“Because of the Thoroughness With Which the Accuser Was Discredited”

Paul Takakjian, a criminal defense lawyer who is not involved in Bauer’s case but previously served as a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney, said he saw Thursday’s ruling as “a harbinger of maybe good news” for Bauer in his criminal investigation “because of the thoroughness with which the accuser was discredited in the judge’s eyes.”  NY Times [2022-04-30]

I post this link with no pleasure, but because we are all continually confronted with advocates for women insisting that women never lie about sexual assault.

It appears that the woman let slip that she hoped to extract a large sum of money from Hoffman as a result of her allegations, and in spite of lavish evidence that she consented to his actions in the bedroom.  In fact, the woman initiated contact with Hoffman and requested “rough sex” and, apparently, even specifically asked for actions by Hoffman that she later alleged were abusive.

I am disappointed– but not surprised– that Major League Baseball suspended Hoffman for 2 years regardless of the facts.  It is not logical.  Either the woman has been discredited or she has not.  If she was discredited– and she certainly was after a “thorough” investigation– then Hoffman’s behavior may have been distasteful and offensive to the more mainstream (public) preferences of Commissioner Rob Manfred and his colleagues but it should not be grounds for a suspension, and I would not be surprised if Hoffman wins his appeal.

I repeat that– it was a thorough investigation.  No judge would be eager to dismiss charges in an explosive case like this but the judge,  Dianna Gould-Saltman — yes, a woman– had no choice.  The evidence was clear and convincing.

This reminds me of the Jian Ghomeshi case in which several women also lied about the incident– to the police and in court– and then coordinated their stories.  Ghomeshi’s lawyer provided the court with convincing proof that the women had lied and the case was dismissed.  Yet the feminist establishment continued to behave as if he had been found guilty.

They will behave the same way in the case of Trevor Hoffman and that is why MLB suspended him in spite of the court case collapse.  If they had let him resume his career, they would have been relentlessly savaged in the media and nobody wants to have defend someone whose taste runs to rough sex, and nobody wants to even mention the fact that the woman requested it because feminist orthodoxy is that the woman never asks for it.



The Myth of Sybil

The story of “Sybil”, the woman with 16 different “personalities”,  is a myth, pure and simple.

(NPR on one of the books that has debunked it.)

One website, defending Sybil, refers to “Michelle Remembers”–without comment–as a reference to the influence of “Sybil”.  That is astonishing.  “Michelle Remembers” is one of the most discredited books of the 1980’s.

First of all, you do need to know what in no other developed country is the concept of a “multiple-personality” widely accepted.    Only in America, and only in a certain part of America.

As is well known, Sybil herself acknowledge the hoax in a letter to Schreiber:

She got the very, very strong impression when she went in and brought this letter of recantation to Dr. Wilbur that if she didn’t go with the program she was not going to have Dr. Wilbur anymore,” Nathan says. “Dr. Wilbur was giving her 14 to 18 hours of therapy a week. Dr. Wilbur was coming to her house and eating with her, giving her clothes, paying her rent … so, how could you give up Dr. Wilbur?

Sybil Exposed

Is this really difficult to see?  Look at the culture around MPD?  Look at who revels in it, thrives in the lurid stories attached to it?

Or look at hypnotism:

HS: Yes. She was very hypnotizable, what I call a “grade five.” On a zero to five scale we can classify most levels of hypnotizability. The top group—the hypnotic virtuosos—are about 5 percent of the population and they show extra phenomena that we don’t ordinarily see even in good hypnotic subjects. For example, they have the ability to regress in time and they will report past experiences in the present tense. It is as if they “ablate,” or remove from memory, the period of time from, say, their fourth birthday to the present time, and you have an expression of what was there up until the age of four. For most people, to get them to a fixed point in time, we use something that has an affect potential. You can’t just say, “I want you to go back to January 14, 1916″—that doesn’t mean anything. You will say to the subject: “You are getting younger and younger. You are now nineteen, eighteen, seventeen years old, twelve years old, seven years old,” and then: “This is your fourth birthday.”  NY Review of Books

If this impresses you, I have some bitcoin I want to sell.

Let’s put it this way: if you want to accept what Dr. Spiegel says about hypnotism at face value, it would be possible, for example, to go back in time to when you lost your keys and discover where you lost them.  In fairness, I believe Dr. Spiegel implies that this is not possible.

