• Daniel Ethan Finneran

A Plethora Of Perverts

November 2017

Eros, it’s said, is the builder of cities. Biology and society are our evidence, albeit with a mind always chastened by Malthusian considerations. But no sooner is Eros the master craftsman before it becomes the bane of its own existence—the breaker of the empires it once helped to build. Devoured by its own insatiable appetite, and beaten by its own amorous muscle, it tears to shreds the careful civilizations it helped to erect. Such is the case, at least, when respect and romance succumb to lechery and lust; when requited passion yields to pernicious predation. Lately, it seems as if the latter (in both cases) has been succeeding in America’s dramatic, comedic, and political spheres. With its victory, more than a few empires have fallen.

In the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s recent fall, a deluge of accusations has come to the fore. It’s not merely a matter of coincidence, or convenience to tell the tales all at once—and in many cases, after many years—but rather one of impetus. The sluice has been opened, and at long last, the victims feel themselves emboldened. Weinstein’s prominence in the industry, and the revelation that he isn’t immune to his sins, simply can’t be understated in having helped bring about this end--and in turn, bring about his end. His stature was like that of Saturn’s; a titan above men and their laws.

Now, the victimized women and men have grown in their numbers and galvanized to speak out against their perpetrators. This is absolutely vital if we hope to prevent such predators, who for years thought themselves immune from incrimination—and with striking audacity one might add—from re-employing their vile ways. Weinstein’s fall has provided them (the victims that is, not the accused) with the enervation and, more importantly, the emancipation to speak freely about their shared experiences.

All the tales are egregious and there’s no tidy continuum within which to place them. The best way to approach the stories is chronologically. Kevin Spacey was next in Weinstein’s wake. He was the second Hollywood main man to have allegations raised against him. Spacey is the maniacally talented actor in such films as Seven, Horrible Bosses, L.A. Confidential, and the hit-series House of Cards. His characters are always intelligently villainous and indescribably ambitious. For his ability to capture these difficult bits, he’s become the industry’s beau ideal. But when Spacey breaks the fourth wall, the villainy walks off-stage with him.

It’s been revealed that pederasty was his perversion of choice. You’ll soon find that each man on our list of three has his own illicit idiosyncrasy. Spacey’s was pubescent boys, or perhaps those just on the cusp. Anthony Rapp, now aged forty-six, said that Spacey made sexual advances on him when he was a child of fourteen. At the time, the two were performing on Broadway together and the year was 1986. In a muted admission of guilt, Spacey responded to Rapp’s allegation by at first claiming ignorance (attributable to the passage of time), and then drunkenness (attributable to the fermented grapes of the vine), before finally apologizing if he “did behave then as he (Rapp) describes”.

In his tweeted apology, Spacey sought to deflect from the accusation by speaking for the first time openly about his own sexuality. Before then, his sexual preference wasn’t widely known, at least not outside of Hollywood. That he lives as a gay man was putative but not public. In light of this, his apologetic tweet was all the more abhorrent. He made a serpentine attempt to spin the story so that he might shine a sympathetic light upon himself. He did this with an argumentum ad misericordiam, or an appeal to pity. Galileo used it once before with better results. In Spacey’s case, however, he attempted an appeal to his homosexuality and the results were much different.

Fans and the studios weren’t sold. Netflix suspended its production for the sixth season of House of Cards and he was replaced in Ridley Scott’s forthcoming film, All the Money in the World. Since then, fifteen more accusers, all of them male, have stepped forth to speak out about Spacey’s unwanted sexual attempts.

Next comes Roy Moore. The antithesis of an effete L.A. elite like Spacey, Moore is Alabama’s justice provocateur. He preaches from his pulpit all things anathema to the Hollywood hazarai. He’s zealously sanctimonious and notoriously reactionary. He’s the judge who tried to chisel away at the high wall of separation between church and state by hanging in his courtroom a copy of the ten commandments. When given the choice between vacating his Decalogue or his judicial seat, he opted for the latter.

