The Sultans of America and Their Harems

Americans have been buried in the last six weeks by a blizzard of reports of sexual harassment, assault, misconduct and malfeasance from our politicians, journalists and Hollywood glitterati. In the last week alone, we’ve seen a picture of Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., during his pre-senatorial days placing his hands over a sleeping woman’s breasts; the suspension of New York Times journalist Glenn Thrush for allegedly harassing young female journalists; and eight women telling the Washington Post that fabled television host Charlie Rose had made unwanted sexual advances ranging from groping to lewd phone calls. That follows on the heels of allegations of child molestation against Alabama Senate Republican nominee Roy Moore, confirmed accusations of unwanted exposure from comedian Louis C.K. and allegations of sexual assault against Russell Simmons. Every day, it seems, a new member of the cultural aristocracy comes tumbling down.

What’s behind all of it? Why did it take so long for this avalanche to start? And what does it tell us about the culture we’ve built?

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