Author Archives: SHG

The Janitor’s Lament

Eric Turkewitz explained it with an epitaph. It wasn’t a real epitaph, but a humorous one. Still, it made the point.

Here lies the body of John McCray,
He died defending his right of way.
He had the light, He had some pluck,
But the other fellow had the truck.

Being right is wonderful, but better to be alive and right. And if you’re forced to choose, pick alive. The legal adage, comply now, grieve later, comes to mind. But then, these concepts which are entirely acceptable and, well, obvious, don’t apply when it comes to rape and sexual assault, because they’re different. Continue reading

Will SCOTUS Be Manipulated?

Having spent a couple years now telling anyone who would read her columns that the Supreme Court was nothing more than some political hackary, with illegitimate justices sitting in stolen seats, doing the bidding of their partisan puppet masters to execute their evil plan to destroy the nation, Linda Greenhouse created the foundation for her latest and finest effort to beg the question.

Back in January, I devoted my first column of the new year to the growing impatience of some members of the court for a chance to move the boundaries of the Second Amendment from the home — where its 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller had located the amendment’s protection of the right to bear arms — out to the wider world. A few weeks later, the court agreed to hear the first Second Amendment case in nearly a decade.

The only basis for Greenhouse’s “growing impatience” is Greenhouse’s claim of “growing impatience.” The Second Circuit had done yeoman’s work promoting New York’s hatred of*, and protection from, guns, basically daring the Supreme Court to reverse them. For a decade, the Supreme’s demurred. Until New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. City of New York. Continue reading

All The News That Fits

When twitter outrage is powerful enough to cause the Gray Lady to change its front page headline, that either makes Grievance Twitter big or the New York Times small. Yet, it happened; the New York Times’ front page headline changed.

Whether the original headline was good or bad isn’t the issue any more than whether the changed headline was any better. The issue is that the #Resistance mob went bonkers, as mobs are wont to do, over the headline and the Times allowed itself to be cowed by their shrieks. Continue reading

An Unpleasant Whiff of Don Lemon

Louis CK was in a bar in the Hamptons (you know, the Hamptons, where fabulous celebs hang out). He walked up to a black woman, stuck his hands in his pants, vigorously rubbing his genitals, then pulled it out and shoved his fingers into her face, right under her nose, and asked, “Do you like pussy or dick?”

Oh wait. It wasn’t Louis CK. It was Don Lemon. And it wasn’t a black woman, but a white man named Dustin Hice. Otherwise, the facts don’t change, just the faces and names. Does that change what happened?

“The plaintiff in this lawsuit has previously displayed a pattern of contempt for CNN on his social media accounts,” a CNN spokesperson told Mediaite in a statement. “This claim follows his unsuccessful threats and demands for an exorbitant amount of money from Don Lemon. Don categorically denies these claims and this matter does not merit any further comment at this time.”

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A Colloquial Kind Of Murder

There is no shortage of murders. It’s not that we’re having an epidemic, but there are plenty of good examples of black men (or boys, as in Tamir Rice’s case) murdered by cops. Why not Walter Scott? Or Eric Garner? There’s always Philando Castile. Or if you’re a Second City fan, there’s Laquan McDonald. A Walmart shopper? There’s John Crawford. You get the point, right? RIGHT?!?

Yet, the murder of choice for two Democratic presidential candidates was MIchael Brown.

Michael Brown’s murder forever changed Ferguson and America. His tragic death sparked a desperately needed conversation and a nationwide movement. We must fight for stronger accountability and racial equity in our justice system.”

— Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), in a tweet, Aug. 9

“5 years ago Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael was unarmed yet he was shot 6 times. I stand with activists and organizers who continue the fight for justice for Michael. We must confront systemic racism and police violence head on.”

— Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), in a tweet, Aug. 9

Continue reading

Suit Against Harvard Proceeds, But With Two Fewer Victims

The policy had all the trappings of the latest fashion trends: rid Harvard of exclusionary same-sex organizations in the name of equality. Sounds great, except when you nail down what that actually means.

The policy in question barred students who were members of “unrecognized single-gender social organizations” like fraternities, sororities, or all-male final clubs from holding leadership positions in Harvard student groups or athletic teams and disqualified them from receiving fellowships, like the Rhodes and Mitchell scholarships, which require the university’s endorsement, according to court filings. Continue reading

An Existential Crisis Of The Hoi Polloi

Reading the thoughts of an academic can be taxing enough, but when the academic is a philosophy prof, it can be brutal. This became clear when I tried reading some of the public writings of NYU philosophy prof Avital Ronell. It wasn’t just that they weren’t good or easy to read; they were pure gibberish. I concede that I might simply not have been up to the task of appreciating philosophical genius, but I tried and failed nonetheless.

So I approach anything relating to philosophers with trepidation, including Agnes Collard’s op-ed in the New York Times. I was aware of the existential war within the academic community about signing petitions and open letters as a means of silencing heretics within their community, to shame and blame, using bulk in lieu of reason. Continue reading

Tuesday Talk*: Twisted Fenders and Priorities

In all fairness, I expected the opening to lead to an old joke.

My husband had just been wheeled away for a routine hip replacement operation when I found a note under my windshield wiper in the surgery center’s parking lot.

You remember the old joke, right, where someone returned to find their car damaged with a note on the windshield that read, “I hit your car and people think I’m leaving you a note with my name and address, but I’m not.” I got it very wrong. Continue reading

The Hong Kong Reminder

While we fight over the things that really matter, which pronouns to use and whether there are 37 or 38 genders, the people of Hong Kong have taken to the streets in defense of autonomy from China.

The demonstrations, which began as a fight against a bill that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be extradited to the mainland, have more broadly morphed into a call for free elections, which largely do not exist in China. To Beijing, it would be a direct challenge to the leadership, tantamount to losing control of Hong Kong.

When China reclaimed Hong Kong from the Brits in 1997, this clash seemed inevitable. How could a bastion of freedom, even if limited and even if subject to a self-imposed culture of order, exist within an authoritarian regime? Continue reading

Short Take: The Punishment Tango

You’re all for sex workers, but “johns” are criminals?

You call for legalizing the use of marijuana, maybe even narcotics, but the dealers who sell it are criminals?

You demand the undocumented immigrants be allowed to work, to support their families, to thrive, but the employers who hire them are criminals?

It takes two to tango, but your heart only goes out to one of the dancers, while the other remains evil. This isn’t going to work out the way you wish it would. Continue reading