THE AGE OF THE NOVEL: What does it mean to be blackout drunk?

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2019

The fate of the over-served:
Chanel Miller has routinely been praised on a perfectly sensible basis.

To what standard assessment do we refer? Just last week, Lisa Bonos expressed this assessment quite directly in the Washington Post:
BONOS (10/21/19): As #MeToo unfolded, the woman, Chanel Miller, felt emboldened to make her name public with a searing memoir that came out last month and quickly became a bestseller. “Know My Name” is remarkable for how Miller, who had blacked out from drinking, refuses to blame herself for what Turner had done to her. In a recent podcast conversation, Oprah Winfrey told Miller that this mind-set was a big change from how Winfrey and other survivors of her generation frequently blamed themselves for being assaulted, perhaps because of how they dressed or how much they had to drink.
Miller refuse to blame herself. This makes her book remarkable.

Should Chanel Miller "blame herself" for what Brock Turner did, whatever that may have been? Obviously, no, she shouldn't!

In fairness, it isn't all that easy to say what Turner actually did on the very late evening in question. In March 2016, a unanimous jury ruled that he committed a sexual assault. Tomorrow, we'll examine the slightly peculiar, challenging logic behind that jury's verdict.

Today, though, we return to that other question of blame:

Obviously, it never makes sense to blame Person A for something Person B did. If Person A passes out in the public square and Person B walks away with his wallet, Person B, not Person A, has committed a crime.

This doesn't mean that Person A might not have been careless, or perhaps unwise, in this circumstance. In the act of theft described above, if Person A passed out in public because he'd become "extremely drunk," then Person A might sensibly consider the role this act of public carelessness played in the events which followed, in which he may have lost a large amount of cash.

Presumably, everyone is careless or unwise at some point in time. That doesn't mean that we should be blamed for someone else's immoral or criminal conduct.

That said, Miller "refuses to blame herself" in a way which strikes us as a bit unwise. We return to the early statement in Know My Name which defines the well-written book's basic ethos:
"I, to this day, believe none of what I did that evening is important..."
As we noted yesterday, Miller makes that slightly imprecise statement at an early point in her book. Given the disastrous events of the evening in question, we strongly disagree with that statement.

Even today, Miller remains a very young person and the victim of a sexual assault—an assault from which she is still struggling to recover. The damage done by that assault is very important. So therefore was her somewhat unwise behavior on the night in question.

In what did that unwise behavior consist? It consisted in the fact that Miller, than just 22 years, became "blackout drunk" in a public place, on a campus whose august authority figures enable the kind of criminal conduct which ensued that night.

Obviously, what Miller did wasn't criminal, or even immoral—but what she did was less than perfectly wise. In a slightly different location, the behavior of those authority figures might have qualified as criminal. Here's what those august figures did:

They allowed a 19-year-old college freshman to be served so much alcohol that he would stumble out into the night with an estimated blood-alcohol content of 0.171—more than two times California's "legal limit."

In a Palo Alto bar, it would have been against the law to serve that 19-year-old freshman any alcohol at all! But on the nearby Stanford campus, he was served so much alcohol that he was severely drunk as he stumbled into the night at roughly 1 A.M.

That isn't all these august authority figures allowed to happen that night. They also allowed a 22-year-old woman to be served so much alcohol that her estimated BAC was 0.25 at 1 A.M.—three times the legal limit!

In fact, they allowed her to be served so much alcohol that she had become "blackout drunk" at approximately midnight.

She then made phones call, and left voice messages, which she doesn't remember making and leaving. What else did she do in that missing hour?

Because these pillars of the community had allowed her to be so vastly over-served, she has no idea what she said and did in the hour after midnight. But she seems to have left the party around 1 A.M. with the aforementioned Turner.

Eventually, she became unconscious. At some point along the way, the assault in question occurred.

In our view, the logic by which Turner was convicted of sexual assault is a slightly peculiar logic. We'll examine that logic tomorrow. For today, let's try to get a bit more clear on what it means to be "blackout drunk."

Just for starters, let's be clear—no one disputes the fact that Miller was "blackout drunk" on the evening in question. At trial, she testified to this fact, saying that she had also been blackout drunk four or five times while in college.

As noted, the fact that someone is blackout drunk doesn't mean that they should be blamed for the subsequent conduct of others. But what does it mean to be blackout drunk, and why should the nation's most revered figures avoid over-serving very young people until they attain this dangerous state?

What does it mean to be blackout drunk? For starters, and most important, it doesn't mean that the person in question is unconscious. The person in question hasn't "passed out," although that may happen later.

A person who is "blackout drunk" is up and about and walking around; she's saying and doing things. He or she is very drunk, but he or she hasn't passed out.

He or she can walk and talk and make all sorts of decisions—but his or her judgment may be badly impaired. In this publication from the National Institutes of Health, Aaron White described some of the unwise decisions such impaired people commonly make:
WHITE: As might be expected given the excessive drinking habits of many college students (Wechsler et al. 2002), this population commonly experiences blackouts. White and colleagues (2002c) recently surveyed 772 undergraduates regarding their experiences with blackouts...Of those who had consumed alcohol during the 2 weeks before the survey, 9.4 percent reported blacking out during this period. Students in the study reported that they later learned that they had participated in a wide range of events they did not remember, including such significant activities as vandalism, unprotected intercourse, driving an automobile, and spending money.

[...]

In a subsequent study, White and colleagues (2004) interviewed 50 undergraduate students, all of whom had experienced at least one blackout, to gather more information about the factors related to blackouts. As in the previous study, students reported engaging in a range of risky behaviors during blackouts, including sexual activity with both acquaintances and strangers, vandalism, getting into arguments and fights, and others...Roughly half of all students (52 percent) indicated that their first full memory after the onset of the blackout was of waking up in the morning, often in an unfamiliar location. Many students, more females (59 percent) than males (25 percent), were frightened by their last blackout and changed their drinking habits as a result.
People who are "blackout drunk" are extremely drunk. Their judgment may be affected by this state of drunkenness.

According to White, they report "engaging in a range of risky behaviors during blackouts, including sexual activity with both acquaintances and strangers." The next day, they won't remember doing these things.

White has long been recognized as a major authority on such topics. He's often cited in press reports warning about the danger involved in such excessive consumption.

In 2015, CNN's Kelly Wallace cited White's work in a lengthy piece about blackout drinking. Wallace was discussing a new book on the subject by Salon editor Sarah Hepola, a book which received a glowing review in the New York Times.

What happens when people are blackout drunk? Wallace had interviewed White and quoted him as shown:
WALLACE (8/7/15): Blackouts are periods of amnesia about things a person did or places a person went while intoxicated, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Blackouts are not the same as passing out while intoxicated, and a drunk person and others around him or her might not realize they're happening. For most people, the sign of a blackout is waking up wondering, "What happened?"

"They're very common, frighteningly so," especially among college students who drink alcohol, said Aaron White, PhD, senior adviser to the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and one of the country's leading experts on blackouts.

[...]

In a blackout, you could be doing mundane things like brushing your teeth, walking home or talking to a friend. Or, you might carry out more emotionally charged or risky behaviors such as having sex. Whatever it is, while that's happening, your brain is unable to create memories for those events.

Hepola writes about coming out of a blackout in a Paris hotel room while she was having sex with a man that she had no memory of meeting.

