Monday, June 09, 2014

Being A Victim: A Coveted Status. Or So Writes George Will.

George Will is a conservative writer whom Charlie Pierce once compared to a vinegar decanter.   That was funny because it is apt.  Now George has decided to write about the crisis of sexual violence on US college campuses.

Colleges and universities are being educated by Washington and are finding the experience excruciating. They are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (“micro-aggressions,” often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate.

Bolds are mine.

Will's message is that there is no crisis, that "males" get unfairly accused, that "females" are encouraged to see pity f**ks or similar as rapes.  If you are not quite convinced, George Will also tells us (he will tell us!) that  progressives want trigger warnings on all university reading materials, too:

Now the codes are begetting the soft censorship of trigger warnings to swaddle students in a “safe,” “supportive,” “unthreatening” environment, intellectual comfort for the intellectually dormant.
It is salutary that academia, with its adversarial stance toward limited government and cultural common sense, is making itself ludicrous. Academia is learning that its attempts to create victim-free campuses — by making everyone hypersensitive, even delusional, about victimizations — brings increasing supervision by the regulatory state that progressivism celebrates.
Hmm.  Now I want marshmallows.   Then I want to stab them hard.

George commits three common not-so-nice crimes in his piece. 

First, he picks a story about sexual violence which is as marginal as possible (from his point of view).  By picking that story and ignoring all the other stories he manages to suggest that sexual violence on campuses is pretty much nonexistent, and if it does exist, it's due to "the ambiguities of the hookup culture, this cocktail of hormones, alcohol and the faux sophistication of today’s prolonged adolescence of especially privileged young adults."

Second, he picks something which indeed has happened but which is both uncommon and avidly debated among progressives as indicative of the coddling culture on all campuses:  the demand for trigger warnings in college courses.  By implying that all progressives are for such warnings Will is being dishonest, and by not actually studying how common such trigger warnings are in reality he is being sorta lazy. 

Third, he argues that "males" have been denied due process:

Then comes costly litigation against institutions that have denied due process to males they accuse of what society considers serious felonies.
This glides over the fact that many "females" argue that they have been denied due process or justice.

These are not viewed as real crimes because Will is writing an opinion piece, not reporting on the issues.  But crimes they are from my point of view, because they aim at distorting the way the readers would interpret the events after consuming his story.