• Garrison Keillor – harmless
• Charlie Rose – clueless
• Donald Trump – mendacious
• Matt Lauer – opportunistic
• Harvey Weinstein – predatory
• Bill Clinton – diabolical
You can quibble about the personalities and their offenses, and I truly don’t care. The point is there are gradations to the kind of behavior we’re condemning, differences in motivation that tell us what is going on.
DISC it: We’re going to find C and I in huge abundance among true offenders, obviously: Both are poorer at reading inbound displays, and hence are more likely in general to faux pas-in-full in social encounters. But C and I are much more likely to treat other people as tokens in a game, too: To see an individual human being not as the present and momentary instantiation of his entire life, but simply as a sale or a fare or a deal or a trick – or a “free” gumball.
Everything that rational people could plausibly object to comes down to predation: Deploying force or fraud (in the form of guile) to induce behavior the victim would not otherwise have chosen. Much of what is being #MeToo’d about amounts either to clumsy courtship or unwelcome conversation – but, of course, women can make anything trivial. In any case, anything short of actual predation should be ignored. That’s the only way adult-babies will learn how to act like adults.
But the motivation of that actual predation matters, because it illuminates the intoxicating, addicting illusion-of-omnipotence that undergirds all socially-abusive behavior: Predation is not about sex. It’s about power. Not even power over the person, directly, but power over the inconquerable laws of nature that say one lion should never be able to enslave another.