I’ve been eye-balling this Netflix original for quite a while every time I’ve opened up the app.
While I was immediately annoyed by the morose sort of pacing that is so common with indie films, I found myself quickly forgetting these little annoyances in the midst of getting caught up with the characters.
Ben Stiller’s performance was one of the best of his I’ve ever seen, and Dustin Hoffman’s was so well done I was starting to forget I was observing a film at all.
The material of the film was also so realistic in so many ways it was almost impossible to not relate in some way.
By the end of the film I found myself sad, moved, depressed, and hopeful all at once and it caused me to continue thinking about my own life’s material well after the movie had ended.
Then something happened that put a total damper on the whole experience.
As soon as I had finished the film I opened up Twitter and lo and behold there on my timeline was a horribly upsetting headline about Dustin Hoffman. I’m talking about the allegation against him for sexual harassment towards a young woman.
This article was sadly no surprise in many ways. As a woman I have experienced harassment so many times throughout my life, hearing about it is never surprising to me, unfortunately. From when I was a teenager being inappropriately touched by an older man who was my teacher, or being whistled at while grocery shopping with my mother, to being a woman walking my dog by myself feeling real fear because a young man (who was a stranger) was hostile toward me for not reciprocating his sexual advances, and a co-worker openly harassing me at every turn for over a year.
I know what sexual harassment feels like. And I too am saddened and disturbed by its prevalence.
It seems it’s everywhere these days, like racism and bigotry. You can’t get more than an hour into your day before hearing it or seeing it, and sometimes it feels like it’s only getting worse.
I think it’s easy to pretend these issues only happen via random dirt bags, but they are more numerous than that. They are you neighbors, your co-workers, your friends and your family members.
How are there so many? Were there always so many? Yes. And they come from a result of years and years of education coming from parents, from society, from media, and pop culture. People have learned misogyny and bigotry. And it would be dangerous to pretend that isn’t the case. These horrifying ideologies have been around for some time. Don’t believe me? Watch a movie from the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and tell me you don’t see it.
So what do we do then? Do we excuse it? Turn a blind eye because it’s everywhere? HELL NO. We MUST always fight for things to get better.
So then do we just round up all the offenders and burn them at the stake? Cast them out? Hope the hate we show teaches them to never do it again? Hope it scares the next generations into better behavior?
With all my heart I believe NO. Though sometimes in my emotions I feel all kinds of hate towards these people, more hate will not rectify the wrongs done. It’s like Martin Luther King Jr said, “Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”
It’s my hope that for once in history, we as humans can stand up for what’s right, fight for what’s right but do so in the spirit of such leaders as MLK, Mother Teresa, and Ghandi. That we could bring about change by being that change. By doing better. Being better. Being loving and kind instead of hateful and vengeful.
That we would start to educate our youth and help educate those around us instead of an eye for an eye response, because it’s easier and feels better, requires less work. And you know I’m right. It’s much easier to tweet something angry and scathing about these offenders than to actually help solve the problem by educating ourselves and trying to see the big picture, learning how to really mend our country’s broken citizens.
Do we need justice? Yes. Desperately. But I don’t believe in a hateful or easy justice. Even if I want it sometimes. I know it will only add to the darkness that already exists.
How else can our world become a better place if we don’t start taking real responsibility for it?
In closing, I know this has nothing to do with the film. But it got me thinking.
Let me know your thoughts. I want to hear.