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Post 20

Saturday, June 18, 2005 - 10:45amSanction this postReply
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A bunch of really nifty comments, I must say. Just goes to show this SoloHQ gang is quite with the program of thinking things through and giving it all fine expression. I am often as pleased with the input I get from these posts as I am with doing the outputting--if I may put it that way! :-)



Post 21

Saturday, June 18, 2005 - 2:21pmSanction this postReply
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Tibor,

I think this article neglected one pivotal phenomenon: that false racial verdicts such as the Simpson case -- as well as all the race-baiting from the likes of Jesse Jackson -- is leading in a *rise* in racism. There have been specific events and trends that prove this; at least, that prove that there is a connection between the two. This is similar to the now-widespread resentment felt by white victims of affirmative action. Resentment isn't racism, but it leads to it. But by your logic in this article, affirmative action would be good for racism, because it would give admitted blacks an "evened-out" feeling.

Racial preferences of any kind, expressed in any way, anywhere in the world, have always led to *more* racism. From my own observation, most people (especially immigrants) whom I see making preordained judgments about a black person do so based on political representations and on O.J. There is simply no short-cut to racial harmony.

Alec 




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Post 22

Saturday, June 18, 2005 - 6:34pmSanction this postReply
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I think some of the posters may not have very recently reviewed the specific allegations. It's not true that if Jackson were actually guilty of the charges, he'd still be innocent of any actual wrongdoing. The charge is not that he had had consensual sex with someone who might or might not have been a minor. A few points:

 

1) Someone who is 15 years today was probably not 15 years old two years ago. He was probably more like 13 years old two years ago.

 

2) The testimony is that Jackson engaged in carefully manipulative seduction and imposing of himself on the child. These included several counts of "administering an intoxicating agent to assist in the commission of a felony."

 

3) Even if there are legitimate borderline cases in what constitutes sexual abuse of children, are we to argue that acts which are clearly within the border are not sexual predation either?

 

4) Jackson's public conduct is consistent with that of someone who is seeking to befriend and seduce young boys. Yes, he's Weird. We don't indict people because they're Weird, but neither do we exonerate them for that reason.

 

The notorious 2003 TV special in which Jackson admitted he shared his bed with boys (except when, for some reason as the camera was rolling, he felt obliged to stipulate that in the instance under discussion he had "slept on the floor") was either a brash or unintentional revelation on Jackson's part. That's why the special caused such an uproar and why Jackson himself was so upset about it. How unfair of the interviewer to actually use that inadvertently supplied video, with the boy sliding into the crook of Jackson's arm and reporting that Jackson was telling him "look if you love me you'll sleep in the bed"--and with no disputing of the boy's recollection by Jackson but for the proviso that Jackson had camped on the floor.

 

So, Jackson sleeps on the floor as the boy-guest sleeps in the bed, except that "sharing your bed with someone is the most loving thing you can do."

 

Meantime, during all those years since the original case with similar allegations against Jackson was dropped (after a multi-million-dollar payoff), the mothers who let Jackson sleep with their kids must have had some inkling of the nature of the star's interest. But he was so nice, and such a celebrity. "We trusted him!" If it were your not-so-famous fat uncle constantly inviting nephews over for sleepovers, and charges of this nature were to surface, there would be a lot less Bambi-like dubiety about the propriety of the uncle's conduct--or of the mothers'. 

 

The matter of deciding guilt in the particular case is partly a he said/he said judgment, and jury members had to make their own assessments of the plausibility of various testimony in consideration of the credibility of all parties, as well as other relevant evidence. Obviously. And there were plenty of muddying factors adduced about the motives of the accusing family in the present case. The jury did seem to spend some time deliberating, at least.

 

But the charges themselves are not fuzzy. And it should not be arguable, either, whether children are inherently more vulnerable to the manipulation of adults, and to the costs of that manipulation, than are adults, including the manipulations entailed by sexual abuse; and whether they are entitled to protections that we don't normally accord to adults. (Unlike some, though, I don't agree that this protection extends to the consequences of committing such an act as murder, as if being a kid could somehow constitute a blanket immunity no matter how patently obvious to anyone the wrong committed may be. Kid thugs are very well aware of the get-out-of-jail-early-or-free card that juvenile sentencing can afford them.)

