Friday, February 23, 2007

The Duke Three: No angels = rapists?

A reader's tip directs me to this mini-rant by the ex-Edwards-blogmaster Amanda Marcotte (the gift that keeps on giving), in a comments thread on her blog where someone brought out false accusations of rape and specifically the Duke case:

People who continue to wax on about the Duke rape case: People don’t respond because you’re right. (sic) They don’t respond because they know from experience that anyone who defends men who write thing like this:

tommrow night, after tonights show, ive decided to have some strippers over to edens 2c. all are welcome.. however there will be no nudity. i plan on killing the bitches as soon as the walk in and proceding to cut their skin off while cumming in my duke issue spandex.. all besides arch and tack please respond

Hates women and would defend a rapist who was caught in the act on videotape. No one talks to you because you are rape-loving scum. If you think otherwise, you are mistaken. Your beloved boys who scream “nigger” at black women and joke about killing and raping them may escape the worst charges, but they are not angels. You know it, we know it. That you defend them makes you such lowly, sleazy scum that it’s no wonder no one talks to you. They’re afraid by acknowledging you, they will catch the evil. Know this. Absorb it. Hope you enjoy sleeping at night, you sick, hateful bastards.

I'm not sure this hate-filled outburst, which borders on the deranged, deserves a response; I can only marvel that someone capable of producing such a screed can be considered a legitimate voice in the blogosphere. I will, however, point out that "defending" the Duke lacrosse players in this contex hardly means defending them as models of virtue and sterling moral character. It means, simply, arguing that they are probably innocent of charges of rape and sexual assault. And it is deeply ironic that the same feminists who quite rightly insist that a woman's character flaws should not be used against her in a rape case when she is the victim hold a completely different standard for a man when he is the acccused. We've been told again and again that a woman who has been raped shouldn't have to be an angel to deserve sympathy and support. Apparently, a man who has been false accused of rape should be.

Let's, for a moment, put the shoe on the other foot. Let's say that a woman going through a contentiuos divorce says she has been brutally beaten and raped by her estranged husband. Then it turns out that a few days earlier, she had regaled friends with a "humorous" fantasy of tying said estranged husband to a chair and castrating him with a rusty knife. (Jokes about genital mutilation as punishment for male misbehavior are not uncommon in female repertoire; Katie Kouric actually made such a joke on the air, on The Today Show, in 1997.)

Let's even say the woman's email also expressed the not-so-humorous hope that, in the absence of opportunities to fulfil her castration fantasy, she would be able to make the bastard suffer in court. Admittedly, such an email would raise serious questions about the woman's motive to lie, but let's say that the physical evidence strongly supported her claims (and that a co-worker of the husband's had heard him confess). Wouldn't Marcotte be the first to defend this woman against anyone who tried to discredit her charges or to suggest that she was asking for it? And can you imagine a prominent male blogger ranting that anyone who would defend the author of such an email is a man-hating bitch who ought to be shunned by decent people everywhere?

(Ed.: In the comments, Revenant correctly points out that the author of the offending email, Ryan McFaden, is not one of the men accused of rape. So actually, the analogy would be more accurate if the email had been sent not by the victim herself, but by her best friend.)

But of course, we're not supposed to put the shoe on the other foot because to do that is to ignore the inequality and system oppression of women and blah dee blah dee blah. (And I can't think of too many arguments that are actually more offensive to women than this blatant call for a double standard based on female "powerlessness.")

The email is disgusting, and the guy who sent it sounds like a nasty jerk. But frankly, I find Marcotte's invective against people who dare to side with men (apparently) falsely accused of rape -- even nasty jerks falsely accused of rape -- far more revolting and far scarier than that email.

Marcotte is not alone to use the "no angels" trope. See this post on the Feminist Law Professors' blog, titled "Not Innocent" and arguing that regardless of the legal outcome, the lacrosse players are at least guilty of racism and sexism. See also K.C. Johnson's dissection of her post.

