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Monday, October 10, 2016

Billy Bush is Everyman

If you're anything like me, you are sick unto death of watching the almost continuous loop of that horrific clip on the Access Hollywood bus with Donald Trump and Billy Bush. 

I know I should turn it off or walk away but I'm drawn to watching that lying-sack-of-crap liar and sexual predator finally caught in the act.  

There it is. For all the world to see. And, hear. What we've all known. What he's denied, all along. 

The man is a pig. 

A lying, unmitigated, unrepentant, privileged, white (well, okay, orange), heterosexual (or, so he says, but there is THIS video) male (because, he says, his "big" hands indicate the "big" size of his penis) chauvinist pig.

As the waves of outrage wash over me about Trump, however, I find myself more and more outraged by his companion on the bus, the host on the Access Hollywood bus, Billy Bush

Billy Bush is an affable sort.  A thoroughly charming combination of the "boy next door," a pinch of the mischievous prankster, a handful of the protective and caring "big brother" - even if you are an outrageously dressed gay man like Johnny Weir - all mixed in with just enough of the "cool dad" to provide him with high popularity rates. 

He's the son of Jonathan Bush, the younger brother of George W.H. Bush, POTUS #41. He went to the prestigious - and now notorious - St. George's Prep in Newport, RI, and graduated from Colby College in Waterville, ME where he was twice captain of the lacrosse team. 

He's been the co-host of "Access Hollywood" for several years but recently left to take a spot as an "entertainment journalist" with NBC's TODAY Show.  Billy Bush did apologize. Almost immediately. He wrote: 
"Obviously I'm embarrassed and ashamed. It's no excuse but this happened eleven years ago - I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I'm very sorry."          
The word today is that Billy Bush has been "suspended indefinitely" from the TODAY show, pending a "full investigation".

Neither Billy Bush nor Donald Trump have offered an apology to the two women who were objectified and spoken of in vulgar, lewd terms. 

They have names. Nancy O'Dell, who used to be co-host with Bully Bush on Access Hollywood and is the entertainment journalist for and co-host of the TV program Entertainment Tonight.  

The other woman who was the target of Trump and Bush was actress Arianne Zucker, the Days of our Lives star who would be Trump's host on the soap-opera set.

Bush declared Ms. Zucker "hot as (expletive), adding "The Donald has scored." He would later try and help his buddy out by encouraging Ms. Zucker to hug Trump.

When you watch the clip, you can see her "taking one for the team" and give The Donald a side ways hug.

She seems ever so much happier to hug Mr. Bush, even at The Donald's encouragement. See also: "seems an affable sort" and "boy next door" and "charming".

On Saturday afternoon, Ms. O'Dell issued a statement via the website for her current show, Entertainment Tonight.  She wrote:
"Politics aside, I’m saddened that these comments still exist in our society at all," she wrote. "When I heard the comments yesterday, it was disappointing to hear such objectification of women. The conversation needs to change because no female, no person, should be the subject of such crass comments, whether or not cameras are rolling. Everyone deserves respect no matter the setting or gender. As a woman who has worked very hard to establish her career, and as a mom, I feel I must speak out with the hope that as a society we will always strive to be better."
Ms. Zucker has also issued a statement. She, too, is very clear about calling both men into account and standing tall and strong. She wrote:
“My name is Arianne (R-E-on) ZUCKER (Zooker) and I am a strong, independent, hard working mother, business woman and partner to a great man,” she wrote on Twitter. “I have grown to learn that the words of others cannot effect the value of my self worth or define the content of my character. How we treat one another, whether behind closed doors, locker rooms or face to face, should be done with kindness, dignity and respect. Unfortunately, there are too many people in power who abuse their position and disregard these simple principles and are rewarded for it. In understanding the magnitude of this situation, I choose to stand tall with self respect and use my voice to enrich, inspire and elevate the best of who we are as people.”
And, as I said, neither Trump nor Bush have offered an apology to either Ms. O'Dell or Ms. Zucker.

