BREAKING: Slate youngster hadn't even been born!


Can't quit Woody Allen:
Slate's headstrong Osita Nwanevu is one of the many youngsters in the modern press corps. In our view, this unavoidable attribute tends to show up in his work.

Just how young is Nwanevu? By his own admission, he graduated from Hylton Senior High in 2011. He graduated from the University of Chicago exactly four years later.

By our reckoning, this suggests that he hadn't been born when Woody Allen is alleged to have molested his seven-year-old daughter. That said, nothing stops the cultural impulse we cited last week, the impulse to keep arguing the facts of a case in which the facts will almost surely never be known.

Increasingly, our discourse is built around such pseudo-discussions. In these fiery pseudo-debates, we abandon conventional policy discussion to argue, endlessly, about matters which can never be resolved. Meanwhile, did we mention the fact that Nwanevu is very young? In his ardent new discussion, we think he almost goes out of his way to show how silly this sort of thing can become.

In his piece at Slate, Nwanevu bellows against the New York Times' Bret Stephens, who seems to suspect that Allen didn't commit the crime with which he stands accused.

Like Nwanevu today, like Nicholas Kristof before him, Stephens doesn't actually know if Allen committed this crime. That said, Kristof and Nwanevu suspect or say they believe that he did, and Stephens seems to suspect that he didn't.

None of these people know what's true, nor is it likely they ever will. But they refuse to quit the matter, and they tend to put their thumbs on the scale in support of the suspicion they favor.

How silly can this sort of pseudo-discussion get? In his piece at Slate, Nwanevu correctly notes that Stephens didn't consider all the evidence in his recent column about this matter. Nwanevu is right about that, but that's the way these pseudo-discussions tend to flow.

Nwanevo is right in that observation. But then, he also offers this:
NWANEVU (2/12/18): Stephens’ piece also curiously neglects to consider Allen’s body of work. As David Klion, writing in Jewish Currents, and Ira Madison III, writing at the Daily Beast, have noted recently, relationships between middle-aged men and much younger women feature heavily. Most infamously, in the film Manhattan, a comedy writer, played by a 43-year-old Allen, dates a 17-year-old girl played by Mariel Hemingway, who has claimed she shared her first kiss with Allen at 16 while filming a scene. Stephens additionally makes only a brief passing reference to Allen’s affair with, in his words, “Mia Farrow’s adopted, barely adult daughter, Soon-Yi Previn,” who is now Allen’s wife.

These facts, while not constituting definitive proof of Allen’s guilt, would have been important to reckon with
seriously given that they’ve lent plausibility to Dylan’s allegation in the minds of many.
Chivalrously, Nwanevu thunders on Hemingway's behalf. Hemingway, who can speak for herself, doesn't thunder about this point, and doesn't seem to think ill of Allen.

That said, note the highlighted point about Allen's body or work. "Relationships between middle-aged men and much younger women feature heavily" in that work, Nwanevu accusingly writes. He fails to note that relationships between middle-aged men and 7-year-olds don't feature there at all.

He goes on to note that facts like these don't constitute definitive proof of Allen's guilt. (He has cited other bit of alleged evidence which Stephens skipped.) Earth to youngster:

Facts like those don't constitute any kind of "proof!" You have no "proof" at all concerning the matter at hand.

Nwanevu is very young. Presumably, this is good for the owners of Slate; it lets them underpay him while filling up lots of space. It might also attract young readers, the kind advertisers love. (On cable, they can't seem to get them young enough, especially the young women.)

That said, we've often thought that the Nwanevu's youth is perhaps understandably on display in his overwrought pieces. Reading his current declamation, we found ourselves thinking of Noble Nestor, the seasoned charioteer, whose speech to the headstrong young Diomedes we'll post, in part, below.

The allegation against Woody Allen dates back twenty-six years. Nwanevu wasn't alive in 1992, at the time of the alleged act.

He doesn't know what actually happened; there's little chance he ever will. But so what? Like Kristof and Stephens before him, he continues to (uselessly) flog his preferred, sometimes silly points.

He wants to argue, often poorly, to no conceivable end. If sacred Homer, on Olympus, were to describe a god of modern journalism, the god the sacred poet described would surely wear orange shows.

What explains this endless, and endlessly pleasing, moral panic? We can't necessarily answer that, but the inability to quit these topics is a marker of the vast imbalance and mental disorder which has let Trumpism win.

One of the very first presentations of an age-old tale: In Book 9 of The Iliad, stallion-breaking Diomedes is threatening to break with mighty Agamemnon, lord of the Argives. This would imperil the Achaeans' chances of sacking towering Troy.