"I was not asleep," she said. "It's almost like your mind goes online again after being kicked offline ... and I come out of this blackout and I'm on top of this guy and I'm having sex with him, and I don't know where he came from, and it's the strangest thing that had ever happened to me."

The man Hepola was having sex with most likely had no idea she was in a blackout, White said.

"Even for spouses of hardcore alcoholics, they report usually not being able to tell when their spouse is in a blackout," he said.
According to White, other people can't necessarily tell when someone is "blackout drunk." Meanwhile, the party who is blackout drunk may engage in a wide array of behaviors, including those described above.

For the reasons listed above, we'd always wondered about the basis upon which the jury was able to find that Turner was in fact guilty of a sexual assault on that very unfortunate night. Tomorrow, we'll explain that logic. It's a logic which is somewhat shaky, but it's also a logic which makes a type of perfect sense.

For today, we'll only say this. People who vastly over-serve young people, then send them clattering off into the night, are engaging in deeply irresponsible conduct.

In our view, their conduct only gets worse when they express shock and surprise about what sometimes happens next. In our view, it's hard to have sufficient contempt for the august authority figures who engage in conduct like this.

In our view, august figures at a famous school behaved very irresponsibly in the incident under review. To a slightly lesser extent, so do the adult journalists who agree to overlook the many shortcoming with Chanel Miller's well-written but often poorly reasoned new book.

That said, we live in The Age of the Novel, an age in which facts and logic are routinely disappeared in search of tribal simplification and pleasing story-lines. It's an age in which our floundering liberal tribe tends to reason in the language of fairy tale, trending at times toward cartoon.

Tomorrow: One juror explains

115 comments:

  1. "In fairness, it isn't all that easy to say what Turner actually did on the very late evening in question."

    And with this sentence, we see Somerby begin his defense of Turner.

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    1. He's right. The whole case was shaky.

      I still don't understand how alcohol = no ability to consent but still lots of opportunity for responsibility. It seems logically inconsistent.

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    2. You rarely get iron-clad proof in a trial. Judges tell you that when you do jury service. You still have to reach a verdict based on the facts at hand.

      If Somerby is going to argue that the case must be perfect or else Turner must be considered not guilty, he will be going against the way our justice system work. There is always some doubt and decisions are made based on likelihoods, probabilities, not certainty.

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    3. Individual jurors don’t reach verdicts. Each votes guilty or not guilty. And the jury does not have to reach a verdict. When they don’t, the judge declares a mistrial.

      Iron clad is not a legal term of art. The relevant term is beyond a reasonable doubt, which the system is hesitant to define precisely. If by “probabilities” you mean something like “the only way the defendant could not be guilty is if invisible space aliens stole the money and planted it on him, and how probable is that?” then OK. But verdicts based on formal probabilistic calculations have been reversed because the methods of determining the probabilities were unreliable.

      As for what TDH is going to argue, let’s wait and see what he actually argues. He claims some illogic in the reasoning of the verdict, not the lack of perfection in the evidence.

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    4. deadrat says:

      1. A quibble because the commenter used the word "verdict" instead of "decision".

      2. A second quibble because the word "try" was omitted before reach a verdict. Of course juries can report that they are unable to reach a verdict.

      These two quibbles are not germane to anything but intended to make the commenter appear stupid and wrong before any substantive comment has been made. Everyone knows the things deadrat said, including the commenter, but deadrat insists on precise language with no linguistic charity whatsoever to his reading.

      3. A quibble about the words "iron clad" being not a legal term when the commenter wasn't trying to speak like a lawyer.

      4. Finally deadrat says something relevant, but reveals that he doesn't know what probabilistic reasoning is and instead substitutes a ridiculous example about aliens. Then he talks about calculations, which the commenter was not suggesting at all.

      4. The remark about waiting for TDH to make his arguments is appropriate, on topic and reasonable. This last paragraph could have been deadrats entire comment.

      Deadrat never addressed 2:42's point that jurors frequently have to make decisions without perfect evidence.

      It is exhausting to deal with all of these nitpicks, distortions and red herrings. It would be a waste of deadrat's time to write this stuff, which suggests that he is a troll, not a serious reader of this blog.

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    5. I’m just going to assume that Anonymous @2:42P and Anonymous @1:13P are the same commenter. If you don’t have the courtesy to use a nym, then you can’t complain about mistaken identity. And anyway, one Anonymous Ignoramus is pretty much the same as another around here.

      So, @2:42P-@1:13P, congratulations, you’re now the holder of the commentariat record for the longest response to a comment claimed to be irrelevant and comprised of nothing but quibbles. You took over half again as many words to whine about a comment you thought nugatory as the number of words in the original comment itself.

      And all in defense of the most banal of claims, that people must make decisions without “perfect evidence.” Thank you, Capt Obvious. Sorry that I insisted on precise language. When you’re accused of imprecision and opacity, the proper response is to check the transmitter before blaming the receiver.

      If it’s so exhausting to read what I write, I invite you to ignore me.

      And you don’t know what a troll is, although Mao and Centrist provide perfect definitions by example. Calling people trolls because you disagree with them or because they criticize what you write is the intellectually laziest response possible. You’re hardly the record holder in that regard though.

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  2. "Should Chanel Miller "blame herself" for what Brock Turner did, whatever that may have been? Obviously, no, she shouldn't!"

    'Obviously' - really?

    I once lived in a town in the north-east - extremely liberal, upper middle-class town, I might add - where you would get a parking ticket for leaving a wallet (or anything of value) in plain view in your parked car. For tempting potential thieves to break the window and steal it, you see. That was a by-law, in that town.

    So, 'obviously', really, dear Bob? Sorry, but that's zombie-talk.

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    1. Assuming you are correct that there was actually such a law or ordinance (some skepticism on my part) I also assume that a thief who stole the recklessly placed valuable would be charged with larceny if he/she were ever caught. Carelessly leaving the item exposed on the car seat would not provide the thief with a defense, I'm fairly sure.

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    2. The usual dembot non-sequitur - check. Good. But, alas, you forgot to inform me of your opinion of the Orange Man. No weekly bonus for you, I'm afraid.

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    3. Sorry Mao, my bad, I neglected to insert some aspersions toward this "Orange Man" fellow. I never said I was perfect. You on the other hand - never failing to get in "dembot" jibe (even in the absence of any relevance to it). You're almost too brilliant! (Also, no non-sequitur, you just didn't get my point, not that it was a major one).

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    4. I made the point that Bob's assertion that Chanel Miller shouldn't blame herself is far from obvious.

      You replied with something utterly irrelevant to what was said. And now it's me who's missing the point? Oh dear.

      As for your shameful failure to denounce the Orange Man, I sincerely hope it won't happen again, or you may indeed lose your honorary 'dembot' title.

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  3. "But what does it mean to be blackout drunk, and why should the nation's most revered figures avoid over-serving very young people until they attain this dangerous state?"

    Here is an oddness in Somerby's reasoning. First, he considers the fraternity to be part of the university itself. He talks about it as a "public place" when fraternities are private organizations, not owned by or operated by the university but by the members. It would bet money that Stanford itself does not permit alcohol in its classrooms or dorms or public meeting places. It is why fraternities exist, because universities won't permit the alcohol-fueled social life that young men seek.

