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How I, Personally, Judge Sex Scandals (NSFW)

Brad @ Burning Man
First, let me lie to you: these are my opinions, it's okay with me if you disagree, I won't judge you harshly for disagreeing. Why did I just call that a lie? Because intellectually, that is what I believe about my own beliefs. What makes me think that I'm lying to myself when I say that, though, and what makes me think I'd be lying if I said that to you without disclaimer, is just how angry I get when I see a politician get savaged in the media for days at a time over shit I just think is completely unfair, unreasonable, or even if it's just shit that I think is no big deal, and how angry I get when I see someone skate on something that really pisses me off personally. I don't want to be angry at anybody who disagrees with me on any of the following, and I absolutely will hear any reasoned or emotionally honest argument for principles that contradict mine. I just can't promise to be 100% calm and non-judgmental about your opinions, just as I find out that I don't even want to try, any more than anybody else does, to be completely non-judgmental about some of the scandals themselves.

First, some principles, then I'll cite a few famous examples:

One: I really, really, really, more than anything else, give a shit about consent. Any sex scandal that whiffs of physical force pisses me off. Any sex scandal that even faintly hints of abuse of wealth, privilege, or any other form of power over the other partner pisses me off even more. If the accused didn't wait for consent or ask for consent, I'm angry; if they "asked" for consent under circumstances where the person who was asked faced punishment for saying no, I'm even angrier.

Two: I give a shit about favoritism. Even if the accused didn't offer anybody else the opportunity to benefit from their authority, if I find out that someone is accused of abusing their position to grant favors to someone that they've had sex with, I get very angry on behalf of all of the other people in the office who were wondering, "who do I have to blow to get ahead here?" and who find out that they were right, who have been told that blowing the boss is how you get ahead in life.

Three: It's not a deal breaker for me, but it's a bad sign if someone is accused of being callous or indifferent to people they voluntarily assumed responsibility for. That especially means the kids; you volunteered to have those kids, they didn't volunteer to be parented by you. Cheating on the mother or father of your children is one thing, good or bad, but doing so in a way that humiliates the spouse or that ruins life for the kids makes you a bad person, in my eyes. I give partial credit for the attempt, here; you tried to protect the kids from it afterwards and failed is better than you didn't give a shit if your kids got hurt by it.

Four: I care about official corruption, and so in theory I care if you spend company money or (worse) public funds on things like travel, hotel rooms, or meals to be with the person you love, especially if where you're working or the position you hold doesn't officially grant liberal "you can bring a friend along on our dime" perqs. On the other hand, I've softened my stance on this over the years, as it's come home to me how many violations of this principle are about protecting the higher principle of discretion to protect others; if somebody can't travel without it being official travel, and that's the only way to see someone they love, or if it's the only way they can see someone they love without having to put it out in public where their spouse or kids will be humiliated by it? I disapprove, but only mildly.

Five: As long as it doesn't violate any of the rules above, I honestly don't give a shit about "traditional values of marriage" and I don't give much of a shit about "sacred oaths" that are traditional, that people didn't get any input into, that were thus less than entirely voluntarily given, as in "I have to stand up and say these magic words to get the person I love onto my health insurance." A promise made under coercion is not morally binding. Given how young and dumb most people are when they swear out their marriage vows, I give even more slack. As Mark Twain said, marriage is two people who, in the grip of the most fleeting and insupportable of passions, rush directly to the altar of God and swear to remain that way forever.

Six: Other than worn-down, mostly meaningless ceremonial oaths, I do give a shit if you break your word. But if you at least tried to keep your word, I only barely give a shit.

Seven: I do not give a shit if you are "on my side" or not. I don't make excuses for bad behavior by Democrats, not even fellow liberals or progressives; I don't hold Republicans or conservative Democrats to higher standards.

