Pot Calls Kettle Pervert
New York City
JoAnn Wypijewski accurately portrays Christine Quinn as a tool for the real estate lobby and a shameless opportunist [“Carnal Knowledge,” Aug. 19/26], but to suggest that Anthony Weiner’s pathological behavior is akin to a sexual preference that will one day be tolerated is ludicrous. It is OK for a woman to prefer to have sex with another woman, so long as she does not post her genitalia on Twitter for women half her age while in a committed relationship, then lie about it for a week, do it again right before deciding to run for mayor and finally compare herself to Nelson Mandela, as Weiner did. A candidate being criticized for untrustworthy behavior by a rival who happens to be a lesbian is not the pot calling the kettle black. Weiner deserves condemnation.
New York City
Willy-nilly, Jonathan Beatrice and other readers whose knees snapped in synchronous reflex illustrate my point, which is that a sex scandal says more about the social order than about the wretched sod making headlines. A person may be stupid or reckless or simply following a call of nature which that social order has deemed twisted (as in the case of homosexuals when Quinn was born, though not as much today), but the particular act is less interesting than the web of rules, assumptions, official lies and mores that declare some acts disgusting and others wholesome. We are all caught in that web—Weiner, Quinn, Beatrice, me—simply by existing here, today. We can reinforce it, conform to it, work to dismantle it, but as thinking people rather than mankurts we have to recognize it and our own relation to its power. Beatrice et al. have no time for thought; every question is reduced to opinion: for or against. So it is OK for women to have sex together (what a relief!), though with provisos. Why OK or not OK? Why the provisos? Why must Huma Abedin be a martyr, and the women in receipt of Weiner’s silly tweets victims? There is nothing intrinsically good or right about a culture’s web of assumptions. Questioning it is a starting point for ethics and politics. Everything else is a cut-price TMZ.
Bradley/Chelsea Manning’s Trials
After seeing Chase Madar’s “The Trials of Bradley Manning” [Aug. 19/26], I can only second the question by letter writer Jerry Mobley in the same issue: “Are all the adults [at The Nation] on vacation?”
DONALD J. DUPIER
Chase Madar’s analysis of the Bradley Manning prosecution is a compelling and persuasive defense not only of Manning but of the terrifying growth of suppression of free speech and information in America. Madar’s article was brilliant, worthy of Manning’s act of patriotism.
Chase Madar wrote a great article on Chelsea Manning. Madar may have a point about how the human rights community did not do enough to support Manning, but we find the sweeping generalization quite surprising, given that from the beginning, the Center for Constitutional Rights has worked extensively on TV, radio and print to shed light on the importance of Manning’s actions and her outrageous fate, while the people responsible for the war crimes she exposed go free. Moreover, the CCR represented Glenn Greenwald, Amy Goodman, The Nation and Jeremy Scahill, Julian Assange, Kevin Gosztola and Madar himself in a lawsuit challenging government secrecy about the trial. In the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and then in federal district court, we fought tooth and nail until the government agreed to provide ongoing press access to documents in the court-martial. The Manning case is a defining issue of our time. We admire Manning’s courage and will continue working to honor her patriotism and achieve her freedom.