So… “Spouting Feminist Rhetoric While Carrying a Duke Diploma”

Fellow Duke feminists have reported verbal thrashings from the larger feminist community on the ongoing Duke Lacrosse debacle, confirming my suspicions that if you don’t toe the line, you’re hung out to dry faster than you can say “Pressler.” And that just ain’t right.

Let’s put aside the team’s boorish behaviour, as well as the embedded patriarchy at Duke (it’s there, girls and boys, I’m not going to deny it), and focus on the fact that this case has been plagued by inconsistencies and cock-ups (har har) from the start.


I do not mistrust the accuser because she is a stripper. Anyone who does that is an ignorant ass. Stripping pays well, particularly wherein people who were never fortunate enough to receive a Duke education are concerned. No, I mistrust her because of the actions of Mike Nifong, who tried this case in the media before it ever got to court, who engineered a shoddy “line-up,” and who is now backtracking, exposing himself to be the opportunist some of the most perceptive people at Duke have known him to be from the start.

Nifong’s actions are indicative of a case that is weak at best, and, at worst, completely false. He must have known that it was false the minute he laid eyes on the accuser, hence the hoopla. He needed this case to galvanize the community and win the election, and had hoped that the facts would get lost in the hysteria, as they pretty much did.

The hysteria, in turn, has only deepend the rift between the Duke undergraduates and Durham, not to mention the fact that it has also obscured the very real issues of patriarchal alpha-male entitlement among some of our students. Thanks for making it worse for our student body, Mike.

Am I less of a feminist because I recognize the lack of credibility in this case as well as the negative impact of the coverage? Because I am fed up with the simplistic and trite descriptions of Duke and Duke students? Because I believe that I am lucky to have graduated from Duke?

It was at Duke that I started researching feminist theory, instead of calling myself a feminist just because it made me seem different from the good ol’ boys and their female counterparts that populated my high school. So to effectively tell me “shut up and sit down, your perspective doesn’t count” is rude and counter-productive. I get enough nausea whilst listening to the “why don’t we all suck some lacrosse dick” crap from the other extreme (particularly from guys who want to use this opportunity to ingratiate themselves and reap what they see as major benefits of being in that particular social circle).

Blindly attacking the entire Duke community for the sake of re-asserting femininst credentials (or whatever other credentials) only makes it worse for Duke women in the long run, not to mention the negative impact this is going to have on future rape cases both at Duke and within greater Durham. It’s the equivalent of that completely retarded “Axis of Evil” speech that, far from inspiring glorious revolution, galvanizes the entire body of the accused against you. We criticize Chimpy for it, so why turn around and do the same thing?

48 thoughts on “So… “Spouting Feminist Rhetoric While Carrying a Duke Diploma”

  1. I now believe this whole incident is a huge hoax and much of what the DA has said in the beginning will be proven false. Who would of thought it?

    “When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”

    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

  2. Natalia – I’ve had my own interactions with the feminist community that were less than pleasant. Its a very ecclectic group (to put it nicely), so don’t worry if they are being a little stuck up about things.

    My perspective is that they have to be that way in order to insulate themselves from a constant barrage of criticism from the media and elsewhere. It takes quite a bit of arrogance to stand up to society.

    Sadly, it can also be an achilles heel.

  3. Good article, we are seeing some proof of why a Duke diploma is so cherished. I wish more Duke graduates would speak up. Thanks.

  4. o, I mistrust her because of the actions of Mike Nifong, who tried this case in the media before it ever got to court, who engineered a shoddy “line-up,” and who is now backtracking, exposing himself to be the opportunist some of the most perceptive people at Duke have known him to be from the start.

    You mistrust a person due to the actions of another person? How does that make sense? Surely
    a person can only be trusted or not trusted on the basis of his/her actions?

    He must have known that it was false the minute he laid eyes on the accuser, hence the hoopla

    How on earth can you think Nifong (or just about anyone else for that matter) can decide whether or not a person was raped just by looking at her?

    I don’t really disagree with the core of your argument, nor do I disagree regarding the need for a non-monolithic feminism, but I don’t think your reasoning is solid here.

