Funny that I’d been talking about deeper subtexts and bullshit narratives earlier today, because I want to discuss a “moral” issue that’s been annoying me lately. “Moral” is in quotes because it has to be; I can’t figure out morality at all anymore. No really. Not just my morality, but anyone’s. (Everyone’s? Or is that too much?)
I’ve been thinking about morality in the context of the James O’Keefe morality pageant that’s been preoccupying the blogosphere lately in the wake of his recent arrest.
A “new Watergate“? Spare me.
Let me begin by saying that I have mixed feelings about the kid. I didn’t like the way some Catholic priest sting videos he did had apparently been hidden, and because his cohort in the ACORN sting has a father whose style turns me off, I was worried that he might be running some sort of radical social conservative agenda. And while my hat’s off to him for nailing the ACORN people, it just bugs me that no one cared about the organization’s genuine corruption until some kid came along and “exposed” child prostitution that wasn’t real.
But that’s me, OK? I have my weird standards and hangups like we all do. Even if O’Keefe happens to be running an agenda with which I disagree, is that any worse than if I were running an agenda with which he disagreed?
What’s going on right now is that this kid seems to be in real trouble for stuff that looks like a bullshit trespassing case.
So maybe he was planning to sting Landrieu or expose her staff’s inability to deal with messed-up phones or something. The way people on the left are freaking out, you’d think he’d been caught doing something actually evil, like drugging and raping a 13 year old. How many of the people who are piling on O’Keefe and want him to go to prison are also willing to pile on Polanski and want him to go to prison?
Geez, now I’m sounding like a moral relativist, as if there’s any comparison between raping little girls and trying to set up a corrupt politician. And don’t get me wrong. Moral judgments are inevitably affected by whether or not we like the person involved. People who like Chuck Berry forgive and excuse. People who like Polanski forgive and excuse. And people who like O’Keefe forgive and excuse. It’s human nature.
There’s a moral lesson in here somewhere despite my relativism.
Without getting into whose lives should be ruined for what, can we at least agree that messing with a senator’s phone is not as bad as drugging and raping a child?
Perhaps I shouldn’t have asked.
See what I mean?