Noble Nestor scrambles to his feet to speak to the headstrong young warrior. He "always gave the best advice," Homer repeatedly says:
THE ILIAD: All the Achaeans shouted their assent,
stirred by the stallion-breaking Diomedes' challenge.
But Nestor the old driver rose and spoke at once.

“Few can match your power in battle, Diomedes,
and in council you excel all men your age
But you don't press on and reach a useful end.

How young you are—why, you could be my son,
my youngest-born at that, though you urge our kings
with cool clear sense: what you've said is right.

But it's my turn now, Diomedes.
I think I can claim to have some years on you.

So I must speak up and drive the matter home.
And no one will heap contempt on what I say,
not even mighty Agamemnon. Lost to the clan,
lost to the hearth, lost to the old ways, that one
who lusts for the horror of war with his own people.”
We're using Professor Fagles' translation. (Homer spoke no English.)

Diomedes' critique of Agamemnon is accurate, Noble Nestor says. But his hotheaded youthful instincts lead to no useful end.

Like Kristof and Stephens before him, Nwanevu will never know what actually happened in 1992. Does he understand this? To our seasoned eye and ear, it almost seems that the press corps' ardent hotheads can't get clear on this fact.


  1. "The allegation against Woody Allen dates back twenty-six years. Nwanevu wasn't alive in 1992, at the time of the alleged act."

    He isn't claiming to be an eyewitness.

    1. But many of these younger people think that little or nothing was done about these accusations at the time. And thus, they need to correct the situation.

      I'll say it again too: anyone who thinks that Manhattan celebrates or lauds or extols the idea of dating high school girls is stupid. Those characters were all farcically screwed up

    2. "I'll say it again, too ...."

      That horse you're beating on is dead and buried.

      Give it a rest already.

    3. Apparently the Woody haters never understood the movie.

  2. It is frequently true in situations of sex abuse and domestic violence that there will be no witnesses and no videos, maybe no physical evidence at all, thus no definitive proof. That used to mean there was no way to prosecute such crimes and abusers went free most often. Prosecutors refused to even bring such cases to court.

    It is the nature of crimes involving sex abuse and domestic violence that there is a power imbalance between the victim and the perpetrator. That gives the advantage to the more powerful person when it comes to evading punishment or even acknowledgement of their crime.

    For these reasons, it is NOT OK to suggest, as Somerby does, that if there is no proof, there can be no assertion that anything happened. Somerby's approach protects the powerful and assures them there will be no consequences for their actions, which ensures such acts will happen again and again. That's why so many of these currently exposed men are repeat offenders.

    Like many men, Somerby may have lustful impulses and no doubt he does not act on them. But, like many men, his guilt about them may lead to a fear that he might be wrongfully accused some day. He imagines then that some percentage of the men who are being accused may be innocent like himself. He skips the part where he should figure out the likelihood of a very powerful person being spuriously accused on no basis. Given the extreme consequences for the accusers, why would any woman manufacture a complaint against a man so capable of retaliation against her, one who has already demonstrated his power to harm her? But Somerby doesn't reason this way. Like conservatives, he perhaps imagines that women like to pretend to be victims, perhaps for the attention!

    This is why men should not be the sole deciders of what is true or not in women's lives, much less old Greek men or assholes like Somerby.

    1. What if the accuser had been a 7 year old boy?

    2. They don’t seem to be believed either, based on Somerby’s comment about reliability of kids under questioning.

    3. Ah, who's been retaliated against? No one.

      So the solution I guess is to believe all accusers. That'll make the next couple of election seasons lots of fun.

      I fully expect a desperate GOP to pull out all the stops in 2018 and 2020. Al Franken was just the start. Dems are playing with fire here by being so self-righteous about sex and accusations of sexual misconduct.

    4. @8:53 -

      Concern troll's concern is duly noted.

      I don't see any comments suggesting that all accusers must be believed.

      The GOP will be desperate regardless of anything the Democrats do or how they act.

    5. You can't assert something has happened if there is no evidence and no proof. It doesn't change when having no proof and in turn no assertion protects the powerful, that's a shitty circumstance. You can't change the facts of the matter just because it's a shitty circumstance. That's just the reality of the situation. How can you assert something has happened if there's no evidence or proof? You can't. Sometimes life sucks. We're In the jungle baby. The powerful win. That's just the way it is in this world. Wake up man! The weak get crushed.

      Then you go on a long journey into Bob psyche trying to tell us what he thinks and of what he feels guilt about which is just jerk off bullshit projection on your part.

