anti-icon in a musth.

Dagnabit, Internet. I fought long and hard not to, but I’m going to do it. Everybody else on the entire planet (or at least the parts connected to the internet) is chiming in, so why the heck not. Here are Amy’s thoughts (which, I think, at last count is now the 10,984,568,309,123rd thought about this topic):

Let’s talk about Brock.

well, here it is.  a picture ( mugshot?) of a juvenile gone awry. the poster child for white, male privilege and all that is wrong with 21st century society based on all that was wrong in the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, even the Renaissance, American Agrarian Society, Colonialism, the Industrial Age, the rise of Technology, historical and modern day apartheid, prejudice, misogyny, antiquated class systems, the injustice of American justice, and what social media can really do to a body if they decide: DISLIKE.

Brock is very young. He’s from an upper middle class, white privileged background. He’s probably not used to hearing the word “No” very much. He’s got a lot of testosterone, a LOT of testosterone. With every article and social media post about Brock, I see an immature male who’s completely and utterly clueless about how the world works and particularly how women work. Which means he’s kind of like one of those juvenile male elephants. When left to their own devices, without mature and dominant bull elephants around to yank them back into line and teach them how elephant protocol actually works, how to be respectable and sane elephants, juvenile male elephants can suddenly become extremely and uncharacteristically, often fatally, aggressive. They go into a state of “musth,” a frenzy of sudden and violent behavior triggered by testosterone and a deep need for mature male guidance.

And so here we have Brock. A juvenile human male suddenly out on his own and left to his own devices, hormonal, with no seasoned older bulls to yank him back in line. The older bull he actually did have to learn protocol from appears, from the evidence that male himself has provided to the world, to be as hormonal and clueless as him and so was probably also raised without mature and dominant bulls to teach HIM the man protocols. And where was the female, the guiding maternal complement to the mature and dominant bull to teach human protocol to young Brock? Who stinkin’ knows – nobody’s even letting her write a letter for the whole Internet to analyze. She’s either non-existent, mortified by embarrassment, or she’s locked up in a kitchen somewhere being ordered to keep bringing fresh sandwiches and cold beers to the clueless bulls sitting around, scratching their heads about why everyone isn’t high fiving their eruditely written letters in which they bemoan being victimized by political correctness (i.e., women who obviously don’t understand that when they’re raped by a white college boy it’s not real rape like when they’re raped by hoodlum black youths or sinister illegals who don’t belong here).

Brock had some dranky drank, a female caught his attention, and he went into a state of musth, white boy Stanford-style. Thus making him quite lethal and destructive. When some seasoned and mature human bulls came upon Brock’s frenzy, he was finally yanked back to protocol…but not before he left behind a path of infamy. A litany of abuse complaints. A mile long rap sheet of misdemeanors and felonies. A swath of destruction.

Brock is completely responsible for his “action” that night. He deeply wants all of us to agree with him that alcohol is a hell of drug, and woopsie. Alcohol makes boys AND girls do dumb things. This reasoning sounds, to me, like one of the Taliban standing trial and going: But…I just…I had a bit too much non-alcoholic beer from Satan’s America and I could have swore all those people wanted us to behead them. I mean, they even got down on their knees when I told them to. If they didn’t want to be beheaded, they shouldn’t have been walking through the area we controlled, so how was I supposed to know not to behead them? But I know better now. I’m going to give inspirational speeches to other Taliban men and tell them not to tell anymore people to get on their knees before our beheadings.

(By the way, since we’re talking alcohol’s influence and bull elephants…elephants in South Africa love to eat the fruit of this tree called the marula tree – its fruit is used to make the liqueur amarulla, which many humans find quite tasty. But there’s a long-held belief that raw marula fruit makes elephants drunk and behave all crazy. Science says probably not, but there are these beetle pupae that live in the tree that the San people who live in the area like to use to poison their arrow tips with, and the elephants may be eating those and getting all drugged up crazy from the poison. Same difference, if we’re humanizing elephants and elephantizing humans…which I am doing in this blog article, basically. You go, Science.)