    Then he talks about "over-serving" as if there were a bartender present or some authority figure whose job is to assess the physiological state of each party-attendees before serving each drink, and not a keg in the kitchen or a bottle on the counter from which people serve themselves. Some parties do take car keys away from party attendees, so they do attempt to protect their members from driving while drunk (the legal limit Somerby keeps referring to, as if it meant anything about legal alcohol consumption beyond driving a car). They do not monitor whether someone is too drunk to do anything else. Hence fraternity members periodically choke on their own vomit, fall out of building windows, get into fights, and require visits to emergency rooms for alcohol poisoning. This happens nationwide, without the participation or consent of the universities themselves. Parents do not prohibit their sons from joining fraternities until some alcohol-related tragedy occurs, including hazing accidents.

    But Somerby thinks Chanel Miller is to blame. In a larger sense, many college women refuse to date frat members and will not attend their parties. That doesn't entirely avoid alcohol because it is present at other college parties (off-campus) held in apartment buildings and homes. Learning to drink is part of college experience, for the many students who did not drink in high school. But Somerby wishes to blame the university. Who could have predicted he would do that?

    He talks about the august leaders as if they had individually plotted to overserve both Miller and Turner. As if those young people had not done it to themselves. Because Somerby doesn't know how to assign blame, so he dishes it out to the people he dislikes (professors and university leaders) and withholds it from the people he likes, Brock Turner (who will be shown to have actually done nothing culpable at all -- stay tuned for tomorrow's essay). And he clearly dislikes women, so Miller gets praised in a sarcastic tone and then told she should never have taken her Burkha off and joined the fun if she wasn't going to remember everything perfectly later.

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    1. Nowhere does Bob say she was to blame -- quite the opposite, and explicitly --and if this was a bar they wouldn't have been served so much. And not the 19 year old.

      That's the point here I think.

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    2. If you think it should be assumed that adult women are every bit as intelligent and responsible as adult men, don’t launch into arguments that represent us as being no more sophisticated than the little girl by the garden gate.

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    3. Cecelia, I'll bet you fantasize that you are Ann Coulter. Siding with the boys against the girls doesn't make you a "Gone Girl" cool girl. It makes you foolish. Or maybe you are a guy with a girl's nym. That would explain some things.

      No one has been arguing that women are intelligent and responsible. We have been arguing that they have the right to participate fully in society and experience the world, as men do. You can't do that if you are locked in a closet out of fear of men. But you are correct that the world is not safe. That's why laws need to be enforced so that both men and women can walk around without fear of being assaulted. Fear keeps people in a virtual prison. Women don't want to be locked up any more. It is time for the men who assault them to be locked up instead.

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    4. I’m flabbergasted that you see what happened to Miller as a scrimmage in a war between the sexes.

      I’m truly sorry that you live in fear.

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    5. Anon 10:56, TDH specifically says that Miller is not to blame for the assault - and yet you somehow conclude he is doing the opposite. As far as frats go - there have been instances in initiation rituals, that new frat members have drunk themselves to death- and the frats have been closed down. I believe the universities have some power to put frat houses out of business, though I may be wrong. There is case law as to 'social host' liability when an underaged guest in the house is served alcohol or an adult is served too much. Is it Stanford's fault that they have these parties where everyone gets drunk and then something bad happens as a result - I don't know.

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    6. "[Miller is told by TDH] she should never have taken her Burkha off and joined the fun if she wasn't going to remember everything perfectly later."

      Do you write for the NYT?

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    7. Somerby has a habit of making a sweeping statement, such as that Miller is not to blame, then explaining in detail why she is actually to blame. It is his style. Those initial statements are to give him cover for everything he says afterward. You shouldn't play his game.

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    8. First, he considers the fraternity to be part of the university itself. He talks about it as a "public place" when fraternities are private organizations, not owned by or operated by the university but by the members.

      So sure; so wrong.

      Fraternity housing at Stanford is owned by the University. Frats are self-governing but must conform to the Orwellian rules of “Collective Responsibility” set by the Office of Student Engagement. There’s a meeting every Friday in Room 101.

      But Somerby thinks Chanel Miller is to blame.

      Clearly TDH thinks Miller bears some personal responsibility for her failure to observe the simplest rule to protect her safety, but he doesn’t think that alleviates Turner from legal responsibility.

      Miller gets praised [by TDH] in a sarcastic tone and then told she should never have taken her Burkha off and joined the fun if she wasn't going to remember everything perfectly later.

      Good thing you can detect TDH’s tone. Too bad you don’t seem able to understand what he’s written. There’s a middle ground between wearing a burkha to insulate oneself from “fun” and getting blackout drunk.

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    9. Ferfucksake, @2:39P, do you think you can engage with what Cecelia has written instead of fantasizing about her fantasies or speculating that the gender of her nym doesn’t match her sex?

      Laws about safe driving need to be enforced, too. Until that's 100% effective, shouldn’t you still try to drive defensively?

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    10. And for ferfsake, I don't have a "nym", I have a name.

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    11. Cecelia, you could be deadrat or Somerby for all anyone knows. Don't pretend that a first name is a real name.

      Cecelia doesn't say anything that can be engaged. She deflects the minute you try to pin her down on anything. But her attitude is clear.

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    12. AnonymousOctober 31, 2019 at 1:04 PM
      Cecelia, you could be deadrat or Somerby for all anyone knows. Don't pretend that a first name is a real name.

      Thank you so much. That is a flattering compliment!

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    13. Bob Somerby is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.

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  4. If Somerby wants to extend his blame to the august leaders of Stanford University, why doesn't he also extend the blame to the rape culture that objectifies young women, tells young men they are entitled to sex, tells them to go get it (and be persistent, don't take "no" for an answer), then excuses them when they assault women, often letting them off the hook for whatever they do. This is the same culture that applauds Trump's rough treatment of women.

    Of course it is Miller's fault. She never should have left her house, if she were truly committed to her boyfriend. She certainly shouldn't have placed herself in any environment with alcohol, whether she drank herself or not, because it removes inhibitions from men. And she shouldn't have gone outdoors with any man, for any reason. Because this is an invitation to rape. And she should always have kept her wits about her, because rapes can happen in the bathroom or one of the bedrooms too, where she doesn't have to go voluntarily but could have been enticed or dragged or just gone to answer a phone call and been accosted by someone who followed her there. So better to avoid being in the same building (as well as outdoors) with men. And maybe the Uber driver who took her to the party could have assaulted her too, perhaps driving her to a private place instead of the given address. And there are so many dangers from men in the daytime workplace that it is probably safer to avoid going to a job where men would be present or where men might be customers (since it isn't only employees who might attack her). And dare she sleep with her eyes closed at night? Making herself voluntarily unconscious during sleep might be dangerous.

    So, you see, Somerby is right to blame Miller, and any woman who finds herself assaulted or raped. Those women are clearly asking for it, just by being women and placing themselves anywhere a motivated man might reach them. In fact, a woman who truly cares about being safe must hire a bodyguard to protect her, but can she really trust a male bodyguard, and would a woman be strong enough? It is hard being a woman, but she must try, because if she doesn't, she is obviously to blame and someone like Turner will be excused for whatever he decides to do to her.

    Besides alcohol is only meant to be fun for men. Same with beer pong, foosball, and group singing. Women should know better than to try to join in (did I say "join"? I meant horn in).

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    1. A simple question:

      When are young men ever told they are entitled to sex? I don't recall that conversation.

      Is sex just a male thing? Women aren't "entitled" to have it?

