October 21, 2020

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: Jeffrey Toobin and Our Public-Hate Ritual.

Toobin is today’s hate object because he presented himself and because the manner in which he presented himself offers an even-greater-than-usual opportunity for ritualized humiliation. Too good to pass up. I have sometimes written that our public life is dominated by junior-high-cafeteria pecking-order rites, but, upon reconsideration, this is a disservice to the people with whom I went to junior high, who may have been 14 years old and callow but were in the main free from the pettiness and cruelty that characterize public life in 2020. (I had an unusual education, especially for public schools.) In the great junior-high cafeteria of the American public square, Toobin is, for the moment, Waldo. And no matter how miserable Waldo is, there will always be those whose greatest pleasure is making him more miserable still.

“Come hate with us!” comes the call. “He is the enemy! Don’t you want to hurt the enemy? Think of what they would do if it were you!” Hard pass. Toobin’s shenanigans were gross, but not as gross as our public-hate ritual. I’m not nearly as offended by clumsy pudwhackers as I am by people who savor the humiliation of others.

I don’t want to commune with them in hate, or in anything else — I’m embarrassed to be a member of the same species.

“I suspect Jeffrey Toobin will be just fine. He is ‘in the family,’” Williamson writes — and he’s likely right: Jeffrey Toobin will ‘probably’ return to CNN after masturbation scandal dies down, insiders say.

As Stephen Miller tweets, “It’s a wonder how guys like Lauer, Charlie Rose and Mark Halperin were able to get away with it for so long.”

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Toobin’s getting off a lot lighter than a Republican man in the same situation would. In fact, if a Republican man were involved, Williamson would probably be explaining how morally troubled the entire GOP is.

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