Sunday, April 15, 2007

PUT UP YOUR DUKES AGAIN

The Duke rape case has been tossed. I Posted previously on this and I’m going to reprint most of the Post I wrote when it first came up. Then I’ll add my current comments after that.

(1st Post: Put Up Your Dukes)

Michael Donnelly outlines the Duke lacrosse (non-)rape case in “Injustice in Black and White” (www.counterpunch.com/donnelly12302006.html). What he describes is a classic example of very bad things, done in a very worthwhile cause, solidifying into a Standard Operating Procedure, and indeed erected into a Plan. And thus taking us into the dark territory (yes, Mr. Cheney’s “dark side”) of things Soviet, which decent folks figured had been buried in 1991 along with the Soviet state itself. And this is the key reason why it’s commented upon here: we’re dealing with something very clearly representing Soviet praxis, and – as noted elsewhere on this site – it was present at the creation of the Iraq invasion (a mission, the White House asserts, whose success has simply not yet actualized).

The DA in the case had said to the newspapers early on “One would wonder why one needs an attorney if one was not charged and had not done anything wrong”. The answer of course, is that by the Year of Grace 2006 it had become clear to any number of defense-attorneys that any male even distantly associated with a ‘sex-offense’ already had one extremity in the sausage machine that has become sex-offense ‘justice’. No defense-attorney in his or her right mind, even before formally being retained and simply asked for advice, could advise any one in such a position to just go down to the station and have a chat with the folks down there.

Nor – as Donnelly accurately notes – were the defendants mediagenically ‘sympathetic’; indeed they were rather unlovely in a 1930s sort of way: macho frat-boys, many from well-heeled families, attending a powerhouse school with no small connection to the gummint and as close to an Ivy as one is going to find in the Carolinas.

The DA himself was up for election in a heavily black ‘town’, and going after such ‘gowns’ was a shrewd re-election gambit. That such political consideration would of itself be largely incompatible with the careful administration of criminal justice is so contrary to historic political praxis as to seem, like adherence to the authentic vision of Christ (or Gandhi), both ‘quaint’ and hopelessly ‘idealistic’.

But among the fuels for this fire the unholy mix of politics and criminal justiciaring was merely wood compared to the magnesium effect of the sex-offense phenomenon as it has now metastasized under the nurturance of advanced-level Advocacies and a media that has – to its own great profit – turned pretty much ‘yellow’. And the whole concoction has been distilled to the point where it has become a Script: it has its own roles, its own plot, and – worst of all – its own set of reactions and opinions which are to be assumed by the public, to be delivered on cue. Any deviation from whole-hearted support for the approved opinions bids fair to land the opiner in some modern-day, ‘democratic’ form of gulag.

There were few trees not flattened so as to smooth and clear the path for the winds that were generated to fan the flames; firestorms like the one that blitzed London on December 29, 1940 are now a common development. Courts and legislatures, media, even the free and full expression of the voice of the citizenry were all flattened, watertight-doors jammed open to make it easier for ‘justice’ against these ‘monsters’ to be efficiently wreaked.

The professionalism of our modern (and militarized) police and investigators – so brightly, brassily, and proudly limned in numerous current and recent TV series – was clearly compromised, the only real question being: was that professionalism eroded by the effects of this thing or was that professionalism itself purposely skewed to become part of the problem before the fact? The philosophy of Muldoon of the Strong Arm Squad seems not to have really been buried, and it is quite possible that beneath the SWAT chic and learned discourse on the varieties of hi-tech weaponry by starry-shouldered, crew-cut paragons, the rough peasant justice of the 1890s has been brought back from its grave.

Muldoon's philosophy of 'justice' and police work, from William Marshall's novel "New York City Detective", was that a good copper in need of a guilty party for a crime that had to be solved, merely went out and collared somebody he knew in his gut to be guilty of something and framed that bum for the crime, secure in the knowledge that justce was being done all around: this crime would be solved, his superiors would be satisfied, the framed would get what was comign to him, and someday somewhere some other decent copper in need of a guilty party would most likely come across the actual perpetrator, frame your actual perpetrator for his own unsolved crime, and that bum too would go away. Why waste a good copper's time thinking about things any more deeply than that?

A Duke law professor noted that the self-proclaimed victim was helpfully prodded by police in a line-up, to the point that they removed any speed-bumps – embedded in lawful procedure precisely for the purpose of discerning truth – that might deflect her from identifying, or at least choosing, a couple-three defendants. The rough peasant Southern justice of the 1950s has been brought back from its grave, if indeed it was ever truly staked through its heart in the first place.

