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Tara Ariano

S03.E05: Oh Shenandoah

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Dear heavens, I have now learned that one episode of a series can reach into your brain and destroy any enjoyment that you'd derived from the prior four episodes of said series.  I'm calling it the Shenandoah Syndrome.  E05 was all kinds of crap.  The Maggie-Jim reconciliation was the opposite of magical; it was limp, undramatic, inane and unbelievable.  The Will-versus-dad's-ghost debates were rehashed Sorkin tropes from Seasons 1 and 2 that irritated me for their pretentiousness the first time around, and the Ghost Dad scenes had no relation to the plot lines in the current season, except that Will happens to be having these hallucinations while in prison.  The Sloan smackdown of Bree's stalker-site was fine, but it was overly easy and not a credible issue for a real news network, as opposed to a Gawker.  Charlie's flapping around yelling at everyone was not true to his character and was just telegraphing "imminent heart attack and/or stroke!" and "gala funeral coming soon!"

 

Mainly, this episode was the worst kind of writerly sermons-via-characters about "problems" that are the obsessions of the writer and are not central to the larger societal issues addressed or to the series that he's supposed to be writing.  

 

And that of course brings me to the worst offender, the campus rape storyline.  The "problem" that Sorkin discusses via Don (and poor Don!  I hate that he was made the mouthpiece) and Mary is the possibility of false accusations of rape.  Which is a statistically tiny part of the enormous, virulent issue of sexual violence against and coercion of women that affects all ages and races and ethnicities in our country, and a culture that encourages the silencing, discrediting and shaming of women who complain about it.  I'm frankly nauseated that Sorkin would decide to take on that issue and then use his bully pulpit to lecture us about the poor guys who may not be able to get a job.  

 

Only 2% of rape accusations are false, but the issue receives a disproportionate amount of attention (as evidenced by this discussion).  

And Sorkin just added to the disproportion.

Not only do we have Sorkin's Rich White Male Avatar of the week (Don) giving Sorkin's Opinions about this topic, he doesn't even respect the issue enough to avoid turning it into a false dichotomy where one of the options is "Don't talk about rape at all, go home" and the other is the Straw position where rape victims publicly expose their alleged attackers with impunity and one of them gets into a Jerry Springer-esque confrontation with her alleged rapist on national TV.  It's bullshit.

This.

*Mike Tyson - CONVICTED of rape. Serves a meager 5-year sentence. Gets cast in popular movies (HANGOVER), has a stage show directed by Spike Lee, has an animated show. He's never apologized for his crime, BTW.

*Ben Roethlisberger - Repeated accusations of rape, so heinous that even Roger Goodell (weak NFL commissioner) SUSPENDS his despite the fact that Roethlisberger is never tried in a court of law. Roethlisberger continues to be the starting quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and continues to sell jerseys with his name on it for millions of dollars.

*Jameis Winston - Accused of rape. Case is viciously covered up by the prosecutors and police. Winston wins a Heisman Trophy a few months later and is on his way to the NFL and million-dollar paydays.

*Jerramy Stevens - Accused of rape in college. Case is particularly vicious. He also gets the Jameis Winston coverup, goes on to be drafted by the Seattle Seahawks and plays in the NFL. Even marries U.S. soccer star Hope Solo.

*Mark Sanchez - Accused of rape in college. He's never charged and goes on to be drafted by the NY Jets. Currently starting as QB for the Philadelphia Eagles. Has a very nice paycheck and dates the likes of Eva Longoria.

 

Yes, I'm giving high-profile examples. Yes, there ARE men out there who are innocent and whose lives legitimately DO get ruined. What I'm saying is that the myth of "rape accusations ruin innocent men's lives" is exactly that. It is part of the lies told in this rape culture that we live in when in fact, the exact opposite is true. The majority of men accused of rape go on to live their lives. Some of them have special skills like Roethlisberger and some of them are just paper pushers. The majority of women who ARE raped do not.

And this.

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but I *have* to believe in the innocence of someone even if I know it to be a bunch of bullish*t (just because one falsely accused is too much to bear???)

 

For those who really advocate for the falsely accused, yes, just one is too much to bear. It's an unimaginable, horrible situation, being accused of a crime you didn't commit, and there's often no coming back from it and no way out of it. For someone like Don who sees and wants to overcome that kind of injustice, he has to uphold the right to presumed innocence for everyone, even if he personally believes it's bullshit, because approaching every situation like that is the only way to prevent (hopefully) a false accusation. This was a great example of that: Don the person completely believed Mary; Don the crusader for the falsely accused was unwilling to presume guilt. OJ is just one of the most extreme examples of "it's better for guilty people to go free than innocent people to be locked up." Casey Anthony would have been another. It's not that OJ was falsely accused; it's that Don would rather a hundred OJs go free than one Troy Davis be executed.

Edited by madam magpie
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Only 2% of rape accusations are false, but the issue receives a disproportionate amount of attention (as evidenced by this discussion).
And Sorkin just added to the disproportion.

 

Yes, he addressed the issue.  But his fictional story's rape accusation was depicted as probably true.  The audience was intended to sympathize with rape victims whose allegations aren't taken seriously.

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I don't think the point people are trying to make about the fact that false accusations happen to ruin the men's lives.  Or at least I don't think that should be the point.  What the biggest problem is with false accusations, from where I sit, is that it does indescribable damage to those who come after you.  Maybe that's the argument Don should've brought up.  

Edited by CaughtOnTape
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For those who really advocate for the falsely accused, yes, just one is too much to bear. It's an unimaginable, horrible situation, being accused of a crime you didn't commit, and there's often no coming back from it and no way out of it. For someone like Don who sees and wants to overcome that kind of injustice, he has to uphold the right to presumed innocence for everyone, even if he personally believes it's bullshit, because approaching every situation like that is the only way to prevent (hopefully) a false accusation. This was a great example of that: Don the person completely believed Mary; Don the crusader for the falsely accused was unwilling to presume guilt. OJ is just one of the most extreme examples of "it's better for guilty people to go free than innocent people to be locked up." Casey Anthony would have been another. It's not that OJ was falsely accused; it's that Don would rather a hundred OJs go free than one Troy Davis be executed.

 

See...again, I don't disagree that one falsely accused is too much.  And that advocating for the falsely accused is a good thing.  I don't even really disagree with the idea, in theory, that it's better for 100 guilty to go free than one falsely accused to go to jail.  But that's in part why I have such an issue with his example.  We've painfully seen very recently that just as people can be falsely accused, people can also be falsely deemed innocent.  And advocating for the falsely accused does not mandate also advocating for the falsely "acquitted".  You don't advocate that no one EVER be convicted just because someone innocent MIGHT be. You just fiercely advocate for what's RIGHT.  So to me, Don's (Sorkin's?) example of OJ was exactly the wrong example to give, because his acquittal wasn't RIGHT.  If Don had advocated for the falsely accused by relaying his story of Troy Davis (why not pull from a prior episode? He did when he used Sloan's revenge photo storyline) and how that man's life was destroyed and he was likely executed under false pretenses, so he is generally very sensitive to people being falsely accused until all of the evidence has been laid out, then I could likely sympathize. But Don's (Sorkin's?) not getting sympathy points and I'm not judging him as morally righteous because he chooses to blindly "believe" something, all evidence to the contrary. 