It is not possible, unfortunately, and neither is it possible to go back in memory to “a fixed point of time” (see Dr. Spiegel covering his tracks?).  You are always only going back to a memory you already have, or one that you have constructed, if you are suggestible, and I would suggest that the best patients for hypnosis– or any kind of psychiatry– are very suggestible.

That said, even Dr. Spiegel didn’t buy Sybil’s multiple personalities and he made clear why Dr. Wilbur and Schreiber did (and why they stopped speaking to him):

Schreiber then got in a huff. She was sitting right in that chair there, and she said, “But if we don’t call it a multiple personality, we don’t have a book! The publishers want it to be that, otherwise it won’t sell!”

Exactly.  The publishers knew what gets you on Phil Donahue and 20/20 and maybe even 60 Minutes, and they knew that that is what sells books and makes movies.

Narcissist Jami Attenberg

What’s particularly calculating about Attenberg describing her assault is that it brilliantly inoculates her from criticism. “Oh, you don’t like my book? Well, clearly, you stand on the side of toxic masculinity!” Hardly. But I have to wonder — in light of Alice Sebold identifying the wrong man who assaulted her — how much of this story was invented or embellished or even fact-checked by the people at Ecco. It’s easy enough to suss out who “Brendan” is. (It took me three minutes to find him on Google.) And since the dude is now dead, we have no way to corroborate the story. We also get a casual detail about a suicide attempt, but no effort by Attenberg to examine what led her to this state. Victimhood has become the currency of “memoirs” of this type. Victimhood is also the very quality that a narcissist flails about to anyone who will listen.  From Here.

And the above is quoted.

And validation.  Yes, the New York Times treats her account of the assault as validation.

“I Came All This Way to Meet You” is at its most affecting when Attenberg follows the darker thread of her own experience, sharing the story of an assault she endured from a classmate in her writing program. It’s not the revelation that makes this story so powerful; it’s Attenberg’s vituperation over how the university handled the assault, and how she is — and is not — valued as a writer, and how these two things are bound up together.

From Here.

What the New York Times forgot to say– or maybe the repetition police stepped in– is just how fucking courageous that makes her.  So courageous.  So amazingly courageous.  Oh my god, that’s so courageous.  How brave!  Oh my.

It must be noted that the person Attenberg accuses of assaulting her is conveniently deceased and unable to counter her allegations.

We get more:

All of this rings painfully true; above all, Attenberg’s rage — the rage of the writer, especially the female writer, who’s suffered not just assaults but endless indignities and unfairnesses.

The problem always is, how do you know if the “assaults”, “indignities”, and “unfairnesses” were caused by sexism?  How do you know if this treatment might have been deserved?  Did you know that everybody occasionally suffers “indignities” and “unfairness”, even if they don’t all make themselves into martyrs.  Maybe Attenberg was a self-aggrandizing narcissistic bitch?  She was obviously– from her own testimony– a ruthlessly ambitious writer who might have been tempted to use people along the way.


The Women Roar: I am Weak and Fragile

Here we go again.  Some women at Harvard, wishing to challenge the establishment within the institution to prove they are totally woke when it comes to feminist issues, have demanded a pound of flesh for the horrifying, terrible, rotten, monstrous acts of a certain professor John Comaroff.

In the interview, she recalled how Dr. Comaroff launched into a harangue about how she could be subjected to “corrective rape,” or even killed, if she were seen in a lesbian relationship in certain parts of Africa. But he said it with “a tone of enjoyment,” Ms. Kilburn said, adding, “This was not normal office hours advice.”

This was Dr. Comaroff advising a graduate student that traveling through Africa with a same-sex partner could be dangerous.

Did you catch it?  Do I have to call attention to the fact that this is something he said.  These are words.  And her judgement of his tone: it was not satisfactory, to her.  It was a “tone of enjoyment”.

So the grand inquisitors of the feminist movement sprung into action, recruited some fellow-travelers who don’t appear to have anything more substantial to add to the story, and attacked Professor Comaroff and sued Harvard University for not having burned him at the stake long ago.

