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Belle Chesler: The Kavanaugh Hearings Just Won't Leave Me Alone
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I missed the Salem witch trials, but I well remember Anita Hill at the Clarence Thomas hearings. How could I forget the fire in her eyes or the cool precision of her responses to that phalanx of old white men so titillated by her answers as they pressed her for more salacious details? I remember, too, how the proceedings climaxed in Thomas’s intimidating rant, the one in which he cast himself as the righteous victim of a “high-tech lynching.” After that, women standing by to back up Hill’s testimony with charges of their own were told to go home.

I remembered it all as I watched the recent immolation of Christine Blasey Ford by another pack of old white men jumping out of their shorts to replace their hired gun — a “femaleprosecutor”– with top-volume tantrums of their own. Brett Kavanaugh himself whipped up that hysteria further with his prolonged self-pitying reprise, by turns tearful and threatening, of Thomas’s historic tongue-lashing. (Alas, such male posturing always reminds me of Joel Steinberg, a New York lawyer who, having beaten and tortured his partner into oblivion and killed a child, voiced this anguished, belligerent courtroom lament: “I’m the victim here!”)

Such staged public spectacles are now called “teachable moments.” But what exactly is being taught? And to whom? If the proceedings are not transparent as advertised, the takeaways surely are. Big white men (financed by bigger white men) who scramble to positions of power are not to be called to account. Especially not by their inferiors. Especially not by women.

Some women, like Christine Blasey Ford, still believe in older lessons that taught us to do our civic duty, to tell the truth for the sake of the common good. Most women stand with the truth-tellers, even knowing that President Trump smacks down truth every day. Most of us also know that we live in a dystopia and, believe me, it’s on our minds. If you want proof, go to the bookstore and pick up Louise Erdrich’s Future Home of the Living God, Naomi Alderman’s The Power, Sophie Macintosh’s The Water Cure, Joyce Carol Oates’s Hazards of Time Travel, Leni Zumas’s Red Clocks, Christina Dalcher’s Vox, Idra Novey’s Those Who Knew, Maggie Shen King’s An Excess Male, Bina Shah’s Before She Sleeps. Then sit back and rerun the video of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale before plunging into Rebecca Traister’s Good and Mad. That last one is not fiction.

Such Kavanaugh moments raise big problems for the teachers among us. What’s a teacher to do with a teachable moment that runs counter to all that American youngsters have customarily been taught to believe? TomDispatch regular Belle Chesler and her students faced the most recent such moment together in a high school classroom in Oregon. Her moving account of what they made of it could teach the rest of us something, too.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: American Media, Supreme Court 
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  1. Rich says:

    Presumption of innocence, due process, witnesses, none is necessary to this whack job if the liar is testifying against the secret love of her life, the object of her nighttime fantasies, the “White Man”. In every word she writes, in every bigoted statement, we can sense the underlying need, the sweaty yearning for that conqueror of Earth and Moon, inventor, writer, warrior and adventurer, the “White Man”.
    Kind of reminds me of kindergarten when a girl “liked” a boy so she would hit him. Obviously this poor, angry Frau just needs strong White arms wrapped around her, providing comfort and security. But, alas, her bitterness will probably push away the object of her desire.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  2. All that hate could ruin your health. It feels good now but there is a price to pay.

  3. G. Poulin says:

    What an effing moron. Ron, stop giving these retards a platform. They already own 90% of the media. We need them here like we need a hole in the head.

  4. Gordo says:

    Surely this is a parody?

  5. Tyrion 2 says:

    If they have to write and so can’t put on a child’s voice a la “the Waif”, they’ll do it figuratively by speaking through their schoolchildren’s semi-fictional voices.

    I’m bored of this.

    Trying to drive someone from public life through defamatory accounts of all the heinous crimes they have fictionally committed is itself heinous.

    Lying to everyone about how someone gang raped you is morally equivalent to gang rape. I’d rather be gang raped than have everyone I know convinced I was capable of such a crime. I assume most people are in agreement?

    Perhaps CBF’s small accusation was true, but we know that many were not. They were utterly absurd. Like claiming that Kavanaugh ran weekly drink spiking gang-raping parties; which was one Feinstein mentioned in the Senate.

    But determining that truth is most cases is tricky and it is more a gross injustice to lynch someone in the court of public opinion than for a groper to not have his live ruined over his teenage barbarity many decades later.

    This is why we have due process. This is why we have presumption of innocence. Those who line up to scream and shout at Kavanaugh are cheering on the legalisation of a form of gang rape. They are even now lamenting that it mostly failed. They are engaging in an abomination.

  6. Rags says:

    Chrissy is no Anita. And there was no corroboration sent home without being heard. There was no corroboration at all – none.