Eight: I only give a shit about hypocrisy if it's something you built your career on, if it's something you spend a lot of time going on about. Some random politician who mostly campaigns on tax and regulation and foreign policy issues, who checked off a box on some "family values" questionnaire about "protecting traditional values" who had an affair? *yawn* Someone whose whole career in politics has been about "traditional family values" or, worse, who hounded some other politician out of office over their affair, who gets caught in an affair? That one pisses me off. Although, even then, it doesn't have to be a total deal-breaker; I can show some sympathy for someone who agonizes over it. Life is complicated. I feel no compassion towards someone who says "it's different when I do it," though.

Nine: As you might imagine from this, I honestly don't give a shit if you tell me "they lied about it." Of course they did. It would be unreasonable to expect them to do otherwise. Tell me how that lie callously or indifferently hurt someone, and it falls under #3, above, but otherwise, what did you expect them to do? When you catch a little kid with his hand in the cookie jar and cookie crumbs all over his face, and you ask him, "Did you take a cookie?" the kid doesn't lie; he answers the question he hears, which is, "Are you volunteering to be punished?" Telling the truth about it when you're caught, even if you didn't have to, can make a slight favorable impression on me, but I don't hold it against people when they harmlessly lie.

Ten: I have an unreasonable bias, one I'd complain about in other people, towards people in consensual non-monogamous relationships or other non-traditional relationships. On the one hand, I think this is an unfair bias of mine, because when the supposedly naturally monogamous insist on judging others harshly for their lack of monogamy, it pisses me off; I sometimes justify my prejudice by hoping that someone who has been a victim of prejudice will have learned tolerance from it; I know that I'm lying to myself about this because I know that what a lot of victims or prejudice learn is the importance of being the one who gets to enforce their prejudices. So while I can't prevent my feelings about this, I try hard to question myself when I find myself looking favorably on someone for this reason.

Now, those principles being stated, I'll address specific sex scandals in the comments; if you have one you want to ask about that I didn't bring up, do so as a direct reply to this journal entry so it gets its own comment thread, please.

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( 45 comments — Leave a comment )
bradhicks
Nov. 29th, 2011 05:15 am (UTC)
Bill Clinton
It's impossible for anybody of my generation, or of the generation before mine, to talk about sex scandals without talking about Bill Clinton. So let me talk about Bill Clinton, before I talk about anybody else.

Paula Jones accused Bill Clinton of really, really crudely propositioning her for sex when she was a subordinate of his, when he was governor of Arkansas. That really pisses me off. Not specifically because of the consent issue, although he didn't ask her permission before exposing himself to her; that being said, yes, I know that as a subordinate, she had reasonable grounds to fear retaliation if she said no, to wonder if she was going to receive favors if she said yes, and that pisses me off, the way it pisses me off whenever anybody sleeps with a subordinate, however voluntarily.

Also about the consent issue; to be fair, it was in his hotel room, where he was used to groupies throwing themselves at him. He and others say that Bill Clinton had had so many political groupies throw themselves at him by then that he mistook her for one of them; she says that she had no idea and said or did nothing to give that impression; I believe both of them. I can't get too angry about that part, though, because it was the kind of circumstance under which miscommunication, misunderstanding of each others' intent, is too easy. That she sued him after he apologized, that her examples of alleged retaliation for turning him down were so lame and obviously concocted, pissed me off about her. What she alleged was so minor that I really do not believe that the civil suit should have gone forward while he was in office; I think it was unfair to him as a defendant to have to mount a defense while under that kind of public scrutiny, while he and the country had so much to lose if he just admitted, "I was a jerk when I was young." I would respect him more if he'd ever said, though, "I was a jerk when I was young."

That being said, there is a place where the Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky scandals overlap. Jones alleges that the groupies who did blow the governor got government favors for it. I wouldn't believe her, on no more evidence than she offered in her suit, if he hadn't turned around and done exactly the same damned thing for Monica Lewinsky. No other White House intern got the same full-court press to get them a good job that she got; that he did it out of guilt, or because she was blackmailing him if she was, doesn't keep me from being pissed off for all other interns who were left wondering, "Gee, if I'd offered to blow the President, I wonder how much money I'd be making now."