Duke’s role is tortured. It pretends to the aura of the Ivy, but is actually deeply connected to the aforementioned gummint (and, at the risk of repeating myself, particularly to the JAG racket). Yet an echt Ivy nowadays must be ‘sensitive’ and ‘responsive’ (nor are those concepts in themselves at all undesirable). So the Duke honchos had to keep the ‘town’ happy, and not appear to be out of step with the Script, while at the same time not giving their alumni the impression that their fair-haired bhoys would be exposed to the crassery of criminal prosecution for frat-boy pranks from which great preparation for high-ranking or deep-connected government and business careers is irreplaceably derived. The battles of Democracy are won on the playing-fields and in the frat-houses, and we shall never surrender, and all that. Like a military now very Southron and evangelical – when not blatantly Fundamentalist and Dominionist – Duke wants to draw increased devotion from the quick-burning fuels of self-assurance and undisputed authority, leading to a clarity based not on deep, patient, sometimes tortured, always serious thought but rather based on having pushed all the troublesome pieces off the board. And yet simultaneously it wants to be seen as a major University in … some … sense. And, given our modern American reality, it most likely qualifies.

Prosecutor Nifong pulled some moves that could be called ‘sailing close to the wind’ but which are now securely ensconced within the Script: giving out inflammatory and skewed comments to the media, selectively releasing such facts as he chose, the thinness of the case cloaked by the lubricating miasm of ‘outrage’ and ‘sensitivity’ so that the public might not be given the uneasy impression that it was jumping the gun in concluding that the defendants were true ‘perps’, deserving of all the honors thereto appertaining in our prison-happy, perfect-security society. But then he went and outright lied to the court that there was no DNA evidence one way or the other, when indeed he had two sets of it that not only did not implicate the three selectees, but also did not implicate the other 40-plus members of the lacrosse team, and actually did indicate the ‘contributions’ (ah, the ever tasteful CSI!) of 7 other unidentified males.

This invites serious reflection on the effect that long-term (the Tawana Brawley episode took place about 20 years ago now) Emergency-ism and Outrage-ism is having on our domestic, civilian law enforcement personnel. Their sense of immunity to prosecution seems to be climbing toward that enjoyed by the JAGs and their investigative ‘organs’, who carry on that thing they do shielded and fortified by concentric rings of defenses: national security, special military concerns that ‘civilians’ wouldn’t understand, the gauzy, muzzy golden aura of the military as the embodiment of all things good and true as resurrected by the Reagan era, and now the even more useful waves of Advocacy-stoked ‘outrage’ that forgive without investigating any of their mis- or mal-feasances that inconveniently do manage to blunder out onto the stage. And all of this insurance on top of the foursquare organizational dogma that JAGs and military investigators are almost as free from Original Sin as generals and admirals. In the Southron theology, virginity seems to be enjoyed not only ,by the Mother of God, but also by the authority figures of the gummint (the aforementioned frat-boy forays and perhaps preacherly prayer-trips into gay sex and crystal meth not excepted).

A reflexive public response according to a Script – any Script – is hugely toxic to law enforcement and to society. Once a public response loses the vitality and unpredictability of serious sifting for the truth and becomes an almost completely predictable element, then the sad effects of Original Sin – especially when working within a so powerful and privileged an entity as a law enforcement organization – can figure a way around, just as water – however polluted – will still find its way in through any opening afforded to it through inadvertence or design. The hard job of Peopling means having to demand careful sifting for Truth, so that Our authority is not deployed in the service of un-Truth.

Nor let us be sidetracked by the pious bray that Nifong was ‘an isolated instance’, a ‘rogue’ individual: he had the bad karma to get caught doing the dirty, but he’s a full-fledged member of the fraternity. This very powerful fraternity.

Surely we’re seeing the problem in the Iraq war now. Other turkeys may be roosting over here already. Something other than concrete and steel structures has been seriously hit in this country, and not by furriners. This calls not for a tool as simple as the musket over the fireplace but rather for the inhabiting of those superior aspects of ourselves upon which the Framers and the beleagured (yet ever cagey) Lincoln pinned their deepest hope.

