Many liberals have given up on getting angry about the Wall Street Journal columns of troll virtuoso James Taranto, but he’s found a young, angry army of hate-readers in the feminist blogosphere whom he now provokes on a regular basis. A recent column thanking Princeton Mom Susan Patton for teaching women to take advantage of their “peak nubility” was memorable, but it was nothing compared to his more recent op-ed, slamming Congress’s efforts to reform the military’s dangerously dysfunctional system for prosecuting sexual assault. In it, Taranto accused Senator Claire McCaskill of declaring a “war on men”: “a political campaign against sexual assault in the military that shows signs of becoming an effort to criminalize male sexuality.” And that, you don’t get away with. McCaskill, a former courtroom prosecutor of sex crimes, takes to the Daily Beast today to explain calmly, and in the plainest language possible, that Taranto has no idea what he’s talking about.
McCaskill “had reservations about responding to the multiple columns … in which he makes a lengthy and spirited defense of a convicted sex offender,” but she chose to go in on Taranto’s re-litigation of a sexual assault case he did not see (in such a way that equates sexual assault with “hanky panky” and having a drink as “sexual recklessness”), she writes, because this stuff happens all the time.
“[The] sad fact is that Mr. Taranto’s disregard for the severity of sexual assault is not nearly as uncommon as it should be—in either civilian or military culture. That one of the most respected and widely read papers in the country saw fit to repeatedly offer Mr. Taranto such a large platform is a reminder of how important our efforts, and those of many of my colleagues, to tackle the prevalence of sexual assault in our military, have been—and of how far we still have to go.”
I don’t recommend following James Taranto, long-term, on Twitter, but today might be an entertaining day to drop by.