A group of 38 colleagues at Harvard wrote a letter defending him.  Then they retracted it.  Apparently they discovered that Professor Comaroff, attacked by a female student, reacted the way most of us do when attacked unfairly: he defended himself.  He refused to favor this student with his approval and blessings.  He gave his opinion of this student’s attack on him to others.  (In fairness, read this for a relatively balanced view.  “Balanced” if you believe that the student did not have the option of telling him to get lost and going somewhere else.  But then, she claims, she would have been disadvantaged by not being able to expect favorable treatment from a professor she attacked for being abusive to her because he seemed to enjoy warning her about the social policy and attitudes of certain African nations.)

Of course his advice was stupid and unpleasant.  Of course he was also probably right.  And of course he probably enjoyed passing that information along to the lesbian student, Lilian Kilburn, who was convinced that he was hitting on her.  Maybe he was.  She’s not particularly attractive, but who knows.  Either way, as I glided past the salacious headlines and teasers about this story I kept waiting for the part that described the “harassment”.  Was it– yes it was: he kissed her on the lips.  Maybe.  He says he didn’t.  She says he did.  Suspend the fucker!  Cancel him!  He must pay for his outrageous iniquities.

I’m not going to go into any more detail on this one– that’s all there is.  There is no real groping or rape or sodomy or slapping or whatever it is that we used to call “sexual” abuse.  Just a number of female students who clearly don’t like Professor Comaroff, who resent the fact that he defended himself when attacked, and, yes, of course it isn’t about the money and of course they are after the money.  Yes indeed: these martyrs are suing Harvard University for not protecting them from Professor Comaroff’s lips and words.

Fuck this.  This is indefensible.  This does not evoke a sense of women’s empowerment and equality and intellectual stature.  It evokes a conviction that these women are weak, petty, vindictive, and insecure.  How do they prove that they really are better and smarter and more virtuous than those men at Harvard who actually run things?  Sue them.  It’s better than bringing down the governor.   It’s even better than accusing them of being complicit in a murder, like Joyce Carol Oates did.

I’m not even going to make sure you know all about my long-standing beliefs or views on women’s rights and equality as if I somehow have to prove that seeing bullshit for what it is has to be excused in some way.  This IS bullshit.  It is stupid.  It discredits feminism– and the sustained drumbeat of these cases is doing more damage to it than most women would believe.

And they don’t know about it because it’s something sensible, smart, educated, enlightened men talk about when there are no women in the room.

Now, be careful.  If you comment about the rather butch appearance of these women, you too could be cancelled.  I’m going to comment anyway because if the tone of voice of Professor Comaroff is fair game (yes, that is basis of part of their complaint) then I must insist that the physical appearance of these three women is also fair game.

It’s all subjective judgement that in one case become the axis of a million-dollar lawsuit and in another case my disrespectful opinion of what I think is really happening here.

Those We Can

The chair of the Columbia University department of psychiatry was suspended on Wednesday, “effective immediately,” after referring to a dark-skinned model as possibly a “freak of nature” on Twitter.  NY Times

What the hell is wrong with that?

The Grand Canyon is a “freak of nature”.  A peacock is a “freak of nature”.  The Northern Lights are a “freak of nature”.  They are beautiful and wonderful.

It is quite notable that most of the great cancellations of the “woke” era are of people who are fundamentally allied politically with those who do the cancelling.  [See, most recently, Jane Campion.]

Witness poor Jeffrey Lieberman, the chair of psychiatry at Columbia University in New York.  It is immediately apparent from his abject apology and self-flagellating acknowledgment that he, unlike the real enemies of racial justice, is sympathetic to the cause.  I believe his sense of guilt is entirely derived from the self-righteous piety of those accusing him.  He thinks he did something wrong because a bunch of puritanical zealots told him he did.  He even added that he now knows that he had no idea how racist he was. The  horrified expressions and vindictive passion of his accusers overwhelmed his good sense.  His attackers feel righteous and holy, having once again stomped out another residue of institutional black oppression.

He absorbed a terrible insult and I dearly wish he had had the character to stand up to this bullshit and refuse to apologize or acknowledge that there was anything wrong with his tweet.  Let them fire him and let it play out.  It will not go well for his attackers.  They will have provided Tucker Carlson with more fodder.  And then sue the damned University for damages and wrongful dismissal.  Let it play in a court of law: I was fired over a phrase.  Let us learn what the meaning is of “freak of nature”.

What did he do?  He remarked upon the surreal beauty of model Nyakim Gatwech.  I’ll join him in his transgression: Ms. Gatwech is a surreal beauty of utterly remarkable skin coloring.   She is unique and unusual.  Yes, a “freak of nature”, like Wayne Gretzky, Einstein, and Tuesday Weld.

