April 21st, 2007

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Attack On The Oppressor Class

Barone: Duke Case Demonstrates A Growing Desire To Paint "Victim Class" As Virtuous

"We believe these three individuals are innocent." The words, soberly spoken by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, bring to an end the unjust prosecution of the three former Duke lacrosse players. "We have no credible evidence that an attack occurred."

The motives of the "overreaching" prosecutor, as Cooper called him, are obvious: Prosecuting three white men on charges brought by a black accuser helped him win black votes he needed in an election. The motives of those who rushed to believe the charges — and continued to believe them 366 days after DNA testing implicated none of the players — are something else. The "Group of 88" Duke professors, journalists for The New York Times and the Durham Herald-Sun, heads of black and feminist organizations: All seemed to have a powerful emotional need to believe. A need to believe that those they classify as victims must be virtuous and those they classify as oppressors must be villains. A need to believe that this is the way the world usually works.

Except it doesn't. Cases that fit this template don't come along very often. In this country, black-on-white crime is far more common than white-on-black crime (black-on-black crime is far more common still). You won't see the characters exercised by the Duke case looking at the recent case of three University of Minnesota players accused (whether justly or not) of rape; they happen to be black.

This need to believe that the victim class is always virtuous and the oppressor class is guilty is widespread, and perhaps growing, in this country and abroad. It is particularly strong among those lucky enough to get paid to observe the way most people work and live — academics, journalists, apparatchiks of advocacy organizations. We can see the impulse in the rejection by the Public Broadcasting system of a film about moderate Muslims confronting Islamists. PBS says the film isn't ready yet and was tainted by the presence of two conservatives — imagine! — on its board of advisers. But lurking behind PBS's decision is a distaste for Muslims who embrace the values of their Western oppressors, along with sympathy, or something like it, for the Islamist victims.

Or consider two events in Britain. First, the Ministry of Defense's decision, since rescinded, to allow the sailors and marines who groveled before their Iranian captors to sell their stories to the press. After all, they are victims — people placed in the line of fire in what many consider an unjustified war. At just about the same time another pillar of the establishment, the BBC, canceled a documentary on Pvt. Johnson Beharry, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroism in Iraq. The story, a BBC source said, was "too positive." Or it would antagonize Muslims or war opponents. Johnson Beharry, you see, although a West Indian by origin, has joined the oppressor class by serving heroically.


Meanwhile, far from Britain, in Littleton, Colo., some citizens are trying to prevent the erecting of a statue honoring Navy SEAL Danny Dietz, a local son who died while serving heroically in Afghanistan. It sends the wrong message, these worthies argue, to honor someone wielding a gun in a community that suffered a massacre in its high school in 1999. That's an argument that only makes sense if you suppose that Danny Dietz was in the oppressor class, no more morally worthy than the maniacs who murdered their fellow students and teachers.

This urge to see the victim class as virtuous and the oppressor class as villainous leads people in countries like the United States and Britain to sympathize more with our enemies than our defenders. This is not new. "England is, I believe, the only country in which, during a great war, eminent men write and speak publicly as if they belonged to the enemy," said Lord Salisbury a century ago. Now you can add America to the list. "Before I left for Iraq," John McCain said in a speech last week at Virginia Military Institute, "I watched with regret as the House of Representatives voted to deny our troops the support necessary to carry out their new mission. Democratic leaders smiled and cheered as the last votes were counted. What were they celebrating? Defeat? Surrender? In Iraq, only our enemies were cheering." McCain just doesn't get it. Our enemies are virtuous victims. We are the evil oppressors. Just like those Duke lacrosse players.

As one of the Group of 88 said, these were absolutely perfect defendents in her point of view. It fit the narriative she wished to advance perfectly. White and well-off versus Black and poor. Forget the facts and forget the truth. There are larger concerns at hand. What matters is the story and bringing down whitey.

This is a very topsy turvey world we live in with moral relativism run amok. You see it every day and it's hard not to wonder to yourself exactly what the hell is going on. It sometimes seems that this is the inevitable decay and rot that comes with freedom. It's almost as if we overdose on it until we're free enough to slit our own throats.
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Everyone wants to win teh internets

I'm really sort of excited about the upcoming DS browser which will allow people to use the Opera web browser from the DS. It's been out for over a year in Japan but it's only been added to the US release list around a month ago. It should be out in June and I'm planning to pre-order a copy at some point. I usually abhor the idea of paying retail for anything and one of the best ways to get gouged is to buy something the minute it comes out. I'm making an exception in this case because a web eneabled DS will answer a problem I've had for a couple years now.

The lack of a net connection during con season when I'm traveling about has often been a monumental pain in the ass. The inability to access mapping programs or emails has often played merry havok. It's also never pleasant to suffer net withdrawal from being cut off cold turkey. I've thought about getting or borrowing a laptop just for those trips out of town but it always seemed like a huge bother or expense. With the DS browser, I can fix the whole problem with an outlay of $30. The system is light and portable and should be able to pick up a wifi connection wherever one is avaliable. I'll even be able to liveblog with it, though I don't imagine those will be lengthy. Tapping out letters one at a time on the touchscreen keyboard or using their handwriting recognition software is likely to be a pain in the ass.

I found a review on YouTube of someone putting the japanese version through its paces. The loadtimes seem to be a bit daunting but the sites I visit aren't usually all that graphic intensive.

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What evil lurks in the hearts of men? The metric system knows.

Don't believe the propoganda that the NASA shooting was over a poor performance review. That's just a cover story that they came up with to hide the real divisive fracture points. What really provoked the gunplay is the long time battle between feet and meters. Yes, it's true. The entire battle was fought over the metric system and which primal force would own the soul of NASA.

This hostage taking and shooting is only the most recent beachhead in the long battle between good and evil. It has been leaked that the last words written on the dry-erase board by the shooter was 'Give me Feet or give me death, you Frenchie metric bastards!'. This battle cry was echoed by those behind the loss of the Mars Orbiter, sabatogaged by anti-metric freedom fighters. There are even rumors that what may have sparked Lisa Novak's cross-country, diaper-wearing trek was that she found secret love letters that the pilot she had feelings for was writing love letters to the metric system.

These conflicts will continue until organizations like NASA sees the error of its ways.