Manchester By the Sea director Kenneth Lonergan got his words published in his alma mater’s undergraduate student newspaper this weekend, and, worse, it was so that he could come to the aid of Casey Affleck. Why?
On Thursday, Wesleyan University undergrad paper The Argus, published an opinion piece by “assistant opinion editor” Connor Aberle, in which the student puts forth the argument that it is problematic for Wesleyan to advertise the artistic success of its alumnus, Lonergan, without acknowledging the director’s support of Affleck, who settled out of court with two women who accused him in 2010 of sexual abuse (one said he tried to grab her when she didn’t want to share a hotel room with him, another said he referred to women as “cows”). Aberle pointed out in his piece that Lonergan specifically thanked Affleck in his Oscar acceptance speech for Best Original Screenplay last week.
Now, I don’t have a particularly strong opinion about this opinion, seeing as I’m not steeped in Wesleyan campus politics, but you know who does have a strong and eminently publishable opinion? Yeah, Kenneth Lonergan.
On Saturday, “contributing writer” Lonergan published a scathing takedown of the school paper op-ed calling it, “such a tangle of illogic, misinformation and flat-out slander that only the author’s presumed youth can possibly excuse his deeply offensive display of ignorance and warped PC-fueled sense of indignation.” Not saying I never wanted to yell something similar at a few opinion writers at my own alma mater, but this does seem pretty over-the-top when one considers the extreme power imbalance between an eager college student—who’s probably, like, still unlearning what a thesis statement is and rummaging around for a decent prose style—and an Oscar-winning director and screenwriter.
Lonergan goes on, “Somebody as interested in actual as opposed to merely vocalized social justice as Mr. Aberle presumably is, should unwind his tangled, immoral chain of reasoning and start over at the fundamental precept that an allegation is not an indictment…. I do hope that Mr. Aberle is capable of taking a much harder look at the merits of his own arguments before he decides to air his views in public again.” Holy shit, that’s mean!
A commenter on Lonergan’s op-ed really sums up perfectly all that I’m trying to say here: “Didn’t you just win an Oscar, why are you responding to an article a college student wrote about you?”
[via A.V. Club]