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Ed Driscoll

God And Man At Dupont University

Asking the Important Questions

December 18th, 2014 - 10:29 am

Should All Women On Campus Be Allowed to Openly Carry A Handgun Since President Obama Claims There’s A Rape Epidemic? Are You Pro-Rape If You Want to Deny A Women Their Constitutional Right to Defend Themselves Against A Rape Culture?”

In answer to the first question, what, and actually give up being victims? In answer to the second, I’m sure if asked to Barry, Joe, Hillary, and virtually every college dean, they’d be quick to reply that hey, it’s not an epidemic-epidemic, to paraphrase Whoopi Goldberg’s defense, of you know, a rapist.

Of course, there’s an alternative approach that could be tried as well…

Update: And speaking of gun bans — in this case, toy gun bans — what could go wrong here?

More: Potemkin numbers, all the way down.

The Last Grownup at Oberlin

December 16th, 2014 - 1:19 pm

ferguson_oberlin_no_12-16-14-3

“No Exam Delay for Oberlin Students ‘Traumatized’ By Grand Jury Decisions,” Elizabeth Nolan Brown writes at Reason’s Hit & Run blog, spotting a hilarious exchange between a distaff Oberlin freshman (apologies for using that doubleplus ungood crimethink oldspeak word) and her terse, but spot-on professor, who just might be the only grownup left at Oberlin. And it gets better:

After receiving his professor’s response, the student posted the exchange publicly to Facebook, with the message: “TRIGGER WARNING: Violent language regarding an extremely dismissive response from a professor. This is an email exchange I had with my professor this evening. … We are obviously not preaching to the choir. Professors and administration at Oberlin need to be held accountable for their words and actions and have a responsibility to their students.”

But I don’t mean to pick too much on this student, an Oberlin freshman. This is the environment she’s inherited and set of social cues she’s learned from people who should know far better—like professors and administrators at Ivy League law schools, for a start.

 

Stephen Kruiser nominates Professor Raney as “Teacher of the Year,” but wonders how long before he’ll be experiencing the joys of President Obama’s “Funemployment:”

Look for this guy to be out of a job within the year. Dissent from the progressive orthodoxy is not tolerated.

But what I’m really waiting for is Oberlin alumnus Lena Dunham to weigh in with her take on Mr. Raney.

These Kids Today!

December 15th, 2014 - 12:03 pm

The Atlantic whines about “The Cheapest Generation: Why Millennials aren’t buying cars or houses, and what that means for the economy:”

In 2009, Ford brought its new supermini, the Fiesta, over from Europe in a brave attempt to attract the attention of young Americans. It passed out 100 of the cars to influential bloggers for a free six-month test-drive, with just one condition: document your experience online, whether you love the Fiesta or hate it.

Young bloggers loved the car. Young drivers? Not so much. After a brief burst of excitement, in which Ford sold more than 90,000 units over 18 months, Fiesta sales plummeted. As of April 2012, they were down 30 percent from 2011.

Don’t blame Ford. The company is trying to solve a puzzle that’s bewildering every automaker in America: How do you sell cars to Millennials (a k a Generation Y)? The fact is, today’s young people simply don’t drive like their predecessors did. In 2010, adults between the ages of 21 and 34 bought just 27 percent of all new vehicles sold in America, down from the peak of 38 percent in 1985. Miles driven are down, too. Even the proportion of teenagers with a license fell, by 28 percent, between 1998 and 2008.

In a bid to reverse these trends, General Motors has enlisted the youth-brand consultants at MTV Scratch—a corporate cousin of the TV network responsible for Jersey Shore—to give its vehicles some 20-something edge. “I don’t believe that young buyers don’t care about owning a car,” says John McFarland, GM’s 31-year-old manager of global strategic marketing. “We just think nobody truly understands them yet.” Subaru, meanwhile, is betting that it can appeal to the quirky eco-­conscious individualism that supposedly characterizes this generation. “We’re trying to get the emotional connection correct,” says Doug O’Reilly, a publicist for Subaru. Ford, for its part, continues to push heavily into social media, hoping to more closely match its marketing efforts to the channels that Millennials use and trust the most.

In 2012, Ann Althouse spotted the New York Times sneeringly dub Millenials the “The Go-Nowhere Generation” and complaining that “Back in the early 1980s, 80 percent of 18-year-olds proudly strutted out of the D.M.V. with newly minted licenses, according to a study by researchers at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute. By 2008 — even before the Great Recession — that number had dropped to 65 percent.”

As Althouse replied, “Isn’t that what the Boomer generation told them to do? Cars are bad. They are destroying the planet. Then, when they avoid driving, we scold them for being — what? — sedentary? unambitious? incurious?!”

If they were supposed to believe that movie — “An Inconvenient Truth” — that was showed to them by one public school teacher after another, why aren’t we celebrating them now for their teeny tiny carbon footprint? Just give them a tiny room and a computer with high-speed internet, and they’ll be perfectly happy.

But Generation Y has become Generation Why Bother….

Etc. etc. These kids today! Speaking of “Why Bother,” why did we boomers bother to teach them to sneer at aggressive capitalism, consumeristic acquisitiveness, and driving powerful cars if we were going to turn around and whine about their not competing vigorously enough?

Over to you, Atlantic, Vox, BuzzFeed, Gray Lady, and their ultimate boss, our semi-retired president, who began down the path to his golden Millennial-funded retirement plan with gems such as this in 2008:

(Via Maggie’s Farm.)

Rolling Stone and the Myth of a Rape Epidemic

December 13th, 2014 - 2:08 pm

“The stunning news that Rolling Stone now disowns its story that claimed a female student was gang-raped at a University of Virginia (UVA) fraternity shows that the drive to root out ‘rape culture’ is spinning out of control,” Sean Collins of England’s Spiked writes. “We’re living through a full-blown panic, akin to the daycare sexual abuse scandals of the 1980s and early 1990s, with bad consequences for both women and men:”

The unravelling of the Rolling Stone article is not an isolated event, nor simply the case of one journalist’s lapse in ethics. The New York Times has highlighted cases at colleges such as Columbia and Hobart and William Smith, among others, in a similar way to Rolling Stone’s latest, focusing on the accuser’s allegations at the expense of the full picture (an enterprising journalist might revisit these stories, too). But more importantly, the UVA story is the product of a fevered atmosphere whipped up by ‘rape culture’ campaigners, an atmosphere where advocacy and emotion override fact.

Central to the myth of a rape epidemic is a statistic: that one in five women are sexually assaulted on US campuses over four years. The survey from which this statistic derives has been thoroughly debunked by Christina Hoff Sommers and others, who note, in particular, that the survey was based on a small sample (two schools) and a definition of assault so broad as to include uninvited touching and kissing, which even most respondents did not think rose to the level of an attack. In fact, according to more reliable Department of Justice data, sexual assault has fallen by more than 50 per cent in recent years, to a rate of 1.1 per 1,000 women, with similar rates on and off campus.

