Another One BItes the Dust
The smart way to keep people passive and obedient
is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion,
but allow very lively debate within that spectrum
Are you ready, hey, are you ready for this?
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat?
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
To the sound of the beat
--Another One Bites the Dust,
Equality may perhaps be a right,
but no power on earth
can ever turn it into a fact
-- Honore de Balzac
In fact, we are loathe to move beyond the salacious. Too difficult, too sobering. But we will do that here.
This is not an apologia for Eric Schneiderman, newly-retired former New York Attorney General, three hours following the publication of a New Yorker piece in which two of his former girlfriends indicted him of what amounts to either rough sex play, or abuse.
Judged in the court of public opinion, he was already dead in the water. Another one bites the dust.
"Some women like this," he told one of the women, after he allegedly slapped her. He very likely believed it, or he would not have said it, and done it. Each of these two women stayed in relationship with Schneiderman for over a year.
This is not to victim-shame, but to state a fact: If the man you are with thinks this behavior is good, and you comply even if only in your continued presence in the relationship, how is he to know that it is not appreciated? Seen another way, could this not be part of an archetypal master-slave game?
Do we not read and watch films based on books like 50 Shades of Gray? Was it not heralded as some sort of revelation for women's empowerment? Some pain -- that's how the master-slave game is played. It's all good.
Sacher-Masoch's classic, Venus in Furs, argues for the power of the slave in such relationships, for the master does not exist without it.
One episode recounted in the article has Schneiderman's girlfriend Ms. Selvaratnam saying that after being slapped, "(I) got up to try to shove him back, or take a swing, and he pushed me back down." If this were a typical case of outright abuse, the woman would be unlikely to come back at a much stronger perpetrator and "take a swing".
This sounds like game playing gotten out of hand. Maybe not your cup of tea, or mine, but for some, this is cricket.
When dungeon games are played correctly, there is always a "safe word", a way for the slave to stop any activity deemed outside the realm. This apparently works well for couples who abide by the rules.
But Mr. Schneiderman was too damaged to play the game well. His life is now ruined by the testimony of two women with whom he failed to be a consistent all-powerful character. He was weak, and not strong.
The New Yorker story states he awoke in pools of his own blood following injuries sustained while in drunken stupors. One woman bandaged his bleeding leg injury following one such episode, returning to re-bandage the newly-bleeding injury in his office the next day.
She had also seen him fall face down like a log following one episode of his getting wasted. Reading between the lines one finds a more nuanced story.
The woman said she had hoped that maybe she could help him stop his alcoholism. Of course, anyone in addiction treatment knows that cannot be done. The recognition and desire must come from the addict himself.
What seems evident is that Mr. Schneiderman was a runaway train in his illness, and it was only a matter of time before he was revealed. Unfortunately, there is no "#metoo" for the sick perpetrator of what he imagined a slice of society to approve. And Mr. Scheiderman is sick in the medical sense of the word, as the article belies his epic alcoholism and epsiodes of self-injury.
Like any typical functional alcoholic, those around him enabled his sickness to continue. As someone stated, he was "too valuable" of a commodity. So for all of his alleged objectification of the women in his life, the sadist was an object, too.
When the story broke, I told Ranger there would be a woman of color involved, and there was. Her statement that she was made to say that she was Schneiderman's "dark slave" is precisely in line with the sado-masochistic game. But it so offends our sensibilities that nothing can be heard beyond that.
As much as being a story about dysfunctional relationships and abuse, this is a story about a sick man who did not get the help he needed to be well.
So are we a prim bunch of morality policemen, or do we smile upon the panoply of sexual congress and call that freedom a good?
It would be nice if the rest of the story were told.