But this is more than just a case of Brock’s so frickin’ evil. I think, while he’s entirely responsible for what he did and the “sentence,” he was handed is a real good reprehensible example of all that is wrong with our justice system nowadays, he’s not entirely responsible for what he IS. The fact that he doesn’t appear to think he’s entirely responsible for what he did speaks volumes about entitlement and diminishing parenting skills in our society. The fact he doesn’t appear to really understand the reality of his situation (and/or is being stubbornly and egregiously obtuse about it), speaks volumes to me about what kind of household he appears to have grown up in. Whatever Brock and his enablers think and believe, though, is unanimously irrelevant according to the entire rest of planet (at least the parts with internet access). An entire jury of 12 people unanimously said so when they convicted him. The victim said so when she very eloquently let him know exactly why what he did was inexcusable. The mountain of physical evidence and two eye witnesses said so. And so now Brock is getting to experience what I believe the Quakers used to like to call “a good old fashioned shunning.”

The judge (a white guy from a privileged middle class background) took pity on him. Poor Brock. Poor, poor Brock. He’s so blonde, and so very blue eyed, and just so heart-breakingly young. (I don’t know what his victim looks like, but I do know she’s heart-breakingly young, too.) Whatever. That’s cool; women and people of color and immigrants and religious minorities are all used to this attitude by this point. Centuries of it. So here’s what happens when that happens, when people are marginalized and abused and told they aren’t “as” as someone else whether they’re told this directly or indirectly: sometimes, if justice won’t serve justice, then society finds a way to do it. And believe me Brock fans and criminals everywhere – if you’ve got to have justice served to you? You better HOPE it’s by a state or federal agency and not by your indignant, vigilante fellow humans with their Twitter and their Facebook and their Pinterest and YouTube and Vimeo and Snapchat and Vine and Periscope and all the other billion social media outlets mobs take to these days like swarms of angry villagers wielding pitchforks and wooden torches.

Where Brock was failed by the same society that’s now condemning him is the fact this same society keeps approving more seasons of Keeping up with the Kardashians and has people in it who think Donald Trump makes some sense here and there. If you want to have any amount of a shred of sympathy for Brock, there it is. Combined with the fact Brock simply didn’t have a good male role model in his life. He was raised by people who don’t understand the human protocols, and he’s a product of a society that fat shames and watches The Bachelor every season hopeful THIS time we’ll see a real, live love connection. I’ve already read blog entries that go: Oh, let’s not blame the parents, now. Sometimes kids just turn out bad. I mean, yeah. If you believe movies like The Bad Seed aren’t make believe. Dammit, other humans! Why do you always do this?? Why do you always apologize for bad behavior, poor choices, and not face factual facts. Children, while they do have genetic tendencies toward mental illness and have been known to make terrible choices in their teenage years and all of their 20s (me, this was me) and Science now says brainwaves can pinpoint who all our psychopaths are, there’s also a real thing called “product of your environment.” People overcome their childhood environments all the time; my college room mate did. But for someone like BROCK??? Who’s genetically perfect, according to status quo, and had all the resources? White people, please. Have you not evidence enough of how Brock’s people and those like them choose to approach their maelstroms of Life yet? Which is that nothing is their fault; it’s always someone else’s?? Sorry, Brock’s dad. Read your letter. You flunked. (Isn’t it fascinating we’ve not gotten to read a letter by Brock’s mom yet? WHAT DOES BROCK’S MOM THINK? Does she agree with her a-hole, we’re-the-REAL-victims-here husband? Or is she just so stunningly disappointed in her son and her husband she has no idea what to say? Or is she a Stepford Wife? Or all of that?)

Can I tell you a slightly off-topic personal thing about me if I promise to boomerang it back around to Brock?