  7. When something “won’t leave you alone”, it’s time to turn off the “roof-brain chatter”.

    Seek professional help or at least take a class in meditation.

  8. El Dato says:

    > 2,200 Words

    2,200 Words too many.

    Then sit back and rerun the video of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale before plunging into Rebecca Traister’s Good and Mad. That last one is not fiction.

    Hell I’m relieved otherwise I would be worried the author is living in her own personal made-up hell.

    Philip K. Dick had it all figured out in “Eye in the Sky”. Some people disconnect completely, for them there really ARE monsters under the bed.

  9. El Dato says:

    I remember, too, how the proceedings climaxed in Thomas’s intimidating rant, the one in which he cast himself as the righteous victim of a “high-tech lynching.”

    Neurotic Cnut!

  10. As someone who had his career and life ruined by a false accusation this writer scares me!!!

  11. Michelle says:

    You are what you read, Woman. You wallowed in that badly written fiction and now you have absorbed the madness. Louise Erdrich is one of the worst writers on this planet, but we are not allowed to mention that fact, because she’s half Native-American. She also is a very shitty judge of character, having married a, faux Native-American, child molester and adopted non biological daughters with him. She and Mia Farrow are idiots of the first water.

    Also, The Handmaid’s Tale is fiction, you dummy, no matter how desperately you want it to be true. Sally Field’s memoir is scarier than any fiction.

    Kavenaugh is a liar, no doubt, as are we all, but he is not remotely dangerous.

  12. (((Belle Chesler)))

    and the (((others))) are even worse

  13. @Michelle

    Why do you say Kavanaugh’s a liar? I suspect he is telling the truth, and Ford has already been caught in a number of lies. Even Kavanaugh’s definitions of teen-aged slang, mocked by the media, have been borne out. For example, I was taught the verb “to ralph” by my girlfriend, who did not restrict it to vomiting induced by alcohol. Many slang expressions have more than one meaning in circulation.

    I wish we could learn the definitive truth as to whether Kavanaugh assaulted Ford. Ford has not found a single corroborating witness, but we need to go beyond that to nail down the fact that she is lying if indeed she is, so that lefties are forced to admit it.

    • Replies: @Da Wei
    , @Michelle
  14. I need a towel. And a cigarette.

  15. Correction: self immolation
    What a Garbage.
    She should have told her mom everything what did happen to her next morning.
    But than it looks like her mom is the same prole as she is because she did not teach her anything.

  16. Da Wei says:

    Satire is always misunderstood. You are joking, right?

    • Replies: @Ilyana_Rozumova
  17. Da Wei says:
    @jack daniels

    “I wish we could learn the definitive truth as to whether Kavanaugh assaulted Ford.”

    Kavanaugh, at age 17, was accused of going to a beer party and feeling up a 15 year old girl who walked into a bedroom with him. Now, if he didn’t have balls and sense of discovery at 17, what kind of a judge would he make, ever?

    j. d., you are named after Sinatra’s favorite drink. Please, what “truth” are you wishing to learn? He was 17 and it was a very good year.

  18. @Rich

    Obviously this poor, angry Frau just needs strong White arms wrapped around her, providing comfort and security. </blockquote

    Ye Gawds, who the hell is going to do that for her?

    And what’s with the fashion-Big-Rounds all the angry women are wearing now? They just prop them up on their Jewish beaks and look over them. Big, dark frames, non-prescription, they’re referred to as problem-solving glasses. And they’re all over the academic and poltical landscape like a persistent rash. They think they gain IQ points for this look, but to most, they’re idiotic.

  19. @Michelle

    Harsh but fair, Michelle.

    What have you, the author, got against people being old, being white, or being male? If you are fortunate you too will be old one day, and I hope wiser.

    Are you a teacher? I worry about you being in charge of impressionable children.

    • Replies: @Michelle
  20. @Da Wei

    It’s complicated! (Only halfway.)

  21. Patricus says:

    If you want to hang a man you should at least provide a credible story and hopefully some evidence. Ms. Ford couldn’t provide anything. She couldn’t remember where or when or other details of the “traumatic” experience. None of her witnesses supported her story. How does a person believe her? She had to be lying or maybe she is the dumbest person on earth.

  22. Michelle says:

    What in God’s name are you on about? Every child who has come into contact with me has come out the better for it. Just ask my ex boyfriends..

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  23. Michelle says:
    @jack daniels

    Isn’t it pretty to think so? Kavenaugh lied like a mother about the extent of his underage drinking. Never been passed out/blacked out drunk? Really? Pull my other leg, it’s got bells on it. I like beer, heh, heh. (Beavis and Butt-head laugh).

  24. @Michelle

    I was referring to the author of the piece on which you commented!

    “What have you, the author, got ..”

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