Filner: "In the end, I had to lose power before I could realize that I had a problem."
[Walter Mencken stands at a podium in the basement conference room of Cheetahs Gentlemen’s Club in Kearny Mesa and addresses his audience, a group of men reclining at table.]
When Gloria Allred showed up alongside Mimi Haleyi, that’s when it hit us. Bob Filner got there first.
Good evening, gentlemen! Well, men, anyway. Males, at least. Welcome to the 2017 meeting of the San Diego Schwanzhabergruppe. For those of you attending for the first time, that’s loosely translated as “sausage-haver’s club,” and what a year it has been for the bepenised portion of the population! Merriam-Webster has just declared that the word of the year is “feminism,” and I suppose we should have seen it coming after that Pussy Hat Parade back in January. It’s probably for the best that club founder Thröbschlong died this past summer; seeing all this feminine foment would have killed him.
Jim Bates: "Thanks, Walter. You worked way too hard for that joke."
Time magazine gave its Person of the Year honors to the Silence Breakers, those brave women — and a few men — who have spoken up and out about the pervasive culture of abuse that exists in this country’s halls of power. The list is staggering, by which I mean that if we took a drink every time another celebrity, media personality, or politician got accused and lost his job, we would be literally staggering. All the time.
Finer in Trumping Trump: “I know about being drunk with power,”
Now, the national media will tell you that this all started when the New York Times and the New Yorker broke the story about Harvey Weinstein’s reign of terror, back in October. But you and I and the rest of the good people of this city, we know better, don’t we? As the story broke about a powerful troll-faced man using his position to indulge his strange sexual predilections, we paused at the faint sensation of déjà vu. When the accused issued a strange half-apology and promised to seek counseling before returning to work a better man, we felt a prickle of recognition in our nether regions. And when Gloria Allred showed up alongside Mimi Haleyi to call Weinstein to account, that’s when it hit us.
San Marcos entrepreneur Mark McMullet's TruLove sex dolls start at $6000.
Bob Filner got there first, way back in 2013. The Weinstein hall-block? A clever twist on the Filner headlock. Weinstein’s claim that “I came of age in the ’60s and ’70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different”? Just a rewrite of Filner’s, “It’s a good thing that behavior that would have been tolerated in the past is being called out in this generation for what it is: inappropriate and wrong.” The all-but-inevitable Allred was just the clincher.
Even the behavior of the women involved fit the pattern. A culture of shocked silence was broken by one or two brave souls. Then, when the denials started flying and the smear machine fired up, a few more came forward. Then a few more. Then the deluge. Since Weinstein, stories of harassment and abuse have rocked the entertainment capital of the world, Hollywood. Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, Dustin Hoffman, etc. They’ve rocked the media capital of the world, New York. Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Mario Batali, Michael Oreskes. And they’ve rocked the political capital of the world, Washington DC. Al Franken, Roy Moore, John Conyers, Trent Franks. The names go on and on, as does the list of weird behaviors: masturbating in front of women, asking them to be surrogate mothers, asking them to watch you shower, et cetera. All those major cities have been made to face a reckoning, and the reckoning is this: San Diego beat them all to the pinch — punch!
Guys, we are gathered tonight to honor the real Man of the Year, the dude who put us in the vanguard. The Mayor of Manhandle. The Pervert Pioneer. The Pope of Grope. The man who made San Diego significant for something besides Sad Shamu. We are gathered tonight to honor former mayor Bob Filner.
[Cheers, wild applause, the clink and clank of great phallic beer steins toasting. Motley Crüe’s “Girls, Girls, Girls” blares over the sound system.]
Oh, they’ll deny it. “Filner was four years ago,” they’ll say. “Just a tremor before the earthquake. The cultural moment for women is now.” Fine, fine. Our man saw you coming a mile away. How else do you explain Rep. Diana DeGette’s decision just last month to accuse Filner of sexual harassment while he was still a U.S. Representative — before he even became mayor? Suddenly, his name is back in the mix, even though the offense is at least six years old and Filner’s been out of office for years. It’s a genius move, even better than his decision to publish Trumping Trump back in April.
