Some thoughts on second chances in the #MeToo era

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one excerpt:

Whether we like it or not, as the list of wrongdoers grows, questions of forgiveness will begin to outnumber questions of punishment. The thing is, questions of forgiveness are never entirely easy.

Much Christian doctrine, and especially Catholicism, emphasizes the value of confession, forgiveness and redemption. Thus it is not hard to convince many Americans that sinners should be given a second chance. This impulse occasionally finds its way into policy; just last month, a prison-reform bill became law, reflecting notions that criminals can indeed be rehabilitated. In her book “The Up Side of Down,” Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle stresses how many features of American life, including bankruptcy law and startup culture, depend on second, third or even more chances…

The more delicate truth is that, in the context of the #MeToo movement, forgiveness carries great dangers. I am not referring to those asking for it; rather, I am talking about those in a position to offer it. The survivors of such abuse often feel shame, guilt and a loss of confidence and self-esteem. It is very costly, both psychologically and practically, for such individuals to step forward and levy charges. An emphasis on forgiveness could reinforce victims’ tendencies to bury the crimes and wrongdoings.


The result is a set of conflicting and probably irreconcilable values. America believes in equal treatment before the law. But America’s increasingly powerful system of social pressures and sanctions does not provide for equal treatment.

Do read the whole thing, which also considers both John Lennon and Picasso.


Then again, if you don't threaten abusers with the loss of nearly everything maybe their victims won't have to experience further hell to hear an admission or even an apology.

Everyone is forever free to stop consuming.

Weinberg seems to have ruined a number of careers, not simply threatening but actually carrying out such destruction, to ensure that he could keep abusing women with apparent impunity, over decades.

Almost as if it is the abusers who have the power, not their victims.

More of the same and harder, then.

The literal downward spiral.

You know? This is worth trying again.

The "Weinberg" should be jailed and stripped of their fortune. But no matter how many "Weinberg" you take out you won't budge the cultural needle one bit.

It's the every day interactions where the progress is to be made. And if the same reaction will be given to every level of transgressions it's going to forestall that progress needlessly.

His name is Harvey Weinstein, and you are welcome to read about his actions here -

Strange how it took three decades before he started actually facing any repercussions, while in the tenth of the time that MeToo has existed, some of us are already seemingly concerned about how meanly those who have committed various forms of sexual abuse are being treated.

'going to forestall that progress'

Really? Here is quote from a man that shows what progress looks like, right? '“I’ve gotta use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.” A lying braggart or a man who actually has no problem talking about assaulting women - regardless, he is our President.


I am not a fan of non-judicial punishment. I hope to see some lawsuits where the accuser has to put up or shut up and maybe lose everything in the process. IMHO if you have a case take it to the police or the courts and if you don't STFU

Many of the allegations made public in the past few years are not harassment even if every word were true.

Harassment has a high bar to leap in court, but it is carried on the back of slaves in public opinion.

In the future, everyone will be world-reviled for fifteen minutes. And then forgotten.

Some like Trump or Hillary will have longer than fifteen minutes and have mental derangement diseases named after them.

Why yes, abusers undoubtedly deserve a second chance to learn from their mistakes to better conceal ... oh wait, that wasn't the idea behind letting somebody like Weinberg have another chance, was it?

'Much Christian doctrine, and especially Catholicism, emphasizes the value of confession, forgiveness and redemption. '

And especially Catholicism demands true contrition, along with penance involving action on the part of the sinner before absolution is granted. All of those people, such as Weinberg, disputing they have done anything wrong are completely beyond redemption currently, at least from a Catholic perspective.

'But America’s increasingly powerful system of social pressures and sanctions does not provide for equal treatment.'

As if the sex offenders lists are not basically a generation old at this point. And as noted at wikipedia - 'Currently, only the United States allows, and more often than not requires public disclosure of offender information, regardless of individual risk. Other countries do not make sex offender information public, unless the risk assessment has been conducted and the offender has been determined to pose a high risk of re-offending.'

