Bill Clinton's Shadow

This just in — in the mail:

Richard Posner's Sex and Reason.

I have been meaning to read this book since it first came out. I wanted to review it, but the magazine I worked for at the time was run by a crazy boss, and his rule was that review copies that came in belonged to him, and, alas, not to his employees even if they reviewed the book in the magazine.

Talk about unreasonable! So I never read it, never reviewed it. Such was the magazine’s loss.

Anyway, Posner’s tome could not come at a more auspicious time, for taboo sexual relations all the way from risqué jokes up the ladder of evil to rape are on our minds.

But I have not read it yet. So I cannot comment. What I can honestly comment on are yet more elements of the current wave of sex abuse allegations. And have. Though some, like previously today, I would not direct to strangers on Facebook, others I did place on that site. Like this, below:

While I believe (or at least “strongly suspect”) that the Roy Moore and Hollywood sex scandal pile-ons are true, my caution advises me to bracket out all opportunistic and witch-hunty accusation binges, and suggest discounting them as possible fabrications.

I remember the mania of Satanic child-abuse cases in the ’80s and ’90s, all of which turned out to be false. But they looked so real at the time. (Though I had doubts, back then, big doubts from the beginning . . . largely because I know that children fib regularly, and are easily manipulable.) When there is a “cause” that leads people to pile on, some of those doing the piling are almost invariably opportunistic liars. The trouble is, we have no way, by hearsay and reporting alone, to judge such accusations. So we don’t really know what to make of most of them.

Then, I wouldn’t vote for Roy Moore even if he were a eunuch on estrogen.

It is true. I do believe most of these accounts. I speculated yesterday why so many people in the public eye seem to have these problems, and I guess I should reiterate at least one point: those who are given to breaking basic taboos are also the same kind of person to take up professions where those taboos are easiest to flout, and which feed the egos of the people doing the flouting.

But I am greatly worried about all the precipitous judgments outside courts of laws, especially when it all depends upon testimony and nothing else.

It’s not just that men can be corrupted by situations of power, and seek out those situations because of a predilection for corruption itself, but also because women (and anyone, for that matter) can be corrupted by waves of accusation, by herd behavior, mobbing. And no doubt some of these accusations are opportunistic lies.

They are, I think, this: too much too late.

Had they been made earlier, then the crimes (or slights) could justly find proper redress. Now it just looks bad, even in cases where the accusations are true and the accused are in the wrong.

This being said, when The Atlantic, today, published an article taking up the feminist movements near-united defense of the oft-accused Bill Clinton, I tagged my Facebook post “It’s about freakin’ time.”


P.S. And then, in the Schadenfreude Department:

And a sensible perspective, with a proposal:

P.P.S. A final thought of some substance: The context of a sexual offensive maneuver can turn it from a slight of etiquette to an assault. For instance, a disgusting suggestion when you have exit from a room may be just that, a disgusting suggestion. But if someone has blocked the door and looms over you saying it, it does indeed become something much more serious. (I wrote this before watching the Feminism KEK video by Diana Davison. And yes, this too was pulled from Facebook.)