Norm MacDonald’s MeToo misstep (and a thought for a better future)

The Hollywood Reporter – Now, some may feel after reading this that I’m not taking the MeToo movement seriously…I can assure you that is not the case. One, through the wonders of thinking, is capable of both supporting and criticizing the intent and subsequent scope of a movement. I assure you that I will be respectful and considerate throughout, not trying to attack or hurt anyone with my opinion, but instead present a different way of approaching things…

I believe the MeToo net has been cast a tad wide; it’s now scooping up individuals who, based on the movement’s original playbook, should be treated more like small fish as opposed to flesh-eating monsters. Some of the newly-tabbed “sinners” should, after quick examination plus a small bit of torture in the form of wiggling a hook around their mouth, be thrown back in the water. Not gutted, slaughtered, and tossed in the trash.

In what started out as a movement hell-bent on bringing justice to scumbags who, as a means to advance ego-driven agendas, forced victims (mostly female) to participate in acts entirely against their will and remain silent in the aftermath, the MeToo movement has become a carpet-bombing mission unlikely to yield any survivors if it continues down its present-day path.

Take Norm MacDonald for example.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, MacDonald was asked about the situations surrounding his two close friends, Louis C.K. and Roseanne Barr. He offered up this response:

(****If I may, before going any further, suggest that you read the interview in its entirety — link at the start of the post. While the below quote is not indecipherable on its own, it certainly helps to know the entire story before reacting****)

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Well, Louis [C.K.] and Roseanne [Barr] are the two people I know. And Roseanne was so broken up [after her show’s reboot was canceled] that I got Louis to call her, even though Roseanne was very hard on Louis before that. But she was just so broken and just crying constantly. There are very few people that have gone through what they have, losing everything in a day. Of course, people will go, “What about the victims?” But you know what? The victims didn’t have to go through that.

 

 

That last line…eeeeeek…he might as well have said BLOW ME…NOW! to all victims, right? Pump the brakes.

Norm is a goof, and by his own admission, a “stupid f*cking person” who is uncomfortable discussing topical matters on the best of days. But he’s also one of the most well-respected and beloved personalities in showbiz, across both genders, and was asked a question and responded the best way he could. It’s not like he was given 24-hours to compose a well-crafted, thorn-free response.

I understand what he was trying to say. Where MacDonald screwed up, in my opinion, was the omission of a follow-up point, needing to clarify that while both parties may suffer, victims undoubtedly suffer more than perpetrators. Both nonetheless could use our support.

MacDonald eventually took to Twitter to apologize, ironically today’s preferred platform to practice damage control:

Victims, in the context of MeToo, suffer physically and psychologically…they live with pent-up feelings and emotions, both of which are practically impossible to exile through common mind-cleansing activities, such as meditation or yoga. For some, even therapy isn’t enough to break down walls and barriers formed after a traumatic experience. In certain cases, these individuals abandoned dreams, unable to pursue their goals with such a burden weighing them down.

It’s awful, it’s terrible and I struggle to wrap my head around the true depth of scars left by such ordeals.

In the cases of Louis and Roseanne, they too suffered, mind you, as mentioned above, their suffering differs extensively (Roseanne’s issues were not MeToo-related, but the backlash associated with her situation qualifies her for inclusion here).

They both lost things they cherished and had their hearts, as black and void of compassion as you may think they are after committing such “unforgivable” acts, torn apart as a result of their wrongdoings. In both cases, they lost TV shows that would’ve put money in their pockets and turned dreams into reality. They lost fans and forfeited countless other opportunities that may never again come to pass. And while their psychological pain (through their own wrongdoings) falls well short of what their victims must deal with, they still suffered and, for some time, felt very small in a very big world. They didn’t just go away and stare at a calendar, void of shame and guilt, counting the days and months until a return might be deemed permissible by the masses.

