The Washington Post

She said: Tawana Brawley, bad boys of summer and buying a car

In this Oct. 8, 1988, file photo, Tawana Brawley speaks to reporters with her advisor the Rev. Al Sharpton. (Mark Elias, File/Associated Press)
In this Oct. 8, 1988, file photo, Tawana Brawley speaks to reporters with her adviser the Rev. Al Sharpton. (Mark Elias, File/Associated Press)

Here are a few recent pieces by women that caught our attention:

Tawana Brawley, who in 1987 made national headlines with a horrific story — later proven to be false — about being raped and tortured by six men, is back in the news. On Sunday, the New York Post reported that a Virginia court recently ordered Brawley’s wages be garnished to pay damages for defamation to one of the men she falsely accused. So far she has turned over  $3,764, with $431,000 still due. Demetria L. Lucas, writing for The Root, notes that the man who is pursuing her paycheck has said that “if Brawley confesses that she lied, he will forgive her debt. I wish she would take him up on the offer.” Al Sharpton was one of Brawley’s advisers during the months of news conferences and marches perpetuating the hoax. He has rehabbed his image, now accepted by many to be a credible political and civil-rights activist and a has a news-talk show on MSNBC. Gregory Kane, writing for Black America Web, says Sharpton should help Brawley pay the damages: “Since Brawley is mainly responsible for Sharpton being where he is today, he really ought to hook the sister up with a little something-something. And that something-something should come to about, oh, $431,000.”

Noreen Malone, writing for the New Republic, notes the poor showing of films by A-list leading men during this summer movie season. “American men aren’t sure what it means to be an American man anymore'” she writes. “This alleged masculinity crisis was best laid out in last year’s sharply reported The End of Men, and this summer it spread to the silver screen, too: We are a nation without a new generation of bona fide male movie stars.

The Post’s film critic, Ann Hornady, also wrote about the disappointing season in a recent essay, and looked at it from another angle. She compared the bad boys on screen to the bad boys in politics, led by Anthony Weiner, and suggests, “What the drama kings from both professions fail to realize is that their efforts are less studly than sad.”

And here’s some practical advice from Libby Copeland, writing for Slate: Buy your next car online: “[G]iven how unpleasant the car-shopping experience is for women, who find walking into a dealership to be like landing on an all-male, vaguely hostile planet, buying online is something tantamount to a feminist act.”

Vanessa Williams is a staff writer at The Post. Contact her at



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Bernardine Watson · August 5, 2013

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