More: In the comments, colagirl asks:

Suppose Marcotte were to be falsely accused of murdering a white male Republican. Should people then rush to condemn her because of the hateful rhetoric she has spoken about them on her blog? Or argue that anyone who would defend her would "defend a woman caught murdering a Republican man on videotape"?

Excellent question.


Anonymous said...

Good post, Cathy, and there's an additional point I want to bring out just because it keeps amazing me that Marcotte doesn't see it: The reason *why* it is so important to defend the wrongly accused, even if they have said hateful things in the past, is because the protections against wrongful accusation are one of the bedrock building stones of the justice institution and they help protect everyone--you, me, even Marcotte, though she doesn't seem to understand this or care.

Suppose Marcotte were to be falsely accused of murdering a white male Republican. Should people then rush to condemn her because of the hateful rhetoric she has spoken about them on her blog? Or argue that anyone who would defend her would "defend a woman caught murdering a Republican man on videotape?" The protections she's deriding exist for her own benefit as well as others', and as I said previously, it just keeps surprising me that she doesn't seem to get it. That's actually been one of the scariest things about this whole case to me--the way that the proper procedures of the legal system were tossed aside in the rush to judgement.

I'll close by saying that IMHO the screed you posted does indeed border on the deranged. I almost wonder if she was posting drunk when she typed it....

Revenant said...

The other point that Marcotte so conveniently ignores is that the person who sent that email, Ryan McFayden, isn't one of the men accused of rape.

So your hypothetical battered-wife scenario, Cathy, is actually too fair to Marcotte. A better example would be defending the husband and condemning the wife on the grounds that Lorena Bobbitt's castration of John Bobbitt proves women are crazy.

Marcotte's a bigot; there are no two ways about it.

Cathy Young said...

Good point, Rev! I don't know about Lorena Bobbitt, but maybe a better analogy would be if a friend of the victim's had sent such an email.

Russell Hanneken said...

I've read in a couple of places that the email was making an ironic reference to American Psycho.

One article I've seen says the team members were reading the book for a class. Another article says some team members had seen the movie version.

I don't know if there's any truth to this, but if there is, I'd say it mitigates the email's offensiveness.

Anonymous said...

I suppose the simplest explanation as to why Marcotte writes as she does, is that it gets her readers.

The important question is: why does it get her readers?

Are the attitudes she expresses common, and if so, what should be done about it?

Amanda Marcottes opinions are a matter of profound insignificance to the world. The popularity of her opinions is significant, if only because of what it can tell us about the world.

Revenant said...

I don't know if there's any truth to this, but if there is, I'd say it mitigates the email's offensiveness.

There just about has to be a different explanation for it, simply because men don't talk like that to each other. Talk about wanting to bang the strippers, yes. Comment on their bodies, positively or negatively, yes. Fantasize about mutilating them while jizzing in our pants? Er... no. No, no, no. That's how nutty feminists THINK men think and talk about women.

In fact, the only time I've ever heard someone say something like that is when they were sarcastically imitating how someone who hates them describes them. E.g., a conservative friend might say "I like buying shoes made in sweatshops because I hate poor people" -- an "offensive statement" if you're not in on the joke.

Mike said...

What I don't think you realize is that "libertarian feminism" is an extreme minority. As feminists go, you don't even count, like the Marxists who truly believed in ending the state don't count in discussions about Communism because they were so few. Most feminists today lean more toward Marcotte than your position which is nothing more than normal libertarianism with some added flavor.

And that's the way it should be. Libertarianism contains everything that a woman needs to be free from oppression. The problem is that most feminists like Marcotte are contemptibly weak individuals who cannot accept the disapproval or disagreement of others. To her, being told "I disagree with your lifestyle" is as oppressive as hearing the jack boots at the door with the truncheons and guns in hand.

However, a lot of her readers are also people who are fascinated by her and her ilk. Other bloggers like Vox Day make a habit of directing people to her as an expose of the modern feminist mind.

