High life | 8 February 2018

There’s fear and loathing out there and a whole new moral climate with new rules

High life | 8 February 2018
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For some strange reason there have been no #MeToo complaints around these parts. Some locals have grumbled about yours truly, and an interview I gave about this village to a Swiss daily, but although Harvey used to hang out here during Christmases past, no one’s come forward to claim rape. Is there something wrong with our womenfolk? No, most of them are semi-ladies who have made it big and landed some pretty big fish, so no use of crying wolf, sorry, rape.

Even the mother of my children has expressed surprise. ‘I was pretty once, and men liked me, yet no one has ever jumped on me, except some silly Englishman with terrible breath who tried to kiss me while you were out on the dance floor.’ Well, all I can say is when in trouble, look for the money.

In America, as well as in Britain, it’s business as usual. Companies that offer money to plaintiffs in anticipation of future legal settlements usually go after those involved in personal injury and medical malpractice cases. But lawyers are now lowering the boom at men who have been accused of sexual harassment. As I said, always look for the money — especially in the two countries mentioned above. Where there are shyster lawyers, there will be lawsuits, or my name is not Taki. There is even an advertisement doing the rounds that reads: ‘If you or someone you know has grounds for a sexual harassment claim and is in need of financial help…’

And it gets better: in the US the sharks lending the moolah can charge up to 100 per cent interest because the money is considered an advance, not a loan, and is therefore not subject to usury laws. It seems that there are scores of firms doing this dirty business, and more than 40 million big ones are advanced each year. Personally, I don’t believe one hundredth of the bullshit. But I’ll tell you what I do believe. What Mary Wakefield wrote, in these here pages two weeks ago, about sexual abuse and exploitation in Africa and elsewhere by UN troops. And yes, I read the response last week from the Under-Secretary-General in New York and I consider it total baloney. UN troops have been raping women and children on our dime for a very long time, so you can write letters to your heart’s content. Bravo, Mary — whom I’m suing for sexual harassment, incidentally, and Lara also — for exposing the UN’s hypocrisy and outright lies. This makes a mockery of sorts of #MeToo, n’est-ce pas, mes chers amis? (I am writing in French so that the UN’s troops can read it.)

The Hollywood assault survivors, needless to say, are not going to go away quietly or empty-handed. The loudest hissy fit ever is not about to go the way of the Weinstein Company. There’s fear and loathing out there and a whole new moral climate with new rules. A man is guilty of all charges as long as a woman says so. Imagine what these women would have done to Harpo Marx, who used to leer at women’s bosoms and roll his eyes. Shock horror, what!

Which brings me to Woody Allen. He beat the allegations once, but they’ve resurfaced. The court of public opinion, scared witless by the Farrow gang, are saying that he should never work again. That fool Colin Firth says so too. So let’s stop reading William Burroughs. Let’s never again look at a Caravaggio, and certainly not a Picasso. And what about Byron’s incestuous behaviour? And Gauguin’s paedophilia or Jean Genet’s thievery? Woody Allen’s Radio Days, Manhattan and Annie Hall are great films. None of his accusers come even close to his genius, so they can scream all they want. They are simply furious at being dumped for someone younger. Woody should now write amusing books and tell his female accusers to go and reproduce themselves.

Finally, in a book review about dildos in the New York Times — it’s a perfect subject for a shamelessly partisan paper — one Peggy Orenstein takes on my friend Norman Mailer, now long dead and easy to attack. While praising dildos and other sex toys, Orenstein claims that Mailer was quaking in his boots when he wrote about the emasculating ‘plenitude of orgasms’ created by ‘that laboratory dildo’. Orenstein knows less about Mailer than I know about having a period. Mailer never quaked in front of anyone, although Orenstein sounds pretty horrible so even a brave man might get scared.

Here’s the quaking man writing to Ernest Hemingway, whom he’s never met: ‘To Ernest Hemingway. I am deeply curious to know what you think of this [It’s a manuscript of The Deer Park, Mailer’s third novel] but if you do not answer, or if you answer with the kind of crap you use to answer unprofessional writers, sycophants, brown-nosers, etc, then fuck you, and I will never attempt to communicate with you again.’ Papa never answered, yet Mailer came to his defence after the fall.

I hate to think what he’d do with Orenstein. Norman, where are you now that emasculated men really need you.