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Slow Burn and The Deuce, two shows for the Me Too moment

Looking at history through questions of power, sexual agency, and morality

The second season of the Slate podcast Slow Burn and the HBO drama The Deuce are both shows for the Me Too moment, but they both complicate our ways of thinking about sex, power, and morality.

In recounting the impeachment of Bill Clinton, Slow Burn presents a moral mine­field for people who want to forget that they once supported a president whose combination of narcissism, charisma, and sexual misconduct seem disturbingly familiar. The same arguments some liberals now use to castigate Trump—that his private morality makes him unfit for office—are arguments liberals dismissed when Republicans made them against Clinton. When the current president and his supporters try to delegitimate Robert Mueller’s special investigation by calling it a partisan witch hunt, they are using language the left used to describe Ken Starr’s special investigation of Clinton. The full extent of the accusations against Clinton, in­cluding Juanita Broaddrick’s accusation of rape, and the ease with which they have been forgotten in the stories liberals tell about the Clinton impeachment should be a punch in the gut to anyone who assumes Democrats stand with survivors of sexual assault.

The lesson seems to be that our concern for morality shifts based on power. This is something liberals are very prone to say about conservatives but much less likely to apply to their own side. Slow Burn is willing to sit with the truth long enough to make all of us squirm.