Monday, July 2, 2007

Anne Ream's bigoted mind

Anne Ream's recent column in the Chicago Tribune was bad enough. But her recent attempt to justify herself is even worse. Taken together, the two reveal Ms. Ream's bigoted mind.

According to Ms Ream, she is looking at the whole thing "in moral terms". In her column, Ms. Ream condemns the Lacrosse players because:

1) Three of them hired strippers.
2) Most drank alcohol at the party.
3) One of them made a raunchy joke about a broomstick, and
4) Another sent a tasteless joking Email.

The young men have been publicly introspective. David Evans said on 60 minutes that, in choosing to help host a party with strippers, he made a "terrible judgment".

For his part, Reade Seligmann, talking about the party, said he "felt . . . obligated to go." As for the strippers, he said he "found out [about them when he] got there". And apparently he didn't like the party too much, because within 15 minutes of the start of the dancing, he was calling a taxi to take him elsewhere. However, when he found out he would likely be indicted, Mr. Seligmann said “thank god they picked me!” He said this because he knew he could prove his innocence – and others might not have been able to. This sentiment reveals a kind heart and generous spirit.

But what do we know about Ms. Magnum?

1. She was a stripper.
2. That evening, she was passed out drunk.
3. According to the Attorney General's report, when the AG's office interviewed her, her state of mind appeared to have been altered by some unknown drug.
4. According to her own account, she once helped deal drugs!
5. She accused three innocent people of a rape that never happened.

Yet Ms. Ream condemns the Lacrosse players, but not Ms. Magnum! Indeed, in her attempt to justify herself, Ms. Ream views sex workers as people making the best of a difficult situation, and declines to find anything wrong with Ms. Magnum's conduct.

I will be honest with you, Ms. Ream. It looks to me like you have something against men. Of the men, you write that "legal vindication is not moral vindication." Yet on one count (being or hiring strippers), it looks like Ms. Magnum's conduct was more or less equivalent to that of the Lacrosse players. On another (drinking vs. being passed out drunk), Ms. Magnum's was somewhat worse. On a third (dealing drugs vs. not dealing drugs) and fourth (accusing someone of a "crime" that never happened vs. not doing so), Ms. Magnum was far worse by any standard. By choosing to condemn the men, but not Ms. Magnum, you only reveal your own bigotry.

Bigotry such as Ms. Ream's is harmful to real rape victims. It also hurts boys and young men. Because when they grow up reading writings like Ms. Ream's, they can start to think that there is something wrong with them -- or that they are somehow bad, just for being male.

Ms. Ream's column about the Duke Lacrosse case in the Chicago Tribune ends with a parting shot about "the myth of the 'false report' of rape." This post will end with a parting shot for Ms. Ream:

How exactly does the Duke Lacrosse case show that false reports of rape are mythical?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I disagree and think that using the word "bigotry" to describe an op ed published in a leading paper is ridiculous. Anne Ream makes an important point that has been lost amid the noise surrounding Mr. Nifong's deplorable conduct in the Duke case. That point is -- there are no clean hands here. If I were the father of one of the falsely accused players, I would be relieved that my son was exonerated and gratified that Mr. Nifong's career has come to a just demise. But I would also be ashamed that my son had participated in such tawdry and nauseating conduct. The Duke Lacrosse players did not commit rape, and did not deserve the ordeal that Mr. Nifong wrongly foisted upon them. But surely we all can recognize that they did nothing to make their parents proud on that unfortunate night.

William Jockusch said...

Read Ms. Ream's attempt to justify herself. If she were condemning everyone, then at least it would be consistent. But by attacking the men involved, while defending Ms. Magnum, Ms. Ream reveals her true colors.

I stand behind my choice of the word "bigotry".

Lloyd said...

If anything, the word "bigotry" was too mild to apply to Ms. Ream. Hatemonger might be a more accurate appellation to bestow upon her. She goes far beyond showing intolerance and prejudice in the opinons of others as the common bigot does. No, she appears to intentionally and methodically instill that pejudice in others and kindle it into full fledged hatred of men. This isn't about Ms. Ream standing up for women's rights, but rather Ms. Ream seeking power via the illusion of supporting women's rights. Her true agenda is power, gained by abusing the rights of innocent men everywhere.

Anonymous said...

I had not seen the piece by Reams but just read it. Lo and behold, instead of the man-hating rant you promised me I find a reasonable exploration of how college athletes treat womenand girls. Funny thing is, I'm a woman, I read it and, well, I still like men. So don't worry Bill, whatever her agenda is, most sane people reading the article aren't walking away indicting an entire gender. Or hating men (at least not smart men who read carefully and report on them accurately and don't insult women). Uh oh. You and Lyod better watch out.