By the way, this spoof of her blog is great!

knox said...

can only marvel that someone capable of producing such a screed can be considered a legitimate voice in the blogosphere.

Unfortunately, with certain audience, I think that the angrier you are, the more legitimate you are considered to be. "Truth to power!" and all that. They get so caught up in the grand sweep of righteous indignation, they don't even realize how truly cuckoo they sound to everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Last Friday night, I attended the Duke-Maryland lacrosse match and met a number of lacrosse families and players. (I have written a number of articles on the case for Lew Rockwell's site and am very familiar with the details.)

Watching the families and players interact afterward confirmed to me that the idea that these young men last spring engaged in a gang rape in which they beat and raped a black woman (and magically left no bruises, scars, or DNA) is ludicrous.

I even met and talked to the infamous Ryan McFayden, and while I don't care for his email, keep in mind that it was a sophomore who was paraphrasing American Psycho, not someone planning a crime. (It was a private email sent to his friends and, no, Ryan McFayden did not even touch the accuser that night.)

What is most distressing about this case is that the hardcore feminists simply refuse to believe any evidence, or they insist that in this case, all physical evidence (along with the timelines) must be ignored for ideological reasons. The politics of rape demands an accusation, whether or not it is true.

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Joanne Jacobs said...

Near San Jose, police are investigating two community college baseball players and others for the alleged gang rape of a teen-age girl at a party. There are witnesses, some of whom say they tried to stop it. Still, there's been no rush to judgment -- and no reporting of the race or ethnicity of the victim or the possible perpetrators.

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Anonymous said...

That lady over at HATTIEsWEB said your blog was the worst ever.
Well I've read it and it is pretty good.Much better than the junk and pilfered info she uses as blog material.At least you have original thoughts.After reading you, you don't feel flustered and angry.People like Ms Jet Black can do that.

btw, keep up the good work. Slobs like Hat Bag wish they had blogs like yours.

Anonymous said...

My Canadian troll has found you. He's pretty abusive. He's all yours to defend.

Cathy Young said...

Joanne, thanks for the comment.

Walter and Hattie, I have no idea what fight you're bringing to this blog but I'm not interested. Please don't use the comments section on this blog to conduct fights with other bloggers.

Anonymous said...

Your analogy of the beaten wife is ludicrous, in order for it to be at all valid the husband would have to be accusing his wife of abuse. Or are you too clouded by your righteous need to defend the kind of 'men' that hold views like these:
i plan on killing the bitches as soon as the walk in and proceding to cut their skin off while cumming in my duke issue spandex

Please point out to me where Amanda Marcotte has said anything even remotely on the scale of this violently misogyinistic hate speech? I think this quote shows rather succintly the kind of views these people have of women, whether having these sentiments towards women makes them capable of rape, (which I believe it does) is besides the point.
Neither of us is part of the jury on their case, so whilst I defend their right to have lawyers defend them in court, it doesn't mean I can't condemn them for the opinions they hold outside of court. This is not the same as saying they should be found guilty of rape without evidence.

What I am saying is, whether or not they are guilty of rape, they are guilty of being vile individuals who do not deserve my sympathy or my getting up in arms over people calling them out for the vile people they are. We are not in court, where it would be a completely different matter. Do you understand the difference? No one is saying they should not be defended in court, but outside of it is a completely different ballgame, where the opinions they have expressed matters a great deal.

Anonymous said...

The irony is that the comments by Amanda Marcotte and others has successfully flushed out just how much tacit acceptance of false accusations really exists. The subtext is that even if accused men are not really guilty of the alleged crime, everyone knows that men are to blame for all the world's ills so they really deserve it anyway.

Marcotte's view seems to be that unless a man is a complete saint or martyr he deserves to have his life ruined through false accusations and legal persecution. (This is a conscious parody of Marcotte's hyperbolical, melodramatic interpretations of the views of others, only in this case the parody is closer to the reality of her views).

Thankyou Amanda Marcotte and feminist law professors. You've given the game away.

Anonymous said...