Oddly, the fact that the U.S. stands out in using the power of government over decades to ensure that sex offenders are not given the ability to simply be forgotten seems to be completely skipped over. Almost as if most Americans feel that sex offenders should not be given a second chance. (Something that the Catholic Church, at least for its own clergy, disagrees with in practice, it seems -

'Very recently, Louis C.K. has started doing standup comedy again.'

Much like the Catholic Church, he is not really an example that is all that suitable -

@c_p - I bet a lot of your fellow Germans forgive the Nazis, secretly, but formally it's still against the law to do so. That's kind of the same dynamic with the USA and sex crimes, due to America's Puritanical background.

Bonus trivia: I guess Shuhada' Davitt (Sinead O'Conner) was right to rip up the Pope picture, and Madonna (the singer) was wrong to oppose her? And Bill Crosby probably was innocent! (Statute of Limitations, Double Jeopardy, unreliable witnesses, not unlike the Bret Kavanaugh, due to general legal principles).

'I bet a lot of your fellow Germans forgive the Nazis'

I'm not German, but no, the vast majority of Germans today do not forgive the Nazis for genocide. Just like how most Americans, such as myself, do not secretly want a return to chattel slavery.

The Germans don't even consider the Nazis a road bump to a better world brought about by eugenics either. They consider the Nazis proof of the unavoidable evil of using eugenics to try to make the world a much better place.

Wait, I thought you're Prior_Approval under a different name? And how can you speak for Germans if you're not German?

Bonus trivia: the only people who did well from chattel slavery, as proved by economist Fogel, were the extremely rich plantation owners, who lost a good percentage of their wealth after the US Civil War. Most of the other Southerners, including poor whites, did better after the war (especially by migrating to the north).

I've been reading a book about 20th-century Russia, "Zhivago's Children: the Last Russian Intelligentsia," and have been made aware for the first time how many Russians - even comfortable-enough apparatchiks - came to blame Jews for "destroying Russia." I had perhaps naively associated the principal peril for Jews with Stalin; I learned that he was intermittently paranoid about Jews and about Russians (in the conventions of Soviet passports). After the Great Patriotic War was over, he viewed the resurgent feeling for the motherland with enough suspicion that he cancelled Victory Day after a couple of years. There was the Leningrad Affair, which he directed at ethnic Russians.

The author tries to tease out the reasons for the anti-Semitism among both ordinary Soviets into the 1970s (many intellectuals, of course, regarded it as appalling and primitive and contrary to all their socialist ideals) and in anti-Soviet, mystical, folk culture-revering figures like Solzhenitsyn. Certainly there wasn't an exact identity between Jews and Bolsheviks, nor was any one radical group solely responsible for the Russian Revolution. There's the traditional accusation of "cosmopolitanism," but many levelers of the charge were pretty darn "cosmopolitan" themselves (do not utopians always worship the city?). Enthusiasm for the socialist project was waning, though, and the author suggests that beyond the Revolution itself, resentment arose from the impression that Russian Jews had had the most hope for, the most at stake in, the idea of a post-Russian secular Soviet utopia.

Perhaps because I find the idea of cultural blame "problematic," I feel the same about forgiveness. What meaning should it be made to bear past the level of individuals?

Of course, as regards #Metoo, an atmosphere of hatred makes a mockery of the idea of "forgiveness," collective or individual. Most of us think of Christianity as compelling forgiveness, or more probably birthing the notion of forgiveness. I highly doubt any of the #Metoo-ers or their braying chorus plan to "submit" in that way. This is about power. We may need to update the Bible verse to: the vulnerable we have always with us.

It is true that "most Jews were not Bolsheviks (they were Zionists), and most Bolsheviks weren't Jews (they are a small % of the population), but I heard from a Yiddish source that the secret police was something like one-third Jewish in 1934.

I think I understand why lots of Jews were attracted to the Socialist vision. Eastern Europe was a fucked up place for a long time and often dangerous for Jews, and Socialism was universalist.

Yes, definitely - hopefully that was implicit in my comment. And in Germany too: all the crazy rules, and the hostility hand-in-hand with dependence on Jews, and finally its deceptive seesawing quality that kept them permanently off-kilter, even at the best of times. A book, "The Pity of It All," captures it very well for a lay reader.

