gender.

When having an academic or intellectual conversation, people tend to regard gender as this important social divide, but I’m thinking that gender is the least important category.

Class matters most. One’s economic class determines one’s life, to a great extent. Upward mobility is becoming rarer. If you think gender matters more than class, just visit the VIP booth of the Kentucky Derby, or any fancy restaurant or hotel in Manhattan. The rich – men and women together – are bound into what C. Wright Mills called the “power elite.”

Next, race matters. The color of one’s skin matters a lot in the United States. Closely related to race is legal status, whether someone is a citizen, resident or undocumented “illegal.”

Last, and finally, there is gender. Even though this is the least relevant of all categories, there are tons of feminist study departments and women’s studies department in universities from Main to California. But there are no departments of the “working poor.”

So the actual hierarchy of importance – class, race, and gender – is inverted in social discourse. Gender and race get people’s attention and dominate the media.

Oh well…

Media Multiverse

When I was a teenager there were three TV stations, the radio, a handful of magazines, and books. That’s it. In retrospect I’m not sure how we all avoided boredom.

Browsing through Netflix raises this tree-falling-in-the-woods question:

If something happened in the world, and it did not end up on Netflix, did it ever really happen?

Netflix has shows on everything from ancient Rome to Marco Polo, from medieval times to colonial America, from the 1920s to the 1980s, and on and on and on. Every war ever fought has a bunch of TV shows and movies about it. I notice one about the British Empire attacking West Africa to get ivory.

When I finished watching one, Netflix then suggests another similar to it, that I did not know existed. Now Netflix simply starts playing its recommendations automatically. There is even a category called “Binge Worthy.”

It’s like all these shows are multiplying exponentially.

Bogus Charge

I never imagined I would be defending Harvey Weinstein in a post.

I don’t put it past a big time media mogul like Harvey Weinstein to use his power to pressure women into sex, but I find the latest allegation of “rape” a little hard to fathom. Why? Because of this:

“The development comes after allegations from actress Paz de la Huerta, who says Weinstein sexually assaulted her multiple times.”

Really? Multiple times? So after the first time he crossed the line, she found herself in a room alone with Weinstein yet again? And then waited 11  years to say something?

The LAPD is investigating “rape”? He threw her down and held a knife to her throat? That’s what rape is.

Rape involves physical coercion: force. If someone is influenced into sex and the later regrets it, that’s not rape, it’s just being stupid.

A crime as serious as rape needs to be immediately reported to the authorities, and then the testimony needs to be backed up – not with hearsay but with more evidence, forensic evidence.

I understand there are real rape victims out there. I also understand there are desperate people saturated in victim consciousness, with creative memories. Attention whores. Hollywood is filled with them.

Mexico’s House of Cards

This political thriller, set in Mexico City, is on Netflix – in Spanish but with English subtitles.

The show takes the local scandals and rumor mongering, and fuses them with Washington memes: a president is assassinated with a bullet (shades of JFK), a suspect runs through the hotel kitchen (shades of RFK), and the VP talks to the nation with a shirt splattered with blood (shades of Jackie O).

Someone framed the First Lady and she disappears into the city’s vast underworld, hoping to clear her name. No spoiler alerts there. All this happens at the outset of the first episode.

The show is especially fun for me because I recognize most of the settings, even some of the obscure ones. I lived there for almost three years and return pretty much annually. For some reason, my recurring dreams of Mexico City repeat the dreamscape cityscape and street layout – which is not the same as the actual city. It’s bizarre. Neither the real nor the dreamed city change much for me.

I will definitely post photos from there around the New Year.