Thursday, April 28, 2011


I recently came across the 2009 book “The Trauma Myth” by Susan Clancy, Ph.D. As a psychology grad student in the 1990s at Harvard she became interested in the burgeoning sexual-abuse field.

As it turned out, she received a palpable professional shock when, during the course of research and interviews, she came to realize that numerous adults who – AS CHILDREN – were abused, reported to her that the experience did not feel “traumatic” at the time, and that it was only later in life that they came to realize the many consequences of that early experience

This was a bit of a shock to her because the reigning theory (then and now) about child-sexual abuse holds that it was and is always “traumatic” at the time of the experience, and that if a person does not recall it then the only possible explanation is that the child-victim was so vividly “traumatized” that s/he literally forgets (represses) all memory of the experience. (You might already notice that if Clancy’s observations are accurate, then a great deal of ‘under-reporting’ and ‘forgetting’ is not due to “traumatic repression” but rather due to the simple and common obliviousness to an experience that did not at the time seem worthy of note or recall – but don’t run ahead of the process with this possibility and do read on.)

In best truth-seeking fashion – which is what she presumed scientists do – she followed up to do further research. Which, she then discovered, was getting her into trouble with many (but thankfully not all) academic and clinical professionals in the field. (One recalls that in the run-up to Field Marshal Montgomery’s horribly ill-conceived Arnhem raid of autumn 1944, the one junior intelligence officer who kept saying that there were a lot more difficult facts that had to be dealt with than the Marshal’s robustly cheerible calculations and dampdreams were taking into consideration, was roundly abused by his peers and seniors on the planning staffs and was finally sent off ‘for a holiday’ just before the raid was staged, with shocking results now indelibly scored into the historical record; one also recalls what happened to junior staff officers who kept saying that General Westmoreland’s assessment of the military challenge in Vietnam was greatly inadequate to the realities on the ground.)  She wrote this book recounting her experiences and conceptual findings and concerns.

I want to look at some of her material since it encompasses not only substantive and significant conceptual information but also passes through the dark and smokey process by which the SO Mania was developed – constructed and cobbled-together are also accurate descriptors here.   Her primary question is why the now-adult victims of childhood sexual abuse are reporting experiences that do not correspond to the explanatory model insisted upon by the Correct reigning theory. And in the process she traces some ominous reasons why that might be so.
She makes an acute distinction between a) how the event of abuse was experienced at the time and b) how the event was interpreted and understood much later when the person was an adult. This is an approach that might be considered as ‘thinking too much’ or ‘unhelpful’ or ‘too complicated’, but it’s what scientific method requires: you constantly compare the facts that you are encountering in your experiments and research with the theoretical framework you are working from, and in that ongoing dynamic interplay between discovered-facts and explanations of those facts you continually refine your comprehension toward greater and greater accuracy. It’s the Scientific Method. (And you might also realize that there is going to be more than a little disconnect if you approach any research subject with the assumption that ‘facts don’t matter’, the popular mantra of various Correct approaches to life and national affairs.)

Historically, for most of its century-long existence, the psychology field had done little research into the matter of childhood sexual abuse. But once matters began to shift in the 1970s, it became clear that any sexual-interaction between an adult and a child (the social-psychological parameters of those two definitions can get a little mushy in the teen years, especially nowadays) was going to have consequences for the child’s future adult life: although there is no absolute way of knowing just what adult dysfunction is directly and clearly attributable to abuse-experiences as opposed to the numerous other possible causal factors, yet those who present in adulthood and report they were abused as children clearly have a larger-than-average panoply of problems in a wide range of areas (emotional and psychological, behavioral, physiological, cognitive, and in ‘maturity’ generally) ranging along a spectrum of severity.

The vast majority (90 percent or so) of cases involve persons known to the child, and mostly involve ‘touching’ and activities of an “oral” nature, with much less of the horrific actual penetration and rape (which, let me affirm, is not intended to ‘minimize’ the horrific reality of genital penetration of a child by an adult).   In that complex ‘coincidence’ of interplay that is often seen in large social and cultural developments, the 1970s that saw an increase of concern for sexual-abuse, especially of children, also saw psychology’s efforts to come to grips with the experiences of returned Vietnam vets who could not seem to ‘shake off’ the effects of their combat experiences.

These patients reported a wide range of problems, including the persistence of intrusive memories (called “flashbacks”) that continued to envelop them, they reported, years later. In many cases, the memories were so vivid and powerful that the patient would actually respond as if he were again back in combat, either reacting with violence or with some form of self-stifling behavior; all of which made adjustment to post-military civilian life difficult if not impossible.

The diagnostic model of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was developed, in order to efficiently help professional and volunteer helpers get a better (if not comprehensive) understanding of what was going on with the patient (and also to qualify for insurance payments under industry guidelines).

The core theoretical picture was that combat can present such a powerful experience of violent shock that the entire person is somehow thrown off balance, a consequence that could last for the rest of his life and seriously impair healthy functioning, especially in civilian life. The spectrum and severity of the consequences seemed to vary with individuals, some being vividly and violently deranged or seriously impaired, others condemned to a life of less-vivid but equally life-sapping complications. (Among which, as noted above, was the persistence of memories that would not go away.)  Given that these combat experiences were imposed upon soldiers who clearly did not seek such experiences, the soldier-as-unwilling-victim rather accurately conveyed their sad situation; the public heart was rightly touched.

With the PTSD ‘model’ enjoying a wide and rapid acceptance in professional and public consciousness (although there are difficulties with it, to be sure), it cannot be surprising that the sex-abuse advocates – among whom were feminists of assorted types and varying degrees of radicalism – became attracted to it as perhaps a useful vessel for their own concerns and agendas.

Clancy does a good job here, describing how the ‘traumatic stress model’ was rather quickly shoehorned into service as a general paradigm for interpreting and ‘framing’ (and perhaps ‘spinning’, to use a public relations term) sex-abuse. And she notes acutely – and it has to be said – that in April 1971 the first general meeting of a major New York feminist group concerned itself not with the sexual abuse of ‘women’ but of ‘children’, who seemed most easily adaptable to the ‘traumatized and utterly innocent victim’ position assigned in the PTSD model to the soldiers exposed to the awful vicissitudes of sustained jungle and ‘non-conventional’ combat.

The definition of ‘trauma’ was posing notable problems in the implementation of the PTSD model even among veterans. There was a problem of ‘definition creep’ (the ‘creep’ concept comes from bombing in World War 2: once the first bomber in the stream or line had dropped its bombs, each following aircraft – under the understandable pressure of seeking to escape anti-aircraft fire – tended to drop its bombs just a bit before the previous plane, with the result that on the ground the bombs would increasingly fall short of the target unless the lead plane had steeled itself to fly all the way to the ‘far end’ of the target to make its drop).

Clinicians were finding themselves pressured to extend the definition of the initial traumatizing experience to include not simply a shell-detonation close to the patient, but to, say, the sustained experience of being in the vicinity of such a thing, day in and day out. By a similar dynamic, consequences of stress were ‘creeping’ toward a much wider and more vague panoply of bad feelings, drug and alcohol dependency, and the always-difficult ‘personality disorders’ – all of which might have had causes not actually or easily connected to the combat experiences that had been the initial focus of the model.  

But the model was the best that ‘science’ could come up with, there were numerous vets of that unpopular war now seeking attention for a wide range of life-problems, there was a political factor, and public opinion expected some ‘help’ and some ‘action’, and there was much money and funding at stake, not only for actual therapy programs but for university and medical school research as well as commercial research into therapies and drugs. In such an environment, careful attention to Scientific Method – seeking accuracy above all – had to yield.

And, of course, the media found the ‘story’ – and the model – highly attractive for gaining and keeping the attention of readers and viewers, especially if some particularly horrific episode involving a ‘vet’ could be ‘explained’ by ‘stress from the war’.

Clancy notes that there are three fundamental assumptions that supporters of the “traumatogenic model” must make (and expect you to accept without further complications or obstructions): first, that the trauma model is THE accurate (or at least Correct) explanatory framework for understanding  childhood sex-abuse; second, that the pathway of causality is direct – a straight and uncomplicated and clear line from traumatic incident to the sustained later-life consequences; and third, the more traumatic the abuse incident, the more severe the consequences.