Nor can the role of the media in all of this be discounted. If it weren’t for the media re-embracing a form of ‘yellow journalism’, even when claiming that it was only the old Progressive ‘muckraking’ in a fresh Good Cause, then the scope and duration of the sex-offense mania – with all its truly dangerous consequences – could not have thrived as long as has been the case. And perhaps the entire run-up to the Iraq war might have been baffled, had the media hewed to Truth first, rather than down-playing slowly-brewed and expensive Truth for the cheap, fast red-white-blue lightnin’ of reflexive Outrage and patrioteering.

Now dozens of thousands of Our young remain obedient to Our word in the bloody wrack of the Eastern front, thousands of them are dead, and they have caused – willy or nilly – the deaths of further multiple thousands. We have much to do.

In his excellent little book “Postscript to Yesterday: American Life and Thought 1896-1946”, published in 1947, the eminently readable and insightful Lloyd Morris devotes a chapter, “The Uses of News”, to the development of the news-gathering trade in those eventful 50 years. Joseph Pulitzer determined that the best way to uncover wrongdoing was “to create by destroying, to affirm by attacking” [the quotations are from Morris], insisting always upon the truth of his facts but never failing to deploy them in the most sensational fashion possible, until it was finally observed back then that “trial by newspaper was becoming an increasing threat to judicial processes; the invasion of private rights was often without redress for the injured”.

William Randolph Hearst competed with Pulitzer for pre-eminence. He “was known far and wide for his opinions, not his standards” and “his editorial world was a world of sharp focus, lacking the light and shadow of profound moral conviction”. There is a texture to existence; it – like much of the desert – is not simply flat, lifeless, and predictable (as the Italian armored columns chasing Omar Muktar found out to their great damage and discomfiture). An inaccurate ‘clarity’, based not on a strenuously formulated awareness but rather on a juvenile ignoring of any complications, is bound to set one up for a world of hurt. And take maybe a lot of others into the blood and mire along with one. In the Cause of enhancing “democracy" Hearst poured gallons of garishly colored ink down the throats of the public, insisting that his hyped-up stories would make it easier for folks to grasp them, which as citizens they needed to do. About which the great Progressive muckraker Lincoln Steffens observed: “to give us a better government he would make us a worse people”. The thought cannot be avoided that some of our modern day ‘media’ honchos are channeling Mr. Hearst far more effectively than anyone in the White House used to draw upon astrological charts.

To the “New York Times” came Joseph Ochs, back in the 1890s. As he went on, observing the operating styles and philosophies of Pulitzer and Hearst, he decided that his newspaper would carry only “all the news that’s fit to print”. In other words, as against Hearst and even the truth-respecting but sensational Pulitzer, he would treat the intelligent American citizen to a wide and full and accurate record of all the important developments in all the relevant issues of the day, carefully presented. A ray of light, a light-house that – we would have to admit – has not been as well-tended of late; nor can the ship of the Republic any longer rely on it solely.

In an ever-spiraling cycle, the news media seem to be drawn down to frothy sensationalism rather than upward to serious deliberation. That it is in a good Cause – and toward increased profits – cannot justify it: Truth is being sacrificed. And if the rejoinder comes in the question “And what is Truth?” then a fundamental mistake has been made that, at the very least, should be clear to any who profess a working familiarity with the Old or the New Testament.

Whether Our own decreasing sensitivity to Truth and our own failing capabilities to determine it, and to demand It in our society – is a cause or an effect, is one of those questions that can indeed go on forever. The task immediately before Us is to take a more sober and serious road than heretofore, and thus to face full-on the massive and now monstrous issues that beset us and – through us – the world and its peoples. Whether the American thumb remains heavy enough to hold the world in place is a question of secondary concern; whether the American soul is still capable of being a Beacon and a Modell to the world’s peoples is the question of the day. How We answer it “shall mark us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation.”

The New Year waits with eager groaning the revelation of the children of the Republic. What say We?

(Current Comments)

The first thing that stuck me was discovering that April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Of course, in its eagerness to keep everybody ‘happy’, the government has been dedicating assorted days, weeks, and months to this or that Good Cause or Fine Thought for quite a while. But it certainly struck me as a coincidence that the decision in Duke and the Imus dust-up all took place as Sexual Assault Awareness Month was just kicking off. If I were a PR firm for this Advocacy I would be considering re-affirming the existence of a benevolent God. No doubt, the PR forces assigned to capitalize on this Month were already assembled and on deck when Duke was decided; the Imus thing might be a bit more of a manufactured product than a coincidence, but in these things you never know for sure. Synergies abound.