And in one of those niceties of history, it's the German's German, the Jewish Heinrich Heine, who saw clearly so many decades earlier, that the universalist promise of socialism would never be able to compete in stirring people without a hammer behind it.

Not sure how fair it is to clump Solzhenitsyn in with the anti-semites. He wrote a 3,000 page account of his ordeal in the Gulag in which the subject didn't come up.

From the book - "Alexander Solzhenitsyn, privately at first, accused the journal [Novy Mir] staff ... of associating with cosmopolitan and philo-Semitic groups in the intelligentsia. The author of One Day rejected both Soviet and democratic-humanist components of the journal's agenda. His position was increasingly based on his Orthodox faith and conservative-religious thinking ... He also began to think about the Jewish Question, and not as a problem of anti-Semitism. Borrowing arguments from Shulgin and other anticommunist Russian nationalists, Solzhenitsyn came to the conclusion that the radical, secular, socialist groups among the assimiliated Jewry had been guilty in siding with the Bolsheviks and destroying Old Russia.Solzhenitsyn despised the leftist intelligentsia around Novy Mir as a group that had lent legitimacy to collectivism ... even while denouncing Stalinism. He also believed that the exclusive focus on anti-Semitism under Stalin masked the unwillingness of the descendants of the Jewish Bolsheviks [to own up to their own responsibility for communist crimes] ... It is a sad irony that, at a time when Russian-Jewish intellectuals lionized Solzhenitsyn ... the writer had privately adopted views close to the anti-Semitism of the so-called Russian patriots." If this sounds based upon hearsay, it may be because he was mostly unpublishable at that time, "One Day in the Life" having earlier been showily granted a pass because Kruschev felt a fondness for the protagonist, a Russian stock character, the little muzhik.

What's important of course is not "interrogating" a heroic figure - I mentioned him because he was representative of one strain of thought, of which inevitably, there were many in Russia at that time, though one "intelligent" said "We reflected less than we laughed" - there were even a few nationalists who, while hating Stalin and collectivization and Bolsheviks - believed that Stalin answered the need for someone to begin the restoration of the greatness of the Russian Empire!

What interests me is where the rottenness lies, that with circumstances changed the foregoing passage could have been written last week, and probably was, somewhere. Why does this persist? There's some flaw somewhere we're not spotting. If it didn't so long predate socialist movements, one would be tempted to think it was related to a displacement of the role of Christianity in communistic thought, onto Jews.

The troubled interaction of Jews and Gentiles - it's almost like we can't plumb its depths because we're still in the grip of whatever's wrong.


This : "He also believed that the exclusive focus on anti-Semitism under Stalin masked the unwillingness of the descendants of the Jewish Bolsheviks [to own up to their own responsibility for communist crimes]."

Does he have a point? Again, one-third of the NKVD were Jewish in 1934.

A real anti-semite would not have slogged through 3,000 pages without some passing whiff of anti-semitism coming through.

But America’s increasingly powerful system of social pressures and sanctions does not provide for equal treatment.

Libertarians are constantly telling us we don't need regulation or legal restrictions because the free market or social pressure would be better ways to achieve these ends.

Of course, any time the free market or social pressure starts having that effect, they get all upset by it.

It's almost like the appeals to free market and social pressure are only made because they thought those things never actually happen and what they really want is the ability to behave anti-socially and suffer no consequences for it whatsoever.

And yet another sad soul beclowns himself attacking a philosophy he has not bothered to understand.

Social and economic pressure are generally preferable to legal pressure because they do not involve the threat of force.

That does not mean that every instance in which social or economic pressure is brought to bear is necessarily a good thing, not does it preclude legal action in cases (such as sexual assault) where someone has already been the victim of violence.

I'm almost embarrassed that this needs to be pointed out.

You are in violent agreement with the previous poster. But please do tend to your need to insult others.

Bingo. Libertarians were in favor of bosses firing employees at anytime for any reason when it was women suing for sexual harassment but once the tables were turned and libertarians were getting fired suddenly boo hoo. Turns out they were the special snowflakes all along.

