Tuesday, January 29, 2019

In The Blessed Age Of #MeToo-The Case Of Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Allan Jackson Former Head Of The American Left History Blog   

By Laura Perkins

Nobody was happier than I was when all the brave, mostly younger women, younger than I am in any case, started the deluge of “outings” of rich, powerful and sexually manipulative men at first Hollywood makers and shakers and then a whole row of dominos in every major cultural, media, and political institution. A tsunami which even drew a coveted “person” of the year nod from Time magazine for the symbolic #MeToo although as my long-time companion and now, once again fellow writer here, Sam Lowell, such notice usually is the “kiss of death” for the cover bearers. That is the good, and will always remain the good part of what developed over the past several months. Behind that breath of fresh air enlightenment though is a situation, a problem if you will, about the line between those righteous “outings” and a witch hunt, which hunt atmosphere anyway. And as with original which hunts from the Inquisition to the Salem witch trials to the 1950s Cold War travails overkill and damages to reputations and livelihoods when the net goes astray.  

That “astray” is the reason that I, as both a woman and as a person who has known the “accused” for a very long time, have been assigned by our new site manager Greg Green to speak about something that has surfaced recently concerning the ouster, “purge” as Sam and the younger writers he was associated with in the process called it plain and simple, of the previous site manager Allan Jackson. As both a woman and as a long-time acquaintance of Allan’s, I wouldn’t say friend since we have seldom touched base over the past decade or more, I felt compelled to take up his cause around the allegations of sexual improprieties. Allan, an old high school growing up neighborhood friend of Sam’s, having been ousted recently during this whole international expose of sexual harassment and sexual crimes has been falsely accused by innuendo of such conduct as part of the reason for his removal.

I had to laugh, a sardonic laugh unfortunately, as did Sam, when we heard this rumor going around the “water cooler” as I like to call such gossip. As to be expected it is hard to trace the origins of such speculations but as far as I, we, could tell it was the girlfriend of one of the younger writers who caught up in the turmoil of the sexual harassment exposes almost naturally, although without proof, assumed anybody, any male who was on the chopping block these days was being removed for that reason. Sam, who has known Allan the longest and has been part of their collective publishing experiences is right now putting together a history of those efforts concluding with the power struggle that actually was the reason, or were the reasons for his removal. I won’t go through that here except the certain snippets which will shed light on how ludicrous those sexual allegations really are.

The hard, hard fact is that despite three wives, a parcel of nice kids, and many girlfriends at least according to Sam, Allan is afraid of /doesn’t understand women. Hasn’t, and Sam at times can be entered into the same category, for a lot of reasons going back to growing up times in their working poor neighborhood in the Acre section of North Adamsville where they grew up and “learned” about girls, women along with several other older writers here. By the way, and it may help explain a few things about those growing up influences that “three wives” thing is hardly a solo Allan phenomenon since all the older writers, except beautiful true blue Jack Callahan, also an Acre boy, with his eternal Chrissie, his eternal highs school sweetheart who have been hitched at the hip since high school, have had at least two wives and various sums of kids, who have taken as Cole Porter, the old-time popular lyricist wrote in another context, “all the gold of more than one man.”

Including my companion Sam coming at in three and a parcel as well which is one reason that we have never married. In the interest of transparency I have had two myself so it was by mutual self-interest and saving lawyer’s fees that we have lived together without the albatross of marriage around our necks.                   

Whoever spread that “water cooler” rumor which, and this has driven Sam to distraction and has made him more isolated from the group, the younger writers to this date have not done anything to dispel that falsehood. Despite their knowing better during the internal struggle. Have in their youthful ignorance not learned the difference between a truthful straight down in the mud political “purge” which is what Sam, and Allan, knew occurred having nothing to with personal problems, idiocrasies, or nasty sexual attitudes. They, veterans of the hard scrabble Acre streets and later of the hard-core radical political waves of the late 1960s when things got kind of tight, knew what the younger writers were clueless about except they had defeated the old guard and unceremoniously ousted the leader.

Moreover these young writers and whoever it was they hung around with who first threw the mud didn’t know a simple fact. The older Acre writers, and in this I include Josh Breslin who grew up in the same set of circumstances up in Olde Saco, Maine looked at girls, women from a very different perspective than all the corrupt bastards from Hollywood, the media and Capitol Hill. Allan and Sam’s crowd of unconscious streetwise budding intellectuals with no dough and plenty of Roman Catholic religion carrying them down. And plenty of larceny in their hearts led, as Allan and Sam will endlessly tell one and all, especially after a few drinks, by the late crazy guy Peter Paul Markin.         

According to Sam there was something like a code of honor that the Acre corner boys, that is what a few generations of such Acre boys called themselves, that if you were rebuffed by a girl, if a girl was “going steady” or if a girl showed no interest you moved on. (That “going steady” ban honored according to Sam more in the breech than the observance but the play was still the same-if rebuffed even there then move on.) None of this high pressure “do it or else” stuff which reflected the also hard fact that these guys had nada, nothing in the way of power to make or break any young woman. More importantly and Sam has tried to explain this to me but since I grew up a Methodist where we did not venerate Mother Mary as in the Catholic Church they were so ignorant of using power tactics to take sexual advantage it was laughable. At least in their crowd. That funny little clot of guys who hung out at some woe begotten pizza parlor and later the bowling allies when they didn’t have dough for dates half the time as Sam would say. A very different ethos even if from the same gender and in not a few instances out of the same age group.

All of that youthful Acre cultural gradient would not absolve anybody, Allan or otherwise, from later corrupting sexual charges except this other decisive hard fact which I have saved until the end for his defense although it did affect me indirectly. With the exception of his first wife, Josie Davis, in the early days, of Leslie Dumont when she was Josh Breslin’s companion and wrote here before moving on to a big byline in Women Today , and of myself when I first started to date Sam Allan never had any women writers, women anything to “harass,” sexually or otherwise working here. And he did not do such things to any of us which we all will gladly swear to. He was just not that kind of guy. Like I said he “loved” women but he really was afraid of them. I know Josie said that she had to “pursue” him or she would never have met him back in the Oakland days. There were a few female stringers back then for a while but for a long time now maybe fifteen years this has been until the recent changeover when Leslie and I came back on board under Greg Green’s leadership this has been a “good old boys” club. Allan wherever he is now took his beating for letting that happen but that is all.  The other stuff is just venom, pure venom.   

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