Wednesday, November 22, 2017


I don't know that I agree with all the points Jill Abramson makes as she tries to assign various degrees of culpability to the men standing accused of sexual abuse. For example, she thinks there’s a key distinction to be made between misdeeds by Al Franken, unacceptable as they are, and Harvey Weinstein’s brutal and well-funded career of violent assault, intimidation and cover-up.

This should be obvious.

Why isn't it obvious?

We don't assign the same level of responsibility to a subway pickpocket and an armed robber. Common sense and legal tradition say not. Outrage is appropriate in both cases, to be sure, by victims, but the degree of blame and punishment are and should be very different.

Maybe newly revealed sexual abuses are too fresh for us to have learned to parse them appropriately; maybe outrage will have to be baseline until we find out how.

Or maybe, as I fear, the response will devolve, a la Phillip Roth into "America's oldest communal passion, historically perhaps its most treacherous and subversive pleasure: the ecstasy of sanctimony."

Hope not. In the meantime, it would help to make useful distinctions.

Or are we too swamped to bother.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Frank Rich writes:

Frank Rich writes:

Bannon  has  called  Trump  “a  blunt  instrument  for  us.”  Finer-tooled  instruments    smarter  and  shrewder  demagogues  than  the  movement’s  current  titular  head    may  already  be  suiting  up  in  the  wings.

Rich's latest piece offers up not much in the way of solace or optimism, but maybe, in exchange, we get historical perspective. As Rich sees it, all the right-wing movements from Father Coughlin up through George Wallace have fueled Donald Trump. But with this difference, Trump being the first to assume national office, his movement is fortified to be cohesive for the long haul.

Like I said, not optimistic, but who needs optimism when things are going so well?