The psychologist Carol Norris wrote an article on April 3 over on Counterpunch (www.counterpunch.com/norris04032007.html). It’s essentially a rah-rah exhortation to the troops to kick off the Month. But there are some worthwhile points to note. First, she points out what is probably one of the strongest points in the conceptual foundation of sex-assault awareness: it’s about “respecting boundaries”. And ‘respecting boundaries’ is one of the most essential skills for communal living and citizenship. It presumes that each person knows his/her own identity, in order to perform the maturational task of defining what is me/mine and what is not-me/not-mine. And it provides the field upon which each individual might struggle with the ancient and crucial challenge of respecting that Self sufficiently to refrain from degrading It or degrading somebody else’s Self. In the ever-fluid shimmy of erotic arousal and attraction, young individuals need all the communal and cultural and societal support that We can muster to assist them in taking on and conducting that challenge.

Norris also notes that “2/3s of sexual assaults are committed by someone the survivor knows”. This certainly calls attention to the fact that the stranger-danger variant of the ‘sex offender’ mania – the most telegenic of the variants – is, perversely (if I may), the least likely. Still, it is a sad but essential duty these days to view with some skepticism any advocacy claims as to the number of ‘sexual assaults’: not only are numbers unreliable and not truly ‘scientifically’ obtained, but the definition of ‘sexual assault’ is so elastic that much more clarity must be ascertained before coming to any conclusions. (And yet we have made monstrous changes to law and public policy already, based on the dubious numbers and the dubious ‘science’.)

Equally so, it is utterly unjustified to automatically endow any claimant with the title of “survivor” as Norris does. First of all, the validity of the claims and charges and assertions have not been proven in whatever’s left of the criminal justice process. Second, it’s more than a little presumptuous and also manipulative to endow the subjects of one’s own advocacy with the title usually reserved for persons who have emerged from a situation that held the possibility of physical death. (And no – you can’t use ‘death’ metaphorically in this case; especially if you’re going to involve the criminal law.)

And this, it has to be said, is a direct result of the fundamental logical conundrum at the heart of this Advocacy: mobilized ostensibly to re-establish (or establish in the first place) a “respect for boundaries”, yet in order to quickly make its place in the sun the Advocacy has had to overrun the boundaries of Reason and Truth, Law and Justice, and has had to dis-respect the capacities of the public for crucial deliberation and discourse. Thus, as I noted in the earlier Post, Prosecutor Nifong was not a ‘rogue’ who ‘went too far’, but rather had the bad luck and poor judgment to get caught red-handed doing what had become the standard procedure in the stampede-inducing Woman-Assaulted Script and Scenario.

And it is this deeply-embedded disrespect for boundaries in the sex-assault/sex-offense Advocacy that corrupted and debauched law and public consciousness so much that when the quintessential unboundaried frat-boy Administration of the Unitariat took the country out of its centuries-old aversion to pre-emptive and invasive war, nary a media or public outcry was raised. It was, I think, seen as just another ‘revolutionary’ change made necessary and justified by the Goodness and Urgency of the Cause. The ‘creative destruction’ wrought in the service of liberating the world from Patriarchy paved the way for the ‘creative destruction’ that would liberate the world from ‘Islamofascist terrorism’.

But who can deny that it would be a good thing to have less frat-boy, boyo, macho, weapon and machinery-happy Rambos or gunslingers out there or up there on our behalf? The Duke case blended the assaultive and unboundaried unripeness of the frat-boy with the arrogance of youth and with the arrogance of privilege and a sense of one’s ‘right’ to be ‘alpha’ by forcing one’s will … so even if the rape didn’t exactly take place, issues of power and – helllloooo Democrats! – of Class and entrenched Power were clearly illuminated.

But rape didn’t take place, and THAT has to be understood for the hugely significant and alarming message it bears. There was indeed a ‘rush to justice’ (although I’d not dignify this thing with the word ‘justice’). The Scenario and the Script now as entrenched as Socialist Realism in this country nowadays was precisely designed to move everyone beyond ‘facts’ to the symbolic results that were ‘demanded’ by the general evil of Men and Sexual Assault; whether this particular set of ‘Men’ (again, not the word I’d use for this bunch of frat-boys) actually did this particular rape is not the primary consideration for the symbolism of the Cause.

Well, that’s as may be. But whether this rape was committed in this instance by this/these Defendant(s) IS INDEED a primary consideration for the criminal law, for those instances when the awesome and frankly awefull power of the State is deployed in a criminal case against an individual. While symbolic events are allowed their own latitude, criminal prosecutions are hugely boundaried by letter and the spirit of the Constitution precisely to ensure that the State’s terrible power is deployed – not symbolically but – accurately. And THIS, surely, is the confusion (hardly unintentional) that has debauched and corrupted Law and Justice and the People’s very conception of Law and Justice to the point where We find ourselves now, not only in domestic affairs but in foreign affairs.