Any one of these assumptions would be extremely difficult to conclusively validate through the workings of Scientific Method.   But the early ‘abuse advocates’ and ‘abuse writers’ latched onto the ‘traumatic stress model’. Lenore Terr did some mixing and matching, likening childhood sex abuse to the clearly medical model of “childhood rheumatic fever” which – as everybody knows – inflicts consequences far beyond childhood, and then going on to use the PTSD model to limn the effects of those consequences. Judith Herman, a psychiatrist and professor, asserted that “there is a simple, direct relationship between the severity of the trauma and its psychological impact”. (These writings date from the later 1980s and early 1990s, the heyday of the movement.)

You might notice that if the initiating abuse experience, therefore, were not so traumatic – or not perceived as traumatic by the child – then the consequences, according to these assumptions, would not be so dire. But the ‘solution’ to that conceptual problem is, neatly: if the consequence has lasted into adult life, then by definition it must have been traumatic for it to have lasted so long. Sort of like a baseball: one that makes it over the left-field fence was obviously hit much harder than one that only made it to the near-infield. So – like the bat whacking the ball – then all childhood abuse-experience is ‘traumatic’ simply because a person who is now an adult and long out of childhood still ‘reports’ about it now. If you report it as an adult, in other words, then the model instantly classifies it as ‘traumatic’.

And if you sort of wonder if all this ‘explanation’ actually hangs together well, if it is actually coherent logically … well, now you see why the Scientific Method had to be sent to another room in order to get things going and keep them going.   And the consequences must be dire and quite probably, it ‘logically’ follows, are responsible for all the problems that the adult-reporter is now suffering in life. Which is a very large assumption to make indeed. But it has a certain script-like ‘sense’ to it, and Clancy notes that films such as “Mystic River” (made in 2003 from a mystery-thriller book published in 2001) rely on this theory: a single early instance of some (vaguely limned) childhood sex-abuse turned a kid into a hugely troubled adult and a murderer. Publishers and Hollywood find the whole model very useful and attractive indeed.

And thus, if the adult-reporter does NOT report a ‘traumatic’ experience … well, what then? The solution to THAT problem: either the researcher did not know enough to ask the ‘right’ questions or else the adult-reporter was SO traumatized that s/he cannot recall the incident. That the ‘stress’, therefore, was so awful and overwhelming that the memory ‘repressed’ it, for years and decades.

But in the actual original military PTSD work, the patients were not reporting memories they could not remember; they were precisely tortured by memories that they could not escape (those ‘flashbacks’ and repetitive, intrusive memory play-backs of some vivid experience).

The gambit then was to import into the ‘model’ (from far left field, as it were) Freud’s abandoned theory of ‘repression’: that feelings can be repressed if a person doesn’t want to deal with them or face them. The quick assumption was made that if ‘feelings’ can be repressed, then ‘memories’ can be repressed too.  Although in the actual original military PTSD work it was precisely the ‘memories’ (those flash-backs) that kept reminding the patient of those powerful un-faced and un-processed feelings generated by his combat experience.  

Further, of course, is basic evolutionary theory: the species would not last very long if its members could ‘forget’ unpleasant experiences. A baby that keeps sticking its hand onto a hot stove because it has ‘repressed’ the ‘trauma’ of its previous one or ten experiences in doing so is not going to be in business long. And, unsurprisingly, research into brain architecture can find no actual pathway by which emotions (in the ‘feeling’ subsystem)  can ‘repress’ a memory (in a sub-subsystem of the hugely complex ‘mental’ subsystem).

But hey! It’s all in a good cause.

Even more ominously, she raises the point that adult-reporters of child sexual abuse who do NOT claim they were ‘traumatized’ in the very instant of the experience, are themselves ‘silenced’ in order to protect ‘the Model and the Theory’ by preventing them from introducing evidence that it cannot account for. There can be no more lethal and – I would say – vicious form of ‘re-victimization’ than such adult-reporters being subtly manipulated by putative ‘professional helpers’ for the purpose of accepting – contrary to their own experience and assessment – the Correct interpretation of their past and present experience.

It reminds me very much of that rather dark bit of Saul Alinsky’s ‘community organizing’ philosophy wherein he cheeribly asserts that sometimes ‘people’ don’t know that they are being ‘oppressed’, don’t know what’s good for them, and have to be manipulated into seeing things the ‘right’ way. This is a political or agitprop and propaganda gambit that is of highly dubious value in politics, but is by its very nature contrary to the principles of genuine therapeutic intervention in the vastly complex and genuinely mysterious workings of the human self.  

It can be no greater evidence of the professions’ debasement than that they have allowed such an alien approach to infiltrate their practice and even their principles and so fundamentally undermine their integrity as a profession and as practitioners. And this, I think, is intensified at the lower end of the ‘professional’ spectrum by far less-trained persons whose idea of professional helping is far more akin to simply deploying Alinskyite community-organizing manipulation (in a good cause, of course) into ‘therapy’.

Clancy notes that accomplished and long-experienced child-sex-abuse researchers have doubts as to the applicability of the ‘traumatogenic model’ to most incidences of childhood-sex-abuse: the PTSD model will work for overt combat experiences, and quite possibly for incidences of violent rape, but not for the much much larger proportion of childhood-sex-abuse experience that does not involve such extremes of violence, including the ‘sexual touching’ which is the descriptor the majority of adult-reportees recall to her.

Which would also offer an alternative explanation for persons ‘not reporting’ or ‘forgetting’ such experience: NOT because it was so utterly and naturally ‘traumatic’ that they repressed it and only ‘recovered’ it after ‘therapists’ asked ‘the right questions’, BUT rather because they did not experience the event as traumatic when it happened; in other words, the event as experienced and when it was experienced was not worth remembering. (Which, again, is not to say or infer that the consequences of such experience might not manifest later in life or that the consequences will not undermine and obstruct maturity and successful functioning even if they are not recalled or assessed-as-harmful by the patient.)

All of which did nothing for Clancy’s popularity among certain large swaths of the profession. One practitioner, at a conference, actually stood up after the presentation and – after all that Clancy had put forward – asked why it was necessary for the profession to change its reliance on the traumatogenic-model: people were being ‘helped’ so what’s the deal and what’s the diff?  

It stuns to realize that this type of ‘thinking’ exists in professional circles. If a conceptual diagnostic model is clearly deficient in the accuracy of its grasp on the causes and dynamics of a malady, then not only the integrity of the profession but also the integrity of the ‘help’ is undermined and compromised. The ‘therapy’ may well be pouring water ‘on the smoke’ (and not ‘on the fire’, as the firemen say) or indeed the ‘therapy’ may actually be pouring gasoline on the flames (or – more specifically – as in the case of misjudging the cause of a fire and, say, putting water on a magnesium-fueled fire, you actually feed the fire rather than extinguish it).

But, I would say, for far too many persons in authority – professionals and semi-professional ‘therapists’, legislators, media, and assorted law enforcement personnel and civil attorneys – the unstated motivational dynamic in operation here is best captured by that great line from the character of the baseball player on the old ‘Saturday Night Live’: “Beisbol been bery bery good to ME!”

It doesn’t help to read of the same cartoonish and illogical accusations tossed at her by ‘professionals’ as would be tossed at her in far less educated venues: she must be “insensitive”, she is “re-victimizing”, she is a “friend of pedophiles”.
And more ominously, Clancy acutely (and rather courageously) proposes that the model is uniquely capable of tapping into fear among the public. Awful trauma with sempiternal awful consequences, imposed upon innocent children … it’s a scenario that demands immediate action. A wagon-train of children besieged out in the desert absolutely demands the dispatch of ‘the cavalry’, and the more cavalry the better.

She makes reference to a 1999 book, “The Culture of Fear”, by Barry Glassner. That author notes that he found it extremely odd that during the 1990s, when crime rates were declining noticeably, the public was consistently bombarded with lurid reports of “crime”.* And, he notes in passing,  all the while – during those 1990s – ‘downsizing’ and ‘outsourcing’ were heating up, and jobs were becoming less easy to find … yet “the problem” was considered to be crime and the government was simultaneously eager to be seen making progress in that while also supporting the expansion of the definition into vast new areas of sexual and familial activity.

