Friday, December 07, 2007

Barry Lenser on UPI

"Until Proven Innocent is a police procedural, a courtroom drama, a social commentary, a correction of spurious history, and most simply, an engrossing story of heroes and villains. Sadly, the book becomes most meaningful when you realize it never should have been written in the first place." Read the entire review here.

39 comments:

mac said...

With this review in mind, perhaps someone should send a copy of UPI to someone in the Justice Department who can read.

Debrah said...

"That the Duke rape scandal could elicit such a wide-ranging discourse speaks to its relevance as a social, political, and legal signpost for America."

Which is why the book will live on for decades to come.

Which is why KC must be convinced to begin a new Wonderland blog at some subsequent time.

Debrah said...

If anyone wants to go absolutely nuts--in awe-struck fashion--while reading KC-speak.......go back to his post (Group 88 Rehab Tour) and read his (4:49 PM) reply to a confused ankle-biter.

He goes through every minute detail with this person and explains things carefully and calmly.

Never breaking a sweat.

Never showing a hint of anger.

This is what drives me crazy!!!!

LIS!

traveler said...

Re: Barack Obama letter

I started thinking about the Obama letter:
Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice asking them to review the case, having accused Nifong of making prejudicial statements to the media and telling police to violate identification procedures.

(My 3rd district contact says that Rep. Jones is in a struggle to even win his GOP primary, and that empty symbolic gestures fool some of the people some of the time!)

IMO, Obama’s answer only says that an investigation is needed, and he will watch the call for the review closely. I didn’t find any evidence that he did anything but have his staff answer, in a mostly form letter, with empty words, and then signed the letter with an electronic signature. How exactly does that deserve the credit given?

“Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in a written response to a constituent, said that an "independent inquiry is needed" into the conduct of Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong“

Obama said of the call for a federal investigation that he "will be following its progress closely"

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/LegalCenter/story?id=2980582&page=1.

Michael Gaynor has more spin, and the reply letter: http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/gaynor/070327
--------------------------------
In the spirit of cutting through the election spin, and getting an answer to what good the Jones and Obama letters actually accomplished for the LAX three:

I am going to write to Barack Obama questioning his entry into a legal case in North Carolina, stating that if our Senators watched the legal cases in Illinois, they would be very busy! VERY BUSY!

I will write to the Hillary Clinton campaign asking the protocol for Senator Obama to insinuate he is taking oversight on a legal matter in another state.

I will write to the two NC senators asking the parameters for their entry into a legal matter, and why we did not hear from them. (I would guess the response from the NAACP, influenced that, but I will ask.)

I will write to two GOP presidential candidates complaining of what I consider empty election postering by a candidate, on a case important to me.

Let the chips fall where they may. I will report back if possible. I don’t expect answers for many weeks. In Sen. Obama’s reply, he states he gets 10,000 letters and e-mails a week.

Ralph Phelan said...

How exactly does that [Obama's letter] deserve the credit given?
It may not be much, but it's still more than anyone got out of his 99 colleagues.

As with talk 'heroism' on the Duke faculty, it makes sense if you assume we're grading on a curve.

Debrah said...

TO "traveler"--

Intriguing idea.

Thanks for doing that.

We will all be waiting with bated breath for their responses.

Debrah said...

Duke Students for an Ethical Duke's latest is on the return of Kim Curtis....citing KC's coverage of her unbelievable actions.

Debrah said...

As a holiday warning to all you guys out there who have plans to fly to your destinations this season:

Better brush up on your travel plans to avoid running into Larry Craig at the airport.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm, a good review overall, but one troubling point for me:

Levicy interviewed Mangum shortly after the party and, with scant physical evidence, determined that the purported assault had occurred. Later she admitted that “she had never doubted the truthfulness of a single rape accuser.”

It is not clear whether the words in the quotation marks are the words of Levicy, or the words of Johnson and Taylor, or the words of the reviewer. I find these words problematic, because they appear similar to something that Levicy is documented as having said, but they are far different in meaning and implications.

I can't find the original quote, but the gist of it was that Levicy told a defense attorney that she had never encountered a woman who lied about rape. Is this the same thing as "had never doubted the truthfulness of a single rape accuser"? It isn't. "Never doubted the truthfulness ..." is a statement about a process; "never encountered a [liar] ..." is a statement about results.

