Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sympathy for the Devil

For all who were justifiably outraged by the empathetic coverage of the two Steubenville rapists by a couple of CNN hostesses reporters actually named Poppy and Candy, I have one question: What else did you expect?

This is a country with a corrupt media machine that has long shown undue deference to predators of all stripes. We must half-admire our criminal athletes, we must show a grudging respect for the financial miscreants who've raked in 100% of all the wealth regained since they themselves brought the world economy crashing down in 2008, we must give a wink and a nod to the antics of all those rascally politicians whose power just unaccountably went straight to their heads.(and loins)

Everybody loves a winner, and if our movers and shakers and celebrities are caught misbehaving or worse, we tear them down, only to build them back up again, cheering them on in their pursuit of even greater riches and fame under the shiny patina of false regret and rehabilitation. Look at Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger, Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, David Vitter, Bill Clinton and pretty soon, Anthony Wiener, Jesse Jackson Junior and Blago. (Do not look at Dick Cheney and his band of merry neocons, however, since they skipped the part where they were punished and have not one regret for their proxified mass murder, torture, rape and sexual abuse, and maiming of millions of innocent people. Cheney is still being invited on the Sunday talk shows simply to show off his serene immunity as a new heart is beating, trapped and helpless, within his soulless chest.) 

But were you surprised that two female reporters (Candy Crowley and Poppy Harlow) went all weepy over two rapists? Don't be. Crowley, you may remember, hosted the town hall-style debate between the two vetted presidential candidates of the predatory plutonomy last fall, staying silent as two female Green Party candidates were kidnapped, bound and gagged by President Obama's security detail. She did her duty by the elites running the show. Among them was multimillionaire misogynist Alan Simpson, who once chauvinistically referred to Social Security as "a milk cow with 300 million tits" in a letter to a female advocate for older women. 

President Obama kept him on the Deficit Reduction ("Catfood") Commission anyway, despite an outpouring of protest similar to the outpouring of protest to CNN this week. The Commission on Presidential Debates kept him on board, too. Candy Crowley did not make a peep then and (so far) she is not making a peep now.

And then there's Poppy Harlow, who very naturally ended up covering a juvenile rape trial after years of covering the predatory financial sector. Her shocked weepiness over the weeping young convicts had to have been a knee-jerk reaction, given that her previous story subjects have always enjoyed immunity with impunity. Harlow, moreover, is a meritocrat all the way, having risen through the ranks of private schools, the Ivy League, Forbes video, CBS MarketWatch and CNN Money. No wonder her first reaction to the conviction of the teenage boys was regret that their own economic potential is down the tubes. However, given the stories of Vick and Roethlisberger, these youngsters may be redeemed by the National or American Football Leagues, or even a college that is not too picky about doing background checks on its athletic recruits.

Stay tuned, too, for the lucrative interviews from Juvey Hall on Dr. Phil  (I'm betting on next week), then the usual solemn, probing and tough but fair profiles soon thereafter on 60 Minutes and Dateline.

But let's cut Poppy Harlow some slack. In case you thought she had zero empathy for the victim in this case, Poppy herself has been a victim of that most egregious and increasing crime against wealthy elites: Invasion of Privacy by Internet! In a daring act of true confession, Poppy recently revealed right on teevee that somebody had surfed the web and revealed her outrageous salary. And not only that, they got her net worth all wrong. Poppy was violated. They even hacked into public records and found out that she's single and Episcopalian. Eau de humanity!

And in case this still isn't enough parody for you, The Onion has thoughtfully dug out a pre-Steubenville prequel that uncannily mirrors the coverage of the real case. You can savor both the Poppy Candy and the Onion at Truthdig. Then swig some Alka-Seltzer.


Denis Neville said...

According to several studies of sexual assaults and athletes, there is an association between sports and sexual assault. The farther you go up, the more entitlements there are. And one of those entitlements is women.

"It's really a sense of power that comes from specialness, reputation, money, whether it's an athlete, businessman, or entertainer - anyone who finds himself at the center of the world they're in has a sense of impunity." - Ken Dryden, Hall of Fame NHL goalie

One of the Steubenville defendants texted that his coach “took care of” the rape allegation.

Whenever loyalty to the enterprise becomes more important than simple morality, you will find evil functioning smoothly.

Pearl said...

Imagine if the victim in the rape case in Steubenville didn't have the courage to speak up and challenge her tormenters and if the media had helped shovel it under the rug. And if the perpetrators were too young, stupid and drunk to recognize that advertising their exploits on the communication network was a crime.
I hope this will give future and present victims the courage to speak up and out and seek public help.

