Not unsafe enough

“This is not the sort of life Rebecca Grossman was supposed to be living. The 58-year-old former flight attendant turned socialite was meant to be spending her middle years enjoying the bounties of upper-class privilege [but instead] the  Hidden Hills socialite became a pariah after her speeding Mercedes struck and killed two school-aged kids.” And your objection would be?

According to the LA Magazine profile at the link, just that, in Grossman’s husband’s words, “she is in an emotional prison that she may never be able to get out of.”  As LGM says, the article reads like a cancel-culture — how can people turn their back on her just because she zigzagged eighty miles through a residential neighborhood street? Sure, she’s out on $2 million bail but life is so hard! It’s hard to imagine someone who’s black and poor in the same vote getting such a sympathetic portrait, even if they were stuck in jail because they couldn’t raise bail.

The resistance to punishing rich, prominent people runs deep. It’s equivalent to himpathy for male misogynists: men are more important than women so they get cut slack. The more important they are, the more slack: writer Heather MacDonald has argued Placido Domingo’s history of harassment doesn’t matter because he’s a great opera star — how can we derail his career because he felt up a few nonentities?

Or consider that New York Magazine profile from earlier this year: a popular, good-looking boy showed off naked photos of his girlfriend and his classmates stopped speaking to him (good for them!). The article takes a sympathetic view of the poor guy — just because he did something shitty to his girlfriend, he’s now an outcast, waaah! As LGM pointed out at the time, if teenage cancel culture is an issue, lots of teens get canceled for considerably less valid reasons; some kids spend their whole high school lives as outcasts. But nobody’s going to profile them — it’s the guys who are popular and goodlooking and cool enough to supposedly deserve being in the in-crowd whose cancellation raises eyebrows.

We’ve seen the same thing regarding the Trump administration. The Washington Post profiles Trump’s surgeon general who’s not having the usual smooth transition from White House position to lucrative private or academic gigs: “he would receive polite rejections from university officials who worried that someone who served in the administration of the former president would be badly received by their left-leaning student bodies. They felt it when corporations decided he was too tainted to employ.”

As Roy Edroso says, nobody’s entitled to a good-paying post-government position, and there’s no reason working for a corrupt, incompetent, fascist and parroting his talking points shouldn’t cost you: “Eichmann, Mengele – you know they’re bitching in hell that no one gave them this kind of treatment.”

Donald Trump once bragged that if he shot someone in public, he’d get away with it. I’m not sure he’s the only one. Rather than making “wickedness unsafe in any station” we’re making it perfectly safe, as long as the station can be described as white, male, and/or rich.

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