Strawman effectively burned and destroyed. Well done.

You can simultaneously believe in freedom of association and that associations between adults are terminated unilaterally and unfairly every day in America.

What about the innocent lives destroyed by false accusers? They seem to be forgotten rather quickly. Can anyone hear name the two female liars (not counting the mentally deranged Blasey Ford) who defamed Kavanaugh? Are they being punished? Kavanaugh should sue Ford if she mouths off again.

Nobody should be punished for exercising their right to free speech. And nobody's life was destroyed. Overreach and histrionics on internet seem to be cresting a high these days.

Wow, next you'll be saying that people should not be punished for calling a party a fiesta.

Wow. And to think that it's a completely different post on which people are discussing primitive superstition and collective play-pretend, presumably on subjects whose simplest terms the average person would struggle to define. Here, we are to accept that people were "injured" by the wearing of tiny straw hats. Oh, that's overblown, it's not really important, they'll say, college is not real life, it's not a very salient example, we have loads of better ones - but if pressed - ultimately, yes, you must accept the truth of that.

Defamation and perjury have never been protected by the First Amendment.

Neither has fraud, threats, false official statements, disrespect to a superior officer, use of fighting words, slander, libel, reckless endangerment, false advertising...

"Don't do the crime if you can't do the time."
-Tony Barreta

Perhaps one of the most unforgivable crimes is making someone feel marginal, unsafe, uncomfortable, and unequal, and diminishing their self-esteem. We need to have a conversation about that.

That sounds a little over the top to me. I would have thought things like murder or genocide would be significantly more unforgivable than diminishing a victim's self-esteem but I guess morality is a personal thing. I see an elephant here. I'd like to see if how this works long term and not just for high profile abusers who are likely to be more impacted by public shaming. To me that requires legal sanctions that actually get applied, and a social environment that encourages reporting.

I think you need to activate your sarcasm detector.

"I would have thought things like murder or genocide would be significantly more unforgivable"

A false and unnecessary distinction. Making someone feel uncomfortable, less than human, and unequal is violence, and violence against marginalized peoples is genocide. Sexual harassment is genocide of women. Can't believe you don't understand this.

Making someone feel uncomfortable is not now nor has it ever been harassment.

And how does that work when the "crimes" are not well defined, subject to change, and have no standards for defending oneself.

For instance, not terribly long ago two students were condemned by their university's chancellor for ... using exfoliation masks and posting a snapchat about it. At another university a student's life was forever changed when someone else took a picture of her in a clay exfoliation mask and then snap chatted a "black lives matter" caption on it. In both cases the mob did no due diligence and the criminals tried merely to use a skin care product.

Nor is this the only case I have seen. I have a colleague who got raked over the coals for saying "lay off the fags" to a patient (British doc to British patient regarding cigarette use). People also get in trouble for using phrases near those which have become forbotten: niggardly (stingy, from the old norse - nigla), tar baby (problem made worse by engagement, 1880 Br'er Rabbit), beaner (baseball term for a pitch that hits the head), "monkey" in all derivations, and even "water buffalo". Even the officially accepted terminology gets you into trouble over time, just try saying something like "negro" or "colored" and see how far that gets you.

Oh sure you can stay on top of what constitutes polite phrasing, acceptable ways to show dating interest, and all the rest ... but that is not possible for much of the population. Those on the Autism spectrum, those with poor working memories, low social inihibitions, and all the rest. Let alone the poor sods who have things like Kluver-Bucy, Parkinsonism, Bipolar I & II, borderline personality disorder, or Pick's disease.

The mob has, and will continue, to go after the innocent - those who have their images manipulated, those who have the same name as others, and those who were misheard, misquoted, or lied about. A deliberative trial with a jury evaluation by your peers this ain't.

Tyler: "When offenders are hard to catch, it is both efficient and in the public interest to make punishments especially harsh, so as to deter appropriately. In the current environment, private social pressures are producing some effective and overdue punishments."

