Saturday, January 20, 2007

Rape of Justice: Duke University's Postmodern Lynch Mob

By Rick Pearcey

"The Duke University 'lacrosse rape case' is all but over," writes Charlotte Allen in the January 29 edition of the Weekly Standard. "On Friday, January 12, the prosecutor, Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong, petitioned the North Carolina attorney general's office to be recused from the case, and the office complied, appointing a pair of special prosecutors to take over. Nifong's recusal, it is widely assumed, paves the way for the dismissal of all remaining charges against the three defendants -- suspended (but recently reinstated) Duke sophomores and lacrosse team members Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, and a team co-captain, David Evans, who graduated last year -- owing to a complete lack of physical, forensic, and credible testimonial evidence linking the three to any sexual or other violent crimes." . . .

* Elite Hanging Party: "Mike Nifong's handling of the case was clearly outrageous. But he would probably not have gone so far, indeed would not have dared to go so far, had he not been egged on by two other groups that rushed just as quickly to judge the three accused young men guilty of gross and racially motivated carnal violence. Despite the repeated attempts by the three to clear themselves, a substantial and vocal percentage -- about one-fifth -- of the Duke University arts and sciences faculty and nearly all of the mainstream print media in America quickly organized themselves into a hanging party. Throughout the spring of 2006 and indeed well into the late summer, Nifong had the nearly unanimous backing of this country's (and especially Duke's) intellectual elite as he explored his lurid theories of sexual predation and racist stonewalling."

* Duke's Postmodern Inhumanites: "Although outsiders know Duke mostly as an expensive preppie enclave that fields Division I athletic teams, the university's humanities and social sciences departments -- literature, anthropology, and especially women's studies and African-American studies -- foster exactly the opposite kind of culture. Those departments (and especially Duke's robustly 'postmodern' English department, put in place by postmodernist celebrity Stanley Fish before his departure in 1998) are famous throughout academia as repositories of all that is trendy and hyper-politicized in today's ivy halls: angry feminism, ethnic victimology, dense, jargon-laden analyses of capitalism and 'patriarchy,' and 'new historicism' -- a kind of upgraded Marxism that analyzes art and literature in terms of efforts by powerful social elites to brainwash everybody else."

* Laughingstock Press: "The Duke University Press is the laughingstock of the publishing world, offering such titles as Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity and An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality and Lesbian Public Cultures. Phrases such as 'race, gender, and class' and 'privileged white males' come as second nature to the academics who do this kind of writing, which analyzes nearly all social phenomena in terms of race, gender, class, and white male privilege."

* Deconstructing Christianity, Patriotism, Law: "There was a fascinating irony in this. Postmodern theorists pride themselves in discerning what they call 'metanarratives.' They argue that such concepts as, say, Christianity or patriotism or the American legal system are no more than socially constructed tall tales that the postmodernists can then 'deconstruct' to unmask the real purpose behind them, which is (say the postmodernists) to prop up societal structures of -- yes, you guessed it -- race, gender, class, and white male privilege." . . .

* Lynch-Mob Metanarrative: "In the Duke lacrosse case the theorists manufactured a metanarrative of their own, based upon the fact that Durham, North Carolina, is in the South, and the alleged assailants happened to be white males from families wealthy enough to afford Duke's tuition, while their alleged victim was an impoverished black woman who, as she told the Raleigh News and Observer in a credulous profile of her published on March 25, was stripping only to support her two children and to pay her tuition as a student at North Carolina Central University, a historically black state college in Durham that is considerably less prestigious than Duke. All the symbolic elements of a juicy race/gender/class/white-male-privilege yarn were present. The theorists went to town."

The entirety of "Duke's Tenured Vigilantes," by Charlotte Allen, is available here.

Nifonged -- "Gross Abuse of Prosecutorial Power"
Why Judges Makes Law: The Roots and Remedy of Judicial Imperialism, by Nancy Pearcey

Rick Pearcey is editor and publisher of The Pearcey Report.