I hope the girls whose boyfriends died to save them were worthy of the sacrifice.
— James Taranto (@jamestaranto) July 25, 2012
Taranto is a writer and editor at the Wall Street Journal.
UPDATE — Wonkette snarks:
The fact that Taranto devotes about 40 acres of WSJ column space per year to the perils of feminism and sexual harrassment law, (and like the greatest minds of the 1950s even has a hard-on for The Pill, as if he’s never even heard Loretta Lynn explaining it) makes his tweet more, er, problematic. (WHAT WE ARE SAYING IS THAT JAMES TARANTO DOES NOT LIKE WOMEN.)
A follow-up tweet, mid-shitstorm, tried to plead that he says the same thing every Memorial Day about the nation and its troops — as if calling on a nation to be worthy is the same as calling out three specific women whose boyfriends were quite recently, oh, murdered on top of them.
Well we say, “good on you, James Taranto!” A pre-shaming is probably just what those women needed, before we commit them immediately for like a month of intensive meds and therapy to help work through the feelings of inadequacy and the guilt they would be feeling even without the mitzvah that is James Taranto reminding them! Maybe now they will be able to properly consecrate themselves to their boyfriends’ memory, Miss Havisham style, and, as is only right and proper, never feel joy or comfort again.
UPDATE #2 – Taranto issues a weak "mea culpa", which I will reprint here in its entirety:
HEROES OF AURORA
A mea culpa for an errant tweet
Among the most evocative stories to come out of last week's horror in Aurora, Colo., are those of the three men who died saving the lives of their girlfriends. The New York Post recounted them on Saturday:
Jonathan Blunk, 26, "threw his date, Jansen Young, 21, to the floor, pushing her under the seat. 'Stay down!' he told her, moments before he was shot to death." Blunk "drew on his military experience. 'He knew, and threw me on the ground and was like, "We have to get down and stay down," ' [Young] told the 'Today' show." She added: "He took a bullet for me."
Matt McQuinn, 27, was at the movie with girlfriend Samantha Yowler, also 27, and her brother, Nick. "When [the gunman] started firing into the audience, Matt and Nick, sitting with Samantha between them, 'both jumped sideways in front of her,' family lawyer Ron Scott told The Post. 'Matt took three hits, one in the chest, one in the back, and one in the leg,' he said." Samantha was wounded but survived. So did Nick.
Alex Teves, 24, "used his body to cover girlfriend Amanda Lindgren, Teves' grandmother Rae Iacovelli told The Post. 'He shielded her. He got down on the floor and covered her up,' said Iacovelli, . . . 'She was pulled out from under him. I don't know who pulled her out.' "
These acts of heroism have been met with celebration and wonderment. Hanna Rosin of Slate:
Papers have described what happened in the theater as "chivalry." But it's not really that. Chivalry is a code of conduct connected to social propriety. Throwing your body in front of your girlfriend when people all around you are getting shot is an instinct that's basic, and deeper. It's the same reason these Batman and Spider-Man franchises endure: Because whatever else is fading away, women still seem to want their superhero, and men still seem to want to be him.
We got to thinking about these stories last night, and our musings led to an ill-considered tweet: "I hope the girls whose boyfriends died to save them were worthy of the sacrifice."
We intended this to be thought-provoking, but to judge by the response, very few people received it that way. The vast majority found it offensive and insulting. This column has often argued that a failure of public communication is the fault of the public communicator, and that's certainly true in this case. What follows is an attempt to answer for this failure with a circumspect accounting of our thoughts.
What makes the stories of Jansen Young, Samantha Yowler and Amanda Lindgren especially poignant is that their boyfriends' dying acts simultaneously dealt them an unfathomable loss and gave them an invaluable gift–a gift of life. Their loss is all the more profound because the gift was one of love as well. In instinctively making the ultimate sacrifice, each of these men proved the depth of his devotion. They passed a test to which most men, thankfully, are never put–and then they were gone.
These three women owe their lives to their men. That debt can never be repaid in kind, because life is for the living and cannot be returned to the dead. The closest they can come to redeeming it is to use the gift of their survival well–to live good, full, happy lives.
People live on after death in the memories of those who loved them. Sometimes when this columnist does something we consider worthwhile, our thoughts turn to our father, who died four years ago: "Dad would be proud." That is our hope for Young, Yowler and Lindgren: that in the years to come, each of them will have many opportunities to reflect that Jon or Matt or Alex would be proud of her.
First of all, what's this "we" crap? The moment he writes "We got to thinking about these stories last night, and our musings led to an ill-considered tweet" (emphasis mine), I knew that we were about to witness someone avoiding personal responsibility for a heinous comment.
Secondly, Taranto simply changes what he tweeted. The tweet, on its face, wonders aloud if the girls "were worthy" of the sacrifice. Past (or arguably, present) tense. It is not, as the "mea culpa" argues, looking ahead in the hopes that they "use the gift of their survival well–to live good, full, happy lives".
Thirdly, even under the new spin (a spin which decidedly NOT a "mea culpa" or even an apology), it still exhibits a judgment of these girls. Wagging a finger at them, Taranto says, "Now, you three be good girls now, because these guys died for you".
Fuck you, Taranto, and your condescending white horse that you rode in on. These young women are going to have difficult future times as it is, knowing that their boyfriends were murdered on top of them, without always wondering if they have lived up to the expectations of the Wall Street Journal columnists.
Just leave them alone. And stop digging when you're already in a ditch.
Oh, and learn to say I'm sorry.