Just like victims, parties deemed guilty have lives too, and they need not be put on hold indefinitely while we, like a crew of replacement refs, huddle up and try to figure out what the fuck is going on and how to best move forward.

Are we not able to support and standby both victim and villain, provided the latter gives us reason to do so and isn’t disputing three thousand rape accusations? *Looking at you, Bill Cosby*

Like Norm said in the interview:

The model used to be: admit wrongdoing, show complete contrition and then we give you a second chance. Now it’s admit wrongdoing and you’re finished. And so the only way to survive is to deny, deny, deny. That’s not healthy — that there is no forgiveness.

Many of us are robotically quick to judge people nowadays, unable to give anyone the benefit of the doubt unless, through the consultation of social media, it is deemed the trendy thing to do. And even still, if you wear a blue tie and I wear a red one (throw “orange” in the mix for Canada), common ground, like a Trump tax return, becomes impossible to locate.

Roseanne took a few too many pills, maybe one too many sips, and ran her Twitter train off the rails…if you’ve never regretted a tweet or Facebook post, I’m inclined to believe your life has been rather uneventful, or perhaps you never got dragged into this virtual mess in the first place. (BIG congrats by the way!)

If you f*ck up, prove, through your actions, that you’ve learned your lesson. Actions, not words, reveal one’s true appetite to repent.

Did Norm MacDonald misstep? I’ll concede that. But does he deserve to have talk show appearances canceled, a Netflix series thrust into jeopardy, and his entire future in showbiz put on trial for what he said? #HardNo — he was simply saying that everybody loses in these situations. And he’s not wrong.

As for Louis and Roseanne, both do more good than bad in this world. Neither one has blood on their hands, yet both made huge mistakes that resulted in people getting hurt. And we absolutely must hold them accountable for what they did. However, let’s support them along the way as well…so they too can return and continue living their respective lives, performing and making people laugh. After all, laughter is the best medicine (and this world needs plenty of penicillin right now). Moving forward, if either repeats past mistakes, you have my blessing to banish them from the stage and screen.

Supporting those hurt by the gross missteps of others should not prevent us from concurrently supporting (and participating positively) in the rehabilitation of those responsible for causing the pain in the first place; we can aid both on their respective roads to recovery. Let’s do that, rather than treating this whole thing like a ticket to see Louis C.K. is a thumbs up for sexual harassment and watching Roseanne automatically makes you racist.

For some, this may seem like quite the pill to swallow. Please know that I’m not excusing them for their actions, but rather exercising one of the few traits humans hold sole possession of —- forgiveness. Don’t wait for the aliens to invade before making peace with your enemies. Be proactive.

This shouldn’t be an “us” or “them” decision. We are, as a species, capable of so much more.

Gents — we gotta do better. Way better. What are we without women? Just a bunch of clueless nutsacks, most of whom will only eat chicken wings if they’re half price and, if not for ladies, wouldn’t have discovered the life-changing nature of pedicures. Congrats to those fellas who were trailblazers in the quest for perfect pieds. 

Ladies — just keep being you. Challenge men to be better (the good ones will heed your advice and counsel) but don’t sentence us to silence in the process, for you know all too well how that feels. Women are amazing, and I mean that. Imagine a guy trying to give birth? We can’t even push a kidney stone through our dick without screaming bloody murder…and in the spirit of full transparency, please know that yoga pants, while comfortable, turn your asses into car wrecks — we shouldn’t stare, but we’re gonna…only for a second (any longer, hit us with an “EYES ON THE ROAD!”). Feel free to check my butt out anytime, but I warn you it’s nothing to write home about. Though I’ve never worn yoga pants…

Enough with the teams. We’re all part of one big collectively flawed team — Team Human, and it’s about time we get back to a place where forgiveness is more frequently and openly practiced.

Remember, forgiving does not absolve someone of past transgressions. It merely puts them on notice…

…one may forgive, but one never forgets.

 

(See, even a prick like me can dial it down from time to time)

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