It should come as no surprise then that Moore is ardently opposed to homosexuality. The testaments old and new are quite clear regarding their position on the matter, and being the good Judeo-Christian that he is, Moore believes the good books said it best. In an interview with C-SPAN years ago, Moore said that homosexuality should be illegal. It turns out, this was a relatively tame thing for the current Republican senate candidate to have said; he proceeded to equate homosexuality with bestiality. He then defied the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges by prohibiting the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in his state of Alabama.

So, unlike Spacey, we could safely scratch pederasty off Moore’s guilty pleasure list—and I do mean guilty. But while the genders of their inamoratos and inamoratas differed, the age of the victims upon which both men preyed was the same. Moore fancied himself a hebephiliac, or one enamored of pubescent girls. Four women, now adults, have stepped forth to recount their stories. Each one was a teenager when she encountered then-District Attorney Roy Moore. The youngest was fourteen to Moore’s thirty-two.

Moore assures us, however, that he never “dated a girl without the permission of her mother”. Suffer me a second's time; I need to excuse myself every time I read that line because I can’t help but gag. I feel the need to wretch and it's a reflex I can’t stifle. That defense, if one could call it that, is entirely appalling, but Moore made it and stands by it unabashedly.

He should’ve stopped himself a few words in to say that he never dated a girl…period, but his candor forced him to clarify. A rule of thumb that any younger or elder adult male would do well to remember is this: if you must ask your infant inamorata’s mother for permission to proceed, you’ve already made a mistake. It may have been permissible to date a child in the halcyon Sumerian and Semitic days he cites with such nostalgia, but it’s never acceptable for the modern man, let alone one seeking a seat in the American Senate.

The starting thing is that this wasn’t a one off. Like Nabokov’s Humbert Humbert, who was himself besotted with juvenescent belles, Moore made a habit of going after girls. Fourteen was the youngest aged girl, but he also made advances on sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen-year-olds. For those who think each added year adds legitimacy to Moore’s comportment, remember this: He was a man in his third decade courting girls in their first. We can be glad that Moore’s unwilling Alabaman Lolitas have found the courage to reveal him for what he is.

We now make our final transition to Louis C.K. With Louis, we can at least console ourselves in knowing that the comedian’s depraved sexual druthers didn’t involve children. Whew—I suppose it’s progress of a certain kind, but it doesn’t say much for setting society’s high bar. Whereas Spacey’s preference was pederasty, and Moore’s was young girls, C.K.’s was masturbation in front of women above the age of consent.

For many years, particularly in the early 2000s, Louis C.K. was the masturbatory menace of no fewer than five females. His was an awkward onanism that scarred each lady accordingly.

In one instance, he invited the comedienne duo of Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov to his hotel room after a night’s performance. He proceeded to pull out his myopic member nestled just below his navel and pleasure himself in their audience. Another performer, Abby Schachner, alleged that during a phone call with C.K., she could hear him in the background painting the ceiling, if you catch my drift. This is sexual misconduct of the most shameless and, frankly, pathetic variety. Voyeurism is more respectable than this. I suppose the only saving grace in this instance, if there be any grace left to save, is that he didn’t physically assault or demand reciprocating acts from his captive ladies. In no way, though, is this exculpatory.

Louis C.K. differs from Spacey and Moore in one other way. He was the only one to offer a full-throated apology. He was forthcoming—which is not something we can say of the others—and his apology seemed sincere. It was self-effacing and contrite, but it came only after many years of silence.

If sex is the last refuge of the miserable, then these men are the refuse that proves the point. How long will it take for similarly powerful men, men who head empires, to come to the realization that requital—requital for lust or for love, that is—is absolutely, unconditionally requisite? I’m not calling for some kind of neo-chivalric revolution, but at the very minimum, we adult males must come to our senses to see that the innocence of youth and the independence of women are sacred and mustn’t be trampled. One can only hope that this surfeit of accusations will set the male mindset aright.

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