Skip to content

Extra Comments

I appreciate comments, corrections, and discussion on my blog, but I’m not interested in hosting comment free-for-alls. Comments that are simply personal attacks will be deleted. With respect to the lacrosse case, especially, comments need to be address the specifics of my post. Comments that rehash the case or dispute my fundamental assumptions at length will be moved to this page. If you want to discuss such things in connection to my post, feel free to start a thread on another web site and post the link as a comment.

Comments that I move to this page will likely be purged now and then.

{ 33 } Comments

  1. Tortmaster | December 7, 2007 at 23:37 | Permalink

    In your blog, you mention that the Spring of 2006 was “boringly normal.” You go on to blame other blogs for failing to empathize with other people. For example, you state that the “standard practice on DIW–is to package the people in the line of fire into special interests to be attacked, dismissed or defended, and pretend nobody else exists.”

    Do you believe that ANY Spring day in 2006 after Reade and Collin were handcuffed was “boringly normal” to them? Do you believe that the other lax players, the ones who had to sleep in their cars or at friends houses for safety reasons were having a “boringly normal” spring?

    Is it always “boringly normal” during Springtime in Durham to have 1,000-person marches screaming about you? Or, to have castrate banners unfurled on your doorstep? To have wanted posters showing your picture and your mates’ pictures handed out at your school? To have your face published in NEWSWEEK as a potential rapist? To have 88 of your school’s professors join in the fun based only on gossip? Is it routine to have a community activist demand to burn down a Duke student’s home?

    Is it normal for Duke and Durham to host the New Black Panthers Party? Is it just another fine Spring day when Nancy Grace and Wendy Murphy villify innocent Duke students on national television? Do March days at Duke usually come with tenured History professors implying that innocent students committed an atrocity akin to the murder of Emmett Till?

    Is it routine for Duke students to sit in a courtroom and hear death threats? Are there usually threats of drive-by shootings at Duke in the Springtime? Does Durham usually have all the major television and cable networks doing live shots on the same day?

    It may have been “boringly normal” for you, teaching your two classes per week, but I assure you that at least three innocent Duke students would disagree with you. These are my opinions. Tortmaster

  2. Tortmaster | December 7, 2007 at 23:47 | Permalink

    In your blog, you begin with commendable goals. I quote you:

    “What’s on my mind isn’t so much the incident and legal proceedings as the remarkably polarizing and dysfunctional dialogue the case has spawned.”

    “Nothing is more fundamental to a liberal education than effective and responsible use of words ….”

    “That fits with my impression that zealots have set both the terms and the tone of the discussion, kept it stoked with resentment, and whittled it down to stick figures and false choices.”

    Then, in the same post, a post in which you “arbitrarily” chose two sides of the controversy, you used these words to describe the two sides:



    PROFESSOR JOHNSON (and Liestoppers) -

    “insidiously polarizing”
    “ideological crusades”
    “strident, polarizing voice”
    “freakish outrages”
    “incompatible with understanding and sympathy for other perspectives”
    “point of view based on outrage”

    My questions for you:

    1. Was that “fair and balanced”?

    2. Do the words you used to describe D-i-W and Liestoppers meet your definition of “remarkably polarizing and dysfunctional dialogue”?

    3. When you use words like “strident,” “insidious” and phrases like “freakish outrages” do you see how those terms seem to be “stoked with resentment”?

  3. Tortmaster | December 8, 2007 at 00:02 | Permalink

    For a more in-depth review of the “Listening ad,” including the context, I would suggest that your readers link to this brilliant de-construction:


    Now, anybody riding the backs of presumptively innocent students for his or her political agenda would know that APRIL 10 was an important day. If the DNA came back negative, the sane response would be a dismissal of claims (especially given the alleged 30-minute violent gangrape by 3 Division I athletes).

    In other words, if hay were to be made, it had better be harvested fast. In a mass e-mail to other professors, Lubiano directed her colleagues to review the Listening ad quickly, sign on and hurry up: “We’re trying for Thursday (04/05) if we can do it; if not, then next Monday (04/10).”

    Thus, not only does it appear that Lubiano whipped up the “Listening ad” in record time, she did so as quickly as possible in case the boys were ACTUALLY FOUND TO BE INNOCENT.

    The best context of all, of course, is the author’s interpretation of her own handiwork. In this case, Lubiano unequivocally stated in her e-mail to colleagues that,

    “African & African-American Studies is placing an ad in The Chronicle ABOUT THE LACROSSE TEAM INCIDENT.” (emphasis added).

    So, it seems that Lubiano’s admission against interest proves that the Listening ad was about “the lacrosse team incident.” But she went further and signed up not just 87 other colleagues, but also whole university programs and departments, including the following:

    Duke University’s African-American Studies
    Duke University’s Romance Studies
    Duke University’s Social & Health Sciences
    Duke University’s Franklin Humanities Institute
    Duke University’s Critical Studies Program
    Duke University’s Art Department
    Duke University’s Art History Department
    Duke University’s Latin American Studies
    Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies
    Duke University’s Women’s Studies Program
    Duke University’s Program in Education
    Duke University’s European Studies Program

    The “Listening ad,” taken in context, heightened tensions on campus, aligned a huge number of professors, departments and programs against the lacrosse players, was raised in a Motion to Change Venue to protect the students and joined such other recent disparaging editorials as Sheehan’s and Chafe’s.


    These are my opinions. Tortmaster

  4. Tortmaster | December 8, 2007 at 00:20 | Permalink

    This is a continuation - a “postscript” - of your first post on the Duke Case, so I feel it is reasonable that you should be bound by your stated goals in that post, which were described by you as follows:

    “What’s on my mind isn’t so much the incident and legal proceedings as the remarkably polarizing and dysfunctional dialogue the case has spawned.”

    “Nothing is more fundamental to a liberal education than effective and responsible use of words ….”

    “That fits with my impression that zealots have set both the terms and the tone of the discussion, kept it stoked with resentment, and whittled it down to stick figures and false choices.”

    Then, in this “postscript,” you describe the various players in colorful fashion. To make it somewhat fair, I will add Claire Potter in the “potbanger” category:



    PROFESSOR JOHNSON (or Liestoppers) -

    “huffing and puffing”
    “more or less smug and/or self-righteous and/or ignorant and/or hypocritical ones”
    “outrage to be vented”
    “roomfull of drunks who are feeling very clever”
    “swarm of liestoppers”

    Please answer the same questions I requested in my response to your first post, i.e. “fair and balanced,” yada, yada, yada ….

    I would also like to make special note of your use of the word “hypocritical” to describe the “Liestoppers.” I don’t think you need to answer any questions about that, though, as it seems that the answer is pretty obvious.

    These are my opinions. Tortmaster

    P.S. We like to be called the “Sunshine Band” now. Thank you.

  5. Tortmaster | December 8, 2007 at 00:50 | Permalink

    You see, the “Sunshine Band” sounds nice and cheery, and “The Army of the 12 Monkeys” had already been taken.

    As for Claire Potter of Wesleyan and tenuredradical fame, she wrote what I consider to have been a lie, and a defamatory one at that.

    Potter wrote a number of untrue statements in her April 10, 2007 blog, and there is at least one that is clearly defamatory. She wrote: “… the dancers were, it is clear, physically if perhaps not sexually assaulted….”

    By using the words “were” and “it is clear,” Potter stated a fact, and she did not couch it in the form of an opinion or a question.

    I could locate no disclaimer on Potter’s blog indicating that everything therein was only her opinion. On the contrary, she states: “My blogging ethic is neither to name or accurately describe individuals unless I am also describing a public event, book or information already published about that person elsewhere.”

    Moreover, at least six comments to Potter’s blog provided her notice, back in April, of the defamation. At least three used the word “defamation,” and at least two quoted her “physically assaulted” language.

    Your reharmonized blog acknowledges that Potter was “excessive,” but you claim that people who pointed out what you call excessive (what I call defamation) were “huffing and puffing,” “more or less smug and/or self-righteous and/or ignorant and/or hypocritical ones,” who had “outrage to be vented” like a “roomfull of drunks who are feeling very clever” and “self-righteousness” in a “swarm of liestoppers.”

    Now, who, exactly, is being excessive?

  6. Michael in NH | December 8, 2007 at 01:25 | Permalink

    [It’s easy to throw around statistics about sexual assault, and I’d rather not get into that-I have not special expertise.]

    [Berkowitz’s job is to think about the roughly 200000 sexual assaults his organization believes happen in a year, what can be done to reduce the number]

    Since you did “get into that” without special expertise, I’d like to respond. There were long discussions about the statistics about sexual assault with numbers presented from various sources [FBI statistics, numbers quoted from womens groups and numbers from various studies] and the numbers generally cited ran from five percent to fifty percent in terms of false accusations. So we have somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 false accusations of rape each year assuming the number you cited. An accusation of rape can involve arrest, imprisonment, loss of reputation, loss of job, loss of time and damage to the falsely accused’s family. Is it acceptable to throw 10,000 people into the criminal justice system process meat grinder due to false accusations?

    [His brief comments about the lacrosse case are tilted towards the interests of victims, but are not judgmental or inflamatory.]

