I write this on my last day in the Bagel, and it sure is a scorcher, heat and humidity so high that the professional beggars on Fifth Avenue have moved closer to the lakes in Central Park. Heat usually calms the passions, but nowadays groupthink pundits are so busy presenting fake news as journalism you’d think this was election week in November. Here’s one jerk in the New York Times: ‘The court’s decision was narrow…’ The decision in question is the Supreme Court ruling that a baker could refuse a gay couple’s request for a cake on religious grounds. The writer who described the result as narrow, one Adam Liptak (Lipgloss would be more appropriate), did not mention that the vote was seven to two. Talk about fake news. Perhaps nine to zero would also have been considered narrow.
Mind you, fear and loathing is the order of the day. This week, as I was having breakfast at a nearby outdoor café with two friends, a pretty girl with a large cast on her leg sat next to us. ‘I represent Epstein, Epstein and Goldfarb,’ I told her. ‘Did a man have anything to do with your injury? We work closely with the #MeToo movement.’ She said no and then moved seats. The rest of the place went quiet. It was a bit like singing the ‘Horst Wessel’ in the middle of Moscow in 1943. Americans are running scared shitless of the sisterhood.
Which brings me to a point I’d like to make. Did any of you see a column by Jan Moir in the Daily Mail last week? (Incidentally, I’m delighted that Geordie Greig got the top job at the paper. He’s a gent and a terrific editor.) It’s about Harvey Weinstein’s accuser-in-chief Rose McGowan, and the demands that were made by her representatives before her arrival for an interview at a television station; demands that would not have been made by, say, Genghis Khan — or Charlemagne, for that matter. (No eye contact, no direct questions, no small talk…)
Well, McGowan slipped up when it came to her account of a recent tragedy, which I struggle to reconcile with other versions I’ve heard. McGowan tweeted footage of herself crying over the suicide of the celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain a couple of weeks ago. Bourdain’s girlfriend, Asia Argento, who has also accused Weinstein of rape, had been photographed looking amorous with a French newshound. Five days after the photographs were published, Bourdain was dead. In response to suggestions that Argento’s behaviour had pushed Bourdain over the edge (which is what his close friend told me), Rose penned an open letter in defence of her fellow actress in which she said that the chef had been suffering from depression and had died because he ‘did not take the doctor’s advice’. What is more Argento and Bourdain were in a ‘free relationship’, she writes. They ‘loved without borders of traditional relationships’. Well, that’s not how his close friends described it. Never mind. As a lawyer told me, dead men cannot be cross-examined.
Now I ask you, dear readers: if McGowan is ready to give a questionable account of Bourdain’s death in her open letter to protect the sisterhood, then she is exposing that sisterhood to questions about other accounts she has given, not least when it comes to Weinstein.
In America today, a woman can make an accusation and the man instantly gets the death sentence. Due process has gone with the wind, and if Rhett Butler were around he’d be in irons for harassing Scarlett. Constantine Fitzgibbon’s When the Kissing Had to Stop comes to mind. Not to mention Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Facebook is Big Brother, and kissing a girl today can be dangerous to your health, if not one’s pocketbook. Even the Bible has a #MeToo problem. Women in the holy book are treated as objects, according to one American female academic, ‘to be penetrated, traded, bought or sold’. Men are the guilty ones. Our sacred stories are now up for grabs: will our Lord Jesus turn out to be transgender, or gay? King David’s reputation is already mud. He’s a rapist who sent Bathsheba’s hubby to the front line so that he can get her into his bed.
White people, too, are not very popular these days, as 58 per cent of them voted for Trump. Editors in newsrooms and TV studios across America are blinded by pure hatred of the Donald. There’s a new book out that links the rise of the Nazis with anti-globalism; you get my drift don’tcha? Nazis bad, anti-globalists bad; free traders, fat cats and large multinationals good. It’s as easy as ABC.
Now they’re calling Trump a quisling, one who takes orders from Russia. (Paul Krugman in the New York Times.) The accuser predicted a depression the moment Trump was elected, but he has saved face by calling the Donald a quisling.
And Ahmad el Boutari, an Uber driver, lost his licence because he kicked out two nice lesbians for kissing in his car. They were disrespectful, he said. Well, in some parts of the world two girls kissing might not be as acceptable as two boys doing it, but whereI come from it’s a nice thing to see.
Finally: ‘Murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will be openly taught and practised… the soil will be soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes.’ Is that an anti-Trump diatribe in the New York Times? No, it is the Connecticut Courant, on Thomas Jefferson’s election in 1800. The Donald has a way to go to match this one.