Breaking Down Olivia Munn's Criticism Over #MeToo Backlash

Being a cord cutter and a longtime non-fan regular Joe's (regular Jane's?) gabbing about politics, I didn't happen to catch Olivia Munn's recent appearance on The View. That being said, I did catch a news article about it while perusing my morning feeds from the interwebs, courtesy of ad-blocker nemisis, USA Today. And, boy, my frustration for the mindset of the Me Too thought bubble never seems to wane.

Truth be told, however, nothing much new is stated by the actress, and one-time gamer babe, that hasn't already been parroted repeatedly by Tweeters supporters of this batshit movement since it began. As usual, it's all clearly well-intentioned stuff, regardless of how ill-thought out it is, so I feel I should be careful as to not allow my verbal eye-rolls to turn into an angry rant as I write this. They know not what they do, I must remind myself, 'tis merely the currently trending social climate and the homo sapiens natural cognitive errors which direct their inadvertently sinister ways. Just as the big-hearted, though sorely misguided Christian fundamentalists claim they're only helping lost souls by holding the homosexual down, thus too is the SJW behaving irrational due to an oversized, misguided heart.

Still though; yeesh. Will either of these self-righteous groups ever see the light of reason? Sadly, it doesn't appear to be happening anything soon.

But anyway. Here are a few of her talking points.

"The reason why there are things that people say, like 'believe women' or 'black lives matter', it's important because, people say it because, typically, people don't think that black lives matter and that we should believe women."
People typically don't think that black lives matter or that we should believe women? Where on earth is this idea derived from? What kind of absurdly pessimistic view of our species is this? I misanthrope about humanity just as much as the next guy, but let's not get carried away.

As much as it pains me to admit, I was born and raised in the south. A historically racist south, at that. Home of the states last public lynching, in fact. It's a place where coal is king and God and Trump are tied for a close second. But even here, in the epitome of "deplorables", I can't recall ever coming across someone who thinks that black lives don't matter or that we should never believe women. Let alone having that be the "typical" way people think. And it's astounding that anyone can think that's the usual American mindset, for that matter (honestly, I doubt if even Munn truly does).

We all have mothers, sisters, wives, and girlfriends who we love and fight for (don't get me started on how many fights fights I've seen erupt due to a rednecks girl or family member being accused to promiscuity). Our nation had a black president (who was never voted out) and our most popular living scientist is a black guy who literally everyone loves. And since all of us from the MTV generation onward have been spoonfed from birth with the good medicine of "racism = bad, feminism = good" from movies, TV shows, video games, books, music, and celebrities, most of us (the people I've met, at least) seem to all recognize that people are people, regardless of their sex or race. Heck, even the racists I've met in my life seem recognized that much. They may've disliked races other than their own, but they certainly didn't condone their deaths. Let alone act as if their lives mattered less than anyone else's. It's not the 1860's. That stuff stopped being the national norm a couple of decades ago.
"From somebody who has spoken out, and from all of the women who have spoken out, and men, it's just whenever you read something in a newspaper, in order for it to get to that point, there are a lot of lawyers that vet it out. You have to come with recipts and people that you've told, and emails, there's a lot of vetting that goes on. So if you've heard about someone being called out as an abuser, or somebody who has abuser power or done something inappropriate, and they haven't sued for defamation and won, just know that it's most likely true because the vetting process is so intense."
Woah, woah, woah. First of all, no. Just because we hear an accusation in the newspaper doesn't mean it's "most likely true". That would literally make every accusation ever reported on "most likely true". It's great that Munn has such reverence for the press, but unless she's referring to accusations published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, this whole statement is rooted in malarky.

