Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 8/13/2017

1. Is the concept that people and groups who have ugly or even essentially un-American beliefs and positions still ave the right to express them, advocate them, and do so without being attacked, and once attacked, have the right to defend themselves like any other citizen really so hard to grasp? Is it also controversial after all these years? Based on the echo-chamber garbage I’m reading on Facebook and on blogs like The Huffington Post, it would appear so.

2. I haven’t been following the Taylor Swift groping lawsuit, have you? I’m not sure it justifies following, though it does follow the path of campus sexual assault accusations. To summarize for those of you with higher priorities, pop superstar Taylor Swift was in the midst of a 2013 tour when  she hosted a meet-and-greet for fans in Denver. David Mueller, then a DJ for the radio station KYGO, came to the event and posed for a photo with Swift and his girlfriend. Here is the resulting photo, courtesy of gossip site TMZ:

Swift said that Mueller reached under her skirt and molested her from behind. Her security team ejected the DJ and complained toMueller’s employer, KYGO, which fired him. fired him. In 2015,  Mueller filed a defamation suit against Swift,  denying that he touched her intimately and demanding millions in damages for his lost job and sullied reputation. She has counter sued for a single dollar.

As with many sexual assault cases tried in a civil setting or by a university kangaroo court, this lawsuit will come down to who the jury believes, and the photo, which is the only evidence. (Mueller says that he recorded a two-hour phone call with KYGO the day after he learned of  Swift’s complaint, and had a copy of the audio file on his laptop and on an external hard drive, and  his cell phone too, but he spilled coffee on and then lost the laptop, while the external hard drive inexplicably stopped working. Then he threw out the cell phone.  Sure. ) In its article about the case, Vox says,

“America has long had an unspoken understanding that famous women have no real right to bodily autonomy. Women in general aren’t understood to have much right to bodily autonomy in America: hence rape culture, hence comments about rape like, “if a man walked around with a suit made of $100 bills, he’d expect to be robbed, wouldn’t he?” that make women’s bodies analogous to money. But because fame already comes with diminished expectations of privacy, celebrity women are considered to be especially fair game.”

Fake history. I was certainly not taught this, nor did I “understand it” to be true. There are, and have always been, pig assholes who think like Vox describes, but they have been regarded as assholes for decades. This is feminist bigotry at work, stated as fact. As a civilized male who was raised to respect women and their bodily autonomy, I find the trope that all men, especially those on college campuses, are nascent rapists political propaganda of the most despicable kind, and not worthy of the seriousness accorded it by female Democratic Senators, publications like Vox, Obama’s Education Department and feminists. My reading of the case is that Swift made the unfortunate but understandable choice of continuing to pose for the picture while this creep was fondling her butt, but that Mueller will have a difficult time proving defamation—the burden is on him, not her—and is likely to lose, not in small part because Swift, a trained PR whiz, was a spectacularly effective witness. ( Question from the plaintiff’s counsel: Why did your skirt look undisturbed in the photo if my client had his hand under it as you claim?  Swift: “Because my ass is located in the back of my body.”

The narrative is that Swift is a feminist warrior because she didn’t just let this creep grope her. I can’t imagine that any sane molester would assume any woman would allow that, much less a rich and powerful one like Taylor Swift. This, of course, is part of Mueller’s argument that he didn’t.

3. The trend I started following a month ago continues: there were no Trump hate pieces in this Sunday’s New York Times Sunday Review. I interpret this to mean that the constant primal scream stage is over, and now we are in the stage where the news media will require actual events and words to spin as evidence that Donald Trump is the American Anti-Christ, as in the media reaction discussed in my previous post.

4.  The Times has yet another “good illegal immigrant story to tell, this one taking up two-thirds of the front page above the fold. This is a campaign of emotionalism vs. law, and as such, soundly unethical. This time around, we are supposed to weep silently for an illegal immigrant wife who has decided to join her twice deported husband in Mexico, taking her 13-year old American-born son with her. The article keeps referring to her difficult choices now. The choices that mattered were the choices made by her and her husband-to-be when they decided to breach the U.S. border and violate U.S. law for so many years. That choice led directly to the current dilemma. (The article waits a long time to say so, but the husband was deported under the Obama Administration). Somehow, the piece, by reporter Jack Healy, manages to turn Republican businessman Steve Pearson into a good guy. Pearson, an accountant, made money on the side renting  the upper floors of his office to illegal Mexican families. (This is why so many Republicans like illegal immigration. It pays.)

