They're fools at best and monsters at worst - and neither fools nor monsters are much troubled by attacks of conscience.
That pretty much sums up many of the people involved in persecuting and prosecuting the Duke Lacrosse team during the rape hoax. I finished Until Proven Innocent yesterday and I was wrong about how little new information there would be. It was fasinating to see everything laid out step by step and to have the added behind-the-scenes recounting of meetings and statements that were never released to the media. If anything, I'm left feeling even more outraged at the entire incident and worse, the sure knowledge that many of the most pernicious racists and demagogues have gotten away scott free. The actions of many of the Duke faculty and administration were appalling. These people should have been knocked down off their pedastals, branded as the cowardly hatemongers that they are, and then tossed out into the sewars. That they still hold exalted positions as educators is as offensive as finding out that David Duke or Louis Farrakahn were teaching courses for credit at Harvard.
After reading this book, I can't begin to say how disapointed I am that Duke University settled the lawsuits against them. The rumor is that they payed out around 10 million dollars to the three lacrosse players alone in order to keep the suits from going to trial. While I can't blame the familes for accepting to try to recoup some of the millions they spent on attorneys fees, I wish that this whole sordid affair could have resulted in a civil trial. The actions of Duke University and its faculty were monstrous and indefensible. The entire nation should have been given the oppertunity to see these people try to defend their repulsive actions during this fiasco instead of ducking and hiding like they've done. Actually, that's not true. While some have kept their heads down, there's a vocal group who still feel they did nothing wrong in stiring up racial violence, presuming guilt, and slandering their own students. I don't even understand how some of these gibbering monkeys managed to get academic positions and tenure. I produced more scholarly output as a graduate student than most of these incompetant asshats. Maybe that's just a difference between persuing a degree or position in the sciences rather than some soft-skulled liberal arts field.
Want to see what one of these morons considers scholarship? Click here and you'll see a recent article in some gutter Anthropology Journal in response to the book and KC Johnson's blog Durham In Wonderland. It's almost hard to pick out which is the most patently unbelievable facet of the article, but the claim that the ad put out by the group of 88 had nothing to do with the Duke Lacrosse case itself is a good place to start. I'm not sure it's possible for anyone not wearing a helmet to believe that. Instead he suggests that it was about freaking Katrina? Who the fuck is he kidding? If you'd like to see his ridiculous screed ripped apart point by point, you can check out the DiW blog here. Major Pwnage.
Now, I'm sure most of you have stopped reading long before now much less clicked on any of the links but this entire case is important IMO. It's one of the only instances in recent history where allegations were so transparently false attracted so many people happy and eager to push on despite the facts. As one of the group of 88 said, these three duke lacrosse players were the 'perfect defendents'. They were white, they were male, and they were affulent. That unholy trinity painted a target on their foreheads that didn't care about the truth or the facts of the case. They were the sacrificial lamb for whom these demagogues would push their racist, classist, sexist ideology.
Think of it this way, plenty of people have been freed from prison due to DNA evidence showing that they're innocent. It's always been considered the ultimate proof for overturning a guilty verdict and setting someone free regardless of whatever heinous crime they had been convicted of or even if they were sitting on death row. In this case, DNA evidence proving innocence was unable to even get a case dropped for almost a YEAR after it was disclosed. If these defendents were black, Al Sharpton and the rest of the clown patrol would have marched from the beginning and rightly so. Instead, because they were white, Al and the NAACP were among the leading torch wavers in the lynch mob and that's just pathetic.
Anyway, I really recommend Until Proven Innocent for everyone out there. Hell, I think it should be mandatory reading in every law school and any college class about race relations, the law, or morality. Actually, if you're interested in the book but don't want to spend the cash, I'm even willing to loan it around. You'll have to buy your own antacids though.