A report on an accusation is just that: a report that someone accused someone of something. That's it. Nothing else. And regardless of how much of a Woodward or Bernstein the reporter may be, they aren't police, judge, jury, or executioner. There's a reason we don't allow journalists to determine these things. It's because their "vetting" isn't akin to a fair trial. Heck, we don't even trust one group of scientists when they come to conclusions on matters as seemingly obvious as evolution or gravity; they have to be fact-checked by tons of other, unrelated scientists first before anyone takes their findings seriously. But a journalists "vetting" is meant to be enough to go on the assumption that another human being should be classified as a rapist, a pedophile, a racist, or an abuser? Do you realize how damaging of a thing that is to categorize someone as? How socially ostracizing that label is? How it affects their family, jobs, and reputations? That's an extraordinarily harsh thing to accuse someone of based on a person's word and a reporters vetting. And, as Carl Sagan was so fond of reminding us: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

It's dangerous and irresponsible to tell people to go ahead and assume people are horrendous things just because someone with a journalism degree said so. That's an argument from authority. An argument against reason. And it doesn't fly.
"And no woman is going to go forward, no woman or man, nobody's going to go forward and talk about this unless it's true. Because it's just so much to do just to go forward. It doesn't pay."

Has Munn never read To Kill a Mockingbird?

I don't know where this assumption came from that there's nothing to be gained from lying about sexual assault, but it's completely false. Here are a few examples:

  • Fame and Attention - Do you realize how much people will degrade and belittle themselves for likes on social media? How low they'll sink? How much pride they'll swallow? How much self-respect they'll let go of? They do life-threatening stunts, they eat shockingly disgusting (and potentially deadly) things, they strip, they talk about intimately personal things, they exaggerate for sympathy, we've all even met different degrees of these types of personalities, usually directly saying such things as "They'll do anything for attention." So why is it so out of the realm of possibility that someone would make an accusation of rape or abuse for the same reasons? How is this so absurd a notion that it should be disregarded from the get-go, never to be considered?

    I'm reminded of a recent interview with Jeremy Pivin, where comedian Andrew Schulz recalled a conversation he had with a friend who was dating an accuser of an unnamed celebrity: "A buddy of mine who was dating a woman who was one of the women who called out, I can't remember who it was, Weinstein or somebody like that, right. And what she said to him was, 'I'm upset that I'm not getting offered to co-host The View, I'm upset that I'm not getting the same offers that these other women are getting." (see the full clip here).

    In a world where even bad press is good press, don't underestimate what depths we'll sink to for attention.
  • Money - Everyone seems to think that there's no financial gain to be achieved from accusing a celebrity of horrendous things. But do you honestly think networks, TV shows, magazines, podcasts, and newspapers don't drop big bucks for interviews with these people? They do, I assure you. Then there are book deals to be made. Maybe even movies. But even if any of these weren't the case, just the aforementioned fame and attention alone could amount to a reasonable source of income. There's a reason bloggers fight so hard for more social media followers, you know. Even my own just-for-fun online scribblings rake me in a couple of extra hundred a month, due simply to ad revenue derived from random people passing by (and I assure you, I have zero fame or popularity). Think about what I could make if name were exposed to the nation? Again, even bad press is good press.

    Aside from this, of course, there's also things such as out-of-court settlements to be considered. Which, contrary to popular internet gossip, isn't an admission of guilt. It's something that the accused may do when they'd rather cough up some dough than spend months-to-years in and out of court, having the hype of their trial all over the news the entire time, all just so they can have themselves declared innocent at the end (and even that doesn't seem to mean much to the Twitter mob: see Michael Jackson). For a regular Joe like me, with little to no cash to spend, I'd have a tough time taking this route. But if you're a celebrity who's worth hundreds of millions of dollars, dropping even a couple of million to save yourself the hassle is hardly the end of the world (most wouldn't even have to sell their yacht). To see the folks at The View themselves discussing this perk of accusations, click here.

    Never underestimate the power of the almighty dollar. Men and women alike are willing to rob and kill for it. Compared to that, a sexual assault allegation is nothing, with little-to-no risk to life or freedom involved.
  • Vindictiveness and Exaggerated Memories - While I don't know about Munn's experience with relationships that have gone sour, I know of some others. And not all separations are pretty, let me tell ya. And things that were once considered fine, normal, and okay in a past life, can take on a new light when seen back through the lens of hatred, revenge, or suspicion. Sometimes this is an intentional attempt to make someone look bad and sometimes it's just an exaggerated reinterpretation of actual events. Whether it's an ex-spouse who you now say was abusive to you because they once pushed you during a drunken argument, a former friend who you now think was just using you for other reasons, or a random encounter with a celebrity whose hand accidentally brushed against your leg while he was admiring a design on your skirt, human beings are fickle creatures who are very susceptible to seeing things differently depending on what light their emotions or paranoia is shining at any given moment. And sometimes people just want to get even with someone who once did them wrong or hurt their pride or feelings. These things happen. They're not rare. And we should remain aware of that fact.
Does any of this mean that all accusers are lying? No. It doesn't even mean that most accusers are lying. But none of these possibilities should be shrugged off or assumed implausible. Like most other things, skepticism should go both ways; toward both but accused and the accuser.