But! But, men! And yes, I’m sure many of you are butt men. You know that it’s not just Filner helping to make San Diego first in fondling. It’s all of you here tonight. The men who have stained SD on the QT’s “Who Plays Who” social registry this year with your nasty habits and sordid deeds. You were wanking before Weinstein, leering before Lauer, raping before Ratner. Allegedly! So before we bring Bob up here, and without further ado, let us proceed with the calling of the roll!
[Melody to the children’s song “Jon Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt” begins playing over speakers. Mencken sings along.]
- John Joseph Navy SEAL guy Schmidt
- His wife is Jewels Jade
- Whenever they do porn
- The tadpoles sound the horn
- “Here comes John Joseph Navy SEAL guy Schmidt!”
Sorry, folks, couldn’t resist. His name isn’t John Joseph, of course; it’s Joseph John. Unless he’s naked onscreen and conducting a tactical insertion into a hot zone, in which case it’s Jay Voom. Stand up, Jay, and tell the rest of us what exactly you’re doing here, would you? You’re not accused the way the rest of us are. Sure, some of the stuff in Gym Slave looks like nonconsensual harassment, but we know it’s all in good fun. I mean, making porn films with your wife to help pay the bills? How could anyone object? Coronado real estate is insane!
Jay Voom: Thanks, Walter. I don’t want to say too much, since the Navy’s inquiry into my case is still ongoing. But I will note that porn is a tough business. If you think SEAL school is exhausting, try satisfying six hot MILFS at a sexy book-club meeting the way I did in The Anality of Evil. The only thing harder is trying to come up with dialogue for the scripts Jewels and I wrote for our films on JewelsJade.com. That’s where Mayor McSqueeze comes in. You remember Laura Fink, that escort at the fundraising dinner? Someone tells Filner that Fink has worked her ass off for him, and he turns her around, pats her cheeks, and jokes to everyone at the table, “No, it’s still there!” When we wrote Polydicks as Usual, we just lifted that whole scene as a lead-in to the final gang bang. It’s true what they say: art imitates life.
Mencken: Especially when life imitates porn! And speaking of SEALS and porn, let’s say a quick hello and even quicker goodbye to SEAL Team 1 member Greg Seerden, accused of having child porn on his phone. Greg, that’s illegal and creepy. But at least you’re not accused of touching anybody but yourself. Unlike North Coast Calvary Chapel pastor Matthew Tague. Pastor, alleged youth enthusiast Kevin Spacey salutes your moxie!
Speaking of Spacey, how great is it that his character on House of Cards quoted the zinger, “Everything is about sex. Except sex. Sex is about power.” Maybe that explains something about what all these powerful men are really about when they abuse their underlings. Right, Jeffrey Barton, former headmaster accused of forced oral copulation with multiple boys and convicted of one? Jeez, “headmaster” — you can’t make this stuff up, people.
Of course, those are the most extreme cases. Most of these high-profile harassment claims have to do with bad talk and bad touch: gropes and grabs. Which are, of course, still terrible. Minda and Edgar, stand up and be recognized, will you?
And now, fellas, it’s time to address the sexually aggressive elephant in the room: the man some of you thought should be the real recipient of our title: Mickey Kasparian. Like Filner and Weinstein, he’s a powerful progressive: the former president of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council. Like Filner and Weinstein, he was accused of using his power to pressure women into sexual contact. And, like Filner and Weinstein, his accusers have accumulated gradually over time, so that he keeps showing up in the news. It was just a couple of weeks ago that Melody Godinez accused him of sexual assault, a tidy December amplification of January’s accusations from Isabel Vasquez. Kasparian is au courant, and, like Weinstein, he remains defiant — after his ouster, he wasted no time in forming the San Diego Working Families Council. Filner is, admittedly, done, while Kasparian presses on. And there’s a case to be made that a group like ours should look to the future, to that brave new world where women promise to be, if not exactly equal, then at least people.