I lose respect for anybody who raises the perjury angle unless they're just totally ill-informed and admit this. The question was inadmissable under federal rules of evidence, on multiple grounds. Questions about past behavior are only allowed in sexual harassment suits if they relate to pattern of behavior. Bill Clinton was accused of propositioning Jones; her lawyers knew, from affidavits they already had, that Lewinsky was the one who propositioned Clinton. That they already knew the answer also made the question inappropriate during the discovery phase of a trial. Had Clinton been free to take his case all the way to court, he could almost certainly have beaten the perjury rap, even without raising the question of what "is" is. No, I lose respect for people who raise this issue because, almost without exception that I know, at least in my personal experience, the people who raise it are people who are violating my rule seven; they claim to care about perjury, but all they really care about is making the other side lose.

That being said, the Clintons win both win huge props from me for doing right what almost nobody in Washington does right: staying together, not for the career, and not just for the kid, but because they love each other, try to do what's right for each other, and forgive each other when they fail. By my standards, that makes theirs a nearly ideal marriage, and I give them significant props for that.

Edited at 2011-11-29 05:52 am (UTC)
krinndnz
Nov. 29th, 2011 05:18 am (UTC)
My guess for number two after Clinton: Clarence Thomas. I'd love to hear what you have to say about that.
bradhicks
Nov. 29th, 2011 05:30 am (UTC)
Clarence Thomas
I believe Anita Hill.

He could have done worse. Even Anita Hill doesn't allege that he threatened her career if she didn't put out. Even Anita Hill says that he worked as hard to advance her career as he did anybody else in the office, whether or not any of them were having sex with him. I do count it as a black mark, though; that first time he propositioned her, she had no way to know if he'd retaliate against her for saying no, and no superior should ever put a subordinate in that position.

That she kept saying "no" and he kept reading that as "not yet" just makes him a garden-variety jerk. I hate guys like that, but I cringe when I say that; I was one myself, in my youth.

I wouldn't have filibustered him for the Supreme Court over it. I would have filibustered him for it for being dumb as a post, absolutely wrong about the Constitution and its history, and a total corporate tool.

Edited at 2011-11-29 05:30 am (UTC)
hick0ry
Dec. 1st, 2011 04:21 am (UTC)
I grew up hearing "It's a woman's prerogative to change her mind." And while I imagine the intent was changing a 'yes' to 'no,' it doesn't change the fact that persistence is often an effective strategy.
samael7
Dec. 8th, 2011 08:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Clarence Thomas
Drat, this anonymous post was me; didn't realize I was logged out of LJ.

Ha, I just read, in an unrelated article, an excerpt from his dissent from Raich v Gonzales today, which I thought was right (basically saying that in no way did the founders think that home-grown, home-used, not-for-sale mary jane would count under "interstate commerce," and if it somehow could be stretched to apply, then there were virtually no limits on what that could be applied to).

Stopped clocks, and all.
quixote317
Nov. 29th, 2011 05:24 am (UTC)
Any thoughts on scandals that are aired for the purpose of discrediting a political foe? I remember seeing Elliot Spitzer being interviewed in Inside Job. The implication being that Spitzer's affair was, if not initially exposed for his opposition to Wall Street fraud, certainly exploited to remove him from office. Bottom line, Spitzer was cheating on his wife, but he seems to meet a lot of your mitigating circumstances (career was largely based on financial and law and order issues rather than moral ones; tried to protect his family; Copped to it when the evidence was obvious). Yet he was one of the few politicians trying to do something against financial sector fraud before the financial crisis. Does his non-scandal related activities mitigate the scandal?

Edited at 2011-11-29 05:29 am (UTC)
bradhicks
Nov. 29th, 2011 05:36 am (UTC)
Eliot Spitzer
There are only a handful of circumstances under which I give a shit if somebody pays one or more prostitutes, or the supposedly lesser (but usually more expensive) case of one or more strippers. One, I care if they hurt other people by it, by, say, getting infected with an STI and taking it home to the non-consenting spouse. Two, I care if they can't afford it, if they're taking bread out of their kids' mouths to pay for it, or, worse (and, working in a strip club, I saw this, and gave the dancer in question grief about it), if he's stealing or embezzling to pay for it. Three, I care if they publicly humiliate their spouse with it by not caring who knows, again and again, the way Berlusconi does. Spitzer isn't accused of any of those things.