 

Race? I had forgotten that Jackson was born a Chinaman. The verdict is cheered because he's a celebrity, embraced as a personal friend by many who never met him yet "know" he's innocent; not because of his race. The Jackson partisans camping out in front of the court--including the guy who flew in from Scotland, twice, for the privilege--were not exhilarated because a man of indeterminate hue was off the hook, but because superstar Michael was off the hook--the celebrity whose shadow filled their own lives with meaning, and when would he like to meet little Billy?




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Post 23

Sunday, June 19, 2005 - 3:34amSanction this postReply
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Tibor - great and thought provoking article as always.

One point that bothers me a little:

So, I admit, I felt quite good about the verdict too, not because I had any opinion about the matter but because I, too, felt that had it gone the other way, it would probably have fueled some racist sentiments across parts of the USA. These sentiments certainly ought to vanish anyway, but with Jackson acquitted this may accelerate somewhat now.
I'm probably one of very few guys here who thinks that both the Jackson and OJ Simpson verdicts were correct. Not because I know for sure that they were both innocent but because the prosecution in both cases failed to prove guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt". But the "fuelling racism" stuff I just don't care about - a liberal (small l) justice system should have no concern for whether some people may interpret verdict as racist, only for whether the verdict reached is just. The only way race should enter the equation is if it could be demonstrated that a jury had come to an unreasonable guilty verdict for racial reasons.

I am on record as thinking that age restrictions on children are highly dubious from an O'ist perspective - certainly blanket age restrictions don't take into account individual differences, and in some ways restrict parental discretion in introducing children to alcohol and the like. The problem of course is the issue of a sexual "age of consent". While some 13 year old may be mature enough consent to sexual relations, young teens should certainly be protected from exploitation by older predators. But there doesn't seem to be evidence of this being an issue in those countries that do have lower ages of consent.

Btw, regarding Marcus' point about Jackson's statement that he will no longer invite children into his bed, it may simply be that he has realised this violates a social norm and opens him up to the type of allegation he has faced here.

MH




Post 24

Sunday, June 19, 2005 - 7:09amSanction this postReply
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I'm probably one of very few guys here who thinks that both the Jackson and OJ Simpson verdicts were correct. Not because I know for sure that they were both innocent but because the prosecution in both cases failed to prove guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt". But the "fuelling racism" stuff I just don't care about - a liberal (small l) justice system should have no concern for whether some people may interpret verdict as racist, only for whether the verdict reached is just. The only way race should enter the equation is if it could be demonstrated that a jury had come to an unreasonable guilty verdict for racial reasons.

MH,

I agree! That's a brilliant point!




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Post 25

Sunday, June 19, 2005 - 1:36pmSanction this postReply
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A very common black reaction to the O.J. verdict was, "now we're even." I don't want to hijack this thread with legal discussions, but Matthew, could you possibly briefly explain how you don't think it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt?

As for Jacko, not only was he not proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt, it wasn't even close, and I for one don't think he's molested anyone. Simpson is another matter entirely, and Tibor's article wasn't about the validity of verdicts he knows nothing about, but rather, as he sees it, the "positive" effects of those verdicts on racism regardless of truth.

That's what I was commenting on. Not a good thing for racism when most everyone who wanted O.J. to go free was black, even though most thought he did it, and everyone else wasn't.
(Edited by Alec Mouhibian
on 6/19, 1:37pm)




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Post 26

Sunday, June 19, 2005 - 2:38pmSanction this postReply
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An image that sticks in my mind when the OJ verdict was read was the news footage of the reaction at Howard University. When the verdict was read a great many black students jumped up and cheered. A few of them stayed in their chairs with grave looks on their faces.



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Post 27

Sunday, June 19, 2005 - 4:34pmSanction this postReply
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Marcus - Thanks.

Alec - The glove didn't fit. ;-)

MH




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