Things aren't looking too hot for the Pied Piper of R&B. As R. Kelly's trial for child pornography* plods along to its conclusion, it's becoming clear that he doesn't have very many people in his corner. Between the jokes about 'Trapped In The Closet: Part One Million" and the titles of Slate dispatches from the trial ("The Shaggy Defense" and "Sparkle's Revenge"), it would be funny, if it weren't so darn sad. There's a tendency to play blame-the-victim in sex cases, particularly when a male is the aggressor. When Mike Tyson was convicted of raping an 18-year-old beauty contestant back in '91, the defense attempted to paint her as a woman who had consensual sex with him, and then got angry she was treated like a one-night stand. I remember hearing a lot of people, men and women, asking why she went to his room. Having been 18, and having been in the room of a boy or two, I can safely say that going there is not always an indication that you want to go there. The willingness to paint men as sexual predators, and women as weak, yet solely responsible for their own sexual safety would be baffling, if it weren't so clearly misogynistic. When I was in college, and the R. Kelly stuff was just coming out, a friend of mine from Chicago told me once that a girl who went to his school had an 'arrangement' with Kelly. He bought her stuff and she let him hit, basically. This is obviously hearsay, but at the time, I, like most of my peers, pretty much just shrugged. Girls want stuff, and men want sex. But five years later, I find the concept that stat rape is okay if both parties are getting what they want to be totally disgusting. The Sun-Times reports that a couple of erstwhile Kelly associates are flying to the Chi to ... have a press conference. About what, nobody seems to know. But it doesn't look promising for Kelly. There was a time when I was able to separate Kelly's music from Kelly the person. But — and this may be directly proportional to the diminished quality of his music over time — I can't do it anymore. I played blame-the-victim, before. But I can't anymore. He's a criminal, and it's time for him to pay the piper. (See what I did there?) * If they prove it's him on the tape, will they be able to get him on the rape charges, eventually? Does it matter that the woman won't testify against him? These are the questions.