"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Blame it on ergot poisoning?

Hysteria is less dramatic and more common than we think it is.

I understand a world where allegations of sexual harassment and assault (defined here as "offensive contact," that being the legal standard) are not dismissed out of hand.  I don't understand this:

Franken has issued a second statement responding to Tweeden’s allegations. His follow-up is significantly more remorseful, though it still seems to dispute Tweeden’s memory of the unwanted kiss. Franken also now recognizes that there’s “no excuse” for the groping photo and admits that his hypocrisy makes him “feel ashamed.” He has called for a Senate ethics investigation into his own behavior—which indicates that he has no intention of resigning quickly. Instead, he appears to be attempting to rehabilitate his reputation by expressing penance and desire to grow.

Because, says Mark Joseph Stern, Sen. Al Franken must resign.  Immediately.


And apparently he really shouldn't disagree with the allegations made against him, but just withdraw from public life and live in shame and repentance to the end of his days.  Or something.

This is where I was afraid this was going to to.  Not the Franken incident, but the entire trajectory of revelation and punishment.  Because it always becomes about the punishment; which, in the end, defeats the purpose of the revelation.  Why change, when you can just purge?

Besides, this doesn't matter, right?

The woman who accused Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) of sexual misconduct said Thursday she accepts his apology.

"The apology, sure I accept it, yes. People make mistakes and of course he knew he made a mistake," Leeann Tweeden said. "So yes I do accept that apology. There's no reason why I shouldn't accept his apology."

She said it's up to Congress to decide if it wants to have an ethics investigation into Franken's behavior, adding that she isn’t calling for Franken to step down, unless more women come forward.

“People make mistakes. I’m not calling for him to step down. That’s not my place to say that,” Tweeden said. 

Punishment is the only way to be sure.  That, or dust off and nuke the whole thing from space.  Two conditions that, in these circumstances, often appear alike.

ADDING:  Because it's an argument worth reading, that this is where everything is headed, I'm afraid:

Writing with almost creepy prescience at this week, Brian Beutler warned against the coming Breitbart-style weaponization of the “Believe Women” movement. “Unfolding against the backdrop of the post-Weinstein revolution, the Moore scandal exposes the conservative propaganda machine in the ugliest and most discrediting possible fashion,” Beutler writes. “But these cultural changes are all but destined to collide with one another in the opposite direction, in a way that exploits both the beneficence of the ‘believe women’ campaign, and the even-handedness of the mainstream media. It is a collision we as a political culture are not equipped to handle, the consequences of which are almost too awful to contemplate.”

That’s why Weinstein fallout could go up in smoke in a second. Because enough people believe that women are all liars, that one liar will fuck it up for all of us.

This Roy Moore Old Testament-Original Sin-Women Are Liars mindset is the worldview that needs to change in order for women to truly have access to the same opportunities that men have. But its opposite—the notion that women must be believed without any evidence whatsoever—will lead the worst among us to exploit the proof loophole and wreak as much damage as they can before their lies are discovered and skewered. At that point, the loophole irreversibly closes. And if that happens, we’re stuck in Roy Moore’s world, where men are the arbiters of morality and if women aren’t lying, they must have been asking for it.

I remember the '60's:  the anti-war movement, the civil rights movement, the feminist movement.  Two of those three have not only lost momentum, but been severely reversed.  I remember a science fiction story about the future military, where sergeants sought to motivate soldiers with kindness, and everyone was smoking pot because it was perfectly acceptable.  That was the future imagined at the end of the '60's into the early '70's.  It's completely unimaginable now.  And civil rights?  Would we need Black Lives Matter if that hadn't stalled and gone into reverse.  All the possibilities snapped back into impossibilities the minute we stopped pushing.  Looking back I sometimes think it was a waking collective dream, an illusion, that nothing really happened and nothing was really offered.  This resurgence of feminism, of at least taking women seriously, could snap back, too.  Read the argument at the link; it contains a cautionary tale of another allegation made against Sen. Franken.  And Trump is already tweeting about his situation; the ploughshares are being beaten into swords as we speak.

Be careful what you ask for.


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