“The fact that we were renting to illegals, that bothered some people,”  Pearson told the Times. “My thought was, why not tell the politicians to change it? It’s in Exodus: Be kind to foreigners because you were foreigners once in the land of Egypt.”

Now there’s a compelling argument.

We are supposed to find it cruel and unbearable that a woman who has no business being in the US and who has accepted the benefits of this country illicitly for more than a decade has to accept the fate of returning to the only nation where she is a citizen.  Apparently, a large number of Times readers (and others) accept this pure emotionalism and sentimental manipulation as a cogent indictment of  the U.S. policy of enforcing the law.

Incredible.

5. Ick or ethics—or perhaps I’m missing something (it happens). Nearly two tons of ivory artifacts, including many antiques, worth about $8 million was destroyed at the “Ivory Crush” event in Central Park, which was timed to precede World Elephant Day, which was yesterday.

This makes no sense to me. It seems gratuitously wasteful. The international trade in ivory is banned because poachers are gradually driving elephants to extinction. The idea is to eliminate any incentive to poach by making ivory valueless. But it is not without value: as the reports said, the ivory art destroyed this week was worth about 8 million dollars. Isn’t symbolic destruction of art always wrong? Wouldn’t the ethical approach be to sell the last remaining remnants of long dead elephants and use the money to help save the living ones?

Here is what was crushed:

81 Comments

Filed under Animals, Around the World, Character, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Popular Culture, Rights

81 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 8/13/2017

  1. valkygrrl

    5: I can almost grasp the idea but I’m not quite there.

    Something along the lines of we don’t want people to enjoy things that destroyed elephants. To enjoy them is to be complicit in the original crime. I don’t think it quite holds together though, needs more thought.

    • To me, it seems like the inverse of the sunk cost fallacy. Instead of, “we must continue this mediocre project so the price we already paid won’t be wasted,” it’s “we must destroy everything good that came of this project, because the price that was already paid in full is not acceptable.” Alternatively, it might be the same as the genetic fallacy, which judges things based on their origin. See also Josef Mengele’s human experimentation on concentration camp prisoners. I think his findings are actually in use, though.

    • I think it’s actually counter intuitive…. By crushing those ivory pieces, they’ve made ivory more scarce, and therefore more valuable, to a certain class of people.

  2. Wayne

    The guy probably groped her but so what. He has his hand on her fanny. She could have done what women historically have done if she was offended: Slapped him!!

  3. valkygrrl

    “America has long had an unspoken understanding that famous women have no real right to bodily autonomy. Women in general aren’t understood to have much right to bodily autonomy in America: hence rape culture, hence comments about rape like, “if a man walked around with a suit made of $100 bills, he’d expect to be robbed, wouldn’t he?” that make women’s bodies analogous to money. But because fame already comes with diminished expectations of privacy, celebrity women are considered to be especially fair game.”

    Fake history. I was certainly not taught this, nor did I “understand it” to be true. There are, and have always been, pig assholes who think like Vox describes, but they have been regarded as assholes for decades. This is feminist bigotry at work, stated as fact.

    How do you reconcile this with

    The guy probably groped her but so what. He has his hand on her fanny. She could have done what women historically have done if she was offended: Slapped him!!

    One of your regular posters disregarding body autonomy because she can just offer a negative reaction?

    By the way, Wayne, the so what is that a grope like that is wrong even before the reaction to it. You’re suggesting that as long as you don’t mind being slapped, it’s acceptable to grope people.

    It is not.

    And don’t even try to offer a number 54.

    • Is it acceptable for a Y-Chromosomal Unit to smack a female pressing her You Go Grrrl initiative?

      I used to be a bouncer working the doors at a Disco and a Live Music venue at a downtown hotel back in the mid to late 1970’s & there were more than a few times my fanny was finessed; some were tolerated if not welcomed, some weren’t.

      ‘Course, my keester was often turned toward the people waiting to get in; without getting…um…cheeky, was I asking for it?