In the vein of continuing to scowl at MR's propagation of utilitarian-deterrant theories of sentencing, can I ask you please not to offer this drek? Common sense theory of justice punishes crime according to the severity of the offense, not enforcement difficulty! You are encouraging the left's "send rapists away for a long time (even if there are significant doubts and disagreement about the actual circumstances) and release the gang members" nonsense.

If a crime is difficult to convict and enforce, that doesn't encourage doubling down on harsh punishment, but should lead you to question criminalising it. Cf illegal drugs use: would we justify harsh sentences on the basis of drug users on the basis that we can only punish a small minority and want to deter the rest?

If you must use a utilitarian theory of punishment, at least use harm as Tabarrok does.

By that logic, we should legalize theft and burglary, since they're the crimes that are hardest to enforce from a clearance rate standpoint.

I'm arguing you should question offences where enforcement will only ever hit a small amount of activity, not that it leads to automatic decriminalization or legalization. There are of course other factors than simply feasibility of high enforcement rate - proven harms, and really whether a difficulty prosecuting (or "clearing") a crime is because of difficulty identifying a suspect (burglary) or because of sheer jury disagreement about the harms and lack of any hard evidence than subjective testimony (most "sexual misconduct"). For example.

What you should not do, even in the case of burglary, is throw arbitrarily harsh sentences that do not fit either the harms or a sense of retributive justice at offenders simply "pour encourager les autres". Something MR would have no issue with understanding in cases of the legalization of say, prostitution or drug use.

Far beyond that, you certainly should not advocate for "a victim believing stance" and the presumption of guilt, combined with this, as seems to seriously be considered by some, if thankfully not on this blog (the arbitrary and harsh punishment of individuals for whom guilt is not even proven, in order to "change the culture"!).

We kind of do, in my neighborhood, at least. There is a daily round of people either stealing packages off porches or rummaging through people's cars at night or workmen's cars by day (we're in transition from high-trust to low-trust in this formerly sleepy city, and understandably decent people of a certain age have a hard time resetting their mental model. Then there's people like me who are pre-emptively cheap, don't want the window smashed in because then I'm out several hundred dollars, so we deliberately leave the car unlocked if it's in the driveway). Weekly, the thieves' blurry faces in their hoodies - or just nonchalantly walking, hoodie-less, talking on the phone, the ones who know there's no worry - are absurdly shared on NextDoor. No one knows them, they aren't neighborhood kids, so it's of no help - but it pointlessly ratchets up the frustration.

The police tell each person they can't do anything about their [DIY dryer repair part, kids' party favors from Amazon], etc. Obviously. Each crime is treated as minor, or deserved, for failing to employ Amazon Locker or whatever. So you can run a pretty large theft ring - albeit with a lot of useless booty - and it's essentially treated as business as usual. Sometimes the thieves hit paydirt when people have left these newstyle keys in their cars? For some reason that's a thing, because they're not attached to their housekeys anymore?

It is easy for me, who often doesn't bother to lock the house when I leave to run errands, to roll my eyes at my neighbors, with their expensive cars they are clueless to protect, their ever-more elaborate security cameras and doorbell alerts and their endless packages, stuff which so fills their garages they can't park in them, apparently - but I'm unconvinced this new normal is an entirely good development.

Imo that's not even reasonable from a utilitarian pov. Crimes being hard to catch goes both ways usually, so if you do harsh sentences in ambiguous situations, potentially hurting innocents, you incentivize people to mistrust and completely stonewall you.
Not to mention that afaik most studies on the subject come to the conclusion that longer sentencing has almost no impact on criminal behaviour - it's swiftness and certainty that does. There is little point to envision some theoretic perfectly rational criminal acting on incentives if you already have the data that they don't.

Forcible rape is indeed a crime that it notoriously difficult to prosecute, as there are rarely witnesses to it.

Would it therefore be "both efficient and in the public interest" to bring back lynch mobs?

They are certainly both harsh and efficient. And the public purpose of deterrence can be achieved so long as 'most everyone can be convinced that the crime occurred and the accused did it.

That's some strange fruit you've got there, Cowen.

+1. The likes of Robert Lloyd Schellenberg might also have something topical to say about the risks of arbitrary harsh selective enforcement.