Found via Kate of Small Dead Animals, Mollie Hemingway of the Federalist asks if by singling out Rolling Stone, and its journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely, conservatives aren’t ignoring or downplaying the bigger picture, the “widespread journalistic worship of narrative and advocacy over truth,” expected in political coverage, it’s now rampant in all facets of modern journalism, from sports to videogame magazines to (of course) radical environmentalism.

But let’s not move on entirely from examining the corruption at Rolling Stone just yet. Veteran blogger Tom Maguire senses a pattern in their reporting of campus rapes, and/or the lack thereof.

Update: As one Rolling Stone-approved artist would say, strike a pose, there’s nothing to it:

More: ”The Violent Threat Near UVA that Rolling Stone Downplayed,” as spotted by Jim Geraghty, who adds, “This is one more consequence of ‘narrative journalism’: When you set out to write the evil-fraternities story, you end up missing the serial-killer-stalks-campus story.”

Oh, that return of the primitive. Backwards ran the progress until reeled the mind:

While drunk and naked. At the Weekly Standard, James W. Ceaser of the University of Virginia charts “The Flight from Reason on Campus,” while at Harvard, you can actually see it as it jogs away. As Sonny Bunch notes in astonishment on Twitter linking to an article in yesterday’s Harvard Crimson, “This is the greatest story ever told:”

A group of about 30 students attempted to hold a silent demonstration in the first minutes of Primal Scream, a biannual naked run around Harvard Yard, early Thursday morning, inadvertently leading to a chaotic exchange of words and gestures that reversed the usual direction of the run and left many questioning the significance of the heated interaction.

The run is a College tradition in which students, at times inebriated, run naked around the Yard on the eve of the first day of exams. It usually attracts more than a hundred participants.

Protesters said that their goal was not to protest Primal Scream itself, but to hold a four-and-a-half minute period of silence before the run for Michael Brown of Ferguson, Mo. and Eric Garner of New York—two unarmed black men who were killed by white police officers this summer—and to join in solidarity for people around the nation who have experienced racism. The organizers of the demonstration had posted a Facebook event describing their plans for the protest ahead of the event.

While protesters said they felt ignored and angered by the actions of Primal Scream participants, several students in the run said they could not see nor hear the protesters because of the noise and nature of the gathering, with some saying they would have participated in the protest if they had known about it in advance.

Read the whole thing; perhaps I need to update my usual line about Orwell’s 1984 being a how-to guide for the left — and remind them that neither is the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup. I’d say we’ve definitely spotted the next leaders of Freedonia, but alas, these are the future leaders of us.

Nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

Update: Stacy McCain on “Our Oppressed Elites.” As Stanley Kurtz noted last year at NRO, “What do America’s college students want? They want to be oppressed.”

The New Barbarism: Truth Is Optional

December 13th, 2014 - 12:32 pm

Bill Whittle puts all the pieces together in Ferguson and beyond; watch the whole thing. And note this passage from about halfway through Bill’s video:

[Tawana Brawley's story] would, indeed, be horrible. If it were… you know… actually true. But it wasn’t true. Brawley made up the story to avoid a beating from her mother. Despite the fact that she named and slandered an innocent man, Assistant DA Steven Pagones (who eventually was awarded $345,000 for defamation), in 1991Legal scholar Patricia j. Williams wrote that Brawley “has been the victim of some unspeakable crime. No matter how she got there. No matter who did it to her—and even if she did it to herself.” 

We clear on that? Doctor of Jurisprudence from Harvard Law School and current law professor at Columbia University, said that Tawana Brawley — who slandered an innocent man with the most vile charges imaginable to avoid a beating from her own mother — was not the perpetrator of an unspeakable crime, but the victim of one.

These are the new barbarians. Truth doesn’t matter. Law doesn’t matter. Individual lives do not matter. All that matters is Progressive politics, Progressive intimidation and Progressive power.

Just a few days ago, Brietbart reporter John Nolte traveled to Oberlin college to look into widely-read rape allegations on the part of Progressive darling Lena Dunham. Dunham, you may remember, was called on by Barack Obama personally to help get out the youth vote. Truth Revolt’s own Ben Shapiro published a withering critique of what is nothing but infant sexual molestation which Dunham brags about in her best-seller, “Not That Kind of Girl” – allegations utterly unremarked upon by Dunham’s admirers on the Left.

After recapping Nolte’s trip to Oberlin to clear the reputation of “Barry,” Dunham’s fellow student at Oberlin whose reputation she later casually smeared in her autobiography, Whittle adds:

How did Dunham, and Brawley, and millions of other New Barbarians get this way? They were taught, that’s how. While trying to find the identity of this famed mustachioed, purple-boot wearing, Conservative Republican Racist named Barry, John Nolte spoke with Sophie Hess, manager of the on-campus radio station, about searching the records for Real Talk with Jimbo.When he explained that he was only searching for the truth, this college administrator suddenly turned cold and said, “Asking whether or not a victim is telling the truth is irrelevant. It’s just not important if they are telling the truth.” When Nolte explained he was simply trying to clear the name of an innocent man, this Progressive Barbarian retracted her offer to search the archives and asked him to leave.

Both quotes dovetail perfectly with some of “Jackie’s” more intense supporters at the University of Virginia. As we noted yesterday, their student newspaper quoted a pair of college-age video makers who told the paper:

“I felt people were fixating on the details and quality of Rolling Stone reporting, and the fact is, whatever happened, something happened to Jackie,” Mirza said. “And even if she made up the story, things like this do happen, and there are sexual assaults that don’t get reported, so I meant to bring the focus back to Jackie. Whatever comes of this, we’re still behind her and we still think she did something brave by coming forward.”

In response, Mark Steyn wrote:

The blogger Oliver Willis thinks it’s “super dangerous” that the right is seizing on the implosion of Rolling Stone‘s story to insist that “all rape allegations can be ignored”. But isn’t it the left that’s trivializing real rape by according fake rape the same protected status? After all, if Jackie is incredibly “brave” for “coming forward” to “pull back the curtain” on something that never happened, if “gang rape” no longer requires either rape or a gang, if it is not necessary to have actually been attacked, brutalized and sexually violated in order to be a rape victim, then what’s the big deal if one has been?

Shades of 1997′s Wag the Dog, in which Dustin Hoffman’s Hollywood executive and Robert DeNiro’s Carville-esque political fixer stage a fake war in a green screen studio to salvage’s the president’s tanking poll numbers and afterwards quip:

Conrad ‘Connie’ Brean [DeNiro]: Well, if Kissinger can win the Peace Prize, I wouldn’t be surprised to wake up and find out I’d won the Preakness.

Stanley Motss [Hoffman]: Well, yes but, our guy DID bring peace.

Conrad ‘Connie’ Brean: Yeah, but there wasn’t a war.

Stanley Motss: All the greater accomplishment.

But then, considering how much stuff the left made up throughout the 20th century to advance their cause, why shouldn’t the new millennium begin in exactly the same fashion? Or to put it another way, “When The Legend Becomes Fact, Print The Legend.”

Related: “Lynched effigies reportedly discovered at UC Berkeley [photos].”

Flashback: “Scared America: 8 Crises and Collective Panics of the 1970s.”

Communist Propaganda Writ Small

December 13th, 2014 - 10:40 am

Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.