What is sad to me, is that this kind of entitlement system, in the older males can be hidden better and kept out of the media with proper 'connections'. Look how long it took Sandusky to be outed or the priests in the Catholic church or exposure of sexual attacks on women soldiers.

In a way I do feel sorry for the boys who were involved in this truly ugly event because they did not have the proper support of parents in restricting their partying and drinking, and obviously encouraging their successful current and future athletic careers especially if they come from humble backgrounds. It is especially troubling to have a black boy involved which will encourage racial reactions. The people in all these crimes who cover up the wrong- doings (Popes, university personnel, athletic coaches) are truly the harmful ones as well as our educational institutions that encourage the worst aspects of human behavior via the ROTC on campuses, the scholarships for athletes who often are poor students, etc.etc.

And you need not apologize for stimulating our throwing up reflexes, Karen. We can always swallow an anti nausea pill. You stimulate our minds which is the ultimate gift one can bestow and which hopefully helps settle our stomachs and high blood pressure.

Zee said...


Am I outraged by the outpouring of sympathy for two cruel rapists by CNN “reporters?” Yes.

But am I surprised that they would dare to express such misguided sympathy? Well,...no.

After decades of listening to liberal apologists for genuinely evil, brutal and irredeemable criminals, I'm surprised only that it has taken CNN reporters this long to “get with the program” and express their true sentiments on the “small screen” for all to see.

I am, however, quite gratified at the outrage that I am hearing now in this Progressive forum.

These young “men” should have been tried as adults and had the book thrown at them to the maximum. Their actions when committing the actual rape were cruel and brutal enough; but what they further took away from their young victim with their remarkably cruel and brutal after-actions—distributing digital images and commentary far and wide for the world to see—should have sealed their fate.

Instead, they were tried in juvenile court and given light sentences because their frontal lobes are not yet fully developed. Poor babies. It's my theory that the District Attorney has seen West Side Story and listened to Gee, Officer Krupke at least one too many times:


Sorry, but zillions of teens, from time immemorial, have gotten through similar years without raping a young girl and then proudly advertising the fact on YouTube, FaceBook, or whatever. These young “men” deserve the lifetime of stigma—if not an appropriate prison sentence—that they have received.

And @Denis, you are right about the power and privilege that athletes—which the two Steubenville scum were (emphasis on the past tense)—think is their due.

Mrs. Zee finished her M.A. before I completed my Ph.D., and we needed some dough. So, prior to her incarnation as a hospital system administrator, she took a two-year job at a major, west-coast, state university, managing its largest dormitory while I finished up.

She had the misfortune to have many of the university's athletes housed on various floors in her dorm: football, basketball and crew teams stand out in my memory. (Gotta maintain the team spirit by living and carousing together, no?)

Their conduct was outrageous, and each and every act was explained away and/or hidden by a coach, and/or paid for by rabid alumni boosters. Tear a door off its hinges or smash a common-area television or two? No problemo! The event would be hushed up by a coach, and paid for by the boosters! Harrass some poor nerd in the cafeteria and get caught doing it? Again, No problemo! The coach would “fix” it, just don't ask how. (Maybe the nerd got to hang out with the studs for some set period of time? Who knows? It was a secret then, and I'm sure it's a secret now.)

Mrs. Zee took her job seriously, and seethed at the influence that coaches and boosters had over university policy, but she was at the bottom of the totem pole, powerless, and we were broke.

This “coddling” starts in high school, and continues on into the pros, for that “fortunate” few who make it that far. I often wonder what happens to the losers whose careers end after high school or college, but I'm not shedding any tears for their fates.

Zee said...

And yet more bizarre news relative to the Steubenville rape case:


"Two girls, 15 and 16, were accused of posting the tweets Sunday following the conviction and sentencing of two boys for raping the 16-year-old West Virginia girl after an alcohol-fueled party.

The older girl was charged with aggravated menacing for a tweet that threatened homicide and said 'you ripped my family apart,' according to the attorney general's office. The girl is a cousin of defendant Ma'Lik Richmond, attorney general spokesman Dan Tierney said Tuesday.

A Twitter message from the younger girl threatened the accuser with bodily harm, leading to a menacing charge, DeWine's office said. One of the messages was later reposted on Facebook."

Again, the total absence of concern for the victim--this time, by females--makes me want to SCREAM!

Zee said...


Also, loved The Onion's satire, in a sick sort of way.

I'm sure that this is exactly what the two Steubenville athlete-perps are hoping to accomplish themselves, once they have served out their sentences and sufficient time has passed!