Think of it this way. Suppose you are working in a bank, where your job is to examine the documentation and identification of every person who applies for a loan, making sure the person in front of you is actually who they say they are. You do your job conscientiously, following up on anything that even looks like a possible hint of something off-key. But after a year of doing this, each and every person you have investigated has turned out to be exactly who they claimed to be. At the end of this, you could truthfully say (as regards that employment) "I have never met a person who was pretending to be someone other than who they really were." However, it would be absolutely false to say "I never doubted that anyone was exactly who they said they were;" you did just that every time the circumstances called for doubt.

(For the record, I have no real doubt that Levicy went into her job with particular prejudices and no particular critical thinking skills to combat them with -- her 'DNA was not found because rape is about power and control' comment, presented as if relevant to the question of how the rape Mangum described could have happened without leaving DNA, is proof of that. But I am a firm believer in hanging people for their own words, not other people's possibly-careless paraphrases.)

Gary Packwood said...

Until Proven Innocent, a scrupulous and spellbinding account of this far-reaching abomination, does not allow any of the misdeeds visited on Dave Evans, Colin Finnerty, and Reade Seligmann to go untouched.
::
Abomination then and abomination now which is why the book will live on for decades to come...as Debrah just said.

Good word, abomination.
::
GP

Michael in NH said...

re: 8:32 I'm having a discussion on issues related to the DIW blog on Zimmerman's site on the 12/5 post.

I didn't realize that the thread on this blog had exploded to over 100 posts.

Debrah said...

Phi Beta Cons

Skim the entire page for a few interesting tidbits with which you will be familiar.

Anonymous said...

good review, good points

wavylines said...

"If anyone wants to go absolutely nuts--in awe-struck fashion--while reading KC-speak.......go back to his post (Group 88 Rehab Tour) and read his (4:49 PM) reply to a confused ankle-biter."

The irony being that he didn't clear my response.

Having been on the "campus quad" at the time of the event -- something KC was not -- I know from first-hand experience that he's wrong concerning what kind of campus debates were going on at the time. But based on the censoring of posts, I don't think he wants to hear about it.

Jim in San Diego said...

K.C.:

What do you think of sponsoring some final threads to sum up the Duke hoax experience?

Some possibilities:

1. Why should anyone/everyone still be interested in the hoax today, 19 months after it began?

Answers to this question will address the taunting, anonymous comments of the ilk, "its over. get a life". For me, father of three white, male, privileged children, it is not over. Others will have their own reasons.

2. What should individual participants do in the future, faced with some parallel situation as at Duke? (Students? Parents? Others?). (Absent some countervailing reaction, nothing whatsoever will change. Perhaps we could start proselytizing now.)

3. From a historian's perspective, where do P.C. warriors fit in?

a. French student protest movement(s)?

b. The Brownshirt movement in Germany, circa 1920-30? (see, for instance, Schirer's Berlin Diary, for a discussion of tactics used to coerce dissenters)

Your work has been eye-opening to this naive parent living on the edge of the continent.

Thank you,

Jim Peterson

Anonymous said...

"That the Duke rape scandal could elicit such a wide-ranging discourse speaks to its relevance as a social, political, and legal signpost for America."

----

Other issues elicit "wide-ranging discourse", when there is legitimate doubt as to who is telling the truth, and who is lying.

This case is exceptional, because the true facts are absolutely established, so the only room for "wide-ranging discourse" is between those who care about the truth, and those who place ideology before facts, and who deliberately promulgate lies in order to serve their politics and bigotry.

Anonymous said...

9:14 comments Re; Obama.

Let's refresh our memories:

1. Didn't Obama visit Durham to throw his support behind Mayor Bell's relection?

2. Didn't Mayor Bell pledge his undying support for Obama?

3. Do we know of Mayor Bell's role in the LAX scandal?

4. Isn't KC a member of the enthusiastic "Historians for Obama" crowd?

5. Why do these strange connections make me pause???

Today's Chronicle states that Duke pumps over $3 billion into the Durham economy. Follow the money.

It takes money to win elections.

We have NO principled politicians who are willing to take up the LAX injustices because it is an election year...just more part of the total disgracing scenario we now call the LAX scandal. Selfish self-interest. NC, Washington, Illinois. Follow the money and follow the votes.

It may be that we will just have to wait until the LAX 3 complete their education and see if they can use their hard-earned noteriety to do something positive about the whole mess. Sure hope and pray that they will choose to make a difference in the world. Lots of people paid a price for their freedom... and it was more than money.

Gary Packwood said...

wavylines 1:28 said...