The SO community will note that this was precisely the era when both the Sex Offense Mania Regime and its predecessor the Domestic Violence Regime were whipped up.  The USSR was gone, crime rates were down, yet the ‘children’ and the dangers to them could be quickly raised up to capture and inflame public opinion. The lunacies of the early 1980s Satanic Ritual Sex Abuse in Day-Care mini-mania were utterly forgotten, the Family was declared to be the greatest crime-scene in American history (joining ‘Men’, the great natural predators and perpetrators), and vast damage was done to the integrity of the helping professions (either the researchers and professors and clinicians could be labeled as ‘clueless’ by advocates or they could debase themselves by lending their authority to the project of creating and sustaining the Manias).

And although Clancy doesn’t get into it, I would add the integrity of the legislative process and the legislators’ own general basic concept of what their responsibilities are: politics became simply the art of ‘closing the deal’ between whatever groups – with whatever demands and ‘justifications’ they brought with them – managed to generate enough clout to get into a closed room ‘around the table’.

Indeed, Clancy quotes Judith Herman who acknowledged (with uncharacteristic candor as these things go) that “without the context of a political movement” it would not have been possible to pull the thing off; although Herman then quickly characterizes the whole thing as “advancing the study of psychological trauma” – which is not quite accurate at all.  

By and large, any thoughts or concerns about the integrity of the Legislative Method went the way of the Scientific Method.  

Clancy thus gets to one particular conclusion with which I can’t agree: she has established (with copious references to studies provided in the Notes) that many persons who suffered some amount of sex-abuse as children do not come to an awareness of what was done to them until later in life, perhaps much much later. And not because their original experience was so vividly traumatic that they ‘repressed’ the memory, but rather because their experience was so un-traumatic at the time that they did not classify it as worth remembering.

This should be an important factor in conducting therapy and in no way would detract from the patient’s present needs to deal with whatever consequences remain operational in adult life. (Although given the hugely difficult task of establishing just what current dysfunction can be ‘connected’ (like knee-bone to leg-bone, as it were) to just what experience of abuse, I would imagine that the primary focus would be on the current dysfunction, with secondary focus on the abuse-experience itself.)

But she then goes on to say that therefore she favors the dropping of most Statutes of Limitations in regard to allegations of child-sex-abuse since the crime is “unique” (i.e. it is perpetrated upon persons who are not, like adults, able to be aware that it is being perpetrated upon them). Such persons should not be deprived of “the right to seek justice”.

But I see significant problems here. While she acknowledges that the Statues are in place “to protect defendants in cases in which time will degrade the evidence required to prosecute them” (or, I would add, exonerate them), yet child-sexual abuse “should have no finite reporting period”.

My first point is that in the therapeutic forum this is a non-problem: the task of therapy is to take the patient’s presenting complaint or dysfunction and work through it toward an enhanced life-skill capacity. The relationship is between the therapist and the patient and the therapist’s authority, such as it is in this forum, is limited to exercising a constructive and supportive influence on the patient. The matter is not one of ‘guilt’ but of enhanced health, and the patient leaves therapy (it is to be hoped) enhanced (or at least no worse off). 

But in the legal forum, where the sovereign police power of the State is to be deployed (in criminal cases) or the sovereign dispositive power of the State is to be deployed to take property and even reputation and good-name (in civil cases and ‘lawsuits’), there is much more in play. If no sufficient evidence can be produced to justify the deployment of the sovereign authority, then a very lethal corrosive process is furthered, by which the integrity of the Law (and perhaps of the State’s authority and legitimacy itself) is stretched beyond the envelope of any discernible justification. Ultimately, even if this or that particular ‘victim’ ‘wins the case’, a dangerous road is traveled for the State and the Law, and that cannot end well.

The ‘deal’ devised to solve that problem was to weaken evidentiary rules and Statutes of Limitations so that the appearance of legitimate jurisprudence can be kept up even though the substance has been weakened. The SO community knows – perhaps better than the ‘average’ American – just how lethal and ultimately corrosive this type of ‘deal’ really proves to be.

As I have often noted however, this sort of arrangement provides yet another component ‘interest group’ to the Mania complex of professionals, media, advocates, and law enforcement: attorneys who, taking advantage of both strategically heightened public agitation and weakened evidentiary rules, can make much money by filing lawsuits and avoiding trials by ‘settling’ with deep-pocket institutions and insurers who figure that this type of case isn’t going to get a careful hearing in court in the first place.**

Further, there is a confusion as to just what ‘justice’ means in the legal forum. The only Authority that can ensure with total and utter certainty the accurate matching of historical deed and just desserts is (or was) God. Human courts are limited in that regard by their very humanity: human beings cannot know fully and can only, at best, try to ascertain from reliable evidence what happened, who did it if it did happen, and then what punishment should be imposed if necessary.  

Thus the effort to achieve ‘justice’ in God’s sense is different from ‘justice’ in the Law’s sense. And if you are going to demand that a human government be presumed to have the knowledge and judgment of God (or a god) then you are on your way to equating the State with God and to ‘idolizing’ the State. For the Law, trying to administer a Divinity-level type of ‘justice’ is surely a bridge too far.

And it is certainly contrary to the spirit of the Constitution and of the American foundational vision (the State was not only going to stay out of religious affairs, but it was certainly not going to put itself forth as having the powers of God (or a god) nor of actually being for all practical purposes God (or a god).

This dynamic, oy, has become far more pronounced in recent decades here, and as I have often said, is evident now in foreign affairs as well as domestic.

The practical (if not formal) deification and idolization of the government, may be unintentional: politicians nowadays, I think, rarely think beyond the advantage of this or that particular ‘deal’ and certainly don’t intend, perhaps don’t even consider, the deeper and more profound consequences to the common weal. But intentional or not, this idolization is utterly alien to the ethos and health of a Constitutional Republic and actually resembles totalitarian regimes of recent unhappy memory.

These are most surely memories that should not be repressed, or if they have been repressed, must be recovered as quickly as possible.


 *I can’t help but note that in this book, published in 1999, Glassner makes passing but insightful reference to the priest-pedophile “panic” as if it were in the past, a small indicator of the curious and suspicious stubbornness and repetitiveness of this particular mutation of the Mania, which would be re-ignited in 2002 as if it were ‘brand new’.

**As may have occurred to you, the development of the Mania Regime into a ‘complex’ with its interlocked sets of ‘interests’ mimics with uncanny faithfulness the development of what Eisenhower called ‘the military-industrial complex’. In his era, tolerance for the tremendous novelty of interlocked and continuous military research and manufacture was achieved not only by the generation of fear (a bomb gap, a bomber gap, a missile gap) but also the distribution of such work throughout the country and among many States, involving universities and unions as well as factories and facilities.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


You may recall the Duke Lacrosse case of 2006. The major players on the team threw a classic frat-boy/jock party and hired some ‘sex workers’ to liven things up. As always, I hold no brief for these sorts of things, either in general or at college where there are far more important things to be done. And the world needs all the mature human energy – modulated through the genuine gifts of the male or the female – that it can get.

One woman hired for the evening then claimed that she had been ‘raped’, perhaps multiple times.

And they were off.

The DA at the time, with a sharp eye to the waves and with his board well-waxed, immediately launched into the classic SO script, deploying all the panoply of media skewing (fueled by strategic ‘access’ to ‘information’ granted to ‘reporters’ by his office), males behaving badly (or naturally, take your pick), class and gender ganging up on innocent victims, ‘evidence’ hastily tossed around. It was during this affair, as well, that a hundred or so faculty members demonstrated and signed a petition on the woman’s behalf, one of the profs actually saying in public what is probably standard classroom material: “facts don’t matter”.

“Facts don’t matter” because you already know all you need to know: men are violent rapist lumps, women are helpless victims, and wherever it looks like something might have been perpetrated, then it no doubt was perpetrated, and indeed is probably under-reported. This gambit, as I have often said, draws its heritage from the Leninist revolutionary book (we already know what’s wrong so we don’t need to know anything else because that will simply confuse and obstruct the quick achievement of the Revolution) and from the Nazi propaganda play-book (the public only needs to know what we think it needs to know, and ‘truth’ is simply whatever we in Berlin decide is good for the German people).

In the end, the case didn’t hold up at all. Indeed, the State had to step in, remove the DA (who has since been disbarred for his manipulations), and dismiss all charges; the State’s Attorney General attributed it all to “a tragic rush to accuse”. The University administration, faced with a choice between due-process seeking the truth and the standard full-court Mania press opted to remain ‘balanced’, while also making rather unkindly remarks about the accused players.

