Editor’s Letter: Seeing Red

  • Brooke Hauser

Published: 10/5/2018 8:18:27 AM

There was a moment, there, when I thought about bagging this week’s theme and running a Rage Issue. I’m not inclined to preach to the choir, but in light of several recent conversations with well-meaning but clueless male relatives, I must say that what happened to Christine Blasey Ford – or something like it – has happened to nearly every woman I know. And the women I know are forces of nature.

We tell each other. We tend not to tell anyone else. Because we do not want to have our careers derailed. Because we don’t want to be forced to relive the experience – ad nauseum –  as part of disciplinary or judicial proceedings. Because we do not want to be That Woman.

There’s virtually zero incentive to coming forward or, for that matter, making this stuff up.  

But I guess every man has to hear these stories from a woman he personally knows and cares about in order to make them real.

Though I believe Judge Kavanaugh has dissembled about many, many things under oath – and juries are routinely encouraged to “disbelieve a witness if they find them to be false in one thing,” as Senator Richard Blumenthal reminded Kavanaugh – I think it’s quite possible that he doesn’t remember the incident Ford testified about because it would have been a non-event in his world.

When I was at Smith, and wanted to be an artist, I had a professor tell me after a critique that in order to make great art, I had to choose more compelling subjects. “This,” he said, gesturing towards me imperiously, “is not compositionally interesting.” Then he came closer and opened my coat. “This is compositionally interesting,” he said.

Here’s the sad thing: I doubt he remembered that exchange the next day, let alone years later. I’m sure it was a non-event for him, too.

Was it a wood-cut class? Drawing 101? No idea. But I remember what I was wearing, where we were standing and how mortified I felt.    

I saw no reason to report this exchange. Even then I knew that silence was the only way to contain the incident, and I did not want my college experience to be colored by the entitled actions of some creepy old man.  

But life goes on. And I re-thought The Rage Issue, for now, because I wanted to highlight all of the amazing things going on around the Valley at the moment — much of them outdoors. I hope you have an amazing weekend. And let me know if you think we should revisit rage, after all, or if you’d like to contribute. All perspectives welcome.

Yours, Katy





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