Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Donald Trump, Sexual Predator

   Whelp, that about does it.
   Trump's been treated unfairly by the media quite a lot, and I think that goes for his recently-released comments as well. Personally, I've got no patience with that kind of talk. But to leap to the conclusion --on the basis of the tape alone--that he was a sexual predator was unwarranted. His comments were consistent with two very different interpretations: (a) I assault women, and, because I'm famous, they don't report me, and (b) I'm a star, so women are hot for me and consent when I am very sexually assertive toward them. I think (a) was the more natural interpretation of what he said...but you don't get to choose that one and act as if it's the only plausible interpretation--especially when the accusation is so serious--simply because you disagree with the guy's politics. Furthermore, the eager leap to (a) leaves out what is perhaps the most plausible explanation his utterances: (c) he was bullshitting. Sometimes women are star struck and very receptive to my advances becomes they let me do whatever I want!  Even if it was the relatively more innocuous (c), I'd have no interest in listening to such bullshit nor being around such a guy...and I certainly wouldn't want him to be President. But there's all the difference in the world between being a boor and being predator.
  But that stuff is becoming more academic by the hour. We now seem to have collateral information that indicates that Trump apparently does, as it turns out, sexually assault women. Now (a) becomes the more likely interpretation. Now we're entitled to see that as the most likely interpretation of what he said. 
   So that sonofabitch is now well and truly unqualified to be if he weren't already.
   Of course, given my current concerns, I do have some peripheral worries that the eager, feverish media stampede to the worst interpretation/explanation of Trump's words will further the cause of rape crisis feminism, and its maniacal obsession with hyperconsent--an obsession that's inconsistent with actual human sexuality in all it's crazy awesomeness. But I think those concerns really ought to take a back seat to the more important issues of (a) sexual assault and (b) not having a maniacal quasi-rapist for president. It sucks that we--and feminism in particular--can't be vehemently against rape and sexual assault without becoming unhinged and anti-sex--but, well, here we are. Different problem for a different day, though.
   On the very, very bright side, this is the de facto end of Trump's run at the White House. And not a moment too soon, as you'll probably agree.


Blogger The Mystic said...

I know you're rightfully cautious and skeptical about matters of accusations of sexual assault or misogyny, but I don't know how you think (b) is even plausible.

We're parsing casual conversation, so the specificity offered by formality isn't here, but he specified that he doesn't "even wait" and just grabs women and kisses them or fondles them, which they "let him" do because he's a "star."

I don't see how one can fail to interpret that as meaning that he doesn't wait for any indication of attraction or, dare I say it, consent, prior to his actions. He reinforces that interpretation by saying he needs a Tic Tac prior to exiting the bus in case he just starts kissing this woman he's never met before as she greets him.

It is clear that he meant exactly what he is being accused of having done by the two women you cite later on.

So, I understand the need for caution and stuff, but I don't think (b) is even a plausible interpretation here. The only defense is (c), but that's not much of a defense, since it'd make him someone who lies about carrying out his desire and penchant for sexual assault. It still leaves the desire intact.

I don't see any way out of this one. Do you still think (b) was a plausible interpretation of his words?

10:13 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

After I posted I started wondering about that again, and started to think that you might have to combine (b) and (c) to get a genuinely plausible alternative...which would be a cheat.

First, we *have* to ask: "What did the words mean if taken more-or-less literally."

So I think that combining (b) and (c) would be a cheat--for certain purposes, anyway, including a defense of my argument. I think that a combination of (b) and (c) is really the most plausible alternative to (a), and I DO believe that that combination is a legitimate alternative to (a)...but that's not a legitimate defense my post nor your objection to it.

So what about the really crucial part of what he said:

"I'm automatically attracted to beautiful women — I just start kissing them, it's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything."

Well, it seems uncontroversial to me that those words are *consistent* with (b)...but that's probably too weak a criterion...

Now I'm just confused.

2:22 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

Well, this is definitely the phrase over whose interpretation we disagree..

Saying that you just start kissing people without waiting for anything is not reducible to being "sexually assertive."

That's my contention. There's no rational way to interpret those words other than as meaning he initiates sexual interaction with women without waiting for any sign of consent or reciprocators interest. Being sexually assertive cannot entail kissing women immediately upon meeting them in decidedly non-sexual scenarios (such as exiting a bus) unless sexual assault is merely sexual assertiveness.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, as I said, I'm kind of inclined to think that the interpretation (b) requires a fair bit of (c), i.e. hyperbole / bullshitting to be in play.

I also regret making (a) and (b) propositions and (c) the description of an action. But I guess it's clear enough.

Anyway, the important point to me seems to be that his words are plausibly explained by something like: (b) is true + some bullshitting / hyperbole.

I would certainly think it was a lot more likely to think he meant something like that rather than straightforwardly meaning (a)...which is crazy.

But I may be confusing the likeliness of the interpretation up with the seriousness of the allegation. Obviously no one had sufficient evidence for claiming that Trump had confessed to sexual assault. His words were consistent with exaggerating a situation like (b), and and with pure, unadulterated, bullshitting. So we could not know, on the basis of Trump's words alone, that he had committed sexual assault. Yet the media et al. were acting as if we *did* know that.

However, his utterances together with the allegations we now have strikes me as extremely strong evidence that he's guilty. Taken as (a), he and his accusers about what he does.

8:56 PM  

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