Edited by loriro
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If every time a discussion about the struggle rape victims face to bring their attackers to prosecution turns into a discussion about protecting the falsely accused, there will never be any change that will help rape victims because it won't even be discussed.  I thought Sorkin proved that point quite well, though that may not have been his intent.

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I don't think the point people are trying to make about the fact that false accusations happen to ruin the men's lives.  Or at least I don't think that should be the point.  What the biggest problem is with false accusations, from where I sit, is that it does indescribable damage to those who come after you.  Maybe that's the argument Don should've brought up.  

In general I don't think false rape accusations are ruining many men's lives, but I think we have to acknowledge that the website allowed people to  post anonymously.  I would assume that there is little to no vetting of the claims that are posted.  If not even the runners of the site know who made the post how do they have any idea if it's true?  False rape accusations may be rare, but a site like this, I would think, would invite more of them than normal.  Anytime people can be anonymous on the internet, there will be people who will say vile hurtful things.  Will pointed this out the first season when he wanted commentators on News Night's web site to have to use their real names.  He perhaps took it too far and got a death threat for his trouble, but he had a point.   

 

And I do think Don was right in pointing this out by using Sloan's nude photos as an example (BTW while I'm not saying that's it's anywhere akin to being raped, but what happened to Sloan was a pretty big violation and I've seen a couple posts that seem to minimize how traumatic it would be to have that happen to you). This isn't even a male vs. female issue, with "crazy bitches" out to ruin good men's lives.  If this site allows posts that are completely anonymous (and that was the implication in my mind) then ANYONE male or female could post an accusation about anyone.  We are talking about college students, this is not a population that is known for always making the best choices.  What is keeping some drunk frat guy (and yes, I know Princeton does not have frats) from posting something about some guy he doesn't like, or the teacher that gave him a D? I think a site like what was presented on the show runs the very real risk of truly ruining someone's life.

 

As for Don lying to Charlie, I saw that as Don actually letting Charlie save some face.  Don had asked Charlie to go into his office so they could discuss it (one could assume that Don was going to refuse to do the story), but Charlie refused.  Instead of being openly insubordinate in the middle of the newsroom, Don fibbed and said he hadn't found her.  Charlie knew he was lying, but at least he wasn't basically telling his boss to go to hell in the middle of the newsroom. 

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I don't think having photos posted rises to the same level of trauma as a physical attack. And of course the remedy to not having photos posted is not to pose for them ever. But a woman does not asked to be raped. I just don't see these things as equivalent and thought the argument was spurious. But more than that it irks me that not having had his way with her he lies about what he did. That's the more troubling thing to me,

An anonymous website definitely has issues of course. But I don't think the show explored them.

To me oh Shenandoah was just more sorkin showing off how much he likes musicals. I like them too but it felt jarring,

As for will and his dad... Eh... The dialogue didn't build or go anywhere. On its own that would be a pretty dull sequence. It only worked because the other storylines had something at stake and some movement. I got really tired of it really a quickly. The payoff wasn't worth it, to me at least.

Maggie and Jim,,, so what if Mac said that go meet your wife early on? In real life, people feel destined... And it doesn't work out. Know the show is not real life, but I like it more the more it looks like it,

And I for one am really disappointed there is zero follow up to the bleak environmental segment.

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I don't think having photos posted rises to the same level of trauma as a physical attack. And of course the remedy to not having photos posted is not to pose for them ever. But a woman does not asked to be raped. I just don't see these things as equivalent and thought the argument was spurious.

 

Don didn't compare Sloan's experience to rape.  He cited it as an example of online revenge:

Don't you think there's a chance that somebody's going to use this site as revenge?  That somebody's going to make up a story and ruin a kid's life?

I'm just saying that if a grown man who works in arbitrage at one of the biggest banks in the world can post naked pictures of his ex on revengeporn.com, then...

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I also have an issue with Don's "I'm morally obligated to believe him" argument.  No... he's not.

I re-watched the episode as well and that's my big problem too.

I already stated my opinions but this part should have stayed out of the conversation for me to think it was a worthy story. This is absolutely the worst. And, as I said, I thought that the idea of setting up a website would expose the woman (women) to slut shaming and - I will even accept, although it would not be my biggest worry - innocent people being publicly accused, and this is an interesting topic (not to discourage, but to discuss and be prepared for backlash, because society has certain rules of engagement, not always the ones we individually prefer). I am partial to rape victims and I tend to believe first, this is my experience. So I would like to see the discussion focused not on how she could be doubted, but how hard it is to simply get to be heard and try to get along with life.

 

But this is Sorkin and this type of writing is one of my problems with how she writes about women - and no, I will not go there because I still cannot word it in a satisfactory way

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If every time a discussion about the struggle rape victims face to bring their attackers to prosecution turns into a discussion about protecting the falsely accused, there will never be any change that will help rape victims because it won't even be discussed.  I thought Sorkin proved that point quite well, though that may not have been his intent.

And if every time someone discusses the dangers of falsely accusing people of crimes it turns into a discussion about how real criminals genuinely hurt people, there will never be any change that will help the falsely accused because it will never be discussed. The fact that the there are two sides to that was the ENTIRE point of Don and Mary's conversation. They were both in the right, which is why when Mary said "what am I wrong about," Don just shook his head. The answer is "nothing," obviously. And in life, sometimes you can be totally right and still lose because life can be ugly and unfair; Troy Davis learned that too. Everybody has to just keep trying to do what's right. This show can be fairly light in tone, but it isn't wish fulfillment; it presents real problems. The idea that Aaron Sorkin had a grand plan to denigrate women who've been raped acknowledges only one side of the conversation Don and Mary had. Yes, with that exchange, one of the things Sorkin's show said was that rape isn't so sacrosanct a crime that we should be willing to sacrifice other people in order to protect and support its victim. But that's not the same as saying women don't struggle to bring their attackers to justice or women deserve it or rape isn't a horrible crime or the good men who rape need to be saved from scary, lying women.

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 I am partial to rape victims and I tend to believe first, this is my experience. 

 

Which is absolutely fine, all of us as individuals are entitled to our perspectives. The problem is that the justice system is the opposite, despite adjustments to accommodate the unique nature of sexual crimes. So when the accused is presumed innocent until found guilty it really goes against the instincts of many people, you included. But the opposite would result in chaos and a lot more unfairness, if the burden of proof fell on the accused to prove that they are innocent; the justice system would be in meltdown. This would apply to murder, espionage, liability and all sorts of cases. That's the gist of what Don was saying, to be taken in conjunction with his debate with Charlie and Pruitt.  

 

That's why a couple of episodes ago Mac wanted an expert to corroborate, and the police to confirm, a story before her show went on air, even though a bunch of tweets had revealed the nature of the story. Similarly, Don didn't want to air a show that basically accused a guy of a crime that the justice system hadn't yet corroborated. So we shouldn't forget that Don, in that conversation with Mary, was also a news producer in addition to being a person with individual/private perspectives.

Edited by Boundary
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Yes I get the analogy don was making was online revenge. But it doesn't hold. Sloan did pose for the pictures. What's being publicized isn't a lie, just something that should be private.

