Interlude—The parochial Post rolls on: Will Roy Moore make it across the finish line in Alabama next Tuesday?
We can't tell you that! In all honesty, it would be fascinating to see him forced to defend his claims about Leigh Corfman and Beverly Young Nelson, who have accused him of assaulting them when they were 14 and 16 years old, in 1979 and 1977, when he was 32 and 30.
We would be very surprised if these accusations were false. Beyond that, Moore's current attempt to attack Nelson's credibility is especially ludicrous, though the Washington Post helping him out today with its inability to compose a sensible front-page headline.
(Front-page headline in today's Post: "Roy Moore accuser alters her account of inscription." While technically accurate, we'd say that headline displays extremely poor journalistic judgment.)
It would be fascinating to watch Ol' Roy attempt to address those accusations and defend his recent conduct. That said, we focus on press corps behavior here. How have they been behaving?
In our view, the Washington Post continues to display amazingly parochial behavior. We refer to part of Michael Scherer's front-page report today, the report which bears that unfortunate headline.
Corfman and Nelson have accused Moore of extremely serious, apparently criminal assaults. But at the parochial Washington Post, other "accusers" abound.
Let's try to stop judging Moore for an Alabama minute. Instead, let's consider the sophistication, or lack of same, of the highly parochial folk who keeping churning copy like this:
SCHERER (12/9/17): Six women have told The Post that Moore pursued them in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Five were teenagers at the time, and one was 22; Moore was in his early 30s. One woman, Leigh Corfman, said she was 14 and Moore was 32 when he took her to his house, gave her alcohol and touched her sexually.Say what? Did we miss this earlier? Has the Post ever reported the "accusation" that Moore "pursued" someone who was 22 when he himself was 30 years old, or perhaps somewhat older?
Nelson's account has not been independently verified by The Post. But The Post did interview another accuser, Debbie Wesson Gibson, who shared a scrapbook from her senior year in high school containing a similar inscription and signature from Moore. His campaign has not specifically contested Gibson's account.
We were puzzled by that statement—but as it turns out, we didn't exactly miss it. Presumably, Scherer is referring to a woman named Becky Gray, who says Moore asked her out on several occasions in 1977, when he was 30 and she was 22.
We were able to revisit Gray's claim after firing up the Nexis. In this November 16 report, Gray was quoted telling the Post that Moore asked her out so many times that he made her uncomfortable. Forty years later, this is offered as conduct which should help a voter decide how to vote next week.
Does that journalistic judgment make sense? Should people vote against a 70-year-old candidate because someone who supports his opponent says he made her uncomfortable in 1977, when he was 30 years old and she was 22?
Does Gray's account help establish a pattern of conduct by the 30-year-old Moore? Does it make sense to toss this off in a major newspaper in the way Scherer does?
These are all matters of judgment. For our money, we think the journalism is strange when readers are told, without any surrounding context, that a male candidate once "pursued" a woman who was 22, full and complete freaking stop.
Especially before we turned to Nexis, that struck us as very strange writing. That said, at times of moral panic, everything seems to make sense.
Everything will seem to make sense at times of moral panic! That includes Scherer's additional claim, the claim that Debbie Wesson Gibson is one of Moore's "accusers"—that she is "accusing" him of some sort of misconduct during that distant era.
Is Gibson accusing Moore of past misconduct? We'd have to say she is not! But that is where the charge of parochialism comes in.
Corfman and Nelson are accusing Moore of criminal assaults. Gibson is "accusing" Moore of dating her in an open fashion, with her mother's enthusiastic approval, in a way which left her feeling that Moore was "one of the nicest people I know."
Does that sound like an "accusation?" It pretty much doesn't to us!
As part of Gibson's "accusation," she recently told the Post that she'd held Moore "in high esteem" for forty years, until recent weeks. She told the Post that she'd always considered her brief dating relationship with Moore to have been "a very lovely part of my past."
Does that sound like an "accusation?" At a time of moral panic, pretty much everything does! To parochial people on a stampede, Gibson's account of "a very lovely part of my past" starts sounding like Corfman's and Nelson's descriptions of criminal assaults!
