Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Jussie Smollett

If I do say so myself (and long term readers if there are any will remember that this is true) I steered clear of the Duke lacrosse team and A Rape on Campus because my very sensitive nose detected malodours. While the motives of the perpetrators in the cases were somewhat different, it was possible to have some sympathy for them. The Duke accuser was not assaulted as she claimed, but she was disrespected and she was also in financial difficulty. She probably felt humiliated by having to work as a stripper in the first place and putting on a show for a bunch of white preppies had to hurt. As for "Jackie," we don't know why she made up her story, but evidently she had been severely traumatized by some event and it got transmogrified into the tale that appeared in Rolling Stone.

In these cases, the blame for the harm they caused is largely with the credulous reporters and in the Duke case, an overzealous prosecutor. I am happy to say that contrary to claims that are rocketing around the right wing nutosphere, I'm not the only liberal blogger who steered clear of Jussie Smollett, in fact very few people jumped on the case. As Paul Campos makes clear, people are pretending that he became a cause celebre on the left because that makes it seem more embarrassing, but that just isn't true. Smollett's story was just too pat to believe.

Disclaimer -- no verdict yet, maybe there's more to it than we know.

That said, what an incredibly fucked up thing to do. This guy is already rich and famous, his career was assured, what on earth was going on in his head? According to the police, he thought he was underpaid and he somehow had the idea that this would make him more famous and he'd get a raise? WTF? The fact is that gay bashing really does happen -- in fact it happened to a friend of mine. So do racially motivated hate crimes. They happen every day, and more so since November 2016, as we all know. Now people have an excuse to dismiss it.

What really frosts my pumpkin is that the producers of Empire are saying they're going to keep him on the show. That probably won't work out if he's in jail, but come on.


Mark P said...

I agree. It smelled a little fishy from the beginning. Too many things to stuff into one hate crime. A number of fairly liberal and progressive blogs I read didn't mention it until after it fell apart. They, too, thought there was something off in the story. So I don't think many prominent liberals made a big deal about it. It was the news media that did that.

Anonymous said...

Would you be so willing to apologize for the Duke accuser or "Jackie" if you were the accused? Probably not.

You could have lost your livelihood, friends, etc. not to mention your wealth though legal fees and civil actions. Let's remember they got caught. They didn't have any change of heart.

I'm not so generous about it. They were willing to destroy lives.

John Bachtell said...

@ Mark P:
Kamala Harris and Corey Booker both jumped on it and have since been trying to walk it all back.

Do they qualify as prominent liberals?

Cervantes said...

1) I'm not apologizing for them, they did indeed do great damage. But they were evidently emotionally distraught and disturbed. I always try to understand why people do wrong stuff, to respond with sympathy if possible as well as whatever moral disapproval is appropriate. I believe that is considered the Christian thing to do, even though I'm not a Christian.

2) Sure, some people believed it. Actually they believed the Chicago Police Department. As a matter of fact your love interest, Donald J. Trump, believed it and tweeted about it. But most people were properly skeptical.