      It wan’t socially acceptable for a male to react physically to a female’s groping back then, and I don’t think that’s changed; that’s a double standard.

      Honest question; do you see there being the acceptance a single gender-neutral reaction (no exceptions; paste the patootie patting perp) to getting one’s ass grabbed?

    • One tone-deaf statement by one momentarily misguided reader a culture does not make.

      You know, I had the Taylor experience. In high school, as a socially awkward theater nerd, I was playing the Major General in “The Pirates of Penzance.” In the opening of the second act, the MG is surrounded by his bevy of daughter, who sing to him as he weeps. The most precocious, sexy, gorgeous and desired female freshman was right behind me, and she stuck her arm all the way down my costume and along my bare back. For the whole song. She never said another word to me, nor I to her. But I sure didn’t stop and slap her. I wonder what happened to her? Lee, if you’re out there, I hope all is well.

      • Wayne

        I tend to look at the positive Jack. Maybe she was interested.

      • I think that the use of Wayne’s comment to evidence rape culture proves how flimsy the theory is…. Wayne’s comment was almost immediately panned by other commentators.

        While “rape Culture” is one of those things that means something slightly different depending on which feminist you talk to, generally, I think they accept that “Rape Culture” is the idea that rape is normalized within the culture. And while people might get hung up on equating groping with rape, I think the logic as accepted would carry forward to things less than actual rape. The problem is that even groping, (something arguable less serious than rape) isn’t culturally allowed, condoned or encouraged. It is not in fact, normalized. Even Wayne seemed to think that the act was bad, he just seemed to think she should have taken justice into her own hands.

      • Who would have believed you, had you complained? In that day and time especially.

  4. The picture looks like he’s grabbin’ gluteal while she uncomfortably leans away, from where I’m sittin’ leastways.

    If he did as she alleges, with his fetching GF right there, what an epic freakin’ scumbag!

  5. 1. Yes, it’s that hard to grasp. People are uncomfortable with the fact that their deeply-held beliefs on morality are not held by everyone, because that means that they are not obvious and potentially even wrong. The mere existence of alternative beliefs can be uncomfortable to someone who is afraid that the beliefs on which they have built their entire life and identity are wrong. For religious people, it’s often possible to file this dissonance away with so much other stuff under “I don’t understand, but I’m sure it’s fine.” Deeply-held beliefs on more humanistic matters are harder to reconcile.

    Because communication and collaborative truth-seeking are difficult if not impossible for someone who refuses to consider the possibility that their morality may not be 100% correct, there is no feasible way for them to engage respectfully with dissidents on a routine basis. Any form of effective persuasion (because they’re obviously wrong) would require listening to and understanding contradictory beliefs. Therefore, the only means of engagement are shunning, propaganda, and coercion.

    Furthermore, because (people assume) the dissidents cannot possibly have any valid points or any evidence in their favor whatsoever, they must not really believe what they say. Their so-called “beliefs” must therefore be a tool to serve their selfish interests, which are motivated by character flaws and negative emotions. This further reduces people’s willingness to engage with them on their beliefs, since they’re obviously not sincere about holding them.

    The problem with people who (people assume) have character flaws which lead them to insincerely profess obviously false beliefs is that if they are free to express these beliefs and shift the Overton window (the range of generally acceptable public discourse) to normalize their expression, they might corrupt susceptible people into developing the same character flaws and problematic behaviors. With no way to challenge these “insincere” beliefs other than, “you don’t really think that, don’t think that, that’s bad, you’re bad,” the “right-thinking” people conclude they must keep dissidents as far from the Overton window as possible, i.e. stifle their speech by any means necessary. Dissidents must also be shunned when they’re going about their everyday business, because to allow them to live a normal life without harassment is seen as tantamount to accepting that their beliefs are a valid way to think and exist, instead of as the basic honor and courtesy that it is.

    In conclusion, anyone who disagrees with you is evil, because you’re obviously 100% right. The only way to stop them is to make them suffer for it, and they must be stopped before they turn other people evil. Here are your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Now go out there and do us proud.