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    2. Passive, drippy, naive women constantly get themselves into rape scenarios, while talented, intelligent, alert women spot trouble coming and boldly trounce their male assailants.

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    3. Movies like "The 40 Year Old Virgin" are about finding generous women who will give men what all men deserve. Men are judged by their success with women, so women are expected to help them out. The view that sex costs a woman nothing is held by men who think that a woman who accepts dinner on a date owes the man sex at the end of the evening. Go visit some of the men's rights and incel websites. Or read Jordan Peterson and similar advocates. The whole Middle East crisis is being blamed on the imbalance between men and women, as are rapes in India where there is a similar imbalance. Then there is the male interest in sex dolls -- one of the reasons Al Franken is not the hero men consider him. According to some theorists, women are the reason for ISIS. If women gave it out more freely, men wouldn't behave badly -- the argument goes.

      @1:59 illustrates the reason why women are reluctant to report their rapes. They will be blamed for being insufficiently talented, intelligent, alert and bold, and for not knowing how to disable an aggressor. Men are even more reluctant to report certain kinds of crimes against them. Because they are expected to be too strong for rape and because it is an insult to be like a woman, easy to rape.

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    4. If a real rape occurs, it's got to go to the police. Women have the right to freely choose and to say yes or no. Everyone should be personally responsible for what happens in life.

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    5. Most women want to be seduced or lured.

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    6. Men are judged by their success with women, so women are expected to help them out.

      This makes no sense. If women are expected to help men be sexually successful, then men wouldn’t be judged by their success. Aren’t men judged successful when their attractiveness and skill overcome women’s natural resistance?

      Go visit some of the men's rights and incel websites.

      Aren’t men’s rights activists mainly concerned with unfair policies in family law? And why would I pay attention to incels? I know they complain about not getting laid, but you can’t get laid if you’re living in your parents’ basement.

      Or read Jordan Peterson and similar advocates.

      Jordan Peterson wants you to clean up your room. The rest of his ideas are so nebulous that it’s hard to know what he’s really about.

      Then there is the male interest in sex dolls -- one of the reasons Al Franken is not the hero men consider him.

      20 years ago, Franken wrote an article about sex robots. While in the Senate, his careful questioning of former AG Sessions was responsible for the latter’s forced recusal from overseeing the Mueller investigation. You choose what’s important.

      According to some theorists, women are the reason for ISIS.

      Name them.

      @1:59 illustrates the reason why women are reluctant to report their rapes.

      @1:59 sounds like sarcasm to me.

      They will be blamed for being insufficiently talented, intelligent, alert and bold, and for not knowing how to disable an aggressor.

      Name one person who think that talent, intelligence, alertness, or boldness can deter a rapist. Testosterone promotes building muscle. On average, women have half the upper-body strength of men. Name one person who blames anybody for not knowing how to disable an aggressor, let alone blame someone likely to be weaker.

      Go ahead; I’ll wait.

      Delete
    7. “Jordan Peterson wants you to clean up your room. The rest of his ideas are so nebulous that it’s hard to know what he’s really about.”

      It’s fascinating when a person states opinion as fact. *You* don’t know what he’s about, but you say “it’s hard to know” what he’s about, as if “it” is just a fact of nature. (This assumes you are not being dishonest).

      In reality, Peterson has quite a few very clear ideas: feminism has destabilized society, men who are forced to “feminize” will be attracted to fascism, women’s studies should be defunded, identity politics is destroying Western civilization, the gender pay gap isn’t due to gender discrimination, to name a few. He’s also a climate-change denier.

      In fact, he sounds like Somerby in some ways.

      Now, we are a little off the topic of the Turner case, but it is simply a fact that women were routinely raped and sexually assaulted and were afraid to report these crimes. At what precise date did that change? Like racism, misogyny doesn’t disappear overnight. It’s tempting to say that things have improved since the bad old days, but have they really, when a man like Trump gets a pass from approximately 50% of the voters?

      Delete
    8. I've listened to hours of JP's maundering. Perhaps I should have said that when his conclusions are clear, his reasoning is absurd.

      But thanks for "assuming" I'm not being dishonest. By that I mean go fuck yourself for implying otherwise. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

      I'm not sure why you included your last paragraph. I hope you don't think I've written anything that's in disagreement with it.

      Delete
    9. Deadrat, Hate to break it to you, but you’re just some unknown person on the Internet with a silly nym with a penchant for insulting others. No one knows whether you are being honest or dishonest. So one should always be careful about assuming things. It’s good advice generally. It had nothing to do with you personally, but your thin skin took it that way. Remarkable for someone going by “deadrat” on a blog nobody reads to be concerned about his/her honor and integrity.

      Delete
    10. deadrat, how can you be "honest" when your main instinct is to be oppositional? You will argue whatever seems most likely to upset whoever is your target. You never engage the substance of what is being discussed but nibble at the fringes by attacking irrelevant details with your supposed expertise (never supported by cites). You are Somerby's perfect defender because that is exactly how Somerby argues, veering, trivial and mendacious.

      You have no honor because your motives drive your comments and you have no awareness of your own motives.

      Delete
    11. @8:06A, I’m sorry you don’t like my nym. I don’t think its silly; I think it’s elegant.

      When I tell you how I feel or when I relate a personal anecdote, you have no way to know whether I’m honestly reporting my feelings or whether or not I’ve invented the anecdote. But none of what I say I feel is remarkable, and none of the anecdotes I’ve related are outrageous, so there’s no reason not to take them at face value. But when I report something as fact, there’s an easy way to tell whether I’m being honest or at least accurate: you can check. For instance, when I tell you about California penal statues, or legal interpretation, of the United States Code.

      When you dismiss what I write by calling me dishonest, I’m not upset and I’m not concerned with my “honor and integrity.” No matter what you’ve decided to read into an isolated profanity. What you’ve done is taken a lazy way to derail a discussion, and that earned you a hearty go-fuck-yourself. And I meant that in the nicest possible way.

      I realize that you might not be the Anonymous who posted the original comment, but one anonymous ignoramus is much like another around here.

      Delete
    12. Not 8:06A, Thanks for using a nym. It makes following a discussion easier.

      I fail to see what my instincts have to do with my honesty or even my “honesty.” When you have no way of knowing whether I’m telling the truth — for example if I say I live in Wisconsin — the matter is immaterial to the discussion. What difference does it make where I live? But when I tell you something of import to the discussion — say, what the California penal statutes say about rape — you can check. I think you’ll find that I’m generally accurate, and when I’m not, I’ll admit it.

      My “expertise,” supposed or not is irrelevant. I’m either right or I’m wrong, and when I make statements of fact, you can check. It’s not true that I never give cites — in discussions of the law, I often quote title 18 of the United States Code and relevant Supreme Court cases. If you’d like cites to the California Penal Statutes, just ask. Although they’re online and GIYF. Note that I’m not accusing you of being dishonest here. I realize that your claims likely arise because you think you dislike me because of how I phrase my comments.

      It’s not true that I never engage with the substance of discussions here. When the discussion came around to alcohol and its legal implications for criminal intent, I posted the particulars. Do you remember what I said about voluntary and involuntary intoxication, about specific and general intent? Or don’t you think those things are relevant to the Miller/Turner trial?

