North Carolina’s Commemorative Quarter to Honor Duke Lacrosse False Rape Case
DURHAM - North Carolina officials proudly unveiled the state’s new commemorative quarter, which will pay homage to the Duke Lacrosse false rape case that wrongly charged three innocent college men with raping a stripper.
Duke University President Richard Brodhead, who heads the state’s commemorative quarter committee, told reporters that “although the facts said that the three accused young men were innocent, the larger truth said they should have been imprisoned. After all, they are privileged white males. But one can’t have everything, can one?”
The next couple of paragraphs have the fictional Brodhead rejecting other designs because—here’s a surprise—they’re not politically correct. Mayberry’s out because of Andy Griffith’s “‘appalling record in fighting for women’s rights’ on the show.” And no Wright Brothers—they’re “not sufficiently diverse to warrant this honor.”
It works for some guy at the Misandry Review: “Wow! Incredibly biting satire, skewering gender political correctness and feminist sensibilities.” Biting, sure, but funny? Maybe so—there’s no accounting for taste.
My theory at the moment, though, is that satire has to be in the realm of plausible to be funny—believable except for the twist, or something like that. This one is not in the realm. It’s clueless playing around with an imaginary world of boundless and dogmatic “political correctness.” It’s not that there’s no such thing—the ideal of equality has produced its share of perspective-free zealots—but flashing the PC card has become a reflexive defense for the insecure and narrow-minded, and a perspective that’s gone whiney doesn’t make for good satire.
Hoping for something better, I searched the archives of The Onion. They ran two Duke lacrosse stories. The more recent one (“Report: Almost Nobody Raped During Duke’s First Lacrosse Match”) isn’t one of their best efforts. The other one (“Duke University Equestrian Team Hoping To Avoid Investigation Into Their Sex Scandal”) is from April 6, 2006, only a few weeks into the scandal. I particularly like the last paragraph.
“These guys were brought up to believe that they can have any horse or woman they want, and that’s unconscionable—but a formal investigation would tear this campus apart,” history professor Woodrow Peterson said. “After all, the Duke University community barely tolerated the systematic sexual abuse of two black women at the hands of its students. If word got out that valuable horses had been treated that way, this place would explode.”
Now that’s a punch line. It’s sly, but it nails the overwrought and distorted liberal moralism that flowed so freely during the first few weeks of the scandal.
As an antidote to all that nonsense—and whatever nonsense I’m adding to it—let me point you to the latest from Michael Gustafson. He’s an intermittent blogger in the first place, and he’s not writing about the lacrosse case much anymore, so it’s worth making a note of it when he does. While I’m at it, I’ll highlight a long comment he left on my blog a couple months ago. For those of us inclined to make strong statements about the scandal, there’s an enigmatic sentence near the end that deserves careful consideration.
Part of why I’ve stopped blogging (much) on the original case or any of the cases that follow is there’s much more work to be done and certain aspects of public participation, I’ve found, have had a negative effect on the possibility of making real change.