Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bending Over

If you ever wondered if there was a bottom to the well of Megan McArdle's support for bankers, even IMF bankers accused of rape with a small mountain of evidence against them, the answer is no.

Don't get me wrong; rich guys get away with stuff they shouldn't. But that's not the whole story. There are grey areas where we all know what's going on, but we can't prove it. When I was working on a pretty big network overhaul at a mutual fund firm--doing the kind of work that at the time was almost never done by women--there was an executive with a very, very deep desk that he had pushed against the wall. Somehow, when I went in there to work on his computer, he was always there--and his computer was always pushed to the far edge of the extremely crowded desk, forcing me to essentially bend over his desk in order to do anything. (Naturally, he never offered me his chair.) Creeptastic.

I knew what he was doing, and I'm pretty sure that he knew I knew it. But what was I supposed to say: "Don't put your computer there?" There was no good way for anyone in his firm or mine to have that conversation. Eventually I delegated most of the work in his office to a male colleague, and his computer moved (back, I assume) to the middle of the desk.

Even fifteen years later, I don't really have a better solution. My company was not exactly a bastion of feminist sentiment, but even if it had been, how could we prove that he hadn't put the computer there because he liked the distant perspective it gave him on his stock portfolio?

You could cast this as just another abuse of power by a rich guy. And to be sure, it probably would have been easier to get one of the mailroom guys to behave himself--but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have said anything in that case either, because it does no good to make enemies at any level of the firm when you're a consultant. On the other hand, if he'd been grabbing me, there were people in management there who I know would have tried to address his behavior.

Ultimately, as unpleasant as it was, I think it is better to be in a system where we give people the benefit of the doubt than one where any action that could have the slightest sexual connotation is presumptively harassment. Yes, it lets creeps get away with a lot. But it also means that the rest of us can put our computers where we want them--and don't get kicked out of hotels because we forgot to bolt the door.

She'd sell out every female in the world to get a better seat at her masters' table. She knows what it's like to be vulnerable to power and she doesn't care, as long as she eventually gets that power for herself. Roseanne Barr, in an article in New York magazine, said:

My breakdown deepened around the fourth episode, when I confronted the wardrobe master about the Sears, Roebuck outfits that made me look like a show pony rather than a working-class mom. I wanted vintage plaid shirts, T-shirts, and jeans, not purple stretch pants with green-and-blue smocks. She bought everything but what I requested, so I wore my own clothes to work, thinking she was just absent-minded. I was still clueless about the extent of the subterfuge.

Eventually she told me that she had been told by one of Matt’s producers�his chief mouthpiece��not to listen to what Roseanne wants to wear.� This producer was a woman, a type I became acquainted with at the beginning of my stand-up career in Denver. I cared little for them: blonds in high heels who were so anxious to reach the professional level of the men they worshipped, fawned over, served, built up, and flattered that they would stab other women in the back. They are the ultimate weapon used by men against actual feminists who try to work in media, and they are never friends to other women, you can trust me on that.

I grabbed a pair of wardrobe scissors and ran up to the big house to confront the producer. (The �big house� was what I called the writers’ building. I rarely went there, since it was disgusting. Within minutes, one of the writers would crack a stinky-pussy joke that would make me want to murder them. Male writers have zero interest in being nice to women, including their own assistants, few of whom are ever promoted to the rank of �writer,� even though they do all the work while the guys sit on their asses taking the credit. Those are the women who deserve the utmost respect.) I walked into this woman’s office, held the scissors up to show her I meant business, and said, �Bitch, do you want me to cut you?� We stood there for a second or two, just so I could make sure she was receptive to my POV. I asked why she had told the wardrobe master to not listen to me, and she said, �Because we do not like the way you choose to portray this character.� I said, �This is no fucking character! This is my show, and I created it�not Matt, and not Carsey-Werner, and not ABC. You watch me. I will win this battle if I have to kill every last white bitch in high heels around here.�

There comes a point when a person is no longer the victim of their upbringing, when they willingly embrace the damage done to them to experience the wicked glee of hurting others in turn. They don't want to change, to ease the pain, to connect to the human race. They want to hurt and smash and destroy. They want to see others suffer and most especially they want to be the ones who will be gloating over the remains of those unlucky enough to get in the way.