—Theodore Dalrymple, as quoted by Mark Steyn yesterday in the wake of Rolling Stone’s meltdown over its collapsing University of Virginia rape story. Along a similar line, Ann Althouse spots a New York Times columnist on Thursday drafting a column which posits, “What if every kid on every college campus was given new language — a phrase whose meaning could not be mistaken, that signaled peril for both sides, that might be more easily uttered?”

A doubleplus good rip off of George Orwell’s “Newspeak,” Althouse notes, the dumbed-down, Soviet and Nazi-inspired socialist proto-PC language spoken by the Inner and Outer Party controlling England in 1984:

His sexual life, for example, was entirely regulated by the two Newspeak words sexcrime (sexual immorality) and goodsex (chastity). Sexcrime covered all sexual misdeeds whatever. It covered fornication, adultery, homosexuality and other perversions, and, in addition, normal intercourse practised for its own sake. There was no need to enumerate them separately, since they were all equally culpable, and, in principle, all punishable by death. In the C vocabulary, which consisted of scientific and technical words, it might be necessary to give specialised names to certain sexual aberrations, but the ordinary citizen had no need of them. He knew what was meant by goodsex— that is to say, normal intercourse between man and wife, for the sole purpose of begetting children, and without physical pleasure on the part of the woman: all else was sexcrime. In Newspeak it was seldom possible to follow a heretical thought further than the perception that it was heretical: beyond that point the necessary words were non-existent.

Yet another reminder that consciously or otherwise, the left views 1984 as a how-to guide, and not Orwell’s warning of wear socialism invariably leads.

Related: “‘I could cry right now’: Al Sharpton’s DC protest blasted for VIP section, threats to call security.” Hey, all violent socialist revolutions end with an Outer Party performing all the actual manual labor and an Inner Party reaping their spoils — why would Al’s be the exception?

‘Even If She Made Up The Story…’

December 12th, 2014 - 2:11 pm

So what if innocent men go to jail or have their reputations ruined, right? The important thing is “raising awareness.” Truth? Who cares about that?! Or as the University of Virginia’s Cavalier Daily student newspaper reports, “Student-produced video thanks Jackie for ‘pulling back the curtain’ on rape:”

Atthar Mirza and Elizabeth Ballou — second and third-year College students, respectively — released a self-made video Thursday evening thanking Jackie for telling her story and offering support for sexual assault survivors in the University community.

* * * * * * * * * * *

“I felt people were fixating on the details and quality of Rolling Stone reporting, and the fact is, whatever happened, something happened to Jackie,” Mirza said. “And even if she made up the story, things like this do happen, and there are sexual assaults that don’t get reported, so I meant to bring the focus back to Jackie. Whatever comes of this, we’re still behind her and we still think she did something brave by coming forward.”

Mirza produced the video himself using Adobe After Effects software. Ballou edited the script and provided the voice-over for the short piece. The pair met after receiving prizes for a contest held last month commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall.

“We were eating brunch at Pigeon Hole, talking about projects we were both working on, and Rolling Stone came up because I was very angry about the Rolling Stone retraction,” Ballou said. “He said he was doing a video and asked if I wanted to look at the text and do the voice over. We met up in the media lab and I looked over the text and changed some things, and went into the recording booth and voiced.”

Beyond its echoes of the New York Times dismissing Dan Rather’s lying in 2004 as “fake but accurate,” the “Even if she made up the story” line also rhymes eerily with the story of an earlier young fabricator who was manipulated to advance Social[ist] Justice. “Sharpton acknowledged to me early on that ‘The [Tawana Brawley] story do sound like bull—t, but it don’t matter. We’re building a movement.”

In the Washington Examiner, Ashe Schow writes, “We now live in a society where the search for the truth — things like facts and evidence and true investigation — is labeled as victim-blaming and an impediment to justice:”

A society where an accuser’s word — and sometimes, a university’s made-up version of the accuser’s word — becomes gospel, and evidence provided by the accused is ignored. A society where false statistics are repeated and those who disagree are disparaged as “rape apologists.”

The conversation has become so dishonest and hysterical that policies being crafted are rewarding punishment over truth. Until common sense takes over, we are going to see a lurch toward advocacy over facts, where police and the media need to condemn anyone accused of sexual assault without any evidence.

But it has a great upside at the ballot box. And apparently the left isn’t too concerned about the environmental impact of burning huge strawmen in the process:

Update: Rolling Stone “journalist” Sabrina Erdely “Was Once Disciplined By Stephen Glass For Fabrication,” Sean Davis writes today in the Federalist.

Tom Wolfe, Malcolm Muggeridge, call your office — yet another absurd moment no satirist could make up. “But if you can, you might want to send your resume to Rolling Stone,” Davis adds.

Shattered Glass, Then and Now

December 11th, 2014 - 12:39 pm

“Too many reporters have ‘Jackies’ — politicians and causes they trust uncritically no matter what,” Mollie Hemingway writes at the Federalist, with her take on what increasingly looks like Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s media fabulism in Rolling Stone magazine, and how it bears a strong resemblance to the earlier fabulism of the New Republic’s infamous Stephen Glass from the 1990s:

Stephen Glass was a journalist at The New Republic who made up stories, or significant parts of them. Three dozen of the 41 stories he wrote for The New Republic were said to be fabricated in part or in whole, along with articles for George and Rolling Stone.

I knew Stephen Glass was full of it in 1997 after I read his absolutely incredible story about all the sex and crazy partying done by young Republicans at a conservative gathering called CPAC. I had been at enough conservative functions — including that one — to know that they would have been a heck of a lot more interesting if they focused on sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. But in the fever dreams of Stephen Glass, they did. Here are the opening two paragraphs of the very detailed story that, it later turned out, nobody could verify:

On the fourth floor of Washington’s Omni Shoreham Hotel, eight young men sit facing each other on the edge of a pair of beds. They are all 20 or 21 and are enrolled in Midwestern colleges. Each is wearing a white or blue shirt with the top button unfastened, and each has his striped tie loosened. One of the young men, an Ohioan, is wearing a green and white button that reads: “Save the Males.” The minibar is open and empty little bottles of booze are scattered on the carpet. On the bed, a Gideon Bible, used earlier in the night to resolve an argument, is open to Exodus. In the bathroom, the tub is filled with ice and the remnants of three cases of Coors Light. The young men pass around a joint, counterclockwise…

Over the next hour, in a haze of beer and pot, and in between rantings about feminists, gays and political correctness, the young men hatch a plan. Seth, a meaty quarterback from a small college in Indiana, and two others will drive to a local bar. There, the three will choose the ugliest and loneliest woman they can find. “Get us a real heifer, the fatter the better, bad acne would be a bonus,” Michael shouts. He is so drunk he doesn’t know he is shouting. Seth will lure the victim, whom they call a “whale,” back to the hotel room. The five who stay behind will hide under the beds. After Seth undresses the whale, the five will jump out and shout, “We’re beaching! Whale spotted!” They will take a photograph of the unfortunate woman.

So we have eight conservative men — first names only, thank you! — who participate in a gang sexual assault after drinking beer and smoking a joint. Where have I heard this story beforesince?

