Could Be Me

Last year, conservative wives looked at the furious attack on Kavanaugh and thought, “That could be my husband.” Now conservative moms look at the wild attempt to destroy the Covington kids and think, “That could be my son.”

— David French (@DavidAFrench) January 22, 2019

I’m a feminist, so I looked at both and said, that could be me. Or will be me. Self-righteous mobbing doesn’t recognize gender.

36 thoughts on “Could Be Me”

  1. And unlike those two, most of us won’t have oodles of money or a sympathetic right wing media machine that has our backs. Or in the case of the Covington kids, sympathy from more mainstream media sources (this is the first time I’ve seen a huge national reckoning with the idea that maybe social media lynch mobs are a bad idea; I’ll leave it to others to ponder why they’re getting sympathy and attention that previous victims didn’t.) If we’re lucky, we’ll be fired quietly and forgotten. If we’re unlucky, we’ll get smeared by the media and nobody will leap to defend us. If something like this happens to me, right wing media will probably run headlines like “SJW gets taste of his own medicine!” They’ll share something dumb I said on facebook when I was 18 as proof of my SJWism, and they’ll include a picture of me wearing a Hillary shirt or me at a pride parade or something like that.

    I honestly assume something I said on facebook will bite me in the ass one day. I should probably just delete all my current social media and start anew with a facebook account where I don’t talk about politics. But I can’t keep my mouth shut so there’s probably no point.


    1. This right wing media machine is tiny and insignificant compared to the left wing media machine. And it doesn’t control any lucrative employment. I’m more liberal than most and I live in the Bible belt, yet my fear of right wingers is lower than zero. I’m terrified of my fellow liberals. And it saddens me profoundly. I wouldn’t mind being challenged or attacked by opponents. It’s having to fear people on your own side that stinks. But unfortunately that’s how it is.


      1. I don’t fear the right wing media machine, but it adds insult to injury if you can’t even get right wing support. The right wing media machine is smaller, but something is better than nothing. Nick Sandmann might be able to become a Fox News host or something, while I would be spurned by both sides in this hypothetical situation. I don’t even need lucrative employment, just employment.

        In reality I don’t think it’s likely I’d attract significant media attention, so it’s all a moot point.


  2. Last night on his MSNBC television show, Chris Hayes quoted the exact words that you highlight, and lamented about how white wives and mothers are actually more concerned about their own families than they are about other women’s families.


      1. Hayes’ point was the white women should look at Kavanaugh and the Covington kids, and immediately think about how so many black men and boys are falsely accused and mistreated. That’s not human nature works!


        1. One particularly dumb argument I see is “Black kids don’t get this kind of sympathy! Black teens gets thrown in jail and killed by police!” Yes, and I think it’s WRONG that black kids don’t get that kind of sympathy. You can’t argue that black kids deserve a chance to be kids, then turn around and say it’s wrong to treat white kids that way. If it’s fine to treat white kids like they’re adults, then your argument against treating black kids like they’re adults falls apart.


          1. Another dumb argument is that, “This kid suffered no damage. Just the opposite: he’s being interviewed by Guthrie!” Maybe being interviewed by this lady is something many people dream about, I don’t know, but I fail to see it as that great of a reward.


  3. More local perspective on Cov Cath: This is the one tweet that’s aged fairly well:

    This is a local politician who’s familiar with Cincinnati area schools, and he is completely right about the leadership at Covington Catholic. I don’t say this based on smirkgate, it’s been a clear problem for quite a while. One of the main reasons I’m sad everyone is focused on how evil the kids are is that this more important issue is ignored. There’s no opportunity for real change if everyone’s focused on the sins of teenagers.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Covington Archdiocese paid a $120 million settlement, but I assume every Catholic institution has some involvement in the molestation scandals. No one from outside the area could know about Covington Catholic’s other issues, it’s not the kind of stuff that makes the news, and it’s really not of importance to people who don’t live here. I don’t think it’s a uniquely terrible place, I’m sure there’s lots of private schools like it across America.

        The one thing you can kinda find news about is the time they let a known rapist walk at graduation. Most articles are about how he was arrested for rape after he graduated (which is terrible but not relevant here), but he was also a juvenile sex offender, and that happened before graduation.

