Years ago, there was a movie called The Players Club written and directed by Ice Cube. It followed a woman’s account of her time as a stripper, and while it wasn’t a memorable film on the whole, there was one scene that stuck with me. If you’ve seen the movie, you likely know which scene it is.
First, I want to touch on an earlier scene for context.
Reggie – played by Ice Cube – and his buddy Clyde are at the club with a stripper named Ebony, who they think they can have sex with – either for money or for free. She’s too drunk to stand let alone consent to sex, but they take her out of the club and pull her down the street.
Clyde jokes about “running a train” on her and Reggie tries to quiet him as he doesn’t want to draw attention.
They reach the car and throw Ebony in. Thankfully, Ebony’s cousin, Diamond, shows up and tells Ebony to get out of the car because “Reggie and Clyde will rape her”. Reggie and Clyde protest, remarking that no one is going to get raped, Diamond is stuck-up, etc.
Ebony says it’ll be okay but Diamond won’t relent, so Ebony finally agrees to leave, which upsets Reggie and Clyde. Diamond tells the guys to let Ebony out of the car before she calls the cops. They comply, calling Diamond and Ebony names before driving off.
Ebony mistakingly believed Reggie and Clyde only wanted her to dance for them. Diamond, familiar with their circle – even having been sexually assaulted by their acquaintance, a fellow stripper named Ronnie – knew better.
Here’s that scene if you want a look:
The main scene in question takes place later at a bachelor party being thrown by Ronnie for her brother Junior. Not wanting her friends to strip for the questionable assortment of men, Ronnie tricks Ebony into going, giving her the impression that there will be other strippers too.
When Ebony realizes she’s the only one, she gets worried and calls Diamond to pick her up. Diamond, however, takes her sweet time since they aren’t on great terms by that point.
Meanwhile, Reggie, who is at the party, is still upset that Diamond got in the way of he and Clyde’s “fun” and that Ebony went along with rejecting them, maybe even insulting them at some point we didn’t see, so he decides to get back at them.
While Ebony is alone in the bedroom reluctantly getting ready to strip, Reggie tells Clyde to take Ronnie outside. He then tells Junior to have sex with Ebony, lying about how she’s easy and willing, that he and Clyde ran a train on her, and giving Junior a condom to use.
Convinced, Junior enters the bedroom to find Ebony half naked and scared, clutching her chest. She tells him she’ll be ready to strip outside in a minute, but he remarks that the real party is in there.
Realizing his intentions, Ebony makes it clear that she’s not there to have sex, she’s only there to dance, to which Junior locks the door and replies, “Then let’s dance.”
What follows is a shot of Reggie and the other “men” standing outside the door listening as Junior brutally beats and rapes Ebony. Sickened by what they hear – though not enough to intervene, apparently – the men slowly start to exit.
Unaffected, Reggie eyes the men funneling out of the room as if he doesn’t understand why they’re put off. Ronnie and Clyde return just as they’re exiting and Ronnie asks where Ebony is.
Reggie says, “Ask Junior”, following it with a quote that perfectly punctuates the brutality of the scene. “Oh yeah. Tell Ebony we understand. No do mean no.”
You can watch this scene as well and keep in mind that while it doesn’t show the sexual assault, hearing it may still be upsetting:
By the way, for anyone wondering why I bothered to describe the scenes if I was going to post links to them, it’s because users sometimes take videos down and not everyone will watch them anyway.
Now on to the meat and potatoes of this post.
Why did this scene bother me so much?
The first is obviously the violent rape, but the second and most important is the fact that Reggie sent Junior in there knowing what would happen all because he was pissed he didn’t get a little ass and his ego was hurt.
Of course, he didn’t know exactly how things would end up. He wasn’t clairvoyant. But he did know Junior was unstable with a history of violence, so it was likely that sicking him on an unwilling female participant in that context would have predictably violent consequences.
You would assume that’s a no-brainer, but there are people out there who somehow think Reggie wasn’t setting Ebony up to get attacked and that he was as unnerved by it as the other men in the room despite being the last to leave and his heartless callback to being cock blocked by referencing that no does mean no.
Regardless, this post isn’t about The Players Club.
It’s about the Trump administration.
I know, I know. You’re like, “Whuuuuut?”
