"'Rashomon' got a workout back when the Senate deliberated over the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas."
From an essay I published back in 2000 that raises some ideas I've been thinking about in connection with the accusations against Al Gore.
I was reading the transcript of the accuser's statement to the police and thinking about how you could film that story — exactly that — in 3 versions: 1. Gore as a violent, misogynistic monster, 2. Gore as an awkward man in search of love who has little sense of the furious thoughts in the massage therapist's mind, and 3. A complex story of 2 imperfect adults.
ADDED: In "Rashomon," the 4 versions of the story are built around a set of external facts: a dead Samurai whose sword and dagger are both missing. In my proposed 3-act play, what will remain the same is the set of outward facts in the accuser's transcript. Yes, in real life, the woman may be lying. I want to assume that every word she says was spoken was in fact spoken — release the second chakra, etc. — and every action she says took place — the hug, the chocolates, etc. — in fact took place. That is, I'll write a screenplay with all the internal dialogue and feelings stripped out. Then 2 highly skilled actors play the script 3 times, with the 3 directions stated above. I think it can be done, and I think it would be a fascinating study. What does that have to do with the real question of what Al Gore did? It would get us away from the woman's subjective experience and allow us to focus on Gore's culpability — his subjective experience. Of course, it's still possible that the woman is lying or has some of the facts wrong. I'm not trying to brush that aside. I only want to try to figure out whether, if what she said is true, Gore might not be as bad as he seems when you read the transcript that is, unedited, filled with internal dialogue and descriptions of her feelings.