If I were either of the two women, I wouldn't hold my breath.

Donald Trump is such a poor excuse for a human being that I have no expectations for his showing any humanity. He is not beyond redemption, but, as yet, he has demonstrated not a shred of remorse or regret.

"It's just words, folks," he said at Monday's debate. "Just locker room talk."

It's just "boys will be boys," see?  Perfectly normal. Just the way guys talk.

Trump would not have been able to get away with saying those lewd and salacious things were it not for Billy Bush, egging him on and being thoroughly comfortable with and, in fact, obviously enjoying his mano-a-mano "locker room" banter and time alone with The Donald on the bus.

Here's the thing:  Billy Bush is Everyman.

Billy Bush makes every guy look bad.

Billy Bush makes it believable that this is how all guys talk when it's just "boys being boys".

Some of my male friends tell me - EMPHATICALLY - that this is not true.

However, some of my male friends have told me that some men DO talk like this and that it is sickening to them.

Some men have told me that, when they have been in the presence of these men and these conversations, they have felt powerless to say or do anything but go along with it because, well, because these particular men happen to be gay and they knew the consequences if they "objected too much".

The best they could do, they tell me, was to walk away.

Billy Bush has a wife. Together, they have three daughters.

My sincere hope is that Billy Bush uses this time of his "suspension" to think about how he might help, in Ms. O'Dell's words, "to change the conversation."

I hope he can find his voice for and about this issue and begin to speak, mano-a-mano, to other men about the evil of the objectification of women and the even greater evil of the predatory fantasies and actions of men toward women.

I believe Billy Bush is a good man.

I met him once. He came to church where I was rector. St. Paul's in Chatham. He and his wife and their three daughters. They signed up for Church School.

I remember Billy Bush looked me square int he eye and saying, "Very good message. Thank you."
Yes, they are Episcopalian. Or, at least, were at the time. Although, I think I remember Mr. Bush saying that his wife was Presbyterian.

They came, they said, because they heard that it was one of the few liberal churches in the area. And, that we had a great youth group. In fact, both of those things were true.

Sydney Davis, his wife, and their daughters, came back. Once. Then, Billy got the gig in LA and the family moved cross country. I think we were just a little too small a congregation for them.

People gawked, as they will.  I really can't blame the Bush family for feeling uncomfortable.

I don't know that this makes any difference, but I hope it does.

I hope he is able to take this horrific situation and use it for some good.

Billy Bush is Everyman, and every man needs to learn that not only is this behavior unacceptable for them, they need to hold each other accountable when they hear any objectification of or demeaning talk about women.

He needs to remind them that we are their mothers, their sisters, their wives, their daughters, their cousins, their coworkers, their neighbors, their friends, their doctors, their lawyers, their clergy, their elected officials, their fellow human beings on Planet Earth.

He needs to do it because it's just the right thing to do.

For Billy Bush.

And, for every man.

And, for those, as the Chinese say, who hold up half the sky.

UPDATE 10/11: Billy Bush Negotiating Exit From NBC After Lewd Tape


Lindy said...

When "Good Men" remain silent, they remain good men. Good for nothing.

JCF said...

When I first saw the tape, I said "Fire Billy Bush!" Then I read his apology. While not specific enough (to the two women slimed), at least it WAS an apology (unlike ANYTHING Trump has said!). I then thought, "Suspend him for 6 months, let him reflect & grow."

I hope some good comes out of this---but I'm not holding my breath. [An Episcopalian behaving badly? This Episcopalian WISHES I could say I was shocked... ]

Bex said...

Read a comment by someone who made a good point. Trump was not in a locker room when he made those comments. He was working. Maybe not in the traditional "workplace," but at work just the same.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Wow. Linda. Good one.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

JCF: I hope he gets back on his feet and uses this for good. You know, I really think he will. I hope I'm not disappointed.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Bex - That's a GREAT point. He was working, as evidenced by the fact that he was wearing a mic. He - and Mr. Bush - were just so arrogant that they didn't even think about it. Grrrrr. . . ..