I arrived in Austin, Texas exhausted, still suffering from whatever it is that’s been sapping my energy for the last month, and resigned to staying off the blog until tomorrow, a news day, and with luck a healthier me arrived. Then I learned about the latest ridiculous development in my adopted home state of Virginia. My mind was awash with images of George Washington, Patrick Henry, George Mason, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe—no, not Woodrow Wilson, he liked blackface—-all doing backflips in their graves. I can’t stand it. I have to write something.
But what? I don’t even know what this mass meltdown of the Virginia Democrats is. And what does it mean? Could it possibly mean that all of our elected officials are secretly absurd, untrustworthy morons? That can’t be it, can it? CAN IT? Heck, before this, Virginia wasn’t even on my list of top ten ridiculous state governments, then the next think I know, the Governor of Virginia is solemnly explaining how one would go about a post-birth abortion, and then someone finds a weird photo of Governor Northam simultaneously dressed in blackface and in KKK robes, or something, in his mediacl school yearbook, and I didn’t even know medical schools had yearbooks. Maybe only medical schools where they teach post birth abortions? I don’t know. Anyway, suddenly the Governor is apologizing and saying that yes, he was in one of those costumes, then he’s saying that, upon reflection, he would NEVER have dressed like that for a yearbook photo, and he never saw the thing before, BUUUUT he did recall putting shoe polish on his face that same year to imitate Michael Jackson, but not TOO much, because as we all know, it’s hard to wash off. Which is totally not what Matthew McConaughey promised the whites in the jury when he asked them to make themselves black for a while in that dramatic closing argument in “A Time To Kill,” but I digress. Anyway, Democrats realize that accusing Republicans and conservatives of being racists is the whole ball game for them, so obviously Northam had to go, and his own Lieutenant Governor, Justin Fairfax, who is also conveniently black as well as next in line if Northam quit, made comments suggesting that just maybe a Michael Jackson imitator, even one whose act was 35 years old, might not be exactly what the Old Dominion needs in these fraught times, not that this conclusion had anything to do with the job promotion it would involve for him.
Then, in a complete coincidence—-as this certainly would have happened even if the Governor wasn’t waxing nostalgic about his youthful moonwalking career, right?—Fairfax was accused of having sexually assaulted a woman 15 years ago, which, you may note, is a lot fewer than 35. He denies it vehemently, and she insists it is true equally vehemently—unfortunately, Fairfax’s party isn’t just the “everybody but us are racists” party, it is also the “men are all rapists and if a woman says she was assaulted, by God, she was assaulted” party. How will they be able to force future conservative judges to withdraw their nominations unless they gradually convince the public and the culture to get rid of that icky “innocent until proven guilty” thing so “he said/she said” is as sure a thing as video proof and DNA?
So does this mean that BOTH Northam AND Fairfax have to be forced out of office to maintain sacred Democratic values? It’s all okay, if so, because the next in line after they fall on their swords is still a Democrat, Attorney General Mark Herring. And today, I guess it’s yesterday now, Herring admitted that he once wore blackface at a college party in 1980.
He had, incidentally, also called for Northam’s resignation, because of HIS blackface incident. Hypocrisy, they name is Herring.
“In 1980, when I was a 19-year-old undergraduate in college, some friends suggested we attend a party dressed like rappers we listened to at the time, like Kurtis Blow, and perform a song,” AG Mark Herring said in a statement. “It sounds ridiculous even now writing it. But because of our ignorance and glib attitudes — and because we did not have an appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of others — we dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup.” Herring called it “a onetime occurrence” and said, “I accept full responsibility for my conduct.” He said “the shame of that moment has haunted me for decades.”
Wait..I lived in Virginia in 1980. I knew of nobody then or since who dressed in blackface, whether they were 19 or 8. This wasn’t 1880, it was 1980. What was there, some kind of blackface cult in Virginia? This is like a really silly Monty Python skit, or a Tom Stoppard satire like “The Real Inspector Hound.” I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Maybe the President was wrong—maybe we should go socialist. I bet Bernie Sanders never dressed up like Michael Jackson.
Ethics Observations, before my brains start leaking out my ears:
1 Have any of these three stooges done anything that requires their resignations? No. In the cases of Northam and Herring, we are talking about legal conduct decades before they were elected, and presumably the episodes say nothing about the characters and values of the two officials today.
2. Fairfax should not have to resign because of an unsubstantiated accusation, unless one argues that the Democrats should have to live by their rules, however unethical and undemocratic, that they have been trying to impose on others. I admit, I am tempted to argue that.
3. Should any of them resign, though, as a matter of honor, dignity, and respect for the posts, state and public they serve? I believe that when any elected official behaves in such an embarrassing fashion that they degrade their office and tangibly harm the public’s trust in their government, the right thing for them to do is resign as an admission of disgrace and to point toward a higher standard. Bill Clinton should have resigned, for example.
Unless Fairfax admits guilt (and the description of his alleges sexual assault sounds criminal) or his guilt is proven, he shouldn’t resign, nor should he be impeached.
