Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.
In a metaphor used by Crisis Managers, negative optics kills more public careers than actual wrong doing. But Harvey Weinstein was serial sexual predator, whose power just vanished after how many years! Even his long time business associates recognized the power of those ‘negative optics’ to reek havoc on their Hollywood Boys Club, under threat from the voices of an oppressed class of women.
Betty Friedan’s book ‘The Feminine Mystique’ was published on February 19, 1963, Sexual Politics by Kate Millett was published in 1970, yet the plight of women in the work place, where the asymmetry of power is an ever present threat to personal/bodily integrity of women, remains the last bastion of male privilege. Look to popular culture, where ‘Mad Men’ had its vogue, as a kind of retrograde nostalgia for, not just a lost time and place, but for an unchecked white male heterosexual privilege.