The history of orgies: We’re off on a mission of national import. We don’t expect to post again until Monday morning.
In the meantime, we’ll recommend Gene Lyon’s column on the subject of Trayvon Martin’s death.
For our money, the most striking part of Lyons’ column involves his experience with orgies. Lyons isn’t a big George Zimmerman fan. But then too, he knows orgies:
LYONS (3/28/12): Untrained individuals like Zimmerman have no business packing heat, nor confronting strangers they deem suspicious. Trouble didn’t come to George Zimmerman; he went looking for it. At minimum, he acted like a damn fool.Later, Lyons wrote the book on the Whitewater pseudo-scandal, Fools for Scandal. That destructive episode also involved a long orgy of media-amplified speculation and gossip. Much of that national orgy occurred in the Washington Post and the New York Times.
However, I’ve also had the experience of writing a book about a media-amplified murder case that took place in my home state of Arkansas. What I learned was that when reporters and pundits set themselves up as amateur homicide detectives, not to mention as prosecutor, judge and jury, the odds against justice being served grow longer.
I can still remember where I was sitting and what the weather was like when I realized that a ballyhooed front page account of a murder trial in Little Rock’s dominant morning newspaper bore almost no relationship to the actual testimony and crime scene photos. It was that shocking to me. All the errors ran in one direction, casting suspicion on an innocent man for murdering his wife. He was eventually exonerated, but only after a harrowing ordeal.
Meanwhile, a veritable orgy of gossip, speculation and self-righteous moralizing swept the state. “You could ask the ladies under every hair dryer in every beauty shop in Arkansas if McArthur was involved, and they’d say yes,” one beleaguered police official told me. “They didn’t have to know the first thing about the case. They just knew.”
Should George Zimmerman be charged with a crime? That question lies outside our area of semi-competence. But “media-amplified” orgies aren’t good—and they have been increasingly prevalent over the past twenty years.