After all, if Michael Vick can be rehabilitated, surely, frontal-lobe-disadvantaged high school football stars can be, as well!

Guess you are succeeding in your mission to make us puke, yuk and flail helplessly, all at the same time!

Pearl said...

To add to the conversation, something that isn't mentioned is whether or not
these athletes took drugs of any kind, either to enhance physical prowess or illegal painkillers or dangerous recreation drugs. It is common use now and added to alcohol can fry already fried brains. I make no excuses for them any more than I would for a teenager who killed someone by driving while drunk.

But, the mix of laissez faire parenting plus no disciplining in watching out for alcohol or drugs, plus a teenager who is sold a bill of goods about what constitutes manhood and power added to the kind of role models in the media these days is a concoction sure to lead to dangerous trouble. No, I think these unfortunate teenagers are getting off mildly but if anything at all is
learned by this well covered event either by parents or their children there is a small plus involved, if it opens up honest conversation between
family members.

This all came to mind when I remembered some casual mention about the possibility that the victim had something put into her drink as the condition she was in would require far more than normal drinking. So it led to the question of what the accused had in their bodies and how it could push one over the edge. It is a far reaching tragedy involving many people's lives.

I recall an incident when I was in my early teens, when a friend of a cousin,also an early teen ager without a driver's license, took us on a joy ride on a dark and winding country road at 100 miles an hour (yes I saw the figures on the dashboard). I could hardly wait to get out of the car once we got home and realized how close we had come to disaster. Any slight swerve would have hit the numerous large trees lining the narrow road and nothing I tried say had made any difference with the obsessed group in the car who were trying to prove they were immortal men. So, I am still around to haunt you all.

Anonymous said...

I think you're all mistaken. The problem here isn't drinking or sports or even the mishegoss that followed. It's the inherent misogyny that the girl - nearly all girls - was steeped in so that the idea of drinking in the company of a bunch of drunken football players looked as incandescently appealing as a burning light bulb to a moth.

I blame "The Little Mermaid", and Taylor Swift videos - seriously. I seem to recall being a girl at the same age doing similar things as the unnamed girl in terms of alcohol, I also remember no shortage of date rape among my female peers. To be honest, I wasn't outraged by Steubenville, and I'm not sure I'm wrong. The mentally retarded girl raped in - was it New Jersey? - by the high school athletes who lured her to their hangout, THAT was appalling. This was more along the lines of, "Why are you drinking to excess around a mass of other people with very, very, very high testosterone levels who are drinking to excess, and expecting different results?" Are young women capable of being future leaders, or are they not even capable of exercising judgment regarding alcohol consumption? (And no, I do not think "rumors" that she was slipped a roofie are credible.)

Denis Neville said...

Remarkable comment by anonymous…dumb drunk girls at parties?

Another blatant example of the way women are often regarded once they become rape victims.

“The pictures from Steubenville don’t just show a girl being raped. They show that rape being condoned, encouraged, celebrated. What type of culture could possibly produce such pictures? Only one in which women's autonomy and right to safety counts for so little that these rapists, and those who held the cameras, felt themselves 'perfectly justified'. Only one in which rape and sexual humiliation of women and girls is so normalised that it does not register as a crime in the minds of the assailants. Only one in which victims are powerless, silenced, dismissed.” - Laurie Penny, “Steubenville: this is rape culture's Abu Ghraib moment,” http://www.newstatesman.com/laurie-penny/2013/03/steubenville-rape-cultures-abu-ghraib-moment

Pearl said...

I blame "The Little Mermaid", and Taylor Swift videos - seriously. I seem > to recall being a girl at the same age doing similar things as the unnamed girl in terms of alcohol, I also remember no shortage of date rape among my female peers. To be honest, I wasn't outraged by Steubenville, and I'm not sure I'm wrong."


I am afraid your past has affected your present thinking which is blaming
the girl and accepting the behavior of the men. Yes women or underage girls get into bad situations when drinking but when boys or men take advantage and make a criminal spectacle out of it there is a vast difference. It seems you haven't learned much from your past experiences. And how are you sure
that her drink wasn't spiked?
I doubt you would feel like this if you or one of your peers had been as criminally treated and publicly advertised as happened in Steubenville and I am sure you would
not blame a friend for being molested in a similar situation.

James F Traynor said...

I saw the CNN and Onion videos and I also was a desk clerk at a university mixed dorm while I waited for an assistantship to open up. And my wife was a nurse at a minimum security prison for years. The fact is that both victim and perpetrators were, if not children, certainly immature. They did not create the culture into which they were born; if you're brought up as a cannibal you're going to be a cannibal. And if you ask too many questions about it, or hang out with the 'wrong crowd' you wind up like Socrates - or the poor kid that got raped.