Heh. As Allahpundit quipped yesterday at Hot Air, “Trust no Penn graduates from the class of 1994,” in his post titled, “Devastating: WaPo report strongly suggests Jackie made up the UVA rape story whole cloth,” he linked to the Rosetta Stone of fabulists — Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s profile of Glass and the 2003 biopic of his downfall, Shattered Glass, for her University of Pennsylvania student newspaper.

And keep reading Hemingway’s article for yet another coincidence, albeit one likely not intended by Erdely — plenty of shattered glass appears in her Rolling Stone profile of “Jackie,” which led to the beginnings of the story’s unraveling.

Related: Glenn Reynolds adds:

I’d also like to know how much coordination there was among folks at UVA — Emily Renda worked in UVA President Teresa Sullivan’s office, and on the White House “It’s On Us” campus rape group, and I believe was the one who told Erdely about Jackie’s case — and Rolling Stone, and the White House, and Sens. Gillibrand and McCaskill. Perhaps someone will ask them, or submit a FOIA request to the White House and a state FOIA to President Sullivan’s office. Conveniently, McCaskill and Gillibrand aren’t subject to FOIA, but that doesn’t stop intrepid reporters from asking them.

I’d also be interested in hearing from reporters themselves: Was the White House pushing this story?

Yes, I’d like to hear from all the president’s stenographers as well.

Empty Integrity: The New Morality

December 7th, 2014 - 2:07 pm

How is it going to work out for us all?, Jonah Goldberg asked last month in National Review on Dead Tree:

According to Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the death of God and the coming of the übermensch was going to require the new kind of inner-directed hero to become his own god. As a result, anything society did to inconvenience the heroic individual was morally suspect, a backdoor attempt by The Man to impose conformity. This is pretty much exactly what Robin Williams teaches in Dead Poets Society. But that ethos has traveled a long way from Mork. When Barack Obama was asked by a minister to define “sin,” he confidently answered that “sin” just means being “out of alignment with my values.” Taken literally, this would mean that Hannibal Lecter is being sinful when he abstains from human flesh in favor of a Waldorf salad. As you can see, when you take the modern definition of integrity all the way to the horizon, suddenly “integrity” can be understood only as a firm commitment to one’s own principles — because one’s own principles are the only legitimate principles. Heck, if you are a god, then doing what you want is God’s will.

How’s this new morality going to work out for us all? I’m reminded of the time when an entrepreneur announced he was going to release a new line of beer laced with Viagra. Some wag immediately quipped, “What could possibly go wrong?” Which is pretty much where we are today. It’s impossible to predict what Integrity 2.0 will yield — because no society in the history of Western civilization has so energetically and deliberately torn down its classical ideal and replaced it with do-it-yourself morality. But a betting man would probably wager that this won’t end well.

I suspect that before long we’ll be pining for the good old days, when, no matter how often people failed to uphold the standards of integrity, those standards actually meant something.

Or to put the above into visual terms:

Related: “Re-read that last sentence. It was written by a senior campus journalist, someone in training now to become a professional journalist. And she doesn’t think facts are of primary importance in the narrative. Only what is useful to the cause, it would appear.”

Is Our Children Learning?

December 7th, 2014 - 11:02 am

“Ultimately, though, from where I sit in Charlottesville, to let fact checking define the narrative would be a huge mistake.”

—Julia Horowitz, “assistant managing editor at The Cavalier Daily, the University of Virginia’s student newspaper,” writing in the Politico, in a piece titled “Why We Believed Jackie’s Rape Story.”

As Dave Huber of the College Fix writes, “Horowitz — in one sentence — demonstrated what is so wrong with contemporary journalism.”

But there are plenty of Democrat operatives with bylines journalists at the Politico who in their heart of hearts absolutely concur with her.

And one more for the “Is Our Children Learning?” files:

In accordance with these procedures and policy, students who feel that their performance on examinations will be sufficiently impaired due to the effects of these recent events may petition Dean Alice Rigas to have an examination rescheduled.

“Columbia Law School is permitting students claiming to be impaired due to the emotional impact of recent non-indictments in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner matters to postpone taking their final exams,” Paul Mirengoff writes at Power Line. 

No word yet if fainting couches for the overly vaporous will also be supplied.

Given that today is December 7th, it’s worth nothing that while we’re separated by nearly 75 years from Pearl Harbor, an attack that killed or wounded 3500 men, many of whom were about the age of the average college student, but that culture might as well have existed on another planet.

Update: “Rush Limbaugh: For too many in the media and in politics, ‘the truth is relative.’”

The MSM Gang-Raped the Truth This Week

December 6th, 2014 - 1:23 pm

The MSM rarely acquits itself well on its best days, but this week it seemed like a particularly huge implosion by the legacy media. First up, in order to advance the narrative, and get a little payback for their bosses’ shellacking in the midterms, the media had a collective frenzy over a little-known Republican operative’s Facebook page post on the decorum of the semi-retired president’s daughters. This despite the media’s own previous obsession over GWB’s daughters. (For the MSM, mankind’s collective history now begins on January 20, 2009.)

On Wednesday, Big Journalism’s John Nolte poked massive, potentially fatal holes in Time-Warner-CNN-HBO-employed actress Lena Dunham’s claim, as written in her autobiography, that she was raped at Oberlin. We’ll come back to that in a moment.

This was followed on Thursday by “Facebook Prince” Chris Hughes blowing up the venerable leftwing but usually semi-sane New Republic, and re-purposing it as another BuzzFeed/Vox /click-bait Website, resulting in almost the entire TNR senior staff resigning en masse. As Stacy McCain’s co-blogger Smitty quips, “This is another suck-is-the-new-cool call from the manor house down to the the peasants working the fields. Dig it, lackeys.”

But the real fireworks occurred yesterday, involving Rolling Stone, Jann Wenner’s almost-equally venerable ripoff of AARP Magazine. (Wait, it may be the other way around. I find the two magazines virtually interchangeable, at least based on who’s on their covers.)

As John Hinderaker wrote yesterday at Power Line on the Dunham and Rolling Stone fiascos, It’s been “A Bad Week for Rape Culture”:

The author of the article, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, now says that it doesn’t matter so much whether “Jackie’s” story was really true. (This is a common theme among liberals these days.) The real point of the article, she says, is that the University of Virginia didn’t respond forcefully enough to the incident. But this is a transparent bait and switch. The university’s reaction was inadequate only if the story was true. If it was false, then the university over-reacted, for example by closing down the entire fraternity system. (As William S. Burroughs said in a different context, “After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it.”) There are no valid lessons to be drawn from a lie.

Then we have the case of the appalling Lena Dunham. If you have no idea who she is, you are lucky. But she wrote an autobiographical memoir (at age 28, much like her idol Barack Obama, for whom she filmed a commercial in 2012) titled Not That Kind of Girl. (It’s none of my business, but since she brought it up, she does appear to be that kind of girl.) In her book, she claimed to have been “raped by a Republican” when she was a student at Oberlin. The party designation, for her, was obviously of the essence. She described her purported rapist as a fellow Oberlin student named Barry, who was a prominent Republican on campus, had a radio show and wore a mustache.

