Sunday, March 17, 2013

Rape Inflation

[La stratégie médiatique/gynocratique des “simili-viols”.]

[Update 11 February 2017]  Headline in today’s Washington Post:

A black man accused French police of raping him.
They say it was an accident.

The mind achieves provisional semantic closure after the first sentence of this tendentious headline:  a group of officers (for it says “police”, plural, not “policeman”) take turns sexually assaulting a black man, possibly simply because he was black.  Then, confronted with evidence (from, say, a hidden camera in the squard room), they put up a ridiculous defense:  “Oops.”
Pour nos essais
en langue
la plus châtiée qui soit,
checkez-out   …..

What actually happened, happened outdoors, in broad daylight, in plain sight, and was captured by police cameras:  the officers knew they were on-screen.   The locale was one of the no-go-zone banlieues where crime is rampant and police are regularly attacked by mobs.  The man in question was violently resisting arrest for a crime;  in the confused scuffle -- for it took three officers to attempt to wrestle him to the ground -- the perp’s sag pants slipped;  and amid the flailing, one officer’s truncheon entered the rectum (once).  Brutality it might or might not have been -- investigators have called it accidental -- but the repeated attempts by liberal media to frame this as a “rape”, are just fake news.  And repeated doses of such stuff have (in the classic phrase of Baltimore’s mayor, preparing the way for the riots) served to “give them space to destroy”.  As, in last night’s riots in Bobigny, in which a media car was set aflame (singular ingratitude, turning on their own enablers), along with other vehicles (one of them containing a child):

« La police viole », « je ne suis pas un bamboula », « la police tue des innocents », pouvait-on lire sur des pancartes. Après plus d'une heure de manifestation, des policiers postés sur une passerelle juste au-dessus du lieu du rassemblement ont reçu des projectiles lancés par des manifestants.

Now, the headline is thus (deliberately) misleading;  yet neither of its two sentences is exactly false.  Where then lies the linguistic trick?
Oddly, it comes down to What the Meaning of “It” is.
For, the pronoun actually alludes to two disparate states of affairs, which it slyly unites.  The natural reading is with it anaphorizing the proposition “Police raped a black man”;  and that the accused rapists dismissed the incident as “an accident” -- a sequence of events difficult to imagine.  But what the police were describing as accidental  was not police-raping-a-black-man (which they would qualify, rather, as simply false -- nul et non avenu), but rather, they maintain that the contact of the baton with the perp’s butt  was accidental.   And that is at least plausible, once you realize that French police are equipped with expandable batons.  What the mechanism of that expansion is, I do not know;  but if it is anything like those self-raising umbrella, one can well imagine it -- those things pop open all the time, in the most awkward circumstances.  If you are part of a writhing mass of wrestling flesh, it is indeed possible for a button to be pressed unintentionally.


Even the moderate-conservative Le Figaro  hangs a headline over the events, that makes yesterday's events sound like a police riot in Bobigny,  whereas the banlieusards were merely engaged in a “manifestation”:

Alert readers note the linguistic sleight-of-hand by the headline-writer:

Tant que les médias continueront à reprendre texto les prétentions de ces manifestations, ça continuera ! "contre les violences policières" sert à valider l'existence de la chose dans l'esprit des petites têtes qu'on trouve dans ces banlieues. Les médias devraient nommer les choses correctement, et non pas faire la pub des fouteurs de chaos.
Le titre cautionne les dires des manifestants.

That semantic sleight-of-hand by the media  was not (unlike perhaps the Case of the Expanding Baton) accidental or one off;  compare this account of events, in Le Monde:

Les manifestants ont scandé des slogans dénonçant les violences policières, évoquant aussi Zyed et Bouna, les deux adolescents morts dans un transformateur électrique à l’origine des émeutes en banlieue en 2005.

What actually happened (and this is not really in dispute) is that a couple of petty criminals from the banlieue, fleeing arrest, hid in what turned out to be an electrical shed, where they were electrocuted;  the police didn’t lay a hand on them.  Yet this too is dragged in under the rubric of violence policière.
Similar rhetoric is regularly used by the French press, when alluding to confrontations between police and blacks in the U.S.;  the copy could almost have been written by BLM.

