A Time To Blame
The inability to control what happens in the tragic and dark elements of life stands by itself in the ineffable experiences of peoples various lives. With a struggle to comprehend the complexity of some realities, at its basis tragedy with the left part of our logos mind must somehow be attempted to be explained. We want to understand why the Titanic sank, which the community eventually turned to blame. I wrote about this in a past post. Blame is what we use to scapegoat our misunderstanding or inability to comprehend a logical reasoned narrative to deeper unknowns behind the mystery of things.
Rene Girard as explained in this post here, coined this struggle to modern reference-able phenomena where communities must outcast an individual in response to our logical queries to resolve the unexplainable via our logos. The Scapegoat, or scapegoating. We need someone or something to blame. Who do you accuse to blame? Parents? Capitalism? Racism? Classism? Misogyny? (Howard Zinn’s “Peoples History of The United States”?) Extremist religion? Atheism? Political party? Alcohol life-style? Monogamy? Drugs? Psychology, ethics, values? It begins with the accusation, or the accuser.
We know from the Duke Lacrosse case (see my post on that here) that a mere accusation definitely does not mean convicted, and we also know that lack of conviction does not suggest wrongfully accused as well. Different voices around those two paradoxes find solace in the blindfold over Lady Justice. That there is some higher gravity to the impartial truth finally escaping all the attempts at being loopholed away and “coming to the light.” The question is, should accusations be tried court cases on live national television, podcasts, twitter hashtags?
The me-too movement long existed before the outing of abuses by certain Hollywood profiles (read my post on that here) more recently. Any local town with a public education teacher, or private education teacher, say a priest, or a doctor, or a police officer, or a politician, any position of power or authority, where the perceived outcome is a victim of a crime, and in most media reported contexts, is the accused perpetrator of a sexual crime.
A Time To Blur the Lines
In 1989 came the novel, “A Time To Kill” by John Grisham. The novel became the basis for a 1996 motion picture that cast Matthew McConaughey and Samuel L. Jackson, where the film is about an African American juvenile female that was raped on the way home from getting groceries, and the father of the daughter takes justice into his own hands on those accused. In this fictional depiction, the controversy is highlighted to involve both race, power, gender, age, and socioeconomic context for different elements of the culture and environment that people could argue did or did not contribute to the commission of such a crime.
The fuller depth of the story is that people make the arrival of avenging the racism and white privilege of the accused in concert with the other ineffable actions that the white men Samuel L. Jackson’s character Carl Lee Hailey kills to avenge injustice. That murder in that context (John Grisham writes) becomes okay, because they were perpetrators of not just crimes, but sexual crimes. There is stigma about really bad crimes being worse than other really bad crimes, when they are at certain levels all equally bad. The word for bad is actually evil. That which is harmful or injurious in a mild dictionary definition, which also lists, “T
A Time To Accuse
As discussed here, we saw this behavior in the media’s reaction to the reports of the Aaron Hernandez case, people calling for him to receive the death penalty. Then Hollywood actors were accused of sexual misconduct. This came after the Oscar season that Spotlight won best picture, a film that portrayed the staff of the Boston Globe uncovered the sex abuse scandal of the Catholic Church within the Archdiocese of Boston and other places. Suddenly the mainstream media would turn on that same Hollywood crowd in accusing (innocent or guilty) Rufus Buckley, the prosecuting attorney in “A Time To Kill”, played in the 1996 film by Kevin Spacey.
Actor Kevin Spacey is accused of abuse from over twenty years ago. Other wealthy names that only name in the media because of their wealth have been reported also. The latest is MTV host of the show, “Catfish” Nev Shulman. His career is known for advocating for the proper treatment of individuals in romantic relationships, and outing fake secret admirers who take on alternate identities via social media in pursuing relationships with their crushes. The term for that is known as ‘catfishing.’ He has been accused and denies the allegations. San Francisco NFL player. Rueben Foster’s accuser admitted recently that she in fact made up rape allegations against him because she wanted revenge and actually stole $8,000 in cash from him. Just from talking about sexual topics you can be fired or ostracized, if it’s outrageous enough. This happened to Milo Yiannopoulos, and he over a year later still can’t go out in public.
