11/22/63 by Stephen King. Stephen King is legendary for horror, and I’ve never ventured in that vein. But he does write other genres, and this is one of those. This book is firmly thriller fiction, but it’s seeped in actual history, specifically concerning the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The main character has the opportunity to go back in time to prevent the assassination (assuming it would also avert many bad things that resulted from the assassination, such as the lengthy involvement with Vietnam). So in general, it explores the effect single events can have on the future. I can tell King writes horror, though, because there’s an overlying creepy foreboding throughout the book. It’s a really hefty book (849 pages), but it was so exciting and interesting that I finished it in only 10 days. All in all, I really liked it. But it’s got some PG-13 content along with a good chunk of harsh language. For that reason I probably won’t watch the new Hulu series of the same name. The violent and racy stuff you can self-filter as you read, but TV is different.
Buried Bodies by RadioLab. This episode brings up some ethics I’d already been thinking about lately. I won’t tell too much about the episode, but essentially it’s about the obligation defense lawyers have to their client, even if the client has done horrible things. Between the Brock Turner case and the honor code investigations (and penalties) of rape victims at BYU, I’ve thought a lot about the phenomenon of victim-blaming in our society. You get defense lawyers like Turner’s whose job is to point out all the things the victim did wrong, and yeah, it’s awful, but it’s also his job and ethical obligation to try everything possible to keep the defendant out of prison, guilty or no. But then society sees this function of the law and feels the need to be equally critical of victims, but with far less information and far more power to make a victim’s life miserable.
The most disturbing thing I’ve seen thus far is a response on Twitter concerning a BYU rape victim being required to write an essay detailing what she did wrong that caused her rape. That in itself is so disturbing to me–rape isn’t a horrible enough natural consequence of drinking, drugs, etc. so it was necessary to make her write an essay confessing that she was in the wrong?! That doesn’t even make sense! “Gee, that rape was bad, but writing an essay was even worse, so I changed my lifestyle!” But no, the worst part was a response by some guy who was doubtlessly a BYU alum. I don’t remember the exact wording, but it basically said, “She wouldn’t have been raped if she’d been following the honor code, so she deserves the consequences of her actions. She can’t just get away with this.” This is terrifying. Drugs and alcohol don’t rape people. People rape people. I’m not sure where we go as a society until we figure out that one person’s stupid choices can’t force another person to commit a felony.