Elliot Spitzer found a whole new way to anger me: by being an anti-mafia prosecutor who gave a mafia-linked brothel blackmail material on him. That he let them pull the trigger on him rather than give in to any demands earns him back some of those lost points, but it showed really, really poor judgment.

That he was on my side on financial law enforcement and financial regulatory issues doesn't even factor into it. I'd prefer my prosecutors not to be blackmail targets, no matter how high their principles are.

Edited at 2011-11-29 05:46 am (UTC)
kimchalister
Dec. 3rd, 2011 11:00 am (UTC)
Re: Eliot Spitzer
Is it possible he didn't know the brothel was mafia-linked?
bradhicks
Nov. 29th, 2011 05:24 am (UTC)
Herman Cain
The reason I'm finally getting around to venting about this is that I've spent all day being hammered over the fact that Herman Cain cheated on his wife, with another woman, for thirteen years. Good for him; it shows that he's capable of more than one long-term loving relationship. And either the wife knew and was okay with it, or at the very least he was discrete about it, he was careful to protect other people's feelings. So it's okay with me if I never hear anything else about that one.

Nor do I want to hear any of my liberal friends playing the "conservative moral hypocrisy" card on Herman Cain, because you have to be completely uninformed to think that Herman Cain gives a shit about traditional family values. He's running as a Republican; he checked off the usual boxes on the usual forms; he pretty much had to. It's not something he campaigns on; he campaigns on the flat tax and deregulation, the issues he was already campaigning on, when he worked for the Kochs as a paid spokesman, before he even ran for President. Catch Rick Santorum cheating on his wife, and I may care; Herman Cain? Pffft.

No, I don't want this story to distract from the far more serious accusation: that he not only routinely sexually propositioned subordinates who were in no position to say no, who feared for their jobs if they told him no, but that he allegedly outright told one job applicant that if she wanted the job, she had to blow him. If true, then that, not the long term affair, is what makes him a monster in my eyes. (Not that I was going to vote for him anyway.)
tyrsalvia
Nov. 29th, 2011 07:05 am (UTC)
Re: Herman Cain
I strongly agree with you on this. The affair is by far less damaging in my eyes than the way he treated the women he is accused of harassing while working for the Restaurant Association. "You want a job, right?" Yeah, fuck you buddy.
brynndragon
Nov. 29th, 2011 12:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Herman Cain
This. I hadn't heard about the affair until Brad's comment, but it doesn't bother me (as someone also subject to Brad's item Ten). However, I am very, very angry about what happened to Sharon Bialek. Physical force plus circumstantial coercion makes for me wanting to beat him with sticks.
xiphias
Nov. 29th, 2011 06:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Herman Cain
What I don't get is why the woman has come forward. If she cares about him, she's got to know it could hurt him. If I'd had a discreet thirteen-year affair with a political figure, I'd not come forward with it. It seems like a breach of a private matter. Of course, if we'd been publicly a triad or whatever, then, sure, that'd be different.

Sexual harassment, though -- even if the evidence DIDN'T show that he is either completely ignorant of economics, or a corporate tool, or both, the sexual harassment thing would be a deal-breaker. But an ongoing, long-term affair? None of my business.
adrian_turtle
Nov. 29th, 2011 08:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Herman Cain
What I don't get is why the woman has come forward.

According to an article about it in the paper Boston Globe on the subway, which I do not have to now, the woman came forward because she felt sorry for the women accusing Cain of sexual harassment. The recent media attention brought the incidents to her attention, and Cain's response to them troubles her. It seems uncomfortably plausible.
kimchalister
Dec. 3rd, 2011 11:04 am (UTC)
Re: Herman Cain
for what it's worth, I agree too.
joxn
Nov. 29th, 2011 05:57 am (UTC)
How do you feel about outing gay politicians who are trying to keep their homosexual behavior private/secret?
bradhicks
Nov. 29th, 2011 06:11 am (UTC)
Larry Craig, etc
I used to hate this more than I do.