    One more thing:

    Thanks for making it worse for our student body, Mike.

    Making life easy for Duke students is not the job of the DA. It’s the job of those (few) Duke students who are interested in change. Expecting an external factor to do that work for you is just not on. Change your own community before criticizing others for not helping out.

    I am not trying to slate you here. As I said, I think you’re generally right. I think that the automatic feminist ‘believe the survivor no matter what’ attitude is flawed and misguided. However, I also think you’re doing no more than taking a different easy way out and disguising it as an intellectual argument.

  5. I think that if a DA cannot do his job, he does not have a case. Of course, if a DA may selfishly desire to promote himself, he can pretend he has a case. I am sick and tired of being jerked around by this man, Mike Nifong, hence the level of mistrust both for him and the woman he represents. Rape cases don’t need to be air-tight, far from it. By they at least have to be believable. So much doesn’t add up that it boggles my mind. Obviously I’m not going to sit here and applaud the lacrosse team, if only because their reputation preceeded them way before March 13th. But neither am I going to stay silent when this case appears to crumble before my eyes, and at what cost? People say that Nifong might have a few aces up his sleeve, but this is not a game of cards, and I wish he didn’t treat it like one. Is that how a man who’s truly concerned for a rape-survivor acts? I don’t think so. Either he loathes this poor woman, or he genuinely does not have anything to back himself, or herself for that matter, up.

    As for your comment about change at Duke, I think it’s an interesting one. And that’s exactly what I mean when you say that you can’t rely on an external factor. But people who think that they can push Duke’s buttons from a distance and, you know, inspire positive change, are fooling themselves. Quite the opposite. This is why I used the example of the Bush Administration.

  6. I agree re the DA not being able to do his job, and about the level of mistrust for him. However, I really don’t see how that reflects on the survivor. I don’t see her as entirely reliable either, but that is not due to Nifong’s actions, but due to her own.

    Nifong is a slick asshole politician, no different from (all) the rest of them. Whether or not he had good intentions in this case (which I doubt), he royally fucked it up. In doing this, he disgraced himself and others. I don’t think he loathes the survivor, but he is just one more cynical dickhead of a politician, with nothing but his own selfish powergrabbing moves in mind.

    You are right in saying you cannot rely on external factors, neither for good or for bad. As members of the Duke community, we have knowledge of that community and hence an obligation to change it for the better in any way we feel possible. Attributing our failure to external sources, whether feminist blogs or Nifong, is absurd and self-defeating. For example, so many Duke students blamed the media for slating the university throughout the initial post-incident period. Of course, the Duke administration’s bumbling treatment of the entire scandal was far more to blame, but it’s easier to blame external factors.

    Mike Nifong may have exacerbated the suffering of many, but he is not to blame for the difficulties the Duke feminist (and larger) communities face. Duke students have only themselves to blame for the disdain with which they are treated by the larger Durham and US communities.

  7. I think that we should be held accountable, but, you know, inflammatory media hoopla doesn’t help. A lot of people who have never been to Duke, or have an agenda to push, have come out with these ridiculous statements, like “oh, you’re just brainwashed by the patriarchy.” And it’s like no, I try not to be, at the very least.

    I sincerely hope that when this case goes to trial, at least SOME clarity will be introduced. And I hope that they fry if they’re guilty. But that shouldn’t stop me from examining my own feelings of mistrust in this case, especially since the justice system in NC just seems so, well, suspect to me on occasion (and I’ve lived here for close to twelve years now).

  8. It doesn’t help, no, but nor does it help to blame it. It shows the narrow-mindedness, automatic blind loyalty and defesiveness of Duke students. Not you personally, in any way, shape or form, but the vast mass of undergrads who assume that their is no way their colleagues could possibly do such a terrible thing. The lack of self-examination is, as you said earlier, comparable to the Bush regime.

    You aren’t brainwashed by the patriarchy, but a hell of a lot of Duke undergrads are.

  9. I think Duke undergrads are generally diverse when it comes to thought and deed. But I tink if you approach a Duke student and tell him or her that he or she is an asshole because of all this, they’ll say “fuck off,” and be justified.