Yes I see the possibility of misuse of such a site. But the show in my opinion didn't show how by using that lame analogy,

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But the opposite would result in chaos and a lot more unfairness, if the burden of proof fell on the accused to prove that they are innocent; the justice system would be in meltdown. This would apply to murder, espionage, liability and all sorts of cases. 

 

There are quite a few countries in the world where the burden of proof is on the accused to prove their innocence, I think. Not sure that all those justice systems are in meltdowns. Then again, maybe they are. Either way, Don was not part of the jury, and he was unlikely to ever be on a jury (as he demonstrated at the beginning of the season. So not sure why he was morally obligated to believe the sketchy guy and disbelieve the rape victim. Because there was a one in 50 case that he'd be wrong to believe her. 

Edited by romantic idiot
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Wow. I actually wondered not that long ago how the hell Charlie hadn't had a heart attack since he tends to have a very loud, very public meltdown in the newsroom every episode. Guess I jinxed him?

 

What I don't understand is why anyone who could leave stayed on with Pruitt. Don, Sloan, Mac, Jim...they could get jobs anywhere and they have plenty of money. Why not just quit? Maybe they have contracts that don't allow it? But it seems to me that in an acquisition, the contracts would be up for renegotiation.

 

Yeah, every time Producer "I don't care about money" Mac whined about their new boss' plans, I asked aloud "so why don't you quit?" According to Will, she's known as one of the best in the business, so I'm sure she'd be employed again in no time, particularly if she explains that she didn't like the direction in which the new boss was taking the network.

 

Well, I would assume a national network wouldn't air this until they fact-checked.

 

Pruitt's direction seems to involve a whole lotta NO fact-checking and a whole lotta "celebrity/tabloid/scandal/ratings" shit; to be honest, I never really understood his business model because unless he's got some miracle response to avoid lawsuits, I'm not seeing how corporate legal allows him to do most of what he's doing.

 


The rape storyline was ambitious and did its job revealing a Catch-22 situation. When I argue one side or the other, I just end up realizing that neither option is satisfactory.

 

I thought the rape storyline was very interesting because of the issues/points it raises. I could see and understand both points of view presented. In my mind, there isn't a simple answer and that's why we're still so screwed with this issue. Rape - particularly date rape - is fucking difficult to prove. Unless you've got that shit on tape, you're probably out of luck legally, and that sucks (hence, all the information and guides addressed to women on how to minimize their vulnerability to this type of attack).

 

I understood when the victim said that rape is rape, and she's right. But, I also think Don was right when he said "this kind of rape". Because had the girl been beaten and raped while she fought back etc., she'd have a chance with the police (physical evidence, tearing etc.) But "that kind" of rape, where she was probably relaxed (so no tearing), she was drunk/high (so might not remember things clearly)...how in the fuck can the justice system prove guilt? That's the crux of the matter for me. You can accuse someone of rape all you want, but there is burden of proof. And in "these types" of rapes, that is often nigh-on impossible.

 

I think that the purpose of the conversation between Don and Mary was to highlight this problem with rape cases. Short of women going around wearing cameras 24/7, there is no answer/solution, IMO. 

 

Can you provide proof that the sexual activity was not consensual? No. Is it 'he said/she said'? Yes. Does it suck? Yes. Will he get away with it? Probably. Would you feel a moral obligation to warn other women about that guy? Yes.  Is an anonymous website where someone can accuse anyone of sexual assault a good solution?

 

I thought Don's commentary on her website was meant to serve as a parallel the issues going on with ACN's new direction (concerns about sources, the validity/relevance/accuracy of the information, implications of airing the information etc.)

 

I took it to mean that so long as Charlie appeared to be complying with Pruitt's orders he could not be fired for cause (he has a contract so there has to be cause) and as long as he held on his his job he could protect everyone else's jobs.  So he was eating crow and implementing Pruitt's "improvements" while desperately trying to continue to do good journalism in the context of this new normal. He hated doing it but he loved his staff so he was trying to find a path through the minefield.  It was killing him to do it.  It finally did kill him.

 

I don't think the last 52 days are solely responsible for killing Charlie. Regardless, I do feel bad that he spent the last bit of his life compromising on his integrity. However, since NONE of the newsroom people are happy, I really don't know why they didn't all band together and basically walk out. It seems silly to me that he's "protecting" them while everyone is miserable about the jobs they're doing. Like, what exactly is the point? Are they just killing time, waiting for Will to be released so that he can make a pretty speech so that Pruitt can see the light and change his ways in time for the final credits to roll on the show?

 

I enjoyed Sloan's take-down of their skeevy web stalker guy but it would have been more satisfying had the guy been even remotely a credible opponent.

 

Maggie and Jim? Ugh. Thank Christ there's only one more episode left. That shit was "tied up" so fast and in such a ridiculously unbelievable way that I can barely muster any outrage at it. It's been so poorly handled. Why did we even need Hallie in the first place? All it's done is show that one second Jim wants to get back with Hallie because he "loves" her and the next he's macking on Maggie because he "likes" her. Jesus Christ. Yeah, I'm taking bets on how long that relationship would actually last. Its odds are shit, IMO.

 

And speaking of relationships, I have to divert from my usual squeeing here. I like Don and Sloan. I do. I enjoy them and their banter. I like that he's not intimidated by her smarts and her career-focus. HOWEVER. I did find myself a little uncomfortable with the...deference(?)...that he kept showing her. Him apologizing to Sloan (even though she was the one pushing him to do something and then backed away from it) and the apologizing for apologizing to her instead of the web guy because "he's so used to it". Wait, what? Why is he always apologizing to her? I liked them because they seemed very equal. But her comment to him in a prior ep that she didn't mind that he was dumb, to this recent stuff really suggests a major imbalance in their relationship. Is he just so happy/flattered/excited that someone as hot/smart/successful as Sloan would be with him that he'll take any shit and lie prostrate at her feet in supplication just to keep her happy and with him? I didn't like that vibe. But I may be over-thinking it...

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Maggie and Jim,,, so what if Mac said that go meet your wife early on? In real life, people feel destined... And it doesn't work out. Know the show is not real life, but I like it more the more it looks like it,

 

 

And by the by that's a pretty dramatic line that I didn't remember Mac ever saying, and while I didn't watch the whole first episode over again I did watch the few minutes around Jim's entrance and her telling him to flirt with Maggie and didn't see it.  Sorkin mentioned it in his aftershow, but I think it was written in and (mercifully, to me) cut.

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Yesterday, I learned here that Will had an imaginary friend.  I was so excited to share this new info with my 14yo daughter that Will was actually alone in the cell.  

 

Her reply:  "Duh Mom, and Will's dad beat his mom too...."

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Don was right when he said "this kind of rape". Because had the girl been beaten and raped while she fought back etc., she'd have a chance with the police (physical evidence, tearing etc.) But "that kind" of rape, where she was probably relaxed (so no tearing), she was drunk/high (so might not remember things clearly)...how in the fuck can the justice system prove guilt?

Rape is being forced to have sex, without consent. One kind

I got your point though and it would have been much better if they had pointed this out in the scene. 

 

Yesterday, I learned here that Will had an imaginary friend.  I was so excited to share this new info with my 14yo daughter that Will was actually alone in the cell.

