Each week, the Sunday Post highlights a few articles we enjoyed this week, good for consumption over a cup of coffee (or tea, if that's your pleasure). Settle in for a while; we saved you a seat. You can also look through the archives.
Sydney Brownstone reports on accusations of sexual misconduct against well-known Seattle figure Dave Meinert for incidents ranging over 15 years. This isn’t just a story about allegations of shitty, coercive behavior and worse; it’s also a well-crafted narrative about gaslighting and power — how Meinert’s public persona, progressive and vocal on women’s issues, may have protected him by increasing the inequity of credibility that already favors affluent, high-status men.
Here’s the thing: invading another person’s body has never been okay — as a society, we’ve never said that. What we’ve said (and still do) is that some people have less personhood than others, so invading their bodies is less bad. And if you chose to take advantage of that? Your mistake wasn’t failing to understand the harm you were doing. Your mistake was failing to treat another person like a person. Your mistake was failing to care.
The nuanced, careful reporting in this article is the best kind of counternarrative. Men like Meinert still may not care, but they can be held accountable. Kudos to Brownstone for helping us get there.
The woman decided to file a police report in part because of a Facebook post that Meinert had written on the #MeToo movement — the same post that rankled the business woman who accused him of rape.
Meinert’s post said he wanted his friends to know their sexual assault stories were being heard, and that he was “making a commitment to be more aware and never become complacent or apathetic to this issue.” The post was liked by nearly 200 people.
Meinert’s college friend was amazed by what she believed to be the post’s total lack of self-awareness. In that moment, she wondered if there were others like her.
Rachel Heng is in Seattle this week, touring for her debut novel, Suicide Club. Here’s some pre-reading for those who can attend, and a consolation prize for those who can’t: her essay about becoming other, as a girl growing into a woman, and as a transplant from Singapore to the United States, and the complexity of being seen through multiple lenses, including your own.
When I am called a person of color in America, what do people see? Do they see the invisible privilege of being foreign-born, of having come from a country that afforded me the upward mobility my life benefits from? Do they see that while the color of my skin today renders me a minority in America, I spent most of my early life an oblivious, privileged ethnic majority? Racial privilege in Singapore, like anywhere else, is complex and multi-faceted. The Chinese enjoy certain advantages for being the majority, but this can be further broken down into dialect group, fluency in English and class, with English-speaking Peranakans historically being at the top of the pecking order. While not raised within this specific sub-segment of privilege, through education, I now undoubtedly belong to it when I am in Singapore.
But I do not live in Singapore. I live in America, where on more than one occasion, I have been told to go home. Even as the familiar rage quickens my pulse and makes my hands turn cold, a part of me feels guilty. I think to myself: you, you with all your invisible privileges, who are you to be angry?
Lane Davis lived on Samish Island in his parents’ home, unemployed and by his own assessment without many prospects. But much of his life was lived online, “shit-talking on the internet,” researching, and writing for 4chan-ish sites like The Ralph Retort. Then his anger crossed the thin line between virtual and physical realities, and an altercation with his father ended in murder. A tragic story, reported by Joseph Bernstein, about how hard it is to tease apart the merely awful from the dangerously unstable in the perpetual adolescence of the internet’s alt-right communities.
Writing under the name “Seattle4Truth,” Lane was an indefatigable culture warrior and a wildly inventive conspiracist. He left a footprint online as wide and weird as his imprint on the physical world was small and sad: hundreds of YouTube videos, thousands of tweets, hundreds of blog posts, hundreds of Reddit comments, and most of all years of chats — Slack messages and Google Hangouts — with his fellow travelers.
But none of those people, the ones who called him Seattle, the ones who called him a friend, had met Lane in person. None of them knew, nor would most of them know for months, what he had done to his father. And none of them had any idea what this man they spent all day online with was capable of.