..."If anyone wants to go absolutely nuts--in awe-struck fashion--while reading KC-speak.......go back to his post (Group 88 Rehab Tour) and read his (4:49 PM) reply to a confused ankle-biter."
...The irony being that he didn't clear my response.
...Having been on the "campus quad" at the time of the event -- something KC was not -- I know from first-hand experience that he's wrong concerning what kind of campus debates were going on at the time. But based on the censoring of posts, I don't think he wants to hear about it.
::
Why would we need your opinion about what was going on if we could read about what was going on in the Duke Chronicle and see the signs, the potbanges and the ads on campus and in the community of Durham?

Egoism (yours) is vastly overrated.
::
GP

Anonymous said...

The decision on whether to proceed with a ciminal investigation of the perpetrators of the Duke Lacrosse hoax now lies with NC Atty. Gen. Roy Cooper.

D-I-W readers who wish to express their opinion on a criminal probe can contact Mr. Cooper:

Atty. Gen. Roy Cooper
9001 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-9001

Telephone: 919-716-6400 • Fax: 919-716-6750

wavylines said...

"Why would we need your opinion about what was going on if we could read about what was going on in the Duke Chronicle and see the signs, the potbanges and the ads on campus and in the community of Durham?"

Because, as I explained in the comment KC censored, Duke students are smart enough not to say some things when a camera is thrust in their face. That's why the blog posts are significant -- they're as close as we get in the written record to the uncensored conversations that were going on at the time. The reason those conversations are of relevance is because it was to them -- and not the external media coverage -- that the "listening statement" ad was directed.

KC Johnson said...

To reiterate:

It is not the blog's policy to "censor" comments. I imposed comment moderation with only the greatest of reluctance, after other attempts to get rid of two off-topic or vile commenters failed; and I have cleared hundreds of comments that either disagreed with my position on the case or attacked me in deeply personal terms. Such behavior is not normally considered consistent with a "censorship" regime.

A theory that the Group's ad was directed to stray anonymous comments in blogs (comments that were not mentioned anywhere in the ad) requires at least some corroborating evidence.

So too does the claim that such anonymous comments came from Duke students.

This discussion began off the Cathy Davidson quote that racist comments defending the lacrosse players were "rampant" on the "campus quad" between 3-29 and 4-6-06. If Davidson--a professor of English, no less--really meant to say that racist comments from anonymous commenters at blogs were "rampant" during this time period, it doesn't seem too much to assume that she would have written as much, and perhaps even provided an example to bolster her argument.

Of course, she did not do so.

wavylines said...

"A theory that the Group's ad was directed to stray anonymous comments in blogs (comments that were not mentioned anywhere in the ad) requires at least some corroborating evidence."

My contention in the ... we can call it just the "lost" post if you prefer, was that Davidson et al. didn't need blogs to know what was being discussed on the campus quad -- they were there and heard it directly from their students and colleagues. Blogs only come into importance after the fact, as a written approximation of the uncensored campus discussions.

traveler said...

(More student lunacy disguised as free speech.)
-------------------
Students Dress as VT Victims, Cause Outrage

It started with a picture on Facebook and has now created a firestorm of outrage.

Two Penn State students, dressed as Virginia Tech shooting victims, at a Halloween party have enraged people from the Virginia Tech community, as well as the entire country.

The fact that one of these individuals is actually from Virginia, makes it even more difficult to understand.

Just because something is within the bounds of the Constitution and free speech, does not mean it should be undertaken. We certainly condemn these ugly and senseless actions.

http://www.wsls.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=WSLS%2FMGArticle%2FSLS_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1173353763706&path=!news!localnews

Orson Buggeigh said...

KC,

Thanks for your follow up on the Klan of 88. Speaking of Cathy Davidson, and your response to Wavylines, check out Scott McLemee's list of academic blogs in "Inside Higher Education." I've copied the interesting bit below.

[Begin Quote] "Cathy Davidson, a professor of English and interdisciplinary studies at Duke University who blogs at Cat in the Stack, recommends a number of blogs including “danah boyd’s Apophrenia column, Howard Reingolds’ Smart Mobs, and Henry Jenkins’ Acafan.”

All three have a strong emphasis on digital culture. She also points out Savage Minds, a group blog on anthropology, and Jonathan Sterne’s Super Bon!" [End Quote]

Well, I can't vouch for Mr. McLemee, but I would tend to view anything recommended by professor Davidson as suspect, given her apparent approval of the behavior of the faculty signing the 'listening statement' and engaging in the persecution of student athletes.