      I know you are jonesing to take Bob down a notch. I wish you the best at that but you're not doing a good job of it and you're going to have to try a little harder.

    6. "I don't see any comments suggesting that all accusers must be believed."

      You've got to be kidding. That's all you see. Believe the Women, as they say.

  3. "But they refuse to quit the matter, and they tend to put their thumbs on the scale in support of the suspicion they favor."

    Well, those zombie-scribes at Slate and similar rags are paid by the word, aren't they?

    1. "Well, those zombie-trolls at "The Agency" and similar troll farms are paid by the word, aren't they, comrade?

      FTFY - NFO

  4. To Bob's last point - that we shouldn't give in to the urges to fight with our own people - I think that the relevant question is what to do when a substantial portion of one's own people have decided to fight you? What' an appropriate response to the Republicans' assault on American democracy for the past 30 years?

    I agree that responding in-kind isn't the answer, but rather a method to make things worse and perhaps irretrievable. But I don't really know the right answer.

  5. These are the people Somerby thinks we should be talking to:

  6. “People’s lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused—life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”

    ----Donald Trump

    1. As if that fat fuck gives a shit about due process.

    2. I agree. But the idea itself is still valid.

    3. Although the notion of fairness is valid,although subjectively so, due process has no applicability in this context. Take a gander at

      However, it does illustrate donald trump's apparently limitless ignorance about even the most basic concepts of a democracy. No wonder the Russians love him.

  7. "When Polanski was arrested in Zurich in 2009 in a failed attempt by the US to extradite him, more than 100 celebrities signed a petition demanding his release. These included Harrison Ford, David Lynch, Tilda Swinton, Darren Aranofsky, Penelope Cruz, Wes Anderson, and — no surprise — Woody Allen."

    1. And Mia Farrow, a-hole.

      She even wrote an extremely supportive op-ed about him, you righteous moron.

    2. These nice people all deserve each other.

  8. Somerby has often mocked journalists for their youth, as he does here. Youth does not imply ignorance anymore than age implies wisdom. Somerby has spoken down from his lofty perch to young journalists for years now. Unfortunately, that lofty perch of his represents a mere passing of time, and can be claimed by anyone who manages to outlast death.

    1. And Somerby's claiming the mantle of age, experience, and wisdom might mean more if his posts weren't frequently filled with invective, ugly name-calling, fuzzy prose, lack of clarity, and a failure to take stances. In other words, he doesn't strike me as an appropriate mentor. And beware, Nwanevu; soon he'll be calling you a pseudoprogressive careerist, even if in today's post he opined that your salary might be too low; someday, it might be too high to suit him.

    2. Maybe he is.

      Age = wisdom a lot more than youth does. Just in the odds.

    3. 4:20, you have found your calling! Declare yourself the anti-Bob and start your own blog! For every flaw in Bob, there is an answering virtue in you. Please keep us all waiting no longer!

  9. While it is true that the two sides in this case have opposite descriptions of what happened, and "we" technically don't know what really happened and may never know, and Somerby's advice to reporters to quit trying to argue one side versus the other is reasonable advice, the same kind of advice would theoretically hold for any allegation of sexual misconduct, would it not? Many individual cases of sexual harassment/misconduct lack solid, clear evidence. Yet Somerby was quick to condemn Hollywood for keeping quiet about harassment in its midst, when "they all knew." They all knew, based on what? In many specific cases, based on stories similar to Dylan Farrow's.

    1. Maybe there is a distinction in that the Hollywood incidents were not isolated like this one but rather widespread. Maybe "they all knew" refers to knowledge of the widespread accusations not the technical truth of each one. Most of the Hollywood accusations are not even in dispute. Hello? Duh!

    2. Bob was referring to the hypocrisy around Weinstein, and the last-minuteness of it all. And W. was more than a single allegation.

    3. What were the other allegations?

  10. When this twit starts using Allen's movies to prove his case, his obviously blue skying. What Bob misses is Slate's long standing vendetta against Allen. Trashy stories create a thirst for more. The letters section in the Times suggest that a reassuingly large number of people have had it with this nonsense.

  11. In instances like this, you're watching the leftists and "progressives" break hard from liberalism.

    Suddenly, due process and a requirement that allegations be proven before someone is strung up by society are of no importance to the mainstream left.

    It's all about witch hunts now. No liberal should be voting Democrat.

    1. Nah. You have to vote for the Democrat. We live in a two-party nation. The alternative is to allow Republicans to win elections. And that is no good for the citizenry.
      You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you wish you had.

  12. And that’s a recipe for just continuing to lose the same old battles the same old ways in perpetuity.