But Northam? Tough call. I was 100% against him resigning because of the photo from 1984. I believe, however, that his 2019 press conference and the it’s me, I’m sorry, wait I’ve never seen that photo before, OK, I did dress up as Michael Jackson, but that was “darkening,” no I won’t resign even if my whole party is embarrassed by me and won my election by shameless race-baiting know that I have a King of Pop Face in my closet comes awfully close to being too buffoonish to continue as Governor. Herring’s case is even tougher. If he hadn’t set Virginia’s pot calling the kettle dark record by calling for Northam to step down knowing he had done the same thing, I wouldn’t advocate his resignation, but there has to be some kind of too much like a weasel to be attorney general rule, don’t you think? Maybe Virginians deserve better. Than again, they voted for all three of these guys.
Maybe they don’t.
105 thoughts on “Ethics Observations On The Clown Show In Virginia”
Maybe the conspiracy theorists were right all along and there is something in the water………..
Could this be an elaborate hoax by 4-chan?
I refuse to consider any of these confessions of blackfacery unless they had also performed tap-dancing routines.
That is a scary image. I hate tap dancing*.
* Yeah, I know. There are talented dancers all over the frickin’ world and human history who were masters of the style. Too bad. Loathe it, unless it is Mel Brooks mocking it. Then, it is tolerable. By the way, I detest ragtime music, too. Call me a Philistine. I don’t care. I hate them.
(I will defend to the death your right to have terrible opinions about wonderful forms of entertainment, though)
As an antiquarian repulsed by 20th century debasement of the arts, I can both sympathize and quibble with regard for the likes of Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Fred Astaire.
You couldn’t be more right about ragtime…
Ragtime is FUN!
Of course, being raised southern may bias my opinion…
You reminded my of Harry Haller (Steppenwolf):
Hah! Another name to remember. Haller.
Hear me now, O thou bleak and unbearable world…
Man, these are three really different cases:
1 Northam’s original “sin” is among the least offensive — youthful acts at a time when society was able to laugh off such insensitivity;
2 Herring’s “sin” was even less egregious — he was only 19 at the time of the “infraction,” barely able to cast a vote;
3 Fairfax is a different matter — his may be an actual crime, but the problem is, it’s a decade past its due date. Absent the emergence of proof or at least significant third-party substantiation sufficient for a preponderance of evidence showing, I think we have to draw a null conclusion, unless we want to consider his lack of character.
Starting from that foundation, none of them should resign, and should rebuff any attempt for them to do so. But…
We might also add all accusations of sexual impropriety to the above “… whole ball game …” quote. Being able to level charges of insufficiency for old racial or sexual offenses is the linchpin of Democrat strategy these days.
By leveraging it, they figure they can hold together the entire millennial generation in their corner, as well as prevent any African American defections and limit those from other ethnic groups by defining racism and sexisim as as advantageously as possible (essentially anyone not a white male, which is the predominant Republican demographic).
Now, the Democrats are faced with a difficult situation, literally hoist on their own petard. Other than being unqualified for unrelated reasons, like being weasels, lying, moral preening to the degree that calls their judgment into question, and generally being loathsome, pandering assholes, these three have absolutely no reason to resign.
Unless, that is, the Democrats want to maintain their sexual and racial leverage over their rivals. If these three are allowed to retain their positions, that leverage will significantly erode. When everyone is a racist or sexist, nobody is.
I vote for option #2.
Everyone deserves better than to be represented by the rediculous line up of political “clowns” we see these days.
Yeah, well, just remember – “we” vote for them!
“Governor Northam simultaneously dressed in blackface and in KKK robes”
Maybe he was just dressing in Blazing Saddles cosplay?
I’ve said it before and I’ll continue saying it, progressives, aka social justice warriors, have won the battle of the minds. I see evidence of this daily.
There, fixed it for you.
Clowns indeed (plays Three Stooges bonk-bonk sound effects) .
I did not make good grades in the law classes I took. But I still feel confident enough to suggest that Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring could benefit from re-learning the concept of estoppel. (Or, maybe I am still confused as a result of following this blog, and am confusing that estoppel with ethics estoppel.)
But, when you’ve called for the resignation of your boss because of the boss’s wearing-of-blackface incident, then admit later that you also wore blackface at some roughly equivalent young point in your life, then you are at least ethically estopped from any entitlement to honor your request for your boss to resign.
To be clear, “…from any entitlement to honor your request…” should have been in a passive voice, “…from any entitlement to having your request (for your boss to resign) honored.”
I just read that over 296 public officials: governors, captains of industry, school teachers and tradesmen have just today confessed to putting on blackface. This is getting stranger and stranger by the minute!
Amazon announced it will no longer sell black shoe polish.
Without checking, I have no idea if your last sentence is a joke. THAT says something.
It was a joke… and a good one, too!
Great post! I nominate this for Comment of the Frickin’ Century!
I was born in Cleveland, OH in 1961. Who knows what buffoonery is out there involving my past. Who cares? But, really. This is really strange stuff we are witnessing. Should Northam and Herring go? By their party’s declarations, yes. They should be banished for all of time. What about Fairfax (I mean the Lt. Governor, not the town; but, now that you mention it . . .). #MeToo says he is toast and without the necessity of a trial.