All pretty much standard for the Mania, except that this time truth actually won. Many of the Mania-types overplayed their hand, probably because they were so used to ‘world’ they had created on campus – where the merest whiff of accusation can wreck a student’s future – that they figured things couldn’t possibly go wrong if they took their act national.

They can’t be blamed for thinking that. In this case, though, the fact that the parents of the accused had enough money to hire the best legal representation and actually require some attention to the facts, and also kept their efforts decently represented to the media, played a substantial role in keeping things from going the way of the Mania dampdream.

Although the Mania did win one small point – the State refused to prosecute her for the crime of making false charges (it would ‘re-vicitmize’ her, it would have a ‘chilling effect’ on future accusers, it would ‘send the wrong message’ – that sort of thing), the accuser has had a continuing string of run-ins with the law, and not minor: she set a fire to an occupied dwelling that contained her children (misdemeanor charges were filed); and she confessed in a police investigation that she had smashed the windshield and burned the clothes and threatened to stab the personal body, of her boyfriend.

She has since stabbed him, and he has just died.

She is now charged with murder.

The co-author of her memoirs hopes that “people don’t rush to judgment”. And I agree. There is a legal system and there is due-process for dealing with this sort of thing.

But the system has been substantially skewed by the Mania, grievously weakening evidentiary laws and pretty much abolishing the presumption-of-innocence, all with the media’s melodramatic soap-opera predilections.

It will be interesting to see how things develop.

The most obvious Mania ploy would be to insist that her victimization by the Duke experience, if not by the accused players themselves, was the font and origin of all her subsequent life-problems. But it will be a stretch to make it seem credible: she was in her mid-20s for the Duke affair and apparently very little ‘traumatic’ happened in a sexual way. (Although of course ‘trauma’ is now defined so porously that having to put up with just about anything you don’t like can qualify as ‘trauma’ – which puts the classic two-year-old on an almost guaranteed path for ‘traumatic experiences’.)

And most victims do not go on to commit such mayhem as this woman has. Although to read some of the victimist comments on this or that site you get the impression that a lot of such afflicted folks do fantasize. And I wouldn’t rule out a more overt Mania strategy of making advocacy lemonade with these lemons by claiming that once you are ‘victimized’ and thus ‘traumatized’ – even if the legal system proves so insensitive as to insist on evidence – then anything at all is possible and must be accepted as understandable.

It is also of interest that the article here refers to the Duke case as having “heightened long-standing tensions in Durham [NC, home of Duke] about race, class, and the privileged status of college athletes”. Which is true, but doesn’t really reach the major ‘tensions’, which are about the Mania and the gender-war that fuels it. As so often, nobody really wants to talk about the elephant(s) in the middle of the national Room.

Perhaps a too-candid or skeptical discussion would ‘traumatize’ those who don’t want their Mania too candidly or skeptically discussed. It is both Propaganda 101 and Marketing 101 that you don’t want your ‘product’ mentioned except in ‘positive’ terms; you don’t want any of the ill consequences put out there for everybody to see.

I recall one astute little German kid being quoted after the war as having figured out that something wasn’t right about the government story that the Jews were being sent to new homes in the East. He had gone down to the trainyards to see those unhappy humans loaded onto passenger trains while their luggage was loaded into baggage cars on an adjacent track. But, he noted, when the passenger train pulled out … the baggage train remained where it was and didn’t follow. And that got him to thinking.

Another German, a young soldier, wrote home from the Eastern front in its early, successful days: don’t believe the newsreels (shot by the Propaganda Ministry) about our being welcomed everywhere we go here – we shoot and hang and burn and “everybody knows what we bring now”.

In a time of Mania, it is this type of ‘observing between the lines’ that helps to keep a less-gauzy view of the happy-face spin put on things by advocates and propagators who very much want you to simply approve of what they are doing and stay out of their way.

We should not do that. We should not let ourselves be manipulated like that – no good can come from the embrace of un-truth.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


In regard to the Brown-Summer Camp matter, two fresh bits of information that again reveal how the dynamics now work, having become almost a Standard Operating Procedure in the Mania era.

Today’s article is here.

First, the noted/notorious civil attorney now reports that he has about 13 allegators who have come forward to his office. The DA with jurisdiction, meanwhile, reports that while he has opened up an investigation for these decades-old allegations, he has nowhere near as many allegators on his list. For as outrageous a crime as these things are supposed to have been, persons so inclined are heading for the civil attorney first, rather than reporting to law enforcement.

There could be many reasons for this, but given the wide disparity in numbers reporting to the one office or the other, I think it is reasonable to imagine that a number of persons do some calculating first: a criminal trial doesn’t provide any cash-back, it requires investigations and trials according to stricter standards of proof than apply at civil lawsuit actions (so often settled out of court by insurers’ legal departments out of simple fiscal efficiency), and there is always the theoretical possibility that one might be caught ‘lying’ to police in a law-enforcement investigation.

Second, the civil attorney has now signaled that he is not holding Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) to the victimological argument that he owes it to other victims or possible or potential victims to identify his ‘abuser’. This generosity might have many motivations, but clearly the attorney’s office now has enough business so that he needn’t risk antagonizing a US Senator further.

As you may have noticed, the Comments on the articles in the ‘Boston Globe’ are running mostly in a skeptical vein and also suggest that there are far more pressing issues facing the nation; this is true for this case and also for the Biden gambit up in New Hampshire last week.

Yet the ‘business’ of the Mania still continues according to the now-established paths. And this will continue for as long as remunerative cash settlements are considered attainable by civil attorneys; which in turn means for as long as the soberly calculating legal departments of deep-pocket insurers figure that it is still a) cheaper to ‘settle’ than to go to court and that b) juries in such civil court trials are still probably going to go with the allegators rather than not.

You may recall that in the immediately prior Post the editorial that was mentioned had relied upon the research of a single professor, one David Lisak. You can do your own search in one of the major engines and come up with material, and entering ‘David Lisak research’ will screen out the assorted media articles that simply regurgitate bits and pieces.

Several of his pieces, here and here for example, present ‘findings’ or assertions derived from the research. Where references are given, many of the studies date back to the 1980s and 1990s when the Mania was in its salad days and ‘advocacy research’ (i.e. you know you want to help because you are certain the problem is real, so you tailor your work to reach the Correct ‘findings’ and – incidentally – keep yourself and your institution on the Correct government and institutional grant-eligibility lists) was riding high (it still is).

But there is a short (12-pages) formal report on a study with field research; it predates 2002 and appeared in a victim-oriented research journal (a dodgy phenomenon you may be familiar with if you have read any of the Posts in the Victimology mini-series on this site).

In order to measure the prevalence of “undetected rapists” on campus, Lisak and company set up booths at a community-college and offered a stipend of three or four dollars to answer a set of questions that were carefully designed to cover the dynamics involved in his conception of date-rape – but without actually using the (incriminating) terms such as ‘sexual assault’, ‘rape’, and so forth; the questions were advertised to potential participants as being about “childhood experiences and adult functioning”.

Thus he set himself the task of interviewing persons who are being asked to incriminate themselves if they answer affirmatively (no mention of whether this information was then turned over to the relevant police authority).

But clearly, also, there is in many of the age-groups within this participant-pool the possibility that they would, knowingly or not, be answering questions about sexual behaviors that took place before they became ‘college students’ and that took place quite possibly in some rather non-bourgeois (if I may) neighborhood settings.

He admits that this type of field research is a bit beyond the pale, but notes that other researchers have created a professional precedent for it (though the precedents he cites stem from studies done on more general “criminal behavior” during the 1960s and 1970s before the Mania Regime was in place).

He is looking to establish that there is a great deal of never-reported and never-prosecuted sexual crime on campuses, that the perpetrators are not simply themselves the victims of miscommunication with the female ‘partner’, that such persons will probably have committed sexual and physical violence against children and strangers as well as against women, and that the self-admitted perpetrators share a number of very ungood characteristics with convicted and incarcerated rapists (who have been studied much more widely). Such a profile starts to look very much like the ‘classic’ profile of the Monster, Out-of-Control, Omivorous Male Sex Offender whose hypothesized existence was the original pistol-shot that started the Great Mania Stampede.