When I re-watched and paid more attention to the cell scenes, there are so many cues into the "imaginary" friend.

 

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Does that "measly" 2% (if that's even true) of wrongly accused start to bother folks when we consider the multi-millions that we have incarerated in the US prison system (and I know all are not for rape or sex crimes)?

2% of just 500,000 is what, 10,000 wrongly accused folks?

Yesterday, I learned here that Will had an imaginary friend. I was so excited to share this new info with my 14yo daughter that Will was actually alone in the cell.

Her reply: "Duh Mom, and Will's dad beat his mom too...."

Ha! That's good stuff; gotta love the teen years!

Yes I get the analogy don was making was online revenge. But it doesn't hold. Sloan did pose for the pictures. What's being publicized isn't a lie, just something that should be private.

Yes I see the possibility of misuse of such a site. But the show in my opinion didn't show how by using that lame analogy,

It had more to do w/ the whole idea of unwarranted invasion of privacy.... And damaging public exposure

Edited by HollaMcDollar
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When I re-watched and paid more attention to the cell scenes, there are so many cues into the "imaginary" friend.

There were so many clues while watching it the first time too....I'm just an idiot.  LOL.  I noticed everything - but what I did miss was the photo of Will and his dad at the end, when they zoomed in on it.  I was looking at the kid...I always check out the kids in these type of photos to see if they're using the actor's actual baby pics.

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There were so many clues while watching it the first time too....I'm just an idiot. 

 

Not just you! I thought that guy was an FBI plant and was absolutely sure of it when he asked about the "mission to civilize." I didn't get that he was basically Will's internal dialogue until the photo at the end either. (Kids are usually smarter than I am, though. My friend's six year old often puts me in my place.)

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I got that, but so what? Meh, I seem to be one of the only people who thought that whole "Imaginary character" stuff was Playwriting 101. I've seen better from high school students.

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I got that, but so what? Meh, I seem to be one of the only people who thought that whole "Imaginary character" stuff was Playwriting 101. I've seen better from high school students.

I thought it finally made Will realize he just has to give people the news; not recivilize society through each newscast.

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Sloan's points were that ACNtracker:

 

1) Is a bad app because anonymous users can post lies (such as, 'Jimmy Kimmel is drunk at XYZ bar right now!!!' when the guy was actually with his family thousands of miles away from XYZ bar) and lies are damaging to the innocent celebrities

2) Is an invasion of privacy (where is it written that just because you're famous people have a right to pry into your personal life?)

3) Is dangerous because a stalker could actually cause physical harm (even death) to the targeted celebrity

 

Don's points were (among others) that Mary's website:

 

1) Is a place were anonymous users can post lies (such as, 'John Smith raped me!!' when John Smith is just a guy who the poster hates for non-criminal reasons) and lies can be damaging to the innocent person that is falsely accused 

2) Is an invasion of privacy (people can accuse anybody, innocent or guilty; the accused's life will be scrutinized and his/her privacy invaded, even if the accused is innocent)

3) Is dangerous because someone may take it upon him/herself to punish the accused by not hiring him/her, causing physical harm (even death), etc to the targeted accused

 

I find it ironic that although both, Sloan and Don, were making very similar (if not completely identical) points, somehow Sloan is this great crusader and Don is just Sorkin's mouthpiece, through whom the writer can validate, even impose on us, his "misogynistic" views.

 

What's the percentage of celebrities about whom people post lies on the internet? probably higher than 2%, so does that mean that because a higher percentage of celebrities are affected, they are somehow entitled to a better defense of their rights?  How much damage can come to a celebrity from such lies? It depends, but a celebrity certainly has more financial resources to fight back.  Not very many celebrities end up dead because of a stalker, their lives and reputations are likely salvageable after a lie has been posted about them; but when a regular person is falsely accused of such a serious crime as rape, it is probably not as easy for him/her to repair the damage.  Are celebrities' rights somehow more important than those of the regular men and women out there?

 

I think because Mary was a sympathetic, believable character, we feel for her and we instinctively want her to get justice.  She got raped and then she didn't get any justice, and there was not much she could do.  Bree, OTOH, came off as an arrogant, unsympathetic asshole  who didn't care about anyone but himself.  What if Bree had been depicted as a shy, young man who had grown up poor but whose life drastically changed when he created this app that Pruitt bought? What if selling that app allowed him to take his parents and siblings out of a miserable, poor, crime-ridden neighborhood? Would we feel even a little bad for him then?

 

For the record, I'm a 42 year old woman who has never been raped, thank God, but I have been stalked (and it's terrifying).  And when I was younger somebody who had a fight with my mother threatened to actually LIE so that an academic full college scholarship I'd earned with blood, sweat and tears would be taken away from me (and I wasn't even involved in the particular incident with my mother and this person, she just wanted to hurt my mom where it would be most painful -her children). I took action to prevent that from happening but I can't tell you how much anguish that caused me.

 

At the end of the day, I think one of the points that Sorkin was trying to make is that these are not simple issues and there isn't a simple solution.  There are drawbacks and sometimes horrible consequences, no matter what solution we explore.  Also, I don't think Sorkin hates the internet.  I think he hates the irresponsible, immature, amoral, stupid assholes out there that ruin the internet for everyone.  And there are plenty of those.

 

I also think that Don made up his mind about airing the story when he saw Sloan and Mac fighting back for their belief that they should report the news properly against Charlie, of all people; someone who up until 52 days ago would have completely agreed with them and was fully on board (enthusiastically) with that idea.  I thought Don felt, at that moment, that he had to stand up for what he believed too.  As for his decision taking away Mary's choices, that's not true at all.  Mary can contact any number of networks out there who would salivate at the very idea of her confronting her rapist on a live broadcast on TV.

Edited by WearyTraveler
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As for his decision taking away Mary's choices, that's not true at all.  Mary can contact any number of networks out there who would salivate at the very idea of her confronting her rapist on a live broadcast on TV.

I have been trying to find a way to say just this since Sunday. No one has a "right" to be interviewed on TV. He didn't take away her choice, he took away one opportunity and she is free to find another. 

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Difference is that celebrities sign up to be celebrities.

Nobody signs up to be raped.

There are ways that website could be made more useful-- moderated, for example, or fact-checked. None of that was addressed. Deck was stacked.

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Difference is that celebrities sign up to be celebrities.

Nobody signs up to be raped.

 I think this actually supports my point.  I wasn't comparing celebrities to rape victims, BTW, I was comparing the celebrities Sloan was defending (the Jimmy Kimmels, to use her own example that are accused of being drunk in a bar by an anonymous poster on the ACN app when in reality they are miles away with their families)  with the people Don was defending, namely those falsely accused of rape on the internet by an anonymous poster on Mary's website.

 

So, because celebrities signed up to be celebrities, Sloan is right in defending their right to not be falsely accused of being drunk in a bar but Don is wrong to defend the right of regular people to not be falsely accused of rape on Mary's website?

 

To continue with comparisons, I agree no woman signs up to be raped, but, by the same token, no man/woman signs up to be falsely accused of rape either.  Why do we so fervently defend the rights of one type of victim (rape) and not the rights of another type of victim (falsely accused victim)? They are both victims.  They are both wronged, both their lives could be destroyed by the crimes committed against them. They can both be traumatized by the experience.  Both can be destroyed psychologically and physically by it.  Why are the rights of one type of victim more important than the other type victim?