Then, there is this: Elizabeth Warren, when registering as an attorney with the Texas State Bar, openly declared that she was Native American – well, actually, she registered as an “American Indian”. She apologized privately, then publicly, and then gave the answers in this on-the-spot interview:
If blackface is career ending, then what is the consequence for openly declaring ancestry she does not have, never had, and never will have, all the while marketing herself with that discreet and insular minority for career advancement? Why is she even remotely acceptable to the run for president as a Democrat? This is not youthful indiscretion. This is not a one-time thing (well, maybe it is, it just seems to have happened a lot with her). This is willful, intentional racial and cultural and ethnic misappropriation. She should be run out of town on a rail, even from the Senate. Hell, Al Franken was sacrificed for a dumb photo showing he was fondling a sleeping reporter.
What we need is to create is a sociological equivalent of the crucifixion of Christ. Call it a day of forgiveness where all social sins of the past are forgiven and only new acts of racism, sexism, etc are subject to social scrutiny.
Or the scapegoat? Never happen. Hey, what’s the difference between slavery, the Holocaust, 9/11, and a cow?
Eventually you can’t milk a cow anymore.
If amnesty for past actions of ancestors or personal indiscretions cannot be had then it seems to me that we cannot give amnesty for the undocumented who actually broke the law.
How about an annual purge of the past year’s transgressions. We could adopt the Catholic sacrament of reconciliation, “And for all these and the sins of my past life, I am truly sorry.”
Render a tool of illogical progressive social justice warriors unusable; HA, that’ll never happen.
Perhaps, but it exposes the tool for what it is, a club you use to get your way.
In my opinion it’s fascist intimidation tactics.
Not as much intimidation as manipulation, and, I must admit, used by both sides. If I trot out the WW2 vets I dare you not to applaud. If I trot out the first responders I dare you to speak ill of them. By the same token if I play the slavery card I dare you to challenge the NAACP. If I play the feminist card I dare you to speak against a woman. If I whip out the Holocaust I dare you to say anything at all. If you choose to respond to any of this, you must do so very carefully, at the risk of slipping, and uttering something that will spread like wildfire across social media.
The purpose of intimidation IS to manipulate.
I believe the difference lies with whether the group trotted out is being used to promote the persons being trotted out or to denigrate a person that chooses not to celebrate that group.
For example: we do not try to find old images of individuals that spat on returning Viet Nam vets today. We can trot them out to give them respect they deserve but we don’t do it to harrass individual anti-war protesters. Jane Fonda might be an exception for some.
Great idea, Chris.
Who do we get to hang on the cross? I mean, somebody has to carry away our sins in order for the analogy to work.
I nominate… Barack Obama! He’s the perfect man for this sort of work — beloved of the left to the point of living canonization, full of social justice good karma, former holder of the highest office in the land and famous leg-tingler.
What could go wrong?
Black face politicians (is this an official group now?) should resign. Sexual assault allegations should be investigated. If the the woman is credible, then yes, Fairfax should resign too.
I have to ask; do you understand the differences between being credible and providing evidence to prove an accusation?
Well gosh Zoltar, I sure hope I do given my law degree and decades of practice! Testimony = evidence. In the vast majority of sexual assault cases, that is the only evidence that exists. That does not mean that the evidence is credible or that victims should automatically believed, but it’s usually the best we’ve got. It also does not mean that anyone is going to jail. Most cases don’t even go to trial. Such is the case for my niece who was raped last Fall and has to see her rapist every day in school — even though she did report.
Who decides the credibility of an accusation the court of public opinion or real investigators?
Actual investigators. Did you assume anything different from my initial comment?
Naaa no assumptions, that’s why I asked. Thanks for answering.
Did they investigate your nieces rape allegation? If so why didn’t they prosecute the accused?
No physical evidence. It happens all the time. Meanwhile, our “straight A never-been-kissed niece” is now flunking two classes, is sneaking booze, dropped both of her varsity sports, and has started cutting herself. I am not exaggerating any of this. My family has her in therapy, but it is not working. My family is trying to figure out whether they should keep her in public for senior year, if they can swing private, or have her finish up her senior year with me or my sister — which of course means taking her away from all of her friends.
I have no idea what, as a parent, I would do in such a situation. I’m so sorry. It’s the kind of case where the little devil on my shoulder would start whispering about vigilante justice, and would start to sound reasonable. I’m also having flashbacks to “I Spit on Your Grave”—
I would be very put upon to not seek revenge, despite my beliefs. I would not, I know that, but the temptation would be there.
The first thing I had to explain to my brother is that this creep will not go to jail but that he certainly would. He gets it.
“I have no idea what, as a parent, I would do in such a situation.”
As a parent and grandparent, and a person familiar with utilizing controlled violent action, I fear that know full well what I would do. As one of my friends says, “The older I get, the less a life sentence is an effective deterrent to some things.” When I was a sexual assault investigator, I was taught that most rapists (60% or more) are serial rapists. It is only a matter of time and opportunity.
This is why I would hold to my beliefs. My training and natural lack of ethical concerns would force me to hide a body. While that is much easier in Texas, it can backfire in so many ways and hurt the ones you sought to protect.
I quickly learned to NOT get into practical joke contests. I was ruthless and would go too far. Autism is like that.