As Hinderaker notes, there is indeed a man named Barry who went to Oberlin, sans mustache and radio show. “I agree with Eugene Volokh that Barry has a good libel case against Dunham, should he choose to bring it,” he adds.

But back to Rolling Stone and the University of Virginia. As Chris Bray of the Daily Caller writes, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the story’s author, was “rape shopping,” perhaps the ultimate example of a “journalist” starting with a sensational narrative she wanted to trumpet in a big glossy national publication, and then finding the facts to support it, and failing that, pushing the truth through the Play-Dough Fun Factory to produce the desired outcome:

[Erdely was] going from campus to campus auditioning rape victims, contacting advocacy groups and asking for introductions. But the rapes she found at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Penn didn’t have the right narrative feel. They were just rapes, and she needed a cover-worthy rape. So she kept shopping until she found someone who would tell her a version of the story she had already decided to tell. She needed a big rape — something splashy, something with wild details and a frat house. She needed a rape that would go viral. You can’t do that with just some regular boring rape.

Bray concludes:

Meanwhile, real problems go unreported, because boooooring. Look again at how casual the discard pile is: “She talked to people at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. None of those schools felt quite right.”

Get better rapes, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Penn. Let’s face it: For magazine journalism, yours just aren’t colorful enough.

Jonah Goldberg of National Review took particular heat for his column, which first ran on Tuesday in the L.A. Times, for doubting the veracity of Erdely’s Rolling Stone article. In his G-File yesterday, written before Rolling Stone walked the story back, he responded to one of his critics at the L.A. Times:

First of all, we aren’t talking about “a rape allegation” we are talking about this rape allegation. Crandall is simply wrong to say I can’t “appreciate the very real fear of being chastised for reporting a rape.” Her mind-reading skills notwithstanding, I can testify here and now that I can. What Crandall and countless others, including Sabrina Erdely, her editors, and their defenders can’t appreciate is that as onerous as the stigma on rape victims may or may not be, the stigma against rapists is worse.

No, really, it’s true. There’s a well-documented tendency for known or suspected — and especially convicted — rapists to be stigmatized. They’re shunned by polite society. They have trouble finding work. They often have to register as sex offenders and — oh yeah — they very often are sent to jail for very long periods of time. And this is as it should be.

But this fact is also why I am deeply skeptical of the story. Most of the UVA students I’ve met — and I’ve met a lot — are the sorts of kids who worry a lot about their permanent records. That makes sense; UVA is a truly great school with an impressive academic culture. And so while I can certainly believe sexual assaults and rapes happen there — drunk and sober — I simply cannot believe that nine men sat around soberly and plotted a brutal gang rape that would land them all in jail for decades — never mind hinder their chances of working at Goldman Sachs! At least not as presented in Erdely’s story. Indeed, it wouldn’t just be nine men, because you can’t keep such plans a secret in a fraternity when the rape is an initiation ritual. You need to make sure all of the kids are down with committing a heinous felony. You need to make sure they all know where to wait to commit the deed. And you need to make sure no one blabs to that one guy who isn’t totally and completely down with “rape culture.” That requires conversations, lots of conversations. And lots of conversations make secrets hard to keep.

What baffles and infuriates me is that I am supposed to be pro-rape and a rape apologist because I want to get to the truth. If this story is true, these men (and, frankly, the dean) should go to jail. The whole fraternity should be prosecuted for running a criminal enterprise. Honestly, as a matter of justice I’d have no problem seeing Drew hang. Meanwhile the heroic enemies of rape and rape culture are outraged that anyone would want these men exposed and brought to justice. That’s bananas.

I understand why most of the debate in the press about the Rolling Stone piece is about journalistic ethics. That’s fine. But my complaint isn’t that she didn’t talk to the alleged rapists. My complaint — or at least my claim — is that the story isn’t true. The fact she didn’t get quotes from the alleged rapists isn’t Erdely’s crime, it’s evidence of it.

The left (sorry, I can’t call it “liberal,” and there’s nothing “Progressive” anymore about this century-old ideology) has a strange and exceedingly toxic push-pull dynamic to it. Those with keyboards and a byline have long ago exited the journalism profession, to transform themselves into “Social Justice Warriors.” Everything is a toxic hotbed of racism and sexism, from Hollywood to video games. College campuses, despite being the most left-leaning places in America outside of Bernie Sanders’ living room, are, from the SJW perspective, concentration camp-level rape factories. And if you don’t believe them, your brain is suffering from a false consciousness and needs to be “trained in a different way,” as the original Marxists first started claiming over a century ago.

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A series of articles chart the latest news from the frontlines in the war of the sexes. First up, from late last month, Bob Tyrrell, the founder of the American Spectator, writes, “So this is how the Sexual Revolution is ending:”

It is not ending with the Sexual Utopians of yesteryear shouting “Oh Joy” and extolling the therapeutic orgasm, which was to bring happiness to Americans from every walk of life. It is ending with gangs of angry women—some well into their seventies, some with grandchildren—recalling sexual assaults that allegedly took place up to half a century ago. They are aggrieved. They are angry. Some still burst into tears. And their alleged assailant, in this case the avuncular 77-year-old Bill Cosby, is pictured on the front page of the Washington Post in sullen denial.

Also on the front page of the Post is more evidence of the Sexual Revolution’s unanticipated expiry. The University of Virginia is suspending all fraternities, even sororities, because of libidinous excess among its students. Specifically a gang rape is supposed to have taken place two years ago in the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house. The university did not respond in any way. Apparently this is the way the university has responded to charges of sexual assault for decades. A middle-aged woman is quoted as saying that she was assaulted on campus in the early 1980s but did not bother to bring the incident to the university’s attention. The university’s lack of concern for such complaints was widely known even then.

Two stories of sexual assault, one relating the alleged assaults committed by a Hollywood icon at the dawn of the Sexual Revolution, the other relating a tale of alleged rape that was perpetrated two years ago, both in different stories on a major newspaper’s front page—I submit the Sexual Revolution is dead. Yet what will replace it? The Sexual Utopians’ beliefs are still around. Their promises of sexual hygiene, libidinous bliss, and, of course, their claptrap about the citizenry’s right to sexual satisfaction is enshrined in every sex ed curriculum in the country. Thus in early high school or perhaps even grammar school you have the harmless innocence of sex being taught, along with birth control cleanliness. Yet by the time a student gets to college the harmless innocence of sex has turned grisly: there are lectures on sexual harassment and there is rape counseling. Suddenly, sex is no fun. Possibly it is even unhealthy.

Could it be that the Sexual Utopians were wrong all along? Could it be that morality plays a role in sex? The male sex drive is usually aggressive and needs to be tempered. The female sex drive exists, but she has a right to say no, to change the subject, even to enjoy sex in a moral setting, for instance in marriage.

If, as Tyrrell speculates, the sexual revolution is over, perhaps it’s time, as Milo Yiannopoulos writes at Breitbart London for “The Sexodus” to begin, with “The Men Giving Up On Women And Checking Out Of Society:”

Never before in history have relations between the sexes been so fraught with anxiety, animosity and misunderstanding. To radical feminists, who have been the driving force behind many tectonic societal shifts in recent decades, that’s a sign of success: they want to tear down the institutions and power structures that underpin society, never mind the fall-out. Nihilistic destruction is part of their road map.