    There’s a reason I call myself Extradimensional Cephalopod. Being able to accept being wrong and entertain an idea without endorsing it makes me a Lovecraftian abomination on this planet. I also fully intend turn the rest of the world into a more eldritch place.

  6. Alex

    Re: Ivory
    “We want to make this valueless to destroy the incentive to harvest it. Idea: let’s destroy the existing supply.” I’m pretty sure no economists were involved in those planning sessions.

    • Good point. Similar to cash for clunkers.

    • Errol

      Why not flood the market with synthetic ivory to bring the price down and therefore the profit margin for elephant ivory should greatly decrease?

    • Rich in CT

      Ivory is only valuable if people want to buy it. If ivory is publicly burned, it sends a message that society does not want it. If your purchase may someday end up in the burning pile, it will not appreciate. People will not be able to invest in it.

      There are a few studies backing up this up, though others contradict. Seized new ivory was once auctioned off to pay for conservation efforts. This backfired by putting more ivory on the market, increasing its economic and status value. Newly harvested ivory is now publicly destroyed, attaching shame to its possession. The number of elephants poached did decrease for at least a while, though I have not followed up recently.

      The market for used ivory may be different. Certainly, some prices will have artistic value, but much of it is fungible, like gold. Trinkets can be carved into smaller desired items, just like stock gold jewelry can be melted and recast.

      So, now we have ivory trinkets valuable mostly because of material. Is it in society’s interest for ivory to have “innate” value? Certainly, items of independent artistic merit should be preserved, if for no other reason than to preserve the historic context of why there was an ivory market.

      But for those who possess lesser goods, ivory items owned originally because it was ivory, does it make sense to sell it, generating continued economic interest in ivory as a status item or artistic canvas, or does it make more sense to destroy it, attaching further shame towards ivory?

      I think this question only applies to the choice of voluntarily legally possessed ivory. Outlawing ivory might make a black market for it. Auctioning seized new ivory makes it easier to launder newly harvested poached ivory.

      Individuals choosing to destroy legal ivory in their possession may, however, signal that the market for any ivory is drying up, undercutting the black market demand, and hopefully inducing a reduced supply. Artists won’t want their works thrown to fire a few generations later. Collectors would be reluctant to invest.

      • This seems like more wishful thinking than an actual study on market forces. Ivory was always a niche market, and the more scarce it gets, the more value the remaining pieces will have to the people interested in them. This signals nothing other than “Ivory is now even more scarce than it was before”.

  7. Paul Compton

    #2. The picture looks sus, as in why would Mueller be standing like that with his arm like that? From a court case perspective however, wouldn’t it depend a lot on Swift’s reaction at the time? If she reacted directly and immediately, whether by a perfectly acceptable slap or merely verbally, I’d say done deal; but if she only reacted after seeing the picture it sounds less certain and possibly even opportunistic.

    How can I possibly say that? I have seen, and been in, enough lousily timed photos to know that something can look completely different to reality when frozen in time. NO, nothing like that one! Think of all the unflattering photographs of politicians that have filled the internet or become memes attempting to show that the victim is an uncaring oaf, moron or total dipstick!

    #5. I recall a program some years back, twenty or thirty perhaps, where the policy was to make Elephants and Ivory valuable to the local native population so that they would help protect the pachyderms.

    The idea was to push the tourism and sale of Ivory and Ivory products and make the protection of the source of income viable to the locals. I can’t find a reference to this so perhaps the concept failed, but it seems to me that this is a better way to go. A quick search indicates that others agree.

    • wyogranny

      if I remember correctly she testified that he had his hand on her bare skin, so I think she had more than a picture and her imagination to go by. There are all kinds of reasons for the timing of her reaction. She did a fine job of handling her testimony at the hands of an aggressive defense attorney.

    • Pennagain

      The idea was to push the tourism and sale of Ivory and Ivory products and make the protection of the source of income viable to the locals. … Failed, yes.

      How about this: cut out the middleman and give everyone in the village a fishing rod, teach them how to fish, give them an exclusive license to sell fish, invest in the village as a popular tourist attraction for other fishermen, so that all of the people involved can profit by the actions of the ones who kill the fish until there are no more fish in the waters?

      The “source of income” is the poachers/villagers, not the elephants.