He finds himself right on all counts.

He interviewed only males, at a “mid-sized, urban commuter university” which I think is basically what the average person would call a community-college; but “university” gives that sexy (so to speak) cachet that connects it to the Ivy League and so forth – much wider applicability and folks won’t think to observe that community-colleges might hold a lot more students from less middle-class backgrounds.

All told, he conducted 4 studies, five hundred or so males at a time, between 1991 and 1998. Thus he interviewed 1,882 males, with a mean age of 26.5 in an age range from 18 to 71, with a fifth of them over 30 and almost 8% over 40. Which again gives you the sense of a community-college rather than a more conventional ‘university’ campus setting.

He properly goes to some length to justify the formal validity of his questionnaires, although I wonder if offering cash to students at a community-college (even such a sum as 3 or four dollars), especially to males who may consider the whole thing as a consequence-less fantasy-lark to limn whatever immature imaginings they might entertain, doesn’t undermine the all the subsequent validations from the get-go.

Of the 1,882 men, 120 or 6.4%, he reports, met his qualifications for “rape or attempted rape” (which definition he had expanded to include “oral sex”).

Of the 120, 76 of them (63.3%) admitted to multiple instances, working out to 439 “rapes” apiece for these 76 males. He then discovered that these 76 also went on to commit other types of “violence” (although again, definitional parameters are fuzzy, especially the catch-all “battery”).

In his Discussion section he notes that the “repeat rapists” (those 76) were responsible for almost a third of the “violence”, although I note that many of them – according to Lisak’s count – used “intoxication” rather than “overt violence”.

He does not miss the opportunity to mention that his findings about these 120 men are “more consistent with the data on recidivism among sex offenders” than it is with the “still-prevalent” image of “a male-college student who, under the influence of alcohol, mistakenly crosses the line”.

Of course, the “data on recidivism among sex offenders” is pretty much discredited now, but this was a decade ago and the Mania was still riding high.

He moves toward his policy objectives: in regard to cases that even then law enforcement were classifying as “difficult to prosecute” he hopes that his statistics and discoveries (such as they may be) will spackle up law enforcement to “investigate” the deeper and broader “social networks” of the accused, perhaps with the presumption that the stats will probably reveal more instances of any sort of sexual or other violence. Again, even if his discoveries and stats actually indicated a wide-spread problem, police would need to conduct investigations of near-Soviet levels of intensity in order to handle these ‘gray-rape’ cases.

And there is the problem of there being only that small percentage of “serial rapists” among the larger male sample (the ‘male only’ bit being yet another questionable bit itself).

And the problem that this wasn’t actually a ‘university campus’ sample but a notably less conventional community-college sample, and among a remarkably broad age group – many of the participants falling outside of the 18-22 year-old age range of the conventionally-understood college student.

All in all, hardly justification for a federal-level ‘emergency’ (within, of course, the decades-old larger Sex Offense Emergency). And actually indicative of the type of sly (but soooo well-intentioned) manipulation that results from the academic counterpart of ‘advocacy journalism’* which I call ‘advocacy science’. Frankly, at one of the very few points about which I concur with at least the terminology deployed by the elder Bush, I would call this type of thing “voodoo science”, although with all respect to the religious beliefs of others I would more readily term it “Soviet” science in the sense that the researcher knows before he/she even starts the ‘study’ exactly what Correct findings must be found. Or else.

As with so much of Mania ‘research’ (and who can forget the vaudeville of ‘repressed and recovered memory’, whose eager troupers have now reinvented themselves as ‘traumatolgists’ and who now claim that their prior incarnation and incantations were ‘misunderstood’ ?) you have to look between the lines. After all, if this type of researcher is going to do Soviet-type research, then the stuff should be read by persons who are willing to adopt the quietly skeptical and astute Tire-Kicking approach of old-time Soviet citizen-readers.

Which probably goes for far too many mainstream media reports and editorials as well.


*The popular author Tom Wolfe, back in the late Sixties and early Seventies, proposed a “New Journalism” that eschewed what he considered to be dry, factual reporting and instead called for basically scripting ‘news’ so that it had interesting villains and bad guys and vivid first-person angles with lots of gory detail, so as to capture the attention (I would say to stampede the emotions) of the reader. This of course dovetailed neatly with the then-popular agitprop doctrines (such as propounded by the ex-Marxist ‘organizer’ Saul Alinsky) of manipulating public opinion (which ‘just doesn’t get it’) toward precisely the goals of the agenda you are agitating-for. And to cash-anxious media would promise wider circulation among a public that, thanks to TV shows as well as movies, was increasingly accustomed (and limited to) processing ‘information’ emotionally rather than critically analyzing it. Dr. Goebbels to Editing One stat!

Monday, April 11, 2011


I don’t want to harp on any particular topic within the vast Mania panoply, but this Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) thing and the Christian summer camp suicide on Cape Cod continue to add useful examples of general Mania dynamics as more and more elements and stratagems are called into play. And I think that is worth noting.

Yesterday opinion columnist and member of the ‘Boston Globe’ editorial board Joan Venocchi published a column that demonstrates not only the many knotty and twisty ‘interests’ involved in fueling the Mania and keeping the ball rolling, but also how the Mania can be used for other purposes.

Venocchi is employed by the ‘Globe’, which is very much a ‘liberal’ paper and very much pro-Mania; it has rarely met a Mania initiative or gambit it didn’t like.

Brown is a Republican and the pol who beat the state’s female Democratic Attorney General in a special election for Teddy Kennedy’s seat when that luminary departed this mortal coil to appear before that Judge Who cannot be ‘reached’ or ‘fixed’ – no doubt a novel experience for the gentleman.

Brown has posed the paper a thorny problem: a Republican (and a male) he has made a shrewd tactical move by claiming the mantle of Victimhood with his recent assertion that he was ‘sexually abused’ (apparently groped by a young but still older camp counselor back about 40 years ago). Consequently, he has all of the rights and privileges appertaining thereto: to wit, his claim cannot be questioned, he can reveal as much or as little as he wishes, and he can do so whenever he wants and not before or not at all.

The Democrats, and perhaps the Attorney General herself, would very much like that Senatorial seat back and elections are coming up. How then do you go after Brown the politician without dissing the rights of Brown the alleged abuse-victim? And in the process perhaps exposing a whole bunch of unexamined presumptions about ‘victims’ of ‘sexual abuse’ that none of the major players and interests want to see suddenly pulled into the light of sustained – let alone skeptical – public scrutiny.

The Attorney General herself is keeping out of it, making no public statements of any substance. Her own record of ‘victories’ in Mania cases is apparently not something any of her demographics want to see dragged into the light. She counts among her supporters and colleagues a law professor at a not-first-rate local law school whose most remarkable utterance to date has been that some recent (and dubious) Mania legislation has finally overcome one of the long-standing obstacles to more prosecutions: to wit, that ‘victims’ are not getting ‘justice’ just because there is “no evidence”.

Venocchi is trying to do her bit for the team: she calls upon Brown to reveal the name of his claimed abuser because to keep quiet about it enables the abuser to continue (raising the specter of the alleged abuser carrying on his depredations for the past 40 years and counting).

Brown may well not care to go this deep into the matter since there may come to light a whole bunch of things that he’d rather not see in the public domain – including, perhaps (though it cannot be Correctly suggested in so many words) that the whole story was overblown if not actually fabricated for personal or political gain.

So Venocchi will try to help the election outcome by going after Victim Brown in the name of all other Victims. Brown, ideally, would have to name-names or else admit that he was just trying to surf a useful wave and made the thing up. She scolds him for not fully coming forward. Interestingly, in the case of a female Boston City Councilor (and Democrat) who made an even more recent claim about being a ‘rape’ victim (see my recent Post) and refused to discuss names or dates, Venocchi has nothing to say.

She jazzes things up by referring – although with an uncharacteristically careful “alleged” – to Brown’s groper as a “pedophile” – which clinically is not evident from any information available and may not be accurate at all. (I recall that in the British government’s collaboration with the Bush Administration in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq the UK equivalent of the US Attorney General referred to Tony Blair’s insistence that the facts by “sexed up” to help move matters along … that sort of thing.)

