December 3, 2017

Is that different from un-denial?

"Al Franken's Calculated Strategy of Non-Denial/This isn’t a he-said, she-said story. Two women are giving their stories, and the Minnesota Democrat is just emitting vapor," by Ramesh Ponnuru (at Bloomberg).

I'm noticing the "un-"/"non-" distinction this morning.

"Nondenial," like "nonapology," is clearly understood to be different from "undenial" (and "unapology"). "Undenial" would seem to be taking back a denial, and "unapology" would seem to be taking back an apology. A "nondenial" is something you say that seems to be in the place of a true denial, but that might work as a denial for people who don't look closely. It's denying without lying, when you really did do it. Similarly, a "nonapology" — such as "I'm sorry that anyone was offended" — is a way to apologize without providing what most of us think of as necessary elements to an apology, conceding that you did what other people are offended by and that you, like them, know it was wrong.

Ponnuru's point is:
If he admits it, especially in this moment of righteous anger against male sexual entitlement, pressure to resign will mount.... If he denies the accusations, on the other hand, he will be at least implicitly attacking his accusers....

Franken keeps responding by talking about feelings: his feelings, the women’s feelings, and his feelings about their feelings... Listen, without believing, or disbelieving. Without, that is, taking their claims seriously. It is a rhetorical strategy as clever as it is shameless. At the moment it appears to be working.
Is it working? We've taken to making fun of it here on Althouse. Why, just this morning, in the post about the aftermath of the Wisconsin/Ohio State football game, Meade said:
I just want to say I am going to take time to reflect on this, to educate myself daily, and to strive towards a more enlightened path. I want to ensure that all voices around me are heard, and that everyone is treated respectfully and empathetically. More than anything, I want to create an environment that is a better, safer and fairer place.
I had to Google to see which of the many nonapolgizers Meade had patterned that on, and I found out and said:
A man named Becky.
My link goes to a November 13th piece in Vanity Fair, "Louis C.K.’s Former Manager Dave Becky Apologizes for 'Perceived Cover-Up'/Becky issued a mea culpa for chastising the two female comedians who first came forward about Louis C.K.’s predatory behavior." From that article:
Becky, who dropped C.K. as a client shortly after the comedian confirmed the allegations, says that he initially thought Wolov and Goodman were spreading a rumor about the two of them having a consensual sexual encounter with C.K., who was then a married man.

“Albeit enormously embarrassing, in no way did I interpret the interaction as threatening or nonconsensual,” he wrote. “I misperceived the casual way the story was portrayed to me—instead I should have recognized that it must have been a mask for their unease and discomfort in the face of his detestable behavior.”
ADDED:  Becky takes the blame for what he portrays as the deceitfulness of the women. They wore "a mask" and seemed "casual," and he took their outward presentation to convey their inner feelings and concluded they'd had "a consensual sexual encounter with C.K." Now, Becky is saying he was wrong not to realize that women wear "a mask." He should have "recognized" the mask and seen through it to "their unease and discomfort in the face of his detestable behavior."

So was it even possible for anyone to consent to watching Louis C.K. masturbate? Was the behavior objectively detestable, and if a woman came forward to say, I thought it was hilarious and raw and that's what I love about Louis, and I was touched to be included in his intimate, revelatory moment, that woman would be wrong?

Or is it that the woman is never wrong, and the man is going to need ever more time to reflect on this and educate himself daily and ensure that the voices around him are heard. This hypothesized woman must be treated respectfully and empathetically. As you create an environment that is a better, safer and fairer place, you'd better be sure you don't assume she's wearing a mask for her unease and discomfort. You'd be descending into the sexist stereotype of women as full of guile and never telling a straight story.

And since we're talking about a "mask for their unease and discomfort," why don't I take you into the endless labyrinth of language and ask you whether it might perhaps be nonease and noncomfort, or at least unease and uncomfort... or is it disease and discomfort...? And before you answer, you'd better remember that I am a woman, and you'd better take time to reflect and educate yourself. Ask whether you are striving towards a more enlightened path... or I've got to say "striving" is too masculine and to treat me respectfully and empathetically, you need to meander and stop now and then to sniff the flowers as you traipse toward a more enlightened path. Be creative! Create an environment that is a better, safer and fairer place.