      Solution: Put a bounty on the poachers’ heads. No, wait a mi…….

      • This calls for clarification: There’s a difference between granting someone the right to fish in a particular pond and giving them actual ownership of the pond. If they own the pond, they are responsible for making sure it continues to have fish and will lose money if it doesn’t.

        The idea is that by privatizing the renewable natural resource and granting people ownership or stewardship of it, it gives them the incentive and ability to preserve it, by effectively farming it. The standard line goes something like, “people eat millions of cows every year, but cows are in no danger of going extinct.”

        I don’t know exactly how elephant farms would play out, but it’s not a ridiculous concept.

        Does that make more sense?

    • valkygrrl

      If she reacted directly and immediately, whether by a perfectly acceptable slap or merely verbally, I’d say done deal;

      Now let’s look at the article Jack quoted.

      America has long had an unspoken understanding that famous women have no real right to bodily autonomy. Women in general aren’t understood to have much right to bodily autonomy

      Jack does not believe this is true, you are the second poster in a day to prove him wrong which is a pity since it would be better for him to be right.

      Her right not to be groped does not depend on slapping after the fact. Slapping or screaming do not make the alleged grope wrong. It was wrong from the start.

      https://ethicsalarms.com/rule-book/unethical-rationalizations-and-misconceptions/

      47. Contrived Consent, or “The Rapist’s Defense.”

      Contrived Consent, or “The Rapist’s Defense,” aims to cleanse unethical conduct by imagining that the victim consented to it, or secretly sought the result of the wrongful act. The most infamous example of this rationalization is, of course, the rapist’s defense that the victim either was inviting a sexual assault by flirtatious conduct or provocative dress, or secretly “wanted it.” This is also a common theme of totalitarian rationalizations: the peasants don’t want to have to think for themselves. They want to be dominated and brutalized.

      It is, perhaps, the ugliest rationalization of all.

      • I think you missed the point he was making. He’s suggesting the lack of a reaction is evidence that the groping did not occur, which it is. Most of the time you expect some sort of reaction in the moment that such a wrong is committed, not a delayed one after seeing a picture. That will be an argument made by the plaintiff in the case, and a jury could reasonably buy it. It is far from conclusive, though.

    • philk57

      “The idea was to push the tourism and sale of Ivory and Ivory products and make the protection of the source of income viable to the locals. I can’t find a reference to this so perhaps the concept failed, but it seems to me that this is a better way to go.”

      For the most part, this approach did fail largely because of the bureaucratic approach. The locals mostly saw no benefit from the program and little incentive to participate in it. On the other hand, the CAMPFIRE program is still in effect and has had a beneficial impact on elephant populations. It is not very popular in the wildlife welfare circles because it was started by a group of hunters who were interested in protecting populations of game animals for future generations of hunters.

      The way that it works is that there is a sharing arrangement between the professional hunters and the local populations that is visible and tangible. An example that I have personal experience with is in Mozambique – the professional that I was hunting with had built schools and hired school teachers with a component of the trophy fees, and also set up several medical clinics in villages. There were also funds from the fees that went directly to the locals to do with as they chose.

      I actually saw how the locals were incentivized to protect their investment in the wildlife (which otherwise would be considered a hazard to their agricultural pursuits) by catching poachers and holding them for the game managers to arrest.

      Obviously, this is just a thumbnail of the program, but it did link the locals benefit with the protection of the wildlife and it is effective.

  8. Here is more.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2017/08/11/on-the-stand-in-her-groping-case-taylor-swift-was-everywoman-and-thats-whats-so-sad/

    Swift was just another woman in a world that requires women to insist — to prove, over and over again — that their experience qualifies as truth.

    the author is claiming that this is sad.

    But believing accusations without corroborating evidence is not our way.

    This trial was in fact an example. As we saw, the burden was on David Mueller to prove- with a preponderance of evidence- that his experience (being defamed by Taylor Swift resulting in the loss of his job) qualified as truth. He failed.

    The burden of course is greater in criminal trials. The prosecutor must prove that the experiences of the police officers and the witnesses are the truth- beyond a reasonable doubt.

    To abandon this, to say that accusers should not have to prove, over and over again, that their experience qualified as truth, that they are entitled to be believed, would be to abandon the values that we have held since colonial times.