But as we looked back over 2017, we couldn’t escape the feeling that this really was the end of an era, and that the most appropriate response was some sort of valediction. Some acknowledgment that these heady days of casting couches, anchorman antics, and political poles — polls! — are passing, and may not come again. We know we haven’t heard the last of Mickey Kasparian. But it seems a good time to bid farewell to Bob Filner. And so, it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you the man who will introduce our Man of the Year: a former U.S. Representative from San Diego’s own District 44, Jim Bates.
Bates, as you will no doubt recall, was the first member of Congress to be formally reproved by the U.S. House Ethics Committee for sexual harassment. Most famously, legislative assistant Dorena Bertussi testified that Bates “put my leg in between his and started to do a bump and grind on it, like a dog.”
After losing a re-election bid to Duke Cunningham, Bates tried for a comeback but lost in the 1992 Democratic primary to a fiery up-and-comer, a former Freedom Rider by the name of, you guessed it: Bob Filner. The best part? Filner had once worked as Bates’s aide. It reminds me of that moment in Star Wars where Darth Vader confronts Ben Kenobi and says, “The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner. Now, I am the master.” Only instead of light sabers…well, never mind. The point is that at one time, Jim here was the master. Master Bates. Heh. And that makes him the perfect person to introduce our Man of the Year. Jim?
Jim Bates: Thanks, Walter. You worked way too hard for that joke. Gentlemen — and we’re going to need to learn to be gentlemen, all of us — I know you came here to celebrate Bob Filner. And I get it. Bob lived the teenage dream of getting to “do stuff” to girls and get away with it — at least for a while. But before I bring him to the stage, I want to share something with you, an article I read just a few months ago in the San Diego Reader. An article that may, I think, point to a way forward in our relations with women, a solution being crafted right here in our own backyard. And that solution is sex dolls that talk.
Bates: Gentlemen, I believe the sex dolls are our future, even as I admit that Bob Filner is our past. Sex dolls don’t go public with their grievances, and they may even teach us to be better men. And now, without further ado… [Bates’ phone rings; he answers.] What? He’s where? Well, who let him into the Champagne Suite in the first place? No, I don’t have any singles; I… never mind. [Hangs up. Sighs.] To Bob Filner, gentlemen. To 2017. And to San Diego.
H-lock vs. P-grab
Bob Filner, the longtime congressional Democrat and short-time mayor of San Diego before a series of sexual harassment allegations led him to resign, has had enough of President Trump’s bullying and bloviating. “I know about being drunk with power,” he writes in his new book, Trumping Trump: Making Democrats Progressive Again. “It’s the reason I became addicted to sexual conquest. And in the end, I had to lose power before I could realize that I had a problem. The same goes for Trump. And the only way to make him lose power is to reach out and grab it from him. Wrestle him down with judicial restraints. Put him in a legislative headlock. Make him give us what we want!”
San Marcos entrepreneur Mark McMullet has made a fortune by paying attention to what people want. Once upon a time, he made hyper-realistic silicone mannequins. But when people started asking for a version they could have sex with, he wasted no time in shifting his business model. His TruLove sex dolls start at $6000 and can be customized all the way up to $50K.
Then, after he saw the way customers interacted with their love dolls — talking to them, caring for them, even setting places for them at table — he started looking into the possibility of conversation. Sort of a sexier Siri, one capable of back-and-forth exchanges and maybe even a joke or two.
What he didn’t count on was just how much change that chatting would bring. “After just a week, a surprising number of test-users requested an ‘Achievement Unlocked’ feature for their robots. They wanted literal locks on her jaw, her labia, and her back door, locks that could be opened only after they had satisfactorily answered a series of user-generated questions. They were suggesting things like, ‘Did you take out the trash?’ ‘Did you ask about that promotion?’ ‘How much did you get done on your novel today?’ — even ‘Have you called your mother?’ And even more testers wanted their robots to complain if they made a move without engaging in ‘sufficient conversation’ first, and then to complain again if they didn’t cuddle enough afterward. I thought I was making these dolls for guys who didn’t want the hassle of dealing with an actual person. But now I’m starting to think they just want practice.