“He could be any man. And here is the deeper venality of the boys-being-boys defense: It normalizes. It erases the specific details of Christine Blasey Ford’s stated recollections with the soggy mop of generalized male entitlement. What red-blooded guy, after all, its logic assumes, hasn’t done, in some way, the kinds of things Ford has described? Who, as a younger version of himself, hasn’t gotten stumble-drunk, pinned down a woman, groped her, tried to undress her, and then, when she resisted, held his hand over her mouth to muffle her screams? (‘It was drunk teenagers playing seven minutes of heaven,’ the Fox News columnist Stephen Miller tweeted, derisively.)”
- Megan Garber – The Atlantic “Brett Kavanaugh and the Revealing Logic of ‘Boys Will Be Boys’”
As an author, your work should tap into the current zeitgeist. It should resonate with what people are feeling and thinking in the moment. That’s always the goal.
But I hate how relevant my book Open Season feels right now.
I hate that we are talking about the victimization of people like it’s a byproduct of someone else’s growth process.
“We can’t hold [insert far too many powerful men’s names here] accountable for what they did then. That’s just how men are. They can’t control themselves in the face of the object of their desire. Boys will be boys. Do we really want to destroy a man’s life for one mistake made oh-so-long ago? If we hold these men accountable for the harm they committed, who among us will be safe?” We romanticize and glorify the idea of the persistent man, who goes after what he wants and damn the consequences, even and especially when it comes to sex and romance. As alleged witness to Ford's assault Mark Judge waxes on, saying, “There’s also that ambiguous middle ground, where the woman seems interested and indicates, whether verbally or not, that the man needs to prove himself to her [...] And if that man is any kind of man, he’ll allow himself the awesome power, the wonderful beauty, of uncontrollable male passion.”
Never mind the people who were harmed by that man's uncontrollable passion. Don’t look at how their lives were damaged because that man decided he wanted something and damn the consequences. Please, whatever you do, don’t think about how we constantly hold women and people of color accountable for all sorts of things, regardless of age or actual culpability. “Pregnant at sixteen? Well, it’s your fault for being a slut. You were raped? Well, what were you wearing at the time and how many drinks did you have and exactly what were you doing at that party in the first place?”
And look at how they talk about it. Allegedly, Kavanagh cornered Ford, held her down, made sure no one could hear her scream, and assaulted her. But “It was drunk teenagers playing seven minutes of heaven.” Seven minutes of heaven. Some adolescent game that is supposed to be about exploring unspeakable pleasure. Heaven?!
If Ford’s experience is your definition of heaven, I’m atheist and I think you’re going to hell.
We have to change the way we talk about sex in this country. We have to stop talking about it like it’s this force beyond our control. That just because we want it, that means we have to have it. However we have to get it. Even if it’s at the expense of the people we get it from.
In my book, Open Season, I create this world where aliens exude a pheromone that drives humans’ libidos wild, that makes their passions feel…well, uncontrollable. Just to mentally play out that theory. To see, if it really would—if it really should—justify bad behavior.
And, at the end of it, I just couldn’t see how having a “boys will be boys” attitude, how leaving victims to shoulder the burden of men's bad behavior, didn’t leave you a worse man.
Open Season is Available Now On
Your Choice of Digital Stores
Listen to an Excerpt