Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Selena's New English

In her screed against the lacrosse team in Sunday’s New York Times, Selena Roberts denounced what she termed “the irrefutable culture of misogyny, racial animus and athlete entitlement that went unrestrained that night.” [emphasis added]

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, irrefutable is defined as “impossible to refute: INCONTROVERTIBLE.”

Roberts correctly notes that it is “irrefutable” that racial animus was on display after the lacrosse party—though she withholds from her readers Kim Roberts’ admission that she began the racial taunts; or that none of the three accused players were even at the house by that point in time.

Roberts also withholds from her readers the “irrefutable” racial animus we have seen in this case from figures such as Chan Hall, or Harris Johnson, or officials of the NAACP.

But was the party an example of “the irrefutable culture of misogyny”? Such a claim would presuppose, it seems, that the hiring of strippers is a males-only activity at Duke. Yet, as this Liestoppers post observed, women’s groups at Duke also seem to have hired strippers.

A case could be made, of course, that such behavior is crass, and I’m sure that Roberts’ friends among the religious right would agree with her. Yet how can behavior be irrefutably anti-female if female groups also engage in the same behavior?

Finally, Roberts’ claim that the party demonstrated an “irrefutable culture of . . . athlete entitlement” is, to put it bluntly, absurd. To begin with, non-athletes were at the party. A brief search through webshots.com, a photo hosting service, shows that “spring break party” reveals 291,548 photos; “spring break drunk” reveals 61,682 pictures; “spring break beer” brings up 40,309 snapshots; and the number for “spring break naked” is more than 6,500. Youtube reveals thousands of videos of sexually tasteless activities over spring break. Based on these figures, can Roberts seriously contend that holding a spring break party with beer and sexually explicitly entertainment is a characteristic of “athlete entitlement” and not a more general college experience?

Perhaps the Times uses a different dictionary, one in which “irrefutable” doesn’t mean “incontrovertible.” Or perhaps Selena Roberts overstated her argument.


Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm female and I wouldn't want anyone investigating my spring break behavior. I'd like to investigate Selena's though. Alot of the time the people who have the biggest holier than thou attitude have the most skeletons in their closet. Based on the level of her attitude, I'd be willing to bet Selena's got a whole cemetery in her closet.

Anonymous said...

Professor Johnson sure seems to have a bug up his ass about Ms. Roberts.

Anonymous said...

Females hire strippers too, but they (mostly) hire male strippers. So that's not anti-female; it's anti-male. Irrefutably.
And so that's all right.

Thank you.

Not Selena Roberts

Anonymous said...

PRICELESS series of posts! Thanks, KC.

Anonymous said...

Right now I'd say my 3 least favorite people in America are Houston Baker, Selena Roberts and of course, Mike Nifong.

Roberts' recent article is just the icing on the proverbial cake. All one has to do is look at her odious columns not even relating to the Duke case (Augusta, Title IX are two that come to mind) to see that she's incapable of giving a moment's thought to any argument, opinion or stance that's counter to her party line.

One has to wonder how someone who appears to hate sports so much became a sports writer.

I wish KC and others would have spent more time discussing her earlier.

Anonymous said...

Misogny? Please.

I have often thought that one of the many ironies in this case is that the LAX players actually treated the two strippers much better than they deserved. The LAXers had requested White and Hispanic strippers, yet two Black women showed up. One of the women (the accuser Crystal Mangum) showed up more than an hour late, and so drunk/drugged that she could not even dance (unless you consider her repeatedly falling over onto Kim Roberts to be "dancing"). Despite this, the LAX players paid both strippers the full amount ($800), in advance, for what was supposed to be a 2 hour show. It was only after the strippers stopped the "dance," after just a few minutes (and after Kim reportedly slapped one of the LAXers), that the LAXers voiced any objections to the women's behavior. Even after Crystal Mangum passed out on the back porch, a couple of the LAXers helped her to Kim's car.

