Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Am I Insane? Or Is It The World?

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.


Rooster said...

I agree - I certainly would have some pretty lurid expectations if I got a job with Huslter. What does she expect? Does she expect the lawsuit to clean up Hustler and tuen it into a nice workign environment? Probably not - just looking for some money, rather than go off and get a job you actually like.

When we lived in Sydney, Australia, they opened an amusement park, called Luna Park, that had been clsoed for a number of years. Once opened, the people who had bought condos right along the side of the park began to sue because of the noise. Similar situation. If you buy a condo next to an amusement park, don't you have to expect there to be noise?

Anonymous said...

No Suldog, dear boy, you are not insane...not in that off your rocker and it is everyone's fault but my own so I'm going to sue you for a trillion pounds for upsetting me and, by association my wife and my dog, kind of insane.The world has gone madly down the compensation route.
You are a touch 'crackers'but in the nicest possible way.

Anonymous said...

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...MMmmmm

Maybe I'm insane, but doesnt that make her a Madam ???

Stu said...

I found this lawsuit to be hugely funny. I can't imagine that it will last more than a day in court, as I can't imagine a magistrate who wouldn't see the crazy for what it was.

The larger issue is this: will the next generation of women be strong enough and smart enough to resist the urge for the quick buck, and instead, will they see the bigger picture? I think Sarah Palin is the litmus test for our generation, and the fact that all women didn't run after McCain with pitchforks and torches says that we're not there yet.

Michelle H. said...

No, you're not insane. Maybe a nut or two, but I sure see where a person has to expect certain things to go down at a place like this and not bat an eyelash and blush.

Jeni said...

Frankly, although I may still harbor an occasional thought with respect to your sanity (and mine too for that mannter) I don't think this is something to use to judge your sanity -or mine -cause what you offered up here seems perfectly sane to me!
Isn't there maybe some fancy Latin term that says it all -kind of like "Buyer Beware" or something along those lines? Geez, I may not want or enjoy hearing someone in the throes of hot sex in an adjacent room but when one is employed by "Hustler" -of all places -I would think those working there would some clue that SOMETHING that might not be exactly to one's liking could possibly occur!
Don't tell me what I can or can not read -let me be the judge of that and yes, Larry Flynt has I think helped us keep that freedom going.
Now, if the employer having sex that you could hear, in an adjacent office, and the company had nothing whatsoever to do with anything sexual, I would say maybe there is some standing but one would think the first time you realized it and if offended then, you would leave, go file suit or whatever, wouldn't you?
The lady filing suit here -maybe, just maybe - she needs to get a reality check.

SandraRee said...

I'm definitely with you on this one. Utterly ridiculous lawsuit! You just don't want to get me started on people's stupidity when it comes to abusing our judicial system!

Cath said...

At first, not knowing what Hustler was or is (although I should have guessed) I was outraged for the lady. But as I read your post, I take your points - first about knowing the organisation to whom you are applying for a job, and second for putting up with it for four years before complaining.

(Although asking anyone to organise prostitute appointments for you AND waylay your wife while you have sex with said prostitute is taking it a tad too far imho, even in this organisation. But that does not alter the fact that she must have witnessed this or actually DONE the tasks for FOUR years minimum, before complaining.)

You are not insane friend.
And she is no innocent. ;0)

Anonymous said...

There is no question you re insane. That poor woman deserved a quite, clean and religious atmosphere to work in. I hope Sarah Palin gets elected as VP and as we all know that man she is running with is much to old and she will be president. Then people like you and all the people who comment and read this tripe will be arrested and placed in a rehabilitation camp where you all belong. If you take my advise you will find Jesus and let him come into your hearts. Read John 12:6

Tara said...

"That poor woman deserved a quite, clean and religious atmosphere to work in......." while applying for a job at HUSTLER.??? really???

You simply can not make this stuff up, that's it , My bags are packed...send my insane butt away.

Jim..see ya there, I'll bring the pic ;)

Suldog said...

Thank you, folks. I realize that any sampling I get here will be skewed by your initial liking of me, but I'm glad to hear your approbation just the same.

By the way, John 12:6, just in case you're interested from anon's commentary:

"Now [Judas] said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it."

Well, where can I go from there? No place but downhill, so I'll go now and let more comments flow.

Suldog said...

Tara - I had no idea your butt was insane! I knew there was good chance concerning other parts of you, but so am I. Yes, bring the pic. I've always wanted to see what an insane butt looks like ;-)

FHB said...