But this is what I do. I tell stories. I draw parallels. And I do that because more often than not, people have difficulty accepting certain information or understanding a certain perspective due to bias specific to that subject.
Changing the subject removes that bias from the equation, allowing people to think more freely and critically – and when you ultimately bring it back to the real matter at hand, they will have hopefully retained a bit of what they learned from the parallel you drew.
So what’s on my mind?
Well – when questionable policies proposed by the Trump administration are announced or when members of the administration say sketchy things that relate back to the direction they’d like the country to go in, it’s become common for people who aren’t keen on Trump to claim that this administration is trying to dismantle America from the inside out.
It’s a pretty bold accusation – that the folks in power are willfully trying to destroy our country. But when you consider the kind of shit that’s happened throughout human history, it isn’t exactly implausible. Moreover, I can see how some concerned Americans would get that impression.
Look at people like Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson, and Scott Pruitt – the Secretary of Education, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency respectively.
Not one of them appears to be qualified to hold their position. It could even be argued that they’re the exact opposite of qualified – like appointing a pedophile as the Director of Children’s Safety or making someone who believes there’s nothing in your closet the President of whatever’s in your closet.
And it’s so obvious how mismatched they are – not only in respect to their (lack of) relevant qualifications but also when comparing the intended functions of their departments to their personal opinions and political history – that you can’t help but think their misaligned appointments were intentional.
Because no one in their right mind would think they’re great candidates unless the whole point is for them to be bad ones. Just like no one in their right mind would send a violent sex offender into a bedroom to sleep with a girl who doesn’t consent unless the whole point is for her to get raped.
In case that parallel went over your head, one could say that America is Ebony, naked and bare, fearful of its future, desperately clutching its dignity, only to have Trump usher a shitload of Juniors into the room. The only question is why?
We know why Reggie did it.
Why did Trump?
I ask because let’s assume for a moment that those who believe this administration wants to tear our country down are right. That the government is trying to get America to cannibalize itself socially while methodically dismantling the foundations of a thriving nation – healthcare, education, infrastructure, economy, civil rights, environmental safety, et cetera – under the guise of improving those things.
What’s the endgame?
Growing up, I’d look at the villains in movies and comic books whose goal was to destroy the world and I’d think, who the hell wants to rule over a decimated wasteland full of suffering citizens? I’d rather rule over a world that’s powerful and prosperous because I’d be powerful and prosperous by extension. I’d reap all the benefits it sowed.
Then I realized it’s a matter of necessity. Few if any villains enjoy the idea of presiding over a crumbling society. They just recognize that a crumbling society is easier to rule.
People busy fighting for food, fighting for medicine, fighting for shelter, fighting for work, fighting for rights, fighting each other, won’t be fighting their oppressors any time soon. Even if they wanted to, they wouldn’t have the means to do it. Not the resources, not the knowledge, not the strength.
And it’s not like those villains are forced to endure the misery themselves. They don’t live in that wasteland. They don’t even have to look at it if they don’t want to. They always have some fancy fortress or mansion on a hill or walled-in city or some other place cut off from the despair around them.
They have their education, infrastructure, wealth, food, health, freedom, and health. Taking those things from everyone else is a small price to pay for control because it isn’t a price they’re paying anyway. It’s the victims footing the bill.
When’s the last time you came across a villain who was fine sacrificing themselves and all of their creature comforts to see their evil done? Someone willing to suffer for their power in the way that some suffer for their art? It’s a red flag, you know. Policies that don’t negatively affect the ones making them…
Maybe the endgame is unchecked authority.
Maybe the endgame is unfettered wealth.
Maybe the endgame is unending war.
Regardless, I understand there are Americans who think the Trump administration is doing a bang up job and I’m not here to argue with them. This isn’t about them.
It’s about the worry many Americans have that the decisions being made aren’t being made in ignorance. That those in power know exactly what will happen to those who aren’t because they’ve designed it that way.
That the increasing struggles of the middle class and the ever present crushing of the lower aren’t unintended side effects. That the in-fighting and the fear mongering and the division and distractions are strategic.
That making people responsible for government agencies they can only, by nature, ruin, is simply another way to destabilize the power of those agencies while simultaneously abusing it.
And that they’ll continue down this path of cutting off America’s nose to spite its face despite protest from millions of Americans who don’t want to be screwed by the upper crust because our leaders understand no means no. They just don’t care.