A word of thanks, KC. You have given all of us, in the academy or outside of it, a very high standard for careful, complete coverage and analysis of complex and controversial events. A true scholar, and certainly a gentleman, in every sense of both terms. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I will miss Jim Peterson (in San Diego) and Texas Mom.

traveler said...

wavylines said...
"Why would we need your opinion about what was going on if we could read about what was going on in the Duke Chronicle and see the signs, the potbanges and the ads on campus and in the community of Durham?"
----------------------------------
The reason the student comments are not totally credible, is that they are “boilerplate” type comments from students incited by artificial circumstances. The G-88 used the students, just as Nifong used the black voters of Durham.

The whole exercise was based on a hoax, the comments are based on faculty taking advantage of a hoax. The comments are baseless because they are based on a hoax, the faculty orchestrated……., and that is, ‘The house that Jack built!’

The following article is very well documented.
Excerpts:
The “take back the night” rally at Duke was organized in the same style Castro orchestrates public events in Cuba. Students were spoon-fed agitprop and then sent out to put on a show for the media. What a carnivale of hate it was!

One thing is clear: feminist campus activities at Duke in 2006 did not occur because of spontaneous student outrage.
-----------------
DUKE RAPE CASE: THE FEMINIST KLAN EXPOSED
David R. Usher
May 12, 2007
NewsWithViews.com

The watershed event at Duke has ignited long-overdue scrutiny of cultish women’s studies programs that have impressed hatred and sexism towards men at our Universities.

One thing is clear: feminist campus activities at Duke in 2006 did not occur because of spontaneous student outrage. They were organized by professors in the Women’s Studies department in cohort with national feminist organizations such as the National Organization for Women and the American Association of University Women.

http://www.newswithviews.com/Usher/david51.htm

Anonymous said...

wavylines wrote

"Having been on the 'campus quad' at the time of the event -- something KC was not -- I know from first-hand experience that he's wrong concerning what kind of campus debates were going on at the time."

Having been on campus the entire time, I know from first-hand experience that KC was *right* about the "kind of campus 'debates'" that "were going on at the time."

From defenders of the lacrosse players, there was reasoned discourse, informed by facts and an appeal to a presumption of innocence.

From the hoax enablers, there was blind rage, driven by race/class envy. Their tactics were those of bullies: intimidation and spurious charges of racism -- all cheered on by the PC professoriate.

Duke Prof

traveler said...

Ralph Phelan said...
How exactly does that [Obama's letter] deserve the credit given?
It may not be much, but it's still more than anyone got out of his 99 colleagues.
------------------------
I found no documentation that 100 requests were made. If an Obama supporter wanted a few free campaign lines, they could say that.

Do you really believe ‘only’ Sen. Obama replied? One thing I have learned from D-I-W is to question, and the Obama letter says nothing about him taking actual action to help the LAX3.

IMO, we were “Nifonged” with a play on words. I know KC supports Obama, but the reference to this letter was questionable.

One Spook said...

traveler dissects waylines' absurd comments with a quote from David Usher at 9:40 AM:

"One thing is clear: feminist campus activities at Duke in 2006 did not occur because of spontaneous student outrage. They were organized by professors in the Women’s Studies department ..."

Indeed, and to that I would add, why is it that the professors in the Women's Studies department, and all of the other professors of Diverse Humanities at Duke, have not organized an equivalent "spontaneous student outrage" over the alleged rape, a few weeks after the lacrosse hoax, of a white Duke student at a black fraternity house, allegedly committed by a black man?

Where was the ad in the Chronicle about students "... shouting and whispering about what happened to this young woman and to themselves"?

And, given the total blackout of information on this later case, why is it not a "disaster" that " ... no one is really talking about how to keep the young woman herself central to this conversation, how to keep her humanity before us ... she doesn't seem to be visible in this. Not for the university, not for us."?

Why were there not potbangers protesting in front of the home of the accused in that case?

Why have we not seen photos of the accused's "perp walk"?

And what of the comments "rampant" on the "campus quad" about this incident?

As KC himself might say in his lovely droll style, "About these questions, wavylines does not say."

One Spook

Anonymous said...

To 3:38 p.m.

Roy Cooper, the North Carolina AG, wants in the worst way to be the next governor. He absolutely does not want to alienate any segment of the voting population.

I got an invitation to one of his soirees - at a cost of $500 or so - and I returned the rsvp card filled out with the name Crystal Mangum from the Bunny Hole Club.

mac said...