Here there be monsters.

We would slit your throat for an airline upgrade.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

So just for the halibut, I read the link and some comments. How can I regain my lost I.Q. points?

Roger Ailes said...

A busy mutual fund executive who was always in his office and had a "crowded" desk. Creepy.

He never offered his chair to McArdle, who apparently never thought to ask. Ooh, ick.

She had to lean across his desk to work on his computer. But she knew what he was doing! Uh... what?

"There was no good way for anyone in his firm or mine to have that conversation."

How about: "Pardon me, but I can't work on your computer properly with you sitting behind your desk. I need to use your chair, or otherwise I have to move your computer while I work on it."

She could have said that before ever leaning across the desk. And if the guy said no, she could have told her employer that it was not possible to do her work without his cooperation.

McArdle can't even play the victim card right.

Anonymous said...

My gawd.

My law firm once dropped a mega-million dollar client because one of the guys over there made repeated unwanted comments and invitations to an associate. She complained, the client said (after it continued) it was innocent fun and no big deal, the billing partner said we don't work that way, and that was it.

This is AMERICA. McArdle doesn't deserve a public stage if she can't be professional enough to stand up for herself.

DocAmazing said...

Jay Gould famously said that he could hire half of the working class to kil the other half. McMegan shows that large chunks of the bourgeoisie are available for the job at lower rates.

Anonymous said...

What an amazingly great idea Megan had--to beg some guy to do her job for her because she was being sexually harrassed but couldn't figure out how to complain! That kind of inventive thinking has catapulted her from stockroom to corporate headquarters! Well, no, actually, it just meant that she was unable to perform her job and eventually her job and all the skills associated with it went to that other guy, the one who wasn't sexually harrassed.

I don't even understand how stupid you would have to be to live in Megan's head. Its hard even to fathom what she thinks the connections between the words mean if she can describe being sexually harrassed, unable to do her job, unable to deal effectively with a client, and think that it means Fweedom for you an' me, baby! Fwee to forget to lock our hotel room doors? What the fuck? Does she think DSK was arrested because the maid walked in on him while he was naked? If fifteen years ago she was afraid to complain because the client was more important than she was what on earth has changed in the last fifteen years for hotel maids and single moms doing menial labor that puts them in a better position? If I thought she was capable of thought I'd say "how can she think that" but its pretty clear that she just strung a bunch of phrases together and coughed them up like a hairball.


Brad said...

For once, McMegan at least seems to understand part of the problem: "it does no good to make enemies at any level of the firm"

Curiously enough, a decidedly not-rich African immigrant facing a creep who was FAR creepier and FAR more privileged dealt forthrightly with the issue.

Maybe Meg needs to join the hotel maid's union? You know, to have people standing behind her if enemies do get made. But I suppose that would interfere with McArdle's freedom to be harassed.

Heck, never mind unions, even concerned and generous coworkers willing to help others would presumably be kicked out of the Gulch.

uncertaintyviceprincipal said...

I think I've finally figured this out. She's basically Andrew Breitbart, except in her case she says "Now don't get me wrong" and backtracks a lot, before plunging back in to her defense of the poor, downtrodden, put-upon and misunderstood wealthy white guy, just trying to do his best in a world gone mad on PC.

Megan writes:

"Now imagine you've got a customer who has been accidentally encountered in his birthday suit. Presumably he's embarassed . . . and now you have the housekeeping manager descend on him, yell at him for being a perv, kick him out of the hotel, and blacklist him."

I read the article she's referring to this morning. The stories it related were entirely about giving the customer the benefit of the doubt, and then some. People who would expose themselves to someone until the management called them and asked politely if everything was okay with the housekeeping, at which point they'd get the message and the behavior would stop.

The idea that anyone could read that piece and come away with what she wrote above is insane.

zuzu said...

Rape? Not really a moral grey area, Megan.