[Update 16 Nov 2014]  From a professor at Yale Law:

[Update 31 May 2014]
Charlize Theron likens media coverage to rape
It's Lesson #1 in celebrity media strategy: Don't compare anything to rape except actual rape. Charlize Theron didn't get the memo.
-- Detroit Free Press

[Original post below]

[Prefatory note:
I really hate  writing about topics like this, because
  (a) they are inherently unpleasant (unlike such topics as movies or hamsters);
  (b) they bid fair (or bid foul) to evoke some feminist fatwa against my unworthy person; 
  (c)  they are likely to be understood as having, for their focus, merely some sordid  police-blotter  detail of the day:  whereas in fact, the basic point here concerns  neither rape per se, nor sex per se, nor society per se, nor incarnated beings per se, nor anything this side the eschaton:  but semantics (a subject relevant to angels as well);   and it is our contention (or rather:  settled opinion;  for we do not actually explicitly evoke this, let alone  argue the point [for the background, cf. Metaphysical infrastructure])  that  moving the semantic goalposts  corrupts the discussion from the get-go.

Thus, to take a hypothetical example  far from madding controversy:
Consider the proposition that the President is a penguin.
I personally believe this (on what grounds, ye need not know), and might argue the point  successfully or not, on grounds both logical and empirical.   But an illegitimate approach would be simply to revise the definition of the term penguin  to mean:
“a creature which is either a feathered biped resident in Antarctica, equally at home  on land or in water, and universally acclaimed for unsurpassed cuteness,
or   the President of the United States.”
And that is the  approach, in effect, adopted by feminists, the media, and the Ohio legislature, when it comes to the legal definition of rape.]


We earlier wrote of the case in which the French head of the International Monetary Fund, while visiting the US, was accused of rape -- by the media -- and subjected to one legal outrage after another before any of the facts were in:
As it turns out, not even his accuser accused him of actual rape.  What happened in that hotel room we may never know, but the most she alleged was that he somehow obliged her to give him a b.j.  How he could thus force her is unclear, since he was unarmed, and getting on in years, and she was physically younger, taller, and more robust;  moreover, the irrumationist posture is uniquely that in which the male is most wincingly vulnerable..  But whatever -- the label stuck, and "rapist" he was, so far as the press was concerned.
In pursuit of the widely-shared aim  of grinding the man to dust, quite aside from anything he might or might not have done, various legal principles were stood on their head, and international relations were damaged.  In America, no-one found this worthy of comment.  For a thought-experiment of how it would look, if the gender-roles and nations were reversed, try this:

       Bonfire of the Vanities

And now, in a notorious case from Ohio, a teenager who (‘twould seem) was often no better than she should be, went to a string of parties, got roaring drunk, and then -- well, that was for a jury to decide.  But in the meantime, this incident was cited by indignant defenders of the Third World (and denouncers of the Y chromosome and all its works) whenever some mass sexual atrocity was reported from abroad, saying: See, it happens here as well.  We explored the fallacy of this in the following essay:

            La Nostalgie de la Boue

Just the other day, on the surface, those pointing the finger at Steubenville  have been vindicated, according to the natural reading of the following headline:

Sounds very bad!   And readers will not doubt take it literally.  (As, one female commentor on the site of the Washington Post:  "Going to jail until they are 21 is not good enough. Regaurdless if they are juviniles, they knew that having intercourse with a young woman while she was passed out was wrong ...")  Yet if you read the actual article, it appears that there was no actual rape, in anything like the traditional sense of that word -- no sexual intercourse of any kind, consensual or semi-consensual or otherwise;  instead, the girl was simply fondled.
[Note:  The above was based on the wording in the LATimes article, linked-to above, from the Associated Press.  Roughly the same article has since appeared elsewhere, but with wording changed here and there in subtle but legally crucial ways -- based upon nothing, presumably, but verbal diffidence or social agenda.  For instance:  that she was later "assaulted".  Meaning... ?  One can, after all, be verbally "assaulted".  So, even after having read several articles, we still don't know what the jury thought happened:  the media throws fairy-dust in our eyes.]