She also sniffs that Brown’s grossly un-Correct position has not hurt him at all in his standing with Massachusetts voters, though national Democrats and others have tried hard to insert the proverbial broomstick in the rapidly spinning spokes of his bicycle wheel. Which might lead an independently-minded reader to wonder if perhaps the electorate is starting to wise up to the stampede it has been running-in for a couple-three decades now. But this is precisely NOT what Correct dogma and its cadres want to see.

The Comments by readers (which are accessible through the above link) are notable for their refreshing skepticism about Venocchi’s gambit. Which is heartening for members of the SO community who may sometimes be tempted to think that in the matter of public opinion about Things Manic they are mere voices crying in the wilderness.

Today, now, the ‘Globe’ publishes an editorial, ostensibly about Joe Biden’s unveiling last Monday of new Department of Education ‘guidelines’ that essentially seek to apply both the Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Regimes to universities (where liberated females apparently go to lots of parties and drink a great deal with loutish males and then report themselves ‘date raped’, and where sizable numbers of students apparently live together – with or without sex – in some sort of ‘intimate partner’ scenario).

The paper disseminates all the usual ‘Findings’ by government agencies and ‘research’ that justify this ‘emergency’ that somehow is as bad or even worse today than it was 20-plus years ago when major attention was focused on campus sexual behavior.

Thus “one in five” women will be “victims of an attempted or completed sexual assault” during their college years, at least according to “the National Bureau of Justice Statistics” (it’s anybody’s guess whether the capitalization of ‘statistics’ is a typo or an indicator of how very very much such numbers are essential to continuing the career of the Mania). Notice that if “sexual assault” is itself a hugely vague and porous term, the qualifier “attempted” simply intensifies the obfuscation exponentially. And add to that the ‘victim-friendly’ axiom that it is the (self-declared) victim who gets to claim – with some immunity from further investigation – what is ‘sexual’, what is ‘assault’, and what is an ‘attempt’.

We recall that in order to qualify as a ‘statistic’ for the government, it may be necessary simply that a ‘phone survey’ be made, in which the respondent is free to claim whatever she (or he) wishes, secure in the knowledge that the claim will not be ‘studied’ further. After all, to verify is to re-victimize. And quite possibly the government is looking to ‘keep up the numbers’ in the first place.

But just to make sure the herd heads in the right direction the editorial immediately draws the Correct conclusion: the figure is “staggering”. Which, if all the muzzy variables are accurate and forthright, it might very well be. But that’s the problem in so much of these Mania ‘reports’ and ‘studies’, isn’t it?

Attempting to put out a fire that it doesn’t want to admit is burning, the editorial then voluntarily broaches the problem of skepticism about whether “date rape” – apparently also termed “gray rape” by far too many persons – is actually on a victimological par with “stranger rape” (which is what the average citizen would presume rape to be). This un-Correct impression is apparently held by many insensitives who, the paper volunteers, note that in a whopping 90 percent of reported cases the victim and the assailant were somehow “acquainted”.

And worse, the editorial volunteers that this type of insensitive skepticism is shared even by “victims themselves” (and once again, apparently all it takes to qualify as a bonafide ‘victim’ is to claim that you are – which should surely help keep numbers up).

But, the editorial instructs, “that [stranger rape-date rape] distinction doesn’t hold up”.

And as incontrovertible proof that that seemingly common-sensical distinction is actually illusory and inaccurate, the paper quotes a Boston-area university psychology professor who has apparently “studied” the matter of ‘gray rape’ and finds it, he is sure, very black-and-white indeed. Such “undetected rapists” (but surely they were, sooner or later, ‘detected’ by their victims?) ply their intended victims with drugs or alcohol, and otherwise engage in “careful planning and premeditation”. Which sounds very much like what a full-blown rapist might do, except that in this professor’s scenario – or at least the way the paper presents his thoughts – college parties are swarming with highly-focused (yet drunken and loutish) males who are all pursuing, independently, targeting strategies against unsuspecting females (though the standard heterosexual scenario may not be the only one in play and I – for one – would be interested in how many lesbians might be attending the parties with precisely the same tactical plan).

I can’t see how so heavy a concentration of males at a party can simultaneously be drunken frat-boys or jocks partying and yet also felony-level professional criminals capable of devising and executing a comprehensive plan. Even if you factor in, as the prof does, that most of them are “serial offenders” and operate under the cover of “sexually violent subcultures”, among which he singles out “fraternities”. Which makes it all sound like a blend of Fifties-type Communist subversive cells and some frattish-jockish equivalent of The Mob. The solution any parent of the era would have offered was simply to stay away from ‘that type of gathering’ – which, when you think of it, was a hugely efficient and efficacious approach for any particular student: you want to avoid Communists, don’t go to parties at the cell headquarters; you want to avoid The Mob, don’t go to the types of joints the wiseguys usually run.

If nothing else, the prof’s scenario reminds me of something like the royal grand ball in “Start the Revolution Without Me” where half the party-goers are, for their own purposes, trying to assassinate the other half.

But if this is mostly taking place at fraternity parties or jock-parties, then the thing is hardly an uncontrolled epidemic: it is, for one thing, rather substantially localized in certain types of clearly-marked venues where – looking back on my own university days – no students reasonably jealous of time and academic obligations would waste their time. And are there still college-age kids who haven’t seen “Animal House” or any of the zillion knockoff films?

Lest you start drawing your own conclusions or at least wandering off-script (you as a reader are, after all, assigned the cow-in-the-stampede role) the paper instantly funnels you into the Correct chute: “In this light, what some people see as morning-after remorse starts to look suspiciously like a victim coming to grips with a crime”. But this conclusion would only be true of a reader who – in any light – would see the prof’s scenario as both believable and widespread. Trying to hide its own thumb and those of its favored demographics, the paper hides behind the old “some people” dodge. There may indeed be ‘some’; but I wonder if there are ‘many’. And THAT, of course, is a question that none of the Mania-managers want anybody to start wondering about.

“Alas” moans the editorial (yes, that’s an actual quote from the piece), fully 85 percent of “rape victims” do not report “sex assaults” to the authorities. Again you have to ask: are we dealing with ‘rape’ or ‘sex assault’ here? ‘Attempted’ or ‘completed’? And if these episodes are unreported, then how on earth do we know they existed in the first place? Isn’t this the equivalent of the government telling you how many angels (or devils) are dancing on the head of that pin on top of your bureau?

AND if 85 percent of the theoretical victims are not reporting it … what does that say, really, about the way college females consider these things? I can’t accept that a generation that was born and raised completely under the shadow of the Mania is still as reticent about reporting as the college females of the pre-Mania generations.

Is this a case of the ‘advocates’ actually having to tell the alleged victims that they are indeed victims? That seems more than a little odd – although Saul Alinsky, noted ex-Marxist organizer of agitprop and the unapologetically manipulative methods of ‘organizing people’, mentioned often in his text “Rule for Radicals” that sometimes people don’t know what’s good for them and need to be herded along toward the proper conclusions.

You may recall an episode from the old “MASH” TV show where Corporal Klinger, medical orderly who was always trying to find a way off the front-lines, actually rigged up a half-conscious, wounded patient to make it look like he was holding Klinger hostage and the patient wanted them both airlifted to the rear or he would shoot Klinger. The scam fell apart as the patient collapsed unconscious from lack of blood at the door of the tent dropping the gun that Klinger had artfully placed in his limp hand.

The paper – speaking from an Advocacy speaking points sheet, no doubt – wants universities to ‘educate’ “students” against “high-risk behaviors” such as “binge-drinking” (and going to the type of parties where no serious student, male or female, should want to go in the first place). In other words, in the absence of serious parental formation, universities – prodded by the government and its trusty Mania Regime – should try to ‘educate’, although of course without trying to oppress any student’s ‘total autonomy’ by becoming too ‘directive’ or ‘judgmental’. Which, by the by, will require fresh battalions of ancillary employees in the oh-so-mushy ‘consciousness-raising and awareness’ field. Something for everyone.

With predictable but still impressive chutzpah, the paper concludes by sighing that “No one should pretend that sexual assault cases on campus will be easy to prosecute. But district attorneys shouldn’t worry about conviction rates in such areas. And given the serial nature of rapists, any case authorities make is likely to prevent many future assaults”.