A lot of other people who had been ripped off as badly as the LAXers were by these two so-called "professional" strippers would have just dragged Crystal's sorry butt to the curb and left her there (sort of like her "friends" and fellow employees at the Platinum Club had done when she passed out there a day or so earlier).

Having seen pictures of both women, I seriously doubt that any of the LAXers were very enthused about the prospect of seeing either one of them naked. They certainly would have been well within their rights to turn the women away when they showed up -- late, Black (when White and Hispanic were requested), impaired (in the case of Mangum), and less than attractive -- but the LAXers probably didn't want to hurt the women's feelings. This whole travesty of a case may have started because the LAXers themselves were too PC to treat these two Black women the way they deserved to be treated -- by turning them away at the door.

Anonymous said...

Misogynists hate women. The person who hired the strippers invited them to come dance and strip for the partygoers and agreed to pay these women handsomely for their efforts. Where is the hate in that?

The word entitlement implies a belief that one may take something absent a fair exchange. Crystal and Kim were paid an outlandish sum of money for their few minutes of dancing. If anyone demonstrated an air of entitlement, it was these two. (To say nothing of the fact that Crystal felt entitled to make up entirely false rape charges to save her own skin.)

Michael said...

Burden of Proof from Wikipedia:

Outside a legal context, "burden of proof" means that someone suggesting a new theory or stating a claim must provide evidence to support it: it is not sufficient to say "you can't disprove this." Specifically, when anyone is making a bold claim, it is not someone else's responsibility to disprove the claim, but is rather the person's responsibility who is making the bold claim to prove it.

Of course when someone says that something is irrefutable, another only has to come up with one counterexample. But the burden of proof is on the author here. I didn't read the base article so I don't know if she provided any evidence but the burden of proof would have had to be exhaustive to be convincing.

David said...

RE: "Professor Johnson sure seems to have a bug up his ass about Ms. Roberts." - Mar 27, 2007 7:03:00 PM

No, Professor Johnson recognizes that Ms. Roberts is attempting to aid and abet in the presumption of guilt regarding the accused.

In other words, she fully expects the [phony] charges to be dropped, and is preemptively dismissing such action as equaling an exoneration - a lack of guilt.

No, she claims, the charges will dropped due to exhaustion - certainly not from a lack of sustainable evidence.

There's also an assumption on the part of the NYTimes that their readers are as biased and lazy as their reporter. That if "she" says their guilty, the readership has been sufficiently served.

Anonymous said...

Or perhaps Selena Roberts if just plain stupid and/or crazy like a fox...with a class, race and sex agenda and axe to grind...

But then that is the M.O. of the NY Times aka Pravda West ! (and I have home delivery)

The list of Usual Suspects using this drama to their own ends, and not employing any facts or common sense, is growing; although Fat Al Charlatan and Jesse the Extortionist seem to have left the scene temporarily...you just can't take any of these people seriously !!

As usual the LEFT and the Class/Race/Gender Warfare Artists and Arsonists have again used up the minimal credibility they might have had in pointing out or addressing any real problems in our society.

It must hurt to always be so wrong...
and it's so tiring to listen to their drivel !

Anonymous said...


I am enjoying this. Guess that means I'm "mysogynst." (My wife would disagree, but, hey, what does she know, since she married a bum like me?)

Anonymous said...

Keep 'em coming KC. Glad to see others agree on just how bad Selena's column was. I mean it was history making.

Bill Waltons 21 for 22 shooting in the final against Memphis State has finally been topped.

Anonymous said...

I think it's close to exam time and KC has a short fuse, but a good Bit*h slapping is certainly in order for this scallywag.

Auburn, let's see average SAT needed for admissions, 1005.

Duke average SAT, 1550.

Guess you'd say the Duke LAX players are 50% smarter than a fat chick from Auburn. When she graduated at Auburn the SAT average was probably under 1000.

My question is does she have a clue what dem big words she uses be meaning?


Jamie said...

If your claims are global and slippery enough, they do become more or less "irrefutable". Try to pin Selena Roberts down, to disprove her on any particular, and like a charter member of the 88 she will simply say that that's not what she's talking about.