SS, I am extremely sorry about your niece. I am too far away for an offer to help to be tendered. Add to that, I am a male, so probably not what she needs right now. Are the police aware that their lack of action is as much of a problem for her as the actual rape?
Thank you Dragin.
I have a niece that went through the exact same problems because of a sexual assault when she was a young teenager and the guy, her step-dad) was prosecuted and thrown in prison. She barely survived the compiling issues. My point in sharing that is that the lack of prosecution isn’t the cause of the behavior issues. There is a light at the end of the tunnel as long as she gets adequate treatment.
Soooo, why was this guy not expelled and prosecuted? Did the appropriate people look into it?
The school can’t expel for something that didn’t happen on school grounds — especially if there are no charges. I actually understand its position on this. Other than an interview, the police have declined to do anything. Of course we have been all over it, but we can’t make the police or Prosecutor’s office bring a case. And while a private cause of action has been discussed, my brother can’t really afford to bring one and he can’t get a good lawyer to take it on contingency because sexual assault is an intentional act/excluded from homeowner’s coverage. I am out of state and am precluded by my company from handling anyway.
I take it you’re not Italian. When we Italians call the police and they won’t do something, we call family next.
All silliness aside, I see why, now that you filled in some details. Poor kid.
I will pray for her, SS.
No one should go through this. No one.
Thank you Slick — and Steve-O.
If testimony = evidence what happens when the accused provides countervailing testimony? Do they initially carry equal weight? If not, are you saying that punishment should precede adjudication?
When I read such a report I admit to being skeptical. I do not however doubt that sexual assault is real and goes on. It certainly does.
I have a feeling that were I to hear the story of this girl that it would likely be not a *rape* that occurred but something more similar to an unwanted advance, or a date or a tryst that she participated in but the girl later regretted and applied the term *rape* to it.
And because the term has become far too vague, any girl or woman is given the right to term her unwanted advance or her tryst as a *rape* if she so desires. That opens up all kinds of different problems.
Shut the fuck up.
Can you turn that into an argument?
I don’t understand what productive outcome that argument would have.
I mean ‘argument’ as in: “a reason or set of reasons given in support of an idea, action or theory.”
What else can we do here?
SS, come on. With Valky and Chris out of the picture let’s not go back to that.
This comment is out of line. We know very little about this case, and making conjectures like this is presumptuous and absolutely unnecessary.
No, it is not. It is completely in line.
A ‘culture of accusation’ and a juncture in which an hysterical culture can do harm on the basis of a mere accusation, is not a topic that is ‘out of line’.
I wrote, very fairly, but directly: “I have a feeling that were I to hear the story of this girl that it would likely be not a *rape* that occurred but something more similar to an unwanted advance.”
On this blog, in relation to topical events, what we do is to engage in ‘conjecture’.
To say that my observation was ‘absolutely unnecessary’ is wrong. If I bring a topic up I must expect that it will be discussed.
I recently got the anniversary version of this film. Change the ‘boy’ to ‘girl’ and it applies!
-Observing the culture of accusation isn’t out of line. Implying that Spartan’s niece is lying or exaggerating is out of line. Please don’t tell me I read the comment wrong or that what you wrote didn’t imply that. It did. This is not probing a difficult issue or seeking truth about our morality as a culture. This is slurring the character of a credible commenter’s family member, someone who is not here to defend herself, and a child at that. That is out of line.
-Other accusations being shaky on closer scrutiny doesn’t make it more likely that a single specific accusation, this one, is shaky. The culture of accusation is context but doesn’t make that outcome any more likely either. You say you “have a feeling” the accusation isn’t accurate, but we both know what you think about feelings.
-That said, your argument hinges on the premise that women are more likely to lie or exaggerate than men are to commit rape or assault. Therefore, women are less trustworthy and/or more morally culpable than men. If this is true, neither of us can claim to be a moral authority and we should shut up and let the men talk.
This is what I wrote:
I respect your opinions. I will try to respond as best I can:
No, it is not. Not after the Kavanaugh hearings. And not in the larger context of the Covington affair. It is entirely possible that she is exaggerating. It is also possible, similarly to the Brock Turner case that the victim got counseling from a ‘rape counsellor’ who coached her to devise a story that would implicate him. Without more specific details, to say ‘I am skeptical’ is fair. Fair in the context of a blog dedicated to discussing the ethical implications of current events.
Here on this Blog it was assumed as a kind of given that the man was *guilty as charged*. I looked into the affair and I determined — after reading the police report and other documents — that it was more complex than it was represented as being. Yet the whole nation rose up and ‘believed’ the woman.
What do you mean by this?
I think that we are living in an emotional age, a time when emotion is given precedence over a cooler use of intellect. Do you agree? or do you see it differently?
My argument does hinge on my observation that emotionalized, weaponized accusations are being made in a kind of hysterical fury. And that this emotional fury is playing out in the political world.
I do not think that you will like what I have to say about this. And I am sorry that it does become more complex than what can be quickly communicated in an offhand comment.
I see modern women as being in a confused state and having a confusing position. I see this as coming about because of the way that *male culture* has acted on *female culture* and has demanded, and is demanding, that women become man’s pornographic playmate: outside of marriage commitment and family life.
