Sex, the pro­gres­sives’ prob­lem

The rake rev­o­lu­tion is con­sum­ing its cham­pi­ons

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By R. Em­mett Tyrrell Jr.

ex is a beau­ti­ful thing.” Re­mem­ber that solem­nity be­ing in­toned end­lessly by the sex prophets of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s? Of course, the more re­cent prophets were pre­ceded by the sex­ual psy­chopaths of the 1920s and ’30s. There is a long his­tory to the ab­sur­dity of sex­ual utopia.

Yet by the 1960s the sex prophets were on the hem of mar­ket­ing their balder­dash to a mass mar­ket, and by the early days of the 21st cen­tury they had their mar­ket. The “sex is a beau­ti­ful thing” cru­saders had found their fol­low­ers in the pub­lic school sys­tem, in the pop cul­ture, even in the churches. Now, how­ever, the sex-is-beau­ti­ful solem­nity is be­ing shut down al­most overnight, and the shut­down is be­ing achieved by the fair sex. Any­one caught in­ton­ing it in the present mo­ment will be in dan­ger of os­tracism, es­pe­cially if the in­toner is a male of the species.

It is in­creas­ingly clear to those of us who study such phe­nom­ena — some call us so­ci­ol­o­gists, oth­ers use less flat­ter­ing terms — that some­thing wholly un­ex­pected has taken place in Amer­i­can so­ci­ety. Griev­ance has trumped the “beauty of sex” po­etry. The ag­grieved women of Hol­ly­wood were the first to let out a holler. The main source of their griev­ance was Har­vey We­in­stein, the Bathrobed Romeo, whose quest of the beauty of sex led him to fon­dle, abuse and oth­er­wise com­mit — it is al­leged — felonies on the bod­ies of hun­dreds, per­haps thou­sands, of un­will­ing maid­ens and pur­suers of Hol­ly­wood contracts. My guess is he is des­tined to spend the rest of his life in court with greedy lawyers pick­ing his pock­ets. Now there are other erst­while dis­ci­ples of the beauty of sex be­ing hounded by a pack of ag­grieved women. There is the Hol­ly­wood screen­writer and direc­tor James Toback, who is be­ing pur­sued by at least 200 women. There is Ben Af­fleck, the Os­car-win­ning ac­tor and direc­tor, who has thus far at­tracted just one rav­ing woman, but there may be more, and there is Mark Halperin. He is the politi­cal jour­nal­ist and au­thor who has ac­quired five hec­tor­ing women, but, again, his hour of an­guish is still young.

Per­haps the most ar­rest­ing of the present mo­ment’s Casanovas is Leon Wieseltier, the long­time lit­er­ary editor of The New Repub­lic. An in­dig­nant lady by the name of Michelle Cot­tle, who once worked with Mr. Wieseltier and even drank with him, has chron­i­cled his 30-year stint at the mag­a­zine, mak­ing it sound like he, over the years, mis­took the women on his staff for ap­pli­cants to his per­sonal harem. She evaded his grasp, but oth­ers were not so lucky. Leon is now 65 years old and ac­tu­ally looks rather like some­one’s grand­mother with his flow­ing gray hair and a wat­tle of flesh be­neath his chin. A more he-man spec­i­men turned up over the week­end, the mag­a­zine’s pub­lisher, Hamil­ton Fish V. With per­haps as many an­gry women staffers pur­su­ing him as Mr. Wieseltier, he “has taken a leave of ab­sence.” Pos­si­bly if he re­turns, he will rechris­ten the 103-year-old pro­gres­sive mag­a­zine as a jour­nal of sex­ual ther­apy or per­haps sex­ual hy­giene.

Which in­tro­duces an im­por­tant point. This re­bel­lion of in­dig­nant women is pretty much a prob­lem for pro­gres­sives to deal with. Con­ser­va­tives are mostly ex­empt. Usu­ally the ladies are on the left, as are most of the guilt-stricken men of whom there will be many more be­fore the hys­te­ria ex­hausts it­self. Oh, I know every list of mis­cre­ants in­cludes Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly and Don­ald Trump, but this is merely another case of the me­dia’s ten­den­tious­ness, or as the president says, “fake news.” When he was alive, Ailes de­nied wrong­do­ing and the ev­i­dence against him was sketchy. In the case of the president, there is no ev­i­dence of wrong­do­ing and no cred­i­ble wit­nesses. Of the ac­cused con­ser­va­tives, only Mr. O’Reilly has suf­fered mone­tary loss. As for the pro­gres­sives, they have all lost a for­tune and some will be spend­ing time in court or worse. Ac­tu­ally, I con­sider this a very good thing. Many young women have ob­vi­ously suf­fered at the paws of Har­vey and com­pany. A lot of them have been duped into be­liev­ing that all men par­tic­i­pate in such boor­ish an­tics. No one I know acts like a mon­key on mon­key is­land at the zoo. Ladies, bear in mind that the cur­rent age of ithy­phal­lic men be­gan with Bill Clin­ton and was en­abled by his lovely wife, Bruno. It is now com­ing to an end. What end I can­not pre­dict. All I would say is, let us bring back ro­mance and re­tire the Clin­tons, the Hol­ly­wood­i­ans, and for­get not An­thony Weiner.

Usu­ally the ladies are on the left, as are most of the guilt-stricken men of whom there will be many more be­fore the hys­te­ria ex­hausts it­self.

R. Em­mett Tyrrell Jr. is editor in chief of The Amer­i­can Spec­ta­tor. He is au­thor of “The Death of Lib­er­al­ism,” pub­lished by Thomas Nel­son Inc.

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