Substance McGravitas said...

Right. On the other hand, if he'd been grabbing me, there were people in management there who I know would have tried to address his behavior. Yes of course, MANAGERS if the guy's grabbing you!

Susan of Texas said...

its pretty clear that she just strung a bunch of phrases together and coughed them up like a hairball.


I suppose it is possible that she made it all up, but it would be just like McArdle to think that sliding in the chain on her door would be an imposition on her freedom to ignore security.

It is also like her to try to confuse the issue by comparing two unlike things--alleged sexual assault is not accidental flashing.

McArdle doesn't have to address the issue at all. But a banker is in peril, and Bankgirl always shows up when she is needed.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I found this part of Megan's (ahem) effort quite humorous:

"I travel a lot, and I've had housekeepers walk in on me in various states of undress, especially in hotels with turndown service (yes, yes, now that I'm a more seasoned traveler, I try to engage the chain or the deadbolt before I undress)."

Sort of explains how she bagged Suderman. Hey, everyone knew Megan was desperate, but not locking the hotel room door BEFORE you disrobe is downright pathetic.

Anonymous said...

She "tries to engage the deadbolt or chain before she undresses?" What, is it so hard? And she never noticed the "privacy please" sign?

Is Megan not old enough to remember the several high profile rapes that have occured in large hotels?

I can't believe she is ever let out alone. It can't be safe.


Rugosa said...

Unbelievable. Does she really think women are so stupid that they can't tell the difference between accidentally walking in on someone who is in a state of undress and being sexually assaulted?

Susan of Texas said...

It's interesting--her commenters take the bait and go off on their own tangents, almost completely ignoring the actual case. They decide that since there are upscale hotels with no chains on the door and maids don't wait after they knock and most people would not have lewdness in mind, what's the big deal?

McArdle exists to provide an alternate reality, a conflicting authority that will sow enough confusion and distraction to undercut the actual reality.

Also, TallDave outs himself as a very unpleasant person. His economic policies did that a long time ago, but McArdle's commenters didn't notice.

Mr. Wonderful said...

This leaning-over-the-desk story has about it a faint whiff of the disingenuous. "Oh darn it, Mr. Jenkins, I hate it when you keep the computer ALL the WAY over THERE...Now I have to BEND OVER LIKE THIS to reach it."

Or is she above that sort of thing?

Susan of Texas said...

She prides herself on her intellect so she would not be likely to use her sexuality in that way. Verbally, yes. Physically, no.

But that's just theory, and McArdle is nothing if not practical.

Downpuppy said...

Crooked Timber mentions the important point that the hotel was unionized, in a post otherwise similar to Susans -

Justin said...

Does anyone else come away from this feeling almost crushingly empathetic on behalf of Megan? To feel that afraid of risking professional defeat that you can't even bring yourself to ask someone to get up so that you can use their computer?

Granted, she has internalized this system and now shills for it and its awful, but you can see here how she got to that point, step by step. As much as I think she is awful for what she does professionally, this is terribly sad to me. What she does is aggravating and deserves no mercy, but how she got to this point is depressing and deserves some empathy. Just my thought.

Mandos said...

But she is laughing all the way to the bank to which she owes more money than her house is worth.

Anonymous said...



BillCinSD said...

its pretty clear that she just strung a bunch of phrases together and coughed them up like a hairball.

or as the great Peter Boyle said on Everybody Loves Ray

i could eat a bowl of Alphabits and crap out a better column

Anonymous said...

Aaand reality hits Megan upside her head. Today charges were filed against an important political figure named Tron, in France, by two separate women who claim they were sexually harrassed and fired from their jobs at the local Town Hall when he was Mayor. Both came forward when they saw that "a little chambermaid" had the courage to fight back--they realized then that they had to stand up and fight for other women to "break this omerta" surrounding sexual harrassment and rape by France's upper class and political class.

They recognize that the chambermaid, contra Megan and others, has a lot to lose by coming forward and that they have shirked their duty towards other women by continuing to allow these men to attack women with impunity.