Letter on Reformation

The Editors of The Point:

ScreenHunter_2907 Dec. 17 18.08If you happened to log onto Facebook around Thanksgiving, you might have seen these words, blinking in white against an emergency-red background: “URGENT: If you’re not freaking out right now about net neutrality you’re not paying attention.” The occasion was the FCC’s announcement that they would allow companies to charge for faster broadband speeds, and it was hard to deny the potentially catastrophic consequences. It was also hard to deny, as you tried to clear your mind for a rare holiday from news-fueled outrage (not that either turkey or football could any longer be enjoyed innocently), that you might not have any more mental broadband left for freaking out.

It had been a season filled with things to freak out about, from the future of the free internet to the tax code to the nuclear codes. But the reckoning that echoed most loudly was about a more ordinary menace: men. The first to fall were the celebrities, then came the journalists, then the politicians, and finally (some of us had been waiting) the academics. But that was only the beginning. The male hazard, it transpired, lurked in the kitchens of trendy restaurants, in venture-capital board rooms, at suburban malls, backstage at comedy clubs and opera houses. The daily dribble of revelations—Charlie Rose! Russell Simmons! Tariq Ramadan!—only reinforced the idea that the problem could not be isolated to any location, industry or demographic. It was borderless, ubiquitous, unexceptional: an “open secret” the whole world had been keeping from itself.

As the initial shock began to wear off, there ensued a debate about the best way to publicly channel disgust and disappointment—that is, about how to freak out as effectively as possible.

More here.