Helen K said...

Bigoted? Are you kidding me? The article describes the hostile environment into which this woman
entered on the night in question – facts that were reported by witnesses and
detailed in the Attorney General’s report. Yes, in this case, the accusations of
rape were ultimately revealed to be unfounded. But what else was revealed? We
know for sure that among this team of players, there are those who enjoy
violent fantasies about women (as evidenced by an email sent by one young
man who suggests skinning women alive while ejaculating). We know, at the
least, that these men are entertained by threatening and degrading vulnerable
women with a broomstick. This behavior may not be criminal, but it is deplorable, and it is
dangerous. The real question isn't why Ream wrote what she wrote, but why you are so hostile to a writer expressing a valid opinion in a major national (and conservative, might I add) newspaper.

Callingitlikeitis.com said...

Helen K , you are my hero. Hello Bill? You respond to an article about disrespecting women by ... disrespecting another woman? Calling Reams bigoted is a joke. But I think you were serious, which is sad and shows that you are totally missing her point. I hate it when a smart woman confuses a slow man, don't you???
One other thing. You react to a story bout "normalizing the degradation of women" (her words) by ... acting like what the players did was normal. Even if it is "normal" to hire strippers and wave broomsticks at them (I hope not, and my nice guy sources say it isn't) does it make it right? Just a little something to think about while you look up the definition of bigotry. Sorry to be a little hard on you, Bill, but I do call it like it is.

Anonymous said...

Helen K , you are my hero. Hello Bill? You respond to an article about disrespecting women by ... disrespecting another woman? Calling Reams bigoted is a joke. But I think you were serious, which is sad and shows that you are totally missing her point. I hate it when a smart woman confuses me, don't you???
One other thing. You react to a story bout "normalizing the degradation of women by" (her words) by ... acting like what the players did was normal. Even if it is "normal" to hire strippers and wave broomsticks at them (I hope not, and my nice guy sources say it isn't) does it make it right? Just a little something to think about while you look up the definition of bigotry.

William Jockusch said...

To repeat, my issue is with the combination of Ms. Ream's two pieces. So if you read the first piece only, then slam me for condemning it, you are not doing me justice. Because my problem is with the combination of Ms. Ream's two writings, taken together.

moralminority said...

What is interesting is that the writer of this blog actually comes right out and proves Ream's point by acting as if an email about "skinning someone alive" is merely joking and tasteless. You know that part in her article where she talks about "normalizing the degradation of women"? Your post could be exhibit A. It's sad to see that from someone who seems to think somewhat critically about other issues.

dandrew said...

Let's be honest. Before the system concluded that the charges were false (or at least that the three players were wrongly accused) most of the media had tried and convicted the accuser because of her occupation as a stripper, and alsoher race and class. What happens when we do that? We silence other true rape victims, who know what they will have coming if they press charges against anyone, much less wealthy defendents who can afford powerful defense attorneys. Ream did not argue this case on legal grounds -- she clearly stated that she is not doing that. I think that this is an article not about the players so much but really about how we Americans respond to women who come forward with rape charges. Maybe that explains the hostile posts about this article, it cuts a little too close to home for some readers.

T. Smith said...

William -- As you suggested I read both the Chicago Tribune article written by Ms. Ream, and her post that followed it. What I found in the initial piece was a look at the moral (not legal, Ream takes pains to make that clear) issues raised by the player's conduct. This is entirely fair given the degree to which the media has celebrated them.

At your suggestion I read the second piece she posted. You have stated that this is grounds for calling Ream a bigot. You could not be more wrong. In her post I found a clear and non-polemical challenge to consider why and how some women end up working in the sex trades. I found nothing remotely bigoted about it, unless one considers compassion bigoted.

I have to agree with the other readers who have posted here. Calling Ms. Ream, who has an oustanding history working on behalf of women and girls, a bigot is sloppy journalism and raises questions about your site and its integrity. This is a woman who was published in one of our country's leading (and conservative) papers. Can't you do better than name calling?

Anonymous said...

You're just being selective in what you quote her on.

She made it clear that the whole team were vindicated of sexual assault and that while some of the behavior was unacceptable "individual acts do not implicate the entire lacrosse team" so wasn't referring to the boy you mentioned who wasn't part of it. At no point did she say that either the accused were guilty, should be treated as anything other than innocent until proven guilty or that the whole team are responsible for the reprehensible actions of some of them.

She didn't praise Crystal Magnum she just said that she shouldn't be judged by the court of public opinion and expressed concern about how this case affects rape survivors who may consider coming forward.

To accuse anyone who dare to say anything other than all the Duke Lacrosse team are wonderful & none of their actions were in anyway misogynistic as man hating is hysterical & untrue.