    He only added fuel to the fire at the time and context in which he made some of his comments. He may not have been as directly inflammatory as the potbangers but his position and platform may have had more of an overall impact in the media at the time.

    He made this further comment reported May 10th:

    But Scott Berkowitz, president of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, a victim-rights group, said the first police officers to speak with a rape victim often don’t have the training and experience needed to accurately judge the merits of a complaint.

    which was weeks after Reade Seligmann’s alibi evidence was presented by ABC News. There were strong hints that Colin Finnerty had alibi evidence as strong as Seligmann’s. Finnerty’s alibi evidence was withheld so that Nifong wouldn’t be able to attempt to poke holes though it in the media as he did with Seligmann’s evidence.

    [I hope that he takes the issue of false accusations and convictions very seriously and doesn’t trivialize it, but it wasn’t his job or responsibility to monitor or moderate the lacrosse prosecution.]

    It appears that Berkowitz did think that it was his job to monitor this case as RAININ did issue an official statement after Cooper found the three accused innocent:

    “We are satisfied with the Attorney General’s conclusion that the evidence does not support going forward with the charges,” said Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of RAINN. “Since the initial allegations, we have urged the public to withhold judgment until the legal process had a chance to work. While that process didn’t work as well, or as quickly, as it should have in this case, the Attorney General brought the case to an appropriate conclusion.”

    Although much progress has been made in recent years to reduce the stigma of rape and gradually raise reporting rates, nationally publicized sexual assault cases can significantly influence public opinion. That can result in victims being afraid they won’t be believed, and may discourage some from coming forward.

    Addressing that concern, Berkowitz continued, “We hope that seeing how seriously investigators pursued the allegation will encourage rape victims to come forward and report their assault. It will be a great tragedy if this case discourages victims from coming forward and reporting their attack to police.”

    “We hope that seeing how seriously investigators pursued the allegation will encourage rape victims come forward and report their assault. It will be a great tragedy if this case discourages victims from coming forward and reporting their attack to police.” - Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of RAINN, Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

    “The Duke case is such an aberration,” said Scott Berkowitz, board president of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

    “After there was a thorough investigation and a conclusion that no crime took place, the accuser stops being a victim and it’s perfectly appropriate to identify her,” he said. “But I’d hope the press doesn’t rush to change their overall policy on this _ that could have the short- term effect of discouraging certain victims from coming forward.”

    But it doesn’t look like he takes the issue of false accusations and convictions very seriously. At least that’s my conclusion after reviewing a number of his comments in the past two years and my not finding any comments from him on the Innocence Project. I’m curious as to if he has shown any concern for those innocents that have been harmed by the criminal justice system.

    Even some of the folks on the Durham Yahoo Groups have admitted the rush to judgement. These groups had discussions on the Durham protests and some of the potbangers post there. It’s interesting to see their conversations over protesting efforts and then to see the reaction as evidence pointing to a hoax appeared.

    Part of DIW’s attraction is the criminal justice aspect and how it relates to college students (both in criminal and university processes), how the media can inflame a story that fits a metanarrative and the problems that arise from a tipped balance of scales. You don’t necessarily see all of these issues in KC’s posts but they are discussed on his blog. Part of the simple attraction of the story is from parents with teenagers. Those with sons have learned of the unbalanced scales of justice and that teens at college do face risks that parents haven’t considered. Those with daughters want them safe on college campuses and perpetuating a hoax actively is counterproductive.

    One thing that I’ve been impressed with about KC is that he isn’t afraid to dig into a matter, even if he isn’t an expert. He seems to have no problems with hitting the research databases, contacting experts in a field for expert opinions and analysis and he corrects himself when an expert reports an error in his analysis.

    There’s an intellectual curiousity and attention to detail in him that we expect from all Professors.

  7. Tortmaster | December 8, 2007 at 02:26 | Permalink

    Doesn’t a murderer usually wipe the blood off his hands after a murder? The potbangers tried to take down all of their glorious “victory” youtube videos when it eventually became clear that they were likewise caught “red-handed.” Thankfully, Gotfong nabbed a couple.

    I understand that you would like to gloss over the word “castrate” and probably the words “dead man walking” told to Reade Seligmann while going to court, but those words will live on in infamy, as well as the words of Brodhead about how whatever they did was “bad enough.”

    What about the words of Thavolia Glymph, Duke AAAS assistant professor, who said she was disappointed with the community because “since the DNA results were returned Monday, we [have been] moving backwards.”

    How about the words of Duke History Professor William Chafe, who couldn’t wait EVEN A WEEK after news of the alleged rape became public to compare the alleged rape with the murder of Emmett Till, writing: “The mixture of race and sex that transpired on Buchanan Boulevard is not new.”

    You can’t forget the words of NCCU student and student body leader Chan Hall, who said, “[W]hether it happened or not, it would be justice for things that happened in the past.”

    The “castrate” banner was there. I suggest it is time to deal with that fact. You can rationalize it in your reharmonized blog by saying that the “Listening ad” signatories didn’t know about its existence - but until you have talked to all 88 of them, under oath, I don’t think your speculation is sufficient proof of that fact.

    One point you are having a very hard time picking up on is this: The people holding the “castrate” banner and the people marching along condoning it did so voluntarily based upon the flimsiest of gossip. This, along with Chan Hall’s statement, Chafe’s writings, the “Listening ad,” and Brodhead’s language are evidence of the mindset at the time - a desire to violate the presumption of innocence (some would call it a “lynching”).

    On the other hand, CRITICISMS of the “castrate” banner, Chan Hall’s statement, Chafe’s writings and the “Listening ad” are made soberly, after the facts have come in and the issues have ripened, so they are not a “lynching.”

    It seems that this blog misses the proper perspective, blaming the bloggers for criticizing the lynchers. These are my opinions. Tortmaster

  8. Tortmaster | December 8, 2007 at 02:34 | Permalink

    Again, your readers will find a more in-depth interpretation of the “Listening ad” at the following link:


    At the top of this “PAID ADVERTISEMENT,” it provides: “Regardless of the results of the police investigation ….” This is stated without previous mention of any event deserving of a “police investigation.” The author was obviously referring to the Duke hoax investigation.

    In the same paragraph, Lubiano describes “this moment’s extraorinary spotlight.” Again, an obvious reference to the Duke rape hoax.

    The next paragraph, which is just one sentence, claims that “[I]t is a disaster nonetheless.” The author appears to be describing BOTH what happened at 610 Buchanan and other perceived acts of racism at Duke (and elsewhere).

    The next one-sentence paragraph states that “[t]hese students are shouting and whispering about what happened to this young woman and to themselves.”

    THAT is a prejudgment. The words used were “WHAT HAPPENED to this young woman ….” The author could have used words such as “what was alleged to have happened.” Lubiano mentioned in her e-mail that she had made drafts of the piece, so she had time to edit the language. It is also instructive to note that the Listening ad sets an early emphasis on “shouting.”

    The next paragraph appears to be a quote, but there are no quotation marks or attribution. This is a continuing problem in the advertisement. “We want the absence of terror…. Terror robs you of language and you need language for the healing to begin.” As stated previously, the author was obviously discussing the hoaxed rape allegations and generic perceived racism. Which would the reader perceive as more likely deserving of actual “terror”?

    The next paragraph again appears to be a quotation mark-less quote, but this is attributed to the Independent (but no particular speaker). Significantly, this quote appeared approximately 3 days after the Duke rape hoax became public knowledge: “This is not a different experience for us here at Duke University. We go to class with racist classmates, we go to gym with people who are racists … It’s part of the experience.” (ellipses in original).

    The author is apparently conveying that rape (or is it just the generic perceived racism) is as abundant as ipods about campus. Since I am an American, I read the ad left to right and top to bottom, the context leads me to believe that rape may be as prevalent as fast food at Duke.

    After three unattributed apparent quotes, there is this: “… I am only comfortable talking about THIS EVENT in my room with close friends. I am actually afraid to even bring it up in public. But worse, I wonder now about everything…. If SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENS TO ME ….” (emphasis added).

    What do you think “this event” means? The Duke hoax, of course. No other specific event is alluded to in the least. Also, consider what the apparent quotation implies: The speaker has nothing to fear if there is just an investigation of students who are presumed innocent, but she does have something to fear “if something like this happens” to her. Something like what? A rape, of course, a prejudged, juried and executed rape.

    After another unattributed quote, there is, in the center of the Listening ad, in giant eye-catching print, “WHAT DOES A SOCIAL DISASTER SOUND LIKE?”


    The above snipped portion deals with only half of the “Listening ad.” The rest of the analysis can be located by following the link just above this paragraph. I believe that this analysis is superior to just taking a couple of sentences out of the ad and making a case one way or the other. These are my opinions. Tortmaster

  9. Tortmaster | December 8, 2007 at 15:38 | Permalink

    Here is a list of some of the excuses you make for the potbangers. In light of your complete intolerance for (and name calling of) all things Liestopper, it is telling:

    “… this protest as uncompromising and forceful advocacy and the speaking of truth to power.”