What can this possibly mean in actuality? If police and prosecutors are backing away from these ‘gray’ cases because there is no way that even a ‘victim-friendly’ justice system can possibly justify convictions, then are the paper and the advocates for whom it is fronting urging that prosecutors bring charges and cases – with all the costs in time and resources that involves – even though there is no reasonable chance of successful prosecution (and perhaps no reasonable basis for suspecting that the alleged crime was committed in the first place)?

Notice that the paper here is trying to insinuate into the criminal justice system precisely the ‘civil rights’ lowered standard of evidence, whereby the court must presume that the alleged civil-rights violation was probably committed. When this standard and this template is applied to criminal law, in matters where college-age males and females are exercising their ‘total autonomy’ to binge-drink together at parties specifically thrown for that purpose (which, I grant you, is a serious problem all on its own in any case), then the Mania Regime is going to be taking a huge step farther along the dark path down which it has already traveled so great and lethal a distance.

Slyly, the paper thinks to justify this whackulent exhortation by referring to “serial rapists” – which, with the exception of the tenuous assertions of that conveniently Correct psych prof, is a threat that hasn’t been clearly and fully established in the first place.

If a college-age male hoping to ‘get lucky’ at a frat party is already actionably definable as a probable serial-rapist, especially if he is responding to the reality of females (and you can mix and match genders and sexual orientations of both perp and victim however you see fit here) who have come to the party with precisely the purpose of drinking or doing party-drugs until they aren’t sure which is the ceiling and which is the floor (and I am not in favor of such parties in the first place), then universities (and apparently local law enforcement) are going to need to establish Soviet-levels of surveillance, prevention, and prosecution.

But that’s been an operational objective of the Mania from Day One of Year One.

Friday, April 8, 2011


You may wish to look at the news articles here and here.

In the matter of the Cape Cod summer camp at which US Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) was – he says – groped when he was 10, and to the surprise of practically nobody, the darkly marvelous Mania scheme has kicked in like clockwork: another allegant has now come forward, although from a decade and more after the alleged Brown incident and involving another counselor altogether.

The new allegator named a name, and that person – still employed at the camp – shot himself to death on the grounds a few days ago.

The allegator, according to the script, decided to come forward only after securing the services of a high-profile civil attorney notable and/or notorious for winning lotsa money. Which, in the victim-world, is the right of any victim to go after, although – neatly – there exists no proof and no proof should be sought and the rules of evidence have now been so swiss-cheesed that it is far more difficult to establish with reasonable certainty, that an allegator is actually indeed a victim in the first place. A magic show like this should be the marquis act at Caesar’s Palace (perhaps I am dating myself with the reference).

The deceased’s mother – who reports herself as a former sex-crimes victim advocate and social worker – says that it was probably the best thing for him to do since he certainly wasn’t going to get any help from her (offering some dark-light indeed on the mindset of the rabidly victim-centered advocacy type) and that she had always suspected he wasn’t quite right and – of course – had notified the camp directors to that effect long ago (which, of course, the camp directors vigorously deny).

Meanwhile, back at the original ranch, Scott Brown admitted on a local talk-radio program in Boston that “pedophiles” (which may not be the proper clinical term here at all, but hey – it’s talk radio) can’t stop and that therefore this person from 40 years ago whom Brown refuses to identify may still be carrying on his alleged depredations.

Yet, having admitted (to the satisfaction of the talk-radio standards, anyway) that this camp counselor is a “pedophile” and that “pedophiles” ‘can’t ever stop’, Brown defends his refusal to identify the alleged perpetrator of the groping since a) Brown can’t be sure that the man is still doing this sort of thing and b) Brown – truth to tell – isn’t even sure the man is still alive.

Of course (a) makes no difference because if Brown believes the man to be a “pedophile” then it goes without saying that the man ‘can’t ever stop’ and (b) is a fairy-tale because it is just short of inconceivable that in this day and age a US Senator’s office cannot quietly and quickly find out if any particular US citizen is still alive. And, of course, that’s even before you imagine his staffers calling in a marker from one of the sex-offense advocacy hunter-troller groups who have been quietly given federal funds and authority to ‘find’ these types of folks.

Meanwhile, the litigator’s office proudly announced that two or three more allegators drummed up the courage to contact the high-priced litigator after the first article two days ago, and since the usual tactic in this type of thing (it’s worked extremely well in the Catholic priest cases) is to sue the deeper pockets of the employing entity rather than the alleged perpetrator himself, then the death may not make much difference and might even help a jury to ‘think’ (as the term is used these things) that only guilty people would kill themselves.

Which is possible. But so is, say, that a fragile human being facing the full-court Mania press of witch-hunty media and ‘victim-friendly’ law and courts might figure it would be easier to eliminate the middlemen and get off the planet under one’s own steam; perhaps even figuring that jurisprudentially speaking you’ve got a better chance in front of the Next Level than you do in front of the rigged kangaroo arrangements down here.

What the deceased did or did not do is now going to be impossible to determine. Under current conditions a person ‘groped’ decades ago, say for example, would be limited only by a personal sense of integrity and a commitment to truth from making the most extreme allegations against the deceased (in the course of the settlement-negotiations against the employing entity and its insurers). And who are we simple laypeople to imagine what arcane and abstruse ‘justifications’ for such a gambit might be proffered by the high-priest keeper of the sacred dark mysteries, the notable/notorious lawsuit lawyer?

Something for everyone – even the deceased, who is spared the Mania-wringer. Although, of course, in Correct Mania dogma he will have ‘escaped justice’ since he died before being Registered as a Sex-Offender. The fundamental presumption – which not even the Victimists care to admit – being that ‘justice’ only happens in this life and on the authority of the Mania laws, as if when you die you don’t wind up in front of a Judge and Registering Authority far above our own relatively poor power to add or detract.

Every once in a while, in an impish mood that can come on you when you stay up very late at night thinking and writing, I imagine Jesus suggesting to the very Proper and self-righteously Correct and even the excitedly eager-to-help, that ‘tax-collectors, publicans, and sex-offenders are entering the kingdom of heaven before you’. If you think about it, and the frothy, teeth-gnashing rage that such a comment might elicit, you can see why He wound up the way He did.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


This Post updates the immediately previous Post about the Joe Biden talk up at the University of New Hampshire yesterday.

Biden delivered remarks in support of a “Dear Colleague Letter” (DCL) sent out to administrators of all educational institutions that receive federal funds (which is pretty much all of them) by the Education Department. He chose to make his pitch up at UNH because – it is said – they have such a good campus sexual something reporting and prevention program. (No snark intended: that “something” can mean ‘offense’, ‘harassment’, or a bunch of other possible terms, ‘words’ merely yet in legal reality each one leads down a different wilderness path – but Joe was always “bored” in law school with “technicalities” and, come to think of it, that must be said, in a general legal sort of way, about the entire government nowadays).

The ‘Los Angeles Times’ article notes that students “deserve the safest possible environment” in which to learn, and who can deny it? But that “safest” is a tricky word: the “safest” thing would be to either have gender-separate facilities or flood the institution with Preventive Police (sort of a third category of police, along with what the Germans used to categorize as the Order Police and the Criminal Police – well, and perhaps the Secret State Police, but ‘Gestapo’ might be a bit inflammatory in this context). You can go as far as you like along the “safest” road, but then you might find yourself in a very dark territory indeed, at least in terms of a constitutionally-limited sovereign police power.

The DCL requires “immediate action” but due-process takes a little time if you’re going to do it right; but then, in all this Mania thing, the shrill bray of ‘emergency’ is precisely designed to override all that.

The institution is required to initiate its own investigation even if a formal police investigation is still being conducted – which cannot but muddy the waters. But I’m going to imagine that the police haven’t been Correct enough in deciding to open cases, and thus are not as ‘reliable’ as perhaps they once were.

The trick here is to declare sexual violence (however defined) as a form of discrimination and harassment as defined under Title IX, that federal regulation that was originally designed to ensure that females would get equal chance to have athletic programs.

Another article mentions an issue currently being pursued against Yale where the claim is made that even a single instance of any form of rape or sexual violence (however defined) is sufficient to “create a hostile environment”, and anybody familiar with employment law and policy knows where that type of thing very quickly goes.

