Scene 1: MSNBC studio set for the Rachel Maddow Show, the evening after the Academy Awards (The Harvies), Maddow and Ellen DeGeneres are seated at a table in the lounge area.
Ellen DeGeneres (ED) – Rachel I came as soon as I got your text. I cancelled an interview with President Obama.
Rachel Maddow (RM) – Oh, you shouldn’t have done that.
ED – Nah, I was glad to skip it. I’m so tired of being forced to make believe I want him to do that dance thing he does. Even I know straight women don’t find it sexy. Plus he’s got a new book coming out about community activism and my sponsors have warned me if my ratings get any lower I’m gonna have to find a side job as a rodeo clown.
RM – Breaking another barrier!
ED – Or several ribs. So, what’s up?
RM – Well, after last night’s awards fiasco I tried figuring out how all this could have gone so wrong. I mean we have Donald Trump on tape joking about sexual assault and not only isn’t he tarred, feathered and sent to prison but he waltzes into the White House. Meanwhile all these great progressive Hollywood men like Harvey and Kevin turn out to be rapists and psychopaths. I mean, I don’t get it.
ED – You’re right. It doesn’t make any sense. I’m a pretty close friend of Harvey’s and he never once came onto me or made a pass.
RM – Yeah, me neither. Something doesn’t make sense.
ED – Well, what do you think can be done? Maybe a march. Different hats?
RM – No. No more hats. My look is weird enough without hat hair.
ED – Then what?
RM – I have an idea. It’s pretty crazy but a good journalist needs to think outside of the box sometimes.
Scene 2: Next day, White House West Wing, President Trump at the Oval Office desk and Melania Trump entering the room.
Melania Trump (MT) – Schmoopy, guess who called for you.
President Trump (PT) – Schmoopy, I’m kinda busy right now for guessing games. That Nork Rocketman just called me a pumpkin head so I’m trying to have Mad Dog reposition some satellite lasers to melt down his favorite Rolls Royce into a slag heap.
MT – Hey, you can play around with your silly toys later, I just had to spend five minutes talking to Rachel Maddow that I can never get back.
PT – I’m very sorry. That is something that should never happen to a woman. I’ll have the satellites melt her down instead.
MT – No Schmoopy, the melting would be bad for the publicity. You must keep the dignity.
PT – Fine. What did that loser want?
MT – She wants the interview.
PT – Her, interview me?
MT – Yes, Schmoopy, she said any conditions you have will be agreed to.
PT – It must be a trick.
MT – No not the trick. She even cried a little. It was very sad.
PT – Alright Schmoopy, I’ll make some time for her this afternoon.
MT – Thank you Schmoopy, this makes you greater than the Reagan again.
PT – Exactly.
Scene 3: Afternoon the same day, Oval Office, President Trump at his desk, Rachel Maddow seated facing.
RM – Thank you Mr. President, for your time.
PT – Right. What do you want?
RM – As you know I am one of your harshest critics. I find the fact of your presidency as one of the surest signs that America is a terrible and unjust place. I find everything about you reprehensible.
PT – Check. What do you want?
RM – I want you to tell me how you do it.
PT – Do what?
RM – Act like a sexist pig and get away with it when better men, progressive men are hounded out of public life for much, much less.
PT – You’re confused. You’re combining different things into one category and wondering why the outcomes are different.
RM – Can you be more specific?
PT – Yes. You’re a deluded imbecile who is confused about every aspect of human behavior.
RM – Can you do it without insulting me?
PT – It won’t be as much fun, but I’ll try.
RM – Thanks.
PT – I’ll give you some examples of things that you’re confusing together. If some old guy in a university who has spent his whole life advancing science, let’s say some Nobel Laureate in Biology, someone who has cracked the genetic code and basically invented modern biology, a man who has often made a point of advancing women in science and even hired them in his lab, if he makes a joke about young women being a distraction in his work place, what happens? You hound him out of his job, force every University to retract his awards, force an apology and then unperson him like some victim in Stalinist Russia. What is his crime?
RM – Sexual harassment and misogyny.
PT – Wrong on both. He has committed no crime. Telling you the truth about how he reacts to having the Spice Girls invade his professional space is not sexual harassment. It’s just being a man of his generation. And as for misogyny, that’s not a crime. It’s just a description of your perception of his relationship to women based on one statement. And I’m guessing that his wife of forty years and his female relatives would probably dispute it too.
RM – But what does this have to do with my question?
PT – Keep listening toots and maybe you’ll get it. Next example, if a microphone records me talking off the record to a Bush family operative about what women will allow me to do when they’re interested in dating a very rich man what is that.
RM – Proof of sexual assault.
PT – Wrong again. Exulting in the social advantages of being a very, very rich man is not a crime. If a woman is sexually attracted to rich men or even pretends to be in order to become associated with a wealthy man that is just one of the dynamics that exist between people in a free society.
RM – But what if she doesn’t want to be mauled by you?
PT – Do you remember anywhere in that tape where I said I force myself on any woman that wasn’t interested in that kind of behavior.
RM – How do we know you don’t?
PT – Because I’m smart enough to know I don’t have to and that it isn’t a good way to stay rich. I’ve been married three times. Basically, every time you try to separate yourself from a woman it’s going to be very expensive.
RM – Well, that’s cold-blooded but probably accurate.
PT – Sexual harassment is very expensive to hush up. Ask your buddy Harvey Weinstein. And speaking of whom, let’s conclude the list of examples with him. And what is it when Harvey Weinstein invites an actress to his hotel room for a job interview, disrobes in front of her, and chases her around the room trying to corner her for some form of sexual contact.
RM – Attempted rape.
PT – Maybe. But if she is an employee or a prospective employee it would certainly be the textbook legal definition of quid pro quo sexual harassment.
RM – Well, we finally agree on something.
PT – And that’s the problem. We agree that the third behavior is sexual harassment. You however think the other two examples are the same thing.
RM – But they are.
PT – And that’s why you can’t figure out why I don’t end up like the other two examples. In the first example you have a man who works for a university filled with people like you. They control the levers of power and unless you have a very good lawyer and lots of money they will destroy you by fiat. In the case of Weinstein, society is in agreement that coercing an employee into sexual contact against her will is sexual harassment. In my case you have two guys discussing how easy it is to score when you’re rich. Now, granted, it’s kind of boorish, but it’s no different from a woman describing how she got out of a speeding ticket by making eyes at a traffic cop. In neither case would you want your words to be recorded but we all use what we have to get ahead in this world. Whether it’s a pretty face or a nine-figure bank account it has its advantages. Is this starting to sink in?
RM – There is some sense to it. But it is horribly unfair.
PT – You mean like life?
RM – Yes.
PT – Welcome to the human race, kid. It’s full of surprises but unfairness is really not a surprise. It’s base case. So, now you see why you don’t understand what’s going on. You think if something’s unfair somebody, and probably a straight white man is responsible and should be held accountable for it. You’re blaming him for something that only God can fix. And since you don’t believe in God you need someone else to blame.
RM – Hmmm. You’ve given me some things to think about. But one thing I don’t understand.
PT – What?
RM – How come you sound so normal and intelligent. You’re very different in your public persona.
PT – We’re not in public.
RM – Oh.
PT – Alright Maddow, are we done?
RM – I guess so.
PT – Then get out. I have an interview coming up with Hannity and I have to figure out how to incorporate the words “huge” and “greatest” into a discussion about orange juice production. Oh, and by the way, if you’re hoping to get the ratings up on that show of yours it wouldn’t kill you to show a little cleavage.
RM – Pig!
PT – That’s the Maddow we love! Now get out.