"Just when one person messes up, doesn't discount everyone else. And I think that's the frustrating thing. And I hear from people, they're waiting for one person to mess up or one person to lie. And, like, there's going to be liars and people who mess up and people who abuse the system, but that doesn't mean that everybody else gets kind of washed away."
Now I have to be true with myself here. Yes, I do believe part of me genuinely enjoys when someone is caught lying about an accusation. I admit it. It's a fault. And it's a fault in which I'm neither proud of nor can I help. Just like with anyone else, I can't control the dopamine rush I get when validation of my arguments gets a point in its favor.

I find this feeling somewhat frustrating myself, too, though, mind you. As it does make me more suspicious of all accusers, which in turn undoubtedly makes me do the reverse of what #MeToo itself does. Like them, I'm also tossing the baby out with the bathwater, in a way, as not every accuser can prove they were a victim. Thus, it could be argued that my lobbying for innocents until proven guilty, if heeded (which it never is), would allow for some guilty people to inevitably go free. But who turned me this way? And who turned the rest of us this way (and worse)? It's not until the boy repeatedly made false cries of wolf that eventually the townsfolk stopped taking him seriously. Then when the real trouble came, no one cared to listen.

My defense of my own skepticism, however (I won't speak for all #MeToo naysayers, as some are just as bad as the #MeTooers themselves), is the simple fact that the only alternatives are to either agree with an accuser or disagree with them. Both of which, the declarations of undeniable guilt and the declarations of undeniable innocence, are two extreme decisions which I don't feel I'm capable of making. Just as I don't feel anyone else is (other than those directly involved or the courts who sort those cases out). I wasn't there. I don't know, and will never know all the facts (regardless of how much homespun Google "researching" I attempt). It's not up to me or a digital mob to punish people. It's not our business at all.

Oh. And how about the hypocrisy in Munn's line of thinking here? Yes, just because one person messes up or lies, that doesn't mean that everyone else is messing up and lying too. But shouldn't this same reasoning be applied to the men being accused as well? Just because some are guilty and some women aren't making false claims, does that mean all men or guilty or that we should believe all women at their word?
"I think the biggest thing that has changed since the Me Too movement has started is that, for the first time, there is an entire group of people, usually white men, who have to be aware of their existence. You know, if you ask any minority, LGBTQ member or woman how often we’re aware of our existence, we'll say every day."
While I can agree with Munn that being aware of how we conduct ourselves is something we should all do, I don't believe white men didn't already do this (at least no more or less than women or minorities). General civility, politeness, and tact isn't a race or sex issue. It's just something people either do or should do. And the implication that white men generally didn't do this before the Me Too movement came along isn't just absurd, it's also racist. Yes. That's right. Contrary to popular opinion, white is a race. And the generalization of a group based on their race is racist, no matter how you spin it.

With that being said, I do have to admit that this statement of Munn's, however poorly constructed, does point to a positive outcome from the Me Too movement. Now that accusations are running amuck, and no one appears to be safe (the guilty or the innocent), powerful men who'd normally be prone to committing harassment and abuse are now undoubtedly shaking in their boots, thinking twice before they act.

But at what price is this? Yeah, if you kill every suspect, you're bound to nab some perps. But what about all the new victims you've now made? Are their lives unimportant? The broken eggs required for the omlet? And what about the new evil you've now become? This is #MeToo in a nutshell.

Just as I've always felt about religious fundamentalists, I don't hate the believer. Nor do I hate Munn (big Attack of the Show! fan, I gotta admit). No, it's the beliefs themselves that ruffle my feathers. And how powerful and inescapable people find those beliefs to be. While #MeToo may not be a cult, it's not too far from that realm. And just with most cults, the indoctrinated, more often than not, is just another victim who thinks they're doing the right thing. But, as everyone knows, the road to hell has always been paved with good intentions.