The ‘Christian Science Monitor’ notes acutely that this entire gambit is based on Title IX, originally associated, as aforenoted, with “gender equity in sports”. The article provides a concise set of bullet-points summarizing the gambit: Title IX is to be considered as protecting all students from sexual harassment (however defined); institutions must have in place a clear system for grievances and also make sure that all students are aware of the system; the institution is not relieved of the responsibility to conduct its own Title IX investigation even if a criminal investigation of the same complaint is still being conducted; AND – most slyly – the Title IX investigation must not use the standard of proof (clear and convincing) required in criminal cases but instead must use the “more likely than not” standard used in racial discrimination cases (meaning that the judging authority must go into the hearing already convinced that the offending action probably did happen).

You can see where this sort of thing can go. Sexual ‘whatever’ charges are now to get the same presumptively-credible treatment as charges related to racism did back in the days of Jim Crow. This is a clear hark-back to the follow-on feminist ‘revolution’in the 1970s trying quickly to piggy-back itself on the Civil Rights movement and its strategies and on the federal legislation that continued to flow from the Beltway as the government found itself being drawn deeper into deeper into social terraforming (in an eerie simulacrum of the dynamics active in Vietnam at precisely the same time).

All of this is necessary to help students “feel safe”, although if after decades of the Mania Regime(s) that objective has not yet been achieved then (as should have happened in Vietnam) serious questions should be asked as to whether the government’s efforts are somehow ill-conceived.

And as well, the institution is also responsible for off-campus incidents involving allegations raised by and against its students, and must also carry out these ‘victim-friendly’ Title IX hearings and investigations.

Another site notes that “Mr. Biden’s New Hampshire visit is part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to draw attention to sexual violence and ways to prevent it”. Which leads me to wonder if this sort of thing doesn’t represent more of a political and electioneering gambit, an effort to whomp up support among a ‘base’ (especially in a State that has one of the earliest primaries, if memory serves).

The site notes that the government quotes from what it considers to be a vitally relevant DOJ-funded 2007 “study” that turns out to have been “a private, Internet-based survey of undergraduate women in 2007 at two public universities in which 19 percent of respondents reported that they had been victims of attempted or actual sexual assault while at college”. I point out again that this is more of a ‘survey’ than a formal ‘study’, meaning that anybody contacted (or perhaps volunteers to say their say) can say whatever they want in the sure and certain knowledge that the ‘researchers’ are not going to be fact-checking or Kicking Tire. The SO community will not be unfamiliar with this type of ‘study’ and the Findings that flow from it.

If you look at this site’s piece, I strongly advise looking at the Comments as well, since they give many heartening examples that there are still Tire-Kickers alive and well in the land.

And even the venerable ‘Chronicle of Higher Education’ site discusses the matter (and again, look at the Comments). And it is in this site’s piece that you will find a link to the DCL itself.

The Chronicle piece notes that somehow sexual harassment or violence (however defined) has morphed into that ‘discrimination’ which the Title, along with all the other anti-discrimination legislation and regulations of the era, was designed to prevent.

This suggests two thoughts to me.

First, they must be getting pretty pressed for ‘issues’ in the Beltway if they have to start playing around like this. And it’s been decades (Antioch College’s sex code was 20 years ago) since all this agitation began, so it’s hard to believe that college students today remain as unenlightened as they were in the ‘90s or the ‘80s.

Second, there is the rotting whiff of the radical feminist assertion that all sex is simultaneously both a male-perpetrated crime and a political act of oppression. The antidiscrimination legislation was passed to prevent acts and ‘environments’ hostile to blacks simply because of their race. If as a non-black you choose to postpone other activities in order to single out blacks and somehow harm or make them feel denigrated merely because of their race, then you are discriminating.

But here there is simply the menu of sexual relationships and interactions; males do not seek out relationships with females (nor females with males) in order to discriminate against them but simply because it is by and large the evolutionary nature of this gendered species we belong to. And if a heterosexual male does actually and provably commit an actionable assault or crime against a female, it is not because he has chosen to discriminate against her when he might have simply gone off and have himself an encounter with another sex – the ‘civil rights-racism’ template doesn’t work in this scenario at all.

I can’t get out of my head some variant of Christina Hoff Sommers’s 1994 insight: there is something queasily ‘queer’ about all this: it’s almost as if the ‘advocates of the base’ in this thing would prefer that males have sex with males and females with females … I don’t see that this thing bodes well for heterosexuals of either sex.

The ‘Chronicle’ piece also notes that the institution should feel free to deploy such sanctions – even during the investigation period – as requiring a change in dorm housing or prohibiting an accused student from attending classes. This strikes me as very much in the style of the Domestic Violence Regime: whoever steals a march on the other partner and ex parte gets the coveted ‘victim’ part quickly winds up with an Order that can deprive the other partner (cast by default as the ‘perp’) of access to home, funds, children. The excuse given is that this is an ‘emergency’ and it isn’t ‘criminal’ (although if you violate the Order, then THAT is criminal) and it’s all about ‘safety’ and it’s only for 10 days or so anyway (try keeping a job and a life together for 10 days with no access to house, funds, possibly auto, and so forth).

The piece is not fooled, although it displays an admirable restraint: “Some legal experts, however, worry that colleges' investigations and hearings of sexual-assault allegations are inevitably fraught. Criminal prosecutors, for lack of evidence, decline to pursue many cases; under Title IX, colleges must … We've been lured into doing something in a criminal-justice model that the criminal-justice system itself hasn't been able to deal with", one university legal expert is quoted as saying.

And this takes things back to something that I think has been developing for a while: police agencies and/or prosecutors are starting to back away from the tripwire prosecutions of the ‘classical’ age of the Mania , either because they don’t have the money any longer, or juries and citizens are no longer stampeding reliably, or courts are beginning to get worried about how far things have gone, or perhaps even that a point in this sort of cycle has inevitably been reached where its agents are starting to think about how they’re going to look if the scales fall from the public eye … for whatever reason the heyday of gaudy and guaranteed prosecutions and convictions has passed. And yet the government has to keep up the groundswell to please an advocacy ‘base’ and all the cottage-industries that have now accreted parasitically around the initiative.

And so the government must cast about for other ways to keep the ball rolling: thus the ‘commerce clause’ justification for the AWA, the sly efforts to give ‘advocacy groups’ funding and even quasi-police authority, and now this Title IX gambit. But I think that the more tenuous and tendentious the gambits to sew together ‘new’ initiatives to meet fresh discoveries of ‘emergencies’ is going to make police and prosecutors even more uneasy – it is their violation of their sworn responsibilities, after all, that might wind up being used as evidence against them if public opinion recovers a sufficient sense of balance.

And as I have said in previous Posts, certain other government initiatives pretty much guarantee that young males and females are coming to schools less capable of mastering their sexual powers.

The piece even notes that one suggestion is for professors to “spend more time with” students; the article quickly observes that university tasks are structured in such a way that ranking professors are busy with a whole lot of other things besides ‘spending time with’ freshmen.

I would add that given the entire thrust of ‘professional sex offenses’ a professor would have to be several sandwiches short of a picnic to want to expose himself (or herself, perhaps) to the ominous dangers of spending out-of-class time with students.

And precisely what would be the purpose of such an initiative? To provide ‘adult’ companionship that many of the students precisely did not get in whatever passed for ‘family’ in the vital developmental years of their childhood? Are professors to be hastily stuffed like wadded-up bedsheets into the gaping and jagged holes in their students’ lives that were created in the first place by the torpedo-blasts of other government programs and philosophies?

Lastly, one advocate burbles that she hopes that a Bill currently making its way around Capitol Hill (H.R. 6461, see its text here , will be speeded-up by Biden’s speech and the DCL. I am not going to go into the Bill’s text itself (it’s not more than 10pages long if you want to look at it) but I do note that it is designed to prevent in universities not only ‘rape’ (however defined) and sexual violence (ditto) but also sexual harassment (ditto) and stalking (ditto) and even intimate-partner violence (for which, marvelously, no actual sex need have ever occurred to justify the categorization of ‘intimate’).

Well, the Mania Regime is now reaching a point where the hasty, Frankenstein sutures are beginning to show. But that is not good news: lives are being wrecked, vital institutions are being increasingly deranged, and the sovereign authority of the government – already bethumped by an increasingly broad burden of dubious achievements and queasy failures – is being further weakened at a time in the nation’s history when the country needs more coherent intelligence in public policy than it ever has before.

So much needs to be done.