      It’s also not true that I’m Somerby’s “perfect defender,” because I sometimes disagree with him. I think he’s off base on science and popular science writing; I think his theory is absurd that being nice to feral Trumpers is a reasonable political strategy; I think he’s not been fair with his quotes of Miller; I don’t think downplaying Miller’s drunkenness is one side of a liberal/conservative divide.

      But you will often see me post comments objecting to mind readers. It’s dumb and useless to speculate (as one Anonymous Ignoramus did) about whether Somerby has ever had a meaningful relationship with a woman. Deal with what he writes. Just as it’s dumb and useless to speculate about my motives. How do you have any access to my motives, let alone access to my awareness of my motives? No thanks for irrelevant guesses about my interiority from words on a screen. Am I right or am I wrong? Would it be so hard to present evidence and logic to refute the former or show the latter?

      Delete
  5. I think when you're an habitual blackout drunk like she was -- by the admission of her friends -- you lose the right to take the moral high ground about these kind of personal matters. You can be upset and concerned of course, but not pious and self-righteous.

    Signed,

    Someone who was almost killed by a drunk driver.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How would her friends know whether she was blacked out or not? Somerby says you can't tell.

      Somerby doesn't tell us that black out can happen without alcohol too. It is called time loss. It happens when someone is in a dissociated state, not paying attention to external circumstances.

      Think about times when you've been immersed in some fascinating activity and time has gone by while you've been doing that activity without you even noticing it. Time loss is a more extreme form of that experience. When it extends to days or months, it is called fugue state. When it is accompanied by loss of identity and amnesia for events that occurred while immersed, it is either called amnesia, or it is called a personality disorder (memories are no longer organized by a single identity). These different states can arise from trauma or head injury or emotional conflict, not alcohol or drugs (necessarily).

      So, @11:15's moral disgust at someone who blacks out due to alcohol is misplaced, since this could happen to someone without it being "their fault" at all, but rather because of the way their mind works. People with this problem don't go around announcing it to everyone, just as people with other physiological problems don't announce their diabetes or high blood pressure to casual friends or strangers.

      I'm not saying that Miller had this disorder, but I am suggesting that people feel pretty entitled to assign blame to those who drink alcohol, without considering that someone can have the same culpability without the alcohol or with cannabis or some prescription drug (especially sleep drugs) or just from living their lives.

      Most of us have almost been killed by a drunk driver at some point in our lives. Mine came at me head on in a single lane highway and forced me off the road. I was terrified but lucky. It didn't cause me to excuse men like Brock Turner who use their drunkenness (which was way below Charlie Sheen levels) to assault women. The ability to assault a woman, drunk or sober, doesn't come from the alcohol but from within. That's why he is a lifelong risk for sex offender status and should be apportioned all of the blame, regardless of Miller's drinking or her later way of coping with his assault. She didn't do anything wrong, and she didn't do anything particularly foolish (by college kid standards). She didn't do anything that college women haven't done every weekend at some party across the country. Brock Turner did something wrong and he should have gone to jail for a much longer time. Because he will take his light sentence as encouragement to do the same to another woman, except next time he won't leave a witness. Because sex criminals escalate their crimes. It is what they do.

      Delete
    2. You're right. Blackout drunks have no right to take the moral high ground, but they're good to go to fill a Supreme Court seat.

      Delete
    3. In thirty or so years, maybe Miller will take Justice Ginsberg’s place.

      Delete
    4. 11:15,
      Bullshit. We put a blackout drunk on the Supreme Court for life, just last year.

      Delete
    5. Apparently she had a known history of blacking out from alcohol -- by overdoing it. That's the point.

      Delete
    6. The point is, if that is some kind of disqualification from passing judgements, Kavanaugh wouldn't have a lifetime gig on the SCOTUS.

      Delete
    7. I don't think Kavanaugh was actually black out drunk when he was installed on the high court bench. There was some evidence that he got black out drunk in high school and college; I'm not aware this was a recent problem. The issue with Kavanaugh from a "liberal" or maybe even a rational perspective is that he is a far right guy, like Alito, Gorsuch and Thomas, not some murky allegations about what he did when he was 17. If Kavanaugh wasn't appointed, Trump would have found someone else with a similar judicial philosophy - maybe even a worse one - to appoint.

      Delete
    8. Telling lies is certainly a continuing behavior. No one should be appointed to the Supreme Court after telling lies under oath, regardless of political or judicial philosophy.

      Delete
    9. Brock Turner did something wrong and he should have gone to jail for a much longer time.

      How long? Please show your work by considering the penalties set by the California penal code and the methods of application of those penalties by the California Rules of Court.

      Go ahead. I’ll wait.

      Because he will take his light sentence as encouragement to do the same to another woman,….

      Please justify this claim in light of his sentencing report.

      Go ahead. I’ll wait.

      Delete
    10. The median sentence for sexual assault is 3 years, not 6 months. While there is less recidivism among those convicted of sex crimes, they also serve longer sentences and spend time in controlled environments after release compared to other criminals. Sex crimes are more likely to be committed and escalate among younger men (like Turner who was 19) and drop off after age 40, which may also account for the lower recidivism compared to other types of crimes.

      Kavanaugh, for example, was accused of the same types of behaviors during his college years as during high school. He didn't stop.

      How many college women need to be assaulted before Turner decides he should change his ways, left on his own? Given the reality that college parties aren't going to stop "overserving" alcohol and women aren't going to stop drinking, how many women must be assaulted before Turner is considered as safe as Kavanaugh?

      Go ahead. I'll wait.

      Delete
    11. You comment at 11:10 pm and then say "I'll wait." Damn right! That's after most people's bedtimes, especially on the East Coast.

      Delete
    12. The median sentence for sexual assault is 3 years, not 6 months.

      Is it? Do you have a cite? Is this for California? The maximum penalty for felony sexual assault is 3 years. How about for first-time offenders?

      Sex crimes are more likely to be committed and escalate among younger men (like Turner who was 19) and drop off after age 40,….

      Again, do you have a cite? I think this is true for all crimes.

      How many college women need to be assaulted before Turner decides he should change his ways, left on his own?

      Your question makes little sense as phrased. Are you asking how long should Turner be left unsupervised so that he doesn’t assault any more “college women”? The California sentencing recommendation said three and a half years. Do you have reason to doubt their estimate?

      Delete
  6. "we'd always wondered about the basis upon which the jury was able to find that Turner was in fact guilty of a sexual assault on that very unfortunate night"

    I guess Somerby missed the part where Miller was unconscious and Turner was apprehended assaulting her while she was unresponsive (unconscious, not in black out mode). It is illegal to sexually molest someone who is unconscious because, by definition, someone who is unconscious has not given consent because they are UNCONSCIOUS. This is the same reasoning as that other situation that Somerby doesn't understand, the one where a girl is too young to give consent. Not because she cannot say "yes" or "no" but because she is underage and considered to be lacking the life experience and judgment to give an informed consent to sex. The conscious person (or in the second case, the older person) has an advantage over the person who is out cold (or too young to think clearly about consequences of sex).

    Somerby is an adult and he is actually being obtuse about this. Turner was caught in the act by two Swedish grad students who saw him on top of her unconscious body. But beyond that, how much fun did Somerby imagine that she was having during that "sex"? Why would a woman engage in unconscious sex at all? Wouldn't a gentleman wait until she was able to take more pleasure from the act? In other words, is Somerby stupid?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was drunk too. Almost as much as she was.

      They were both wrong. And his act of assault was about a 1.5 on a scale of 10. Her "traumatized" feelings are thus a little far-fetched. She remembered nothing.

