The Final Verdict in Steubenville: The rapists are the victims

One year. That’s the minimum sentence for these boys. Delivered with sympathy by your U.S. media, lamenting their bright futures as if this were a tragic mistake for them and not a trauma for the victim herself. How sad, the “lasting effect” on these boys, rather than the lasting effect on the young woman. How tragic, that Ohio law has “placed on them” the “label” of designated sex offender.

Others have articulated the issues with this better than I can, but I have to wonder how many tears that young woman has cried, off camera, while someone rubbed her back and said, “You know, this is why you shouldn’t drink.” Because that’s how it goes for the rest of us. That’s what happens when you speak up about something atrocious that happens to you. You, victim, are a life-destroyer; you, victim, should feel guilty about what you have done. It will not be easy to change this, but I do think it is worth signing the petition to hold CNN accountable.

Here’s your roundup, should your heart feel up to it today:

* Laurie Penny, at The New Statesman: “Steubenville: This is rape culture’s Abu Ghraib moment”

* Dave Zirin, at The Nation: “The Verdict: Steubenville shows the bond between rape culture and jock culture” [related: “The Trouble with Football”]

* And Michelle Dean, from two months ago at the New Yorker:

… these tweets and photos, as far as public discussion should be concerned, are proof of the flippancy and indifference with which some part of America greets the report of sexual assault. If you want to know why sexual assault is so difficult to prosecute, you needn’t look much further than that.

To which I quietly add one word: Amen.


Wooing Meg Whitman

HP SuitorsReally, New York Times?

Good writers create atmosphere with word choice. Did the character dash, sprint, or scurry to the next appointment? Sunlight pierces a stabbing victim’s eyes; for a politician about to be exposed by the media, it glares. The best writers do this subtly, so that, without telling you that the character feels a sense of loneliness, you know it because she describes the furniture as solitary, the floor-to-ceiling windows that she once hoped would erase her inner walls as riot shields.

Usually this is an unconscious choice. But Michael J. de la Merced and the editors at the Times most definitely knew what they were doing when they described potential buyers for two HP units as “suitors.” Did Meg Whitman put her Electronic Data Systems on display and maybe jiggle them a little when investors came over to check them out? I would guess not. But you had better believe that no one would have used the word “suitors” if previous CEO Leo Apotheker had been the one to put HP’s goods on the market.

Another day, another stupid media portrayal of a successful woman. Onward.