What do we make of HBO’s “Confirmation”? Seen by millions, this movie strongly suggests that Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas perjured himself in 1991 in denying the accusations of Anita Hill of sexual harassment. The story is not just of the personal disgrace for Thomas but of the national scandal that he was ever confirmed.

What’s it been like for him and fellow justices living that lie for the past quarter of a century?

More important, what does it do to our national life to have that blotch on what should be our most respected institution?

Confirmation” is only a movie; it doesn’t actually prove anything. But it uses pretty much verbatim the testimony from the Senate hearing (also available on YouTube). And it is pretty clear what version of the story it favors, that Hill was telling the truth and Thomas lying through his teeth.

If the testimony itself doesn’t convince you, other elements of the movie favor that view: all the old, male crony politicians on Thomas’s side vs. fresh-faced, as yet uncorrupted young aides—for Hill. Hill passes the lie-detector test; Thomas refuses to take it.

Can we expect someone—out of conservative outrage, or perhaps just some mistaken notion of balance—to make another movie telling the story the other way? Is there a credible story using the same facts, the same testimony, making Hill out to be a liar with a vicious agenda and Thomas to be a guiltless victim?

I don’t think so, any more than we are likely to be getting movies showing that the Wall Street traders and pedaphile priests of “The Big Short” or “Spotlight” were actually the good guys.

What does and doesn’t make it to Town Meeting

Town Meeting time again in Wellfleet, that seasonal punctuation mark. Being of a naively, even romantically, democratic bent I’ve always thought, without thinking a whole lot, that anything of importance to this town would get voted on by Town Meeting. I mean, that’s the whole purpose of Town Meeting government, right? To give people—all the […]


Laws are codified public sentiment. They are supposed to represent what’s right. They exist to protect us. But sometimes laws don’t feel like that. Case in point: the laws that allow two local companies to act like outlaws. I’m speaking of course of Entergy and Eversource, both widely perceived to be endangering the public health […]


Once in a while, a story needs to be plucked from the sports section of the newspaper and put in the general news section. Jordan Spieth has become quite well known over the last couple of years as a precocious professional golfer, perhaps the next Tiger Woods. But since last Sunday, the final day of […]


Here’s an obvious question that doesn’t get asked enough: if there were not so much economic inequality in the world would we have to worry as much about terrorism? At the Nuclear Security Summit recently concluded, Obama warned again about nukes getting in the hands of terrorists. Pretty scary. It would, as he emphasized, make […]


The Herring River Restoration in Wellfleet, in the works for years, seems headed for its first town meeting airing. By removing a 1909 dike, the project would restore natural tidal flow to one of the largest wetlands in New England. To proponents of the project—and to judge from public comment it has few opponents– the […]

Are we “lower” and “outer” or only “outer?”

I saw a map recently showing the “Lower Cape” stopping with Eastham, the “Outer Cape” as a separate region consisting of Wellfleet, Truro, and P’town. Hey, wait a minute, I thought, that’s gotta be wrong. Lower and Outer are not separate regions. Outer is part of Lower. Some years back, a team of academic researchers, […]


In the matter of Cumberland farms vs. the town of Wellfleet, we’ve had several months of waiting for the other shoe to drop. In the fall of 2015, the citizens of Wellfleet read in the newspaper about a court ruling which, if it is not reversed, will have a major impact on the future of […]

Against sideline-ism

Bernie Sanders should get the nomination (and then win the election) because he makes the clearest, most believable and trusted appeal to the self-interest of a strong majority of Americans. The trouble is that a lot of us don’t vote self-interest. We don’t vote for the candidate we really think will best represent us. A […]

Tourist development: Cape Cod and Mexico

Notes on tourist development from down where they really know how to do it. In the late 1980s, a friend wrote me a letter from Mexico. “Hey, you would love this place.” He and his wife were staying in rustic palapas (rudimentary straw-roofed open air structures) on the Mexican Caribbean beach in a place called […]