But, for the rest of us, the sight of society breaking down, and ordinary men and women being driven into separate but equal misery, thanks to a small but highly organised group of agitators, is distressing. Particularly because, as increasing numbers of social observers are noticing, an entire generation of young people—mostly men—are being left behind in the wreckage of this social engineering project.

Social commentators, journalists, academics, scientists and young men themselves have all spotted the trend: among men of about 15 to 30 years old, ever-increasing numbers are checking out of society altogether, giving up on women, sex and relationships and retreating into pornography, sexual fetishes, chemical addictions, video games and, in some cases, boorish lad culture, all of which insulate them from a hostile, debilitating social environment created, some argue, by the modern feminist movement.

You can hardly blame them. Cruelly derided as man-children and crybabies for objecting to absurdly unfair conditions in college, bars, clubs and beyond, men are damned if they do and damned if they don’t: ridiculed as basement-dwellers for avoiding aggressive, demanding women with unrealistic expectations, or called rapists and misogynists merely for expressing sexual interest.

How bad is it for today’s men? Yesterday, PJM’s own Dr. Helen spotted an expectant Washington State mother asking in a recent Seattle Weekly column, “A daughter would need to know how to protect herself from sexism and fight injustice. But a son does not require this protection, and his privilege allows him to ignore injustice—or think that he can ignore it. But sexism is still a threat to him, in that he could very well become a perpetrator of it.”

His mother-to-be is pondering all this while her future son is still in the womb. As Dr. Helen responds, the author is “already pre-judging her unborn child and has him pegged as a potential perp before he is even born — and she thinks it is girls who suffer from sexism:”

Hopefully, this woman will at least be narcissistic enough to protect her son from the more likely cases where injustice will be brought against him by a misandric society that sees men and boys as disposable, but that might be asking too much from a woman who hates men and baby boys as much as she seems to. His start in life is to a woman who already harbors hatred of his sex. How will this affect him as he goes through life? How many thousands or millions of young boys have dealt with the same hatred or are dealing with the same psychological and cultural bias against them in this society? Probably a lot.

How much pain and angst has been brought to men and boys because of hatred and bias like this from women who dislike them? Thirty-thousand men commit suicide a year; maybe women like the author mentioned are one of the reasons boys see themselves and their sex as disposable. Why does this woman want to add fuel to the fire? What if her harboring sexism causes him to think something is wrong with him his whole life and causes depression because she is the sexist jerk?

Meanwhile, as Bruce Thorton of Hoover Institute in Stanford writes, “California recently passed a law requiring that sexual encounters between students in universities and colleges can proceed only on the basis of ‘affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement.’ Failure to resist or to ask the partner to stop the encounter can no longer be taken as consent. Institutions that wish to receive state funds or financial aid must adhere to this standard when investigating charges of ‘sexual assault,’ a phrase redefined to include behaviors once considered boorish or insensitive, but not legally actionable.”

All of which has led Thorton to declare “The End of Feminism:”

Faced with the costs of sexual liberation, contemporary feminism has betrayed its devotion to personal freedom and equality, choosing instead to demand that the state use its coercive power to protect women not just from insensitive men, but from the consequences of their own choices. Sexual harassment law is the most widespread expression of this impulse to use the tutelary state to defend women from a “hostile and intimidating” environment. The vulgar joke or boorish innuendo is now not just a violation of social decorum, but a crime subject to law and punishment.

But nothing infantilizes women more than the sexual codes promulgated by numerous universities. Obviously, sexual assault properly defined is a crime that should be investigated and the guilty punished. But getting drunk and then sleeping with an equally intoxicated partner is not a crime. It’s a learning experience about taking responsibility for one’s actions, and practicing the virtues of prudence and self-control.

By criminalizing young adults’ complicated sexual experiences, feminism is betraying its original call for sexual equality and autonomy by making women perpetual victims too weak to be held responsible for their choices, and too incapable of painfully learning from their mistakes and thus developing their characters. At the same time that feminists still call for unlimited sexual freedom, they treat women as Victorian maidens who lack agency and resources of character, and thus must be defended against sexual cads and bounders. As the Manhattan Institute’s Heather MacDonald puts it, this “new order is a bizarre hybrid of liberationist and traditionalist values. It carefully preserves the prerogative of no-strings-attached sex while cabining it with legalistic caveats that allow females to revert at will to a stance of offended virtue.”

Incidentally, to return to the first piece we linked, atop Tyrrell’s article is a recent photo of a now-elderly Cosby and Hefner hanging around the Playboy mansion. Today, the London Daily Mail flashes back to the women that surrounded both men during their swinging younger days, and one of the casualties of the era of “free love.” “Passed around by Bill Cosby, Hugh Hefner and dozens of Hollywood honchos — this is the [November 1968] Playboy Playmate of the Month who felt so used and abused by the most powerful leading men she took a gun and shot herself in the head” in 1974, at the age of 30.

Tyrrell’s article is titled “The Joy of Sex is Over.” As Kathy Shaidle recently quipped, noting that the original illustrations for that epochal 1972 smash bestseller are currently on display in London, “How many people were turned off sex by those pictures of hairy, humping hippies, that’s what I want to know.”

Heh. Yet another cautionary tale embraced by far too many as a how-to guide. But then, all of these recent articles are yet more reminders that as fun as a wild evening in the Weimar Republic can be, the hangover is a nightmare — and may only get worse in the years to come.

“‘Like Holocaust Denialism’: Slate Writer Slams Breitbart Over Dunham Investigative Piece,” John Nolte writes at Big Journalism:

Slate writer Amanda Marcotte ripped into Breitbart News over an investigative piece published Thursday that calls into question Lena Dunham’s story of being raped as a 19 year-old by a campus Republican named Barry.

Responding to a tweet from Bloomberg Politics’ Dave Weigel that linked the story, Marcotte tweeted back, “It’s really time for people to understand that rape denialism is like Holocaust denialism: Broad refusal to accept reality.”

As Nolte notes in his original column (read the whole thing), which caused Marcotte’s rant:

For weeks, and to no avail, using phone and email and online searches, Breitbart News was able to verify just one of these details. Like everyone else interested, we immediately found that there indeed was a prominent Republican named Barry who attended Oberlin at the time in question.

Whatever her motives, Dunham is pointing her powerful finger at this man. But as you will read in the details below, the facts do not point back at him. Not even close. This man is by all accounts (including his own) innocent.

In the comments to his link to Nolte’s response at Instapundit, one of Glenn Reynolds’ readers correctly notes, “Rape IS a heinous offense. But so is accusing an innocent person of rape. And the horror of the first crime does not excuse the commission of the second.” Another proposes a new rule: “Anyone who uses the term ‘denier’ is subject to Godwin’s Law.”

Which dovetails well with Iowahawk’s famous quip earlier this year, “If I understand college administrators correctly, colleges are hotbeds of racism and rape that everyone should be able to attend.”