In my study of [American] culture — in literature and also in film — this is what I have observed: a slow deterioration of ethical and moral restraint as the boundaries of family-life are assaulted. So, in my view, the ‘culprit’ is indeed man and men. Man seduces himself, and then seduces his woman, then his women, his daughters: the women of his culture.
In order to change all of this, he has to ‘recover himself’. (These are ideas that have come about in the context of my present family and social life: my own relationship, that of my sister and her husband, and our circle). European recovery is a recovery from sickness on all manner of different levels. And one of the primary areas is in sexuality.
As long as the pornographic hyper-sexualized process continues, the confusion of woman and women will get worse and worse. But it is not in a woman’s interest to assent to this perverse process. But I am afraid to tell you that by nature women are often ‘plastic’ to man’s desire. It is related to evolutionary psychology, in my view.
When women attempt to imagine that man’s nature can be changed, try to get the State involved in reengineering him, and women simultaneously put themselves in situations of ambiguity — when they themselves have an ambiguous relationship — they wind up in situations that, with other choices, could have been avoided: should be avoided. Thus: they participate in the processes that turn out badly for them.
Moral culpability? In fact, I honestly place more moral culpability on men and man’s culture. But, I have *paternalistic* ideas. That is, men have the responsibility to uphold a moral culture, not to create a perverse, pornographic culture because, in a given moment, they long for some sexual pleasure. Cf. DH Lawrence, et cetera et cetera.
I do not deny that sexual assault is real. It is. I tend to be suspicious when accusations of assault, and rape, are made in the ambiguous zones. Drinking parties, affairs and *one night stands*, that sort of thing. My observations are fair on are not irrational.
I don’t entirely disagree with this, but we’ll discuss at another time. Slick has expressed my response better I than I could/did.
His Slickness merely performed a ‘block’ or ‘interference’ as it is called in football. Too bad. But I will take you up on a future discussion!
Alizia does not see the issue. Further communication on the topic will not work with her.
That’s horrible—but what would you recommend? A false rape allegation also can destroy the accused. If they should be on equal footing, and they have to be, no?, what do horror stories like what happened to your niece mandate for public policy? Anything?
As a FYI, one other girl has been sexually assaulted since this incident. Again, the police have done nothing. I think he should be arrested and put on trial. My scared niece would testify (which would be absolutely humiliating for her and she’d probably cry the whole time) and he can testify too. It is up for a jury to decide. Most jurisdictions won’t do this because trials are expensive. This is why most girls/women don’t report. This is why I didn’t report back in the day. And this is why it keeps happening. You report — nothing happens. You don’t report — nothing happens, but at least you keep your dignity.
Unless it is a stranger rape in a dark alley with a bloody knife left behind, the police are not inclined to take these allegations seriously.
Prosecutors are encouraged in the ethics rules not to bring cases if they do not have a good faith belief that the case can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, even if they may believe in the guilt of the accused. Using the process as the punishment is considered unethical. Do you disagree with this? My prosecution ethics teacher at GULC was passionate on this point.
GULC? I take it that’s Georgetown, but it sounds like a frog swallowing a bug.
Georgetown University Law Center. Not a law school. A law CENTER.
I would have thought that a no-contact, stay 500 feet away from accuser order would have been placed in this case. This isn’t the school’s call.
How does such an order work if the two people involved go to the same public school, and there have been no criminal charges filed? Would a judge sign off on that, knowing that it would mean kicking the accused out of school? I confess to a large body of ignorance on the topic of restraining orders and the like, but it seems like there’s a whole host of issues involved in such a case. With school-aged kids, it seems not quite as simple as a case of, say, an adult stalker or ex-boyfriend being enjoined from interacting with another adult.
The school is doing the right thing IMO. They are trying to keep them in separate classes, but that’s about it. The school would risk a lawsuit if it did more absent police involvement.
Let me get this straight: a boy rapes your brother’s daughter, and your brother and his wife opt to keep her going to the same school and going from time to time to the same CLASSES?
It leads me to wonder how this child got into this situation in the first place.
And you bring this terrible situation to a public blog for analysis and discussion?
Bac, Alizia. I’ll assume you’ve never been raped or sexually assaulted. It isn’t fun, and the aftermath cannot be addressed in your philosophy books..
That was supposed to be “Back off”.
A game has been played here today. A series of games. But the games played here reflect the larger games (and issues, and problems) going on in the surrounding world. So, a microcosm of the macrocosm as it were.
My friend Spartan (I am a friend to all people) — I think I can say this in truth — decided some time back to hate me. To insult me. To use denigrating terms in reference to me. And, this AM, she cursed me.
Why? I will answer: because she is a hater. But this must be elaborated on as we are dealing with a microcosm that reflects a macrocosm. I am sure that you notice this: people hating republicans, or Trump, or white people, or black people: the project of hating.
There are lots and lots of haters out there. But instead of recognizing their own hatred — their own unsettled feelings, their own conflicts, or what-have-you — they project them outward. They look for someone, and they find someone, to project this horrifyingly negative animus. And then they blame what they have created, as if it is to fault. So, years ago now, I was made into Spartan’s enemy. By Spartan. In exactly the same spirit as, for example, the Deplorables were condemned. The dynamic of this works like this: you locate your enemy, you label your enemy, and you project what in your own self you refuse to recognize! That is what projection is: psychological blind-spot.
