No Good Dead Goes Unpunished
MeToo, Micro-Aggression and the End of Western Civilization

by Dr David Editor / Publisher

I first noticed it 25 years ago when my daughter was playing in a soccer league for six-year-olds. Trophies were awarded to all the teams, not just to those teams who won the most games. Fast forward to last week when I heard of a high school valedectorian (except we don't count who places top in high school, because it makes other students feel bad), who when told that he had confused information about the Korean and Vietnam Wars, replied, "It doesn't matter. My opinion still matters."

At my girlfriend's kind-hearted suggestion, X. came to me looking for publicity. A single mother, young, attractive, almost pretty, she was living with her parents again after being ejected from her boyfriend's for not doing anything with her life. (I should have known better.) The boyfriend was perfectly willing to go on having sex with her, until he found someone more compatible. I didn't understand then the reason he didn't want an ongoing relationship with her. Now I do.

As X. didn't have any money to pay for advertising, I suggested that she write articles for my magazine and get publicity with her author's bio below the articles. As they say, "You can't buy advertising like it."

The service that X. wanted to offer was yoga classes in your home. Now, I do yoga in my home daily, but I know that people enjoy going to yoga class, the group interaction, the getting there. Well, ok, X.'s plan was a bit hazy. It was obvious that she lacked direction generally, in her home yoga business, in her personal life and who knows where else. But I am prejudiced towards helping women in need.

In my own defense, let me explain that, after continuously publishing this magazine for over two years, I am still frequently desperate for articles. I knew X., even in her native Spanish, couldn't write articles up to my standards. However, she was willing to learn and I figured that I could rewrite her raw text as needed. As I tend to stay at home, I needed someone more out in the community.

It was entirely clear that I would not be paying her. She would be writing for the publicity and for the perks, mostly free attendances, it would bring her. Later, when she proved valuable, I could pay her. However, some short while later, at her pleading we agreed that I would pay her $1000 pesos when she delivered, the following Thursday, and any week thereafter, three articles that I could edit, rewrite and publish. If I didn't publish her work, then I wouldn't have to pay. What could go wrong?

The notes I received from X., that Thursday, one day before publishing, were unworked and unthoughtful. They were subjective sentiment, X.'s feelings, not a presentation of the subject of the article, more of that "My opinion still matters" referenced above. I could not build them into article. The photos (also part of our deal) were awkward and few. I wrote X. asking for more, giving her specific suggestions. I got back more of the same; "Everybody likes Arturo." I didn't publish anything that she wrote.

Imagine my surprise, then, when, after the weekend, X. showed up expecting to be paid her $1000 pesos. She was unimpressed when I protested that neither had she delivered three articles, nor had I published three articles based on what she had delivered. She got angry, called me unethical and left. I was glad to be rid of her... or so I thought.

A week later I got a call from a prominent woman in the community, who warned me that X. was planning a lawsuit against me and looking for people to testify on her behalf. The caller based on past traumatic interactions with X., not dissimilar from my own, was afraid of her. She begged me not to mention her name. A week later I got a notice from La Defensa del Trabajo (the Department of Labor) in Celaya informing me that X. was demanding $10,600 pesos from me for the "month" that she had been my "employee".

Some short while later, while we were all in our bathing suits at Escondido Place, I briefly mentioned the problems I was having with X to two friends. Both of their faces dropped. They knew her, warning me, based on their own and other's experience, "She is crazy."

I got another notice from La Defensa del Trabajo to attend a "concilatorio", an informal meeting to try to settle the matter. I called La Defensa del Trabajo and spoke with the lawyer, who sent me the notices, who is representing X. Her English was very good. When I asked she told me that I could not represent myself in front of the judge, that I needed a lawyer; "It is very formalista. It's not justwhat you say, it's how you say it." "You mean," I continued, "anyone can claim that they worked for me, make a complaint with the Defensa del Trabajo and I have to hire a lawyer to defend myself?" "Yes," she answered. "Then I am going to say that I worked for you and make a complaint against you," I threatened. She laughed. Then, a moment later she sighed and with a far away, commiserating tone in her voice said, "Ohhhh, I remember that woman."

