(WARNING: This article is intended for those of the age of sexual consent. If you're too young for sex stuff... you should stop reading now!)
IN DEFENSE OF JEFFREY TOOBIN
Let's start with the basics:
1. Humans are animals. I don't care how you feel about this. Truth is truth, even if it hurts your feelings.
2. Sex feels good. Surely we can ALL agree to this? If not... tell me more! Do you think sex doesn't feel good? If so, there are DEFINITELY some things we should talk about.
Now to the matter of Mr. Toobin, whose recent behavior has been covered as if it were criminal. And it's true that poor Mr. Toobin has been caught red-handed in the act of sexual gratification in front of his colleagues, which is unequivocally not cool. But let's take a minute now to acknowledge that sexual gratification, in an of itself, is not a crime. It's not like Mr. Toobin stabbed a guy in front of his unwitting Zoom witnesses. See the difference? If not, try opening your eyes, then looking again.
I would agree that the setting for his masturbation session was inappropriate. He obviously thinks so, too, and has issued fervent apologies for his "stupid mistake." The fact that he thought his camera was off and that his colleagues couldn't see him over Zoom doesn't negate the fact that sexual pleasure and online business meetings do not mix, but that same fact also assures us that he wasn't intentionally exposing himself. It was an accident. And accidents happen. I myself recently forgot that I was drying a cast iron pan on the stove, only to come to the kitchen five minutes later to find it nearly smoking. If I had been thinking properly, I would have set the timer like I usually do; if Mr. Toobin had been thinking properly, he would have (a) double-checked his camera setting was off and (b) maybe waited until after the meeting was over to beat off, like a normal person.
And yet! I stand in defense of Mr. Toobin, whose important work at The New Yorker and CNN is not somehow nullified by the slip-up of inappropriately-timed sexual pleasure. Get over it, guys. Sex feels good and we all like it. Even journalists. Even everyone. Even YOU. And that's great news, really! It's how mother nature designed it. Sex feels good and that's on purpose. As for the issue of Mr. Toobin's marriage: (1) the sexual habits and agreements of anyone I am not in a relationship with is NONE OF MY BUSINESS and (2) mother nature wasn't like "okay this is going to be the BEST thing in the world... but only if you're doing it with your wife."
Enough with the outrage at human sexuality. It's just another way for humans to incorrectly put themselves in an ascending order of better to worse, and now that you know the events of Mr. Toobin's Zoom call, you get to think that you are better than he. But you aren't. Not because you've necessarily done anything similar, but because no human is better than another human. This is another dose of truth that won't ever be untrue, even if you won't believe it.
So, Mr. Toobin, I am sorry that you're dealing with America's inconsistent sexual attitudes, where we don't bat an eye at using sex in the name of selling products but where we call FOUL immediately, as soon as any real sexual encounter is documented. You are a sexual being (like all the rest of us) and this does not somehow invalidate your professional, intellectual, and important contributions to this world. Of course, I would recommend waiting until you've fully logged off Zoom next time you need to get your rocks off. And while we're on the topic of obvious advice, I also recommend setting a timer if you're going to dry a cast iron pan on your stove top.
In peace, as always,