    How is “vigilantism” dealing with a complete disregard for due process or the presumption of innocence based upon days-old gossip about a FALSE accusation ever “speaking TRUTH to power”? I know you say this was your initial belief, but what does that tell you about where you started from?

    “Even given the rally’s aim of confronting the lacrosse team to get them to talk ….”

    Your use of the “even given” language indicates the potbangers may have had an acceptable reason for what they did. What, though, was the lacrosse team supposed to “talk” about?

    “Of course that’s all ridiculously easy to point out in retrospect.”

    You are giving the potbangers a massive benefit of the doubt here. It was ridiculously easy at the time to realize that “vigilantism” should not be the recourse based only on days-old gossip and a white-on-black gang rape scenario that was so statistically improbable as to be nearly impossible.

    “I don’t at all discount the genuine concern for victims of sexual assault–a terrible, debilitating crime–that motivated most if not all the protestors.”

    Again, you are giving the potbangers a heart of gold, but you only call the “Liestoppers” names. You are also giving them a massive benefit of the doubt. How many of the potbangers didn’t care that much about victims of sexual assault, but really wanted to promote their classist, racist or genderist political views? How many of them cared more about their political aims than due process and the presumption of innocence (I would guess all of them).

    “I expect that some of the outrage came from brutally real personal experience of assault, something that far too many women have to live with.”

    What percentage of the people on those Youtube videos are you saying have had a “real personal experience of assault”? Again, you are speculating a higher motive for the potbangers, but you won’t do the same for the “Liestoppers.” You are also implying the two wrongs make a right argument.

    “I can’t blame activists acutely aware of sexual assault as a largely unacknowledged, unpunished crime for having an intense urge to do something.”

    Yet, you would blame bloggers who don’t like attempted lynchings for having an “urge to do something”? I think that false accusations of sexual assault seems to be a “largely unacknowledged, unpunished crime” as well.

    “… it sounds like a fine idea.”

    More benefit of the doubt giving.

    “… though I may just be indulging 20-20 hindsight….”

    The fact that the allegations were only gossip with absolutely NO PROOF was true then as it will remain true forever. Are you arguing that vigilantism is just fine in some circumstances? You don’t need 20-20 hindsight to realize it never is. This is more benefit of the doubt giving.

    “Even when I disagree with him [Brian Proffitt], I admire his forthright efforts to explain his position without rancor.”

    So, he gets points for being a smiling vigilante?

    “He’s at his [Proffitt’s] best writing as an advocate about the debilitating effects of sexual assault and the bleak prospects survivors have for a fair hearing, much less justice and resolution.”

    Yes, Proffitt is an all-around swell vigilante.

    “Proffitt also makes a couple of good points in support of his ‘commitment to believing.’ One is that, for a woman going through the grueling process, simply being believed can make a big difference. The other is that bringing a charge of rape is typically a punishing and humiliating experience for the accuser–a natural deterrent to false allegations.”

    It is true that “simply being believed can make a big difference,” expecially if the “believing” is being done by potbanger vigilantes, 88 Duke professors, Duke University administration, national and local media. It is EXTREMELY helpful to be “believed” when the accusations are completely false. These are my opinions. Tortmaster

    P.S. I do give you half credit for at least using words like “vigilantism” and phrases like “whiff of mob psychology.” Unfortunately, you seem to only want to enable the potbangers and throw daggers at the “Liestoppers.”

  10. Tortmaster | December 11, 2007 at 23:26 | Permalink

    I cannot make you believe that 2 + 2 = 4 if you are prejudiced against “4.”

    This post begins with my new, favorite saying because I am now going to write a brief bit about your view of the “Listening ad” and how we see it differently. In your posts, you have mentioned two statements in the “Listening ad” with which you have a problem. I beg to differ.

    I have gone through the “Listening ad” again, and I come up with the following numbers:

    16 explicit or implied references to the fake rape;

    1 outright classist slur (“upscale”);

    3 outright prejudgments of a rape; and

    1 applauding of the protestors.

    If you have not already seen those elements in the “Listening ad,” I will never be able to get you to see them. I base my numbers on the analysis of the ad found here:

    I choose to believe that the 88 are adults, that they should be treated as such, and that they knew exactly what was written in the “Listening ad.” These are my opinions. Tortmaster

  11. Debrah | December 13, 2007 at 01:05 | Permalink

    Assigning layers of nuance and exploring grey areas are fine when you’re talking up romance or fleshing out new material for a soap opera; however, when serious topics such as the Lacrosse Hoax are the issue, the concise and complete dissection produced like clockwork by KC Johnson is the preferred method of those interested in illumination and the truth.

    I’m afraid RRH gives comfort to the Duke 88 and their apologists and enablers when he uses the oleaginous and infantile phrase “Sunshine Band”. The only way one might reasonably allude to this outdated musical group is by highlighting the fact that the lead singer spent a lot of time at Duke on their Rice Diet.

    This is the only connection I can find.

    Oh wait! Now I understand. This is considered “humor” among KC Johnson’s detractors.

    For a time I thought that it might be a new dialect generated among some of the “ultra-pro-academics” ……rendered in the Aesopian mode……morsels of intellect known only to them.

    Not very original, I’m afraid. Pedestrian to the max.

    It will always be difficult for the average ones in the academy to come to terms with the unadulterated brilliance of someone like KC.

    Let me break it down for all the musicians in the house:

    In music there are chord progressions. During what was known as the Common Practice Period between 1600 and 1900, those chord progressions were uncomplicated. The 20th century with its blues, rock, jazz, and other popular music brought many more variations and options.

    KC’s in-depth and researched-to-perfection work is analogous to a (I-bVI-bIII-bVII) progression in minor……such as Avril Lavigne’s “My Happy Ending”.

    This is in stark contrast to the basic and most common chord progression in jazz which is the (II-V-I) progression, and which is my analogy applied to the run-of-the mill members of the academy.

    Sometimes life isn’t fair.

    Lastly, the people who have participated on KC’s blog are the Wonderland crew.

    I fear that his detractors as well as the culturally, emotionally, and intellectually-arrested Duke 88 will have to find some roadside dive near Vegas if they’ve developed a fascination for the “Sunshine Band”.

    Judging from their particular brand of “scholarship”, they would no doubt be right at home in such an environment.

  12. Debrah | December 13, 2007 at 21:44 | Permalink

    Professor Zimmerman, if you and others are going to engage in the infantile, bottomfeeding exercise of allusions such as the 88’s “Sunshine Band”, then you should expect someone is going to rightly illuminate the specifics for you.

    I find it gratifying that you are so enthralled with the verbal support of conservative right-wing RRH on your blog when he agrees with you.

    Good going! Such bipartisanship!

    If you, Potter, and others wish to engage in puerile behavior such as “Sunshine Band” allusions, please expect to have responses and corrections. That’s what goes on every day in the real world of veracity and competition.

    This has everything to do with your post.

    Finally, what would be the purpose of later deleting the “extra comments” on your blog?

    Have you taken a class at Duke’s law school?

    James Coleman’s “Playing Both Sides—Obfuscating Seesaw Technique 101”…in which you get to play the logical, objective role to get some credit on one side…..then revert back to the 88-esque censorship style to retrieve some street cred on PC’s barren track of scholarship.

    Don’t get mugged by a metaphor!


    It’s “forthcoming”.

  13. k. keating | December 15, 2007 at 19:59 | Permalink

    What offends me is that, even if I accept the latest spin, these 88 professors chose a moment in time when the liberty and, in a sense, LIVES of certain students at Duke were at stake to supposedly run an ad addressing the hurt “feelings” of other students. The “feelings” of those “special” students outweighed the very real damage such an ad could cause in the public perception of the other “accused” students. The perception that 88 Duke professors believed “what happened to this young woman” justified “not waiting.”, justified public protest. What did that say to the local jury pool, intended or not?

    To me it implies, there is something about these Lacrosse players that their own professors must run an ad, distancing themselves from them and “what happened” to this young woman. Are you sayiong that these highly intelligent, successful folks just sign their names to something to be put in the public domain and never consider ALL consequences?

    Some followed up with public statements and editorials, Houston Baker on Nancy Grace. The appalling “farm animals” E-mail to Patrica Dowd from Baker. Others followed with stony silence. Never a word about Nifong and the abuses that unfolded. THOSE were NOT “social disasters”, one supposes. Why not? Why no follow-up ad of concern for the Team? Why NOTHING? Where was Davidson’s empathy for THESE kids, these families?

    The ad has an element of “profiling” to me. Why should protestors not wait for more evidence? What is it about the Lacrosse Team that 88 professors will sign their names and publish an ad on only an allegation and as yet no evidence?( Oh, THOSE kinds of kids. We don’t like their skin color, where they live. They are most likely guilty.)

    What message did that signal to the Black community in Durham, the potential jury pool, that the AA Dept of Duke U and so many other Duke professors are moved to put their names to a statement like this? A statement saying there is no need to wait. “Thank you for not waiting.” We know these kids.

    Davidson’s “explanation” shows this same bias..selective sensitivity. One would think this was the first Duke team to hire strippers. What about the basketball team’s party some week’s before? Did this not contribute to a “social disaster?” To assuage the “hurt feelings” of certain Duke students, Davidson put her signature to an ad that , at the least, implied something about these boys, this situation, required no need for waiting for evidence.