    To abandon this would imply that David Mueller should have won.

  9. #2 Evidence from the photo; it DOES appear that her skirt has been lifted from behind there is no other way for fabric to react that way without an upward force.

    NOTE TO ALL FEMALE READERS: If a man puts his hand under a females dress and gropes her ass or just gropes her ass through her clothing and this action is unwanted, the female should immediately slap the man in the face as hard as she can, don’t wait, don’t think, just slap the asshole instantly! There is absolutely no excuse for this kind of unwanted behavior from a man – period!

    • P.S. At the same time as you slap the asshole, yell at him to get his hand off your ass!

      • valkygrrl

        And then hope he doesn’t beat you. Don’t forget the part where there’s an angry man who’s just been slapped and had his grope rejected.

        • valkygrrl wrote, “And then hope he doesn’t beat you. Don’t forget the part where there’s an angry man who’s just been slapped and had his grope rejected.”

          Come up with whatever rationalizations you like valkygrrl, all they do is enable the asshole gropers.

          Do nothing; achieve nothing; your choice!

        • Seems that in a perfect world, a man that had GRRL Power grab his ass should be allowed to be angry and paste the groper; you?

          • valkygrrl

            That’s twice now under the same post. What the fuck is your problem?

            I didn’t advocate hitting anyone, I did not advocate groping anyone. I did not excuse hitting anyone and I did not excuse groping anyone.

            • valkygrrl wrote, “That’s twice now under the same post.”

              What the fuck are you talking about?

              • valkygrrl

                Twice Paul W. Schlecht has come at me wanting me to say it’s okay to punch women who grope men even though I’m not one of the people advocating violence.

                  • I mean…. She has a point. She’s never said that anyone should hit anyone, that’s been other people. You, in fact. And then Paul has decided that valky would be OK with women hitting men, but not the other way around…. Because… Reasons? As far as I can tell, she didn’t say that, the closest she said was that if a woman did hit a man, she probably had a fairly reasonable expectation of getting in a fight. And having several years experience with her, that seems fairly par for the course.

                    I mean… If I were strawmanned and called a hypocrite for holding positions that didn’t verbalize or believe, I’d be testy too.

                    • Humble Talent wrote, “You… decided that valky would be OK with women hitting men, but not the other way around…”

                      What the hell are you talking about HT; I never “decided” that!

                      Prove your statement or apologize.

                    • Yeah… I actually wrote “Paul has decided that valky would be OK with women hitting men, but not the other way around…. Because… Reasons.”

                      What’s worse is that my comment is literally inches away from your reply, which makes that quite possibly the stupidest use of quote mining I’ve ever seen.

                      You can fuck right off sir.

                    • HT on my computer monitor “You, in fact. And…” the punctuation between the word “fact” and “And” looks like a comma and not a period so the wording also looks exactly like what I quoted to me. If, and I do mean if, your intent is that the phrase “You, in fact” was a completely separate sentence and should be read completely unconnected with the phrase that followed then I accept your explanation and humbly apologize.

                      Side note; Don’t start a sentence with the word and it’s a conjunction and can easily conjoin two phrases, it’s piss poor grammar and confuses readers so you can fuck right off too sir.

                    • “And then Paul has decided that valky would be OK with women hitting men, but not the other way around…. Because… Reasons?”

                      Where did I decide that?

                    • My. God.

                      “If, and I do mean if, your intent is that the phrase “You, in fact” was a completely separate sentence and should be read completely unconnected with the phrase that followed then I accept your explanation and humbly apologize.”

                      Z… Not only were the sentences separated by a period. They were also separated by a transition (And then,), and it doesn’t read coherently if you try to cobble it like you did. “If, and I do mean if.” My ass. Learn to read and then get back to me.

                      Really, what makes more sense?

                      “She’s never said that anyone should hit anyone, that’s been other people. You, in fact.” (Which you absolutely did)

                      Or

                      “You, in fact. And then Paul has decided that valky would be OK with women hitting men, but not the other way around”

                      Paul… “Where did I decide that?”

                      I’ll grant you that it’s implicit, as opposed to explicit. But are you really going to outright say you don’t think that?

