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.. 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.
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: