Friday, March 02, 2007

The Culture of Violence and Privilege Behind the Duke Lacrosse Case

Terrific commentary in Inside Higher Ed this morning on the culture of violence and privilege behind the Duke lacrosse case. And for all those who think Tom Wolfe's campus novel I am Charlotte Simmons (that I taught a year ago and will again in a few weeks to my graduate class) doesn't capture life on today's college on. Of course this is not just Duke, nor just lacrosse. It is just the latest, most egregious, and shameful example of young privileged men behaving badly, how elemental urges (bonding like organized crime) take over at an elite liberal arts environment that is fragile and impotent to prevent such. Here's a snippet:

The scenario is one of privileged males proving their manhood by staging live porno shows for one another involving a wounded young woman. She is the duck or the quail raised and put in place for the hunter. Who she is doesn’t matter and she is quickly forgotten after it is all over – sloughed off like a used condom. The event operates to glue the male group as a unified entity; it establishes fraternal bonding and helps boys to make the transition to their vision of a powerful manhood — in unity against women; one against the world. The patriarchal bonding functions a little like bonding in organized crime circles — generating a sense of family and establishing mutual aid connections that will last a lifetime.

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