    In the Old South the white pot-bellied racist sheriff archetype thought a white woman never lied about rape. That stereotype might thank the lynch mob for “not waiting.” Bigots might sign an ad just like this.

    These 88 individuals aren’t much different in my mind. They believed , so they signed. They had a bias, so they signed. They wanted to “have their voice count for something” with their faculty friends, so they signed. They were sheep, so they signed. Yes, they may have had 88 reasons,,but that ad had one profound result. It appeared that 88 professors who knew these boys, knew this team, …were publicly saying their was no need to wait…no need to know more.WE, as their professors, KNOW THESE TYPES OF KIDS>”Thank you for not waiting.”


  14. Tortmaster | December 23, 2007 at 17:58 | Permalink

    LEITER’S CENTRAL ARGUMENT (in his own words):

    “The ad itself consists largely of quotes from students, none of which prejudge guilt or innocence.”


    1. “These students are shouting and whispering about WHAT HAPPENED to this young woman and to themselves.” (emphasis added).

    That is a prejudgment. The words used were “WHAT HAPPENED to this young woman .…” The author could have used words such as “what was alleged to have happened.” Note that this is not a student quote; rather, it is 100% grade-A Lubiano.

    1. “… I am only comfortable talking about THIS EVENT in my room with close friends. I am actually afraid to even bring it up in public. But worse, I wonder now about everything…. If SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENS TO ME .…” (emphasis added).

    What do you think “this event” means? The Duke hoax, of course. No other specific event is alluded to in the “Listening ad.” Also, consider what the quotation implies: The speaker has nothing to fear if there is just an investigation of students who are presumed innocent, but she does have something to fear “if something like this happens” to her. Something like what? A rape, of course, a prejudged, juried and executed rape.

    1. “I can’t help but think about the different attention given to WHAT HAS HAPPENED from what it would have been if the guys had been not just black but participating in a different sport, like football, something that’s not SO UPSCALE.” (emphasis added).

    “What has happened” refers to the Duke lacrosse hoax, and the author appears to be saying that he or she wants arrests now! The “different attention” is asking for the lock-up of the offenders. Finally, the use of the “so upscale” language prejudices the boys in a classist way. Of course, “what has HAPPENED” is a prejudgment that a rape occurred, and not just a prejudgment, but also a demand that arrests be affected immediately.

    1. “And this is what I’m thinking right now - Duke isn’t really responding to THIS. Not really. And THIS, what HAS HAPPENED, IS A DISASTER. THIS IS A SOCIAL DISASTER.” (emphasis mine except last sentence).

    Use of the word “this,” of course, refers to the Duke rape hoax. So do the words “what has happened.” Even a feeble-minded person would conclude that an investigation is not a disaster, but a rape would be. “This” rape “happened.” That is a prejudgment. Also, use of the word “happened” obviously refers to the alleged rape, not some nebulous racism on campus; otherwise, it would have been “is happening” or “is a daily occurrence.” This was a prejudgment about what “happened.”

    The attorney Leiter appears to be either (1) a poor reader of English; or (2) he is practicing some kind of velvet racism. He will speculate on a grand scale about Professor Johnson (e.g., “campaign of vengeance”), but he will not give Lubiano credit for perhaps having two separate ideas in an approximate 600-word advertisement.

    Listed above are four direct prejudgments lifted as quotes from the “Listening ad.” The fact that there are 15-16 other references to the Duke rape allegations in the advertisement is further proof that these were prejudgments of rape, not some supposed on-campus racism

    Then, again, there are Lubiano’s own words about the “Listening ad” in her e-mail sending it to colleagues for approval. She said it was “about” the rape allegations. But, attorney Leiter would speculate about Johnson’s motives and at the same time ignore Lubiano’s actual words. Telling, that.

    These are my opinions. Tortmaster

  15. Tortmaster | December 24, 2007 at 00:01 | Permalink

    Professor Zimmerman:

    You describe Robyn Weigman’s letter to the Chronicle as a “well-modulated” letter. I have a different view of the matter.

    1. Robyn’s name is Robyn, not Robin. You might want to correct your post. Also, Weigman’s letter is about 230 words in length. As you will see in the remainder of the critique, there are a lot of problems for such a tiny letter.

    2. Why would a Duke professor make an accusation of “lynching” without first doing some research to determine if “tarred and feathered is the language of lynching”? Shouldn’t a professor do a minimum of research before rushing to judgment on such a non-collegial issue? She got this published just 2 days after Baldwin’s article. Although 2 days might seem a rush to judgment; certainly it is enough time to research a tiny letter.

    3. I find it very ironic that Weigman demands that everyone exercise “studied critical thought” while she is rushing to judgment on her “language of lynching.” Her exact demand is that Duke begin “cultivating a community of actors who value and perform studied critical thought.” It reminds me of Kramer’s promise to never talk again on that episode of Seinfeld. KRAMER: “O.k., starting NOW!!”

    4. Along those same lines, I find it ironic that Robyn Weigman would claim “disappointment in Duke … [because] it wants to avoid the analysis of the language and history of race.” To make such a foolish error regarding the origins of “tarred and feathered” while at the same time castigating others for not analyzing the “language and history of race” is priceless.

    5. Do you see Weigman’s as an attempt to chill speech using political correct methods? Seems very apparent to me. The fact that Baldwin immediately apologized for being innocent seems to support my belief. The paucity of other Duke academic responses, other than from the Economics Department, also provides fringe evidence of my point, which is: “Say anything, any of you, and we’ll call you racists!”

    6. Didn’t you, Professor Zimmerman, complain about people who used the word “lynch” while commentating about the case at D-i-W? In fact, didn’t you write on this very blog: “… which doesn’t mean I have any truck with the knee-jerk geniuses who imagine the potbanging crowd as some kind of lynch mob–it’s like saying a headache is the same as a brain tumor.” I’m guessing you wrote that gem of a statement before you read Weigman’s letter. I would have felt dirty calling Weigman’s “lynching” a “well-modulated” response while calling other people names for their use of the “lynching” analogy.

    7. Is the justness of a lynching dependent upon the political ideology of the lynchers and lynchees? Does skin color, type of genitalia, what that person does with his or her genitalia, amount of green paper in a person’s constructive possession or other factors determine wheter a lynching is a good lynching or a bad lynching?

    These are my opinions. Tortmaster

  16. kelly keating | December 26, 2007 at 08:16 | Permalink

    To the families of the accused, one might say the 88 who chose to sign and run that ad were at least guilty of a “lack of interest in or sensitivity to the human element “….the OTHER human element, the falsely accused students and their families.

    To run that ad (AT THAT VERY TIME) seems to indicate a general lack of concern for the consequences the perception of that ad might cause those students. So much so that it seems the majority of the 88 must have considered the possibility of their innocence to be slight.

    If individuals in the group later wished to “clarify” their comments, there was a long period of opportunity.

    Where was that effort?

    The letters, op-eds, and E-mails that appeared from those who did choose to expound seem to presume guilt. There was not one public statemernt against the awful “farm animal” E-mail from Houston Baker. Why not? Why to you believe there was no outrage to that ignorance from these professors, so caring that they had to run an ad to soothe the feelings of OTHER students?

    You seem to feel the ad should have never been considered a significant “event.” But only “lack of interest in or sensitivity to the human element ” could denigrate the effect it had on 46 frustrated and fearful families of the Lacrosse players.

    You don’t seem to want to deal with the ad from their viewpoint. As to the “blog hooligans” you dismiss with “over-the-top” disdain…in other quarters, their efforts are perceived differently.

    “Dearest Blog Hooligans,

    We want to wish you all the merriest Christmas. You’ve all worked so hard for something so important—truth and justice! Our gratitude is endless for the energy you have spent on Reade, Colin, and Dave’s behalf. You are an amazing group of people and your words have brought us hope, strength, and comfort. Even in our darkest hour we took great solace in the knowledge that you were all out there helping us in this fight.”

    Portion of a Christmas message from the Seligmann family.

  17. Mike | April 11, 2008 at 01:48 | Permalink

    Rolls eyes at this whole blog. All I can say is: whenever I go to the Met (N.Y.C., I treat myself to two operas each season) I wear a Duke lacrosse jersey. Some older people (mostly ladies) have told me I look charming (and one or two males have winked at me). But from that particular breed of NY Times Manhattan goofballs (potbanger-supporters as divorced-from-reality as Claire/Harry Potter) who wouldn’t have the brains to appreciate the opera anyway: if looks could kill! And to really rub it into them..I usually have the best seats.

    ~   ~   ~

    Yes, when it comes to boosting self-esteem, opera tix can be a great investment.