“Freak of nature”: that’s the phrase that set off people:

“Dark skin is normal, dark skin is just part of the normal variation of human existence,” Dr. Lett said. “Stigmatizing language has psychological impacts. It hurts people.”

Yet Ms. Gatwech herself proudly advertises her colouring as a valuable and commodifiable quality.  She is paid to show her skin to the marketers of cosmetics and clothing, to photograph and broadcast.  Ms. Gatwech, for your information, is cashing in on the character of her skin colour.  Is there a note of hypocrisy here?  Well, it’s not just a note; it’s a symphony of hypocrisy.

Dr. Lett assumes that “freak of nature” is pejorative.  It is not.  It is fundamentally similar to the first part of my comment, that Ms. Gatwech’s skin colouring and shape is a unique and remarkable expression of various attributes of gender, race, and heredity.  Unusual.  Distinctive.  Uncommon.  Poetically, she could be said to be a Mona Lisa, a Venus, a Madonna.

How different really is it from this more “anodyne” comment from TeenVogue?

It was then the dark skinned beauty started to build her portfolio, taking two years in New York and countless weekends during college to have photo shoots.

“Dark-skinned”?  Does that phrase stigmatize Ms. Gatwech?  Does it stereotype her?  Does the word “beauty” sexualize her?

It is clear from the rest of Dr.  Lieberman’s tweet that his comment is complimentary.  He admires Ms. Gatwech’s beauty.  It takes a perverse mind to construe his tweet as “stigmatizing” or “stereotyping” especially when the very attribute he is amazed by is her particularity.

Is it racist?  I don’t see it.  I see someone stating the obvious: Ms. Gatwech is a very unusual beauty, with extremely dark skin.

He added that he was “deeply ashamed” of his “prejudices and stereotypical assumptions.”

WTF?  What prejudice?  What “assumptions”?  Is there something else he said that we are missing that expressed prejudice?  Do the people making the accusation even know what a “stereotypical assumption” is?  Where is it, in the tweet?

I cringe at Dr. Liberman’s pathetic surrender to the puritanical fanatics of this culture of victimization.  You give liberals and progressives a bad name.  You make some right-wing commentators sound reasonable when they decry your extremism.

As for his judges, I hope I never, ever, ever meet you.

More on the scandal from NYTimes

An Excellent Rebuke to the culture of purity and assonance.

As for Jane Campion, what she said, in accepting her award for “Best Director”, is absolutely accurate: the Williams sisters did not, like her, have to compete against men for their prizes and awards.  Some critics counter that they did, indeed, play on mixed doubles teams, where they did play men.  Give me a break: that’s is not remotely the same as playing one-on-one against Nadel or Djokovic, against whom neither sister would stand a chance.  It is also a pity “King Richard”, the film about how they were “encouraged” to succeed by their father, never raises the issue of steroid abuse, even if to insist Serena was not using them, and that she had a TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemption) for prednisone, prednisolone and oxycodone.

As rumors of steroid abuse swirled around the WTA in the late ’90s and early 2000s, the WTA finally took action and called for offseason steroids testing. That testing was blocked by the top three women’s tennis players at the time. Those players were Serena and Venus Williams, along with Jennifer Capriati.  Bleacherreport

The claim is that these therapeutics help a sick athlete get better.  But very few therapeutics actually do that.  Usually, a virus runs it’s course and diminishes over time.  Therapeutics merely help you feel better.  And if someone was paying you millions of dollars to perform without raising questions about the integrity of your performance….

Just so You Know

While the American National women’s soccer team is suing for equal pay and bragging about their victories over other women and just how smackingly clever and talented they are, let’s just keep one minor corrective in mind:  the Australian National Women’s Team once challenged a team of 15-year-old boys.

They were easily, effortlessly, crushed 7-0.

The Americans are probably a bit better than the Australians but not by much.

So yes, you American women often beat other national women’s teams, but not nearly as many people care about your performance as much as you do, and you don’t play on the same grand scale as the men do, and no, you don’t deserve the same pay, not remotely, not by any standard that usually applies in the world of professional sports.  You can’t go into Italy or Brazil or even Iceland and play their national women’s team in front of 60,000 fans.

