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.
I very much agree. I mean, I’ve yet to watch the Cranston video, so I cannot comment on those specifics yet, but I’m very much on the same page with you about the law and official judicial judgments vs. personal value judgments. “[T]rial-by-social-media” is precisely one of the things I find iffy about movements like #MeToo . While accusations need to be taken seriously, an accusation by itself is not proof of guilt, obviously. But the social media mobs don’t seem to care about that, and it’s fucking horrible. 
 As to #MeToo, I think the basic premise is solid, and it at least started as a powerful way to throw a real spotlight on sexual harassment and abuse, and if it turns out to be a catalyst for permanent change towards less sexual harassment and abuse, then more power to it. I just hope there isn’t too much collateral damage to accused people who are actually innocent or whose actions don’t fit the punishment they get.
 Some argue that “innocent until proven guilty” does not apply in normal life, outside the courtroom and actual crimes, but I think that’s bullshit.
I agree as well. It’s iffy for me to talk about the video since I haven’t watched it, but I am trusting to your summary. Therefore I will say that I consider this sort of continued attack when “justice” has spoken to be ultimately harmful to women’s rights, and the #MeToo movement specifically. This sort of behavior gives those on the fence an excuse not to join us, because even we can see things in this sort of video we definitely think are wrong.
I’m all in favor of railing on these men and women (mostly men, let’s be honest) until such time as justice has been served upon them (or attempted). But at that point, you have to back off. It’s an issue legally, too, right? I mean, depending on what she said, couldn’t it be slander? Tread really carefully here.
What I agree with Cranston and others about, however, is the fire and fury we bring to those accused BEFORE justice has been given. I think it is this activity which often leads to justice when it wouldn’t have otherwise been given. So I can’t fully disavow social media “crucifixion” or whatever term you want.
But there’s a time to quiet down. And there’s also a time to accept that maybe the guy is falsely accused. It’s not common, but it does happen. I tend to think Ryan Seacrest was falsely accused and yet now he is shunned. Not that I shed a tear for a rich guy down on his luck temporarily, but I write again that if you care for women’s rights and the movement, you need to show compassion for the falsely accused and consideration that a person might be falsely accused.
I’m fine with fire and fury beforehand if there’s sufficient cause/evidence to believe that the target really is guilty of whatever they’re accused of. But if you rage against someone without knowing any better, if you uncritically take the accuser’s word over the accused’s just because you like whatever the accuser is or represent better, or just because they’re the accuser, then it’s iffy for me.
I completely agree with you. It’s part of what I meant by “consideration” that the accused could be innocent.
It’s so weird that we’re all agreeing.
I agree! Just wait…surely someone thinks we’re being sexist here. Or radfem. Give it time. I believe in the internet.
Let me take swing at it tomorrow morning before my coffee.
We are three dudes agreeing about an issue whose negative impact is mostly felt by women. We’re bound to be at least 50% in the wrong.
I figured I’d just drop some random comments in response to stuff you said (dreameling) and put it all in the one reply.
The biggest problem is, of course, that the law and the courts and the very system of justice – in our respective first world countries, let alone worldwide – is critically biased in favour of privilege, and the more of the assorted privileges you have, the more likely you are to win. That’s not really justice. It’s just the best we can manage for … well, reasons I guess?
It absolutely applies outside the courtroom in the case of actual crimes, I agree. But you left some room for interpretation there so I will add that I think when it comes to a lot of things that aren’t crimes as such, “innocent until proven guilty” really doesn’t apply.
For example, cheat on your spouse once. You are automatically guilty until proven innocent in every suspected case forever thereafter, as far as I’m concerned. Because you were a cheating piece of shit once.
But that’s basically talking about benefit of the doubt. Fuck one goat, and so on. “Innocent until proven guilty” still applies there, in terms of the actual words … but it’s not exactly the same, outside of court and outside of crime.
Why would our legal system and the celebrity industry govern each other? Why would it matter what a judge said, when determining ‘branding’? What do these things have to do with each other at all?
In the US, typically claims of libel or slander require that the statement be demonstrably false (settling out of court is what guilty people do) and harmful to a person in their profession/trade. Each state has their own laws on specific content and penalties. The internet is practically ungovernable within the US. Bryant would have to sue an internet commentator in a German court and prove it had been viewed by a German resident –and that the German resident’s opinion of him meaningfully impacted his ability to conduct trade.– So, the legal system isn’t a consideration here, really.
Your question would have to be about ethics. Is it ethical to call a spade a spade, if the spade paid a defendant quite a lot of money to call it a shovel instead?
