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A call for work clothes…

by Richard Sutton on January 8, 2018
Last night. We watched the GG awards extravaganza, wondering if there would actually be breakout dialog or any spectacular use of the “Bully Pulpit”, but… no. Not really. It was a fun industry and press party with a beautifully delivered sermon towards the end. The use of a single color associated with mourning does not actually, in the case of Hollywood, mean turning away from outrageous glamour towards a deeper kind of problem-solving. Escape is what they sell, and it is what we buy. While the ongoing revelations of the abusive and power-enforcing behavior of many men within their industry have begun to give women a renewed sense of strength and self-expression; it has also, as we saw last night, driven many men to awkward silence.
This is an ancient problem that has been culturally sponsored all the way back to clubs and caves. If we want to create a more equitable, universally beneficial culture, then we need to realize that pins and colors and hashtags alone may be a starting point that serves to rally the troops; but they are not going to mean this road will be shortened much if we don’t all speak our hearts as well as our injuries. In my mind, this is about power. In many ways our society has not risen above feudalism. We still seek heroes to do the work we are unable to do, even when we join together. As a result, joined together our will doesn’t get any more effective. Instead, we just want to “believe” it will get done… somehow.
It won’t. None of us can stand on the sidelines to make the changes that are necessary. We’re all gonna have to roll up our sleeves and begin to say what’s really on our minds. Carrying the banner may focus an active assault, but it doesn’t win the day. When we rely upon a strong leader to make the hard choices, do the ugly work, produce clear thinking and lead the battle, it rarely goes exactly the way we all want it to. Usually, after long struggles fail to determine a victor, both sides end up suing for peace anyway. To achieve it, they must sit at a mutually binding table of arbitration and reach a consensus. It is going to take a long time to dismantle the culture of power that persists in almost every industry, social organization and faith. It’s going to be very difficult to turn away from raising the uniquely gifted individuals on pedestals for worship and instead, raise us all on the pedestals together. Dignity is something you achieve through active labor. I think, in the interest of effective discourse, that those attending that arbitration table should all wear grey sweats. Elastic waistbands. Oversized shoulders. If we all look ridiculous, but are as comfortable as possible, then maybe we’ll leave our social role playing behind us and just be people trying to find solutions. We’ve got a good history of doing that once all the confetti’s been swept up.
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