  18. Ralph DuBose | May 3, 2008 at 00:20 | Permalink

    By mid-June 2006 some of us among the Blog-Hooligans were posting under our own names the notion that M. Nifong was headed towards disbarment, prison, and the rest of his life spent flailing helplessly against a relentless, merciless series of lawsuits. And so it was to be. With or without credentials, we saw the truth and put it down on paper while most of the smart crew with PhDs were getting it wrong or hiding in a hole.
    You are quite right; most of us are not “academics” we just happen to have gotten it it right really quick. Maybe we should apologize. Or maybe not.
    I will grant you that the actions of the faculty at Duke was not a central factor in the trajectory of this saga. They were not, by and large, well informed regarding the intended hoax and frame. But they were obviously regarded by R. Brodhead and R. Steel as utterly predictable in the way they would respond to any fight involving rich white guys and a Durham crack-whore. Indeed, they jumped thru the hoops as expected. 88 of them signed a silly screed mostly, I bet, because they were afraid not to. Or, as one explained, “I would count for nothing in my world ” if she did not sign it.
    The on-going civil lawsuits are serious. Duke officialdom must decide between admitting to personal felonies under oath or giving away a good portion the schools endowment.
    I have probably enjoyed the outcome of this more than yur sort.

  19. Ralph DuBose | May 3, 2008 at 22:04 | Permalink

    The only people still following this story are the old veterans. Among these people, the idea of responding to postings like your latest is colored by a belief that such postings are merely your attempt to change the subject away from one that you do not like.

    I mean, you seem to want to limit all discussion here to the question of the quality of the discourse about the discourse about the case. We are asked to believe that you really believe that is a subject worthy of its own blog. In truth, I doubt that anyone anywhere accepts that you care that much about the quality of the discourse per se. So, there is little motivation to discuss a subject that we doubt you actually care about yourself.

    On the other hand, it is transparently obvious why you would want to raise the subject of the quality of the discourse: doing so would lay some concealing smoke over the truly horrible behaviour of some of your fellow academicians.
    The reason that I keep bringing up the lawsuits is to remind you that this ploy will not work very well in real life.

    Duke Administration tried to end the lives of three of their own students -in real life - for evil and corrupt reasons. That represents a Karmic debt bigger than clever word play can ever erase.

    ~   ~   ~

    I have to say this is great stuff. I especially like the idea that I’ve spent hours and hours writing ridiculously long and detailed posts about something I don’t actually care about, just to “lay some concealing smoke over the truly horrible behaviour” of a bunch of people I’ve never met. I am way more pathetic than I ever suspected.

    I appreciate DuBose’s efforts to fill me in about how he pigeonholes me and my blog. Those of us associated with Duke are pretty much interchangeable if we have a different interpretation of the case or, it seems, different concerns from him. We’re those kind of people, and that’s about all you need to know about us.

  20. Ralph DuBose | May 4, 2008 at 13:09 | Permalink

    From my perspective there are three distinct categories of individuals among those who have actively been commenting on this case - pigeonholes - if the word pleases you.

    The first was a small group of insiders within the Durham PD and the DAs office who understood as a matter of professional certainty that Mangum had not been harmed but they also understood that the local powers that be wanted a prosecution and so they marched as ordered. Good Germans that they were. In that same group were a few key individuals at Duke who were so terrified of appearing to side with anybody male and white against anyone female and black that they knowingly cooperated with the desires of the local authorities. In their view the only politically safe outcome was that there be a trial in Durham. The costs and dangers that laid upon the LAX guys was to them of no importance.

    Among the second group(Blog Hooligans) are the ones whose instincts picked up on the many things that smelled wrong and were out of place for this to have been a legitimate prosecution. They proceeded to look closer and the more they saw the clearer it became that a hoax was being attempted. BTW, no information ever came out that impeached that interpretation or supported the claims of the prosecution. Any emotional investment in a belief in the kids innocence was always safe.

    A third, much larger, group - one that includes “those kind of people” and most academicians are those who wanted to find complexity and ambiguity in the “narrative”. They reacted this way because it is partly their nature and maybe they just can’t help themselves and partly because they sensed the dangerous nature of a controversy with so much voltage following thru it. Being human, they looked for their own personal safety. I mean, why go out on a limb for someone if doing so will piss off the authorities? What do I owe to strangers? (Notwithstanding the fact that they are kids that look to us as their teachers). And that they are innocent. Obviously innocent.
    “Those kind of people” looked for ambiguity and complexity where there was no space for it. If necessary, they have tried to create it.

    Are these people the worst that ever lived? On a sunny day, I might allow that they are not. They reacted like the majority does in most situations where a crime is being carried out by the authorities against a group they do not especially like or identify with.

    Indeed, the status of my own morality is compromised somewhat, I suppose, by the fact that I always identified with the LAX guys on many levels although I have no connection with Duke or Lacrosse. So maybe I would not have done “the right thing” if the falsely accused were a different type. And if I failed to respond heroically, against the stream, so to speak, I no doubt would be tempted to look for something to complicate the basic narrative of me hiding while listening to someone scream for help. But if I did act in such a manner, I would think a good deal less of myself and I like to think that I would eventually try to undo some of the harm done.

    ~   ~   ~

    I’ll give DuBose credit for trying hard to explain his position. I’m not sure why it’s so important to him that I know.

    DuBose is basically proposing to know more about the people in my community than I do, which gives me an easy choice. I can form an opinion based on what I’ve seen and heard over my 10 years here at Duke (plus quite a few years before that around academia) or I can accept DuBose’s comic-book version. Certainly the idea that there are “authorities” around here who won’t tolerate siding with “anybody male and white against anyone female and black” is a figment of his imagination. There’s some major storytelling going on with that, which is why, like the rest of my sort, I end up using the word “narrative.” I don’t think it’s all that complex, but there’s plenty of ambiguity to many of the major players.

    When it comes to Nifong and the Durham police, I don’t think my opinions are that different from DuBose’s—I’ve never suggested that their handling of the case was anything short of atrocious. And I’ve never written about the rape allegations as anything but false. There may not even be that big a difference in our opinions about the way the Duke administration handled the case. Where we part company for sure is over any kind of simple, one-dimensional view of whole classes of people. As the blog hooligans have often pointed out, that sin was common in the strident attacks on the lacrosse team. Ultimately, though, DuBose is giving freer rein to prejudiced stereotyping than all but the most extreme lacrosse-team attackers. The people he’s stereotyping are less vulnerable, but that’s no excuse.

  21. Matthew | June 23, 2008 at 02:59 | Permalink

    In this whole lacrosse case, we have seen very few comments from a very important group: That of colllege students.

    It is hard to imaginse a different narative with the police involved in this case when Mike Nifong turned to his officers before the grand jury and said “We are ******” and then went in and got them indicted.

    Duke’s actions during the lacrosse case is why people have this mindset of the universities role. The fact that Brodhead, Steele and Alleva both waffled and gave horrible responses to the season being canceled; the information that students complained about harrasment in class by professors and it was never investigated; and the fact brodhead refuced to meet with the lacrosse parents; well, actions speak louder than words.

    And with the professors who signed the listening ad, it is hard not to believe they didnt have an agenda. I said then and I will say it now: I believe the majority of the signers gave their signature without really even reading or analyzing the document. However, it is hard to believe the organizers of the ad did not have an agenda more than what they admit because of the timing, the email sent out, and the time period given to place signatures,

    KC has documented instances where from the get go professors at Duke were pushing for the cancellation of the season and the boys to be expelled even when much was not known. If anything, should not acadamia be the first to sit back and wait for the facts before making judgement. It is sad that they were so quick to speak out about the lacrosse incident, yet was silent when colin finnerty was threatened by the new black panthers in front of the court house and then allowed in. They and NCCU stood silently by when a member of NCCU’s student legislative body stated how the lacrosse players should be punished even if they did not commit a crime.

    And then not only did they not apologize (or just kept their mouth’s shut), the published a letter which basically said “shame on you for reading our ad a certain way.” Could they have not said, “This is what we meant” and simply admit maybe they could have been a little more careful on the wording and timing of the ad (Say whatever about the intent, but it is clear the ad could be interpretted as saying the players are guilty).

    The problem is, there is so much information out there pointing to creating these narratives, and making them is not a stretch. If the university and professors took a wait and see approach, they would have realized there are big holes in the case pretty quickly.

    And we need to stay vocal about this case. Apparently, civil rights of those student do not matter. In defending the university in the lawsuit, the university lawyers just basically said the faculty handbook is not an enforceable document, and they still refer to GCM as the victim and that something happened.

    And the fact that no professor at Duke has spoke out the fact that Nifong used this mentally unstable woman to win an election is confusing all in itself.

  22. JF, A Reader | June 26, 2008 at 11:15 | Permalink

    When each individual professor allowed his name to be part of a public document, they became “a group” ….just as the individual kids did when they joined the Team. They chose it. They “signed on.”

    Moreover, they knew an ad would be placed advocating an opinion…in a highly charged situation regarding some of their own students. Would not most intelligent, cautious, caring people want to READ the wording they were about to endorse with their NAME? Surely, these intelligent folks READ before they sign something that is going to be published, lest they end up in print thanking George Bush for his presidency.

    In a situation as dangerous (yes, dangerous to the innocent)… ignorance of potential consequence is no excuse.

