Weekly Review — February 13, 2018, 5:32 pm

Weekly Review

Men of true integrity

Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary, was accused by his first wife of being “physically abusive” during their marriage and was accused by his second wife of pulling her out of a shower and calling her a “fucking bitch” on their honeymoon.[1] “A man of true integrity,” said the chief of staff, hours before a reporter published photos of Porter’s first wife with a black eye.[2][3][4]  US president Donald Trump, who once said it “doesn’t matter” what journalists write about him if he has a “piece of ass” that is “young,” blamed the press coverage of the abuse allegations on the White House communications director, whom Trump has reportedly called a “piece of tail” and asked to steam a pair of pants he was wearing.[5][6][7][8] Porter submitted his resignation, the press secretary said Porter was not “pressured” to resign, the chief of staff reportedly told White House employees that he fired Porter “forty minutes” after he learned of the allegations, and it was reported that the chief of staff was informed of the abuse by the FBI months earlier.[9][10][11] The press secretary said the White House didn’t act on the accusation because the FBI’s investigation into Porter was still “ongoing,” and the FBI director testified to Congress that the agency had submitted to the White House a “partial report” in March, a “completed background investigation” in July, and a “follow-up” in November.[12] The press secretary told reporters that “every day” the White House “can learn from the day before,” and a speechwriter for Trump resigned after he was accused of grabbing his wife by the hair, throwing her into a wall, putting a cigarette out on her hand, and driving a car over her foot.[13][14] “Is there no such thing any longer as due process?” tweeted Trump, whose former Kentucky campaign manager and Oklahoma campaign chair were each convicted of child sex trafficking, who was himself accused in a divorce filing of pulling his first wife’s hair out and raping her because he was upset about a painful scalp surgery performed to conceal his hair loss, and who has refused to apologize for calling for the execution of five black and Latino teenagers wrongly convicted of rape.[15][16][17][18][19][20]

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No one would talk to me for this piece. Or rather, more than twenty women talked to me, sometimes for hours at a time, but only after I promised to leave out their names, and give them what I began to call deep anonymity. This was strange, because what they were saying did not always seem that extreme. Yet here in my living room, at coffee shops, in my inbox and on my voicemail, were otherwise outspoken female novelists, editors, writers, real estate agents, professors, and journalists of various ages so afraid of appearing politically insensitive that they wouldn’t put their names to their thoughts, and I couldn’t blame them. 

Of course, the prepublication frenzy of Twitter fantasy and fury about this essay, which exploded in early January, is Exhibit A for why nobody wants to speak openly. Before the piece was even finished, let alone published, people were calling me “pro-rape,” “human scum,” a “harridan,” a “monster out of Stephen King’s ‘IT,’?” a “ghoul,” a “bitch,” and a “garbage person”—all because of a rumor that I was planning to name the creator of the so-called Shitty Media Men list. The Twitter feminist Jessica Valenti called this prospect “profoundly shitty” and “incredibly dangerous” without having read a single word of my piece. Other tweets were more direct: “man if katie roiphe actually publishes that article she can consider her career over.” “Katie Roiphe can suck my dick.” With this level of thought policing, who in their right mind would try to say anything even mildly provocative or original? 

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In the early Eighties, Andy King, the coach of the Seawolves, a swim club in Danville, California, instructed Debra Denithorne, aged twelve, to do doubles — to practice in the morning and the afternoon. King told Denithorne’s parents that he saw in her the potential to receive a college scholarship, and even to compete in the Olympics. Tall swimmers have an advantage in the water, and by the time Denithorne turned thirteen, she was five foot eight. She dropped soccer and a religious group to spend more time at the pool.

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Percentage of U.S. gun retailers who believe that “it is too easy for criminals to get guns in this country”:

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US president Donald Trump, who once said it “doesn’t matter” what journalists write about him if he has a “piece of ass” that is “young,” blamed the press coverage of the abuse allegations on the White House communications director, whom Trump has reportedly called a “piece of tail” and asked to steam a pair of pants he was wearing.

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"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

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