- - Thursday, October 5, 2017


Sexual harassment is tacky and vile, ranging from a wink and a nod (usually a misdemeanor) to brute force (always a felony), and such misbehavior has been with us since Adam and Eve ruined paradise when Eve had an affair with a snake — a real one, not the snake in the grass that can bedevil mere friendships.

Real men have no patience with the snakes who run riot through executive suites. Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly paid for their legally unproved sexcapades at Fox News, and now Harvey Weinstein, a co-founder of Miramax, a prince among Hollywood liberals and a big and early contributor to the Hillary Clinton campaign, has been accused by The New York Times of using the casting couch to conduct his amours.

Harassment may be the only way for an old fat guy with a scraggly beard to find lovin’ this side of a bordello, but it’s also true that sometimes it’s difficult to figure out who’s harassing whom. Some powerful men take common-sense precautions against the risk of a comely woman bearing false witness. Snakes in the grass come in all genders, sizes and colors.

Stephen Colbert, who has been falsely accused of committing comedy on late-night television, has been trying to make sport of Vice President Mike Pence, who won’t dine alone with a woman not his wife. He mocks the Veep for being the prisoner of a robust libido, perhaps driven by masculine envy since there have been no known bearers of false witness in his own life.

He joked that the Veep’s dining rules “can only mean one thing, Mike Pence is such an out-of-control, Force 5 [libido] that he has to be monitored by [Mrs.] Pence at all times oh, there’s snow on the roof, but there’s fire in the furnace.”

This amuses Colbert hangers-on, who accuse the Veep not only of holding strange religious views about marital faithfulness but, per a profile in The Washington Post, holding a “deeply sexist worldview that makes it even harder for women to make inroads in the workplace.” This poses the question of how can a mercenary woman shake down an innocent man in the workplace if she can’t even get into the workplace. It’s a cruel world out there.

Mr. Colbert is further offended by Mr. Pence’s rule to avoid events where booze is served unless Mrs. Pence is present. He describes himself as a devout Roman Catholic, and says he once taught a class in Sunday school, so he knows why.

Powerful men, like doctors, clergymen, captains of industry and maybe even great entertainers, learn quickly to avoid lawyers by taking precautions, like leaving the office door ajar when entertaining a single woman (and making sure a secretary comes in frequently to check the out-basket). Sexual scandal is grist for comics but no one, not even a vice president, owes that to a television comic. He just has to look for laughs somewhere else.

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