    How hard would it be to take a moment to consider how this ad might be viewed it was…when presented to a larger audience? It is no exaggeration to say the very lifetimes of those who might be charged were at stake. The fear of these Players at potential charges was as real as the fear of any of the anonymous students who felt racial disrespect, no? The second topic was certainly worthy…but why did none of these caring professionals consider the timing of this ad? Why did these gifted individuals who make their living using WORDS, examining words, revealng symbolism…not twig to the secondary message of “We thank the protesters for not waiting.”

    Please try to own this for a minute yourself. Say some wacko student made a false accusation about you. Say your colleagues THEN decide to use YOUR SITUATION to publish an ad to”listen” to the pain of students who have been exploited in Academia by lecherous Professors.

    YOUR COLLEAGUES.Just think of it.

    People you know, who know you. Just at a time when Inncent YOU were most vulnerable. Using a time when your freedom, reputation, everything was at stake.

    Imagine yourself looking at the names. Here, you thought this one liked you. There, you thought that one knew you well enough to know this was false. Imagine that ad coming out at a time of media outrage and THAT AD being quoted and opined upon by OTHER colleagues of yours, appearing on…. Nancy Grace.

    Your loved ones hear a colleague’s voice while Nancy runs YOUR picture with the subtitle “Duke Lecher.” Years from now, after exoneration, some kids say to your son “Your Dad is that sleazy guy from Duke. Something happened there. People who knew him even thanked the protesters.” Your kid, your wife, every one who loves you has to carry that.

    To this day, people post comments like that. They think like that.

    To another point, it is true that many of the many of the younger players had no idea that strippers had been hired. Some “privileged sons” of firefighters or two working parents may have resented a bit having to chip in. They went because the Captains called the party; they went because these were their teammates and friends. Most of us, even the individuals who compose the 88, desire to be accepted, included…liked… part of a group.

    I have often wondered what the 88 expected from these younger team members like Collin and Reade (who had no part in the planning)…arriving at the party? Should they have immediately recognized the sociological and historical and tribal significance of participation…stood up like Son of the Church Lady , preached at and denounced their fellow players, and left in righteousness?

    Is this what THEY (the 88)or you do if entering a party of friends..and spot some illegal substances being um-m-m enjoyed? Do you stop and lecture on how the profits from this um-m-m industry are used or hold forth on any other contentious political or sociological viewpoint that applies? Do any of you require of yourself ,what ,in essence you were requiring of 19 year old kids ?

    When you hire a kid to cut your grass, do you think how you are exploiting him if you do not provide minimum wage and care about his lack of medical benefits. Do you knock on Faculty doors and protest similar exploitations you encounter daily?

    But these 19 year old kids were to bear the burden of all history and society’s ills!

    Short of denouncing their teammates immediately upon arrival…what could Collin and Reade have done…so that some of you might have been moved to”listen”” to what was happening to them? What might have moved a few of you to run an ad advocating FAIRNESS , after NO DNA, after Kim Roberts and Mr. Elmostafa were charged to bully them to change their story, after the no-lose line-up,shouts of “You’re a Dead Man Walking” etc. etc???? These were egregious curcumstances, occuring over a long period of time. You might have addressed any number of perversions…from Nifong’s tactics to the media circus.But Duke faculty was unable or unwilling to “listen” or respond to any outrage, legal or otherwise, involving these particular “unworthy” kids.?


    Why is it so hard to FEEL what has happened here, to these young men? Do some members of “privilege” deny sensitivity to the whole group? How much money negates the pain of the potential loss of your child’s lifetime in prison? How many material things collected will allow you to blow off your the pain of your own child

    Kathy Davidson wrote that she signed the “Listening ad” because of the overwhelming support on campus for the Team in the early days. She was sensitive to how this hurt other students. (Maybe you can help the kids who were sleeping in their cars during exam week remember this sweet abundance of “support.”) Does she even realise how morally fraudulent that exaggeration made her appear? But, okay, accepting it at face value…why did her “”listening” stop there? Where was the follow-up?

    As time passed, and Nifong’s tactics became frightening obvious to even
    most of the entrenched media, why no faculty ad or op-ed or letter to the editor from DUKE FACULTY to take him to task?? One did not have to be a member of Mensa to grasp what “NO DNA”(NONE, NADA, NOT A SPECK) in her, on her, not even lacrosse dandruff…meant to a brutal gang rape allegation such as was described. But Duke faculty was deadly silent.

    Why? Was there a cost none of you wished to pay? Good collegial relations with your peers? Solidarity with some worldview that brooks no exceptions?

    How could so many individuals choose to stand and watch this abuse at their doorstep. Seriously, this has overtones of the Kitty Genovese murder long ago…you all watched from your faculty “windows “…but for these kids, no more “listening” …you were not getting involved.

    I ask in all respect, in an effort to understand.

    I appreciate your willingness to offer whatever insight you have.

    Will you try to explain the disparity of caring , the inability to “listen” to the suffering of these kids and families over such a long and revealing stretch of time?

  23. Sydney Carton | June 26, 2008 at 16:20 | Permalink

    So Sydney, guess what? Before you write a rebuttal, you’re supposed to read and understand the text you’re rebutting.
    Robert, we have been reading many thousands of words by you for many months without comment.We are concerned with only one slight fact: the entire incident was a premeditated hoax from the beginning.
    Originally a hoax between two flagrant whores(both college educated) and a pimp(whose step-father occupies a position of prominence in the Liberian government)to rip off some greenhorns on a quickie,;it was deliberately escalated by a variety of (quite irreconciliable) interests into a bigger googled national catastrophe than Hurricane Katrina. Careful,courteous, interrogations of Brian Taylor,Crystal Mangum and Kim Roberts within the first twenty-four hours by competent LE would have terminated what was then still a budding second-rate farce on the spot.
    What you wrote is not a rebuttal, it’s a pathetic attempt to explain away the bad behavior of one group of people by dwelling on the bad behavior of another group.
    No, I’m talking about false statements that were made by three individuals and which when considered (whether individually or collectively) show premeditated intent to defraud.This,in Crystal’s case,escalated into a projected million dollar plus shakedown scheme which could have , easily, ended in the mutilation or deaths of her intended prey.
    Another group? Do you mean a collective group of all forty-two party-goers?As distinct from the group of “88”ers who can’t be judged collectively?
    One way,or the other,we aren’t going to debate sociological behaviour, just the elementary ,demonstratable,criminological behaviour which was alone the subject of the slight communication involved.

    Besides the point I made in the post about the difference between hiring a person and buying a thing,
    If I should elaborate (and it was unnecessary in the context of my original communication) I would
    say the clients were buying neither a person(which single one of the negotiating trio do you think was for sale?) nor a thing.
    None of the three had any intention of fulfilling a perfectly legal contract. If they came expecting to augment their basic fee by prostitution the highly knowlegable women sorely misjudged their clientele and chose to exit at the earliest possible moment.Kim thought there was more money to be made at the next stop. Crystal mistakenly thought there was more money to be made where she was.
    here are a few ways that we seem to disagree: (1) I think Duke students are adults–it seems that you don’t;
    May be students age more rapidly at Duke than at CCNU-or Columbia.Actually,I think you would do better to argue in their defence that some of the faculty involved have never attained full intellectual and emotional maturity.Seriously,I would go along with you on that line of defence.
    (2) I think it’s reasonable to expect more self-control and responsibility from Duke students than we’d expect from a substance-abusing stripper/prostitute–
    But if Kim’s and Crystal’s college educations(and these women were twenty-eight years old)didn’t prevent them from a descent into drugs,prostitution,grand larceny,grand auto theft,attempted murder of a police officer, repeated perjury,why should you blame one drunken minor(not forty-two drunken minors)who for the first time exercised his Duke given right to hire the twenty-fifth strip party of that particular academic year.Presumably the other twenty-four(or forty-eight )strippers were compparatively more honest than Crystal and Kim.

    apparently you’re happy to square them off in a race for the bottom;
    “…humour yourself into thinking you’re rebutting something,just don’t expect me to go along with charade.”

    (3) Though they’re naive greenhorns to you, I think it’s also reasonable to expect Duke students to know what they’re doing when they call a sleazy service to send a woman they’ve never met over to their house to take off her clothes.

    If it makes you feel better and more secure to infantilize the lacrosse team and snort piously about the strippers who victimized them, go right ahead. For that matter, humor yourself into thinking you’re rebutting something, just don’t expect me to go along with the charade.

