Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Brock Turner's Gallantless Soap Opera
What a masculine name, right? Sounds like the lead male character on a soap opera. Or maybe the next big Olympic swimming champion. Seducer of women, player of their hearts. Instantly, it's easy to envision somebody tall, handsome, and compelling.
With dark hair, too - although this Brock Turner is blond.
This Brock Turner could have been the next big Olympic swimming champion. But now, Brock Turner can only hope for a job as shallowly respectable as a soap opera star.
He's been unanimously convicted of molesting a drunk woman at Stanford University. He's blamed the school's party culture for his actions. His father has publicly described his son's disregard for his victim as "twenty minutes of action." His grandparents have complained that Brock is the only person being held accountable for his actions.
Which... is what courts do, right? Hold people accountable for their actions?
Many of Brock's friends and family think the woman he molested should share part of the blame. But when two Swedish grad students saw something going on behind that dumpster, Brock made no display of mutual consent whatsoever. He tried to run away, and had to be held down until cops arrived.
Still, insist Brock's defenders, the fact that the woman admits to getting drunk, and not remembering anything about the attack, doesn't prove that she didn't give Brock her consent.
As if consent is all that's required for legal sex. In California, it's illegal to paw or probe somebody who can't grant or deny their consent.
Besides, even if a drunk woman gives her consent, should that be the green light randy men want it to be? Whatever happened to chivalry? Perhaps romance really is dead these days, since most young people seem to prefer hooking up - not even shacking up, which was the longer-term arrangement their parents' generation tried.
Then again, maybe we're simply hearing about these egregiously sordid cases more, now that social media gives us access to all sorts of explicit things that people used to either sweep under rugs, or shrug off as boys being boys.
It certainly didn't help Brock when his father's ludicrous whining hit the Twitter feeds, in which Dan Turner complains to the judge that his son is suffering emotionally and physically after being convicted of - aww shucks, you know (nudge, nudge, wink, wink), that hanky-panky stuff all young studs do when they're away from home for the first time, euphemistically-speaking...
From Dan Turner's letter, it's hard to tell who the victim was.
Then, what really kicked the case into high gear - for the rest of us who'd never heard of it before this week - was the male judge's sentence of six months.
What - too long? For those of us who weren't in the courtroom, it was almost like Judge Aaron Persky meekly shrugged his shoulders at the Turner family, practically apologizing for having to render a prison term of any length.
For his part, Dan asked his lawyer to tell the general public that he's embarrassed that his "twenty minutes of action" quote is being taken out of context.
But do you notice what's missing in all of this? An apology from Brock.
This is the closest he gets to an apology, in a letter to the court in which, like his dad, Brock whines about the situation into which he's placed himself: "It debilitates me to think that my actions have caused her emotional and physical stress that is completely unwarranted and unfair."
Wow, dude - way to 'fess up! Way to make amends. Way to man-up and take responsibility for your actions.
He tries again, further down in his letter to the court: "My poor decision making and excessive drinking hurt someone that night and I wish I could just take it all back."
Don't we all?
But then, just when the most softly-hearted soul might be willing to give Brock the benefit of the doubt, he doubles back and slams his victim: "I want no one, male or female, to have to experience the destructive consequences of making decisions while under the influence of alcohol."
Hey, mister judge dude, she was drunk too, so don't punish me too much, K?
Turns out, Brock Turner's sentencing was a soap opera after all, wasn't it? Only in this one, there is no gallant leading man.