Anyone who watched your game right after, say, a men’s game of France vs. Spain, would know the truth.  In terms of skill and speed and power, you aren’t even close.  Not even close.

So who did you ask for more money?  From the fans, who would pay to see you?  From the owners of the club teams that run the league that you play in?  From the sponsors who pay for advertising during the games?  From the makers of sporting apparel and bling who dress you and market you?  But then you would have to prove that you actually generate the same income-driving passion as the men.  You don’t.  You too would lose to a bunch of 15-year-old boys if you played them.

So you went to the government.  That’s right.  Give us more money or we’ll cancel you.


Norm MacDonald

Did I miss something?  After Norm MacDonald’s death this week, I kept reading about what a great comedian he was.  I had never liked him much but I wanted to be fair:  I hadn’t paid a lot of attention to him.  Maybe I missed something.

Here’s one of his jokes.  He tells us that during a medical examination of Arnold Schwarzenegger because of a faulty heart valve some of the doctors were concerned because they became turned on during a routine examination.

That’s it.  That’s the punch line.  The audience, on SNL (which is live) didn’t laugh much either.

He also joked about a custody battle between a mother and her ex-husband who was transgender.  It was witless, crude, and dismissive.  It was the kind of joke back-slapping conservative males made and enjoyed at the time.  [Well, well: I now read that Macdonald was a Christian.  It’s possible to be politically progressive and Christian, but clearly Macdonald was your standard, off-the-shelf conservative hypocrite, mocking feminists, poor people, and gays, perhaps with slightly more subtlety than Dennis Miller, while nursing a gambling addiction.]

Again, in front of a picture of Bill and Hilary Clinton: “here’s a picture of the first bitch”.  No joke– just calling Hilary Clinton a bitch.  In another segment, he calls her a liar.  Again, no joke– just calling her a liar.   On an episode of “The View” he accused Bill Clinton of being a murderer.

A lot of Beatles paraphernalia was up for sale, including a “rare” photo of George Harrison not looking haggard.  Huh.

Two homeless people got married at a homeless shelter.  If you want to buy them a gift, they are “registered” at a recycling center.   Huh again.

I’m told his “off the cuff” comments on carrot-top were hilarious.  I’ve watched the clip.  I’m open-minded: maybe there is some reference there that is hilarious, and I missed it.

Same with a cooking demonstration on Conan O’Brien’s show with Gordon Ramsay.  We’re supposed to find his inept inability to follow instructions– like a drunk, really– hilarious.  The biggest laugh was his use of an obscenity, which the audience laughs at because they know it will be beep out.  It was all lame, tedious, witless, and boring.  Conan must have loved him– that lame segment should never have seen the editing suite.

Paul McCartney is going to host an online chat.  Already, 2.5 million calls have come in from people hoping to chat.  But 2 million of them are from Ringo.  That one is not even a little funny.

How about this: Donald Trump decided to divorce Marla Maples because she violated the pre-nuptial agreement by turning 30.  Sophomoric.

Washington D.C. mayor is not interested in polls, or anything that isn’t crack.  Again, very sophomoric.

A joke, in bad taste, about Reagan being allowed to still think he owns the ranch he sold to the U.S. government after the purchase.  Maybe Norm didn’t know Reagan had Alzheimer’s.

He mocks women for their looks.   He mocks Ellen DeGeneres for wanting to have a baby, because she and her partner are both women.  Yeah, they are.  Did someone miss something here?  This might have been funny had it not already occurred to every single person in the audience.

More women would vote if you could bake your vote.  I’m not making that one up– yes, he thought that was funny.  Yes, he read it on Weekend Update.  No, the audience didn’t find it funny either.

When a joke failed– which was often– he would ramble on aimlessly about how that one didn’t work, which is not even funny once, or make a banal comment like “what a world we live in” as if he discovered something that was not already obvious to everyone.  Or, fatally, he would try to explain why the joke was actually funny even though the audience didn’t laugh.  That’s not a secret: Macdonald’s approach to comedy was to do jokes he thought was funny even if the audience didn’t.  Like Red Skeleton.  He and some others thought it was a virtue.  I think it’s an attempt to explain why someone who checks him out because you said he was great might be disappointed: because you don’t get it, see?  He doesn’t care if you don’t think he’s funny.  Really?