You're being too hard on Anonymus. Do I feel sorry for these kids? Yeah, I do, perpetrators and victim - but a lot more for the victim. But that's my way. And I'm glad the 'rapists' got the sentence they did, and that it serves as an example, not so much to them, but to our society as a whole. Do I think it will? Not likely, but who knows.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I'm equivocal on this. I know that if I had erred in this manner as a teen, there is no way that my parents would have pursued it in such a public manner, if only because they wouldn't want to admit having a kid dumb enough or self-loathing enough to make herself so vulnerable. We are, admittedly, from a culture that demands a great deal from women.
I also question the apparent need to believe, or wish to believe, that a) the athletes were affected by anything beyond high testosterone and excessive drinking and/or b) the girl was slipped a roofie. Yes, young men drinking in a pack can and will behave like animals (okay, that's an insult to animals, but you know what I mean) and all the more so if they are revered athletes. Yes, young women who drink to excess can indeed become utterly incapacitated, no roofie required.
I'm glad these kids were prosecuted, however, as a woman, I was also embarrassed that nothing has changed for teenaged girls. The environment is more sexist than it ever has been. The very notion that all the marketing to young girls is just so much "princess, a man will chivalrously save you" is infuriating because this is the kind of delusional behavior it leads to.
Have you watched "The Little Mermaid"? It's revolting, whether you are a feminist or not, but especially if you want women to be assertive and responsible, not vulnerable and bleeped.

Kat said...

Nothing new. I mean, "acting like a girl" is still the ultimate insult. You find this message in advertising and popular culture in general.
And here from the pages of the NYT we have this:
"Study of Men’s Falling Income Cites Single Parents".

Anonymous said...

"Nothing new. I mean, "acting like a girl" is still the ultimate insult. You find this message in advertising and popular culture in general."

I respectfully disagree. Taylor Swift is making millions off of "acting like (the ultimate) girl." Obedient, docile, non-assertive, and utterly vacuous.

I don't want to sound like Grampa Simpson, but when I was a kid, there was a culture of female assertiveness, whether it was Chrissie Hynde and Joan Jett defying conventions of femininity, or ten years later Fiona Apple and the Rrriot girls movement.

Those women gave young girls the confidence not to follow the football crowd in a self-negating drunken stupor, but to carve out their own niche. I well remember my shock upon visiting Mexian nabes on the West Coast and seeing the most beautiful girls with their eyes carefully kohl'ed with liner and their lipstick on perfectly - but dressed in baggy hoodies and baggy pants. How did we go from there to the near-total objectification of women implied by today's near-nakedness?

Before my generation, there were edgy, smart, authentic female artists like Janis Joplin and Grace Slick who paved the way for Hynde and Jett.

What do girls of today sharpen their assertiveness training on? Taylor Swift. And make no bones about it, Taylor Swift is a marketing juggernaut of monumental proportions with disproportionate influence on teenaged girls.

I'm only half-kidding when I paraphrase Flaubert: "Taylor Swift? C'est Steubenville."

Kat said...

Anon-- you and I are discussing two entirely different things. I'm talking about this phrase being lobbed at men as the ultimate insult. OK?
Do you ever see any advertising where a woman "acting like a boy" is the basis of some sort of joke?
I'll leave it at that.

Anonymous said...

"Do you ever see any advertising where a woman "acting like a boy" is the basis of some sort of joke?"
I guess I don 't watch enough adverts, but if you mean "acting like a pussy", then yes, I heard that rather frequently growing up. As I watch my generation of women course through the halls of relative power, the phrase seems rather quaint.
What concerns me more is the sense that, since I was a teen, there has been a steep regression to strict gender norms, even as we see legal advances for women and minorities. I am puzzled by what the Steubenville football culture represents. Perhaps as we move forward, there is a tendency for others to dig in?

But as shocking as Steubenville is, I think the prosecution's public nature raises some questions. I well remember how the "Central Park Five" were convicted by the media, and I am suspicious of trials that accrue great public attention. I also distinctly remember how questioning whether those convicted were actually guilty in the CP5 case earned me many angry rebukes from women.

As we all know now, my skepticism was well-founded.

That said, I both condemn rape ( and stand by my condemnation of the inanity of "princess culture" and Taylor Swift.) If you want to wait for football players to become enlightened feminists, please be my guest. I think it's more pragmatic to train young women to exercise a modicum of common sense regarding parties that involve alcohol and men.

Lastly, what does it mean that the most extreme act they were convicted of was "digital penetration"? How on earth is that defined?