  24. Ralph DuBose | September 2, 2008 at 21:56 | Permalink

    I appreciate Red Mountains comments. I can accept them as an entirely honest statement of how he (and I suppose the average Durhamite) sees this case. I think the key phrase comes at the end, “I also find it hard to believe that all those named in the various lawsuits conspired to frame these young men.” Having an optimistic view of peoples nature is a nice trait to have, most of the time.
    A few days ago, there was another 250 pages of the legal back and forth released to the public. Unfortunately for Durham in general and certain Duke officials in particular the worst case scenario is developing. Durham/Duke have already admitted to so many bad facts and are so much pointing the finger of blame at each other that I think it is fair to say that they are without a meaningful defense at this point. Duke can afford what is going to happen; I do not know about Durham. And Durhamites have no say in how this plays out. These are Federal Cases.
    My understanding of the legal definition of conspiracy is that different entities work in concert to break the law or to harm someone; they do not have to all meet together in a dark room on a regular basis. There does seem to be an abundance of irrefutable evidence that loads of people worked in concert to hide facts they all knew or should have known, to pressure witnesses improperly, to illegally share student data, and so on - all in a way that hurt the Lax guys and that demonstrated mutual dependance. IOWs, if one party told what they knew, they would all be in deep trouble. They all kept their mouths shut back then but the electronic records are turning out to be their worst nightmare. And one must ask why they were hiding so much almost from the get-go if they were acting in good faith.. And almost from the start, these folks starting showing a total lack of curiosity about what the defense side had - refusing to even listen to the boys attorneys and so forth. Try to come up with an innocent explanation for that…
    Brodhead sincerely wants you to think he was confused by contradictory information in the early stages. But it really appears to me that he has been caught in making misleading statements about what he knew and when he knew it.
    I think this is part of the back story: Small town DAs and rich University Administrators have one thing in common - they are used to dealing with relatively powerless people and they are used to getting away with shortcuts in the realm of ethics because they normally have so much protection from payback. Due process is what they say it is and if their intended”victims” have any weak points (and nearly all do) they have immense leverage. It just never occurred to Nifong and Brodhead that those kids had not so much as touched Crystal. Or that there would be gold-plated proof that they had not. And they certainly did not expect that the Lax guys would be supported by some of the most energetic and effective polemicists of their generation - aided by that pesky thing called the internet. So they proceeded to bet their Town and their University that they could get away with fucking with the LAX guys.
    Once when I was a kid, I swung a wooden log down onto a tractor tire innertube. I was bored, I guess Anyway, the log bounced back with all the force I had swung it with and split my skull open. Brodhead and Nifong should have spent more time around tractors, imho.

  25. Ralph DuBose | November 27, 2008 at 04:42 | Permalink

    A smart observer of this scene would skip over your bloated commentary / bitch session re: K C Johnson and get right to noticing that recent developments in this case (the civil case involving massive damages coming down onto dook) are grinding forward like a demented freight train. Meanwhile, you and a scattering of likeminded colleagues continue to dig and peck around like brainless chickens in the shit stained sawdust of - having no facts good for the enablers - as if there were something worth eating down there in the dirt. The fact is - The kids are innocent. The School is guilty of compound felonies. Brodhead & Steel are not yet in handcuffs only because they have not yet been questioned under oath.

  26. Clyde Barrow | November 28, 2008 at 20:13 | Permalink

    You are essentially claiming that Johnson is being unfair to Duke, Durham, and the Group of 88. You have presented this view with assertions, but no evidence.

    What makes the Lacrosse case so compelling is the monstrous behavior of the Univerity, faculty, and government, that they were so utterly, shamelessly, and unrepentently wrong.

    You want Johnson to present their side? They were corrupt and rotten. They still are. That’s their side. That’s why it’s an important story in the first place.

  27. TP Squirrel | December 4, 2008 at 01:38 | Permalink

    “The medical exam showed no injuries,
    the specific DNA tests showed no contact,
    two of the kids could prove they were not even there”
    —Ralph D.

    A succinct example of the total dishonesty
    of the KC - Hooligan - Lacrosse Crowd.

    It’s about time Zimmerman got into the evidence.

  28. leftisnotright | December 14, 2008 at 11:06 | Permalink

    There is an excellent article just out on this in support of KC’s virtuoso attack on the leftist feminista academoniacs.

    “As noted before, the signees were concentrated in the “identity studies” groups, which are a relatively new phenomenon in higher education. Furthermore, they are not “academic” in the sense of disciplines like chemistry or economics being “academic.” Women’s studies “scholars,” for example, are not interested in researching real issues that affect women. Instead, they exist for one purpose: to proclaim that women are oppressed and that their “salvation” is grabbing political control over others.”

    Economics guru Anderson hit the nail on the head with that one. A professor of real science and a serious profession (unlike music for example), certainly knows where he is coming from in putting these idiot feminazi wannabes in their place.

    “They are successful in large part because of their ruthlessness, and in that way, they follow the Bolshevik model which gave us the Russian Revolution and the bloodshed that came afterward. Bolsheviks were only a tiny minority, but they knew when to storm the Winter Palace and how to agitate and get their way. (For that matter, that is how the Neo-Conservatives are able to gain power in U.S. presidential administrations, despite the fact that their actual numbers are quite small. They are masters, however, at agitation and attack, and most people don’t have the heart or will to stand up against their brutality.)”

    This Duke thing has never been about crime or justice, it is and will continue to be the Western Front of the stand against the insidious takeover of our colleges and government by the Leftist feminazis and minority lovers in our midst. We must arm ourselves and prepare an underground bunker for the long fight ahead. Let us hope for no more than four years of hiding from our brutal foes.

  29. William Anderson | May 4, 2009 at 16:19 | Permalink

    Let me see. Irving Joyner makes inflammatory statements, defends an illegal “lineup,” and then praises Nifong for completely changing the story, and I am the racist for pointing out this fact? Furthermore, Justice58 (or whatever her real name is, since she does not use it) claimed on Sydney Harr’s blog that none of the families of the indicted young men suffered anything. Those were her words.

    Granted, she (and a lot of people in Durham) never saw Kathy Seligmann as a real person, even when Seligmann had to be hospitalized. For a while, Rae Evans was in a wheelchair, and one friend of hers told me that she never had seen Rae in such a condition.

    Members of other lacrosse families have suffered from stress-related illnesses linked to that time, but no one suffered anything. For a year, these families did not know what would happen to their children, while a rogue DA lied to the courts. Reade Seligmann received death threats while walking to a hearing and was threatened in court, yet the judge, Nifong’s good friend Ronald Stephens did nothing. Yeah, Prof. Zimmerman, those families did not suffer at all. Right.

    For the past three years, we have heard lie after lie come from Durham, and Justice58 still claims that there is all sorts of “secret” evidence being hidden that “proves” Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans raped Crystal Mangum, yet Prof. Zimmerman treats her as being credible. Just what is that “evidence” that you know about, Justice58?

    Tricia Dowd attended the April 12 meeting at NCCU and said afterward that she never had experienced “so much hatred” in one place. We saw the entire “justice” apparatus of Durham County and the City of Durham attempt to frame three young men for a rape that never happened, yet I am supposed to infer NOTHING from this? The voters of Durham County elected Michael Nifong, even after Ed Bradley exposed his case on “60 Minutes,” yet I am supposed to believe that nothing was out of kilter?

    I made my comments after Ruth Sheehan received numerous complaints that the coverage given to the murder of Eve Carson was “racist” because a murdered NCCU student was not given the same amount of publicity. Also, given the many public comments that residents of Durham made about the

    Now, I find it interesting that Prof. Zimmerman presents Justice58 as better informed, since he has publicly stated that the charges were a hoax. Have you changed your mind, Prof. Zimmerman? If Justice58 is “better informed,” are you now saying that maybe the charges were true after all? Justice58 has written many times that the charges were true and Nifong was correct.

    And let us be honest. Whatever “caricatures” I have created are not nearly as “crude” as the caricatures that Durham and Duke University made of the lacrosse players and their families. For that matter, the Seligmanns and the Finnertys had to endure their sons having their mug shots on the cover of Newsweek as accused rapists. Yeah, no caricature there.

    And many supporters of Prof. Zimmerman, including Justice58 have made up their own crude caricatures of the families, of Joan Foster, and many of the other people who have defended the lacrosse players and their families.

    By the way, Justice58 and Prof. Zimmerman, how is my comment about the way that African-Americans handled the lacrosse situation in Durham any different than what we saw in the worst of Mississippi and Alabama during the Jim Crow era? True, Reade, David, and Collin still are alive, but that is about all.

    These young men had to endure false charges, made worse by one false story after another that came from Durham, the Wilmington News, and other papers. We saw Irving Joyner defend the April 4 “lineup,” which was a fraud. We saw the attorney for the NAACP, Al McSurely, refuse to meet with Kirk Osborn when Osborn offered to go over the entire case file.

    By the way, which “decent” person in Durham did I accuse of attempted murder? I believe that had those young men been convicted and sent to prison, gangs would have murdered them, and there would have been support for that, and everyone reading this statement knows it.

    So, while my comments are unpleasant, I stand by them. Call me what you want, but at least I have my name out there and don’t hide behind a fake name.

  30. William Anderson | May 5, 2009 at 16:11 | Permalink

    After making the comments to Newsweek, Chan Hall was elected as a NCCU student body vice president. I never did read anyone rebutting his statements to Newsweek, and that includes Cash. All Cash did was to say he did not speak in front of the whole crowd; Cash never publicly said that Hall was wrong.

    To be honest, I would rather be the punching bag on this blog than Joan Foster or the lacrosse families, so if you wish to say those things, fine. At least I have my name out there and don’t hide behind fake pictures and false names.

    Now, I must admit that this is the first time that someone has engaged in psychoanalyzing me, and if I do descend into the depths of madness, why I hope the blogger named “Sharon” is there to record the moment.