And Slate’s parent company concurs, despite the Holocaust-level horrors happening every day (just ask Rolling Stone) on these alleged modern-day equivalents of concentration camps.  Slate.com is owned by the Graham Holdings Company, which is the vestigial business created when the Graham family sold the Washington Post to Jeff Bezos last year. In addition to Slate, its chief remaining business is Kaplan, Inc., which, as Wikipedia notes, “provides higher education programs, professional training courses, test preparation materials and other services for various levels of education.” I wonder if they realize how badly the end service they represent — higher education — is being trashed by a spokesperson for one of their sister companies.

And as Kevin Williamson writes today on  “Tribal Affiliation: Cops vs. Teachers,” at NRO, “If you think that it’s a coincidence that so many campus hate-crime hoaxes — including rape-related hoaxes — are targeted at conservatives, or at such purportedly anti-progressive institutions as fraternities, you are not paying attention.”

Of course, today’s culture sometimes puts the revered classics of the past into a sharp new perspective:

I wonder if Turner Classic Movies will have one of their hosts add a warning before that movie begins next time it’s shown on that channel, given that TCM is a division of Time-Warner-CNN-HBO, which also employs Ms. Dunham.

And finally, speaking of the college campus as concentration camp:

And when it comes to the real Holocaust, the kids today entering college certainly need it:

In the 1930s, the famous radio character The Shadow certainly knew, but he had nothing on the psychic ability of today’s leftists, Noemie Emery writes in the Washington Examiner:

The row between Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates and Sgt. James Crowley began when Gates assigned thoughts to Crowley he hadn’t actually been thinking. And in similar fashion, it was only a matter of time after Michael Brown was shot by former Ferguson police officer Darrell Wilson that the literati took it upon themselves to determine what Wilson was thinking and why.

Like The Shadow, the liberals peered into Wilson’s brain and found there a mare’s nest of racist invective, based on his testimony that the 290-pound Brown displayed anger that verged on demonic and displayed an indifference to danger and pain.

What it really reflects is the conduct of some people when they are on drugs — such as the naked 135-pound white college student who was shot and killed in 2012 by a black policeman in Mobile, Ala. The officer in that case found the student’s behavior threatening in spite of his being both unarmed and naked. A grand jury agreed and declined to indict him, much like in Ferguson. If that student was a victim of anti-white bias, no blogger has noticed.

We live in interesting times, don’t we? The first black president, the first black senator from a southern state since the Reconstruction era, and two Indian-American governors were all elected in the last six years, along with numerous other politicians are aren’t people of pallor, and yet vast swatches of the MSM and academia are absolutely convinced that America has never before been such a seething hotbed of racism.

In the 1950s, the media had a somewhat paternal tone, looking to advance postwar American culture by advancing a subtly educational middlebrow style. Today, the MSM and academia simply despises its customers. Where does a nation go next when its elites are so contemptuous of the rest of society?

So what causes so many on the left to hold such a corrosive worldview? Who is likely to have it? This 2010 post by the Anchoress proffers a few suggestions.

Quotes of the Day

November 30th, 2014 - 5:01 pm

 


Related: Jerry Pournelle on  “Civilizing Barbarians.”

Reading, Writing, and Rioting

November 26th, 2014 - 11:51 am

Oh, that higher education bubble:

Forward! “We are living in 1937, and our universities, I suggest, are not half-way out of the fifteenth century. We have made hardly any changes in our conception of university organization, education, graduation, for a century — for several centuries,” H. G. Wells is reported to have said.

I assume he’d approve of the “progress” universities have made in the decades since, right?

Not the Onion, apparently. Actually, it’s from the Campus Reform education blog:

Senior Oliver Friedfeld and his roommate were held at gunpoint and mugged recently. However, the GU student isn’t upset. In fact he says he “can hardly blame [his muggers].”

“Not once did I consider our attackers to be ‘bad people.’ I trust that they weren’t trying to hurt me. In fact, if they knew me, I bet they’d think I was okay,” wrote Friedfeld in an editorial featured in The Hoya, the university’s newspaper. “The fact that these two kids, who appeared younger than I, have even had to entertain these questions suggests their universes are light years away from mine.”

Friedfeld claims it is the pronounced inequality gap in Washington, D.C. that has fueled these types of crimes. He also says that as a middle-class man, he does not have the right to judge his muggers.

“Who am I to stand from my perch of privilege, surrounded by million-dollar homes and paying for a $60,000 education, to condemn these young men as ‘thugs?’” asks Friedfeld. “It’s precisely this kind of ‘otherization’ that fuels the problem.”

Who are you? Well, you’re an inadvertent clone of Robert Fisk, the leftwing British journalist and namesake of the popular Blogosphere technique of fisking, who famously wrote after being attacked while covering the war in Afghanistan in late 2001, “My Beating is a Symbol of this Filthy War.” Fisk added, “In fact, if I were the Afghan refugees of Kila Abdullah, close to the Afghan-Pakistan border, I would have done just the same to Robert Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find.” Or shorter Fisk: “I totally had it coming.”

Not mention the second coming of a zillion effete doctrinaire Manhattan liberals from the bad old days of the 1970s. Or as Jonah Goldberg noted in his August G-File on “Ferguson Agonistes”:

I grew up in New York City in the 1970s, when race riots were a thing — though not as much of a thing as they were in the 1960s. And that’s part of the problem. In the 1960s, you could see the point of race riots (though less so in the North where they were quite common). But by the 1970s, liberals had incorporated race riots into their mythology as noble “happenings” even though the romance of rebellion had lost its plausibility. And by the 1980s, tragedy had been fully swamped by farce. It is an axiomatic truth going back to Socrates: Nothing can be wholly noble if Al Sharpton is involved. Nonetheless, it was amazing to watch New York liberals act like battered spouses as they tried to explain why blacks are right to loot while at the same time they shouldn’t do it.

To mash-up George Santayana and Irving Kristol, a leftist is someone who refuses to learn from history, and is thus doomed to get mugged by it, but refuses to press charges afterwards.

QED:

Related: MSNBC analyst finds the word “charging” to be — wait for it! — “‘racially-tinged’ and ‘offensive.’”

“How it is that we once again find ourselves rooting out sin, shunning heretics, and heralding the end times,” asks Joseph Bottum in the Weekly Standard, exploring “The Spiritual Shape of Political Ideas:”

Just as, for Paul in Romans, “the law entered, that the offence might abound,” so our awareness of our own racism massively increases when we realize that we are utterly formed as racists in America. And just as, for Paul, “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound,” so it is that only from this overwhelming awareness of racism can we hope to escape racism.

The doctrine of original sin is probably incoherent, and certainly gloomy, in the absence of its pairing with the concept of a divine savior—and so Paul concludes Romans 5 with a turn to the Redeemer and the possibility of hope: “As sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Think of it as a car’s engine or transmission scattered in pieces around a junkyard: The individual bits of Christian theology don’t actually work all that well when they’re broken apart from one another.

