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Essay: Billy Bush and Hard Truths
The Ballad of Billy Bush, Devin Faraci, The Source of My Discomfort, and Me
Billy Bush didn’t expect to wake up like this. It was going to be a simple day of fluffing: news, celebrities, any dog going viral.
The time it hit was irrelevant but when it did it was like a nail bomb: video/audio of him with reality star, real estate magnate, and future Presidential candidate Donald Trump, caught on a hot mic like a Robert Durst. Billy Bush was doing the fluff bit while Donald Trump told the story of his attempt to fuck a Palm Beach mistress when the conversation turned to how Donald Trump could fuck anybody he pleased because he was a star. Might start kissing them, grab them by the pussy, etc.
Billy Bush had age to blame and he did. Donald Trump had Democrats too. Soon Billy Bush resigned and a phalanx of scandalized Republicans wanted Trump to. But ink has been spilled about Donald Trump.
This is the ballad of Billy Bush, Devin Faraci, The Source of My Discomfort, and Me.
Devin Faraci didn’t expect to wake up like this. In between appraising how Penny Dreadful creates its own universe and condemning Donald Trump’s video and how telling it was he said it to a television host, somebody from his past asked him: remember when you grabbed my pussy in a bar and asked my friends to smell your fingers?
I really don’t but how could I be so vile, I beg your forgiveness.
A day later he resigned as the editor of his website, Birth.Movies.Death. Plenty of people were silent until they had to be. Thousands of words spilled on how the master/slave dialectic in relation to Captain America: Civil War and 140 characters damning a rapist editor couldn’t be produced, even though their twitter feeds for the last year have been condemnations and controversies weighed upon and when it mattered all anybody could produce was shame and fear that their money was getting screwed up and how sad it was.
I can’t produce sadness except for the victim. I don’t care about Devin Faraci.
A tweet goes: Trump is the face of every man who raped you and Mike Pence is the judge who let them get away. Billy Bush is the friend who clapped Trump on the back. He even called him “The Donald” in the audio, like he was his frat brother.
What about Devin Faraci’s buddies, the ones who just said it was sad? What about the ones who smelled his fingers? What about the people who knew? Did Faraci repent immediately? How many times did this happen before? Did they never think Devin Faraci in all of his bullying and the time he told a film director he was going to fuck their wife could be capable of sexual assault? Why’d they stand by him so long? Why are they surprised? Because he pissed off some Gamergaters and white supremacists? Their ethos is anger. Why’d he get a pass for so long?
Why’d it take a lickspittle like Billy Bush to even make a dent a serial rapist?
Why is it a surprise?
When it comes to the secret lives of men, decimate rational thought until proof arrives. And when proof arrives, measure three times, cut once.
And when they mislead you by purporting they have values they don’t, forget how they promise they’ll do better until they do.
And then remember what they did.
In the future when a Billy Bush or a Devin Faraci gets revealed here’s what it’ll look like:
I am ashamed of how my actions came to light. When they took place I was a different person who had no understanding of how my actions would affect others. I would like to apologize. Over the years I have grown to learn how men’s actions can affect the people around them and how they can play into a heteronormative patriarchal kyriarchy we should all work to dismantle. I am a proud feminist with (daughters/sisters/mothers/mail-ladies/a female next door neighbor/a couple of women on my ipod/a bookshelf that’s got at least one Joan Didion on it) and I am sorry that I failed that standard today.
I promise to do better.
I like to think that’s accurate. I soaked myself in predators, Hugo Schwyzers, Tao Lins, Stephen Michael McDowells, names I can’t forget, all at the behest of writing what was at differing points in time a play, a novel, a screenplay, and an audio drama, in order to deal with what I had seen and experienced. I wrote a plan out. I talked to friends. Then I put it away.
Until it became real again.
I didn’t expect to wake up like this. It was Saturday and my room was the kind of dark it can only get when you sleep on an air mattress with a leak in it, the sun coming in through the blinds. I was not hungover. I wish I had been. It would have meant I enjoyed myself for a minute.
Instead the night before I was paralyzed in a diner seat eating some sort of chocolate cake watching a guy at least two of us knew was a sexual predator do the riot act of admitting to sins gleefully and then asking for penance. He’d make some sort of explicit joke, then backpedal. I was familiar with him, but the sexual predation component of his personality was a newer one to me. In April I learned that he sent a series of sexts to somebody who wasn’t wanting them. When they told him to stop he replied with pictures of self harm he claimed they made him commit.
Months then he was talking about being hypersexual.
That night he would reveal some sort of paraphilia of his then backtrack and do a performative grief. I felt captive. My throat was locked.
It was like when in school the two girls kept asking me how many times a day I masturbated. I didn’t want this. So I escaped as I best could and went outside for fresh air. It was summer but felt chilly and I looked up Cary and the world felt like the idea of the vantage point never existed: that it just went for longer than your eyes could take.
It was as infinite as the day I sat scared to go upstairs to see why the old lady who lived next to my dad and had a crush on me she was open about expressing was moaning loudly and I sat on her sterile white couches feeling: if you move there is trouble. If you leave, there is trouble. If you check, there is trouble. If you stay, there is less trouble. So stay as time breaks.
We left the diner. I ended up having to entertain the source of my discomfort all night. He invited himself in and I developed an interest in cleaning my apartment.
By the time we got to the theater to meet our friend who was going away I had a horrendous migraine. The source of my discomfort stood far behind me and I told him to get around. Before Army of Darkness started I sat away from everyone else.
Not too long before this night I realized that the way I felt everyday in my life, always on guard, always expecting a tragedy, events I lived flickering in my head like a projectionist spliced in stills as a subliminal prank, as PTSD.
I got up twice during the movie because of my panic attacks and vomited.
After the show I watched him and the friend who was leaving commiserate amongst one of their friends and take pictures. I walked my friend who was leaving a little ways.
He was mad I was standoffish and seemed passive aggressive. I apologized.
I still drove the source of my discomfort home. He left a toolbox in my back seat, and it taunted me every time I got in my car.
The next day I checked my twitter messages. The Friend Who Left said he wouldn’t make a big deal about it and continued browbeating me over my behavior the night before.
This is the ballad of Billy Bush, Devin Faraci, The Source of My Discomfort, and me.
I have been Billy Bush for two years and I don’t want to be anymore. So this is why I am writing this condemning Billy Bush, Devin Faraci, the Source of My Discomfort, and Me: so I can be somebody new. If I’m lucky, maybe even myself. But I don’t expect an end to the Bushes, Faracis, and Sources of Discomfort. They’ll get new jobs and start new websites and always be there to deliver a bon mot they mean deep down. Like Patrick Bateman, they’re in Murders and Executions but everybody hears Mergers and Acquisitions.
The ballad never fades out and it never will, it just casts new players in the roles.
That’s why I don’t believe in justice or peace, only a truth that fails in its attempts to supply either.
This is why I testify.
Twitter user @pattymo created a hoax saying Billy Bush donated his entire severance package to women’s charities.
A number of people praised him. Had it happened it would have been a small price to pay.
In this debacle we have to forgive the guy we could say was “caught in the middle” because we want to forgive one person above all else, at whatever cost, even the barren recompense of truth.
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