One thing I've had brought home to me, over recent years, is just how much pressure anti-gay prejudice inflicts on gay men in particular. It's probably more common than not for teenage boys, panicked over what life will be like if they admit to themselves or anyone else that they're gay, to bargain with God: let me marry a woman so attractive that even I'm attracted to her, and I'll never look at another man ever again so long as I live. And then not be able to live up to that promise.

Bob Heinlein said, in The Moon is Harsh Mistress, that nobody ever proposes that the government outlaw something that they're doing, only the stuff that their neighbors are doing that they don't like, but I've come to see that he was wrong about that. There are a lot of gay men who hate it when they lust after (or actually have sex with) men, and who believe the classic American superstition that says that anybody can do anything if you threaten them enough, who actually think that if they succeed in making it punitive enough to be gay, that'll finally stop them from being gay. If it weren't for the damage they inflict on others, I'd be able to pity them for it; as it is, I hate them not for the gay cheating on their wives, but for the laws themselves whether they're cheating on their wives or not. (Although most of them are. Nobody else cares enough to run on this issue, any more.)

And what do you feel for someone who didn't even know he was gay, who was a late maturer, who never fell in love with anybody in his life until after he went into a career that's closed off to gay men, like the ministry or American politics? Do you expect that man to give up his career? Isn't it far more likely he's going to feel that he has no choice but to lie?
brynndragon
Nov. 29th, 2011 12:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Larry Craig, etc
I'm curious how Barney Frank fits into your last paragraph, or more interestingly, if it's possible for other national-level politicians to come out the way he did rather than live in the closet as long as they're in politics.
strongaxe
Nov. 29th, 2011 06:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Larry Craig, etc
Isn't it far more likely he's going to feel that he has no choice but to lie?

There is always a choice. It's just not always an easy one. Every once in a while, one is faced with a situation where one has to make a choice between integrity (doing what one believes is the right thing to do), and practicality, even if making the right choice can be quite costly. Judging by how many scandals one reads about (let alone the ones one never hears about), it seems like very few are willing to make the hard choice.
subnumine
Nov. 30th, 2011 01:08 am (UTC)
Re: Larry Craig, etc
Thank you for the comment on Heinlein. Just one of the long list of things he was wrong about, but a clear pattern running through these.

I wonder how many of the Drys were alcoholics?
samael7
Dec. 8th, 2011 08:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Larry Craig, etc
My anger and distate at such politicians is in direct proportion as to how much they violate Rule Eight.

I've actually harshened somewhat with regard to "outing" politicians, and feel that those that consistently, actively try to make life worse for gay people, who themselves keep a boy on the side or cruise bathrooms or visit rentboy.com -- I don't care how conflicted they are, if their actions and cowardice have a direct impact on me and people I love, I won't tolerate it. Out the jerkwad.

If they're closeted, even married, but (at minimum) otherwise quietly vote down discrimination (or, stretching it, simply fail to vote on it at all), they can have my pity and my silence. I still think they're a coward, but there are plenty of times in my life I've failed to do the right thing out of fear, so, shutting up now.

Mary Cheney falls into this for me; though out, she's of the "I've got mine" mindset and is so insulated by virtue of privilege and power from the consquences of her actions, that she can support some execrable politicians/policies in order to line her pockets without feeling the sting of their outcomes. It's very Marie Antoinette-ish.
bradhicks
Nov. 29th, 2011 06:04 am (UTC)
Newt Gingrich
I dislike Newt Gingrich for his shallow, dim-witted, self-serving pseudo-Libertarianism and his shady fund-raising practices, but I don't hate him personally for those things.

I hate him personally for the fact that both the woman he cheated on his first wife with, and the woman he cheated on his second wife with, were subordinates. I also find it distasteful that he, as with a lot of rich and powerful men, feels entitled to trade in a spouse for a younger model whenever they lose any of their looks. The allegation that he served divorce papers on his first wife in the hospital, so that he could trade her in on someone younger and healthier, is just loathsome, reptilian in its selfishness.
krinndnz
Nov. 29th, 2011 06:40 am (UTC)
Re: Newt Gingrich
The allegation that he served divorce papers on his first wife in the hospital, so that he could trade her in on someone younger and healthier, is just loathsome, reptilian in its selfishness.

