Yes, Clemons’ deceits and trespasses are worse than anyone expected–we don’t needn’t run through the entire litany of his chest-thumping professions of innocence and marital infidelities–but putting him behind bars, what good will that do? Apart from giving journalists malicious delight and talk-radio sports jocks another opportunity to roll out their prison-rape jokes, the inevitable references to the hulking cellmate who’s usually given a black name, har har. Whatever the outcome of his trial, Clemons is hardly some menace to society, and I hate the punitive zeal that animates so much of the media and the online inferno, that girds so much of American society. We lock up too many people as it is, our incarceration rate a national shame and a global disgrace.
I don’t have anything important to add. It’s just always good to see someone else disgusted by the carnival-like atmosphere that pervades the spectacle of a celebrity arrest/trial/jail sentence. Frankly, I’m much less concerned about the comeuppance due to Martha Stewart, Lindsay Lohan, Roger Clemons, or even O.J. Simpson than I am about the ease with which ordinary people turn into such bloodthirsty voyeurs, as if they haven’t been able to sleep for ages, knowing these villains are out there roaming free.
And yes, it certainly is an interesting window into the American psyche, this gleeful obsession with criminals being victimized by big, black rapists. Perhaps some historians and psychologists could examine that perennial theme in more depth.