    If you were to read the articles I have written over the years, you would see that I am consistent in my views toward justice and wrongful convictions. Often, I will defend people who are unpopular, like Barry Bonds, who was targeted by federal prosecutors, and now face prison or who have gone to prison.

    The reason I got involved in the Duke case was that some young men were being falsely accused of a terrible crime, and it seemed that the entire political structure of a city was aimed at railroading them into prison. Furthermore, the usual “system” of checks and balances, from the grand jury system to the press, had broken down. For a year, three people were charged with rape and other crimes, despite evidence that spoke volumes about their innocence.

    Furthermore, we saw faculty members take out an ad against them, and then lie when confronted with the truth of the case. (I have the emails from Wahneema Lubiano and others that were sent around before the ad was submitted, and I know what those emails said about the purpose of the ad.)

    Since the usual guardians of the law had taken a powder, I became involved as a blogger. Now, I would figure that in a case in which the prosecutor and the so-called victim continually had to change their stories to fit the timelines and the evidence would lead some to think that maybe, just maybe, this case was a fraud, but I had not realized the political mindset that governs Duke University and Durham, North Carolina.

    As I told one of the parents, this was a case in which the truth was not enough. It is obvious from reading this blog that the truth never will be enough. In reading the material that has come from Duke and Durham, including the claim that the police were “looking for exculpatory evidence” and that Nifong (according to Sydney Harr) had a case with merit, I have concluded that a lot of people from Durham simply don’t want to bother with the truth, and that is why I am convinced that a Durham jury would have convicted those three young men.

    When I read Sydney Harr claiming that the Seligmanns paid off Moez Elmostafa, and then see people like Justice58 comment on that particular post approvingly, you have to understand that I am not going to have a charitable attitude toward someone who approves of fabrications. Likewise, when Prof. Zimmerman gives her credibility, as he has done, I probably will react against that, too.

    So, go after me if you will. After seeing the way that people in Durham went after the lacrosse players and their families, and after seeing the educational and political apparati in that city engage in gross misconduct, I will continue to doubt the integrity and honesty of people in leadership positions in that city. If this be a rant, and if this be madness, then let us make the most of it.

  31. William Anderson | May 14, 2009 at 13:22 | Permalink

    Yes, Mark Rougemont, I made some very harsh statements. However, are you telling me that there are no gangs in prisons that would have been interested in teaching Reade, Collin, and David a “lesson”? And that the guards and the police and others would have gone all out to protect these “rapists”? Somehow, I think not.

    As for the atmosphere in Durham, I recall that Irving Joyner, William Barber, and Al McSurely were pushing this to a trial, and Joyner was out-and-out predicting a conviction, or at least claiming it was a strong possibility. Furthermore, Joyner claimed that since the “rape” charges were dropped, the “rape shield” laws would prohibit most of the exculpatory information to be kept out of the trial, and that a guilty verdict would be fairly easy to obtain.

    The NAACP ran some very wild accusations on its website, and kept the accusations up long after Roy Cooper had declared the defendants “innocent.” It is clear that McSurely and Barber were not “convinced” of the innocence of Reade, Collin, and David. They didn’t need evidence, did they?

    So, are you and Prof. Zimmerman saying that Joyner, Barber, and McSurely don’t speak for Durham? That they are not influential? In the spring of 2007 these three men were doing everything possible to keep the prospect of a conviction high on the public agenda. Furthermore, Joyner claimed that since the case started in Durham, a Durham jury should be able to decide the guilt or innocence.

    Now, these men had seen the evidence that the rest of us saw, but they took the point of view that this evidence did not matter. An African-American woman had made rape allegations, and that was all that they needed.

    So, please don’t tell me that a Durham jury would have been able to be circumspect in this situation. Not with the NAACP all-but-demanding a conviction and backing up those sentiments on its website for everyone to see.

    And please don’t tell me that the powers that be in Durham were unaware of what happens to people in prison, and especially when people are being targeted. Furthermore, even after the evidence became more and more open and even after “60 Minutes” took the case apart, Nifong won the November election.

    I will say one other thing, Mr. Rougemont. None of what I have written is nearly as inflammatory as what Nifong, Joyner, McSurely, and many others in positions of influence in Durham were saying on a regular basis. I never uttered a death threat, but Reade Seligmann had death threats thrown at him in a courtroom with police, Nifong, and the other “officers of the court” in the room, yet none of them did a thing. Not a thing. Nor were there any objections to those death threats by anyone at Duke or Bill Bell, or anyone else in an influential position in Durham.

    So, are you going to tell me that had these young men been convicted — a strong likelihood in Durham, given the political atmosphere there — they would have been perfectly safe and not in any danger at all? Give me a break.

    I’m listening to Reade’s testimony while I write this, and all I can say is that you in Durham should be ashamed for ever letting these lies go this far. Instead, you in Durham elected Michael B. Nifong while your community leaders enabled him.

    So, make your accusations against me, but when you in Durham can tell me that none of those things happened, and that the political atmosphere in Durham was perfectly safe for Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans, then I will stop making the statements I have made and will retract them.

    When people at the cave stop insisting that these young men raped Crystal Mangum when all of the evidence demonstrates beyond a doubt that she is lying, maybe I will stop making statements. When some of the posters on this blog are willing to admit that they have been pursing a lie, then I will be perfectly happy to retract what I have said.

    Somehow, I don’t think that will be occurring, will it? No, it is much more fun to believe a Big Lie.

  32. Kantian | July 21, 2009 at 14:34 | Permalink

    Joan, please give it a rest. Are Professor Zimmerman and John in Carolina the only ones kind enough to put up with your comment pasting?

    Have you considered how this all looks? For you?

    There is absolutely nothing “anti-gay” in Debrah’s comment at the N&O. You must have untold demons eating at you to even bother searching for more of your “pasties”.

    If I can get something through your head, I am the parent of two almost grown children. My daughter is gay and I can tell you for sure that if Frank Lombard were not gay the same professors at Duke who gladly went after the lacrosse players would be in the news on and on and going after Lombard right now.

    You can bet your bottom dollar that he would have been fired immediately, not weeks later.

    My daughter would not and does not cover for people like Lombard because it is people like that admitted child molester who help create the ignorance used against the gay community.

    If they don’t come out passionately against his perverted lifestyle, what are they saying about their own standards?

    Your attempt to make an issue out of Debrah’s very truthful comment makes you look even more pathetic than before.

    And Joan try to keep on topic.

    Debrah didn’t criticize some at Liestoppers because they might harbor negative feelings about gays.

    She criticized them because they were suggesting that KC was and saying that is why he didn’t agree with your very bad analogy you tried to push on the D-i-W crowd.

    You and JinC have damaged yourselves because of untruthfulness and these kinds of false comparisons when you’ve lost the argument.

  33. Debrah | July 27, 2009 at 17:54 | Permalink

    Dear “Mr. Fontes”,

    Let me try to explain…..very s-l-o-w-l-y……that my interest in you as a commenter has never been as keen as your interest has always obviously been in following the Diva.

    Anything I read on another blog, and you happened to have been there, was just a case of coincidence or bad luck.

    I don’t know you.

    I have never attacked you without provocation and always wonder about people who go to other blogs and try to instruct the author of that blog.

    For instance, I don’t agree with Zimmerman about much; however, I realize that this is his blog and when he makes a decision, I don’t spend days fighting with him and demanding that he yield to my views.

    I don’t email him and tell him that he should….how did you put it over at Liestoppers?…..”stomp” on someone?

    People like you and your ilk are alien to me….and yes, idle……to believe that you can direct traffic on another blog.

    And “Mr. Fontes”, there is much you do not understand about the Diva…..even as you seem to follow her every move, as well as in “buddy Foster fashion”, gossip and relive every episode of the Diva mystery as you wait for someone to hand you a new drool cup.

    What on earth does a man find so intriguing about keeping track of a stranger or strangers on blogs and what relationship they might have with another blogger?

    For me, people like you are just plain….odd.

    Did you really—-even in your wildest dreams—-expect KC to listen to your advice about how he runs his own blog?

    And just so you won’t continue in ignorance, I am intensely proud of the Diva breast shot. It was a serendipity shot.

    Although I had rather others wouldn’t use it on their blogs, but I do realize how compelled they are to view it.

    You see, Kitty Diva and I—-(before she went to Rainbow Bridge)—-were on the IMAC on Valentine’s Day last year and I was trying on necklaces….when we both began posing for IPhoto Booth.

    The breast shot was the result of playing around and it turned out so well—-similar to something taken by a professional photographer, I’m told—-that I decided to keep it inside the IPhoto cache.

    So don’t bother yourself with your notions.

    Anyone downloading that shot is exhibiting pure lust for the Diva magic!

    Try not to be bothered by such trivia…….(unless you’re vying for an autographed glossy copy.)

    I realize the way in which your friends lifted it from the Diva video doesn’t offer a true and clear rendering. Hope that hasn’t put a damper on your viewing experience.

    Lastly, a keen observer might ask, “Why are some so caught up inside the Diva and KC issues? If KC isn’t bothered by anything, why are they?”

    Good question!