Cowen: "in the context of the #MeToo movement . . . ." I would rewrite that phrase as follows: in the context of a culture and society that devalues and objectifies women . . . . How does one forgive a culture and society? As Cowen points out, forgiving the large class of male offenders would likely encourage more boorish behavior. For the #MeToo movement to be successful, it must change the attitude of the culture and society, the innocent as well as the guilty. That's right, change will not occur unless the innocents change their attitudes about women. That's a tall order, made even taller by a president who daily devalues and objectifies women.

And what about the far larger problem of false accusations? The case of that insufferable wench called Ford shows that deranged women who are sliding into witchhood are to be found everywhere.

Given that the #MeToo movement started as a political attack against President Trump and against the GOP in general (as an extension of the "Republicans hate women" idea that was in play a few years back) which then backfired in the face of Democrats who were originally supporting it, I would not expect the #MeToo movement to behave with any rational connection to the underlying culture.

In other words, I would not expect this to be as much a story of the American culture's conflict between punishing the wicked and providing redemption, as much as it is a series of behind-the-scenes political attacks and counter-attacks in order to score points against public figures who have taken political sides.

Huh? It's not like Harvery Weinstein, or Al Franken for that matter, were notable Trump supporters. Not everything is about Trump.

Where is the Summary Execution app when you want it?

Hard to believe that some motivated #MeToo entrepreneur has not devised and distributed the app, for which we have a crying need, to hear even some of the agitprop.

Such an app quite likely will NOT come with a "mercy/forgiveness/redemption" function, since the entire purpose of the app is to render JUSTICE, which can be only punitive in the hands of our feminist commissars and justice ministers, surely.

I think punishment vs forgiveness turns on the same thing for any crime or severe non-criminal misbehavior..

To what degree was this a mistake, and to what degree is an insight into who a person "is?"

You aren't going to want to let burglars out, or forgive bullies, if that is what they "are." You might if it was a mistake they made.

And I don't know that there are simple answers to that. Thus much disagreement.

We could like, force them to wear a Scarlet H for harassment. Unfortunately there would be no proof it occurred.

Oh, what about that whole a witch will float thing? Maybe the same...

Pence has a rule for this where he’s immune from false allegations. Maybe we should follow his lead..

Not even wrong, and not even in interesting ways.

In case of doubt: no, I did not read the entire Bloomberg column.

TC warned us that he was dealing in part with the careers of Picasso and Lennon--but why dredge up Picasso or Lennon? Sure, they begin to look relevant to arguments concerning aggrieved #MeToo plaintiffs, but those concerns can ONLY applies to internal discussions among #MeToo plaintiffs.

For those of us outside of the closed charmed circles of the #MeToo collective, perhaps the relevant celebrities to consider at length would be (at least to begin with) the Papin Sisters, whose arguably feminist murders of the two women they deemed their oppressors inspires critical and criminal imaginations to this day.

Picasso and Lennon are good examples of where people had a positive view of who these people were, and thus imperfections could be seen as mistakes.

Cosby's positive image held in the same way, until the "mistakes" piled up to a stronger defining image.

On TC's behalf do I make similar claims on behalf of the Papin Sisters, whose homicidal zeal arguably exceeded Picasso's, Lennon's, and Cosby's combined (or maybe TC should not have failed to include Dylan Thomas for argumentative heft, also, although DT's homicidal zeal seems to've been mostly self-directed).

There’s a handy solution to this: the Pence rule for work socializing.

Don’t be in one on one situations in a non windowed room with a woman, don’t go to dinner or lunch with a woman alone, don’t invite a woman out with the group for happy hour unless it’s an official corporate event and there are 5-10 people there.

Could easily make this a corporate rule and eliminate most harassment claims. Unfortunately it would open the company to discrimination lawsuits..

Criminals ought to be punished to the full extent of the law.

This is from a self-professed Catholic. Ordinary Catholics may disagree. The route begins with true repentance for one's sins. Then, follow Confession; sacramental absolution; doing penance - modern is weak tea, in olden days it could be pilgrimage, fasting, etc.; amendment of life; and firm resolution to do good works for the greater glory of God.