 

I don't know, it seems to me that the 2% is being thrown in there as such a low number that somehow it's insignificant, but I bet you it's not insignificant to those people that are actually falsely accused of rape.  They may lose their job, their friends, their spouse and their children because, let's face it, given that the crime of rape is such a horrific one most people tend to side with those that claim to be a victim of it, even without proof.  It's all well and good as long as it happens to some faceless, tiny 2% of the accused, but these 2% are people too, with lives, jobs, friends and family.  What if one of your family members, or your best friend were falsely accused, would that be ok because it's not statistically significant?

 

There are ways that website could be made more useful-- moderated, for example, or fact-checked. None of that was addressed. Deck was stacked.

 

How in the world can Mary fact-check every accusations made on her website? First she would have to at least partially remove the anonymity feature.  She would have to know the name of the victim, she would have to interview the victim, interview the accused, interview the witnesses, run forensic tests on the victim's clothes and the accused's clothes and on anything their bodies might have come in contact with during the rape.  She would also have to perform or have access to the victim's rape kit (and not all victims choose to have one done), she'd have to run prints and DNA.... It would be a full time job, or a very time consuming one at least.  Mary didn't strike me as someone who wanted to dedicate her life, or a large chunk of it, to such pursuits.  She just wanted to provide a venue for real victims who had not gotten justice to express themselves and to warn others about the rapists in her school, but she also continued with her own studies, she was still living in a dorm, on campus, so, she was still studying to finish her own education.  She didn't think of the potential of people lying on her website.  And I think part of the reason she was crying was that she could see that during her conversation with Don and she was frustrated by it.  She had good intentions, but her website could have harmful, unintended consequences too.  That's why Don looked so sad while talking to her too, IMO.  He saw that she wanted and probably deserved a venue to tell her story, and that other women would benefit from knowing who the rapists in their campus are, but he also saw the potential for harm.  Because it's not up to Don and Mary to be honest and moral in Mary's website.  It's up to the posters who post in it.  And both, Don and Mary, knew that not all the posters in Mary's website would be honest and moral.

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My point is, none of this was even discussed on the show-- how the site could be made better, etc.

No, Mary doesn't have to be judge and jury. But she could make it more difficult to post. She could, for example, check with the police whether the victims have reported a crime.

 

Hell, comment boards are moderated.

 

And frankly, yes, 2 percent is a teeny number compared to, oh, I don't know, coerced confessions or any number of things our own justice system does wrong.

I'm sorry, but I just think the telling of the name of an attacker is NOT the same as lying about a celebrity. it just isn't.

 

So no. What I wrote does not support your point.

If you never want to be lied about or slandered or stalked, you shouldn't go into show business. Period the end. This is not something brought about by "new media." it has always always existed. People who choose these professions know what they are getting into. They decide the benefit is worth the risk.

 

I don't think that a woman should have to make a risk-benefit analysis before going to a party. I don't think that being drunk gives consent, and I definitely think the system should be tougher on rapists. But it isn't, so people do what they can to speak their truths.

 

I didn't think Don was looking sad. YMMV. I thought he was a tool, and when he didn't get what he wanted from her, he lied. Just like the man who raped her.

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So Sorkin had some comments about the criticism the episode received

 

“Let me put it a simpler way,” he said. “She’s not a rape victim. She is an alleged rape victim and I wanted to make it harder for us to remember that. It’s easy to side with the accused in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ I made it less easy last night.”

 

 

I understand what he's going for, but man. I know it's his show and he created these characters so they can be whatever he wants them to be. But... semantics.  She's not an "alleged" rape victim because she's someone who didn't try to get justice. By her own admission, she called everyone she could (city and campus police, went to the ER, got a rape kit done, etc). The system failed her.  She's not just an alleged rape victim. She's a rape victim. So that's where his whole argument falls apart for me. If she had been someone who didn't seek any kind of treatment, didn't report it, didn't tell anyone, and now has created a website to accuse someone of raping her, I could see his point.  And by extension... Don's (to a degree). There's some ambiguity.  But in this case, she did everything right.  No, she didn't get justice in a courtroom, but Don isn't under any moral obligation to believe him over her.   In his attempt to be "so smart" and "so thought-provoking", Sorkin "outsmarted" himself.  In many ways, it's just old-fashioned sloppy writing. 

 

AND if the issue of false accusations in the media was the focus of this "debate" (as someone astutely pointed out the comparison between this plot line and Sloan's...) then again, a great topic for debate.  But Sorkin muddied it so much by trying to tie in other arguments (such as the OJ example, etc)  and cover so much ground that what could have been a very intriguing debate just fell flat and ended up to a certain degree alienating a large segment of the audience. 

Edited by loriro
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After reading through most of the posts in the thread, I've managed to sort out my own reaction to this episode.  It boils down to this:  I really, really wish that Sorkin had not decided to use rape as the basis for this storyline.  If you're going to do a storyline about rape, then do a storyline about rape; let the victim of the sexual assault be the center of her/his own story.  Explore the impact on the victim's life, the struggles that the victim undergoes, the day-to-day experience of being a survivor.  This is what a rape storyline should be about. 

 

Unfortunately, that isn't what happens.  In life, conversations about rape (including rape culture, the justice system, and support for survivors) all too often either devolve into victim-blaming (what could he/she have done to prevent it?) or get deflected into other areas (such as the prevention of false accusations).  In the instance of this episode, we didn't even begin with the intent of having a storyline about rape.  Instead, we have the issue of rape co-opted for use as a vehicle for yet another example of how "new media" is bad.  Instead, we have yet another instance where an important topic which has done so much damage in the lives of so many people is brushed aside in favor of a more palatable topic, in this case the abuse of online anonymity.  Sure, it's a show about the news, so new media is a relevant topic and the show should explore that topic.  However, the show should not explore that topic by contributing to the enormous body of media that focuses on peripheral issues rather than dealing with the problem of rape itself; the show should find other vehicles for that purpose.

 

I can only speak for myself, but my differing reactions to Don and Sloan in this episode arise from the very fact that their stories were paralleled.  If Don and Sloan are both the crusaders defending against the evils of misguided websites, then that means I need to see Mary in the same light as I see skeevy digital content guy.  No matter how "sympathetic" the show pretended to be in its presentation of her character and story, the equivalency is there.  So, Mary's experiences (the rape itself, her attempts to find support and document the crime, the lack of any arrest) are relegated to bits of backstory (in line with the app guy's being an asshole who is in with Pruitt) that led to her committing an egregious internet crime for which the good Newsroom staff must lecture her.  Her intent to give unheard victims a voice and to warn other women about safety hazards (which, in her cost-benefit analysis, was more important than protecting against the possibility of abuse by vengeance-seekers) must be seen as parallel to app guy's buffoonish sexism and callous disregard for the privacy and humanity of celebrities.  And just as Sloan got to dismantle app guy and show us why he was wrong, Don got to make Mary's rape and its aftermath about himself and his ideals, turn a conversation about why he doesn't want her to come on the show into a lecture on why her response to being failed by the justice system is wrong, and ultimately override her agency by telling everyone that he couldn't find her (that's right, you go ahead and erase her a little bit more).  I'm not here for this ridiculous parallel, and since I see the cases as completely separate situations, I have very differing reactions to Don and Sloan.  I suppose it's all in one's perspective.  

