Seasons may come and go (and come again), but a timely convergence will never get altmodisch.
Last weekend saw an outpouring of grief and obits in response to the death of Harper Lee, esteemed author of the acclaimed and adapted novel To Kill a Mockingbird; much of said acclaim for her brainchild no doubt arises from its theme of fighting for justice in the face (and a place) of entrenched and vehement prejudice, a theme to which any so-called “social justice warrior” can signal solidarity.
Speaking of such, the same weekend saw an outpouring of outrage in reaction to pop starlet Kesha’s claims of contractual and coital coercion at the hands of her producer, one Lukasz Gottwald, more commonly known as “Dr Luke”. Predictably, a swarm of SJW social-media solidarity glommed around her, urging those with the power to #FreeKesha, and all and sundry to take Kesha’s word on the matter as holy writ.
From my somewhat limited reading of this case, it looks like a long and messy battle over contractual constrictions, spanning a number of years. One could make the argument that having entered into said deal voluntarily, Kesha has the obligation to honour its terms as agreed; one could also make the argument that, to quote John Badcock, “the binding power of a promise has limits”, that what may have been to mutual benefit today may become decidedly lopsided tomorrow, necessitating a rearrangement, or severance, of terms. Both viewpoints have their merits and, in some cases, may even be reconcilable.
What I’ll never see merit in, however, is the wretched line of thought best exemplified by the inane SJW slogan “listen and believe”.
I mean, I understand why otherwise well-meaning everypeople might be tempted to do just that in regard to allegations of “misogyny”, “sexism”, and all, what with being deluged with torrid testimonials, sloppy stats, and Lifetime lamentations asserting the radical notion that women are perpetual victims. Couple that with the overwhelming (and ever-replicating) urge to breed, the relative statistical neoteny of the double-x demographic, and the propensity of the average homo (non)sapiens to respond to feels over facts, and it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that folk who can’t see will just herd.
However, when it comes to those who aspire to be more than bipedal bovines, who actually give a fuck about weird concepts like “justice” and “due process”, I’m audacious enough to expect more in the way of rigour, scepticism, and critical thinking. Take Kesha’s claims that Dr Luke force-fucked her whilst pinning her down in a contractual chokehold: her own words in a previous out-of-court testimonial call the veracity of her current claims into question, with the singer stating that Luke made no sexual advances toward her, never mind roofies and rape.
Of course, alternative explanations for this discrepancy have been offered. Stockholm Syndrome. An overdeveloped sense of obligation. Capitulation to threats made by the good (?) Doctor. Indeed, any or all of these motives could’ve given rise to her previous protestations, and the fact that said testimonial hit the press in an edited form further fuels the aforementioned speculations. Whatever stance one takes on the matter, I think it safe to say that she’s lying about something, making the whole listen-and-believe proposition all the more laughable.
Insensitive? I’m too amused to give a fuck, especially given that those who espouse the sentiment flagrantly disregard it when it runs counter to their narrative, subjecting denial to far more in the way of scrutiny than affirmation. Having recently seen this dynamic play out elsewhere, the tragicomedy certainly isn’t lost on me.
My bitter laughs intensify upon contemplating the grand feats of social justice these hectoring herd animals could achieve if only their words were heeded more readily:
My, my…what does that remind me of?
If anyone can explain how the mobs who murdered/condemned Will Brown and Tom Robinson weren’t the finest, most proactive examples of Listening Believers, I’m all ears; their modern-day Twitterati counterparts have quite a way to go to top those epic feats!
As for myself, I’ll take “question and verify” over “listen and believe” as an operating slogan, whether the topic be Keshagate, Cologne, Jimmy Savile, Rotherham, or any other media panic, rape-related or otherwise. Opting for light over heat, epoché over emotionalism, reflection over reaction, and hard fact over herdsteria may not accrue clicks, insta-gratification, or even anything approaching a clear answer; it may accrue me a reputation as a “denier”, “rape apologist”, and other such sweet nothings; hell, I may even fall short more than a few times, despite my best intentions. Still, I think it worth a shot: sure beats the asinine alternative!