Saturday, May 06, 2006

'North Country' ...

I can't remember the last time a movie made me so uncomfortable and so angry.

Not that any workplace is immune from sexual harrassment, but I've been lucky enough to work in a white-collar world where the large majority of men are presumed to be ever-so-slightly more evolved than the cretins portrayed in this film.

Which isn't to say I've never heard an inappropriate comment, but it's easy to forgive the occasional gaffe. Boys will be boys. And even I'll agree that we've gotten a little out of control with political correctness. Every word that's ever uttered can be misconstrued if you try hard enough.

But the outright hostility and humiliation that the women in this movie were expected to endure, because they were "taking jobs away from men who need them," well, Jesus. I almost had to press Stop.

I often wonder about bad behavior. I'm fascinated, for example, by the suggestion that Scott Peterson and other sociopaths literally lack the functionality in their brains that act as conscience. Because that's the only logical explanation for the heinous acts some people perpetrate against others. How does O.J. face himself every morning? How can he play golf? How can he have a cocktail? How can he simply live his life every day? How has his memory not destroyed him yet? I want to believe that there's some biological or chemical reason to explain how someone can be so unfathomably cruel to another person.

Of course, in this movie, we're not talking about murder. We're just talking about rape and debasement and incessant humiliation. But the questions remain: How do men like that live with themselves? How were they raised, that they seem to find no fault with their behavior?

Some of the men in the film were clearly disturbed by what they witnessed. Of course, they did nothing about it. Which makes them cowards.

But cowardice I can understand.

The rest of it, though ... There's no excuse.


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