I do not know for sure if Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh is guilty of the attempted sexual assault for which he is accused.
Here is what I DO know:
I can stand in the middle of a restaurant, close my eyes, and, just from the sounds I hear, tell you if the restaurant is running well. It is called, “The Buzz.”
It was taught to me many years ago by one of my many mentors. He showed me what to listen for and explained what the things that I was hearing meant.
The clang of dishes in bus bins. The volume of the voices calling food in the window. Music volume. The cadence of the servers taking orders. Audible minor swear words. The tone of guests voices as they talked. Long sentences or short? Footsteps. Politeness…These all play a role, and while I can’t tell you exactly what went wrong, or why, I can tell immediately that something is off by what I hear. I can also hear sounds of a well-run joint that put a smile on my face and lower my level of anxiety in an instant.
I was able to perfect that skill after many years of experience in the restaurant industry. It did not come to me overnight and those without the skill I dine with are oftentimes skeptical of my ability and don’t notice what I do. They are surprised when the manager comes over and comps a dessert…
I can just tell. That I know.
I can also look at a telephone pole and list all the steps needed to “clean up” a messy strand. I can list the materials you need and devise a plan with a detailed cost analysis to rehab a phone terminal. It is ok if you don’t understand these things…I do. I spent years honing that skill too.
If you give me a half hour with your small business P&L, I can tell you where you need to focus to make your business more efficient and make more money. I’ve spent a lot of time looking over P&L’s in the last 30 years.
I can watch a comedian on stage and, much like diagraming a sentence, pull apart the act and explain the structure of the jokes. I can see a call-back coming, (and more importantly, notice when one is missing.) I am an amateur comic.
I also knew, mostly, when my kids lied to me. They had a “tell.”
These things I know are specific to me and my experience because I have had first-hand experience with them over a long period of time. You probably have your own set of things you know.
I do not know whether Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh is guilty of the attempted sexual assault for which he is accused. I do not know whether he ever got “black-out drunk” at parties in High School.
I do not know.
But I have seen people triggered in the last few days. I have seen people stating they have seen his behavior before. I have seen people pull apart his anger and his demeanor and his aggressive denials and say, “Yep, that is how my abuser acted towards me.” “That is what my ex-boyfriend did.” “My former friend cried too.” “”He blamed it on me.” “…the one sobbing and screaming until I understood it was my fault for making him angry enough to attack me,” @EllenBarkin said.
People all across the country recognize THAT behavior, his behavior, as something very familiar to them. And that is all they need to know, absolutely know, that he is guilty. The tears. The twisted, angry face. The blanket, absolute black and white denial. The pleasant interview with his wife at his side on Fox. The tone of his voice. The outrage. The rebutted attack. The gas lighting.
For many people across the country, watching him is their version of “The Buzz.” This is what they know. It is their skill.
The behaviors he display all play a role, and while they can’t tell you exactly what happened in that bedroom 35 years ago, they can tell immediately that something is off by what they hear and see. They know he is guilty.
They have perfected their skill by being a victim of sexual assault, or abuse, or rape. It did not come to them overnight but from years of replaying that horrifying event over and over in their heads. It came from questioning themselves falsely believing that it was somehow their fault. It came from the pain and humiliation of being victim shamed, or told they wouldn’t be believed. It came from the police telling them there was nothing that could be done.
Those without that skill, who haven’t been the victim of an assault or worse, are oftentimes skeptical of their ability and don’t notice what they do.
The 201% increase in calls to the National Sexual Assault Hotline is telling.
People who “know” are listening to “The Buzz.” They are analyzing the P&L. They are pulling apart his testimony. They are putting together a cost analysis.
When they look at Brett Kavanaugh they don’t hear or see a “well-run joint” that puts a smile on their face and lowers their level of anxiety in an instant. They know there is a problem. And they are afraid.
I am very rarely wrong about my assessment of a restaurant.
I think these people are rarely wrong too. I will defer to their judgment.
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