October 20, 2019

HEATHER MAC DONALD ON THE DEFENESTRATION OF PLACIDO DOMINGO:

The AP had spent two years trying to get sources to talk about Domingo; a feminist music critic had also been on the hunt but abandoned the project for lack of cooperating witnesses. After the AP’s persistence finally paid off, other outlets scrambled to catch up. NPR was particularly aggressive but the well of complainants with first-hand experience of Domingo’s womanizing had apparently run dry. Nevertheless, on Friday, September 20, NPR ran a story headlined “Met Opera Faces ‘One More Catastrophic Crisis’ As Employees Must Work With Domingo.” The piece was based on four anonymous sources at the Metropolitan Opera, where the Domingo-starring Macbeth was set to open in a few days.

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There are three possible justifications for Domingo’s scourging, each more unpersuasive than the last. The first is to punish his past behavior. But his alleged infractions occurred decades ago, making punishment too belated to be just or meaningful. None of his accusers brought their objections to anyone in authority. If they wanted to punish him, that would have been the time to do so. Now, the overwhelmingly anonymous nature of the accusations and the passage of time prevent Domingo from mounting a defense. Some of the alleged incidents were undoubtedly more ambiguous than the accusers are disclosing. But without a known accuser, Domingo cannot establish the facts of these incidents, even if he could remember what may have been a fleeting and misunderstood gesture.

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This idea that Domingo poses a current risk to females even in his immediate orbit is pure hysteria. Domingo is a near-octogenarian. The most recent allegations against him, even if they constituted an actual danger at the time, date from over 15 years ago. After those allegations belatedly surfaced, his every movement would have been under a microscope. Were Domingo still inclined at his age to make advances, it would have taken a suicidal recklessness to engage in any behavior that could be massaged into a harassment incident. But, for the sake of argument, let us assume that he let slip, even now, an appreciative glance or ambiguous compliment. Are we supposed to believe, in this era of “strong women,” that a female chorister is so vulnerable and weak that, faced with someone who is operating under a potential death sentence, she can’t simply rebuff an advance? Domingo’s 20 accusers somehow survived the trauma of being propositioned by one of the opera world’s most charismatic stars. Why would the trauma today be so much more lethal to require proleptically snuffing out a still fertile career?

Read the whole thing.

Now that AP has devoted its considerable resources to destroy a — checking notes — 78 year old opera legend, and CNN its own efforts to gin up a moral panic around a comic book movie, when does the left’s new Moral Majority come for what Matthew Walther, writing in The Week in the fall of 2017, the peak of the #MeToo movement, dubbed “The sexual predators everyone still worships:” the world of rock and rap music? As Kay Hymowitz wrote in the LA Times in the following year, “#MeToo feminists may not realize it, but their other target is sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.” Doesn’t AP now have to aim their guns there, to prove that they’re not simply shooting down the easy targets that are elderly men who would be nearing the ends of their careers anyway, even without a push from what Heather Mac Donald dubs “the brittle rigidity of contemporary feminism… Drunk on its own power, it is turning its massive armamentarium of narcissistic grievance on male success with an ever more neurotic standard of transgression?”

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