The game is rigged, and the only team is men. Each woman evidently has to defend herself individually and in excess, lest it become a conversation about how it’s unfair to men. 🤷
“The game is rigged, and the only team is men. Each woman evidently has to defend herself individually and in excess, lest it become a conversation about how it’s unfair to men. ”
I would argue that the very issue here is OTHER women defending the one woman ‘in excess’. How about we avoid the excess and just defend her? How much less effective would Hannah’s video have been if she just said “it looks like he really did rape her”, and “I refuse to believe the statements made after the settlement” without taking those next steps?
If you think this helps women’s rights, that’s your opinion. Support what you want! I’m just saying I don’t think it does. Forget being “unfair to men”, that’s a small piece of this I’m not really worried about. Men aren’t the only ones falsely accused of crimes, after all.
I’ll take a crack at answering this non-defensively, because you’re right. And this absolutely isn’t about claiming this is unfair to men. It’s a redressing of a balance that I think feels unfair to men (they’re wrong) because the balance has been basically lying on its side the whole time. Turning it into anything resembling equality is going to be not only a long and ugly fight, it’s going to involve a lot of crying.
I definitely overstated my case in favour of the “but he was found not guilty” rather than the “I’m pretty sure he did it.” And since he made the case go away, I am glad he suffered some consequences. A conviction and prison sentence would have been better. An Oscar?
I certainly hope the cultural positivity outweighs the damage he has done to his victim and her family. And even then … nah, I’m pretty fine with the negative impacts he’s suffered. Because you’re right. The court of popular opinion may not be able to sentence him to prison, but he doesn’t have a right to fame, fortune and popularity. If he’s suffered some loss in those privileges, it’s the least I think he deserves.
“I’ll take a crack at answering this non-defensively, because you’re right. And this absolutely isn’t about claiming this is unfair to men. It’s a redressing of a balance that I think feels unfair to men (they’re wrong) because the balance has been basically lying on its side the whole time. ”
Now, at the same time, you have to ask yourself if you want to *intentionally* be “unfair” to men as you redress this balance. Bringing in the topic of “unfair to men” in this way makes me think that thelinza is cool with that. I will let you speak for yourself instead of hybridizing our personal correspondence with this blog post any further, but I will make my own response to this issue here.
I think overcorrection is a TERRIBLE idea. Not because I’m a man, and not because I’m a man who would be harmed by this. If any woman thinks I’ve been sexist to her, let her feel free to say so. First of all, I’m confident it is either a misunderstanding, wrong, really minor, or something I’ve learned not to do (and never intended to do in the first place). And second of all, I don’t WANT to be sexist to any woman. So teach me.
But overcorrection will backfire, I guarantee it. I won’t be the one backfiring unless I am wronged directly, but I will speak out against it. I think we’re all taught many “do’s and don’t’s” as children, and some of them are bullshit. But I was taught “two wrongs don’t make a right”, and I still believe that. Why? First of all, what will stop the cycle? The second wronged party has to agree, collectively, “yeah, it was fair that I was wronged” for this to work. Good luck with that.
In addition to the resentment you must know you’ll be creating, you’re just repeating the same thing that got us here, in the other direction. This isn’t a math problem. You can’t add up sexism against all women over here, and then extreme retaliation against all men over there, and add it up to zero. The way to add it up to zero is to demand equality and force equality and live equality until it sticks. It’s not a satisfying answer, but sometimes the right answer isn’t the one that feels the best. Not the one that makes our “revenge” sense happy.
I’m sorry but any overcorrecting approach is a terrible idea. Should we enslave white men for hundreds of years to overcorrect for slavery of blacks? Was that the right solution we never took?
That’s extreme and not a parallel analogy, but it’s an in-kind analogy.
It’s a matter of taking it case by case. And in this case, I don’t feel anything unfair has happened to Kobe, let alone all men. So there we go.
“It’s a matter of taking it case by case. And in this case, I don’t feel anything unfair has happened to Kobe, let alone all men. So there we go.”
That works as long as we only talk about the most egregious (in terms of the men’s actions) cases.
But I’m not going to initiate a historical review of all accusations to-date (and their consequences) right here and now. I only wish for the general approach to be considered.
I keep trying to tell you, I don’t think there’s a general approach to this, so arguing against it is basically a strawman – unless of course you want to argue about it with someone other than me. Which is fine.
I think there are cases where overcorrection serves a purpose and still doesn’t really hurt men. I also think there are a lot of cases of overcorrection that a lot of men will say is harmful or unfair, and I disagree with them.
Case by case.
