My Blog Week: April 26 to May 2
A Word on the Week
If you stake your cause on an absolute, easily debunked, you’re setting yourself up for a pratfall. Exactly the difficulty with the “always believe” mantra that’s causing anxiety among pundits, who feel pressured to believe Joe Biden’s accuser on form, but would rather not bet on her. True enough, if your eyes are led astray by the brass ring, you’ll miss the gold. Getting it requires steadfastness, unsparing honesty, and a willingness to weather blows.
To “always believe” the allegation, is to give your opponents the gift of a lying witness.
Readers, we are here within the Safe Box o’ Fiction, to moot a theoretical scenario. Let us say a presidential adviser, to an imaginary President Whump, thought of a clever thing. A woman named A. Jane Carter (shall we say), had leveled a certain accusation at Whump. Well, sez the adviser, suppose Whump’s opponent, Jack Biggins, were accused of something with strong similarities to Carter’s story. The Biggins people would pull out all stops to discredit the accuser’s claims. By working to save their own, they would save Whump as well, allowing Whump’s people to use the Biggins accuser as a stalking horse, and freely take potshots at both the nature of her claims, and at Biggins…damaging to their opponent, and to Ms. Carter’s case. We now return to our regular programming.
There are pitfalls to avoid, in Me Too correctness. The passage of time as the decades roll, and as with soap opera children who vanish for a few months and return fully grown, can get vague. It might began to seem feminism, a consciousness among women of their rights, was invented in 2016. That women of the past never reported sexual assaults (which, even in the 1890s, they did) because they were uniformly too afraid. Propagandizing these cases can lead to a narrative where the victim becomes disproportionately, unrealistically, “weakened”. Accusers can’t be sheltered from all rational duties. They should complain to the right people. They should, if they don’t really want to complain, only to raise awareness, explain whom they see as becoming aware, what action they see the aware person taking. It’s going to be problematic that Biden was a powerful man, as senator, as vice president.
If he were assumed, abetted by power, to be assaulting women until brought to bay, it would have been timely to say so.
Ms. Reade’s mother’s language, in her phone call with Larry King of 1993, implies a work-related issue. The call doesn’t mention sexual assault, but includes the words: “[she] could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press”.
We don’t know what happened. If what Reade describes today did happen, the only thing to do was go to the police. Do documents filled out to register a formal complaint, under the rules of the U.S. Congress, have fine print, such as: “I swear, under penalty of the law, that the above is true…” etc? When you file your taxes, you sign something to that effect. Is Reade, when she publicly states she did not describe the incident then as she does now, admitting to making a false statement?
As well, there is this pitfall. A neighbor of Reade has come forward to say she recalls a conversation from the nineties, in which Reade confided to her. Testimony of this sort has gained some currency, but has a flaw. If you accept the neighbor’s recollection as proof, what proves the neighbor’s recollection? Did the neighbor speak to a third party at the time…and did the third party speak to a fourth party? The chain could go on until everyone in America had heard the rumor, which would make the question moot. But Reade herself should be held to the highest standard of proof. The neighbor should not need documentation if Reade only needs the neighbor.
On Monday, Cartoon Stories: “Bad Attitudes”, toons featuring trouble. Tuesday, the fourth German Spy episode from The Folly, in which Falco makes himself known. Wednesday, part three of “The Blue Bird”, with Gitana taking an initiative; Thursday, Frédéric Boutet’s “Complicity”, a husband acting on a poor impulse. Friday, a new Yoharie, part six of “What It Takes to Fly”, Savannah coming to grips with life’s limitations. Saturday, “Confession”, the next in the Eight series based on Lifton’s precepts.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: April 26 to May 2