Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I've always thought that a really good test of whether or not you're insane is if you've ever asked yourself if you're insane. The truly cracked among us - those who desperately need a rubber room - never even consider if their thoughts are off-center. If you've stopped to wonder whether you're a candidate for the cracker factory, you probably aren't. Or, at least, your problems might be handled with a bit of medication.
(There are exceptions, of course. If you just saw a twenty-foot-tall mackerel walking down the street singing "Free Bird", then you are crazy. Everybody knows mackerel don't have feet.)
Be that as it may - or, if you got here a little late, then June - I'd like you to read the following. I did, and it got me to wondering - once again - whether I'm out of my mind. I had a reaction to it. If you folks mostly have the opposite reaction, then I may need to consider whether or not I'm the loony here.
From Daily Breeze (yes, it's a legit news source):
LOS ANGELES - A sexual and age harassment complaint filed against Larry Flynt by an employee who claims her work was disrupted by hearing the Hustler publisher having sex with prostitutes in his office must be decided in binding arbitration.
A three-justice panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal Thursday reversed rulings in November 2006 and January 2007 by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Judith C. Chirlin that Cheryl Oldham's lawsuit could go forward.
Chirlin found that Oldham was not bound by an arbitration agreement in her employee handbook because it was unfairly weighted toward Flynt.
Oldham began working for Flynt in 1999. Her lawsuit states that she had a prestigious job supporting high-ranking Flynt corporate executives.
"The acknowledgment (Oldham) signed after receiving the 1999 employee handbook made it clear that waiver of arbitration required the consent of (Oldham) and (Flynt)," Justice Frank Y. Jackson wrote in authoring the 10- page, unanimous decision.
In her lawsuit, Oldham alleges she was retaliated against for helping another female employee in a similar claim against Flynt. Oldham maintains that when Flynt found out she was helping the other employee, he called her into his office and asked her to testify that he did not harass anyone and that she never heard sex noises from his office, but she refused.
Later, Oldham was summoned into another meeting with Flynt, where she alleges she was
told, "you're overweight, unattractive, over 50 and probably unable to find another job. So, why would you do this to me?"
According to her lawsuit, Flynt was called to testify at an arbitration hearing in the other woman's case, where he allegedly said, "I can't stand the sight of Cher (Oldham), and I wanted to fire her. But I was advised I couldn't fire her."
Oldham's decision to help the other woman caused her to be demoted to the position of receptionist at his video company to perform menial tasks, such as labeling Federal Express envelopes, according to her court papers.
Shortly after Oldham was hired, Flynt's assistant at the time told her that their boss often had prostitutes in his office and that his wife worked in the same building, the lawsuit states.
Oldham claims the assistant told her that if Flynt's wife ever attempted to get into her husband's office while he was with a prostitute, she should "divert and distract Mrs. Flynt at all costs until Flynt could get the prostitutes out of the building."
The prostitutes "made loud, obnoxious and repeated noises of sexual gratification that disrupted the office and (Oldham's) ability to perform the essential functions of her job," her lawsuit alleges.
When Oldham took her complaints to Flynt's human resources department, the director told her, "I don't want to know anything. I don't want to hear it. I know nothing," according to the lawsuit.
When Flynt's assistant was on vacation, Oldham had to handle all of his telephone calls and appointments, including the scheduling of appointments with prostitutes, the suit alleges.
Oldham's experiences working for Flynt left her "sick, sore, lame and disabled," according to her lawsuit.
(OK. Careful with the link coming up. It may not be safe for work.)
This just boggles the mind. How...? I mean, really. You go to work for Hustler and truly, honestly expect to never encounter some form of sexual harassment? The whole magazine (hell, everything Flynt does) is based upon the concept of there being no such thing as sexual harassment.
(Or taste, for that matter. However, I digress.)
No secret. I'm about as big a proponent as there is on this planet concerning Flynt's right to be tasteless. Insofar as his battling censorship is concerned, I'm a huge fan.
I have purchased more than one issue of Hustler in my day. I've found something truly offensive in every single issue that I purchased, too. Not the naked women, by the way. I've never found anything whatsoever offensive about naked women. The disgusting cartoons, the obscenity-laced editorials, the phony ads depicting various celebrities in mocked up sexual positions, the total disregard for anyone's feelings - those I have found offensive. But, you know what? I knew coming in that what I would find between the covers was not going to be 100% to my liking. I knew that the good stuff I'd find existed strictly because the bad was allowed to be there also. If you want the freedom to enjoy what you like, you have to give everybody else the freedom to enjoy whatever they like, even if you think it's disgusting or amoral. That's how freedom works. It's an all-or-nothing concept. Either you're free or you're not.
But, putting that argument aside, let's say I was a completely strait-laced tee-totaling evangelical virgin, my entire life thus far having been lived in a hermetically-sealed bubble. I have never let any epithet stronger than "Gosh!" escape my lips. I have never even seen myself naked, let alone another human being. I walk into the offices of Hustler and apply for a position as an executive secretary. Despite my lack of real-world experiences, I am miraculously hired.
Now, suppose I am employed there for FOUR YEARS.
(The story concerning the lawsuit doesn't state how long the person was there. Since she was hired in 1999, and the initial findings were from 2006, I think that four years is a reasonable enough assumption.)
Is it not incumbent upon me to quit my job, with no recompense due, as soon as my sensibilities are offended the first time? Maybe not. How about the second? The third? The fiftieth? The thousandth? When does it become ridiculous for me to stay and then file suit because something has offended me so deeply as to scar me and leave me "sick, sore, lame, and disabled."
Grow up, lady. You knew you were signing a deal with the devil when you first walked into the building. When you get poked in the ass with his pitchfork, it's your own fault, no matter how much noise he makes while doing so.
So, am I insane?
(Just had to get this off of my chest. I'll be back soon with a nice family story, or a bit of fun, or something similarly non-threatening. It's just that, sometimes, the madness is so amazing, it must be commented upon. If your opinion differs from mine, I'll probably still like you.)
(Oh, and blame Stu. He asked me for my opinion. And I'd appreciate it, Stu, if you'd comment on this yourself.)
Soon, with less worser stuff.