Short Take: The Karen Chronicles

As usual, Cathy Young makes the case that the viral “Karen” videos are often seized upon to prove something they don’t; that the entitled “Karens” are racist when because, in brief clips devoid of context, it’s a white woman against a person of color, and that’s quite enough to make Karen a racist.

A Twitter video clip that has been retweeted over 85,000 times shows a woman cowering, whimpering and shrieking in terror while a man taunts and berates her, apparently for cutting him off in traffic and flipping him the bird. And the man, who filmed the video and put it online, is meant to be the good guy.

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Cops Lie; So Does Everyone Else

My witnesses were there, ready, sitting on a bench in the hallway. We had them. The police had gone to the wrong address, a different address than was called in by the 911 caller, and that’s where they found the drugs and guns. They were fully prepped and raring to go, which is far more difficult than most people realize. Witnesses don’t want to testify for the defense. It’s like begging to make enemies of the cops, and in Washington Heights, nobody wanted to bring more attention to themselves from the 34 precinct.

The case was before Justice Charles Tejada, who was wearing the same tie as I was. He made a joke about it when he took the bench that morning. It was cute, but neither of us was too happy about it. Nonetheless, the suppression hearing got underway and the prosecution called its first witness, the arresting officer. He took the stand and . . . admitted that they went to the wrong house, a house that was on a street by the same name but ended in “terrace” rather than “road.” And just like that, it was over. Continue reading

America, The Minefield

Berny Belvedere created this site, this place, to publish differing views of a wide variety of subjects and issues. It’s called Arc Digital. There are some wonderful writers, wonderful posts there. There are also some truly stupid posts, not so much because Berny says to himself, “hey, let’s post something dumb today,” but because he tries to include such varying points of view that some putative recognized proponents of a particular view can’t muster a cogent argument.

I mean, it may well reflect the best possible argument for a position, but the position is irrational and hence the effort to argue is incomprehensible. You either feel it or not, but you can’t explain it because it makes no sense. Continue reading

Seaton: I’m A Motivational Speaker!

It has come to your humble humorist’s attention people are charging obscene hourly fees to lecture wokescolds everywhere on “white privilege.”

This is absolute bullshit. Charging someone $12,000 for two hours of white guilt absolution is highway robbery. I’ll do it for eight grand.

After all, if that money’s hypothetically going to a white woman as per the link, who better to lead the teeming masses towards enlightenment than I, a privileged white male oppressor who literally represents the patriarchy? By virtue of my birth and lot in life, I figure I’ve got the inside track on what White Privilege is really like. Continue reading

The Creep of Disparate Impact

One of the least understood concepts in law is disparate impact, and Dahlia Lithwick understands it no better than your average sophomore.

It is high time now for “too much justice.” Overturning Washington v. Davis would move the country significantly closer to racial equality. Such a reevaluation need not topple the entire legal system overnight.

High time, indeed. Washington v. Davis was a very curious decision, seeking to invalidate “Test 21” to become a District of Columbia police officer because black test takers disproportionately failed the test because it was “culturally slanted to favor whites.” At the time of the case, one of the core attacks was the validity of tests as a gauge of performance, and there was significant reason to believe that Test 21, although not created for any invidious purpose, had no particular validity in determining who would make a good cop. Continue reading

The Bravery of the In Crowd

Princeton professor ofF jurisprudence Robert George does a thought experiment with his students. It’s a good one, and he posted it on the twitters.

1/ I sometimes ask students what their position on slavery would have been had they been white and living in the South before abolition. Guess what? They all would have been abolitionists! They all would have bravely spoken out against slavery, and worked tirelessly against it.

2/ Of course, this is nonsense. Only the tiniest fraction of them, or of any of us, would have spoken up against slavery or lifted a finger to free the slaves. Most of them—and us—would have gone along. Many would have supported the slave system and happily benefited from it. Continue reading

More Guns, More Peace?

If there was one thing, one solid-as-a-rock thing, that the New York Times could be counted on, it was that guns were bad. Guns killed. Screw the Second Amendment, which was a bad one and consequently could be rightly ignored, and eliminate guns. Then came the first crack in the rock.

Emily Bazelon’s homage to illegal guns in the hands of black kids was, to be blunt, simultaneously bizarre and unsurprising. It was less about the virtue of guns than an apologia for illegal guns, but only when held by young men who swore that they were only carrying them in self defense and would never use a gun offensively. It wasn’t their fault. They said so. She believed them.

But the New York Times has had its Doctor Strangelove moment. Continue reading

An E For Effort Isn’t Excellence

Will your kids return to college in the fall? They’ve got plans to protect them, you know, from COVID-19. There isn’t a chance in hell it’s going to work, as everyone who isn’t suffering from delusion or selling a delusion realizes. It’s not that they aren’t interested, although many aren’t all that interested, but kids are remarkably good at doing stupid things and coming up with excuses for them. And they’re invincible, every one of them, right up until they feel the pain.

In any ordinary semester, some students fall apart. They overextend themselves with extracurricular activities, fall into depressions, drink to excess, weather their parents’ divorces or their own wrenching breakups. Their performance in class suffers as a result, and we often find ourselves listening to their tales of woe. We can’t hug them, as my colleague Jessica McCaughey observes, so we make do with listening sympathetically, granting extensions, helping them figure out what they can do to catch up in our class, connecting them with resources such as the university counseling service.

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After The First Shot, Drive

Each individual in the crowd of protesters, or mob of rioters as the case may be, sees himself as an individual actor, responsible only for what he does and not for anyone else in the crowd. Should he choose, for reasons that are exceptionally unclear and moronic, to stand before an SUV, he certainly isn’t the person who made the choice to bring a gun to the protest, to pull it out, to aim the gun and fire it at the person in the SUV.

He’s just a nice guy trying to protest police brutality, or a statue of U.S. Grant, or whatever pops into his mind at the moment he decided that whoever is inside the SUV somehow deserves to be stopped, swarmed by the mob, for the offense to race of driving home for work, or maybe driving to the market to buy a quart of milk. What did he do to deserve getting run down? Continue reading