That particular one started out making me angry, then headed into flames-on-the-side-of-my-face territory when it turned out that my partner had had a parallel experience of getting a phone call hours after a major surgery, while in a bed in the recovery ward, from the health insurance company, with the news that they were going to deny coverage for the procedure. The luckless phone-banker assigned to deliver the news wound up crying when the situation was explained, and the combination of those two things means that I have a special revulsion for those who think it's remotely acceptable to willingly heap trauma on people who are already in a recovery ward. Gingrich reminds me of your series about the GOP and Satanism, except with him as a cartoonishly evil caricature of a LaVeyan Satanist.
bradhicks
Nov. 29th, 2011 06:53 am (UTC)
Re: Newt Gingrich
Oh, and don't get me started on the fact that someone who cheated on his first wife, divorced her, married the subordinate he was cheating on her with, cheated on her, divorced her, and married yet another subordinate he was cheating with, frequently criticizes Bill Clinton for adultery, while making lame excuses about why it's different when he does it.
kathrynt
Nov. 29th, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
Re: Newt Gingrich
Let's also not ignore that his first wife was his high school math teacher, whom he began dating while he was still in school! He was 16, she was 25.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 29th, 2011 08:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Newt Gingrich
I understand you as saying that Newt Gingrich had early experience in workplace relationships across a power gap.
adrian_turtle
Nov. 29th, 2011 08:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Newt Gingrich
Even though she took advantage of him when he was a teenager and her student (in ways that are now recognizable as harassment, possibly some kind of molestation), that doesn't justify the way he treated her years later. Newt doesn't even try to use it as partial excuse.
kathrynt
Nov. 30th, 2011 12:43 am (UTC)
Re: Newt Gingrich
Oh, it doesn't justify squat. What it does show is that Newt was making bad relationship decisions even before he got married.
discogravy
Dec. 1st, 2011 04:04 am (UTC)
Re: Newt Gingrich
I dunno, scumbag or no, I don't know anyone who made really awesome long-term sex/romance decisions at 16.
kimchalister
Dec. 3rd, 2011 11:14 am (UTC)
Re: Newt Gingrich
Oh, there's bound to be a few of them. I know a woman who, at 18, saw her future husband across a room and said, "that's the man for me" and when I knew them 40 years later they were like lovebirds....
samael7
Dec. 8th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Newt Gingrich
Didn't McCain do this too?
silveradept
Nov. 29th, 2011 07:29 am (UTC)
I can guess what you think about the Catholic cover-up, based on the rules above, but I kind of want to know who the person is that you'd throw the blame at, if there is such a person.
bradhicks
Nov. 29th, 2011 08:00 am (UTC)
Oh, dear Crom. (*holding my head*) There is so much blame to go around, I don't even know where to begin.

First, I'd like to establish that there is no evidence that Catholic priests molest children at any higher rate than any other group of men who have private, unsupervised, lengthy access to other people's children. I forget who it was who suggested, early in the scandal, that the church could put a huge dent in the problem by simply making it standard practice that it takes two priests to take the confession of anyone under the age of 18. There is nothing in canon law or the scriptures to prevent this. It would be somewhat expensive and time consuming, but it's the only thing that's going to work.

So, that being said? The real Catholic sex scandal is how long the Church kept believing their own internal therapists who were pronouncing these guys "cured" after they'd been prayed over for a while and how long it kept approving them for transfer to new parishes after they'd been "cured" when, decades ago, their own experts, the guys who started those therapeutic centers, were telling them, "these guys are not cured, our method doesn't work, it is not safe to send these guys back out into the field."