Kathleen Bergin posts most revealingly to Alternet; the article first appeared in ‘Feminist Law Professors’ … which should give all of them pause (www.alternet.org/module/printversion/50442/?type=blog). She refers to the “disconnect between legal culpability and social responsibility”.

A news commentator, Howard Kurz on CNN, had enumerated the evidence that would be introduced by the defense if the case went to trial, evidence that strongly indicated the untruthfulness of the accuser’s charges. It would seem, opined the commentator, that what happened here was a ‘seduction’ whereby reporters took charges at face value, fitting them into a “familiar historical narrative” and distracted themselves with no further questions or investigation or – we can assume – serious thought. That’s about as succinct while still job-preservingly tactful statement of the situation as one is likely to find in the media these days.

But it is gall and wormwood to Bergin (a Professor of Law at South Texas College of Law … and what is it that’s familiar about Texas these days … ????). She characterizes Kurz’s painfully careful and delicate attempts to limn the truth as “demonizing” the “victim”. This is itself a classic advocacy ploy: if you question me, then you are totally against me (and we wonder where Republican and Fox-Newsian and right-wing-bloggian illogic comes from?). And of course, it hasn’t at been established that the accuser was indeed a “victim” .

But Bergin is going to play the entire Advocacy coda: to question the claimant/accuser is not only to “demonize the victim” but “through her, all Black women” (the capitalization is Bergin’s). Once again, in its need to bring as much fuel to its revolutionary fire as possible (the quicker to burn out the toxic infection of Patriarchy, of course), the Advocacy’s Script seeks to raise up as many ‘instances’ of ‘outrage’ as it possibly can. It’s not only that the stakes of the Cause are high, but that the stakes in every incident must be as high as possible in order to intensify the heat. Somehow Kurtz’s careful and painfully precise commentary on the particular case has been transmogrified into a demonic assault on all Black women (and after the audience has burned through its attention span trying to digest that monstrousness, they probably won’t have any energy left to chew through that assertion itself).

She then goes on to quote some actual facts: the accused and other frat-boys made some revoltingly immature and callow but violent remarks. The remarks were indeed that. And this country has a long damned way to go toward societal maturity. But the remarks, Professor Bergin does not care to emphasize, were precisely that: remarks. Granted that they were reprehensible, granted that she correctly concludes that the remarks “highlight the sick and wretched depravity of this racialized episode”, yet they were still only remarks and do not rise to the level of criminal prosecution (for sexual assault, at least).

This of course is just where the Advocacy has gone over the line and helped debauch the country and the People. Something so repugnant to the Advocacy’s programme and vision of how life should be, something so grossly unpleasant … well if it isn’t criminal it should be. And on the basis of that impatient and presumptuous presumption the Advocacy, including lawyers and law professors as well as prosecutors and law enforcement personnel and politicians, have rampantly overflowed the boundaries set by Western and Constitutional jurispraxis precisely to prevent the lascivious deployment of the State’s criminal prosecutorial power against the citizenry. With the impatience of the revolutionary and the ‘young’, the Advocacy has ‘creatively destroyed’ the framework and bulwarks patiently and wisely wrought by all those Dead White European Males; as a replacement it has ‘created’ the “familiar historical narrative” that Kurtz took such pains to describe. Such a deal.

In the ‘Boston Herald’ for April 12, duty feminist-advocate Margery Egan passes quickly over the disreputable focus on ‘facts’ in order to declare that “suspicions still linger against the Duke team” – although she shrewdly doesn’t get into describing what those suspicions might be, or who “still” holds these suspicions. And, in a comradely effort at bailing out another comrade’s bacon, she quotes “victims rights attorney” Wendy Murpy who had supported the accuser all along: “She either lied and should be prosecuted (Murphy must know there’s a squat chance of that ever happening) or she was paid off, presumably by the rich Duke families.” Neat. Even if the accuser accepted a payoff, then that just shows that on top of being a victim of sexual assault, she was also victimized by being a poor Black female who was bethumped by the greatest insult of all: being offered – and accepting – a payoff.