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Sorkin:  She’s not a rape victim. She is an alleged rape victim.

 

Thank you Aaron Sorkin, feminist author (did my sarcasim font come through? sometimes it looks like italics).  This is worse than the episode.  "No conviction; No rape." That's a lovely slogan. 

 

 

By her own admission, she called everyone she could (city and campus police, went to the ER, got a rape kit done, etc). The system failed her. She's not just an alleged rape victim. She's a rape victim. So that's where his whole argument falls apart for me. If she had been someone who didn't seek any kind of treatment, didn't report it, didn't tell anyone, and now has created a website to accuse someone of raping her, I could see his point.

 

See, I think even the latter victim, if she was raped, is a victim of rape. Sometimes rape victims don't report, but that doesn't mean they weren't raped. 

 

Rape victims are rape victims. We can have a discussion outside that fact, about whether some that report aren't actually victims of rape, about problems inherent in reporting, about why many are reluctant to report, about what is done right and wrong along the way to make sure both sides have rights that are protected and about following through on claims, but.....for the love of all that is holy:   Aaron Sorkin should not lead it. And, in my opinion, he shouldn't get to decide the language used. 

 

I send out all of my thoughts and prayers to all rape victims and survivors who weren't able to get convictions.  I'm sorry you are relegated to "alleged rape victims" status according the the word of the Sorkin. 

Edited by pennben
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Thinking about Don and Mary's debate, and NoWIllToResist, WearyTraveler and Netlyon's posts above.

 

I think the crux of the argument is one of Don's early points -- that the American justice system takes as its first obligation, protecting the rights of the accused: those accused of crimes, not those victimized by crimes. I believe he's right about that. Not that the system is right, necessarily, but that this was its intent when it was framed 200 years ago. The American justice system set about redressing the prevailing Anglo-European imbalance of power between government and citizen. The first concern of American jurisprudence was protecting citizens not against each other, but against their government. The Bill of Rights, for example, says nothing about citizen's obligations to/conflicts with each other: instead, it enumerates rights held by all U.S. citizens -- rights which obtain in their dealings with the government.  

 

I'd forgotten that, frankly, and I was brought up short when Don said it.  Mary might have been too, and could have retorted, "So -- time to re-think that a little..."  That was a point which could have made for an even more trenchant debate. How the justice system  fails -- ignobly, systematically fails -- victims of rape.  Far out of proportion to how it fails victims of other violent or coercive crimes, even (now, at long last) sexual abuse of children.  And so, how are we to effectively prosecute a widespread, insidious crime in which the burden of proof is twofold: that a crime has been perpetrated, and that the accused was the perpetrator.  And where the ratio of perpetrator/victim is overwhelmingly male/female, within a culture in which power and the agents protecting power both still skew that way too. 

 

I do believe that the scene and argument were in keeping with other issues the show has raised and addressed throughout the three seasons.  Netlyon states,

I really, really wish that Sorkin had not decided to use rape as the basis for this storyline.  If you're going to do a storyline about rape, then do a storyline about rape; let the victim of the sexual assault be the center of her/his own story.  Explore the impact on the victim's life, the struggles that the victim undergoes, the day-to-day experience of being a survivor.  This is what a rape storyline should be about.

 

That's the other problem, as I see it. It wasn't a rape storyline: it was another "unsourced story" storyline. But so -- should rape be used within a story about anything other than itself?  Should issues around rape be used as an example of other issues? And if the answer is "no," then in that sense, is rape bigger than any argument, than any narrative: has rape become the new Holocaust?  I don't know.  

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I don't know, it seems to me that the 2% is being thrown in there as such a low number that somehow it's insignificant, but I bet you it's not insignificant to those people that are actually falsely accused of rape.  They may lose their job, their friends, their spouse and their children because, let's face it, given that the crime of rape is such a horrific one most people tend to side with those that claim to be a victim of it, even without proof. 

 

And they'd be right, 49 out of 50 times. One of my concern here is that we feel bad for the poor men falsely accused of rape. Yet, there's another set of victims we are disregarding - the ones that the rapist - who got away - will go on to rape. Being falsely accused of rape is not insignificant to the innocent person charged, but neither is being raped. Mary's website, provides one more avenue for warning women of danger (and it needs to do that because the justice system is failing these women). She considered it more important that another woman not be raped, than that another man not be falsely accused. I don't get why Don, being as pained as he was, as full of compassion for the innocent man, chose to disregard that argument. Maybe he didn't have a strong enough counter or considered it unimportant. 

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I think the crux of the argument is one of Don's early points -- that the American justice system takes as its first obligation, protecting the rights of the accused: those accused of crimes, not those victimized by crimes. I believe he's right about that. Not that the system is right, necessarily, but that this was its intent when it was framed 200 years ago. The American justice system set about redressing the prevailing Anglo-European imbalance of power between government and citizen. The first concern of American jurisprudence was protecting citizens not against each other, but against their government. The Bill of Rights, for example, says nothing about citizen's obligations to/conflicts with each other: instead, it enumerates rights held by all U.S. citizens -- rights which obtain in their dealings with the government.  

 

I'd forgotten that, frankly, and I was brought up short when Don said it.  Mary might have been too, and could have retorted, "So -- time to re-think that a little..."  That was a point which could have made for an even more trenchant debate. How the justice system  fails -- ignobly, systematically fails -- victims of rape.  Far out of proportion to how it fails victims of other violent or coercive crimes, even (now, at long last) sexual abuse of children.  And so, how are we to effectively prosecute a widespread, insidious crime in which the burden of proof is twofold: that a crime has been perpetrated, and that the accused was the perpetrator.  And where the ratio of perpetrator/victim is overwhelmingly male/female, within a culture in which power and the agents protecting power both still skew that way too. 

 

That's the other problem, as I see it. It wasn't a rape storyline: it was another "unsourced story" storyline. But so -- should rape be used within a story about anything other than itself?  Should issues around rape be used as an example of other issues? And if the answer is "no," then in that sense, is rape bigger than any argument, than any narrative: has rape become the new Holocaust?  I don't know.  

 

I need to give a little background here to explain where my response to the points I bolded in your post comes from and how it relates to the points raised by the characters in this episode, so, my apologies if it results boring.  I wasn't born in the United States but I lived there for many years and graduated from an American University back in 1994.  I've also lived in other countries around the world for somewhat shorter periods of time (anywhere from 1 to 9 months) including: New Zealand, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, England, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Jamaica and now Spain.  I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela (where Neil is now hiding), currently the murder capital of the world with 122 murders per every 100k inhabitants, according to a UN report.

 

These circumstances have exposed me to many legal systems and ways of life.  In Caracas, the presumption of innocence was only recently added to the law, but in practice, it's not really embedded in the fabric of every day life.  In Caracas, if you're accused of a crime, you're guilty (i.e. there must be a reason why you are accused); while this situation is not the sole reason for the disaster that my country has become (financially, politically, socially), it is one major contributing factor.  IMO.  Not only can the government jail you (and believe me, the jails in the worst Hollywood jail inspired movies pale in comparison to the jails down there) under any pretext they choose, but also, the citizens feel entitled to carry out justice by their own hand and according to their own judgement.