Twice I asked, "If I lose the case and I don't pay, then you will put me in jail?" Twice she replied, "Oh, no." Twice I followed up, "Then, I am not going to pay." "In my country," I went on, "it is one thing to win a lawsuit, but it is another thing to collect." The lawyer, was very compassionate, trying to help. She told me that X. claims to have delivered the articles. When I said, "She wants to get paid $10,000 pesos for half-writing three articles, for maybe 10 hours of work?!", I heard laughter on the other end of the line. Switching into Spanish, just to confirm, I asked her if she was laughing. She admitted she was. She asked me for the fourth or fifth time to come to the settlement meeting. I agreed, thanking her, still in Spanish, for her kindness, "It's nice to talk to a human being, a real person."

Before and after this second notice I had tried to settle the matter with X. I'll spare you the often bizarre details. We even agreed, on the phone, that I would pay her $2000 pesos to be done with it all. But she balked when I told her that she would need to sign a release and didn't come to our rendezvous the next day.

She is like one of those students who are convinced their opinions matter despite any and all facts to the contrary. (For example, "There are no differences between males and females.") Parents and colleges are producing legions of them, giving each and every one of them trophies. These are "vulnerable students," who "must be protected from feeling uncomfortable in classrooms, or from being offended by gestures and words..." (56% of Harvard's class of 2018 have received mental-health services.) (Why Students Feel So Vulnerable So common is the phenomenon that these types of students have a name, "Snowflakes." To protect them, in a great threat to free speech, speakers deemed not politically correct are regularly shouted down on campuses across the US. So common is this phenomenon of refusing to listen, and preventing anyone else from listening, to facts and opinions contrary to yours, that it has acquired its own name, "deplatforming."

Two days ago I went to the conciliation meeting at the Defensa del Trabajo. X. looked terrible, really sad, teary, puffy, as if she'd been suffering. It was obvious that she had been crying, not just recently, but for days or weeks. Our referee, explained to her that, it didn't matter what she thought that she and I had agreed to ($8000 pesos of salary/month, because at an initial meeting I had casually asked her how much she needed to make and that was her reply), she had no contract. He also explained that the process of going before the judge could take years. I put $2000 pesos on the table, showing her the money, telling her it was better to have this money now than maybe nothing later. For added emphasis, I asked our referee, "If the judge rules against me and I do not pay, then you will put me in jail?" He exclaimed in reply, "No hay carcel en la Defensa del Trabajo. (There is no jail for the Department of Labor.)" [They can, however, come after your bank account.] X asked for $3000. We settled at $2500.

Dad taught me that it's better to settle. He also said, "If you have a problem, and money can fix it, then it's not a problem." He also warned me, "What are you going to do if she says you raped her?" Believing the victim (#MeToo) is fine and good, but proof is still required. The presumption of innocence, like free speech is fundamental to our society. Your feeling that a micro-agression has been, or will be, committed against you does not trump someone's right to free speech. Your feeling that Judge Kavanaugh is a bad man doesn't deny him the presumption of innocence.

Whatever bad feelings I harbored towards X. evaporated after seeing her looking so miserable two days ago. If this is her life at 30, what will be when youth fades? I only tried to help, but those who do not like themselves also do not like to be helped; if you hate yourself, then you must also despise anyone who likes you. Philosophical as I am, I believe that the $2000 pesos I offerred wasn't enough; I needed to pay $2500 to fully discharge my karmic debt to her, to severe some past life bond that was between us. I got off easy. It could have been much worse. I feel so much lighter now with it all behind me. Still, if someone wants to teach you yoga in your home, give me a call.


photo: Alessandro Bo (cropped)

Dr David started this magazine because he could write and liked to communicate. He fully expected that in a town like San Miguel he could find authors to publish in addition to himself. Well, practically no one is submitting anything. Stubborn as he is, he continues, now publishing himself, and a faithful cadre of authors and photographers. His motto continues to be, "It's hard to be ahead of your time."

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