        Most things don’t make the news though (and imo, shouldn’t.) My friend who lives in northern Kentucky remembers students lynching Obama in effigy. Plenty of other people have had bad experiences with Covington Catholic students, parents, and faculty.

        And this is a very expensive private school, so the children are coddled and enabled and none of them ever get in major trouble. Nobody from here is surprised that the chaperones didn’t do anything. They even encouraged the behavior; they gave the boys permission to chant at the Black Israelites and they admit to this. They claim they couldn’t have done anything differently and that the boys were well behaved, even though it got to the point where a boy stripped down to his underwear and danced around on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. That’s normal teenage behavior, but allowing that on a field trip is not normal behavior from a chaperone.

        Covington Catholic is the scapegoat, but they’re not unique; people have these issues to some degree with most of our local ritzier Catholic schools. Occasionally something egregious enough will happen to make the local news (e.g. Elder students yelling racial slurs at the opposing team during a basketball game to the point where they stopped the game partway through), but usually not.

        None of this long history of corruption in the church, rich parents swooping in to protect their children from the consequences of their own actions, pervasive racism, etc. is the fault of the Cov Cath boys who are getting all the heat, of course.


      2. Another important detail for understanding local response: Cincinnati is parochial, and people here care way more about what’s happening at local high schools than is normal or healthy. People also care what high school you went to; I didn’t realize it wasn’t typical for adults to ask each other what high school they went to until fairly recently. During the last local election, our local paper even had a list of where every city council candidate went to high school.


        1. I do have a feeling that when people say “Catholic school” it means something to them beyond what words should indicate.

          People seem to suggest that these are rich kids. But how rich can they be if they wear MAGA hats? The rich are all into Beto and AOC.


          1. Rich people here are usually Republicans; the wealthy Cincinnati suburbs are strongly Republican. Catholic schools aren’t always full of rich people, but this one is, tuition is $8,000 a year. Nick Sandmann’s mother is a high ranking executive at Fidelity (VP of something or other.) The father of the rapist who walked at graduation is a former Bengals player.

            The media portrays all Trump supporters as dirt poor people living in trailer parks. But in reality, most of his supporters were middle to upper class. Wealthier people were more likely to vote for Trump, and poorer people were more likely to vote for Clinton. It’s a myth that rich people are all Democrats.

            There’s a few reasons the poorer Trump supporters got all the attention. First of all, Trump got more WWC white voters than Republicans had previously, so it was noteworthy; Republicans like the ones in the Cincinnati suburbs voted for Romney and McCain as well. Another reason is that journalists love to do poverty porn stories where they go out to the sticks and talk to “the poors” about politics. The third reason is that well off progressives (including journalists) want an excuse to hate on “white trash,” but want to ignore well off Trump supporters who remind them of themselves.

            Right now we have mainstream media questioning if witch hunts are wise, correcting mistakes they made, and inviting the kids on TV. If these were poor students from rural West Virginia, I don’t think they’d be getting the level of media sympathy that these kids are getting. With the Cov Cath boys, they think, “he’s like my son” or “he could be my son.” The person who wrote The Atlantic article about how she regrets rushing to judgement has a son going to a private Catholic school in our area. I’m sure plenty of other media people also feel some personal connection.


            1. This is very interesting.

              $8,000 a year is less than the cheapest daycare in my area, so it didn’t sound like much. This is why local perspective is important.

              As for media sympathy for the kids, we probably have different sources because what I’m seeing are stubborn attempts to justify the initial hatred. The famous Guthrie interview is all about her trying to get the kid to say he was at fault.


              1. As I said in another comment below, I’ve also heard $14,000 a year; it’s impossible to check the Cov Cath website because they took it down. Both of those pricetags sound huge to me and are beyond what the average Cincinnatian can afford, keeping in mind these kids go to private schools for all 12-13 years of their primary and secondary education. The median household income in Cincinnati is 34k a year; in my neighborhood it’s much less. Most of us have limited sympathy for people making 6 figures who can afford to hire a PR firm for their son.