                      You’re pushing really hard, asking four times now, for valky to answer a question derived from a tangent to a conversation she didn’t start and that is irrelevant to her proposition. If you aren’t working off the assumption that valky will give you the answer you’re looking for, then I have no idea why you’re spending so much focus on it.

                    • HT,
                      You don’t accept what I said, fine; I’m not going down this black hole with you. You really should have let it end with my comment. FO

                    • I’m going to butt in here, against my better judgment, because I hate it when discussions just fizzle and people whom I respect walk away angry and alienate people instead of learning anything. Especially in this case, where the situation was literally just a mistake.

                      Zoltar Speaks!, you misread a paragraph with unusual syntax. It happens. I’ve posted responses based on misreading things myself.

                      Your apology ended nicely, but making it conditional, as if you still weren’t sure HT was right but were giving him the benefit of the doubt out of the generousness of your heart, negated the apology he deserved.

                      If you’re mad at yourself, I understand that. If you’re mad at the way HT responded to your mistake, or the way he constructed his paragraph that made it more easily misread than if he’d put a line break in there, I can understand that too, but you can bring those up after an actual apology.

                      Regardless of how angry you are about at the situation, it’s still bad form to make a noncommittal apology for a mistake and then say, “oh well, screw you,” when it’s not accepted. That seems beneath you.

                      If you were just going to let off steam, and then return later and apologize, and I got in the way of that, then I’m sorry for interfering and for not trusting you. Wait, that’s a conditional apology… Heck, I’m sorry anyway.

                    • EC,
                      You’re welcome to your opinion.

                      I’ve said what I meant and meant what I said, HT’s not getting any more on this topic; if that makes me a bad person in the eyes of others then I’ll just have to be okay with that.

                    • HT (below);

                      “I’ll grant you that it’s implicit, as opposed to explicit. But are you really going to outright say you don’t think that?”

                      Crossed my mind… But I wasn’t trying to pin down valkygrrl until she got all pissy.

                      I asked ZS! below: “Unanswered from above, in a similarly unwelcomed grope incident, if the groping target were a Y-Chromosomal Unit would he be permitted to address it with the same (physical) reaction?”

                      Instead of being confrontational: “Interestingly enough; I actually don’t know the answer to that question; inquiring minds want to know.”

                      We don’t know yet, and I was hoping some others would weigh in.

                      Could be no one else is interested, so I’m left to ponder that some gropes are more equal than others.

            • ”What the fuck is your problem?”

              Mercy me, compose yourself; you eat with that mouth?

              “It (the grope) was wrong from the start.”

              Maybe the alleged Swift grab-ass incident was wrong from the start, but that’s not always the case, now is it?

              Jack’s fond recall of his HS grope is wistful to say the very least.

              I once got my fanny fondled, responded in kind, and that led to a rather…um…memorable 4 1/2 year relationship.

              And you’re also missing the point; it’s more acceptable/less unacceptable for a GRRL to grab a handful of hammy than it is for a guy to do so.

              THAT’S a double standard, could be that reality has yer bloomers in a bunch, am I right?

    • Unanswered from above, in a similarly unwelcomed grope incident, if the groping target were a Y-Chromosomal Unit would he be permitted to address it with the same reaction?

      My sense is that some gropes more equal than others.

      • Along those lines, maybe the question should be:

        Since it’s considered assault for a man to unwantedly grab a woman’s ass; is the same thing true of a man unwantedly grabs another man’s ass, or if a woman unwantedly grabs a man’s ass or if a woman unwantedly grabs a another woman’s ass?

        Interestingly enough; I actually don’t know the answer to that question; inquiring minds want to know.

        • Whoa Nellie! Are we going to have gender/sexual orientation specific law?

          I would think what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, ergo, assault is assault; period.

          Any lawyers out there that might flesh that out?

          “inquiring minds want to know.”

          Don’t inquire that of valkygrrl, I’m still reeling from my most recent egregious breach of netiquette; asking a question.

          • As an aside, I wonder how many readers under the age of 40 know what TV personality used to say “Whoa Nellie!”

          • It was more of a question about how society perceives this than one about law.

            • valkygrrl,
              Stop with the meme bull shit; you’re being petty towards those that would like to understand these complex issues.

