Day 67. 118,449 words.
This came up as a topic of discussion in a correspondence and since I completely ran out of time today, I figured what the Hell. Might as well make it into my blog post for the day because I’m interested in seeing what my dear Frequent Commenters think about it. And it was, in a ghastly sort of way, an appropriate topic for International Women’s Day too. Some things need to be spoken about.
This concerns The Young Turks news network, and specifically outspoken women’s rights activist and social justice warrior Hannah Cranston. She put out a video about some basketballer, at least I think he is. Kobe Bryant. I’m not kidding or trying to be edgy, I honestly have no idea who he is although the name is vaguely familiar. Now I’ve looked into it yes, his name is Kobe Bryant and he’s a basketball player. He also just won an Oscar for a poem he did all by himself.
 This term has obviously gotten a bad stigma in recent years, basically ever since it was coined. I use it now, however, without any real bias. I just think it accurately describes Cranston’s public persona and calling, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing.
Well done Kobe! Aren’t Oscars for movies? I mean, well done Kobe!
I don’t know if this video link will work, but I couldn’t find it on YouTube yet.
So yeah, he was apparently accused of sexual assault fifteen years ago. And it was pretty ugly. The evidence all seemed to be there, his actions and the woman’s condition all looked damning, but then a lot of shit about the woman’s flaws and issues came out, she was basically destroyed and ultimately refused to testify against him, and the case was thrown out. She later filed a civil lawsuit and they settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
Now I ain’t no big city lawyer, *snaps spandex*, and I don’t want to say that settling out of court for undisclosed amounts is what vastly wealthy guilty people and companies do, but settling out of court for undisclosed amounts is what vastly wealthy guilty people and companies do.
Anyway, I was pretty disgusted looking at the assorted details, because it seems pretty clear what had happened. What Cranston said happened, basically, in her video – I’m pretty sure is what happened.
The case was thrown out, and the civil suit was settled, and he was only alleged to have raped the woman. That has to be enough, if we want our system of laws to mean anything. We can’t just reject reality and substitute our own, even if we don’t like it. Especially if we don’t like it, sometimes.
I think Michael Jackson did things with young children. I think OJ did commit that murder. I think there are a lot of guilty people who get off without any meaningful consequences because they’re rich, powerful, and popular. And that’s some bullshit right there.
But it’s the law. If you’re found not guilty, then you can’t be branded a rapist. And whatever you go on to achieve in life can’t be soiled by something you were found innocent of.
And that’s what a lot of these trial-by-social-media things are. There’s no legal recourse for what we all basically agree is injustice, but now we’re seeing that careers and lives can still be destroyed by this method. No courtroom required! And whether I approve or disapprove seems to vary case by case. What if a person who’s being witch-hunted really is innocent?
I try not to let it vary depending on whether or not I like the person involved. But I have to admit that can be a factor.
I don’t care about Kobe Bryant. I think giving an Academy Award to a sports star, in the category Poem What I Done All On My Own And A Friend Drew Pictures (or whatever it was), is stupid. But I think the Academy Awards are kinda stupid too.
I also think that if that poem inspired any young kids to follow their dreams, then it was worth doing. I think Kobe probably did commit rape and then made it go away by destroying a poor woman whose life he already ruined by raping her. But I also think that in the eyes of the law, it did go away, so Cranston shouldn’t have written a video where she uses language that makes it sound like he did it and it’s a proven fact – makes it sound, indeed, like he should legally be in jail rather than getting an Oscar.
I also think that if she wants to make accusations like that and rail against how unfair it is that a very strongly suspected piece of shit is getting more fame and glory and attention when he should be in jail, that’s kinda fine, as long as it’s handled the right way. Everyone makes jokes about Jackson and OJ. There’s very little “hey, he was found innocent, let it go”. This feels like the same category to me. I don’t like how that case unfolded, and I don’t care about the Oscars or his dumb poem, so I consider him fair game.
 Not that I hear, anyway – there probably is, in some circles.
And that’s very much a value judgement, which is why I am heartily glad there are value judgements from random nobodies, and then there’s the law, and the two things are very fucking different.
And, because I’m a masochist, I looked at some of the comments on the video and while a lot of them did make the same point about Kobe being found innocent, an awful lot more of them seemed way overboard to me on the abuse and demands that Cranston be fired and dramatic declarations of “me and TYT parting ways right now”. Which is really not the reaction I think people should be having. There needs to be more hearing of these issues, and less angry rejection.
On the whole, I approved of Cranston’s video in principle, but I disapproved of the way she phrased her accusations as though the guy had actually been found guilty in a court of law rather than the opposite. But I can see how it feels like there was no other recourse. If you can’t make your point the right way, doesn’t mean the point is wrong. It just means the game is rigged.
And I liked the video, despite its intellectual question marks, because it made me think about all this stuff that I just wrote down. Even if it was, on balance, pretty depressing.
Does my approval or disapproval mean a damn thing either way? Not really. It’s International Women’s Day and I’m a man, so technically this could have waited until tomorrow and I could have passed down my judgement from on high with a clear, albeit shitlordy conscience. But I posted it today, because these are the sorts of issues women face.
The game is rigged. But the teams don’t need to be Men and Women.