The Nation, which foamed at the mouth with righteous liberal outrage during the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman controversy of 2012-3, has declared Woody Allen guilty of sexual assault because he and his alleged victim fit the right profiles. The verdict was delivered by Jessica Valenti (who is also a NARAL board member, and evidently unmoved by the argument that late-term abortion is the worst form of child abuse.)
Valenti’s essay, which leads the Nation‘s e-mail offerings this week, is entitled, without irony, “Choosing Comfort Over Truth: What It Means to Defend Woody Allen.” It turns out that Valenti has a peculiar meaning of truth. She does not (and cannot) cite a single piece of factual evidence to confirm Dylan Farrow’s accusations against Allen. So instead, she reaches for what “we know”–“we,” in this case, being the ideological left.
“We know one in five girl children are sexually assaulted.” “We know that abusers are manipulative, often charismatic, and that they hide their crimes well. We know that they target women and children who society will be less likely to believe–low-income women, children of color, the disabled, women who can be discredited as ‘crazy.'” “We know–as Aaron Bady at The New Inquiry wrote–‘We are in the midst of an ongoing, quiet epidemic of sexual violence, now as always. We are not in the midst of an epidemic of false rape charges.'”
None of these things “we know” has any bearing on the actual question of whether Woody Allen assaulted a seven-year-old Dylan Farrow, though an investigation at the time found there was not enough evidence to prosecute him. Because of the Larger Truth about gender, race, class and so on, Woody Allen must be guilty.
There’s a word for what Valenti has done here: profiling. And another: prejudice.
And it’s a habit with Valenti, just as it is with much of the left, which has lately cast aside the old virtue of defending the individual rights of defendants in favor of weighing their relative positions in the socioeconomic hierarchy (or a caricature thereof) in order to determine their guilt. (Valenti has the nerve to call others “lazy” for insisting on the actual facts.) In Allen’s case, Valenti even admits another source of prejudice–proudly: she detests his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn.
I do not know whether Woody Allen assaulted Dylan Farrow. I do know that the journalist Farrow chose is a hypocrite on the subject of child sex trafficking. Not that it matters to Valenti–or to those who would rush into either side of this controversy, ready to convict (or acquit) on the basis of their own biases.