You have to understand this dynamic if you are to understand what unfolded here today.
[You are wrong if you think that I have not dealt with sexual assault. But I do not bring personal issues into this blog. It is not up for discussion.]
I am here to discuss ethics within the larger context of current events, moral decline and confusion, and this sort of thing. I like you, and my attitude will not ever change toward you, but you have just insulted me and what I attempt to do. You have reduced it to ‘philosophy books’. But I try to talk about the world of ideas as it bears on our world, our shifting world. I do from time to time *mind* a little bit the characterizations I have gotten here. But never seriously.
I made a statement about American women’s victim culture, and I did so more on the basis of having read, fairly closely, Katie Roiphe’s book The Morning After. Those women of that time (the 80s, played and have kept playing a devilish game of manipulation of men’s culture. The Rape Accusation. The abuse accusation. If you want to know about Katie Roiphe’s ideas on this topic, you’d have to read her. I read her and then I read a fair amount of other women writers on the topic. If you want to have a good image of how it plays, simply focus on the Kavanaugh hearing: a chemically pure example of it.
I said that when I hear of rape accusations that “I admit to being skeptical. I do not however doubt that sexual assault is real and goes on. It certainly does.
“I have a feeling that were I to hear the story of this girl that it would likely be not a *rape* that occurred but something more similar to an unwanted advance, or a date or a tryst that she participated in but the girl later regretted and applied the term *rape* to it.”
The ‘game’ began when further elements of the story were revealed. The game has to do with manipulation of feelings. Using emotions and sentiments to win points so they can see their perspective dominate. We see this go on all the time: the game of moral shaming and guilt-slinging. It now was turned on me.
I reject the game, and I accept the consequences for doing this: moral shaming by the group, being made to look bad by being made to seem bad. This is the role that has been given to me here and, to a certain extent, that I have allowed myself to *play*. It makes a certain amount of sense to me because I work within very difficult ideas, ideas that few here seem to allow themselves even to consider. Be it race, religion, gender, patriarchy, and values: there is no area in which I will not be seen to be in controversy. This frightens people in a sense, but overall it makes them very uncomfortable and suspicious. Paranoid really. And I understand this (and I have always made it clear).
I want to know why things happen as they do. I want to understand *what is going on in our present*. I don’t want only to examine surface but I want to understand causation. And without a doubt this does require a philosophical kind of approach. But I do not deal in abstract philosophy and essentially my interest is in Christian (Catholic) philosophy: a way of living within the world in accord with ideals and values.
All that I did today was to make a truthful statement about how I see a general situation. I speculated from an incident that was revealed in a short phrase:
I took it as an abstract case, such as are every day discussed here. I have no intention to ever hurt someone’s feelings or seem callous to them. It is not my style. But if someone brings up a situation like this on a public blog where regularly the fine point of things is dug into, I do not think I did anything reprehensible. But it was turned in that direction, and for deliberate and concrete purposes.
Poor victim Spartan. But how strange to drag her niece’s pain here.
And the same sort of *games* are played in the wider, outside world. I do not negate the anger. In fact I would take it very very seriously. The Anger of Woman is something extraordinary. Think of The Furies.
The poor girl who is dealing with whatever did happen to her is not my topic, and I do not think it should be ours, here and now.
My topic are larger and I carefully explained what they are. What I brought out, naturally, will not be discussed. But that is part of the function of *the game* (IMHO): to avoid discussion, and certainly to avoid discussion of solution. (If you have made it through to the end: thank you).
I read it all. I understand what you intend.
It was not the time or place to raise those macro issues. I mean, it was permissible, but was it profitable? You are free to make such observations, but did you use your freedom to hurt another? By the light of the culture I was raised in (and such still exists where I grew up) it was inappropriate at best, rude, or intentionally provocative. What did it gain, if it was not done in love, or at least with compassion?
For example, a funeral is not where you speak ill of the deceased: to do so would be as described above. The emotional baggage you invoke destroys your ability to make a difference: being in the right is no reason to be rude.
There are other times to make the points you made, several of which are excellent ones in discussion of society, and terrible ones to discuss of a single girl. Even if you are correct in your assessment you turned your audience off, and thus convinced no one, engaged in discussion with no one.
If you are not looking to convince or engage, why write here?
I am not upset with you, Alizia. I wish to make you comprehend that you could be more effective.
“I’ll trust myself, myself shall be my friend.”
We are covering a ground we covered before: if the audience turned off they did so as a result of their own choice. I don’t control them. Similarly, we live in a time when the *emotional appeal* and *moral shaming* fueled by sentiment and rhetoric, have great influence.
Working with your hypothetical: if I am correct in my assessment then the audience could choose to understand why that is so and, then, they might choose not to condemn me. It really depends if intellect or if emotion wins the day.
Far better — in my agonizingly humble opinion — to recognize how emotional appeals and all this sentimental gunk contaminates our present.
Therefore, I call upon both Spartan and her recent self-appointed Lieutenant Small Stuff to respond in depth and seriously to the points I brought forward.