This is like one of those people who moves right next to an airport and then complains about the noise. Unreal! And congrats on the voting thingy. I was just over there and they have a thing scrolling across the page saying you won something. Cudos!

Buck said...

You're not insane, Jim.

@ Anon, who said: ... as we all know that man she is running with is much to old and she will be president.

Up on the dome, Anon... there's pigeon shit that needs attending TO.

Cath said...

Buck - you got there before me. I think Anon is insane. His religious quote is totally out of context and I presume as well as being unable to spell "too" he also actually meant to say that the woman deserved a quiet, "...clean and religious atmosphere..." not a "quite" atmosphere. I am not sure what a quite atmosphere is. ;0)

Unknown said...

This one reminds me of that lawsuit the lady brought against McDonalds when she ordered a hot coffee and then sued them when she spilled it on herself because it was hot. She won millions of dollars & McD's had to put some warning on all their cups.

After this is over there will be a big sign on the door of the Hustler corporate offices that reads:

"CAUTION: Nakedness and sex are approved in this building, if those things offend you please apply down the hall at Nun's Life"

Unknown said...

Oh & in all seriousness I would just like to add that every time I apply for a job I look into the company. Currently via Google or other internet means. Previously by asking around. I am quite sure if she had no internet access in 99 she could have asked 10 people. At least 1 of them was sure to know what Hustler was & what they were about. Then she could have decided whether or not she wanted to work there. Me, I could never work for that kind of company because it is just not in my secretly prudish nature. Therefore once I found out about it I would apply elsewhere.

Ericka said...

unfortunately, sanity is in rather short supply these days. i'm with you, but just this week, my idea of pro-choice made a "saved" coworker so upset that he went home for the day to pray for me. *blink* so apparently i'm a totally lost cause.

rosecreekcottage-carol.blogspot.com said...

Yup....our tax dollars at work plugging up the court system was this stuff!

Yup....she figured working for Hustler would be a 'bed' of roses while she 'distracted' his wife? And 'four' years later she's upset? There's only one person insane here, Suldog....and it ain't you!

Suldog said...

FHB - Thanks! I actually took down the voting thingy, as I thought I was crowding a bit too much on the sidebar. I went there, but didn't see anything scrolling. Oh, well. If I won something, I'm sure they'll let me know.

(Everybody who still wants to vote, go to Mushy's place. He is entered and deserves a vote!)

Buck - I love it when somebody else takes my running jokes and, well, runs with 'em! Are you sure I can't interest you in an admiralty?

CC - A "quite" atmosphere means there's a lot of air? I don't know, either.

Jenn - You can come down off of the bomb dome now :-)

Ericka - Well, I'm sure she thought she was doing you a favor...

In all seriousness, I'm a fairly religious person. I'm a Christian, as a matter of fact. But I've found that treating people with respect, and trying to understand their views, will win a lot more converts than telling someone they're damned, which is basically what this other person seemed to be telling you. Shame on her! That's not HER decision :-)

Carol - Thanks! And, I'd just like to say, I really appreciate the way the women here have come down on the side of sanity. I truly mean that; not being sarcastic. I was somewhat afraid of having knee-jerk reactions for the woman in the story just because she was a woman. Once again, I've been given a lesson, that being: Don't automatically assume things of people because of their sex, race, whatever else. Maybe this time I'll be able to remember that. Thank you, Ladies!

Suldog said...

Oh! Finally...

"Anonymous" was my Uncle Jimmy playing with everyone. He just confessed that to me in an e-mail. And he was very gratified by your responses :-)

Melinda said...

That's right up there with the lady who won a suit against McDonald's for burning her tongue on the HOT coffee. She claimed she didn't know it was going to be that hot. Cause you know, coffee is usually cold like ice cream.
Every time I see the word "Hot!" on coffee cups, I think of that lady and how sad it is that companies spent money stamping that word so dumbass people can't sue them.

On an unrelated note, I'm suing Dairy Queen for giving me brain freeze after sucking down a slushie. They should have warned me not to do that. My head hurt for a whole minute and my friends laughed at me. Surely that kind of pain and suffering is worth a few million!

fuzzbert_1999@yahoo.com said...

Are you sure that's not Woody Harrelson!

Janet said...

A day late and a comment short as usual, but obviously that isn't going to stop me. No you aren't insane. I bet she just got tired of working for a living and thought Flynt could spare some cash. Maybe originally she thought she was working for a company that produced disco music.

Why Store Army said...

You are not insane...And Cher Oldham is definitely not insane. She won an arbitration award for $3 Million against Larry Flynt in this case. No company is above the laws of sexual harassment and age discrimination. Especially porn companies!