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Opinion Harvey Weinstein and that ‘different time’ when hostile workplaces were totally okay

An explosive New York Times story has revealed sexual harassment allegations against famed producer Harvey Weinstein. (Video: Nicki DeMarco/The Washington Post, Photo: Jordan Strauss/The Washington Post)

After Harvey Weinstein’s absurd non-apology apology after allegations surfaced about his treatment of women in Hollywood. 

You have to understand that it was a different time.

The science on whether or not women were people was still very much up in the air. There was still considerable debate about whether a shower was the right place to conduct business. Should you take strangers back to your remote cabin and craft yourself a lamp from their epidermis? Maybe.

It was a different time, a remote period of which almost no records have survived. That is just how long ago it was, and we did not have writing or tools such as the video camera to record how it was to live then. All we have now to go by are the tales of the elders.

There was no law. They hadn’t invented business meetings or pants. We wandered from place to place, armed with spears, speaking to each other only in grunts. The strong ones, those who had something to fight for, would make suits out of their opponents’ skin, and all I knew, growing up, was that I wanted to be one of the strong ones.

We didn’t know what made the weather. We were so afraid, every day. Were the human sacrifices we tossed into the pit of snakes the only thing keeping the sun returning? There was so much fear. We did what we thought we had to. We each lived by our own laws.

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It was a different time. You could kill and eat people with impunity, primae noctis was a right, and it wasn’t weird to have serfs. We did not have paper or medicine. No one knew what women were: coat racks with faces, a kind of sad robot with a droopy mouth? We made our best guesses, and we lived with what we had done.

There was no workplace, only a crude pit filled with sharpened stakes.

(The year was 1997.)

But now I have been told that everything about what I just said was not true, and that in fact I have just been terrifying people for decades and creating a horrible, hostile environment, which comes to me as a TOTAL surprise.

I am hiring a team of experts, and we are going to look very slowly and carefully and expensively at this issue and try to figure out exactly where I went wrong. Therapists. Doctors. Spin doctors. Anyone who charges money to look at you very sternly over a clipboard and nod. We will spare no expense. It will be a long, challenging process, and I hope for your patience during this time. It will cost millions of dollars, but I have millions of dollars and I will pay whatever is necessary to make this go away.

Trust me. You’re not mad at me. You’re mad at President Trump, remember?

I look forward to learning the do’s and don’ts of the modern office. (Do: Listen! Look at the eyes! Have the meeting in a public place and wear pants to it! Scream at them and call them one-syllable words! Seize them and drag them by the hair back to the Pit! Oh no, I am not paying attention.)

In the words of Sojourner Truth, “Ain’t I a woman?” Or perhaps Beyonce put it better, “You got me lookin’ so crazy right now.” And I think Beyonce and Sojourner (I call her that because we were close, growing up together in that time) would agree: Don’t fire ME; fire Trump!

The real takeaway here is that this will really give me the fire in the belly I need to fight the good fight against the National Rifle Association, climate change denial, institutionalized sexism (UGH, the WORST), and, of course, that sick loser in the White House. You should all come to the party I am going to throw to celebrate putting an end to their sorry careers. Don’t think about what I did, continuously, over decades. Think about this RAD PARTY! We will sell T-shirts that say “FEMINIST” on them. We will sell all kinds of things like that. There definitely will not be a snake pit.

The important thing is that I am still one of the good guys. I am on your team. I am going to throw some money at the problem, and then I still get to be on your team.

I mean, you knew before! I thought everyone knew. I thought you were just, like, okay with this.

You have to understand that it was a different time. We didn’t have the advantages you’ve had. Remember, women had not yet developed the ability to speak then. That’s right, I think. Well, I certainly don’t remember anything they said.

I am still one of the good guys. Please don’t tell me I will never work in this town again. Or only tell me like you told Mel and Roman and Woody, so I know you’re joking.