Near the end of yesterday’s post, I described the liestoppers as having to prop up their claim to be crusading for Truth, Fairness, and Justice on the basis of the lacrosse case by engaging in “rhetorical warfare that brings the battle lines into sharp relief” (I’m using the term “liestopper” loosely for the vehement defenders of the lacrosse team that gather on Liestoppers, Durham-in-Wonderland, etc.). Right on cue there was a flare-up of that today. The main thing it reminded me was how much of it is hypersensitivity on behalf of the team—more overcompensation, I think, for the fact that the lacrosse players are less than compelling as victims of Grand Injustice. A refrain on the message boards of liestopperland is the many more or less libelous insults that left-wing professors, columnists, bloggers, etc. have hurled at the team, and the oh-so-few apologies that have followed. Today it was one of those revisited—Prof. Claire Potter (aka Tenured Radical) insulted the team back in April and never made good, then a few days ago she took a jab at DIW. KC Johnson came back this morning huffing and puffing about her “reckless, unsubstantiated allegations.”
It seems to me that some of Potter’s original comments were in fact excessive, based on a year-old picture of the team’s behavior on the night in question, when it was spun to make them look as bad as possible. But somehow when a few more or less careful and thoughtful people and a bunch of more or less smug and/or self-righteous and/or ignorant and/or hypocritical ones (take your pick, mix and match)—many of whom have deputized themselves to defend the honor of their fine young men—start posting comments, writing emails, and complaining to the University president, no apology is forthcoming. What a surprise, huh?
Part of it is an internet-era problem. There’s nothing new to say on either side, but there’s outrage to be vented and comment boxes to fill, so on and on it goes. The logic of these things is that both sides find something or other to blow out of proportion, and they did. A smallish swarm of liestoppers peppered Potter’s site with biting comments, most of which she deleted. Meanwhile back at the ranch (DIW, that is), reading the comments is like listening to a roomfull of drunks who are feeling very clever. Not a surprise—self-righteousness in a crowd is intoxicating.
[Dropping back into this post to put in a link that I left out, I’ll take the opportunity to say that, while I still think the image of drunks being clever fits much of the comment thread I refer to at the end, there are some who have put in more serious and substantial remarks.]
If you’re reading through my lacrosse-case series, the next one is about potbanging.