After joking about Rikki Lake having to get rid of a dog because it was aggressive with her young child– by eating it– he compounds the lukewarm audience reception with “she ate a whole dog”, which torpedoes the wit factor of any joke.

Those are neither the least nor most funny of a bunch.  A joke about Richard Gere and a gerbil is worse than tasteless.

A lot of his humor is based on the “everyday man” school of comedy, which holds that anything sophisticated or complex should be mocked because if I don’t understand it, it can’t be true or valid.  Gay marriage.  Transgender surgery.  George Harrison frowning in a picture.  And why can’t I make fun of obese talk show hosts?  Well, you can– but making jokes about their obesity really isn’t all that funny anyway.  Calling Bill Clinton a murderer with a tone of  “everybody knows it, right?” isn’t even witty.  If there’s a joke about someone involved in the Clinton scandals– and there are lots– tell it.  But Macdonald didn’t have that kind of Carlinesque skill.

Macdonald did not graduate high school and he has the tone of someone who loves to get digs in on those people who think they are smarter than you simply because they are smarter than you and got educated and understanding something about finance and trade and economics and medicine and music and history– those snobs.

He defended Louis C.K. after he was blacklisted for some relatively mild allegations of inappropriate behavior– a position I agree with.  But he also defended Roseanne Barr  after she made several tasteless, racist tweets.

Well, gosh, so did Donald Trump.

Jokes about Oprah Winfrey’s husband writing a book on how to be a success (Macdonald quips, “marry Oprah Winfrey”), are okay.   A genuine joke: congratulations, Norm Macdonald.  Use this one as a model for humour.  And ironic insight.  A smart perception.  A revelatory twist.  Go for it.

That’s it for Norm Macdonald.  Some okay jokes.  Someone who must have been quite likeable in person– he has lots of defenders, including Jon Stewart and Conan O’Brien.  That doesn’t make him funny.



How Dare you Defend Yourself

The New York Review (of Books) is one of the best periodicals I have ever read.  It is up there with the long lost “American Film” and “Musician” magazines: couriers of superlative, thoughtful, original journalism unlike almost everything else out there.  Like “Wired” for it’s first year before it immediately declined into commercial crap gadget marketing manual.  Or “Byte Magazine” before it got bought out and began approving of Microsoft and got destroyed.

No– it is better than all of them ever were.

But, in the past few years, a couple of missteps.  First, Editor Ian Buruma is fired because he had the shameless audacity to allow Jian Ghomeshi to defend himself after the women who charged him with abusive behavior were caught lying to the police and to the judge at his trial.  I repeat, for emphasis: the women who charged him with abuse and assault lied to the police, to the crown attorneys, and the judge.  The evidence of this is indisputable.  There is no doubt but that the court would have loved– more than anything– to nail Jian Ghomeshi, but they didn’t because, by any reasonable standard of justice, they could not.

All of the charges were, as a result, dismissed.

But Mr. Buruma’s publisher decided that the lies did not matter.  The fact that some women made the charge against Ghomeshi is sufficient to determine his guilt.  Women never lie.  And if they do, the men they lie about are still guilty, because they are men.

And so we get to a deeply regrettable review by Joyce Carol Oates in the February 11, 2021 issue of New York Review, “Chronicle of a Death Ignored”.   Ms. Oates is discussing a book by Becky Cooper, “We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence”, about the murder of a Harvard graduate student, Jane Britton, in January, 1969.  Becky Cooper– to Ms. Oates pleasure– writes mostly, really, about herself, how she connected to the story, how she felt about it, and how important it is for us to know all about her.  Full disclosure: I don’t like that kind of “journalism”.  It’s not journalism.  It’s about me.

She also spends considerable time and effort to condemn Harvard University for not finding the killer among their abusive or “callow” professors for surely they were– as men– abusive or callow or both– and must certainly answer for Ms.  Britton’s murder.   But Becky Cooper is on to them: she confronts them with courage and conviction and persistence and forces them to admit that they are abusive and callow.

She is selective, of course.  Some students felt that Jane was in an abusive relationship with a professor at the time.  That must surely be true.  Jane’s brother thought she was promiscuous, a drug abuser, and “a bitch”.  That must surely be false, since it came from a man.