 

In contrast, the American system demands that not only the judge and jury presume innocence, but also that the rest of the citizens do so too.  You are innocent until proven guilty, in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of everyone else.  Nobody can deny you a job because you are an alleged bank robber, drug dealer, murderer or rapist.  Nobody can discriminate against you in any facet of social interaction because you were accused but not convicted of a crime.  You may think OJ is a murderer (you are entitled to your opinion and can express it), but if OJ were to apply for a job in your company, you can't deny him that job because you think he's guilty; if you do, he's entitled to sue you for discrimination and libel.  Is the American system absolutely perfect? Absolutely not.  Is it fair to rape victims? Hell, no! But the system does have mechanisms and venues designed to help it evolve and improve and the citizens should avail themselves of those venues to effect change.  Is the American system better than other countries' (for example, Venezuela)? By leaps and bounds, IMO.

 

I think this is what Don was saying and feeling.  He felt Mary was being truthful and a victim of rape, who had also been failed by the system; but he couldn't condemn her alleged rapist and proclaim on the news that he was a true rapist.  And he couldn't support Mary's website because while being beneficial to true rape victims and potential rape victims, it infringes the rights of others and violates one of the most important precepts of the American way of life:  you are innocent until proven guilty.  If you have to violate the rights of other citizens to correct the failures of the system, are you really being fair? Or are you just becoming another criminal (albeit of a lesser crime)?  Another tenet of the American systems is that all rights are equally important and inviolable; your right to not be raped is as important as someone else's right to not be falsely accused.  When you start assigning priorities to rights you get into dangerous territory that could eventually lead to total chaos (see other countries for examples of this).

 

Is Don saying that Mary should not fight to get justice or that victims of rape whom the system has failed should just shut up and take it? I don't think so.  And that brings me to this other post:

 

And they'd be right, 49 out of 50 times. One of my concern here is that we feel bad for the poor men falsely accused of rape. Yet, there's another set of victims we are disregarding - the ones that the rapist - who got away - will go on to rape. Being falsely accused of rape is not insignificant to the innocent person charged, but neither is being raped. Mary's website, provides one more avenue for warning women of danger (and it needs to do that because the justice system is failing these women). She considered it more important that another woman not be raped, than that another man not be falsely accused. I don't get why Don, being as pained as he was, as full of compassion for the innocent man, chose to disregard that argument. Maybe he didn't have a strong enough counter or considered it unimportant. 

 

I don't think he chose to disregard the argument or considered one violation more important than the other.  I think he considered them equally important and he was, perhaps, as frustrated as she was.  He wants her to get justice but he knows she won't under the current state of the system, but, more importantly, he doesn't believe that violating someone else's rights is the way to go about trying to make change happen.  I think he understands it's a long, arduous process to right the wrongs the system has, and there are no quick fixes, but he also knows that he can't tell her that, because it will be of no comfort to her and her current, entirely justified trauma.

 

Should Sorkin have the character expand on these issues? Perhaps.  Maybe if he had done so, the arguments about this episode wouldn't be so fierce at the moment, but Sorkin is not writing a show that deals with the unfairness of the system against rape victims, he's writing a show about journalists who want to uphold the principles of the American way of life as they were set forth by the founding fathers (see Will's speech in the pilot episode), no matter how difficult upholding those principles may be under different circumstances.  The integrity of the characters is completely dependent upon them upholding those principles precisely when it is very difficult to do so.

 

It's easy to defend the system when it does its job well, it's not as easy to uphold the principles when the system is failing.  But those are the times when one must uphold and defend those principles, if one truly believes they are the rules that one must live by; otherwise, the characters are just big, fat hypocrites.  I think this is the situation where Don finds himself in during the episode.  When faced with Mary's circumstances, he finds it difficult to uphold the principle that every person is innocent until proven guilty, but he believes this is an important principle, a building block of the American way of life, a fundamental piece of the ideals set forth by the founding fathers; so, he must uphold this principle even in this circumstance, when it's incredibly hard for him to do so.

Edited by WearyTraveler
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She considered it more important that another woman not be raped, than that another man not be falsely accused. I don't get why Don, being as pained as he was, as full of compassion for the innocent man, chose to disregard that argument.

 

I don't think Don disregarded it as much as that argument seems like it would be reckless and condoning vigilantism.  It's very important that rape is prosecuted to the fullest extent.  It is also important that innocent people not be anonymously accused of rape.  These are not two incompatible goals.  If the justice system is failing, you work to change the system, you don't appoint yourself judge and jury.       

 

I also wondered, wouldn't a major network news anchor going to jail for contempt over not revealing a source be a huge story, likely covered by all the major networks/newspapers? I'm not saying some of the coverage wouldn't have petered out after 52 days, but I would think there would still be other non-ACN people covering the story, yet we never really saw any outside reaction to what was going on.   

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“Let me put it a simpler way,” he said. “She’s not a rape victim. She is an alleged rape victim and I wanted to make it harder for us to remember that. It’s easy to side with the accused in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ I made it less easy last night.”

And this did it for me: FUCK YOU, SORKIN!

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WearyTraveler, some thoughts on your thoughts on how the system in the US works:

 

In contrast, the American system demands that not only the judge and jury presume innocence, but also that the rest of the

citizens do so too. You are innocent until proven guilty, in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of everyone else

 

Nope.  You are innocent until proven guilty under criminal law only.  I get to form my own opinion, both before and after even if under criminal law you are acquitted.

 

 

Nobody can discriminate against you in any facet of social interaction because you were accused but not convicted of a crime.

 

Yes, we (generally speaking) can.

 

 

You may think OJ is a murderer (you are entitled to your opinion and can express it), but if OJ were to apply for a job in your company, you can't deny him that job because you think he's guilty; if you do, he's entitled to sue you for discrimination and libel.

 

Yes, I (generally speaking) could not hire him; whether I could fire him is a different question.

 

That's what Sorkin is most worried about...consequences for falsely accused, just a pat on the head for the woman raped who doesn't obtain a conviction.

 

I'm not denying that these can be bad if false assumptions have been made.  I'm just saying that I think your view of American life isn't entirely accurate.

Edited by pennben
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See, I think even the latter victim, if she was raped, is a victim of rape. Sometimes rape victims don't report, but that doesn't mean they weren't raped.

 

Oh, I agree. I just meant in the context of Sorkin's comments as the basis for a story... it would be different had she not stated all that she did.  It gave her story that much more of a basis in "this is what happened to me and I tried to get justice. The law wouldn't give it to me so this is what I did".  What he put on the page basically states to the audience that she's not just an "alleged rape victim". She IS a rape victim (as HE defines it).  If he (Sorkin)  had Don go to see someone who "out of the blue" (again, in the context of the story) had just started this website without any background or hell, even better, had Don go to see her in the context of someone actually BEING falsely accused on that website, his disgusting quote above might have made a bit more sense... to channel Sloan: ONLY in the context of the story.  But yes, in real life, just because someone hasn't yet gotten justice in a court of law, that doesn't mean the rape doesn't exist until they do.  So in essence: 

 

And this did it for me: FUCK YOU, SORKIN!

