The Aspiring Pack

Our inability to remain circumspect certainly has complicated modern life. What don’t we confess these days?

Haven’t the words “secret” and “confidential” lost much, if not all, meaning?

Standing back and watching formerly private man/woman storms splatter across public awareness have astounded those of us brought up to keep our eyes and ears open and mouths shut. Just because we were in the know didn’t mean that knowledge demanded wide circulation.

Then again, just because a stronger force imposes doesn’t mean we necessarily lay back and let it prevail. Maybe the grail, the role, the fashion spread –whatever had been sought – is lost. Better that than to have forfeited ourselves in the process.

In fact the sweet clandestine treasure best ought’ve been kept among as few as possible so that it could be exploited to the fullest. Now the advantage has been squandered to short-lived vengeance. And brief it will be because our public appetite shortens daily.
Frankly and strategically, these people, predominantly women, who’ve dumped their ewers of sexual woe from the upper floors upon passersby walking below have only yoked themselves in victims’ mantles. There’s nothing heroic about confessing having exchanged grotty carnal favors for a job. It smacks of desperation. It casts into doubt the applicant’s talent, skill, and appeal.

Here’s the choice – had the vast majority of these two-legged, unpenned sheep refused or denied their predators’ hungers, at worst whatever desired might’ve been bestowed upon another impressionable who decided the price worthwhile. At best, by withholding what the stalker sought, by showing reserve mightn’t instead the prey collected his or her own prize, the job, as well as gained the respect (grudging or otherwise, who cares?) of the thwarted hunter?

One never knows once coercion becomes consensual.

But submit they did. Call it barter. Call it bargaining. In some cases it can even be called rough trade. The euphemism for consent is immaterial.

Party A accommodated Party B with the intent this swap would provide a role or an assignment. Getting beyond the unsavory “how,” it should’ve been a springboard to that most coveted role or assignment – the next one. Cobble enough of those together and the rewards earned should’ve distanced and lessened the initial abasement endured.

And really, that’s where business ought have diverged. The talent moving on in one direction, reaping fame and all its attendant glories (anything preferable to nursing resentment); the procurer shuffling off in another possibly running across that single person of strong character who’d upset his apple cart with refusal then further devastating his perversity through exposure.

For the longest wasn’t that’s how these fleshly extortions went? There are plenty of performers and models who owe their careers to judicious flatbacking. Without it how many would’ve made the leap from anonymous pretty faces to amassing credits and bookings? Some obviously. Yet it’s no exaggeration stating a good percentage needed that truly extra “sweetener” to distinguish themselves from other aspirants.

In a way haven’t those who’ve broken their silences about what each surrendered to reach the level he or she achieved welched on the agreement? Perhaps had the lay-to-play exchange rested on inference and implication rather than the grandees’ insistences over the vacillating and quailing these affairs wouldn’t land squarely in sordid terrain.

Maybe a lot less American “whip it out and whip it on ‘em” and plenty more Continental suavity along the lines of, oh, I dunno, conjugating Latin verbs, and the dudgeon could’ve been rightly trained on the more egregious abusers rather than blasting the blunderbuss as well at failed Errol Flynns who’d made sloppy passes. Our society’s rewriting rules on the fly regarding power/sex imbalances has created a furor so unfocused who won’t it threaten to devour?

And once the current fervor for bold-faced name sacrifices abates, how soon until the backlash begins? Right now “the victims” are being lauded and cossetted. But be assured the gelid and gimlet-eyed revanchists wait for the fury to subside.

Into the cooling breech they will step, forcing the inconvenient, embarrassing questions that the decorum of victimhood’s demands prefer be ignored or avoided. While rabid supporters of the coaxed into exploitation may attempt measures of accusatory jujitsu, the more level-headed public could already be ahead of the future inquisitors.

Outside the instances of outright assault, the remaining alleged incidents have a sort of eye-rolling disbelief the seriousness of the whole has obscured. The moment every last true blackguard has been officially declared a nonperson, we should expect a deluge of queries asking how one reluctantly accepts or provides involuntary oral gratification.

Even Lamont Cranston couldn’t cloud minds that thoroughly.

Or on a higher plain of inquiry, before they submitted to the sexual degradations which launched or boosted their careers did any wonder what such supine acquiescence might cost in self-esteem? Or were they so ravenous for fame at the time they accepted the goal craved required coming across and afterwards justified it as a common rite of entry/advance?

Having squared it with themselves then, and now having reaped the benefits, why unnecessarily open the door to suspicion, speculation, and, naturally, ridicule?

Cynics might claim the moment right to jump on the hot hashtag bandwagon roiling the public. In the ever escalating celebrity quotient race isn’t it favorable being seen as having been manipulated early on but working that susceptibility into bankability? Doesn’t that keep the star, starlet, supermodel on the crest of the tabloid torrent?

Especially when the escapades breathlessly related should be heard as occupational hazards more than any humiliations.

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