There are also charitable/courageous acts prescribed for victims of crimes/sins, e.g., martyrs would forgive their torturers/executioners. The Church promulgated so-called spiritual works of mercy. Two were: forgive all injuries and patiently bear all wrongs. In the Lord's Prayer we ask, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." I know it is very difficult.

Anyhow, to the extent the #MeToo movement is a political movement, the above is less than relevant.

Pro Tip: normal people will view "#MeToo is a political movement" as a tell, for someone who is being hyperpolitical at best, and misogynist at worst.

Obviously you want your daughter safe, whether her internship is with an evangelical preacher, or a Hollywood agent. You don't want her telling you #MeToo twenty years after you helped her get the gig.

So we are in agreement. The Pence rule for everyone. Tge Pence rule for catholic priests, a Pence rule for aspiring actresses, a Pence rule for corporate America.

For a secure society.

Pro Tip? Professional what? "#MeToo is a political movement" seems correct, even though it may not have started out that way. Just like BLM, it was quickly hijacked.

I am now reminded of an elevator story told by lawyers on the next floor. A partner had taken a 17 year old intern to a weekend in Las Vegas, and the boss had to straighten it out.

"A partner had taken a 17 year old intern to a weekend in Las Vegas, and the boss had to straighten it out."

That was probably a crime, assuming the 17 year old wasn't emancipated and the parents weren't informed. The partner should have been fired immediately and the police called.

By the by, I have NEVER heard this query addressed since the advent of the #MeToo movement, to wit:

exactly when was the formerly-familiar locution "casting couch" expunged from the English language and American usage?

This term MUST have disappeared spontaneously from all public and private usage prior to the emergence of the #MeToo phenomenon, no?

ONLY such a disappearance can explain sufficiently the emergence of #MeToo, true?

Who, then, might be responsible for having suppressed the name of the very phenomenon to whose overthrow #MeToo would seem dedicated?

A further question remains: whether #MeToo devotees were or not sufficiently alert to the time-honored phenomena of Hollywood casting couches.

Most of us understand consent.

There are people who sleep their way to the top. When that is consensual, or intentional, it is not assault. It might violate standards and practices. Board members typically take a dim view when such a personal relationship leads to a high executive appointment.

Is #MeToo thus dedicated (chiefly or only?) to reappraising our conceptions and definitions of "consent" (--or, specifically "casting-couch consent": "consent" surely had some kind of semantic application during those decades when that dread term "casting couch" was circulating in public discourse, id est, prior to c. 1980)?

"Casting couch" looks to've been an intrinsic and well-entrenched SOP for American film production from the industry's inception, and I suspect its phenomenal forebears were active also in the days of saloons, music halls, and vaudeville. (Granted, I am no theatre historian.)

I don't even think it ended after 1980, it was well-within the common discourse even ten years ago to suggest that in Hollywood, or the music industry, or anything entertainment or art-related involved exchanging sexual favors with the power brokers in exchange for landing a prominent spot. The "video girls" phenomenon was big in hip-hop during the 1990s and 2000s, with young women giving favors to rappers, their entourage, and/or video producers in exchange for prominent spots dancing in a music video, which can help with a modeling or other entertainment-related career. This is peculiar to the arts and entertainment industries, because artists are afforded much more discretion in who they select to work with or use out of respect to artistic license, so power-brokers need someone to really stand out against the other candidates.

Consent is not a defense to harassment. It requires that it be, among other things, unwelcome. Consent can help undermine the unwelcomeness element but it is not dispositive.

--and how dare TC even attempt to impugn the name or integrity or legacy of poor John Lennon? Lennon is a feminist icon to this day--Yoko Ono says so and has said so.

(--but then note that not even all of Lennon's quirky locutions continue to enjoy unchallenged appeal: what celebrity was it last year that had to repent of quoting a Lennon song title publicly?)

Redemption requires contrition. Shifting blame and half-hearted excuses are not acceptable as penance. As far as boycotting one artist over another, I just don't get the point. I don't find Louis CK funny. I like listening to the Beatles. I am insufficiently narcissistic to believe my willingness to engage with their art absolves them of their trespasses. Ultimately each woman will need to make the decision for herself.