Anonymous said...

So we're officially outraged about a "digital penetration" of some poor white girl, I get it, it was criminal, glad they were prosecuted.

But this violation was ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE LESS than what happens to black and Hispanic men every day in US prisons. In fact, the Justice Dep't finally admits that the majority of rapes in the US ain't happening to drunkass white gals, they're happening to black male prisoners.

But talking about the real rape victims isn't as gratifying as yelling about football players fingering drunks, so... I guess it doesn't matter.

"In January, prodded in part by outrage over a series of articles in the New York Review of Books, the Justice Department finally released an estimate of the prevalence of sexual abuse in penitentiaries. The reliance on filed complaints appeared to understate the problem. For 2008, for example, the government had previously tallied 935 confirmed instances of sexual abuse. After asking around, and performing some calculations, the Justice Department came up with a new number: 216,000. That’s 216,000 victims, not instances. These victims are often assaulted multiple times over the course of the year. The Justice Department now seems to be saying that prison rape accounted for the majority of all rapes committed in the US in 2008, likely making the United States the first country in the history of the world to count more rapes for men than for women.

Pearl said...

anonymous: rape, beating, stabbing, sexual or physical harassing, shooting. verbally or emotional or otherwise brutalizing another human being is illegal and unacceptable. The race, nationality, sexual orientation,income, age, how they dress, or have lived regarding the perpetrators or victims are not excuses for differences of judgment. What we have to do in our society is not put people (adults and children) in situations where they become violent or act out dangerously or are not protected, ad infinitum.

Stop distracting from these basics in your uneven comments, please.

CitiZen said...

Anonymous, you give me the creeps.

Karen Garcia said...

Words to the wise:


Anonymous said...


You surprise me. I do believe more than a fair share of those who ACTIVLY protect athletes-coaches, parents, fans, school administrators, teachers, other team members, NCAA execs, cops, medical personnel etc. etc. - are very, very Republican.

Denis Neville said...

If you have never been to the Flame Warriors website, treat yourself to Mike Reed’s “Flame Warriors Roster." There are 84 different definitions with hilarious cartoon illustrations. “Think of Sesame Street populated by Oscar the Grouch and 83 of his relatives.”


Kat said...

Anon, you lost me at "some poor white girl". So, it's the white girls who are responsible for our vast prison state?
Somehow, if you're angry by the special protections afforded athletes (and Zee's rundown is quite accurate.) you're in favor of mass incarceration?

James F Traynor said...


Read the 'flaming' ref. Funny,funny and yes,yes. You're a pisser.

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks for the link to the cavalcade of flamers. Gave me a good laugh. I recognized a lot of the characters from the Times Brigade of the Green Checkmark, including myself. (I think I am a cross between the Godfather and the Raging Granny, with a side of Enfant Provocateur) Just a great cross-section of internet humanity.

James F Traynor said...

And the Denis ref, too. Myself? A little bit of all of the above. Oh God! Funny.

Zee said...


I can't dispute your generalization that plenty of Republicans are or have been responsible for shielding athletes, coaches, etc. from punishment for disreputable or criminal actions.

But for whatever reason, sports have never held any fascination for me, personally, and I believe it is the very pinnacle of stupidity to heap the hero worship and preposterous incomes that we do on people who just happen to be able to hit or throw a ball particularly well.

Moreover, I believe that big-time sports has a corrupting influence on otherwise reputable colleges and universities, as faculty are pressured to "pass" athletes who seem barely able to read, write or speak, and as boosters pay off college players with money, cars, etc.

And then, of course, there's always good ol' Penn State, who took corruption to hitherto unattained heights, sheltering a pedophile for the good of the almighty football program.

Sports have their place in our society, but not to the extent that we have enshrined them.

Also, please remember that I am a Republican-in-name-only because New Mexico is a closed-primary state. If we had open primaries here, I would be registered as an Independent.

With Mrs. Zee registered as a Democrat, we conspire to try--with little success--to promote the best candidates from each party, but this year we both voted for Gary Johnson.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for your response. And as is sometimes the case, I completely agree with your assessment of the role of sports in American life - particularly our academic life.

Will said...


Pro athletes ARE worth the money. Just like big movie stars are worth 25 million per picture if their particular presence on the silver screen will generate HUNDREDS of millions worldwide at the box office or in rentals.

Oh, and screw the NCAA. Those plantations--I mean universities--make billions and in return they give most athletes a free joke of an education that they will never use in the "real world."

Zee said...


Like Karen, James and Pearl, I, too, loved the "Flame Warriors" web site! Way too funny, and way too true!