              Let your voice be heard.

              Since it’s considered assault for a man to unwantedly grab a woman’s ass; is the same thing true of a man unwantedly grabs another man’s ass, or if a woman unwantedly grabs a man’s ass or if a woman unwantedly grabs a another woman’s ass?

              What do you honestly think about this complex issue valkygrrl?

              • valkygrrl

                You do try so hard to derail. Bless your heart.

                • valkygrrl wrote, “You do try so hard to derail.”

                  Derail?

                  How so?

                  Correct me if I’m wrong; my recollection is that we’ve actually been talking about someone unwantedly grabbing someone’s ass and the questions I posed are a reasonable progression of that issue based conversation not a derailing.

                  On the other hand; you sharing that cowardly sea lion meme was an obvious intentional deflection away from the topic presented for the single purpose of attacking the messenger. So in reality, I’m the commenter that is actually on topic and you are commenter trying to derail the conversation. This is one of the finest examples of psychological projection as I’ve ever seen!

                  Now as annoying as it must be for you, here we are again, veering back on topic…

                  Since it’s considered assault for a man to unwantedly grab a woman’s ass; is the same thing true of a man unwantedly grabs another man’s ass, or if a woman unwantedly grabs a man’s ass or if a woman unwantedly grabs a another woman’s ass?

              • ZS!;

                She’s already answered, now she’s just trying to…um…duck the consequences.

              • Chris

                The answer is yes, any person of any gender unwantedly grabbing the ass of another person is committing assault.

            • My preferred method of dealing with sealions is to just take them at face value. It doesn’t really matter who asks the question or if they’re sincere; I need to be able to address questions about what I believe as a matter of honor.

              When I ask questions myself, my ironman technique (the opposite of strawman; setting up the strongest opposing argument to argue against) dictates that if I can come up with a good answer to my own question, I should make sure it is mentioned at some point and check whether it is correct. Sometimes people have a valid counterpoint, but can’t articulate it. It’s easier to move the discussion forward if I do it for them. On the other hand, it’s still good to make them think about what they’re doing before I just give them an answer they should be able to come up with themselves.

              I am curious as to why people are asking you specifically. Personally, if someone was touching me without my consent, I’d use the opportunity to practice wrist-lock submissions. It seems much more effective both tactically and psychologically than merely slapping someone.

  10. #1 That’s the core of freedom of speech that too many people fail to understand.

  11. Neil Dorr

    Jack,

    I’m curious how before the University over-steps authority and takes some sort of action against this student for having the audacity to believe in idiotic things:

    http://www.ktvn.com/story/36123640/unr-student-marches-in-charlottesville-white-nationalist-rally

  12. 2. I think the problem here is that we’re essentially dealing with the perfect crime. It can be completed in a matter of seconds, and leaves no tangible evidence. It’s thus difficult to punish and therefore discourage. Furthermore, any effort to make it easier to prove would also make it easier to frame people and destroy their reputations, which is an undesirable outcome.

    (Well, except for that boorish idiot who did it on camera. I don’t really care whether his hand was under her skirt or not; there’s no reason for his hand to be in that position unless it was in the process of moving up to her back. Shouldn’t the photographer be a perfect witness, anyway?)

    I am rather curious as to why Swift didn’t immediately stop the shot, but then, I’m not familiar with what celebrities are trained to put up with for the sake of appearances.

    Unwanted personal contact doesn’t seem that different from ordinary violence, though, in that it’s very difficult for someone to judge who is at fault without having seen the incident. Plus, there’s always the danger of sociopaths framing people.

    Off the top of my head, I can suggest three solutions, in order of increasing feasibility.

    1. Cameras everywhere.

    2. Women who get groped a lot and want to avoid it should get martial arts training, to deter gropers and teach the ones who aren’t deterred a painful lesson in wrist locks. It’s obviously not a requirement, but self-defense often needs to cover for what the law can’t do.

    3. Gropers should be represented in culture as pathetic and undesirable, and/or popular people who represent a cultural identity the gropers value should speak out against groping, similar to the “Don’t Mess With Texas” anti-littering campaign. (See Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath.) I’d probably go with this option.

    Thoughts?

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