    There is a big difference between say, interesting and inclusive takes on Duke life, and 99% of the typical media bullshit.

  10. Agreed. Approaching a Duke student and calling an asshole because of this would be silly. However, approaching a rich white Duke student who is afraid to go more than three blocks away from campus because he/she thinks “it’s the ghetto out there” and calling him/her an asshole is perfectly justified.

    The attitude of Duke students toward this case is no more than a reflection on the collective attitude of Duke towards anything outside the environs of campus.

    This collective attitude does not reflect the diversity of Duke “thought and deed”, as those with minority opinions are not represented in the perception of outside factors. This is mostly due to the general inability of minority-opinion groups at Duke to transcend the collective attitude and forge relationships that bypass their ties to the university. Whether that inability stems from the minority-opinion groups, from the imposition of the majority, or whether it can be seen as the fault of the university structure itself is up for debate. It certainly isn’t the fault of everyone outside Duke.

  11. Back in the 80s, I lived 2 blocks off East Campus. My house was broken into 3 times, and 2 of the times I personally chased the burglar out of the house. (oops, should I say “alleged burglar?” 😉 I don’t consider the neighborhood in which I lived a “ghetto”, but I absolutely think that it was less safe than being on Duke campus. Am I an asshole too, Rann? Would I be an asshole for counselling my daughter to stay on campus as much as possible, to maximize her safety?

  12. Yes Jim. Total, complete asshole. Just kidding.

    I think that there is definite room for improvement between Duke & Durham, but then again, look at Oxford and… well… Oxford.

    These things go on for centuries. Perhaps Rann has a solution. I don’t.

  13. There is a difference between safety and paranoid racism. Durham is a city. It has a significant poor (mostly black) population that is rather envious of the isolated bubble of rich (mostly white) snobs who confine themselves to Duke’s campus. To be honest, I don’t have too much of a problem with the occasional robbery, especially as Duke students tend to be rather well insured. Let’s call it radical forced redistribution :).

    Somewhat more seriously, there has to be a balance between safety and getting to know the population that is gracious enough to let your daughter live in their midst. I wouldn’t advise her to go hang out in East Durham in a $700 leather jacket at 1am, but nor would I discourage her from actually getting to know the city she has chosen to live in, rather than merely the bubble she can stay in if she so chooses.

    Natalia: yes, don’t you just love rich old white liberals? In so many ways, I prefer Stephen Miller. At least he’s an honest dickhead. Can’t say that much for Dicky boy.

  14. Well, you could always kiss Stephen Miller, then he’d ban you from being a jail guard and when Khaled tries to honor-kill him, he’d go on a lovely little crusade to kill all those nasty Muslims. Maybe he’ll make you put on a niqab afterwards though. There’s always an upside, you see?

  15. Did we mention you were drunk and yelled about kissing Brodhead to me as he was standing behind you?

    Oops, I guess not 🙂

  16. Hot, baby, hot! (yes, I’m commenting on what may well be an inside joke I don’t get) (or maybe it isn’t an inside joke and I do get it) (or something) (really)

  17. Oh, Anna, where is that YouTube link to the “My Blue Jeans Is Tight” stuff? I think it’s time for Rann to be exposed to it. Unless he’s seen it before and forgot.

    ***looking for it***

  18. I love how my entrance into any debate leads to a sudden drop in the intellectual level.

    On that note: hey baby, we no have much time, so into my love rocket we climb.

    DOWN COUNT

  19. Uh, guys? An old professor of mine just happened by the office, and apparently, this little blog-post of mine is famous. Professors are e-mailing it to each other. He and half his friends have read it.

    So… um… no more talking about love rockets! GOSH!

  20. Oh goodie. Now I get to annoy Duke profs! Yay!

    I think we should talk about muthafuckin’ snakes on a muthafuckin’ plane!

  21. And hey, aren’t profs supposed to have better things to do? Why are they spending their time reading random blogs? Damn liberals…

  22. Liberal blogs, I’m sure…

    Why is our hard-earned tax money going to fund these time-wasting intellectual types anyway? I think they should get real jobs!

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