Which is why it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that an infinite sadness often haunts expressions of the white-privilege notion that we must become more aware of race in order to end the inherited sin of being aware of race. If we cannot escape it, then how can we escape it? When Prof. Jensen cries out in his chiliastic pain, “I will carry this privilege with me until the day white supremacy is erased,” he’s speaking in tones once reserved for the moral solution that only the Second Coming could provide. The strangeness of the isolated concept can be discerned in its unendingness, its never-satisfied ratchet. Discerned as well, I would suggest, in some of the disturbingly salvific terms with which President Obama’s campaign and election were first greeted.

Of course, however Christian the idea of white privilege may have been in origin, it emerged in contemporary America stripped of Christ and his church, making it available even for post- and non-Christians. For that matter, an explicit anti-Christianity is often heard alongside rejections of white privilege. At Radersma’s race conference, a fellow presenter named Paul Kivel defined white privilege as “the everyday pervasive, deep-seated and institutionalized dominance of Christian values, Christian institutions, leaders and Christians as a group, primarily for the benefit of Christian ruling elites.”

But that, too, is typical of much post-mainline moral discussion in America: the Church of Christ Without Christ, as Flannery O’Connor might have called it (to use a phrase from her 1952 novel Wise Blood). The mainline congregations may be gone as significant factors in the nation’s public life, but their collapse released a religious logic and set of spiritual anxieties that are still with us—still demanding that we see our nation and ourselves in the patterns cast by their old theological lights.

As Umberto Eco wrote in 2005, “God Isn’t Big Enough For Some People:”

It is the role of religion to provide that justification. Religions are systems of belief that enable human beings to justify their existence and which reconcile us to death. We in Europe have faced a fading of organised religion in recent years. Faith in the Christian churches has been declining.

The ideologies such as communism that promised to supplant religion have failed in spectacular and very public fashion. So we’re all still looking for something that will reconcile each of us to the inevitability of our own death.

G K Chesterton is often credited* with observing: “When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing. He believes in anything.” Whoever said it – he was right. We are supposed to live in a sceptical age. In fact, we live in an age of outrageous credulity.

And finally, as Kate quips today at Small Dead Animals, “You Clever Matchmaker, Gaia!”, spotting someone who really red-lines the phrase “outrageous credulity:”

Afton Burton left her parents’ home in Illinois at age 19 to move to California, where she could be closer to Manson, Burton said.

It was Manson’s work as an environmentalist that drew her daughter into him, according to Burton.

“He’s an environmentalist, and she’s involved in his environmentalist program,” Burton said.

Say what you will about Charles Manson, but he took the “warrior” aspect of the phrase “Social Justice Warrior,” not to mention the quasi-religious doomsday implications of that strange mindset, seriously.

* The Chesterton Society traced the complex history of this brilliant aphorism, and concluded, “we must point out the irony that critics have chastised Chesterton for misquoting other writers, while he is the most misquoted writer of all. No one would be more pleased than G.K. Chesterton.”

Related: “Professor says she can no longer give common-sense advice for fear of being accused of victim-blaming.”

More: “Funniest Paragraph of the Day, Courtesy of the NY Times:”

“Unitarian Universalism is not a theologically grounded religion,” Ms. Brock said. “If we mess up our principles and values, we don’t have a theology to fall back on. We’re not Catholic — we can’t just keep giving communion until we figure it out. If we don’t have our values figured out, our institutions become pointless bureaucracies.”

And finally, William Voegeli writes that “MSNBC Shrill Is No Accident. It’s How Liberals Really Think:”

Convinced that no intelligent, decent person could take conservatism seriously, liberals believe it is not necessary or even possible, when engaging conservative ideas, to go beyond diagnosing the psychological, moral or mental defects that cause people to espouse them. Liberals claim to understand conservatives better than they understand themselves on the basis of seeing through the cynical self-interest of conservative leaders (and funders), and the fanaticism or stupid docility of conservative followers. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, scourge of the Koch brothers, went on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show in 2010 to deny that the Tea Party movement was “a spontaneous uprising that came from nowhere.” In fact, Maddow explained, many of those attending its demonstrations “were essentially instructed to rally against things like climate change by billionaire oil tycoons.”

This condescension has always been part of the liberal outlook. In 1972, eight weeks after George McGovern suffered a historically massive defeat against Richard Nixon, film critic Pauline Kael told the professors at a Modern Language Association conference, “I know only one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”

The evil sinners are out there, I can feel them! Don’t get too close or their demonic ideas and/or cooties will rub off on you, too!

Today’s edition of Ed Driscoll.com is brought to you by the word “Man-spreading.” Or as Rich Cromwell writes at the Federalist, “The Rabid Equality Crowd Finally Outright Admits They Hate Testicles:”

They’re not called the family jewels because they are ordinary. They’re not referred to as stones because they’re impervious to injury. No, they are both extraordinary and surprisingly fragile. So, sorry notsorry if we give them some breathing room when we sit, if we don’t smash them betwixt our legs on public transit. But as the horizon of “male privilege” is constantly expanding, giving the old wedding tackle ample space is now a crime against humanity.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) announced on Monday that a new campaign addressing courtesy on public transportation will come into effect by January. One of the targeted behaviors is ‘man-spreading’ — the act of spreading one’s legs so far apart that other passengers are forced to squish their own together.

Or, if you prefer a more nuanced description, one of the most infuriating and outright ridiculous display of male privilege and machismo in existence today. As Mic’s Derrick Clifton succinctly put it, ‘Hey, bro, you’re not that well-endowed.’

Maybe. You don’t know.

Granted, I don’t use public transit. I luxuriate in a nicely padded captain’s chair without panhandlers and formidable smells. If I lived in a dense urban area, I would likely take advantage of the added reading time that public transit offers. For now, though, I don’t have that option, so I crank the tunes and spread my legs far and wide. But as a member in good standing of the patriarchy, I have to stand up for my brethren who live in constant fear of oppression.

Not the least of which being this fellow, who’s rather well-known for capping off his eight years in office by man-spreading on the cover of a well-known men’s magazine:

bill_clinton_esquire_11-21-14-1

Stacy McCain describes the sort of person who’s a Socialist Justice Warrior obsessed with ending “man-spreading” as being one of the “Nowhere People:”

It’s important to remember that, although these people exist in real life — that is to say, there are actual human beings running those batshit crazy troll accounts — they are as altogether artificial in their politics as they are in their online personas. They themselves have never done a goddamned thing for “social justice.” They simply enjoy mouthing these slogans about “oppression” and “patriarchy,” etc., because posing as Our Moral Superiors is an emotional compensation for their own obscurity and worthlessness.

They are the Nowhere People — rootless, without loyalty to family, community or religious tradition, and thus “free” to create for themselves imagined identities and idiosyncratic belief systems. Although they usually think of themselves as unique individuals, they are really sheep in a herd, predictable and therefore ultimately boring. Any politics, as long as it’s not conservative politics; any religion as long as it’s not Christian religion; any sexuality as long as it’s not normal sexuality. One notices that the Nowhere People are seldom husbands and wives, fathers and mothers. Idle narcissism is incompatible with the dutiful commitments of marriage and motherhood.

Related:


Hey, those six figure salaries that college professors earn for classes on lesbian deconstructionist poetry aren’t going to pay for themselves, you know.