STFU, Jerry Lewis

[Trigger warning for violence and misogyny.]

Showbiz veteran Jerry Lewis, who is already well-known as a Grade-A misogynist, went off on an absolutely absurd rant this week about Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, and Britney Spears (of course), detailing what he would do to set them straight:
"I'd smack her in the mouth if I saw her," he offered the interviewer when asked what he'd do if he saw Lohan. "I would smack her in the mouth and be arrested for abusing a woman!"

He continued, "I would say, 'You deserve this and nothing else' ... WHACK! And then, if she's not satisfied, I'd put her over my knee and spank her and then put her in rehab and that's it."

..."She doesn't have the right to do to herself what she's doing," he said of Lohan, who just did some time in jail and rehab. "She's not hurting my business. What she's doing is hurting herself, and that hurts me. It hurts me for her."

..."What they're saying is, 'I'm f*****d up, can you please help me!"

..."I think they need a f*****g spanking! And a reprimand!" he said. "It has nothing to do with [money and fame], it has to do that they have the intelligence of a box of rocks. A bag of snails will give you better answers than those people. I think a great deal of it is ignorance and crying for something other than love."
And everyone knows the way to respond to a cry for help is with belittlement and physical abuse.

As I've had occasion to observe before, I've got no idea, and neither does Jerry Lewis, what it's like to grow up in the information age as a commoditized young woman, inevitably defining my self-worth by the amount of public attention I'm getting, and how that fucks with one's head.

I've got no idea what it must be like to feel equal parts exhilarated and scared when the paparazzi hounds you and equal parts relieved and lost when they don't, how that must compel people to seek out public attention even when it's the last thing they need, because it's all they feel like they've got.

I've got no idea what it must be like to have drugs pressed into my hand by strangers at clubs I'm allowed to patronize before I'm old enough to drink, and how confusing and infuriating and sad and insecurity-making it must be to not know whether people like you because you're you or because you're famous, how that must make clubs full of mind-altering substances and fawning fans an attractive place to be.

I've got no idea what it must be like trying to navigate one's way to adulthood as a woman—a difficult and confusing journey even when one isn't hyper-sexualized at a formative age, tasked with the responsibility of accounting for a professional image one doesn't even have the life experience to contexualize.

And neither does Jerry Lewis. So he should really shut the fuck up.

He has no idea what these young women are going through, and no interest in exploring why it is that young women are singled out for public excoriation for self-destructive behavior. He's just another sanctimonious toad who finds it easier to unilaterally condemn the women who fail to gracefully rise above a deeply fucked-up industry effectively, if not deliberately, designed to destroy them, than to question, challenge, or work to transform the industry.

And why would he? The source of their destruction made him a very rich man.

[Related Reading: I Write Letters, Bad Girls, Oh, For Crying Out Glavin.]

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