Should Fred Savage, Bill Murray, and Frank Langella Be Cancelled for "Inappropriate Behavior"?
Three celebrities are accused of on-set actions that have closed down movies and a TV show.
Bill Murray and Frank Langella are old guys. So am I. Which is why I can understand how they suddenly found themselves confused and dazed by accusations of inappropriate behavior. They’ve each been in show business for over 50 years, rose to stardom, and have been living in the rarified atmosphere of Celebritywood, where questionable actions are often overlooked, indulged, or explained away with a shrug and a wink.
I don’t know Murray or Langella, but I am a great admirer of their work. They are true artists. Other than that, I don’t know squat about them. But I do know the struggle sometimes to adjust to new social standards, new cultural consciousness. I was a teenager during the beginnings of the Women’s Liberation Movement but it made me aware of the similarities with the Civil Rights Movement. As a result, I was a supporter of women who were over the age of eighteen not wanting men to call them “girls.” The widespread use of the word diminished and disrespected them, reduced them to childlike status to be ruled by the adult men. At the time, men over 60 had trouble with this new social awareness because to them at their age, women in their thirties and forties seemed like girls. I remember scoffing at the lameness of their excuse. After all, old White men had claimed the same exemption about referring to Black men as boys or even Blacks as coloreds. Better learn to change with the times, old man, I thought.
Now I’m 75 and sometimes I catch myself about to refer to women in their thirties as girls. “Bye, girls,” I might say. Or, “How are you girls doing?” I catch myself because it’s not about me or how hard it is to remember or even my good-natured intentions. It’s not even about whether or not they would be offended. It’s about the general perception and my responsibility to be aware that neither my age nor my celebrity excuses perpetuating diminishing women—or anyone—through the use of tainted language. I may slip up on occasion, but just because people might excuse me because of my age or my outspokenness about equality, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be vigilant about not repeating my mistakes.