Monday, April 18, 2016

Anita Hill on HBO

Women in the workplace.

A group of old white men assessing the honesty of two younger black professionals.

A black man accusing a black woman of lynching.

The Exorcist and Othello and pubic hair.

Unflattering portraits of every Senator on the Committee, some truly terrifying.

"We feel shock, discomfort, anger, depression, and shame." (Tom Brokaw)

"They don't care.  They only want to win." (Anita Hill)
I remember listening to the hearings on my Sony Walkman, standing on the sidelines at that cold field near Irving Park, while Big Cuter played a team sport of some kind. The sun was shining, the wind was blowing, and I was enthralled.  Anita Hill was so calm, so disciplined, so obviously wanting to be anywhere but there, talking about anything but that.

I could feel the national conversation shifting. Demeaning, inappropriate remarks were being called what they were - sexual harassment.  

Twenty five years later, the issues feel almost quaint.  After all, a serious woman is a serious candidate for the Presidency.  If you didn't live through it, you owe it to yourself to learn the history.  Nina Totenberg's words ring true to me:
But women didn't talk about this for a reason that may seem odd to the millenial generation. We were embarrassed to talk about it.
Anyone who has ever been female and in the workplace should spend two hours with Kerry Washington's Anita Hill on HBO.  The politics behind it are inscrutable, but the human failings are on full display. Joe Biden, John Danforth, Alan Simpson, Teddy Kennedy ... the Senators come out worst of all.

Watch it and see who you believe. Anita Hill says it's as accurate as television could be.


  1. I remember seeing Anita Hill on Capitol Hill testifying. What that woman went through was just awful. I love Kerry Washington and will need to watch this.

    Thanks for recommending it. :)

    Megan xxx

  2. I watched it when it happened because I thought I should. I believed she was telling the truth. As it turned out, too many didn't care and we got what we got on the Supreme Court. I can't watch it again. It's like the OJ stuff recently. I saw it also at the time. Not going through it again.

    1. I get that, Rain, and that's why it took us this long to turn it on. But, with sports winding down, there it was. I began by crafting an intricate political post (to be seen later this week) while TBG watched, but the action sucked me in. The behind the scenes maneuverings, the absolute lack of decency, the lies and mendacity -- it's fiction .. oh, wait, it's not :-(

      I couldn't watch the OJ stuff then or now. When they live streamed the verdict through the middle school's classes, stopping education to watch salacious television, I decided to run for the school board and make some changes.

  3. I haven't watched it either, or the OJ stuff. I believed Anita Hill then and always have. What that says about Clarence Thomas is that he was a liar then and still is, and yet he sits on The Court.

    1. I believed her then and now, too. NO ONE would put herself through that unless it were true. His presence on the court is a blight. It was not as difficult to watch as I'd imagined it would be, and Kerry Washington is amazing. Give it a try, Linda.


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