                I’ve definitely seen attempts to justify the initial hatred, but I’ve also see mea culpas about how we all went too hard after those kids and corrections of mistakes. It’s far from perfect, but even these crumbs are more than I’d expect for the average victim of shaming.


              2. $14,000 is the price of a good daycare. I measure everything in terms of daycare prices these days. Maybe I can put Klara in Catholic school.

                As for these particular people, if the mom is very successful and makes a ton of money, then she’s a feminist success story. Why are we against that?


              3. I got more reliable information on Cov Cath prices, and boy were my initial figures off. 8k was what I saw by searching “Covington Catholic tuition.” I could see in the google preview that the Covington Catholic site listed this as their tuition cost, but I couldn’t click to see detail additional fees. 14k was just something I heard from an unreliable source that was completely off; I just thought 8k sounded a little too cheap so I thought there must be additional fees or something that I couldn’t see.

                I simply could not imagine a school that costs that much per month. But yeah, apparently that’s the monthly cost. My friend who’s more familiar with the school told me it costs 10k a month; either he’s off by a couple thousand or there’s additional fees I’m missing out on.

                You could still afford to send Klara to Catholic school, just not a Catholic school like this.


              4. To me $8,000 sounds expensive, but not “school where professional athletes send their kids” expensive, so it seemed off.


              5. I wish I could give you more accurate information. I will when I can, if we even care about this school by then.


          2. I have heard someone else saying this school is $14,000 a year. I don’t know which of the two figures is accurate, and the school’s website is down for obvious reasons so I can’t check.


          3. “The rich are all into Beto and AOC.” That’s silly. Some upper middle class in liberal states and some truly genteel old money, and even some captains of some industries that T’s policies do not favor, but average income of T voter is $71K and the rich generally, in almost all of the country, are Republican. Also, many of those who send kids to private schools are doing it precisely so they can attend all-white schools, have both history and science curricula slanted right, etc., and in the case of all-boys’ schools, maintain some “traditions” about which others would say ahem. … One of the biggest media distortions, I find, is the idea that it’s the poor and the semi-literate who are the Trumpians. Yes, I know whole counties of such voted for T but so did whole rich counties.


            1. Is the Silicon valley pro-Trump? Jeff Bezos? The media owners? The people who export their businesses to avoid paying labor? Which lucrative industry is eager to employ people in MAGA hats?

              I absolutely insist that the spoiled rich brat Beto and the Kardashian wannabe AOC appeal to the very privileged.

              As for the private schools, my ultra-super-duper-progressive friend is taking her kid out of the local public school and placing her in the private Catholic school even though nobody in the family has met a Catholic in decades, let alone practiced. She’s doing it because the state school has no recess, ton of ridiculous homework, and an obsession with sticking kids in front of screens. I’m now considering the same move for my kid. I don’t see why I should suspect other parents in these schools of evil motives and not assume they are motivated by the same reasons we are.


  4. Local media can offer better analysis than national media. Next time a big story breaks, maybe I’ll read local news from the location where the event happened.

    Cincinnati Enquirer asks where the hell the chaperones were:

    Sometimes I hate Jason Williams, but I’m loyal to his column anyway. His take on Covington Catholic:

    I don’t agree with everything here, but he’s right when he says “It’s part of the regional culture to worship the students and alums of our powerhouse all-boys Catholic schools. Those St. Xavier and Moeller and CovCath boys can do no wrong, in some people’s eyes.” This is why many locals are glad to see the kids suffer, and even more sympathetic locals are glad to see Cov Cath taken down a notch. I question whether he’s right when he says, “Most of us out here in the real world don’t care what High School is stitched on your musty old letterman jacket.” That’s true most places, but not Cincinnati!


    1. “Next time a big story breaks”

      The issue is that there no way in a sane society that this could be “a big story” the fact that this became “a big story” is a sign of a society in serious trouble (again, collective nervous breakdown). No mentally healthy person could have had any kind of emotional reaction to the original story beyond… huh?


      1. Absolutely. I will never hear the word “smirk” without cringing again. As Tucker said yesterday, Orwell’s comments on facecrime have never been more true than now.