Culture is one of those words that defies precise definition, so of course Roberts just loves it. She refers to the "athlete culture", "alleged crime and culture", the "culture of misogyny", etc.

Roberts' writing shows a pattern of mendacity remarkable even for the NYT, a newspaper that with its own "culture" of studied misrepresentation of the facts. That, too, is irrefutable.

Anonymous said...

Prof. Johnson is developing a sharp eye for reading his opponents' arguments and ferreting out the weaknesses. As he surmises here, whenever a writer says "this point is indisputible (or any synonym)", what the writer is often really saying is, "I cannot adequately defend this point, so I want to put it off-limits to any questions."

As I've said before, this case came as an apparent godsend for the Group of 88-types in academia and their allies in the powerful national media. For decades they and their intellectual forbears have been peddling what they call their "meta-narrative". Then Precious came along and told a story that was a perfect replica-in-miniature of the meta-narrative.

Now that the "micro-narrative" has been proven false, Roberts and others are desparately trying to chop it off like a gangrenous limb and claim that it has nothing to do with the larger body of their work.

They also worry that their credibility is so badly damaged that the tried and true epithets ("racist!" "sexist!" "homophobe!") that in the past substituted for evidence and logic to cut off questioning .... might not work this time.

Howard said...

I just watched a very good media analyst on Bloomberg who said newspapers will cease to exist within five years, that the advertisers are balking now, and that fish wrap is a poor place to advertise. There are bottom line problems at the NY Times and LA Times as well as almost every big city daily in the country. So it would seem that Ms. Roberts is simply one of the clones on the space ship headed off blindly into space not knowing or caring that she is worthless. One would think from all the commotion that people with sports brains actually read anything in the New York Times Sports Section. Like do real people read movie reviews in the Wall Street Journal? When the smoke clears Ms.Roberts will be just another stripper in the phone book.

Anonymous said...

among the religious right

What is gained by attacking those of us who are religious? We are committed to truth and honesty.

Anonymous said...


As I was reading about all the various sites that you said have picures of wild, sexy and naked spring break activities, I thought about the "Far Side" cartoon in which a female chimp is grooming a male chimp, and suddenly the female says, "What's this? A blond hair? Have you been doing more 'research' with that Jane Goodall tramp?'"

Cedarford said...

“the irrefutable culture of misogyny, racial animus and athlete entitlement that went unrestrained that night.”

Well, if she is going to say that those activities are so abhorrent that lives are legitimately destroyed to best restrain and suppress such incorrect behaviors - perhaps Serena and her fellow jokes of stylistic female sportswriters can recommend criminal punishment to end the horrors. What exact sentence should be given to strippers, hires of strippers of either sex, and college students "misbehaving from Mormon or Islamic standards on spring break. Or just pure underage alcohol consumption?

What penalty should go - the more severe obviously - for initiating the racial taunts that Kim Pittman did? And anyone that responded. How about the criminalization of anyone that uses derogatory racial language in battle? When being raped, beaten?

Lets get it right, Serena! If you think 30 years or at least some prison time is warranted for the "crimes" or racial taunts, misogyny/misandry, booze, or "athlete, tall person, good skin, good-looking female, etc."

Well, spit it out feminist sister! How about the criminal penalties for privileged female athlete sexual harassment by bull dykes in college hoops & the WNBA?

But before you do any of that and void the 1st Amendment, make legal practices criminal, and make minor misdemeanors into felonies - perhaps you and the other hack journalists in the NY Times Sports Department ought to retrain at the NY Post, Newsday, the Miami Herald about verifying your story with at least two sources.

Your fellow idiot, Sara Corbett, just got burned with one verified, possibly up to four fake rape stories she swallowed hook, line and sinker. Continuing your sorry trends...

You are a prime example of why real journalists at other media now snicker when the NY Times comes up.

Anonymous said...

To 10:oopm,

Are you sure you want to leave Wendy Murphy off your list? I mean talk about an out and out liar.

Anonymous said...