I don't even know if the Catholic church's scandals qualify as sex scandals. They're criminal scandals, organizational scandals, accountability scandals.
silveradept
Nov. 29th, 2011 08:20 am (UTC)
As is famously attributed to the Watergate scandal, "It wasn't the crime, it was the cover-up." But yes, one suspects that the "ex-gay" ministries and these therapists pronouncing priests "cured" probably have the same problem of things not working for them. We just haven't had the public explosion related to the "ex-gay" therapies because they haven't had anyone prominent caught with someone that will raise public ire. Something about not getting caught with dead women or live boys comes to mind.

Maybe we should reach into the historical pot and talk a little bit about how shocked everyone was to find out that white Presidential types fathered children with their slaves, if there's insufficient sex scandal with the Catholic Church.
strongaxe
Nov. 29th, 2011 07:05 pm (UTC)
I grew up Catholic, and I remember the confessionals had separate entrances for penitents and priests, and both halves were separated by a screen. It would have been nigh impossible to molest someone in a confessional, unless it was obvious to anyone outside that it was being used improperly (for example, two people entering the same side).

One-on-one "counseling", however, would be another matter entirely. Still, I think that abuse would be less likely if the priest had a (likely female) secretary in the next room who could hear if anything unusual were going on.
chaotic_nipple
Nov. 29th, 2011 08:32 pm (UTC)
IIRC, a lot of the abuse allegations had a "confessional coercion" element involved: The next confession after the abuse happened, the perpetrators would obliquely threaten their victims with hell and damnation if they said anything/didn't keep cooperating. Slightly harder to do that if there's another, uninvolved priest there.
zornhau
Nov. 29th, 2011 10:26 am (UTC)
This is all so very sensible. I hate the double bind. "Of course X lied about it, you ######s - he was having an affair" "Of course it happened at work, that's all he ever does...."

I think on balance Clinton was a jerk.
bradhicks
Nov. 29th, 2011 11:54 am (UTC)
Yeah. Yeah, that's one I fought with people about my whole office career. I was raised strictly to believe, "Thou shalt not fish off the company pier. Don't get your meat where you get good bread." And had exactly that thrown in my face: young singles with no life other than work and TV who would never get laid if they don't fuck their cow-orkers. And they end up normalizing that behavior, and then get utterly blind-sided by their first power imbalance.
bemused_leftist
Nov. 29th, 2011 12:15 pm (UTC)
I didn't see any disclaimer about why it sounds like you believe all these charges. There's incentive from tabloids and political enemies for inventing or exaggerating such stories.
rowyn
Nov. 29th, 2011 03:51 pm (UTC)
Yeah, my biggest problem with feeling outrage is that I very rarely feel like I have a clue what the truth is, be it more or less damning than the allegations surfaced so far. v.v
subnumine
Nov. 30th, 2011 01:12 am (UTC)
Of these, which ones are still being denied, even by the subject of the scandal? I think only Clarence Thomas and Herman Cain.
bemused_leftist
Dec. 1st, 2011 05:47 am (UTC)
Bill Clinton admitted a consensual blowjob instigated by Lewinsky.

The accusations by Jones and others were of non-consensual 'sexual harassment' which he denies.

Unless you want to argue that paying off Jones is some kind of admission. If you argue that, I suggest you read up on what that case was used as a vehicle for: threats of prison to Lewinsky, her mother, Julie Steele, Susan MacDougal, etc.
janetmiles
Nov. 29th, 2011 03:03 pm (UTC)
I really, really like the rubric you've layed out here.
dd_b
Nov. 29th, 2011 07:13 pm (UTC)
Perhaps somewhat along the lines of your unreasonable prejudice in favor of people with consensual nonstandard relationships (which I share), I find myself really enjoying it when people who have checked the "family values" box on the form get caught this way. I think the whole concept is deeply damaging and a bad fit for humans, and I just like it every time they trip over their own positions. As other people said, they always have a choice; they could choose not to run as Republicans, for example. And, if most of the people who don't actually support those views refused to publicly endorse them, the views would cease being seen as the default by so many people.
wyldemusick
Nov. 30th, 2011 08:59 am (UTC)
Let's go for the ridiculous here: Anthony Weiner.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 30th, 2011 10:59 pm (UTC)
I'd be interested in your thoughts on John Edwards' affair as well.
( 45 comments — Leave a comment )

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