 

pretty much. 

Edited by loriro

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Nope.  You are innocent until proven guilty under criminal law only.  I get to form my own opinion, both before and after even if under criminal law you are acquitted.

 

I said you have a right to form that opinion, but you don't have a right to act on that opinion to the detriment of the person you think is guilty.  If you do so, said person can sue you for discrimination, libel or damages.  You are free to think OJ is a murderer, but you can't punish him yourself for thinking that.  You can't beat him up, build a cell in your house to hold him prisoner for his crime, or execute him for it.  Even if you believe, in your heart of hearts, that he's completely guilty.  So, the system is not only saying that judge and jury believe the accused of being innocent until proven guilty, it's also saying the citizens must uphold that belief, if it weren't so, you'd be allowed to punish OJ because you think he's guilty.

 

Yes, we (generally speaking) can [discriminate against someone in a social interaction because you believe them guilty of a crime]

 

 

(Brackets are my addition for clarity).  You can in the sense that you are able to do so, and I'd agree that it totally happens, but you are not supposed to do so under the law.  For example, you are free to believe (as despicable as that might be) that white people are superior to black people, that's your constitutional right.  But you are not free to deny service to a black person in your restaurant.  Likewise, you are free to believe that OJ (to continue using Don's example in the episode) is a murderer, I stated that clearly.  You are free to choose not to interact with the man, if you don't want to; but, if you own a restaurant you can't deny him a table solely because you think that.

 

Do people discriminate against people that have been accused but not convicted of a crime? Absolutely, but if that person can prove in a court of law that you discriminated against them because they were accused but not convicted of a crime, you face legal consequences of your own. So, according to the law, you are not allowed to discriminate against anyone accused but not convicted of a crime (hence my use of the word can't).  According to the law, you are required to act as if the person were innocent until proven guilty, even if you are free to believe them guilty anyway.

 

Yes, I (generally speaking) could not hire him; whether I could fire him is a different question.

 

 

If OJ can prove in a court of law that he was qualified for the position and the only reason you did not hire him was because you thought he was guilty of murder when a court of law did not convict him of such a crime, you face legal penalties.  The problem for OJ is that he would probably have a difficult time proving that in a court of law, because you are presumed innocent until proven guilty, just as he was, and the rules of evidence that make it so hard for victims of rape to bring their rapists to justice would also make it very hard for OJ to prove his case against you.  So you can, in the sense that you have the ability to do so, discriminate against OJ for believing him a murderer, but you are not legally allowed to so.

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Of course I can't assault or murder someone, regardless of whether they are an alleged (or even convicted) criminal or annoying neighbor.  Of course I can't racially discriminate. 

 

Agree to generally disagree otherwise; note the "generally".  Don was worried about all the consequences an outed alleged criminal could face in society, he wasn't whistling past the graveyard.

Edited by pennben

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What?!

Me and my friend Godwin (who specializes in law) are going to cap the night with cocktails.

I believe what Pallas means is...are we at a point where we can discuss rape only in terms of its traditional victims? We seem to be at a point where we are not allowed an honest critique of a rape scenario because the place most people jump to is "but there are real victims who have been seriously harmed." That was also long the case, and in some ways is still the case, with the Holocaust. The idea that someone could question a woman's story used to be the norm; women were always questioned. People realized that was awful and fought against it, but now the pendulum has swung so far the other way that the mere mention in fiction of questioning a hypothetical rape accusation sets people off. Is that discussion now so taboo that we can't even have it?

I also think that's one reason Aaron Sorkin chose rape for this story. And it's another To Kill a Mockingbird parallel on this show.

Edited by madam magpie

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Given that Sorkin has raised the question of false accusations, and that many people support him, and he acknowledged within the story that the woman would be questions, is proof enough for me, that it is not the new "Holocaust" as defined above. The pain of rape victims is not nearly inviolate enough for the comparison to stand, IMO. 

 

I don't think Don disregarded it as much as that argument seems like it would be reckless and condoning vigilantism.  

 

Yet it is exactly what he did when he unilaterally disregarded Mary's quest for justice through the means available to here.Why is Don consistently treating the rights of the men in this situation as more important than that of the future raped women?

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Why is Don consistently treating the rights of the men in this situation as more important than that of the future raped women?

 

The simple answer is he did not. The reasons have already been stated.

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So, with all this talk about Sloane's subplot & Don's subplot & Will in jail hallucinating his father, I'm really surprised that there haven't been more "Holy Shit Charlie's Dead!" posts.

 

So: HOLY SHIT, CHARLIE'S DEAD!

I know there's only one more episode left, but still: HOLY SHIT, CHARLIE'S DEAD!

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So: HOLY SHIT, CHARLIE'S DEAD!

I know there's only one more episode left, but still: HOLY SHIT, CHARLIE'S DEAD!

 

Well, as I did say, my least favourite part of Whedoncraft. Anyway, I was mad that Charlie died and felt bad for him about how he died. But as mad as Sorkin made me this episode I can only survive by cutting off my emotional connection to this show. Which means I don't care a whit about what happens to these characters. They are not real people to me anymore. Therefore I treat his death with impunity. 

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And if I as a private citizen call someone a murdering rapist on the internet the burden of proof to sue me for slander or libel is insane. There were websites for years that outlined the crazy rapes and murders of Bill and Hillary Clinton.Sorkin conflates the media with the law on this issue but seems fine with showing The News reporting on other accused but not convicted criminals who aren't rapists. Hmmm, I wonder what the difference is.

 

I'm not an expert but I think the issue is a combination of the law and the type of show Don is producing. Take gossip magazines for instance, they range from the sensationalist not above making shit up and throwing it against the wall to see what sticks (sorry for metaphor) to more demure publications that work with publicists and generally take more steps to verify, as much as you can with celeb gossip. One is likely to have high libel insurance premiums as part of its business model, the other is likely to get baby/wedding photo scoops. It just depends on how you want to run your business, all within the confines of the law of course. The same law allows people to sue if you make shit up, the fact that you haven't been sued does not mean you aren't exposed to a libel suit.

 

Back to Don's show. We know the story has been Pruitt's pursuit of a different kind of ACN: more sensationalism, less fact checking/verification, younger demographic, resulting in the network moving from 4th to 3rd within fifty two days. Don and Mac have been resisting this change of strategy, so when Don is asked to do a Crossfire segment featuring a rape case showdown which would probably get good ratings and (depending on how the waivers are signed) more exposure to libels. But Don didn't want to produce this segment, even after being ordered to do so by two of his superiors. So how does he get out of this bind? He has to convince the girl to decline to appear on tv. And most of the points he makes are being debated here, including libel. I personally believe the libel issue would be taken care of if the boys in question waived their rights away, which is implied in this case. Mary, however, doesn't seem to have taken similar steps with her website, I doubt the boys named had signed waivers and if in future one of them was actually innocent, Mary website would have done harm and would be liable to be sued. 

 

The fact is some people are happy with playing with those odds; I am not, since the stigma of rape is so hard to wash off. Which is fine with me if a perpetrator is actually guilty. But what if he's not?

Edited by Boundary
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