Let ‘discussion’ begin!
Perhaps they will agree: “More is to be gained from a depth analysis than in our driving the conversation down into the emotional mud”.
Stick to the ideas, is what I say.
Well, for the first time, Alizia is right about one thing. I do regret talking about my niece’s situation here — even though I did so anonymously. I appreciate the outpouring of love and compassion, but it wasn’t my story to tell and my grief is a small fraction of what she is experiencing. I also didn’t intend to tell it, it obviously has just been on my mind a lot, and whenever another he said/she said story hits the news, it brings it all back. Not just my niece’s story, but incidents that have happened to me and my friends over the years. That doesn’t mean that every woman should be believed, but right now we have a never-ending circle of violence against women because men can get away with it. So, to repeat myself — absent physical evidence — if you report, nothing happens. If you don’t report, nothing happens.
Absent physical evidence is a big qualifier there, isn’t it? Isn’t there usually physical evidence of rape? If there isn’t, for whatever reason, isn’t rape excatly like any other crime where there isn’t sufficient evidence to bring charges—other than the obvious emotional aspects, which cannot be a concern of the law? How can authorities be faulted for not going forward when there’s only conflicting participant testimony? The Justin Fairfax accusation is an example: Democrats are demanding an investigation. That’s facile: of what? The event is years old, and only two people were involved. Let’s say she told someone—that’s still hearsay. It doesn’t prove that the incident occurred. Especially if both parties are telling the truth—he thought she consented, she didn’t—I don’t know what can be done.
I do think that representing the situation as a runaway rape culture is wildly unfair and unjustifiable, though given your experiences I can completely see why that would be your perception. But short of dumping the presumption of innocence standard, I see no solution.
Just for the record, Texas has over 20,000 un-processed rape kits. So physical evidence isn’t the answer, either.
How ferociously uncharitable you are.
“I didn’t mean to do it” . . .
Yet it was done. And it had a purpose: to win the argument that you have been making for years now: that of this epidemic of violence against women. Related to The Myth of the Monstrous Man. And part of a cultural attack on men and masculinity. Which is related to a general undermining of important social hierarchies. And which emotionized and weaponized sentimental attacks eventually undermine intellect itself. At the base of it is the whimpering woman, the pitiable victim — insert the image of the mousy Blasey Ford — who demands that men and masculine culture bend to her emotional appeals, even if they are based in lies. The LIE is made into a truth that you dare not oppose. And when the State gets involved in these adjudications, the State becomes anti-man and anti-masculine in a strange and perverse spiral that spins out of control.
If you stat to see the truth, you can begin to speak in truthful terms. The larger conversation is more important, and more interesting, than your private dramas.
(And what I say here does not negate genuine sexual assault nor deny that it goes on).
Hey Spartan — I haven’t made it clear, but I am sorry for the situation your niece is in and she’s been on my mind since you first brought it up here. Her family and friends’ support means a lot to her, even if it’s difficult to do anything to make it right.
A weak offering. Some have offered material assistance to assassinate the perp. Can’t you offer to drive the getaway car or something tangible? 🙂
[I say this only to uphold my carefully crafted *wicked* image: my own image-management!]
Did you ever answer my question a few days ago regarding the context of blackface.
These are two very different things. They are not comparable. Yet, in the present cultural mood (a strange hysterical time with a hysterical psychology) they seem to be conflated. Considering the Covington case as part of a similar and related phenomena, some critical analysis of it is necessary I think.
What is going on? (Even in the videos of the Covington incident the kids were exclaiming: “What is going on?!?” The whole event took on a meaning and an energy that was unreal and outlandish. Profoundly psychological. A deeply disturbed psychology though.
Actually, there is no reason why dressing up as Michael Jackson or a star should be a punishable offense*. That it has become one is evidence of a strange and hysterical mood that is moving through culture like a contagion. It is unconscious (covers and expresses unconscious animus), brutal and reckless.
[*Putting on a KKK costume seems to me genuinely condemnable though. It is intensely offensive].
If you put ‘dressing up in blackface’ out there as a serious infraction, there are an infinite number of other such infractions that could also be discovered, pulled into the foreground, condemned and socially criminalized. The whole thing could be turned around against all manner of different behaviors, statements, words and attitudes among Latinos and Blacks (for example).
The interesting thing is that the accusation and the sense of guilt completely depends on the willingness of those who did it to participate in it. In other words, they have to give their agreement.
Should it happen that they stopped giving assent to the theater of being hauled before a social judge and forced to confess (with tears and carefully worded ‘apologies’ which are all completely ridiculous and false), the whole enactment would fall to the ground. There is a strange power-dynamic that is operating here.
These are complex psychological games that, so far, have not become really *dangerous* but which could become dangerous if it continues (as it seems to be).
The sexual assault accusation thing is complex and problematic. There is a sense in it of ‘getting even’ and ‘getting revenge’. But that is the situation of the weaker getting revenge on the stronger.
The race thing fits into a similar dynamic: enacting revenge against the oppressor. Getting even. Settling scores.