      Delete
    2. If they were both wrong, they weren't both equally wrong. Miller did nothing illegal. Turner broke the law. It is a pretty big difference between them.

      It isn't up to you or Turner to Somerby to decide how much harm was done to Miller. The point of Miller's book is that the entire system traumatizes victims of sexual assault. She woke up in the hospital and then went through the trial and aftermath, full of understanding people willing to blame her for what happened. She is arguing against that. This isn't a book about Turner, but Somerby is incapable of listening to her and instead wants to excuse Turner, and by extension, any man who believes a woman or likes a woman or dates a woman or ? He doesn't actually say what women should be doing except that Miller should be what? Admitting that she actually gave Turner consent then changed her mind by passing out? And you seem to think that if a woman doesn't remember then no harm has been done and she has nothing to complain about. Never mind things like pregnancy, STDs, damage to her genitals through rough treatment, damage to her relationship should someone mention this to her boyfriend, and loss of control over her physical body and the sense of safety she might once have had, confidence in her world, and so on to other intangibles she describes well in her book. Not remembering doesn't change any of those consequences.

      Do you think Brock Turner will ever write a book about how he discovered that he was capable of doing bad things while drunk, his discovery of his sex offender nature, his inability to trust himself any more, and so on? Why not? That will tell you a lot about how differently the victim and perpetrator are treated by our culture. Instead of him being treated like a monster, he is excused, treated as if any man would do what he did in his situation, given moral support by men if not cheered on. No one is shaming or shunning him, and that is what is wrong with this picture.

      And predictably, look what side Somerby is on.

      Delete
    3. 11:31am, Miller had another source of DNA in her underwear that was not hers or Turner’s.
      We don't know all of what could have happened to her while she was operating in a blackout. On the other hand, she may remember small bits and shards enough to profoundly depress her for the rest of her life.

      Delete
    4. Cecelia, DNA is not semen (which contains DNA). Anyone who handled her underwear might have transferred DNA to it. That includes a roomate or relative who moved her laundry out of the dryer or folded it for her, her boyfriend, or someone who tried to pull her panties up after the arrest of Turner. I don't know the forensics, but perhaps it also includes any surface her underwear touched while she was using the bathroom.

      According to Miller's own book, there was plenty that happened around this even to depress her. But whether she stays "profoundly" depressed for a lifetime depends on how she frames the event and her role in it.

      There is a view that women are the guardians of their own virtue and if something bad happens to them, they must have let down their guard and invited it in some way. Thus the woman is always responsible. She should have restrained the man, prevented him from doing whatever he did, stayed away from trouble, and so on.

      This is what prevents women from full participation in life. Bad things happen to men too, but no one blames them for it. They blame the perpetrator. If they did blame the man, he would feel shame and men who feel shame are not respected in our society. So there is a lot of effort aimed at enabling men to protect their egos and feel strong, undiminished by random events such as crimes against them.

      Delete
    5. "It isn't up to you or Turner to Somerby to decide how much harm was done to Miller. The point of Miller's book is that the entire system traumatizes victims of sexual assault. She woke up in the hospital and then went through the trial and aftermath, full of understanding people willing to blame her for what happened."

      Most women I know wouldn't have pressed charges, for a number of reasons -- lack of injury, drunkeness, age difference (he was 19), lots of reasons. Self-shame even, about her blood alcohol.

      She seems to be more than a bit of a grandstander. And how much $ did she collect?

      Delete
    6. Yup. Business plan: get wasted, find a kid to finger you, hire a ghostwriter, make a couple million bucks off the book describing the tribulation. Better than rotting in the office.

      Delete
    7. There is a view that women are the guardians of their own virtue and if something bad happens to them, they must have let down their guard and invited it in some way. Thus the woman is always responsible. She should have restrained the man, prevented him from doing whatever he did, stayed away from trouble, and so on.”

      That seems to be the characterization of every argument that doesn’t jibe with Miller’s notion that nothing she did that day had any relationship to what happened to her later.

      She’s not arguing that getting blackout drunk does not absolve the assailant of his crime, or that it doesn't make her a bad person. Not that her actions do not make her deserve being hurt.

      To my knowledge, neither has she argued that part and parcel of female emancipation is the right to get drunk to the point of unconsciousness at a open party without any consequences. (Male or female, good luck with that...) Good luck to anyone who decides that they shouldn’t have to be the guardians of their own physical safety.

      No, Miller sums up a state where she remembers nothing for hours, as being the choices she made. The end. As though that alone should be sufficient to separate her from the world and its consequences.

      She’s wrong. That’s not demanding equality, that’s hiding from it.

      Delete
    8. Not every statement made in comments is a summary of Miller's thoughts or book contents. Some of us are stating our own opinions about what women should be able to do in the world.

      Delete
    9. “Cecelia, DNA is not semen (which contains DNA).”

      Cecilia’s comment made no mention of semen, Elba.

      “I don't know the forensics…” No, you sure don’t, but write as if you do, while filling space with bullshit. You’re so wound up in a knot about Bob’s supposed sexist views that you just don’t make any sense. What the hell happened to you, that you can’t separate a real issue (sexism, or misogyny, which I think you prefer), from what Bob writes? Get some help.

      Leroy

      Delete
    10. "women are the guardians of their own virtue"

      Who else would you have it be if not them? Would you like the state or the patriarchy to be the guardians of her virtue for her?

      That's the way it is if you want liberation equal rights. Everyone in the world is the guardian of their own virtue.

      Delete
    11. This is what prevents women from full participation in life. Bad things happen to men too, but no one blames them for it."

      That is the dumbest, most self-pitying rationalization in the history of written language.

      Delete
    12. Wouldn't a gentleman wait until she was able to take more pleasure from the act?

      Do you actually know any men?

      Delete
    13. [TDH]doesn't actually say what women should be doing….

      Seems pretty clear to me: don’t get black out drunk and then pass out by a dumpster.

      Miller’s BAC was measured at .25. BAC drops at about .02 per hour, so Miller’s peak BAC was no doubt higher that night. At .3, you’re likely to pass out and are at risk of choking on your own vomit. At .4, you’re likely to enter a coma.

      Even absent the vulnerability to an assault you can’t defend against (or even be aware of), women (and men too) shouldn’t get that drunk as a matter of personal safety.

      Delete
    14. That doesn't excuse anyone who takes advantage of their drunken state to commit a crime. People who attack drunks on skid row get the same death penalty as those who kill their wives.

      There is no excuse for attacking another person, drunk or sober. That's why there is no reason to make a big deal out of Miller's drunkenness. She was not the only drunk person at that party but she was the one who was assaulted.

      Cecelia wants to make a fuss about the DNA, but Turner was witnessed lying on top of Miller, he ran from the scene and was caught and held by two Swedish grad students, then Turner couldn't tell a straight story. But Somerby and deadrat think he could be innocent because there was no DNA (which simply means he didn't or couldn't finish). He was SEEN lying on top of Miller, with her bra pulled up and her panties down. What does that mean in Somerby's world?

      deadrat brings his odious self around to nitpick whatever anyone says, as if he were the Lord's appointed expert, with his own nasty style, but it doesn't change the testimony at trial (under oath) and it doesn't change anything that Miller was drunk. And it is as much her right to be drunk as it is Turner's or anyone else at that party, full of drunk young people, just like any party anywhere in a country full of college campuses.