There is a development that is incredibly inconvenient for Cooper, which explains the odd first three paragraphs of Oates’ review.  Cooper has developed her entire project around the assumption that it was a Harvard professor, most likely Professor Lamberg-Karlovsky, who raped and murdered Britton.   Thus she is shocked and horrified that Harvard University actively  provided legal support to Lamberg-Karlovsky and others.

So, having spent 10 years developing this thesis and marshalling all your rhetorical energy to condemn the Harvard patriarchy, what do you do when the murderer turns out to be someone who had absolutely nothing to do with Harvard University?  Well, Oates would have you believe that there is some kind of essential, magical truth that makes Cooper’s narrative “a brilliantly idiosyncratic variant of generic true crime, rather more a memoir than a conventional work of reportage”.


Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

Harvard was indeed “silent”: but there was nothing to hide or disclose.  It didn’t know who murdered Jane Britton and, as it turns out, there was no reason to think it should have known.  Harvard didn’t “ignore” the death.   It’s just that Ms. Cooper and Ms. Oates think the Harvard patriarchy is complicit in some way regardless of the facts.

And they are not personally satisfied with the grandiosity of Harvard’s response, as if Harvard owed it to them, as women, to scale it all up.

Well, as in the case of Ghomeshi, it is sufficient to make the charge.  How dare they defend themselves!  If a woman says you did something wrong, you did something wrong, whether you did it or not.

More Harvard Cancellation.



“Crucify” by Tori Amos

When it was first released, I thought this song, and the entire album it was released on was very compelling.  Over the years, I’ve begun to rethink this one– “Crucify Myself”.

It initially impressed me as a complaint– why do men abuse us so much?  Why are we figuratively “crucified” when we don’t measure up to your standards?

It took me years to realize that the “standards” she attributes to men don’t belong to men at all.  They belong to women.  And what she is really complaining about is why do I have to feel bad about not pleasing you?  The next question, honestly is, who asked you to please me?

It is not unusual to discover that a person who resents someone’s lack of gratitude is really more angry about the lack of obligation felt by the recipient of his or her ministrations.  Why can’t I control you?  I made you breakfast.  Why don’t you verbally thank me when I made you coffee when you didn’t ask for it?




For God’s sake, she is the wife of a former president.

That is the problem at the heart of the four-part series “Hillary” on Netflix, a carefully crafted and manipulated portrait of the woman who lost the 2016 presidential election to the most ridiculous candidate in the history of the U.S.   The astute observer will immediately detect the subtle direction of the edits, the selectivity, the omissions, all intended to convince you that Hillary Clinton did not ride to prominence on the coattails of her husband, and that her influence and power within the Clinton Administration and her subsequent career as Senator and Secretary of State and presidential candidate were the fruits of some kind of legitimate mandate, and not the product of opportunism or privilege, and that the only reason she lost to Donald Trump was the embedded misogyny of American political culture, and the unmitigated gall of Bernie Sander’s fanatical followers to not turn up and vote for her.

What must not be displayed is the obvious: her entire career in politics was founded upon the success of her husband, Bill Clinton, who assembled a team of political operatives and ran for election as Attorney-General, and then Governor of Arkansas, and then President of the United States.  This is not to say that she was not a talented lawyer, or political manager.  This is to say that she would never have served as Secretary of State, or run for the Senate, or for President, if it had not been for the fact that her husband ran and won first.

“Hillary” tries– too hard– to convince you that Hillary Clinton was so remarkable, so amazing, and so diligent and perceptive and astute, that she earned her way into the White House, and to the Senate, and into Obama’s cabinet, and then as the presidential nominee for the Democratic Party in 2016.

So we are shown clips from the 1992 Bill Clinton campaign in which we offered two contradictory narratives, simultaneously true and not true.  One, that she was a liberated feminist who contributed mightily to the campaign on both a strategic and policy level, and, two, that she became a substantial liability after insisting that she had no intention of staying home and baking cookies.  While insisting that she did not compromise her principles, we are shown the new haircut, the demur stage presence, the tailored outfits, the girlish exuberance– bouncing on the stage with Tipper Gore– but told to believe that through some magical osmosis, America elected her to be an active and involved First Lady.

The right comment from a reporter or columnist at that moment would have been to point out that this established something about her character, a suspicion, that never went away.

Let’s go back further.  Bill Clinton won his first election as governor of Arkansas and then lost his second attempt, then won his third attempt.  “Hillary” would have you believe that it was because she became a better governor’s wife.  Every other political analyst knows it was because Bill Clinton reversed his position on capital punishment, purely out of political calculation.  What was that again about authenticity?  “Hillary” itself begins to raise suspicions about their interest in the truth.