Anchor journalists, Gymnastics coaches, and movie stars. A now former State Attorney General of New York. Former Vice Presidential Candidate John Edwards. The name list get’s blurred from those accused of the unethical and those accused of the unlawful. Bill Clinton’s crime was perjury, pundits argue over the ethics of just what exactly the smoking gun is in and of itself. Hillary Clinton’s personal assistant’s spouse, Anthony Weiner. Again an example of the lines blurring together between criminal and merely unethical. Donald Trump, when he had his mob or wired money himself to keep a female porn actress quiet before or after the campaign. Was it a crime, or was it just unethical? Either way, the media paints this blurry grey line sometimes as equal, wherein the Grisham novel there is bad, and there is worse, and the bad get’s a pass, in retaliation of the worse. Selective justice like that removes contrast.
A Time To Kill?
The same traditional faith book that mentions these very crimes at different levels against interpersonal relationships is the same one that talks about certain reactions to those crimes being the same level of immorality, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” So the blindfold of Lady Justice then is to keep what is harmful, harmful, and not play nuance semantics when it suits a persons identity politics narrative above all other standards of justice too. The whole walk and chew gum at the same time concept. It is as written before, that all of us inevitably begin a fall or path of descent. Yet a time to kill in war or extreme circumstances is inevitable, as noted in this post about Barack Obama’s Noble Peace Prize speech.
A Time to Smear
The moral or theological question to certain people especially in sock puppet alter ego social media accounts ask who get’s a pass or who doesn’t have dirt? The constitution of the United States merely says after X standard is met such an accused merely get’s a day in court. The mere existence of a day in court is skepticism of the human condition to be as principal higher than to so as falsely accuse, embellish, sensationalize, “Alter facts”, skew, smear, defame, conspire, fraudulently report, etc.
A Time To Divide
An incredibly gifted and talented starting pitcher for Oregon State University was removed from the mound last year after The Oregonian did a hit piece on Luke Heimlich’s past right before he would pitch to win the team to the collegiate World Series. The team lost without him on the mound. At the start of this season, Heimlich returned to the team. Luke has always denied that he ever did any part of the accusations, that he pleaded guilty only to resolve the legal matter and to move on with his life. Do you think that stopped the New York Times from publishing the story again as the season nears the baseball playoffs again? Corvallis Oregon and the beaver nations fans, most of them, receive him well on the mound and embrace his talent. Forgiveness and understanding seem to have happened at some levels of the community and, what a powerful statement that someone who addressed the accusations head-on, went through treatment, could now continue on his God-given journey as an incredibly gifted athlete. Luke one week ago had a career high of 14 strikeouts in one game, beating his earlier in the season record of 12 earlier in the year.
If there is any time or place for forgiveness to be a powerful demonstration for the rest of the world, would it not be now? Jason Stallman, editor of the Sports Page at The New York Times, does not think so. He continues to let reporters report on Luke’s past, with an inability to let go. Anything for a read. Anything to whip up these unresolved emotions, to squeeze on every drop of other peoples pain to get website clicks and revenue. Yet that won’t stop Heimlich from opening in tonight’s game. Nor will anyone wake up in the morning and think, wow, after that reported story, I sure need to subscribe to the NYT.
A Time For Court
In the constitution, the accused get’s an automatic “full stop” to whatever inertia is moving such a flurry of claims against a person (whatever the sources, be inside positions of power or a random childhood friend) to move forward so quickly. A pause gives a better than nothing second chance for the truth, in whatever direction it exists, to come out. While the truth is not guaranteed, the authors of this part of the constitution clearly must have intended that this was the more likelier than not scenario for the best chance for truth to come out in comparison to the alternatives. Yet we have this incessant obsession with the desire to punish as explained by hyper-intellectual and policing expert Michael A. Wood Jr. here in a selected soundbite:
Gateway to silence:
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
“Is the time to mend, now? What would it take for us to forgive?