Wednesday, November 1, 2017


There are benefits to getting older. I mean, besides not dying and all. I would like to think I get a little better, a little more compassionate, a little smarter and a little more thoughtful with each additional year on the scorecard. I know I strive to achieve those goals.

I used to think Arthur (1981) was one of the funniest movies ever made. Today, after seeing too many drunks up close and hearing too many “I was drunk” excuses for terrible behavior, and despite the most excellent performances of Dudley Moore and John Gielgud, it’s a movie I can’t watch.

The underrated and unsuccessful Broadway musical Goodtime Charley (1975) starred the wonderful Joel Grey and Ann Reinking as Charles VII and Joan of Arc. Grey’s character bemoans the brutality of the age om which they live and expresses that in a song “Why Can’t We All Be Nice?”. The song condemns pillage and rape, proclaiming the latter is no fun unless they want to rape you back. I thought the line was amusing in 1975. Now it makes me wince.

We hear of rape fantasies and, while I’m of the belief consenting adults should be able to act our whatever fantasies they desire so long as no one gets hurt, the concept unsettles me. As do all those scenes in police dramas where interrogating detectives suggest that a suspect will be raped in prison if he doesn’t give them whatever information they seek. As does “humor” involving rape. The humor of such jokes doesn’t just escape me. It disgusts me.

So when, in the course of posting news stories on my Facebook page, posters would suggest that some evildoer would be raped in prison and laugh about it, I was more than a little put off. Indeed, I was disgusted by such comments.

I have forbidden such comments on my Facebook page. Any one posting such comments risks being un-friended. Most of my friends got the message. One guy complained about the policy.

Which is why I posted the following on my page:

Let me tell you a true story about rape. Decades ago, I was working for the worst human being I had ever worked for. He was the scumbag lawyer who took advantage of me vis-a-vis my comics store and failed to represent me properly in another case as well.

While running the lawyer's comic store, which I designed and named, and which was stocked with the inventory he'd gotten from me as part of an agreement where he was to settle the debts of my comics shop, I hired a clerk who needed flexible hours.

This clerk was one of several women raped by a serial rapist. She and the other victims would attend every day of the trial to support one another. She was a capable young woman and stronger than I would have been in such a situation.

This scumbag began to sexually harass her. Among other things, he took her to an out-of-the-area convention and, besides not getting her a room of her own, demanded that she have sex with him. Fortunately, she was able to stay in the room of a female friend also at the convention.

Let me boil this down to one sentence:

This scumbag was sexually harassing a rape victim.

She came to me for help with this awful situation. She needed the job and the flexible schedule I had created for her.

I talked to our scumbag boss. I reminded him that what he was doing was a crime. Something that, as a lawyer, he should've known. On the other hand, since he was regularly having sex with hookers in exchange for defending them, he had a loose interpretation of legal ethics. His response to my telling him to leave her alone:

"It's not your business. If I want to fuck the bitch, I'll fuck the bitch."

At the end of the day, I wrote my letter of resignation, took my personal belongings, locked the store and put the keys through the mail slot. To my everlasting shame, I continued to go to the store to purchase items I had pre-ordered. Up to the day when his large doltish assistant refused to honor the original terms of my orders and insulted me to boot. The assistant was a creep, but, really, I should have never gone back to the store at all.

The lawyer is now dead. But, before that happened, he did his best to make my life hell with bogus lawsuits and trying to get me arrested on bogus charges that he made to local, state and federal law enforcement officials. At comics conventions where I was set up as a dealer, he would stand in front of my table and make impotent threats against me.

I hired a new attorney. That new attorney easily won the case the scumbag had dropped the ball on.

I filed suit against the scumbag and won that case as well. My ex-lawyer had to make good on my store's debts..

I reported him to the state board and gathered evidence against him. The board went so far as to schedule a hearing before dropping the case. Why?

Because he'd hired a well-respected attorney to represent him and it would have cost the state too much time and money to go after him. This decision came down one day before I was scheduled to go to Columbus to testify against him. I don't fault the attorney. He was doing his job.

That very night, celebrating his victory, the scumbag was arrested outside a crack house where he had been having sex with a hooker. He tried to run away from the cops while naked. They caught him. He got probation. He got arrested a second time, lost his license to practice law, and did several months behind bars.

To my mind, the man was a sexual predator who should have suffered worse than he did. Some people claimed he turned his life around, went to AA meetings and became a drug counselor. He did, indeed, become a drug counselor.

Except...he never made any attempt to make amends to me or several others he'd wronged. He never so much as apologized for what he had done to myself and others. I think his alleged reformation was as much a lie as everything else in his life.

This is why - besides having the common decency I was born with - I do not find rape jokes of any kind amusing. This is why, to address the artist who posted on this page and whose ignorant post I deleted, I do not allow rape jokes on my page.

Rape jokes are not jokes. Not on my page. Not anywhere. If you're incapable of grasping that, self-un-friend yourself and save me the few seconds it will take me to do it.

Sexual predators of the rich and famous and powerful sort are again in the news. I am horrified by their actions. I am horrified by how long they were able to commit such actions. I am horrified by how many people knew they were committing such actions. I am horrified by an actor trying to excuse his attempted rape of a minor and his drinking and his conflicts about being gay. Way to conflate being gay with pedophilia, you arrogant swine.

I stand with those who have come forward to report these predatory crimes. But, along with the reports have come some comments about men in general that I find troubling. In tomorrow’s bloggy thing, I will talk about this.

© 2017 Tony Isabella

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