Friday, November 16, 2018

Short Posts for Friday, 11/16/2018: Thongs in Ireland, On Opposition To Nancy Pelosi and Gathering Spruce Cones

1.  In Ireland the defense in rape cases can still use various forms of "what was she wearing" to defend the accused.  Here is one example*:

The accused maintained that the sexual contact between him and the girl, which took place in a laneway in Cork, had been consensual.
Details of the closing argument presented by his senior counsel Elizabeth O'Connell, however, attracted widespread attention and prompted a series of online protest movements.
"Does the evidence out-rule the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone?" she asked, according to the Examiner's report.
"You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front."
So now you know.  Better wear really old and gray and torn underwear when you go out.  Otherwise someone might think that you are open to "meeting someone and being with someone."  — This rule is the reverse of the old rule that you must always wear clean underwear in case you get hit by a car and decapitated, because strangers will then see your underwear.

This whole thing is stupid, even within the backward Irish system.  The girl in this case was seventeen.  Seventeen-year old girls choose their clothing on the basis of peer pressure and the female idols of their social sub-group.  I used to wear orange eye-shadow at that age and it was not an attempt to attract male honey bees or anything of that sort.

2.  When Alexandra Petri is funny she is very very funny.  Her latest column is about the opposition to Nancy Pelosi becoming the majority leader in the House.  The arguments against her vary, but I have seen these used:  She is too old, she is too centrist, she is too bipartisan, and she has not mentored younger people so that they can now be ready to strip the tiara off her head.

And all those argument may or may not be correct, depending on the context.  The proper context, if we wish to analyze the possibility of sexism here, is to ask if a man with the same flaws and the same skills (she does get the Democrats working together) would be criticized in exactly the same way.  I am especially interested in knowing how good older male politicians have been at mentoring younger politicians, and if we even know, for certain, that Pelosi hasn't done that.

3.  One of my neighbors has a giant spruce tree on his lot.  It's a handsome tree and I love it, but it drops an enormous amount of those long spruce cones everywhere.

The other day my neighbor was lovingly gathering them one by one and gently placing them in a basket.  Up to the point when he accidentally picked up a dog turd.

I laughed.  I am now going to hell.


*  The accused won the case, and it's not clear from the stories I have read if he would have won even if the thong had not been waved in the court.  But that's not the point of the story.  Rather, it's the fact that in Ireland the "what was she wearing" trick is still legal to use.