Now, the prosecutor and vigilantes have a nice time of it, describing this infracopular action with the icky and clinical-sounding description of digital penetration.  Sounds horrible.  But it is what generations of high-schoolers (and some in junior high, including quite possibly your parents and mine) have fondly referred to as “copping a feel”.  For that, they did not go to prison.    (If they had, your grandfather might never have wed your grandmother.)
(There existed a more elaborate, graded terminology for such activities, back in the day, derived from baseball -- unless you “struck out”, you might “get to first base” and “second base”, and other bases too exciting to mention.   Where exactly that …. digital business fits in, I could not say;  a shy and studious youth, I did not play the game.  Further, the terminology may have changed since my time-- there seem to be more bases in play these days, involving orifices we never even suspected existed.)

For a different example of rhetorical wrestling over the semantics of the term "rape":

     "Legitimate Rape"

For even more startling examples of ‘grade inflation’ for sexual indiscretions, consult this:
            “Looking Someone Up and Down”

Sex is the assassin of reason, both in behavior and in assessing such behavior.  For a spot of sanity, check here:

            Sex and C.S. Lewis


This is not the sort of thing I like to blog about, by a long shot:  from the empyrean, aloft on an angelic choir, mathematics beckons, towards the purity of the Platonic realm.   The post began as a mere reflex of irritation at the latest rhetorical tricks being used to sneak-in an agenda, destroying lives in the process.  (For a slating of these, click here: Political language-games.)  Yet recalling that “first-base” business brought back memories of a simpler time, when our hearts beat for one another, lad and lass, yet while embracing the blessings of Chastity.

There was another graded ‘sex game’, if you wish to call it that, in which I did participate, at age twelve, in seventh grade.  Never in private, mind you:  It was something one did on the dance floor, surrounded by classmates and chaperones, at what our parents had called a “sock hop”, and which we knew as “canteens”.  (That is not a word I have ever heard in this sense, since;  perhaps it was a regionalism of northeastern New Jersey, like “cabbage night”.)   The name of the game:  “Do you trust me?”

[to be continued, if I am spared]

-- Yet nay, but no:  the memory of such purity  must not be stained, by its association with this Fallen story here.   I shall post it separately (if the Lord so will), later and in another place.

Nunc dimittis.


[Update 7  April 2013]  Better than Hitchcock:  a ripping, gripping tale of military malfeasance and conspiracy, which begins as a standard case of a-woman-is-involved/the-white-guy-is-guilty, with an apparent (quasi-)rape and apparent suicide, to something possibly quite different:  a tale of perjury and … murder …  We may dub this (still hypothetical) scenario (simply to give it a catchy name)

Ambush at Fort Boorda

Somebody announced a party, and the hard drinking and beer pong began. A 21-year-old Marine lance corporal, so drunk on rum and Mountain Dew she was slurring her words, went to look for Kyle Antonacci, a Navy seaman she'd been dating off and on. Antonacci soon texted his friend Mike Pineda to help him deal with her.
Both men had sex with her that night. But what distinguished May 8, 2009, from dozens of other party nights in the barracks — what turned it into a mystery that investigators still are trying to unravel — was what happened afterward.
Pineda, a seaman from Barstow, Calif., training as a Navy SEAL, spent three months in jail for sexual assault. Antonacci, a 22-year-old ordnance disposal trainee from Long Island, N.Y., was threatened with prosecution. The case didn't go far: Antonacci's body was found hanging in a closet, his nose bleeding, his face and back bruised.,0,6267130.story

[Update]  An unusual definition was given by the eccentrically gifted artist and deviant Henry Darger, who was obsessed with the matter, in his ever-flowing (unpublished) roman-fleuve:

“What is rape?” asked Penrod.
“According to the dictionary, it means to undress a girl and cut her open to see the insides,” said Joice.
-- quoted in Jim Elledge, Henry Darger:  throwaway boy (2013), p. 191

(Hm, don’t know which edition of Webster’s he was referring to there.)

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