34 comments:

Bob Boyd said...

Was Franken sufficiently helpful to Hillary?
Did he say anything during the election she might not like?
That's the true test.

Hagar said...

Rope-a-dope.

tcrosse said...

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been 56 years since my last confession.

Carol said...

Time's Person of the Year should be Ronan Farrow. What a shitstorm HE started.

(Has someone said that already?)

Yancey Ward said...

Hagar nailed it- it is a rope-a-dope defense- wait them out, let the enemies exhaust themselves. In Franken's case, of course, it is likely to work since he is a Democrat I don't think there is any serious danger of him being forced out by his party- almost literally zero chance- even if someone accuses him of rape, he would be safe. The double standard is still applicable here- what is actually changing is that the Republicans, their voters at least, are not playing by the double standard any longer, but they don't get to police Democrats in either case.

William Chadwick said...

Franken's "defense" rests on feelings? Well, he's a "liberal," isn't he? What did you expect--logic?

Bob Boyd said...

Franken might skate. It's easy to convince people he's not toxically masculine.

Sebastian said...

"a rhetorical strategy as clever as it is shameless. At the moment it appears to be working." Progs don't do shame. They are always more interested in what "works." Except that now prog women are messing up the usual calculations.

When Hill apologizes for her bimbo vilification and sues for divorce, we'll know things have changed. Until then, progs will just figure out how clever they need to be to cleave to power. Prog casualties in the media-industrial complex, they can take--though the unintended consequences of the witch hunt are piling up.

Glen Filthie said...

Who cares? I am watching chitty liberal men hauled off to Pervert Island by chitty liberal women, and loving it! Back when they were young and beautiful they could act like whores and manipulate their men like the morons they are. Now that they are fat old cat ladies watching their men prey on gullible young hotties while they themselves are kicked to the curb like yesterday’s garbage, they’re melting down. How does traditional marriage and old school family values look to you now, you fat old feminists? And how about you young liberal skanks? All those male feminists you idolized are actually pervs and pedos!

When women ask ‘Where have all the good men gone?!?!’ ... well, their married to good conservative men like Yours Truly.

Sebastian said...

"Or is it that the woman is never wrong." Of course. Even when she changes her mind and regrets her consent. Even when she perpetrates a hoax and is still a "victim." Even when she claims full equality but enacts weak subordination.

"Create an environment that is a better, safer and fairer place." I already did, playing pick-up ball with my buddies.

Nice said...

How about this: "Although I have no recollection of any perceived cover-up, I'm sorry if anyone might have misinterpreted the false impressions that I never intended to put forth"

YoungHegelian said...

Post-Marxist Leftism holds that oppressed groups cannot do evil. They do what appears to the regnant white bourgeois discourse as evil because in opposing their oppression they threaten that regnant discourse.

The problem with this view is that it provides no positive moral content for inter- & intra- oppressed group relations. Thus, Post-Marxism's all-too-common intersectional tap dance of just who's the most oppressed so they know who to back in their various political squabbles.

The other problem is what is the moral agency of an oppressed person? It sure looks like the only thing an oppressed person can do is "fight the powers that be". But, to the rest of the world, that looks a lot like moral cowardice. Whatever may be said about all these newly revealed stories of sexual abuse, one thing they do not demonstrate is that there's a surfeit of morally strong, quick on their feet, & courageous women out there.

EDH said...

...if a woman came forward to say, I thought it was hilarious and raw and that's what I love about Louis, and I was touched to be included in his intimate, revelatory moment, that woman would be wrong?

Wouldn't that depend in large part on whether Louis CK used lubrication?

rhhardin said...

An apology doesn't compensate a wrong. It indicates having a now-correct attitude towards the rules involved.

If the rules aren't clear but only the power structures are to be adjusted to, the apology has to be rather vague.

Or you can tell them all to fuck off.

Owen said...

