Hanna Rosin, culture minster.
On Tuesday, Slate and everyone else posted a video of a woman who is harassed more than 100 times by men as she walks around New York City for 10 hours.
Yeah I saw it. You all posted it? Nope, neither did I. But you know how all us blog-jerks are, jerks.
Last time this place featured the hector Rosin she’d just put out a piece (and a book) debuting ‘The End Of Men.’ I could go on about this fascinating topic but for the fact that I did recently, as predicted, die. So for the spirit of the thing we’re only left with Rosin:
How do I know men are finished? I’ll read you a quote that says it all: “Yes. There have been times when I’ve been in a drunken stupor.”
Hint: This is a quote from the mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford. As far as crack addicts go, talking about themselves, and somehow tapping into the pith of MAN, it really “says it all.”
But in order to win this debate we have to prove that men, quote unquote, as we’ve historically come to define them — entitled to power, destined for leadership, arrogant, confused by anything that isn’t them. As in: “I don’t understand. Is it a guy dressed up like a girl? Or a girl dressed up like a guy?” They are obsolete.
So ta-ta, we bid farewell to ourselves. Later dude. And neither I nor any other agent – forget the English language, ignore the Sphinx, certainly don’t bother Hanna Rosin – can make it any easier for you to understand why. But if you like we can try to tackle something less mysterious, like that video. Okay?
More specifically, it’s a video of a young white woman who is harassed by mostly black and Latino men as she walks around New York City for 10 hours.
I couldn’t tell if she was Latina or white or Jewish. I was only watching the poor woman make a go of it. The point I got was that a woman can’t go walking the streets without receiving a shower of verbal inducements and harassments. If you thought telemarketers were bad, this is much much worse. No phone caller walks a mile beside you down the street like a goblin in your mirror. But it wasn’t until Rosin set her gaze upon the clip the real tragedy was discovered, where the…
…harassers are mostly black and Latino, and hanging out on the streets in midday in clothes that suggest they are not on their lunch break. As Roxane Gay tweeted, “The racial politics of the video are fucked up. Like, she didn’t walk through any white neighborhoods?”
Hanna otherwise wouldn’t mention it, but she happened to be reading her Twitter feed. While what the poor woman had to endure was apparently bad, the context was worse. Why are we watching Aryan propaganda?
He wrote, “We got a fair amount of white guys, but for whatever reason, a lot of what they said was in passing, or off camera,” or was ruined by a siren or other noise. The final product, he writes, “is not a perfect representation of everything that happened.” That may be true but if you find yourself editing out all the catcalling white guys, maybe you should try another take.
Hanna would prefer you tailor-make it into “a perfect representation of everything that happened.” In the edit-room sense of “a fantasy.” Then the video will be palatable, thank you. I say if the woman did walk through affluent white neighborhoods and didn’t get harassed, so what? Would anyone doubt it was because the douches were all getting in a round at Brookline, or checking their margins at Smith Barney? Or that some jerk went trolling the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation copy room, where he “approached her from behind and whispered ‘I want to hate fuck you’ in her ear”?
Who cares? The harassment is what matters. We know it’s found throughout the corporate world, and the video demonstrates how it fills the city streets too. But Hanna thinks it’s a bummer. Rather than the internet, perhaps the clip properly belongs in the garbage. Because, realistic though it may be, the “racial politics” of catcalling is pretty “fucked up.” And no one wants to see that.
So the next time any one of you wants to make a documentary, about racism or violence or abuse, here’s a suggestion. Think about the way such a film will be perceived. It might be worth a little editing to embrace a certain person’s aesthetics. Because that’s probably what really matters.