This quote from highly respected leftist intellectual Noam Chomsky sums up something I’ve noticed time and again in the coverage of Steubenville; hatred of football. Football stands in for the typical leftist list of evils; racism, sexism, patriarchy, and American values.
Don’t take my word for it, though.
“When I was in high school I asked myself at one point: “Why do I care if my high school’s team wins the football game? I don’t know anybody on the team, they have nothing to do with me… why am I here and applaud? It does not make any sense.” But the point is, it does make sense: It’s a way of building up irrational attitudes of submission to authority and group cohesion behind leadership elements. In fact it’s training in irrational jingoism. That’s also a feature of competitive sports.”
― Noam Chomsky
This has been bubbling up today from Deadspin, with a story about a comment made by Serena Williams about the Steubenville story. Deadspin is also the sports websites that promoted the Anonymous hacking story early on.
Here, for instance, is Serena with an unfortunate “she wore the dress” take on Steubenville:
We watch the news for a while, and the infamous Steubenville rape case flashes on the TV—two high school football players raped a 16-year-old, while other students watched and texted details of the crime. Serena just shakes her head. “Do you think it was fair, what they got? They did something stupid, but I don’t know. I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: don’t take drinks from other people. She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.”
This bad journalism, designed to stir up controversy for no possible good outcome. This is really one of the most dangerous parts of the whole discussion; the cult-like pandering to the idea that suggesting any modicum of common sense behavior is somehow ‘rape apology.’
First, the obvious. Two things are true.
- Rape is wrong and criminal for good reason.
- Teenagers should not get so drunk that they black out.
This is just common sense. Stating that teens shouldn’t get black out drunk doesn’t mean it’s okay to rape them, as every single honest person on the planet knows. This is one of the reasons that teenage girls in particular shouldn’t get drunk; they might get raped or worse.
Deadspin writer John Koblin’s idiotic statement to the contrary. getting drunk on purpose is not the same as ‘she wore the dress.’ It’s not even close and Koblin is aware of that. Maybe the ladies fact check me on this: wearing a dress doesn’t make you pass out or forget what you did the night before or make rash, unwise decisions such as fighting with your friends when they suggest you should go home.
Further, go read Serena’s comments again. She’s thinking through the issue. Look at her statements; they are complete common sense, trying to be smeared by the P.C. police who don’t actually care a bit about the safety of women. They are true and any sane parent would tell their daughter – don’t put yourself in that position. Don’t get so drunk you can’t remember things. There’s not a single place where Williams says Mays and Richmond shouldn’t have been charged.
Does this ‘don’t get drunk’ thing apply to teen boys, too? OF COURSE it does. The boys involved made stupid–and in the case of Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, criminal decisions. Booze was a factor in the behavior of everyone. If the sixteen year-olds involved didn’t decide to get drunk that night, the rape wouldn’t have occurred.
That’s not blaming the victim. That’s blaming the booze.
The whole point of this faux-outrage is to literally shut down discussion. As the father of a teenage daughter, it’s disgusting to me. There’s not a single, solitary thing wrong with suggesting binge drinking is a bad habit for teen girls. Further, if there’s a pattern of binge drinking then it becomes a really important discussion because that behavior may indicate other problems.
Jane Doe didn’t deserve to be raped and Serena Williams doesn’t deserve to be attacked for saying out loud in the presence of a reporter what every sensible person thought when they heard the real facts of the case. Anti-drunk isn’t pro-rape.
I am not a lawyer, so take this for what it’s worth.
I believe that Deric Lostutter aka KYAnonymous is in legal hot water for the hacking of Jim Park’s website. I think that he’s underestimating the legal trouble that he’s in. I think his lawyer Jason Flores Williams is downplaying the realities of the situation publicly and to his client.
I think the most likely outcome is that Deric Lostutter aka KYAnonymous is going to plead guilty to charges against him because of overwhelming evidence against him, most of it through his own statements.
And if that’s the case, spending a lot of time and money fighting the criminal case is a waste of time and money.
Why do I think this?
I’m quoting a few paragraphs from Gawker’s article by Adrian Chen Weaponizing The Media: An Anonymous Rapper’s War On Steubenville. None of this is good for Lostutter in any way.
We were sitting at the Waterfront Restaurant and Lounge, Lostutter’s favorite Winchester bar, on a sprawling deck overlooking the muddy banks of the Kentucky River.
Lostutter turned to a woman sitting next to us. “What did you think about that case in Steubenville where the football team raped that girl?” he asked. “And what did you think about that stuff where the hackers took down the team’s website?”