First of all, having read further down, I have no intention of getting into the family tragedy you describe other than to say that I am horrified and hope for a good outcome for your family member. It seems the local authorities are either disinterested in justice or unable to pursue it due to an insufficiency of admissible evidence. Either one is a tragedy.
To your point above: I disagree with your comment. Unless the blackface event was clearly malicious or an intended racial intimidation or insult, and unless it is reasonably current (10 years or so) I don’t think it should force resignation. The guilty party may still resign ethically if he thinks it will affect his ability to lead, and he can always be removed by due process if that process permits removal absent some sort of criminal activity.
Credibility does not equal a sufficiency of evidence, in the case of sexual assault or anything else. What if both are credible? In the Fairfax case, as far as I am concerned, they are. In such cases, their testimony should rationally offset each other and result in a null finding.
If there are third parties able to corroborate a contemporaneous, meaningful amount of facts, such as one or more friends told about the assault in the same time frame as its occurrence (the more the better, obviously), or a contemporaneous writing or other communication providing support for the accuser’s testimony, then it could be used to legitimately demand resignation even if it would be insufficient for prosecution.
The problem is, who investigates a decades-old crime? Can we afford to use law enforcement resources to investigate every alleged sexual incident where time has eroded both the quality of the charge and the evidence supporting it, if it exists at all beyond the accuser’s testimony? I say absolutely not. There is a reason for statutes of limitations, and even when they do not exist for a particular crime, a presumption of innocence is even stronger in very old cases lacking contemporaneous witnesses or other evidence. That presumption should extend to everyone.
Due process demands a presumption of innocence in America. That must apply to every situation, and even to politicians.
Curious. The mood of both accusation and confession. The sense of innate guilt. But guilt that is wielded against certain people. For certain purposes as well, as it appears.
I am reminded of the Communist Eastern Bloc and the elaborate rituals of accusation and false-confession. That everyone was *in danger* and at any moment, for some word, or perhaps a facecrime, they could be arrested, imprisoned, interrogated and in the end made to be guilty and to sign *confessions*.
Well, the Democratic Party is now dominated by Marxists. It is not surprising that a Cultural Revolution-style shakedown of the party would come next. Antifa has been acting an awful lot like a cross between the KKK and the Red Guards. With news that Antifa is arming and becoming more violent, I think all three politicians need to resign immediately before they face what Tucker Carlson faced and more.
The gender non-binary nongender-specific pronouned person in Seattle who fired two shots in a middle school while trying to kidnap they/their daughter was the ‘firearms instructor’ of the local Antifa group. This apparently is a growing trend with the group across the country.
I would like to add in the conspiracy theory, that this started as a Democrat hit job on Northam. My reasoning is, after NY state, VA tried to one up them in the abortion arms race. VA came of looking very bad, with the governor trying to explain the very dark implications of keeping the baby “comfortable” and all that. The powers that be may have decided that this story needs to be dropped, and leaked the blackface issue. I think everyone, except the conservative media, totally dropped the abortion debacle. Then this whole mess kind of gained a life of its own. I think if these officials will go kicking and screaming, they’re undermining the national Democrat party platform, presidential candidates that denounced them, and are giving the VA Republicans a chance to regain favor in the next elections, because the cognitive dissonance will not add wind in Democrat sails. As a matter of national politics, I think it would be a cheap price to pay to get rid of these officials, from a Democrat point of view. Then come election time, you can talk about how honorable you are, that we clean house, unlike those racist Republicans, plus Orange Man Bad. The Virginia Suburbs would eat that up. But I guess for those officials, once you get power, hold on to it like it’s your life.
Over the last several years, I have begun to believe that the Democratic Party never changed from its autocratic way. I now highly suspect that the Democratic Party has had consistent policies since 1865 about controlling blacks (and other minorities). From Maritin Van Buren’s urban political machine doling out handouts to make the urban poor dependent on them to Woodrow Wilson’s KKK used to maintain Democrat control in Democrat-majority areas, to Margaret Sanger’s Planned Parenthood eugenics to keep the black population under control, to FDR’s attempt to implement fascism in the US, to LBJ’s Great Society designed to extend the urban boss political machine to the entire country, the Democratic Party has sought to maintain power through the manipulation of a variety of easily swayed groups (what we call identity politics today). The leaders view themselves as above all those peons who vote for them, and hold typical people in utter contempt (listen to how Obama or Clinton talk about the typical American). It is no wonder they were all dressing up in blackface. They are who they have always been.
Could it possibly mean that all of our elected officials are secretly absurd, untrustworthy morons?
Worst-kept secret in history.
Maybe we’ve reached a tipping point (I hate that term) in identity politics and hurtfulness/snowflake cultural appropriation politics. Maybe all this stuff will just begin to die down? I bet there are awful photos of Kirsten Gillebrand out there. The Dems have to just stop it.
Until it HURTS them, they will not stop. Trump is a sign that decent folk have had enough and are willing to inflict the pain that has been inflicted upon them for decades.
My hope I that it stops before we have blood on the streets in most urban areas. Common Americans are ruthless once aroused, and will defend themselves.
So Slick, is the ‘discussion’ over?
Sorry, I did not get what you are referring to.
Well I can affirm that this long-time Virginia resident never voted for any of these clowns.