Much of the media wants to sensationalize MeToo. We should refuse to play into their narrative and focus on the big picture. Every 9 seconds a woman is beaten. Women are more likely to be stalked or killed by an intimate partner. Violence, discrimination and harassment are destructive to victims, their family, the perpetrator and society. This is a systemic problem that creates inefficiencies, reduces productivity and distorts competition. Perhaps economists should reckon with this disparity instead of whether disgraced men will be redeemed.

Men make up 90% of workplace fatalities.
Men make up the vast majority of violence victims.
More men are raped each year than women.
Men die younger.
Men are less likely to go to college.
Men are systematically treated unfairly in divorces.
Men are assumed guilty of harassment when accused.
Men get longer prison sentences for similar crimes.

When society begins to discuss the inequities toward men, I'll take this jabber about equality seriously.

read the article... while it did bring up some good points, i did not see anywhere noting what the burden is for the accused. it is on the part of the victim to give forgiveness - but the accused needs to act in a way to deserve forgiveness.

this is what i missing in a lot of the metoo conversation. i do not think that all the accused should be banished from society forever, but they need to do something in order to earn redemption.

this is not confession (just do a few hail marys) - the accused need to seriously address what they've done both with themselves AND with their accusers.

An actor recently walked off hosting a show because activists raised some decades-old jokes he made about gays for which he had already apologized profusely. He refused to apologize further. Frankly I wish people would stop apologizing for the hysterics of hypersensitive people.

Isn't it possible that none of this is real, and is just idle yap dumping itself into place among people who have bothered to figure how Twitter works, and bouncing around among the middle-brow Libertarian dork-bros who seem to have assigned themselves to this commentariat?

Whoa, 54, make that 55 MR comments on essentially nothing.

Until there is due process, MeToo can suck me too.

No one cares, big guy.

The argument that cultural productivity provides a heightened justification for rehabilitation can’t win if one hopes to preserve the idea that everyone, regardless of status, is equally accountable for their actions. Individuals deciding what shows to watch, paintings to view, and orchestras to listen to is one thing. Governments deciding who to charge, or organizations deciding who to fire and hire is quite another. A private person choosing to watch reruns of The Cosby Show is fundamentally different than a prosecutor opting to not go after the main character.

The #MeToo movement is complex, nuanced, and internationally differentiated. One of the key nuances is delineating private from public responses. As a frequent museum goer, my viewing habits have not changed despite revelations about artists like Picasso and Van Goh. But the way I think about those men has altered significantly, and, if they were alive today, I hope that they would face the same legal challenges as any other sexual offender. Beauty cannot be a defense for harassment and criminality.

As for the Louis CK’s and Aziz Ansari’s of the world, it’s probably not about rehabilitation, but about fans needing a certain period of time to pass so that they can keep up appearances. I’d like to judge them harshly, but I don’t see the basis for such an assessment. Years ago, I saw an exhibition of Picasso sculptures at MOMA; it was an extraordinary event. I am very happy that I experienced it before learning that Picasso beat women; just as I am glad that I read Alice in Wonderland before learning that Louis Carrol took naked pictures of young girls. But these are personal matters; for governments, businesses, and non-profits the standards should be higher.

Cowen asserts that the #MeToo movement is already reaching a tipping point where penal assessments will give way to calculations of mercy. And it is in this context that he suggests that high end cultural producers may deserve more lenient treatment. But this is flatly wrong; Les Moonves and Kavanaugh were as much in the news in the fall of 2018 as Weinstein was in the fall of 2017. As a society, we are still going through the process of identifying the full scope of the problem. And the truth will probably be that it is so wide and deep that adequately grappling with it will require not just new policies and priorities, but fundamental changes in individual and social identity. In general, I think that the scales of justice should be weighted on the side of mercy, but I also think that there should be a full hearing before people start talking about forgiveness. For victims of sexual harassment and assault, such a hearing is still an aspiration, not a reality.

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