It’s a scentfully sinister scenario and saves much bacon. Except that it was the State, not the accuser, that backed off the case. But what’s a few facts among comrades? Only the Cause is important. As the dying Emperor Septimius Severus said to his sons: Pay the troops – the rest don’t matter. “The rest” comprised the citizens of Rome and the empire. To the revolutionaries of this Advocacy, We are that “rest”, and our Republic and Constitution and polity and culture don’t matter, next to The Cause.

The next day the ‘Boston Globe’ tries to have it all ways. The paper has been at the forefront of all things sex-offensual, and indeed initiated the massive “creative destruction” called the priest-sex-offenses scandal, although while it is keeping the Pulitzer it would rather not recall. In an editorial (entitled “Short Fuse’, and only 3 sentences long) it declares that the Duke players were “louts” (who can deny it?) but that “all the evidence suggests that they were not rapists”.

“The three came from affluent families that hired skilled lawyers.” But the State backed off the case not because of the efforts of those purported high-priced attorneys but because the accuser and the prosecutor were unsupportable and had tried to surf a “rush to condemn”, as the State’s Attorney General put it. Maybe the Globe is just pissed that these boyos and their affluent parents had the temerity to oppose the Script of the Revolution at all; and perhaps, as class criminals, they should have accepted their conviction as the righteous judgment of History on their class, if not on any acts they may or may not have committed on the night in question, which question is from the point of view of History of piddling inconsequence anyway.

“The case took 13 months to unfold, but the students have the resources to get on with their lives.” Oh, so that makes it OK then. Sorta like we invaded Iraq but they had the resources to become a democracy anyway so it’s OK. Our recent history is becoming a hall of mirrors as well as a house of horrors.

“The three were able to contest a stereotype: that Duke lacrosse players are capable of raping the stripper they had hired for a night of drunken excess.” The sentence makes no sense, but then again, the Globe is trying to save some bacon – its own – here, not trying to make sense. There is no ‘stereotype’ that Duke lacrosse players are capable of raping; when one mentioned Duke lacrosse (at least before this case) there was no immediate connection to ‘rape’; yes, when one mentioned ‘men’ any time in the past few decades there is an immediate connection to ‘rape’, but that’s the work of the Advocacy itself. And tossing in the stripper and the drunken excess is accurate, but kinda sleazy here.

But the conclusion confounds: “Prosecutors need to be wary of other stereotypes – about race and poverty – in cases where suspects lack wealth or connections.” But wealth and connections didn’t have anything to do with their exoneration; it was the Advocacy’s own evil fruits that did contributed to that. And what “stereotypes about race and poverty” did the prosecutor (or future imagined prosecutors) draw upon? That a woman is most likely telling the truth when she claims to be raped? That a Black woman is telling the truth when she claims she was raped by White boys? That poverty will forgive any efforts to extort money from rich people? I don’t know – I can’t make heads or tails of the conclusion. But then again, maybe that’s the best the ‘Globe’ and the Advocacy can hope for.

But on a brighter side, Jo-Ann Armao in the ‘Washington Post’ (www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/13/AR2007041301873_p.html) considers the whole matter of publishing ‘”victim’s names”. But of course, it should be “accuser’s” or “claimant’s” name; one isn’t a “victim” or a ‘survivor’ until after the decision of the court, and to use the term before that point is to unfairly if implicitly characterize both of the parties, one too positively and one too negatively.

The most interesting point in the article is one that is tossed off: it’s been “16 years” and “rape is still in that dark corner” (i.e., where the public doesn’t want to … do whatever it is that the Advocacy wants it to do about the whle thing). If after this long a period of time, and given the huge chunks of law and jurispraxis ripped out in order to allow ‘emergency’ access to ‘justice’, and given the massive knee-jerk support given by the media and the unseen support of politicians, the initial problem is still there … well, shouldn’t We be asking if the whole thing needs to be rethought? Or are we going to do this the Iraq way and just keep surgin’? Or is the Iraq surge debacle a foreign-policy deployment of the domestic anti-rape strategy?

And are We considered by the Advocates as no better than Iraqis? We have been offered the liberation of enlightenment and have chosen to remain mired in our dark and bloody humanity and try to cling to our antiquated (constitutional) modes of handling things. Are We any more worthy of this particular gift of feminism than the Iraqis purportedly are of America’s beneficent offer of Democracy?

Well, as with Iraq so too with the Advocacy: there is the distraction of other emergencies (Imus comes to mind), and the insistence that what has failed until now will work if we just do more of it, and doubt is treason, and up is down and down is up and … We have Us a job of work to do, at home as well as abroad.

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