The woman gasped. She had heard about the case, but not the hacking. She asked, “Who hacked the website?”
“Some good-looking kid who’s sitting at The Waterfront with a reporter next to him writing a story about him,” Lostutter said with a huge grin. Later, Lostutter relayed that he had overheard the woman walking around telling other patrons “there’s some hacker here.”
Lostutter later asked me not to report the hacking comment. He is adamant that he did not actually hack or help plan the RollRedRoll.com hack. A hacker named BatCat later took responsibility in the Steubenville Herald-Star, saying he broke into the site in 15 minutes by guessing the password.
Lostutter said BatCat approached him one day during Op Roll Red Roll and offered to hack the site: “I formed an IRC channel, BatCat jumped in, said he could hack the site. I said OK, whatever. Everybody says they can hack.” However, in our first phone call Lostutter had told me that he logged into the administrator panel of RollRedRoll.com using a password BatCat gave him, then changed the password. Lostutter said he admitted this to the FBI during the raid. This was almost certainly illegal.
These are facts not reported by me. This is not me trying to stick the knife in. This is me pointing out reality.
You watch. Things can change very quickly.
I’ve been the voice in the wilderness on a number of stories now, not just Steubenville. On stories like the John Edwards affair, uncovering rapes at Occupy Wall Street and Pigford, I’ve been vindicated time and time again.
The trick is being right.
Why? Here’s an illustration. This is entrepreneur Derek Sivers riffing on a point made by Seth Godin (I’m not sure who started it but I’m big fans of both Derek and Seth) and it’s exactly how you go from lone nut to New Conventional Wisdom in a snap.
I haven’t written about Steubenville much lately because I’m waiting for the current Grand Jury investigation to finish. I’ll probably have quite a bit to say then.
In the meantime, the ‘news’ that KYAnonymous is actually someone from Kentucky named Deric Lostutter has hit the headlines recently. Hardly anyone mentions that I was saying that publicly, for months. I interviewed Deric on my Blog Talk Radio show recently and it’s certainly worth a listen if you’ve been following the story and want to get a fuller picture.
The best piece I’ve read so far on the story is Cathy Young’s Anonymous Is No Hero. She makes a lot of relevant points.
Adrian Chen also has a good, detailed piece over on Gawker — and I don’t just say that because he calls me competent;
Stranahan emerged as the harshest critic of KYAnonymous and his Steubenville campaign. He is not exactly neutral himself, writing for right-wing propaganda outlet Breitbart.com and appearing in Breitbart’s 2012 documentary “Occupy Unmasked,” a hit job against Occupy that painted Anonymous as dangerous cyberterrorists. But he is also a competent reporter who self-funded multiple reporting trips to Steubenville and developed sources within the community. And it should be clear to anyone who reads the Steubenville Files today that it is total bullshit.
Well, allow me to retort on a couple of points:
1) Occupy Unmasked doesn’t paint Anonymous as cyber-terrorists — it paints them as vindictive bullies who threaten, harass and dox their perceived enemies. I don’t agree it’s a hit job, either — it’s providing perspective on Occupy Wall Street that the media did not.
2) It’s not that it should be clear TODAY that the Steubenville Files are total bullshit — it was clear months ago.
But I was about the only journalist saying it at the time. I wasn’t just the harshest critic; I believe I was the only journalist writing critically about the obvious bullshit and using facts to back up my assertions.
And because I did that, I was threatened, harassed and dox’d by Anonymous. Just as shown in Occupy Unmasked.
I’m putting together some organized interviews to make sense of the Steubenville story — if anyone would like to talk (either being able to use your own name or anonymously) email me at Stranahan@gmail.com.
More confounded lies from the Atlantic Wire and writer Alexander Abad-Santos, who wrote:
On August 22, Mays and Richmond were arrested on charges of rape and kidnapping. The kidnapping charge has been dropped, and Mays is also facing a charge involving illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material. (Defense attorneys did not respond to requests for comment from The Atlantic Wire.)
Why only those two? They were at a party, right? And there were all those tweets?
Well, word spread among the students at or around the party quickly, and as the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported, “Before the 16-year-old girl’s parents reported the crime to Steubenville police, many of the online posts had been deleted — or so students thought.”
To be fair, this is a really common error.
The sexual assaults didn’t happen at a party. They happened 1) in a car and 2) at a house where Mays, Richmond, the victim and three other boys were. It was party. It was a place then went after everyone was kicked out of the party at the Belardine house and then the group was kicked out of the Howarth house.
This also gives lie to the idea that they are scads of ‘witnesses’ who didn’t come forward. They weren’t other witnesses to the crime.