Many of us feel for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Assailed on all sides by screeching feminists of the #MeToo movement, opportunistic Democrats and the Republican Party’s conservative impersonators, he didn’t really need the backdrop of Bill Cosby’s incarceration to ‘confirm’ for all ‘right minded’ activists that the burden of proof when confronted with accusations of sexual predation does not apply. Several decades back, when hysterical allegations of ritual abuse involving satanic adults and kindergarten kiddies were putting innocent people behind bars, the so-called experts were lecturing about ‘repressed memories’ and how we must always ‘believe the children.’ Now, once again, the rules of evidence have been discarded when a woman claims sexual assault years after the event.
Miranda Devine, in a perceptive article in the Sunday Telegraph, notes the ‘baby voice’ in which Christine Blasey Ford delivered her curious and often contradictory testimony, the columnist concluding that she was quite deliberately ‘playing a role’ that ‘rendered the Republican senators powerless to challenge her’ despite there being so much to question. The article came with a photograph of a smiling Ms Ford delivering a triumphant ‘high five’ at the conclusion of her testimony. That contradiction in images– the adult waif on one hand, the committee-conquering gender hero on the other — is a very jarring note indeed.
I doubt very many men bought Ms Ford’s turn at the witness table, but these days credibility, or the lack of it, elicits a safe, stock response, at least in public. The approved tactic is not to express outright disbelief but to state, rather patronisingly, that ‘I accept she sincerely believes what she is saying’. It would never do to suggest Ms Ford is a flat-out fabulist. Your standard-issue politician already has much on his or her mind. The howling of harpies at the electoral office door, with sympathetic media and cameras inevitably in tow, is reckoned a good thing to be avoided. The task of noting that Ms Ford is less than credible fell by default to President Donald Trump, who has nothing to lose. His White House is already under daily siege by knots and clots of Pennsylvania Avenue shriekers.
Trump was “mocking and bullying” Ms Ford, all the leftoid mouthpieces immediately and predictably hollered. That’s when, as usual, the ‘expert’ opinion wielders put their hands up. In the Weekend Australian, for example, Malcolm Ritter grasped the nettle and sought to explain away her inability to resolve the questions that trouble Trump and many others:
Experts in memory and the brain said Ford’s quick tour of memory machinery was generally correct. Levels of the brain substances she cited go up when a person is alarmed, and they help memories become laid down more strongly in the hippocampus, said Elizabeth Phelps, a Harvard University psychologist. That helps people vividly recall central parts of an emotional experience, while details are typically lost, said Lila Davachi of Columbia University.
A bit like climate change, it seems: contradictory evidence can always be twisted by advocates and true believers to present black as white.
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