      This was a crime and Somerby, deadrat, Cecelia and various trolls show their feelings about women and assault when they work ever so hard to get Turner off the hook he put himself on.

      Delete
    15. 10:27pm, you need to work on your reading comprehension skills.

      Delete
    16. Cecelia, I don't like you. You are a conservative but also a smart alec who thinks it is fun to be flippant about things other people care about. You come to a liberal blog to mock, and now you are joining forces with deadrat, who is another troll.

      You embody all the things I dislike about Trump supporters. They routinely disregard rules, just as Trump does, in order to promote their guy, ignoring that others have their own opinions and don't want to hear their in-your-face enthusiasm. I've seen this pattern on NextDoor websites and in clubs with "no politics" rules. The Trump supporters ignore the rules while the Democrats follow the rules, and the Trump supporters become nasty and belligerent when called on their actions. Just as Republicans break campaign rules and think all is fair as long as they win.

      There is nothing cute about parroting deadrat in order to needle me. It isn't discussion. It is just trolling. Please leave this blog alone and go back to whatever you do elsewhere.

      I stand by my statement that you are a man who has adopted a female nym, because nasty aggression is a male trait. And because women don't go around suggesting that other women shouldn't drink. Controlling women's behavior is a male thing too.

      Delete
    17. 10:27

      You need help baby. Take care of yourself first. Don't worry about others for now.

      Delete
    18. Anon 12:59pm, how is it that you attribute control issues to men while telling me how I should think and act to legitimately be a woman?

      I won’t attribute your overwrought nonsense to liberalism, that wouldn’t be be fair to anyone.

      Delete
    19. That [BAC] doesn't excuse anyone who takes advantage of their drunken state to commit a crime.

      Of course not. Who says it does? Not TDH; not I.

      The question was what TDH actually says women should be doing. I think the answer is that they shouldn’t be getting black-out drunk at parties. This is an issue separate from the criminal liability of an assaulter.

      But Somerby and deadrat think he could be innocent because there was no DNA.

      Please quit telling me what I think. That’s my job. I think a rape charge against Turner was unsupportable. So did the DA. I haven’t read the trial transcript, but my initial opinion is that the jury got it right.

      deadrat brings his odious self around

      Odious? Dear me, but you have a low threshold for odious.

      as if he were the Lord's appointed expert, with his own nasty style,

      I’ve never claimed a divine mantle, but the style charge is a fair cop.

      And it is as much her right to be drunk as it is Turner's or anyone else at that party,

      Who says otherwise? Not I.

      This was a crime and Somerby, deadrat, Cecelia and various trolls show their feelings about women and assault when they work ever so hard to get Turner off the hook he put himself on.

      I don’t think Turner shouldn’t be hung on the hook he put himself on.

      How about you quit guessing at my interiority and start taking Cecelia’s @12:22P advice? Just a suggestion. As always, it’s up to you.

      Delete
  7. I have a question for Bob. If a book is poorly reasoned and full of cant, how can it be well-written?

    It's not. It can be slick and evasive (and probably well edited by others, as this one assuredly was), but it can't be good. Good writing involves more than a polished first-person prose style.

    ReplyDelete

  8. ‘"I was not asleep," she said. "It's almost like your mind goes online again after being kicked offline ... and I come out of this blackout and I'm on top of this guy and I'm having sex with him, and I don't know where he came from, and it's the strangest thing that had ever happened to me."’

    Im going to be upbraided about this, but I can’t help it. This is the definition of “show-stopper”.

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    Replies
    1. What are you suggesting? That anyone who is blackout drunk can’t be raped or sexually assaulted, or that it introduces so much doubt that the supposed perpetrator (Turner) must be exonerated?

      Delete
    2. What’s the “show-stopper” then as it relates to the Turner case?

      Delete
    3. I wasn’t relating it to that case.

      Delete
    4. Some people drink in order to engage in atypical behavior. Use of wine to loosen up before sex seems to be routine. If someone is frightened of something they must do or want to do but don't have the guts, they drink to allow them to do it.

      Parties serve alcohol specifically to allow shy people to flirt and meet each other and have some degree of sexual contact. Criminals drink alcohol in order to get up the nerve to rob a store or mug someone or steal a car. The idea of the cold-blooded criminal is from the movies not real life.

      Turner's drunkenness makes it more likely he did the deed, not less likely. But blaming the alcohol doesn't work with cops because they hear that excuse all the time, and many of the people they arrest are drunk.

      Delete
    5. I think Cecilia's saying that the rules are different for women.

      Btw, I've known drunken women who have blacked out on top. Did I rape them?

      Delete
    6. Of course that's what she's saying. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to figure out whether she is right or wrong.

      Blacking out means not remembering later. How did you know they didn't remember later? Did you ask them? I think you really mean that they passed out on top. That is different -- it refers to becoming unconscious not their memory.

      If you were having sex with women who passed out during the act, you were raping them, since they couldn't have given legal consent in that state (at least in California).

      No one is saying that having sex with someone who later doesn't remember it is rape. In Turner's case, he was convicted of having sex with someone who was unconscious. That is against the law. Whether she remember the evening or not is irrelevant to that later act of sexually assaulting an unconscious person.

      The rules are not different for women. If a man is raped while he is unconscious, the perpetrator will go to jail too. Men can have black outs. Men get to give consent under the same conditions as women.

      Delete
    7. “Btw, I've known drunken women who have blacked out on top. Did I rape them?”

      Not necessarily. Maybe they were just bored and fell asleep.

      Delete
    8. Maybe they were just bored and fell asleep.

      Oof! That’s gonna leave a mark. Reminds me of Saturday Night Fever

      Tony: You know, Connie, if you're as good in bed as you are on the dance floor, then you're one lousy fuck.

      Connie: Then how come they always send me flowers the next morning?

      Tony: I dunno. Maybe they thought you was dead.

      Anyway....

      If you were having sex with women who passed out during the act, you were raping them, since they couldn't have given legal consent in that state (at least in California).

      Once again, it’s not the ignorance that impresses me; it’s the complete assurance with which ignorant opinion is presented as fact. In California, if you were having consensual sex with a woman who becomes unconscious because of the combination of the power of your sexual performance and the influence of the alcohol she consumed, you are not guilty of rape unless you could have reasonably known in the throes of er, passion past initial penetration that your partner was no longer capable of continuing consent.

      Delete
  9. “Even today, Miller remains a very young person and the victim of a sexual assault—an assault from which she is still struggling to recover. The damage done by that assault is very important.”

    “it isn't all that easy to say what Turner actually did on the very late evening in question. In March 2016, a unanimous jury ruled that he committed a sexual assault. Tomorrow, we'll examine the slightly peculiar, challenging logic behind that jury's verdict.”

    These two views don’t seem compatible with each other.

    Either she was a victim of an assault, or she wasn’t.

    Somerby seems to be speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is the difference between actual truth and legal truth. Do you think it impossible to be wrongly convicted of sexual assault?

      Delete
    2. Was Miller sexually assaulted? Yes, says Somerby. Did Turner do it? That’s what the jury said. If not him, was it someone else? No other suspects have been found. Is Somerby going to rehash the whole case?