When I was a 7th grader, I found my father’s tome of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Oh my god, you guys. I can’t tell you how many times I read this book. I read it at night. I read it at lunch. I read it at recess. I read it on the bus. I read it after dinner. I read it on the weekend. But I didn’t just read it. I looked at the pictures; I studied them. I memorized the faces of the Chocktaw and the Sioux and the Cherokee, the Apache and the Navajo and the Cheyenne, all the 19th and early 20th century photos of these long-gone people who’d been here first, who were the original settlers. I gazed for hours at their fierce warriors, I memorized what the women who’d been raped and killed looked like, I felt sick and horrified by the photos of children left orphaned. I looked at pictures of tribal leaders being lied to and used by the United States government, just like what the US government does sometimes today except live on CNN. The stories from the book I remember most were the ones about how American soldiers would raid and pillage Indian camps, raping the women, killing the babies, scalping them, cutting off female private parts and parading around with these “trophies.” This book is a big reason I was shaped into the unapologetic Social Justice Warrior I am today, I am certain of it. In 8th grade when we learned about the Holocaust and the treatment of slaves in the South, I remembered everything Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee had taught me, and I was furious Hitler offed himself before all the rest of humanity had a chance to do experiments on him, starve him, make him ride to scary places in cattle cars packed with human feces and fear, send him to a gas chamber. I wanted to travel back in time and whip white Southerners while they bent over picking cotton, and yank them away from their beloved children and auction them off naked just like pieces of meat. I am still angry. I am angry that humans did these things to one another, I don’t care what time period it was or why. And I am enraged that we are still behaving like this. That groups like ISIS and the Taliban and sex traffickers and the Westboro Baptist Church exist and Pat Robertson still has a TV show that people watch and actually send money to and Donald Trump is even being considered seriously for a leadership position in this country. I want to believe we have come so much farther than that, because I know we can be so much better than that. I want to believe there won’t ever be another Wounded Knee and humans won’t ever enslave or gas entire races of people just cause, but then I am blasted over and over and over by stories like Brock’s and I realize: nope, it’s still there. This sense of entitlement, this sense some of us have that we are better because of our religious texts, our skin color, our bank account, what type of genitalia we have, who we choose to fall in love with. I am absolutely offended by people who think and speak in terms of Us vs Them.

I look at my own child, who is a mixture of black and white and Native American, and I think about the stories I read over and over in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. And I think about all the stories I read about ISIS, and the things I see on the Internet directed at women, and the newest stupid thing Donald Trump just said, mocking {insert some sort of human decency here}. I worry about Miss M running into a Brock when she goes off to college and being hurt by him. I worry about: what happens to us if all the strong females or dominant, mature bulls’ wisdom and guidance is shouted down or they are all killed off by juveniles run amok and the bulls who never matured?

And I worry about other women – I am passionate about protecting all children, but in particular protecting girls and the women they’ll one day become, making them strong and confident so that if/when they run across Brocks and Donalds and creeps trying to make them feel bad for standing up for themselves, I want them not to be afraid to say NO to all that. To know they deserve better, to know who they are. So that if they’re out and about, drinking or just on a date and someone roofies them, or they just accidentally or on purpose get so drunk they can’t make a rational decision or, like in Brock’s victim’s case, any decision at all, if they find themselves with a predator and their autonomy and safety is taken from them against their will, without their express consent and permission, I want those girls, I want my daughter, to have the strength, the stamina, and the sense of self to pull through it. I want girls and women who’ve been through trauma and terror to find who they are again and stand tall and proud and be fierce and not back down ever again. I want them to write a modern day Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee for girls and women and all the disenfranchised minorities where they live, to let all men and (sadly) other women who think women are just pieces of “action” to know: You have committed a crime, and you have no power. I will survive. You will always be this monster because you were never taught, you didn’t even try to figure it out on your own. But I, and everyone woman or other person you prey upon, will survive. You have no power, because this is not okay and you are wrong no matter what you tell the world and yourself.

I don’t know what kind of childhood someone like Brock Turner has. From what I’ve read, I can make a pretty educated guess, which is why I don’t feel sympathy for Brock at all. Had he expressed remorse and apologized for what he did – said something like “I drank too much but that’s no excuse for what I did. My behavior and decision to rape and abuse another human being for my own needs was wrong,” and left it at that without pointing a single, but-she-made-me-do-it-to-her finger at his victim I would feel for him a bit as the Internet ganged up on him. If his father hadn’t written a letter that sounded like a strategy straight out of the Abuser’s Guide to Refusing to Get Treatment, I’d feel different about his upbringing. Had Brock’s female friend not written another letter that sounded like every psychologically tortured/abused woman making excuse after excuse for her abuser, I’d feel real hope that Susan B. Anthony and Betty J. Friedan had turned this ship in the right direction.