When journalists stampede in such ways, they help us see their vast limitations. These limitations have helped create the current era, in which sentient beings are counting the days until the start of the conflagration which will be known, by future survivors, as "Mister Trump's War."
On Monday, we'll finish our recent award-winning series about dating and marriage patterns from the period in question. Almost surely, those patterns help explain why Debbie Gibson, and her mother, welcomed Moore's "pursuit" in an era the Post's parochial, unimpressive children may not understand.
The children are staging their latest stampede. They do this amazingly often.
Future anthropologists, living in caves, continue to tell us, in dreamlike visits, that this was the best our species was able to do. This is all our species was, these anthropologists keep telling us, reporting from the desolate years after Mister Trump's War.
On Monday, we'll execute a data dump concerning marriage patterns from the era in question. We'll postpone a fascinating discussion of age-and-sex in the cinema during the 1950s and early 1960s, the highly comical Hollywood era in which, to cite one abomination, poor Leslie Caron had to marry Maurice Chevalier in the Oscar-nominated film, Fanny.
(Caron was 30, playing 18. Chevalier was 73! But this was the way of this ridiculous Tinseltown era, in which young and young-seeming female stars—Caron, Reynolds, Novak, Loren, Audrey Hepburn and others—were repeatedly forced to hook up in major films with a crusty battalion of aging "old coot" male stars.)
Hollywood's male moguls were dreaming big dreams during that ridiculous era, the era in which the mothers who later cheered Moore on were forming their cultural notions! We'll tell that ridiculous, instructive story at some not-too-distant date, hopefully next Saturday.
On Monday, we'll talk about actual marriage patterns from the era in question. Was it strange when Ol' Roy Moore, age 30 or so, dated younger women? Truth to tell, stampedes to the side, it seems to us that it probably wasn't real strange at all. This may explain why at least two mothers were cheering him on, the fact which can't say its name.
Corfman and Nelson have made real accusations. By way of contrast, Gibson has said that she held Moore in high esteem! But at the Post, it all sounds the same. This is the way of panics.
When our journalists start lumping everyone in, people on The Other Team find ways to allege fake news. As our journalists stampede ahead, can anybody actually say that The Others are totally wrong?
At present, Moore seems to be lying through his teeth. At the same time, we'd say the Post is on its latest stampede.
The Post directs us, often stupidly, to focus on decades-old conduct where the facts will be extremely hard to resolve. In the process, it steers us away from Moore's ludicrous behavior as a public official, conduct the Post may find less exciting because the one thing to which its scribes can relate isn't directly involved.
The children want to stampede about sex. According to major anthropologists, this is the way of our kind.
The dance of the major male moguls: The horrifically bad major film, Daddy Long Legs, helped capture this ludicrous Hollywood era.
The film appeared in 1955. Fred Astaire was 56. Leslie Caron was 24, playing 18 in the film.
Everyone knows what had to occur! The leading authority on the unwatchable film describes its plot line as follows:
Wealthy American Jervis Pendleton III (Fred Astaire) has a chance encounter at a French orphanage with a cheerful 18-year-old resident, Julie Andre (Leslie Caron). He anonymously pays for her education at a New England college. She writes letters to her mysterious benefactor regularly, but he never writes back. Her nickname for him, "Daddy Long Legs", is taken from the description of him given to Andre by some of her fellow orphans who see his shadow as he leaves their building.Of course! What else could happen? And trust us—it's even worse on the screen! Adding to the lunacy is this account from the leading authority:
Several years later, he visits her at school, still concealing his identity. Despite their large age difference, they fall in love.
"The film was one of Astaire's personal favorites, largely due to the script, which, for once, directly addresses the complications inherent in a love affair between a young woman and a man thirty years her senior."
Thirty years her senior? On the screen, it looks like a hundred!
Hollywood's ludicrous alpha males continued this delusional nonsense for a great many years. As they did, Americans were possibly forming their notions about sensible ages for dating and marriage.
At least two mothers cheered Ol' Roy on! Why the Boot Hill did they do that?