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.

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