Slutsky and Bitchin' | Monty Python veteran Terry Gilliam's #MeToo rant is illogical hogwash
How many talented male actors need to walk up to a powerful woman director and say, "What do I have to do to get in your film"? And how many women actresses are forced to do it because "that's the way the world works"?
Slutsky: I knew it had to happen. With Harvey Weinstein's trial, I knew the #MeToo detractors would pipe up with their sound bytes.
Bitchin': Are you talking about Monty Python's Terry Gilliam complaining about the white man's burden to always be blamed for everything?
Slutsky: He called the #MeToo movement a "witch hunt" where even "decent people" or "mildly irritating" ones were "being hammered".
Bitchin': Of course, he took no names of said "decent" people who were being crucified without cause. But a lot of the problem, I think, stems from privileged people having a blind spot about the cultural capital (and power) they wield. I heard he wants to be a "black lesbian" now—don't know if that will be a good look for him.
Slutsky: Exactly! Doors opened easily for him as an Oxbridge-educated white man during the 'Monty Python' era. Now that a few doors are being opened for black or queer people, historically marginalized, unrepresented and voiceless, through diversity hirings, he feels attacked?
Bitchin': Well, in a way he is being attacked. No one likes giving up pretty things they have enjoyed for a long time. Privilege is something Gilliam takes for granted and is annoyed that his share of the pie is getting smaller.
Slutsky: But what really makes me really angry is him quoting a "female friend" of his with a case of internalized misogyny to justify his point of view.
Bitchin': Do tell.
Slutsky: He said (quoting his friend), "She has got her story of being in the room and talking her way out. She says, ‘I can tell you all the girls who didn’t, and I know who they are and I know the bumps in their careers'. The point is, you make choices."
Bitchin': And of course, he doesn't get what it is like to enter every room with your guard up, wondering if you are going to have to "talk your way out" of it. I'm glad his lady friend is smart enough to neutralize a bad situation. But why is every woman asked, as a norm, to have that sort of presence of mind; the street-smartness to emerge unscathed. It is inherently unfair that being selected for a job or promotion can be dependent on "putting out"—even if it is a drink at a bar that is more 'pleasure' that 'business'—rather than being based on talent or a fair appraisal of whether you can get the job done. Women's economic choices are reduced or taken away because of their "choice" to upset powerful men by not being compliant. And I am not going to even talk about "being hammered" by sexist remarks day-in and day-out or being ignored because you are the only woman in a room full of powerful men.
Slutsky: Doesn't he get how mentally and physically exhausting it is to continually "talk" your way out of rooms and situations where you could be assaulted or propositioned. How exhausting it is to stay polite, grit your teeth and do the job you've been hired to while dealing with inappropriate behavior. Why has Gilliam normalized the experience of women having to run the gauntlet of unsolicited sexual attention in the workplace?
Bitchin': Plus, I'd never thought I'd see the day Terry Gilliam would be slut-shaming to make a point.
Slutsky: Yes, he was on a quoting spree in his rant. He recalled an incident where a "very well-known actress" said to him, "What do I have to do to get in your film, Terry?"
Bitchin': Just to get him to understand, I want to ask him, how many talented male actors need to walk up to a powerful woman director and say, "What do I have to do to get in your film?". And how many women actresses are forced to do it because "that's the way the world works".
Slutsky: Does he not get that patriarchy offers women so little power that a sexual favor is one of the very few bargaining chips available in the current, skewed power structure? So big surprise that there are "ambitious" women who will use that weapon because, I got to say, we have limited artillery to work with when it comes to blasting through the glass ceiling.
Bitchin': For once, I'd like a 'Freaky Friday' situation and have him actually exchange bodies with a black lesbian -- no takebacks. He'd see how far his 'talent' would take him without diversity hires.
‘Slutsky & Bitchin’ is a weekly column, published Saturday evening, examining the highs and lows of pop culture and media from a feminist POV