        The kids actually demonstrated amazing restraint for their age. When I was their age, in this situation, I would have been really nasty. Loud, angry, maybe violent. Because I was a teenager. I keep wondering what all these holier-than-thou folks were like in their teenage years. I was angry at that age. I got into fights, I used foul language, I was very disrespectful with adults. A smirk was my perpetual state for years. So what? I grew up to be a model citizen, law abiding, polite, quiet, and productive.

        People should stop being so judgmental about adolescents.


        1. There’s an old saying in England and America too that “children should be seen and not heard.” People don’t believe that now like they did back then, but that’s the kind of tradition we’re coming from. There’s definitely some expectation that kids and teens should be polite and respect their elders. Most people expect that teens will push back against their parents and teachers to some degree, but I think most Americans consider being rude to a much older stranger to be shameful behavior. This video wouldn’t have attracted as much attention if the Native American man was in his 30s or 40s, but people get angry when they see younger people being rude to an old man. If the kids had cursed and yelled, not even conservatives would be coming to their defense. And I don’t think most teenagers here would curse and yell in that kind of situation.

          This is a more modern development, but I was also taught at a young age that we should respect American Indian traditions and culture, and so are most people. At a very young age people might mockingly imitate Indian chants or do tomahawk chops like the kids in the video because they don’t know better, but most people would not do this by the time they’re in high school. I knew better by the time I was 10 years old. The boys’ behavior seemed childish and racist to me and I think that’s how most people feel, even if they don’t find it newsworthy. I can honestly say I wouldn’t have acted like that when I was their age (smirking, on the other hand…)

          In recent times, there’s also pressure to tighten control over adolescent boys; you can see this in the backlash to the saying “boys will be boys.” In cases where people use that kind of thinking to excuse sexual harassment and assault, the backlash makes sense. However, nowadays many people want to clamp down on any teen boy rambunctiousness, saying it’s sexist that boys should be able to get away with stuff that girls can’t. In my opinion, the solution is to relax your expectations for girls’ behavior. I remember high school, teen girls were obnoxious too. There was a video that was supposed to be of a Covington Catholic student (ended up being from a different school) who yelled “it’s not rape if you like it” when hanging out his friends, and people were angry over that, and I thought it was ridiculous. I know I made tasteless, vulgar jokes like that as a teenager, and so did a lot of people who ended up fine.


      2. Also, I’ve taught kids in this age group. And not the upper-middle-class, private school, happy intact family kids. I taught kids with severe behavioral and academic issues. I would have gotten nowhere with them if I got in their faces and banged my drum at them, literally or metaphorically. An adult should know this and be smarter about it. Not everybody has a training in pedagogy but everybody has memories of their own teenage years. And if you look at your teenage years and don’t say, gosh, I was such an asshole, then you weren’t doing it right.


      3. There’s evidence that the story was signal boosted by a professional troll.

        From the linked story:

        “Twitter suspended an account on Monday afternoon that helped spread a controversial encounter between a Native American elder and a group of high school students wearing Make America Great Again hats.
        The account claimed to belong to a California schoolteacher. Its profile photo was not of a schoolteacher, but of a blogger based in Brazil, CNN Business found. Twitter suspended the account soon after CNN Business asked about it.”

        “The account, with the username @2020fight, was set up in December 2016 and appeared to be the tweets of a woman named Talia living in California. “Teacher & Advocate. Fighting for 2020,” its Twitter bio read. Since the beginning of this year, the account had tweeted on average 130 times a day and had more than 40,000 followers.”

        “Rob McDonagh, an assistant editor at Storyful, a service that vets content online, was monitoring Twitter activity on Saturday morning and said the @2020fight video was the main version of the incident being shared on social media.

        McDonagh said he found the account suspicious due to its “high follower count, highly polarized and yet inconsistent political messaging, the unusually high rate of tweets, and the use of someone else’s image in the profile photo.””

        Not that any of that excuses people for being so eager to get hysterical at the slightest provocation.


      4. By big story, I mean actual big story. Like what happened in Flint or something like that. I don’t plan on researching the next social media controversy in that kind of depth. I’m only interested in this one because it’s locals.


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