I'll begin with an apology, a sort of journalistic "guilty with an explanation." This is not going to be the insightful, impeccably researched post I promised (to those who cared) a few weeks back; I made that promise at the height of our lively exchange on my initial post about rape, which to date has drawn nearly 100 comments*. Instead I give you what follows, which I hope does not smack too much of an unbecoming rhetorical martyrdom.
|Read on before you dismiss this as histrionic.|
To them this is more of a war, a war in which no prisoners are taken. A holy war, one might say in these ISIS-inflected times.
Oddly, it was the Ray Rice episode that drove this home for me. The very Feminist voices who now wanted Rice held fully accountable for his drunken rage in that elevator were the same ones who, just weeks ago, were screaming at me that women cannot be held responsible for the sex they have when drunk. Even if you want to say that protection of women from predatory men outweighs the need to apply consistent logic, that fallback argument flows from the "weaker sex" image that Feminists also reject out of hand. But when you're waging war, you see, you don't worry about such contradictions. You just try to win. You try to vanquish your enemies.
So it was that Feminist Nation set out to vanquish me.Like the religious zealots they are, critics of my column on rape sought to decapitate me professionally. (And yes, please, know that I am being "writerly." I do not in any way mean to imply that what I've gone through is equivalent to what those poor guys in that desert endured. Jesus.) Understand that these are not garden-variety trolls we're talking about, but highly placed Feminist insiders who write well-read columns or run esteemed law firms. Several of these dear women went straight to the dean of students at Lehigh in an effort to undo my mutually successful three-year relationship with the school. One critic suggested to my dean via Twitter that I was "secretly rooting for the rapists"; in subsequent tweets she speculated what that might suggest about my own treatment of women, and referenced the liability implications of keeping such an obvious degenerate on staff. "I know I would not be comfortable with my daughter in his class," she opined. (Another critic used my LinkedIn profile as a road map to major publications for which I've worked; she wrote blistering emails to top editors explaining why a reprobate like me should not be allowed to soil their pages. She threatened a more organized letter-writing initiative, a boycott and other sanctions.)
I do not know if this campaign succeeded. I do know that I have not been invited back to Lehigh to teach in the spring—this, after having fairly specific discussions about my proposed coursework with my most immediate contact, Lehigh's dean of journalism, a few weeks before all this blew up. The dean of journalism is a prince of a fellow but like most folks in academia, he takes his orders from upstairs. Although again, I can't say for sure that any such orders existed. He presented entirely mundane and bureaucratic reasons for withdrawing the offer he'd extended just weeks earlier.
Think of the irony, though: If a liberal-arts education is about anything at all, shouldn't it be about the application of critical thinking to life's "givens" and orthodoxies? Shouldn't it be about subjecting dogmatism to the crucible of classroom analysis? Shouldn't one of the critical thinker's foremost goals be to deconstruct political correctness? That's what I always thought. I guess I can consider myself educated now.
* or about 50 comments (exclusive of my own replies) from at least a dozen different contributors.