Jan. 4, 2018

“Sexual harassment or assault, by contrast [with the Communism scare in Hollywood], obviously warrants discipline at the very least and criminal prosecution wherever appropriate. But then and now, what’s lacking is any shared obligation to respect constitutional rights, ensure due process or maintain a sense of proportion…. And that’s the thing about moral panics: they may begin with a legitimate societal concern – drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, child abuse, human trafficking – but they can devolve into Prohibition, movie and broadcast censorship, banning comic books and rock ‘n’ roll, and general crusades against anything in popular culture challenging the official conformist line. And if you’re not careful, you’ll soon find yourself succumbing to irrational fears of ‘satanic ritual abuse,’ ‘backward masking’ in rock lyrics and secret pedophilia rings run out of suburban pizzerias….

“It’s not witches, but the witch-hunters, that we should really fear, for they lead us to abdicate our responsibilities to be fair, thoughtful, measured, and rational….”

– From “Season of the witch” by Joel Bellman at LA Observed (Dec. 10)