That’s the seed of America’s disaffection with Hillary Clinton: the “documentary” (it is not a documentary: it’s a flattering piece of Hillary advocacy) shows us Hillary scoffing at the idea that she presented a calculated image to the American people and subtly affirms her view.  Why did people ever think she was not authentic or genuine?  It’s a mystery!   And then she proceeds to claim to be baffled as to why, after the scandalous bail-out of the banks after the 2008 crisis, people would want to know what she said to Goldman-Sachs for $200,000.  Why didn’t she just release the text of the speech she gave to them?  She says, because she was using it as leverage to force Bernie Sanders to release his tax returns.


“Hillary” would have you believe that all Bernie Sanders talked about during the 2016 campaign was her corrupt ties to the banking and investment industries.  No mention of Vince Foster’s suicide on July 20, 1993.   (as of the first episode and 1/2) and the travel office scandal.  We’ll see…


I watched the episode (3) which covered the infamous Vince Foster suicide.  And no surprise: not a word about “travel-gate”.  In summary, the Clinton’s became convinced that the travel office, headed by one Billy Ray Dale (who had served under two previous presidents) which organizes flights for members of the press corps when the president travels, was disorganized and unaccountable and possibly even corrupt.  They wanted to replace the staff with some of the their friends from Arkansas.  It was also believed that staff members in the White House travel office were leaking gossip about the Clintons’ marriage to the press.   So the Clintons had seven members of the staff fired and replaced with Arkansas associates.  And then were very surprised to learn that the media– which was quite friendly to the staff of the travel office– thought the firings unjustified and driven by ulterior motives.  Republicans sensed an opportunity and cried foul.  The whole thing blew up and became the Clintons’ first unpleasant public scandal.

There were rumours that Hillary had been pushing the firings which she categorically, publicly denied, even to investigators.


A two-year-old memo from White House director of administration David Watkins surfaced that identified First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton as the motivating force behind the firings, with the additional involvement of Vince Foster and Harry Thomason.[39] “Foster regularly informed me that the First Lady was concerned and desired action. The action desired was the firing of the Travel Office staff.  Wikipedia

It is important to note here that there is evidence that the travel office really was somewhat corrupt and that it did favors for the press, which may be one of the reasons the press seized on the story.  There were investigations before the Clintons but nobody had proceeded with charges or disciplinary actions.

During the investigation, Hillary Clinton was question by investigators and she vehemently denied that she had anything at all to do with the firings.  This was a lie.

Hillary Clinton lied to the press and to investigators about her role in the affair.  And, in “Hillary”, she lies again, pretty shamelessly, mocking those who thought there was anything to the scandal.

“Hillary” wants you to believe it is honest and truthful by carefully choosing the scandals we all already know about to relate to us (look– they even talk about Genifer Flowers!) while conspicuously ignoring the ones that will never play well.  “Hillary” proffers lots of straw men to knock down and badly wants you to believe that people didn’t like Hillary Clinton because she was strong or opinionated or a woman.  How easy to believe she is really a wonderful, honest person who never deserved any of the vitriol directed her way.  But the fact that they ignored the more unpleasant facts about her career (and the one overwhelming fact I stated in the first line of this piece) just confirms what people have always thought about the Clintons: they are not authentic or honest or straight, and a good deal of the misfortunes they encountered in their careers– including losing the 2016 election– were deserved.

But life is endlessly ironic.  The Republicans, without a doubt, harbored a vicious, vindictive, irrational hatred of Hillary Clinton, and, yes, there really was a conspiracy to destroy their political careers, funded by wealthy right-wing investors in cooperation with Republican operatives and ultra-conservative media personalities, and, eventually Vladimir Putin and the Russians.  Mr. Comey became an accidental accessory when he announced that he was re investigating her “missing” emails just days before the vote in 2016.

Hillary Clinton should have been elected in 2016 not because she was a good candidate for president but because her opponent was incredibly awful.  The truth is that Bernie Sanders would probably have won that election had he been the Democratic nominee.  Clinton was a bad choice, given her long history in Washington, the way she polarized voters, and her privileged access to Washington politics as the wife of the former president.

And, yes, her fundamental dishonesty.