Duke Prof 10:10

So glad you wrote that post.

Wavylines sounds like a grad assistant to someone in the Angry Studies Dept. or an administrator just below the level of the hapless, hipless, spineless Brodhead.

Your post bodyslammed Wavylines' comments. (Perhaps she'll perform a tap-out?)

wavylines said...

traveler wrote: "The 'take back the night' rally at Duke was organized in the same style Castro orchestrates public events in Cuba. Students were spoon-fed agitprop and then sent out to put on a show for the media."

I'm afraid I don't share your dim view of Duke students. They're adults, rather smarter than the average too, and their views and beliefs are wide-ranging. No one "spoon-feeds" them "agitprop" or "boilerplate" for them to regurgitate.

And a comparison to Castro is intellectual shameful. You have, quite frankly, no idea what you're talking about.

If the anonymous commenter calling him/herself "Duke Prof" is what he/she says, it makes me rather sad that they share your views.

Anonymous said...

Duke Prof,
I agree that the hoax enablers were classic bullies and now that people have dared to stand up to them they seem to have taken their toys and gone home ..at least for now. The G88 seem to have tremendous egos and many apparently have never ever been required to defend their positions before.

It was quite amusing to see Karla Holloway, the poster professor for every injustice that the Duke lacrosse case represents, run home to the Duke administration for cover wailing that the faculty was not being supported enough.

KC Johnson said...

I would concur with w.l. on the performance of Duke students.

While a small handful rushed to judgment in various events of March 27-March 29, the overwhelming majority did not do so, and very quickly recognized the extent of Nifong's hoax. More important, they took action to implement their beliefs, most notably through the voter registration campaign (for which, of course, they were attacked as "secret racists" by Group of 88'er Grant Farred).

Anonymous said...

wavylines responding to traveler

"If the anonymous commenter calling him/herself "Duke Prof" is what he/she says, it makes me rather sad that they share your views."

You need to read more carefully. My comment was about "hoax enablers," not Duke students.

That said, some of the enablers were students. And those particular students did behave like parrots repeating blindly the angry studies script. However, your response commits the fallacy of composition. That a fact applies to parts (of the Duke student body) does not mean that it applies to the whole (student body). Further, that an argument makes you "sad," is nothing more than an appeal to emotion.

Your questioning of my bona fides is odd considering you choose to remain anonymous. That aside, unless you are tenured at Duke, I've been there far longer than you have.

Duke Prof

Ralph Phelan said...

traveler said...
(More student lunacy disguised as free speech.)

I would describe it as "More PC hypersensitivity to symbolic actions." College students being tasteless is neither new nor news. It's anyone else caring that's peculiar.

wavylines said...

KC:
You say here:
"While a small handful rushed to judgment in various events of March 27-March 29, the overwhelming majority did not do so"
Yet in the "Rehab Tour" post that started this discussion thread you said:
"Of course, during the period in which the statement was written (March 29-April 6, 2006), virtually no one was defending the lacrosse team on the 'campus quad.'"
???

mac: Missed your post earlier, sorry. If I may expand your stereotypes a bit: first, it's "he," not "she." Second, like all grad students I served as a grad assistant, but never under a G88 member. Third, I'm a former div 1 college lacrosse player myself (though my career was neither long nor distinguished at that level), and still love the sport. So I might handle myself in that hypothetical ring a little better than you'd expect ;).

wavylines said...

Something I forgot to add that might expand some stereotypes as well: Orin Starn is a former professional athlete, and his class on Sport and Society is very popular with varsity athletes.

KC Johnson said...

To w.l.:

There's no contradiction between the two statements. It's my sense--based on interviews with dozens of Duke students and professors, including Chronicle reporters and members of the student government--that during the period between March 25 and April 10, when the first DNA test results were revealed, that the large majority of Duke students withheld judgment. I don't consider withholding judgment defending the lacrosse players. (Perhaps the Group of 88 felt differently, believing--like their ideological mirrors on the far right--that anyone who wasn't "with them" was "against them.")

After April 10, Duke students, in increasing and eventually overwhelming numbers, did recognize the extent of Nifong's hoax and start defending the lacrosse players.

A minority of students, of course, did rush to judgment--as seen in the photos of the March 27 and March 29 campus protests. For the book, I asked several lacrosse players what it was like to encounter these students on campus after the case had imploded, and whether any of these students had apologized to them personally.

Those whom I spoke with hadn't received apologies, but said they think back to events of March 2006 whenever they see these students "on the campus quad."