A good clue to mendacity is prolixity and, never mind total word count, word length. "What I did was wrong and I'm sorry" is 8 words and 9 syllables. Everything over that is increasingly suspect on an exponential curve.

And when we hear mention of "careful listening" and "fighting the NRA," we know the shark has been jumped.

Quaestor said...

You'd be descending into the sexist stereotype of women as full of guile and never telling a straight story.

Hardly sexist stereotyping. Those just a few of the symptoms of estrogen toxicity.

Quaestor said...

Was Franken sufficiently helpful to Hillary?

She lost what was rightfully hers by divine providence, therefore everything Franken said and wrote was hurtful.

Owen said...

To gild the lily a bit, negation is another clue. "It was not right" is harder to digest than "It was wrong." And "It was incorrect for me to have misunderstood the non-volitionality of this woman from whom I failed to withhold this non-clothed experience of a portion of anatomy that is non-recessive...". Well.

Humperdink said...

The use of verbal gymnastics by Franken are amusing and obviously would not work in the private sector. But congress is not the private sector, it's where icons are made.

I remain hopeful that Franken retains his senate position. He has been in public life so long, more allegations will surface as time goes on. It will hinder his path to icon status, but with a little boost from the MSM and Pelosi, he should achieve it.

Achilles said...

Franken keeps responding by talking about feelings: his feelings, the women’s feelings, and his feelings about their feelings... Listen, without believing, or disbelieving. Without, that is, taking their claims seriously.

This is the democrat/statist/socialist playbook. Say stuff that sounds good. Make people think you care. Then destroy the foundations of civil society, take other people's money, and imprison/kill dissenters.

It is a rhetorical strategy as clever as it is shameless.

Clever and cynical. It only works with idiots. Like democrat voters.

At the moment it appears to be working.

At the moment it looks like the political class is having a melt down. It looks like the sane democrat voters are peeling from the party and the nut balls are turning increasingly violent.

When voter fraud is curtailed to any extent the democrat party will become a weak regional party and most of the leaders will be in jail for corruption.

Achilles said...

You'd be descending into the sexist stereotype of women as full of guile and never telling a straight story.

Not all women are as stupid as the ones Democrats put on TV.

Ray said...

Celebrity Perv Apology Generator
https://apologygenerator.com/

In the spirit of the Thomas Friedman article generator:
http://thomasfriedmanopedgenerator.com/about.php

Crimso said...

Ur-Lord Al Franken, White Girl Groper and Undenier. And, IIRC, later on was added "Ill-ender" and "Prover of Life." A major element of the story was that Al had Chris Hansen's disease.

walter said...

I bet Al's having a lot of Stuart Smalley mirror moments lately.

MayBee said...

My biggest shock in all of this has been that some Democrats thought Frankennwould be a great presidential candidate 34472 Koch Dr

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

As soon as we decide that women are too dumb/fragile to mean what they say and say what they mean, this experiment in equality of the sexes is over.

jimbino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jimbino said...

I somebody hands you a leftover turkey carcass for making soup, you need to ensure that it be refrigerated; then later, before using it, you should ensure that it is refrigerated. There's a difference.

Likewise, Meade's statement "I want to ensure that all voices around me are heard, and that everyone is treated respectfully and empathetically" should read "I want to ensure that all voices around me be heard, and that everyone be treated respectfully and empathetically."

tcrosse said...

Meanwhile, in another part of the swamp, Ruben Kihuen (D-NV) refuses to resign in the face of allegations of sexual misconduct, and in spite of calls from Pelosi to do so.

Jupiter said...

"So was it even possible for anyone to consent to watching Louis C.K. masturbate?"

Actually, at least two women have said that he asked them and they did not demur. Like I keep saying, what women want is to have it both ways. I told him it was OK, but I have since decided it wasn't, so will a couple of you big, strong-yet-sensitive guys please string him up? Pretty-please?

Tommy Duncan said...

This is a non-apology:

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way

Bay Area Guy said...

Al Franken is a butt-grabbin' fool!

Char Char Binks said...

Men are not only responsible for what women tell them, but for what women don't tell them.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Original meaning of apo-logia = I have good reason for it iow defense not submission.