But that’s not what happened. Brock isn’t surrounded by thoughtful, wise males who’ve taught him how to be a real man. The females he’s grown up with were and are being raised to believe they’re weaker than men and aren’t questioning that, and so what Brock did is just what boys do to girls sometimes: Rapists aren’t ALWAYS rapists, sweetie, sometimes they’re just boys who do boy things. This kind of thinking is so ridiculously out of my frame of reference at this point in my life I feel like I’m reading stuff written by people who live on a faraway planet. This IS 2016, right? We’ve not all time traveled back to 1816, have we?

Men of planet Earth and particularly America: you MUST respect women. If you don’t know how, then you better learn. Take a class. Climb a mountaintop for a yearlong re-training retreat with a guru. Figure it out. Because this whole Brock Turner thing combined with a lot of other stuff I’m starting to see percolate here and there combined with the fact we’ve had a black president (twice, we’ve had a black president TWICE and a lot of white people lost their minds over it for awhile because they really assumed America’s little social justice experiment had failed and now everything was going back to standard white guy again with Mitt Romney) and now (Oh, dear God, please prove You really exist and give us the woman for president) we’ll hopefully (please, God, PLEASE – not the orange lunatic) have a woman for president but even if she hadn’t gotten the nomination we’d have had a Jewish president….y’all. Times. They are a-changin’.

And yet I do feel a slight tinge of hope, because when stuff like this goes viral I sense a huge sift in our society lately, this very deep unwillingness to put up with musth-ish behavior from humans who don’t get the protocol. From both women who are growing sick and tired of being objectified and used, along with very thoughtful men who actually understand the meaning of respect. The World Wide Web has read the rape details, has read the In Defense of Brock letters, has noted the jury unanimously convicted him AND the fact the prosecution wanted 6 years in prison, has read what the victim has to say, and the vast majority of the Internet has expressed its decision about this type of behavior and thinking: OH HEEEELLLL NO. This is the magnificence of what we can do when we work together to decide what we want the proper human protocol to be. It’s the one silver lining take away I have whenever a story like this goes viral.

So. My take on the Brock crap: We may have old white dudes sitting on high courts right now, and we have old white dudes in charge of our police forces, and a lot of them are still running Congress…but our country is changing. It’s becoming more colorful and savvier. If you’re a guy who still operates under the assumption he’s entitled to a woman’s friendship/affections/body because you were taught or found some loser man’s group or internet website that told you women are put here to service a man’s private parts and other needs…oh dear. You’ve already lost the war, poopsie, and you didn’t even get to see any battle. I know what months and months of emotional and verbal abuse by an entitled, clueless male on the Internet did to me, what it taught me about how some men can be, and that’s how I know: we have all had quite enough of you now. You’re drunk, go home. I really sense the playing field is slooowly starting to level out – hope there aren’t too many pine needles on it for you people clinging hard to your 19th century sense of superiority.


One thought on “anti-icon in a musth.

  1. I had 2 situations this week at the pool where 2 different boys were so inappropriate with my 9 year old girl. In one the 10 year old boy basically cussed her out and pushed her because he wanted her to move so he could play catch (he never asked her to move… just started cussing at her). The dad laughed it off and said they were just being kids (this was in passing because my girl was out of the water and crying because she got hurt in the exchange). The next day, another 10 year old boy was playing in a group and they were playing pool tag. He grabbed my daughter and held her under water. I’m watching and hear her say (across the pool) – “Stop, you are playing too rough. I don’t want to play anymore.” And he refused to let her go and kept dunking her. So I became super mom and jumped to that end of the pool and removed his hand from her head (which was under the water) and told him “She said NO – she asked you to stop.” The other mom, laughed and said, “oh they are kids – they’ll solve their issues on their own.”

    All I could think was… yes – just like Brock learned his own self control.
    I think the media has set up a fear of being a helicopter parent… and the pendulum has swung to being completely hands off parents. Unfortunately, if parents don’t teach kids by example, by showing why bad decisions are bad, etc….. they won’t learn. 😦


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