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Christine Blasey Ford, Donald Trump Jr., And The Echoing Laughter Of Men

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Photo by Andrew H. Walker / Getty Staff

“Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter”

There is a Margaret Atwood quote that makes the social media rounds after yet another news story breaks about men committing violent acts against women; all to say, this quote gets circulated with alarming frequency. Atwood's words are to the point, and unforgettable: "Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them."

The quote's beauty is in its perversity, the mere thought that being the butt of a joke is on par with being the victim of a murder is at once both insane and recognizable, a neat reflection of the horrors of our world. It is a perfect encapsulation of the daily difficulties women face, knowing that we bear a sometimes unbearable burden: We must always be on guard. But there is another aspect of this quote that never gets mentioned. And it is this: Women aren't afraid men are going to laugh at them. Women know men will laugh at them—and that this laughter will be present while men are hurting them.

Today, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee; she was there to talk about the sexual assault allegations she has levied against Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Her testimony is powerful and painful to watch and listen to; she is more often than not speaking with a trembling voice, though there is total conviction as she says she is "100 percent" certain that it was Kavanaugh, along with his friend and schoolmate Mark Judge, who perpetrated the assault some 30 years ago.

But perhaps the most striking part of her testimony came when Ford was asked what the strongest memory of her attack was; she answered: "Indelible into the hippocampus is the laughter—the uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense. I was underneath one of them while the two laughed. Two friends having a really good time together." As they hurt her, these men laughed. Not, Ford clarifies, at her, but with each other. Because she didn't matter to them.

There are few women, few marginalized people, who don't recognize the sound of laughter as something separate from joy, something purely sinister. There is the casual laughter of men as they shout out at you from their car windows while you walk down the street. The cajoling laughter of a man trying to pressure you into doing something you've said you don't want to do; as if his laughter is evidence that you are actually having a good time, even if all you want to do is run. There is the victorious laughter of men who get away with what they're doing; power makes them giddy, and so they laugh. These are the men who think it's funny that you care about what's happening, who think it's funny that you hurt. This is the laughter of Donald Trump Jr. as he chuckles to himself when he smashes send on a tweet mocking Ford as she testifies, laughing at her PTSD.

And there is the conspiratorial laughter of men as they talk to one another about the women they've hurt. This laughter was present between Kavanaugh and Judge. But also, this kind of laughter can be heard in the infamous Access Hollywood tape in which future-President Donald Trump bragged to Billy Bush about "grabbing 'em by the pussy."

For these men, it is not enough to hurt women. And it is not enough that these women aren't laughing at them. For these men, the need to assert their total dominance over the women they hurt comes through in the way where it is clear that inflicting pain isn't just something they do, it's something they enjoy, it's something that makes them feel good. And so they laugh. And women remember.

Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images

Which one, though?

Kim Kardashian is suing fast fashion retailer Missguided, claiming that the brand uses her image to spark interest in and sell its clothing. This lawsuit comes a few days after a theory, that she may be selling her own vintage clothing designs to fast fashion brands so that they can rip them off, made its rounds on the internet.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Kardashian's attorney Michael Kump writes that "Missguided systematically uses the names and images of Kardashian and other celebrities to advertise and spark interest in its website and clothing." Other celebrities that the brand has tagged on its Instagram include Cardi B and Dua Lipa, along with the other members of the Kardashian-Jenner family.

Kump uses the example of the Yeezy dress that Kim posted to Instagram, which was ripped off by the brand within a couple of hours. "Recently, for example, after Kardashian posted a photo on Instagram of a dress that was made for her... Missguided quickly responded with its own Instagram post... boasting that it would be ripping off the design within 'a few days,'" Kump continues. "Missguided purposefully inserted Kardashian's Instagram username (@KimKardashian) into its post to capitalize on her celebrity status and social media following in promoting the sale of its upcoming product."

Kump also draws attention to the fact that the brand uses Kardashian's name so much that it may lead others to believe that she works with the brand, which, he wants to make clear, she does not: "Missguided's U.S. website has included entire pages that are devoted solely to the sale of clothing inspired by Kardashian, and on which Kardashian's name and likeness are prominently used without her permission to promote the products."

Some are noting that it's suspicious that Kardashian is not suing Fashion Nova, as well, since the brand most recently ripped off a vintage Mugler gown that Kardashian wore. Though it may be harder for Kardashian to make any claims since timestamps have revealed that the dress was made before Kardashian premiered the dress.

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FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB

Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images.

He previously claimed to be a victim of a hate crime

According to reports, actor Jussie Smollett has been arrested by the Chicago Police Department. As CNN outlines, he's facing a felony charge of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false report. If found guilty, he could face up to three years in prison.

The Empire star previously claimed that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime on January 29. He alleged that two masked men attacked him, tied a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him, and yelled, "This is MAGA country!" Brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo were eventually arrested and brought in for questioning, during which news broke that one appeared on Empire and the other worked as Smollett's personal trainer. Now, according to both men and reports, it's being said that Smollett paid them to "orchestrate" the attack.

Smollett's attorneys, Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson, have issued a statement regarding their client's defense. "Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked," they told Deadline. "Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense."

If this is all true, this unfortunate turn of events should in no way take away from the fact that there is an abundant number of racially and sexually motivated attacks happening all of the time. They also still remain vastly underreported, so it's essential to listen to alleged victims, always.

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