It is probably closer to the truth to say that Marcotte, and others who express views like hers, would defend a woman who was caught out on video evidence proving that the woman lied about rape (as many feminists have actually done in notable recent cases). Or perhaps they would argue that video evidence is a patriachal conspiracy to abuse women, and that the guy who designed the model of camera is a vile misogynist who would defend a rapist caught on camera.

Anonymous said...

to Fri Mar 23, 08:05:00 AM EDT:
re: Marcotte as a hater

She says something that makes her position on things clear here , though it seems thinly veiled in the context of a joke/insinuation. It is unclear from the prev. posts to whom she is responding, so hard to say what her overt intent is, but the covert message seems plain enough.

Amanda Marcotte Apr 14th, 2007 at 11:50 pm

So white men will die out first. Interestingly, this doesn’t make the situation seem more troublesome to me in the slightest.

Anonymous said...

The funny thing is that liberals are generally in favour of defending the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial and due process in criminal cases. Yet when the accused is part of a designated oppressor group and the alleged victim is part of a designated victim group, suddenly they are in favour of dispensing with these rights and stacking the system in favour of the prosecution.

So it is that we have so much hand-wringing about the rights of those accused of plotting terrorist activities to a fair trial and humane treatment, even when the evidence against them is overwhelming. And yet many people who care so much about the rights of terrorists seem not to care about the rights of men who have had their lives ruined through false claims of rape, domestic abuse, child sexual abuse etc. Apparently the threat of terrorism is not sufficient reason to jettison these conventions, but the threat of inherent male brutality is.

How often do you hear civil libertarians speak out about policies such as mandatory arrest laws in domestic violence cases? These laws are an outrageous abuse of civil liberties, akin to a police state. Effectively they create a situation where any man who is either married or living with a partner finds that his personal freedom is entirely dependent on his partner's goodwill (regardless of any evidence that he committed an offence).

Anonymous said...

Me thinks you've got a bingo here:

The popularity of her opinions is significant, if only because of what it can tell us about the world.

Anonymous said...

I find Wendy Murphy's latest missive in the Boston Globe to be not only an out-and-out lie, but a moral outrage as well. There ARE no witnesses to a "rape" in the attorneys' files, and the medical evidence clearly showed there was no rape.

Murphy has been lying for years. Remember when she was shilling for Scott Harshbarger's atrocious prosecution of the Amiraults in the Fells Acre case? The list goes on; we are dealing with one evil and dishonest person.

So, consider her criticism of your recent column to be a badge of honor. If Murphy says you are not telling the truth, then you must be telling the truth.

Anonymous said...

Wow, an awesome article. Those things are believeable. Each scenario looks like as if done because of anger, selfishness, multiple fracas!

Anonymous said...

One should also consider the fact that amongst young men it's not unusual to make extremely crude jokes. I call it "soldier's humor", because it's probably a way for young men to show to their comrades how tough and ready they are for action. If a young man makes a joke like this, it doesn't necessarily reflect badly on his character.

Jens Fiederer said...

Have you given up on blogging, then?

Brünhilde Wunderfrau said...

Hi- thanks for commenting on my blog, fellow Xena lover! :) You wrote...."can only marvel that someone capable of producing such a screed can be considered a legitimate voice in the blogosphere."

My husband says that one of the bad things about the internet is that it gives too much voice and power to people who don't deserve it! :)

While I completely agree that you can't prove a case simply based on moral (or immoral) behavior, I will say that women are much more often victimized than men are for their behavior. Men definitely still come from a significant position of power over women in this world - financially, respectably, career-wise. This does make a difference.

But you're right - they should be able to find more than circumstantial evidence to convict the Duke students if in fact they are guilty.


Jon said...

Been too long! Get back to posting! ;) Not sure if you still check your comments here, but if you do I wanted to tell you that I am trying to get a conservative digg alternative going called GOP Hub ( Anything you can do to help spread the word would be awesome. Plus feel free to submit any articles you write here on your blog :). Take care and have a great week!

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