A BBC article entitled ‘Prince Andrew, Bob Dylan, Catholic priests and the Child Victims Act’ was shared, tweeted and retweeted many times.
It is inconceivable that the mainstream media do not or can not realise the impact this has on Bob Dylan’s family, friends, and fans. The name of the singer-songwriter is now associated with the likes of Prince Andrew and high-profile Catholic priests who have been accused of child abuse.
The article explains the recent change in state law in New York that has allowed the filing of thousands of child abuse claims and gave victims until 14 August to bring forth claims. As it has already been noted, Joan Carra’s lawsuit was filed in extremis, just a day before the deadline, at the same time as thousands of other lawsuits. As a result, Dylan’s name is sullied along with Catholic priests and others who have hurt children. The difference however is that Dylan’s accuser Joan Carra has lost all credibility. She has engaged in deeply questionable acts including multiple attempts to invent evidence on the internet by requesting her name to be included in the captions of photographs of Bob Dylan with unknown women. Her lawyers Peter Gleason and Daniel Isaacs of New York likewise have no credit.
Fundamental differences exist between the other cases involving awful child abuse and the meritless case against Bob Dylan. One example of this is the lack of evidence. Former Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was found guilty of child abuse and defrocked in 2019 by Pope Francis himself. In the case of Joan Carra we only have Carra’s bogus accusations.
But in the court of public opinion, Dylan is already viewed as guilty because there were hundreds of headlines like the BBC article mentioned above and because no mainstream media organisation has published any correction or follow-up since mid-August.
Watching reactions on social media is a depressing state of affairs: headlines have a tremendous impact on people’s minds, and since this is often the only thing people read on Twitter, the echo chamber is in full action and the damage is done. Since the #metoo movement, the Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein stories, and the Ronan Farrow effect, the American public have been conditioned to think that ‘the rich and the famous always get away with it’ and that we must always without scrutiny ‘believe survivors/believe women.’ There are no nuances allowed, no critical thinking permitted, and all common sense is ignored.
Because of a long history of cases of abuse not reported, because those who have come forward over abuse in the past have been poorly treated, plenty of people have adopted some irrational and radical position, an extremist view of the world that doesn’t allow any consideration of individual cases. ‘We have to believe all women,’ is absurd absolutism.
When I learned about the lawsuit in August, I knew nothing about the case. For a few days, I was considering any possibility and even the eventuality of a guilty verdict that would necessarily affect my vision of Bob Dylan. But I was waiting to know more and was looking for evidence. However, I was surprised to see how many people were right away jumping down Dylan’s throat, accusing him of the worst, from child molestation to rape. Why have we reached this point? A point where people accept headlines without looking for evidence, just because these headlines embrace the ideology du jour?
In 2013, Conor Oberst, the frontman of the indie band Bright Eyes, was accused of rape by a woman named Joanie Faircloth. She claimed that Oberst had raped her after a Bright Eyes concert when she was just 16. Many months later, she admitted she had made up the entire story, even though her ‘testimony’ provided a lot of disturbing details.
As a result, Oberst, who was even tagged ‘the new Bob Dylan’ at the beginning of his career, lost a lot of money and almost his mind: ‘I equate it to getting in a car crash or getting struck by fucking lightning’ he said in an interview with Noisey. ‘I don’t feel like there’s ever complete closure to something like that in the sense that you carry the psychological things with you.’ At the same time, plenty of Oberst’s fans were ready to tear their hero down when the allegations were made public everywhere, while evidence was obviously lacking. This happened 8 years ago, and the ‘believe women and automatically assume the worst about famous men’ social attitude has only worsened.
I can only imagine what’s going on in Bob Dylan’s mind right now, but people’s reactions on social media are simply deplorable. They are the negation of critical thinking and the rise of a fanatical ideology, but they are especially shameful after the telling revelations about Bob Dylan’s accuser and her lawyers made by the Zeus News Now team.
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