No Break for VA

Virginia can’t seem to catch a break. In a weird replay of the Kavanaugh debacle, Fairfax has been accused of sexual assault by a college professor. Now Democrats have to decide what’s worse, racism in 1984 or sexual assault in 2004.

15 thoughts on “No Break for VA”

  1. I assumed the following would be your position about Gov. Northam in Virginia: see linked article:

    But the impression I got from your first post about Northam is that you feel he should resign. Now Gov. Northam wasn’t a kid when the pictures appeared in the yearbook, so it’s more difficult to forgive him, but I continue to be worried–like you, I think–about people digging through the archives to see what dirt they can dig up about what someone did more than 30 years ago. This trend continues to really bother me, not because I have skeletons in my closet but because it seems unfair and even nasty at times. My opinion about Northam is that he should probably resign, especially given how he handled the whole issue when it became public, but I am troubled by it.


    1. Oh no, I said from the start that I don’t think he needs to resign. Democrats had an actual KKK guy in the Senate for years and everybody loved him because he repented, renounced his past, and truly changed, apparently.

      Northam did a really idiotic thing but it was a very long time ago. I don’t see the reason to assume he harbors racist ideas now.


      1. “did a really idiotic thing but it was a very long time ago”

        He did a really idiotic thing by 2019 standards 35 years ago…. but then 2019 standards are so incredibly stupid that Mary Poppins is now racist for flirting with ‘blackface’ (soot on her face from her friend the chimney sweep) apparently it’s not intentional parody.

        So… yeah the US is now an idiot’s garden with a bumper crop.


        1. Note that the article referenced in Cliff’s link was originally published in the “New York Times.” (No surprise there!)


          1. Americans are beyond weird about race. The drama around the miners and Mary Poppins is deeply ridiculous. It can’t make any sense to anybody else on the planet. Like that watermelon drink in the cafeteria. Especially in a country with a growing immigrant population, I’d stay away from taking this to these lengths.


        2. The only concern here that I can see that he’s a racist who will use his office to promote racist policies. This is a serious concern. If anybody knows anything that he’s doing right now that is racist, they should definitely speak up and he should be forced to resign. But if he isn’t pursuing any racist policies, then I don’t know what the concern is.


        3. Actually, blackface was already not OK 35 years ago and more. I remember the first time I saw someone do it, and they were also told to quit it. They didn’t mean anything by it, it was a Brazilian themed party and this white woman decided to go as a famous black character, truly not meaning offense — and I didn’t get the problem initially, because I knew the lack of ill intent, but then the problem was explained.


          1. “blackface was already not OK 35 years ago”

            ‘real’ blackface became not okay even longer ago than that and was phased out of US entertainment by the 1950s…

            Fun (or horrifying) fact, a popular variety show in England in the 1970s (!) was ‘the black and white minstrel show’ which was finally cancelled in 1978… and it still ran on stage for 10 more years…

            What’s weird now is the magic thinking attitude by which things like soot on miners’ faces or theatrical makeup for Othello or Aida aren’t distinguished from blackface minstrels*

            *actually the first minstrel shows were black performers for black audiences and they continued long after blackface minstrel shows ended


              1. I agree it was an offensive and idiotic thing to do to pose as or with somebody dressed as a klansman at any point in time. What I don’t see is a connection between this and him having to resign today. I watched a lot of coverage and didn’t see any suggestion that anybody believes he’s a racist today and will promote racist policies. Isn’t this the concern in such a situation? If not, then what is it?


              2. ” Your claim that this is a newfangled 2019 idea that should not be applied to 1984 is very weak.”

                My first specific claim would be that in the mid 1980s in any kind of student context Halloween costumes would often be semi (or completely) offensive and that reading any great meaning into them (beyond the normal student desire to provoke and offend their elders) is a dead end.

                My second specific claim would be that hardly anything he said or did in 1984 (short of misdemeanors and felonies) should be used to judge his performance in office over 30 years later.


              3. A friend of mine once dressed as Palestinian-Israeli conflict for Halloween. Another dressed up as a gangster. I once dressed up as a man while N was dressed as a woman (transphobic!). Should all three of us be excluded from public life and employment now? Where does this stop? It’s not a rhetorical question. Where is the limit? How far do we go to preserve our right to weaponize this sort of thing?


      2. Northam’s real problem (at least for me) is that he seems so mentally confused for somebody entrusted with running a state government.

        He’s a physician, yet his description of how doctors might deal with living post-late-abortion babies was about as ham-handed and ghastly as if he were writing a horror script, and he’s never seemed to understand that.

        Now he can’t quite decide whether that was or wasn’t him in the blackface photo, and he’s actually considering using facial-recognition AI sofware on a blurry, low-resolution 34-year-old image to prove it wasn’t??

        Why doesn’t he just get a DNA test like Elizabeth Warren?


  2. “A friend of mine once dressed as Palestinian-Israeli conflict for Halloween”

    Two sisters I knew once went as a nun-teacher (carrying a big ruler) and a very bruised catholic schoolgirl…

    A student newspaper I contributed to had a (serious) story on abortion access featuring a stylized border made up of clothes hangers…. (the faculty advisors shrugged their shoulders with ‘student humor….’).


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