      Delete
  10. What’s next for TDH? A line by line analysis of the police reports, the trial exhibits, the trial transcript, the verdict, the appeal? If he’s going to question the jury’s verdict, shouldn’t he do all of that? Will he act as defense attorney, and his readers as jury in a new trial of this case?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not his style. If it was, Somerby would have noted the lies in the police report filed by the cop who murdered Mike Brown.

      Delete
    2. What report? As I recall, the Ferguson PD was criticized for not requiring a report from the cop after the killing. Please quote these lies and how they could have derailed the DOJ investigation that found the cop acted in self-defense.

      Delete
    3. So, deadrat, you don’t believe a DOJ investigation could ever be wrong?

      Delete
    4. No, of course a a DOJ investigation could be wrong. That’s why I asked about the police report.

      Delete
  11. Here are some of Somerby's problems with his discussion of White's quote about blackout.

    Yes, other people won't recognize that another person's memory of events will be impaired, but being in a black out state doesn't mean the drunk person will necessarily do unusual things. It doesn't mean they will necessarily have sex with a stranger or unprotected sex or commit vandalism. Some number of people (many, most, we don't know) will behave no differently than they ever do while drinking at a party. They will drink, get a little rowdy, become mawkish and cry or laugh a lot, stumble around, perhaps dance and perhaps pass out. It is not normal for someone to commit vandalism at a party, or do uncharacteristic things, partly because they are not unconscious or unaware of themselves and their surroundings, and they are surrounded by other people who may be less drunk. It is their memory that is impaired. Whatever they do, they won't remember. But memory is not a videorecorder and even sober people have imperfect memory for events.

    Somerby evades the question of what Turner was doing to Miller's unconscious body. She could not have given consent for anything he did to her while she was passed out because a person who is unconscious cannot give consent. So Miller is correct that nothing she said or did prior to passing out is relevant to what Turner did to her body while she was unconscious. But Somerby doesn't deal with that problem.

    If two people experience an event, then you ask each of them separately, without comparing notes, to write a summary of what happened, they will disagree on major facts of their shared experience. That is guaranteed. It is a demo that always works, because memory is affected by many things. It is true only in the overall and often wrong in details.

    If students study while sober, then relax by drinking a beer or two, that small amount of beer is sufficient to impair the consolidation of memory of the studied material. Similarly, if a student studies while sober, then watches TV or reads for pleasure or has dinner with a friend without alcohol, those events will interfere with memory for the studied material, compared to someone who studies and then goes to bed without doing anything else. This interference is documented by experiments, as are the facts about alcohol and memory.

    So, the question of degree of impairment becomes important. Being "black out" drunk isn't an all or nothing phenomenon. How much is remembered can vary. Oddly, drinking again can enable recovery of some memory (state-dependent memory) for the blackout period. But the trial didn't hinge on what Miller did during that time because she couldn't have done or said anything that would have excused being assaulted while unconscious. I don't know why Somerby keeps harping on her complicitness when should could not have given consent.

    This breast-beating about drinking is stupid. Kids are drinking less these days than previously, all campuses are addressing problem drinking, but as long as our society is accepting of recreational alcohol use, young adults will need to learn how to drink responsibly, often by trial and error.

    But that isn't really Somerby's point. He wants to exonerate Turner and he can't do that while Miller remains a victim, so he must tarnish her, one way or another.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exonerate?

      What planet is this being read on?

      Delete
    2. That Turner kid is a piece of shit. I hope he gets called out on it daily

      Delete
    3. @2:59
      The planet where Somerby says this:
      “it isn't all that easy to say what Turner actually did on the very late evening in question. In March 2016, a unanimous jury ruled that he committed a sexual assault. Tomorrow, we'll examine the slightly peculiar, challenging logic behind that jury's verdict.”

      Delete
    4. In fact, it's very easy to say what Turner did. It's harder to be right. The DA found it trivial to indict Turner for rape, only to withdraw those charges when the DNA evidence failed to support their case.

      Delete
    5. DA’s change charges routinely. They removed the rape charges prior to the trial, precisely because they were trying to get it right. The DNA evidence didn’t support rape, so they dropped the rape charges. The question isn’t about whether Turner raped Miller, but whether he sexually assaulted her. Somerby seems to be calling that into question, which would serve to exonerate him, in the sense that he seems to feel there is reasonable doubt.

      Delete
    6. That's right, the question isn't about whether Turner raped Miller. In this subthread is it's about whether it's easy to say what Turner did. And it certainly was for the DA, who didn't even wait for forensic evidence to say that Turner raped Miller.

      I don't know what TDH "seems to feel." I'll wait until I read what he has to say, and then I'll judge that. So far, I'm unimpressed with his paraphrasing of Miller's account.

      Delete
    7. So take a book out on interlibrary loan then faggot.

      Delete
  12. Here is an annoying oddity of Somerby's smears against the authors he dislikes. He discusses the timing of the various reviews of Miller's book, as if there were something nefarious about a review appearing the same day as the book was released. Reviewers are routinely provided with advance copies of books before their publication date. That is standard across the industry. There was no special handling of this particular book, yet Somerby has to imply (without coming out and saying anything definite) that there was something odd about the dates upon which various reviews of the book appeared.

    This is dirty pool, but it is a reliable indicator of Somerby's feelings, when he does this shit. It was thus very predictable that he would get around to trashing Miller, even if he approached it ever so delicately and slowly, slowly over a span of days stretching now to weeks.

    Somerby is an asshole. If he wanted to defend Turner, he should have written a single column defending the guy. Not trashed the victim first, as if that had anything to do with Turner's guilt or innocence.

    But at least he is spending less time trashing liberals, unless you count Miller as a scapegoat for all liberal misdemeanors, because liberal women (at least) are against sexual assault.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TDH does note the time that Weiner’s review of Miller’s book was posted online (9/24, the date the book was released). Why do you think this was anything more than a way to identify the review? TDH also does say that Weiner’s review didn’t appear in print in the Times Sunday book review until 10/14, and he calls that “oddly timed.” But why is that “nefarious” and not a passing comment on the fact that the print review appeared on the third Sunday after the online review?

      Delete
    2. ”But at least he is spending less time trashing liberals, unless you count Miller as a scapegoat for all liberal misdemeanors, because liberal women (at least) are against sexual assault.“

      Yes, everyone else is all for sexual assault.

      It ought to be a rite-of-passage for everybody, like riding your first bicycle or going on your first date.

      Delete
    3. Cecelia,
      Nice "virtue signaling".

      Delete
  13. 11:27
    Are you Elba (previously Ebola) of just the one who always calls Somerby an asshole?

    I remember seeing a comment that “this has become a hate site.” That was the entire comment. And I immediately interpreted that as directed at the comment section, rather than Bob. I have no way of knowing if that was correct because it was an anon.

    And who knows, Bob himself might prowl the comment section under that shield. That’s the great thing about this comment section. It’s an open forum. You can do your best to dismantle the arguments of Bob, or the commentariat who are trying to argue with their best reasoning, and just ignore those who aren’t. Anons are the lowest hanging fruit in terms of the comment section – like this:

    “Not trashed the victim first…”

    See, that’s some truly ignorant shit, 11:27. It’s rare to find a site that attempts to teach critical thinking. And it’s unfortunate that most of the anons don’t even know what that is, not to mention the facts on which they’re attempting to comment. No matter.

    I’ll fill infor ImpCaesarAgv tonight. And may we all enjoy the day reserved for Satan himself.

    The Hare Who lost His Spectacles

    Leroy

    ReplyDelete
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