“I keep trying to tell you, I don’t think there’s a general approach to this, so arguing against it is basically a strawman – unless of course you want to argue about it with someone other than me. Which is fine.”
Fine. You don’t. Others seem to think there is. I’m not only arguing with you, mate. And I’ll put you over in the category of “don’t overcorrect across the board”. Cool.
“I think there are cases where overcorrection serves a purpose and still doesn’t really hurt men. I also think there are a lot of cases of overcorrection that a lot of men will say is harmful or unfair, and I disagree with them.”
Just to be clear: you “disagree with them” as in those cases, in the second bit? I think that’s what you meant but the indefinite reference gave me whiplash at first.
Sure, that’s why I invited you to pursue that disagreement with someone else. In fact, the way I see it you’re not arguing with me at all.
Hmm? Oh, no no, nope. I disagree with the dudebros crying unfairsies. I think there are a lot of cases of overcorrection that a lot of men will say is harmful or unfair, and I disagree with those men.
Of course, there are also cases of overcorrection that a lot of people will say is unfair and I’ll agree with those people. Case by case.
Imma sleep on this.
I’m trying to come up with useful examples, because I know my comments are noncommittal to the point of meaninglessness.
International Women’s Day is one case, on a very minor scale. I have my reservations about its value, but most of the women I know seem to appreciate it and I think it’s valuable to make more effort to show how far we still have to go. There are those who complain about unfairness because there’s no International Men’s Day.
Old lines about every other day of the year aside, I disagree with the idea that it’s unfair. Women may get a “special day” that men don’t specifically get and that could be considered an overcorrection … but it’s fine. I’d be happy to take it even further, and I just wish we didn’t have to live in a world where these sorts of gestures are necessary.
Since you mentioned race, it’s like the people who complain there’s no White History Month in the US. Fuck those people.
Another interesting example was (I think it was) a female US Supreme Court Justice who was asked how many seats on the Supreme Court would have to be occupied by women before it was equal. And she said all of the seats, for however many hundred-plus years it’s been 100% men.
I doubt that will happen and I think that’s an overcorrection that doesn’t really serve equality – in fact, I’m certain she was just saying it to make a point about how stupid and inapplicable this concept of “practical equality” really is – and yet, if the Supreme Court did end up with all female Justices, I wouldn’t call it unfair. Any more than having one woman in the place of one man is unfair.
The usual argument is that as long as they’re better qualified and better at the job than the male candidate, of course they deserve the position. And diversity hiring is unfair to better qualified people. I think that’s the wrong way of looking at it. The “diversity” issue needs to work on a deeper level so that historically oppressed and underrepresented people get more opportunity to become the better qualified candidate and have more opportunities and a support network to achieve the post in the first place. And that’s a network that white men have been building for centuries, and you and I benefit from. I know, white male privilege is boring. Oh well.
This is of course a way bigger issue than firing men and hiring women for “equality”. And something (hmm, been here before) I think we’re only going to achieve on a very unsatisfying generational level. But. I’m open to being surprised by revolutionary changes.
Just … y’know, don’t kill me?
“Why would our legal system and the celebrity industry govern each other? Why would it matter what a judge said, when determining ‘branding’? What do these things have to do with each other at all?”
That’s a good question. I think I agree with the implication of your questions because I have no problem with Kobe being ‘branded’ a terrible person based on the supposition that this accusation is true. Perhaps an even better example would be the oft-offending Chris Brown. I’ve never given a shit what he said or even what Rihanna said in his defense because it’s clear, he’s a woman beater. He’s a piece of shit, end of story. I don’t need the justice system one way or the other.
I didn’t know anything about Kobe but I suspect I’d be in the same place if I did.
“In the US, typically claims of libel or slander require that the statement be demonstrably false (settling out of court is what guilty people do)”
I settled out of court on a DUI because I was INNOCENT, the cop was a piece of shit, but I could see the system was against me and I couldn’t afford the court costs anyway. Plus it was out of state. Please avoid such blanket statements.
Even rich people settle out of court when they’re not guilty. This is just demonstrably untrue for you to assert. Reputation is a commodity for celebrities, and a court trial does far more damage to a reputation than settling out of court. It’s still better even considering the people who use the settlement to instantly conclude you’re guilty.
Again, I think Kobe IS probably guilty of this rape and destroying that woman’s character to protect himself. But we’re talking about all cases now.
“and harmful to a person in their profession/trade. Each state has their own laws on specific content and penalties. The internet is practically ungovernable within the US. Bryant would have to sue an internet commentator in a German court and prove it had been viewed by a German resident –and that the German resident’s opinion of him meaningfully impacted his ability to conduct trade.– So, the legal system isn’t a consideration here, really.”
Fair enough, what you say here sounds right and I wouldn’t consider trying to refute it. I was just raising the possibility for consideration.
“Your question would have to be about ethics. Is it ethical to call a spade a spade, if the spade paid a defendant quite a lot of money to call it a shovel instead?”
You have based this ethical question on certainty where there is not even 100% certainty in this case (though I think it’s likely), and where there typically is far less certainty when considering the collection of cases to which this applies.
He’s an alleged spade. If he was paying her to prevent further harm to his reputation, instead of to stop telling the truth, then it’s unethical to call him a spade.
Does it come down to whom you’re concerned with being wrong about? The rich accused or the not-rich accuser? I can’t help but break it down further to the entire basis of our justice system, which I hope we all still accept. It is far worse to put an innocent person in prison than to let a guilty one go free. Regardless of the crime.
All this was a lovely illustration of both my point and Lewis’s Law. Thanks.
thelinza, it’s pretty cute to say my comments which partially agree and partially disagree with you illustrate your point. I’ll leave my response there for that part of your post.
But yes, we do need feminism. IMO, Lewis’s Law is unnecessary. I already know we need feminism. HTH. HAND.
Yeah, people get to state their opinions on my blog, regardless of their gender. I come down hard on Aaron, a lot. I don’t think this is warranted or particularly justified.
I would also very much like to see a non-binary form of inclusion and celebration that didn’t say “there’s red M&Ms and there’s blue M&Ms and as long as we’re trying to acknowledge that one doesn’t get equal billing, we’re all good.”
Assorted LBGT pride and acceptance days are a good start, but just like with International Women’s Day I would be happy to see it taken further.
This has meandered a bit beyond the original sad case of Kobe Bryant and the woman I’m pretty sure he disgustingly wronged, but was found technically innocent of wronging. And that’s okay. I was bored with him anyway.
I guess what my ultimate question here is, is what’s the lesson that’s being taught to young kids with this whole thing?
Are boys and girls both learning that if you try hard and practice and commit to a course of action, you can be a star – not just of the sporting arena, but ‘most any other field of excellence you put your efforts to?
Or are boys learning that if you do all that, and become a star, you can rape a woman if you feel like it and not only not go to jail, you can still win a goddamn Oscar?
Because one of those lessons is wonderful, and the other is utterly unacceptable. The latter is a lesson the #MeToo movement is set on eradicating, and a damn good thing too, and in entertainment at least we’ve seen some amazing results.
In this specific case, we see the former lesson being given weight – and the latter lesson, for reasons of law, being downplayed. I just wish there were more cases of the former lesson out there, so we could afford to reject this case and say “no, it’s not worth it.”
And I think that’s a decision everyone has to make on their own, for themselves. There’s no right or wrong answer. There’s just people, with one opinion and one arsehole each. Or, in my case, two opinions. Because fuck all y’all.
My, you’ve been busy! And here I was all my birthday avoiding reading this for fear my daring to speak was judged as “mansplaining”. Oh boy did I have responses ready for that.
I don’t think this is the lesson anyone learns lately:
“Or are boys learning that if you do all that, and become a star, you can rape a woman if you feel like it and not only not go to jail, you can still win a goddamn Oscar?”
Fucking hell, I was born in the 70’s and I never heard that fucking lesson. I think this is way, way past its expiration date. I think we need to stop pretending–yes I think that’s the right word–pretending that’s what drives men today.
But what do I know? I’m only a man today.
And yes, fair to say both lessons are pretty misleading because an awful lot of people won’t be as good as (I assume) Kobe Bryant is at basketball no matter how plucky they are or hard they practice.
I’m departing from this discussion pretty soon, but look at it this way: It’s pretty super obvious to all of us here that Bryant probably did that awful thing even if he wasn’t found guilty in the eyes of the law. And while I don’t particularly like the way the video handled that certainty, I think we are still giving the message that any impulsive, selfish, and self-indulgent behaviour is rewarded rather than punished when you’re famous. And I do think that lesson is still finding its way to kids even if you personally are enlightened as fuck. And I want that lesson to go away.
And if the law failed to make that lesson go away, then I guess we have to try other methods. And denial of the Cloak of Celebrity Invincibility is one of them.
And it’s still not something we can formulate a blanket general response to. We have to react to it case by case.
Also, pretty much too late to do anything about Kobe Bryant, who I’d never heard of until now. But the Oscars thing brought it back around.