No, Selena is just dumb, mean and ugly. I think she is from Wheelock U. instead of Auburn.
7:26 You are so right - I doubt these guys know how to insult anyone. The "Grandpa..." remark is to comicial to be racial.
I am most angry at Nifong, Lester Munson (who is evil and smart) and Alex Rosenberg. Explain how the mothers of the coeds have not drummed him out of Duke. Good Series KC - preordered the book today. Congradulation on Tel Aviv -Are you sure you want to go there instead of beautiful downtown Durham???

Anonymous said...

I thought about the "Far Side" cartoon in which a female chimp is grooming a male chimp, and suddenly the female says, "What's this? A blond hair? Have you been doing more 'research' with that Jane Goodall tramp?'"

God I miss that Gary Lawson guy.

Anonymous said...

From Wikipedia :

One cartoon shows two chimpanzees grooming. One finds a human hair on the other and inquires, "Conducting a little more 'research' with that Jane Goodall tramp?"

The Jane Goodall Institute thought this was in bad taste, and had their lawyers draft a letter to Larson and his distribution syndicate, in which they described the cartoon as an "atrocity."

They were stymied, however, by Goodall herself, who revealed that she found the cartoon amusing.

Since then, all profits from sales of a shirt featuring this cartoon go to the Goodall Institute.

Anonymous said...

Any one who helps fund folks such as Selena is clearly contributing to making the world a considerably less desirable place. Please, folks, do not purchase the NY Times or visit its website.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but notice KC that you have it out for Selena today. Funny though, good work KC!

Anonymous said...

Auburn, let's see average SAT needed for admissions, 1005.

Duke average SAT, 1550.

Guess you'd say the Duke LAX players are 50% smarter than a fat chick from Auburn. When she graduated at Auburn the SAT average was probably under 1000.

My question is does she have a clue what dem big words she uses be meaning?


Mar 27, 2007 8:29:00 PM

Gee, Kemp. You know how to hurt a guy! Actually, my undergrad is from Tennessee (not a high SAT place, either) and my doctorate is from Auburn, War Eagle.

My sense of Roberts is that she is much like Amanda Marcotte in that she always believed herself to be intellectually and morally superior to her peers and could not believe that people in her surroundings did not believe her to be God's gift to writing.

I don't read Roberts, and I quite reading Maureen Dowd a long time ago. In fact, the only reason I read the Times now is to find another stupid Paul Krugman column to provide a subject on which I can write and refute some of his economic arguments.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of writers, any idea why Duke believes it has to instruct its learned faculty on on how to write an opinion piece?

The first bit of "advice" looks it's right out of the G88 handbook:

"Track the news and jump at opportunities."

Anonymous said...

A slow news cycle. This is much more on Roberts than she deserves. She is just not that important.

Consider reprising some past university faculty hijinks from "The Shadow University". I suspect Houston Baker was up to his eyeballs in some of the stuff reported in that book on U.Penn.

Anonymous said...

I think it's time to bounce this obvious idiot off the news. Since she can't see Scottsboro in reverse, why should we thinking Americans believe anything she says?

Anonymous said...

By the way, KC, apparently the Official Duke University Op-ed Studies Department doesn't like
your style:

"Avoid tedious rebuttals.
If you've written your article in response to an earlier piece that made your blood boil, avoid the temptation to prepare a point-by-point rebuttal. It makes you look petty..."

Anonymous said...

"Kim Roberts’ admission that she began the racial taunts; or that none of the three accused players were even at the house by that point in time."

What do you know about Dave Evans that I don't, KC? :-)


Anonymous said...

Speaking of Selena's English, does anyone else find it shocking that a professional writer for one of the nation's premier newspapers--the self-styled "paper of record"--would use terms with which she is obviously unfamiliar without looking them up? In Selena on Selena we have Selena quoted as saying, "To many, the alleged crime and culture are intertwined . . . but the alleged crime and the culture are mutually exclusive." This use of mutually exclusive is not merely incorrect in this context, but the exact opposite of what she apparently means--orthogonal or independent.

This is, I suppose, beside the point, but it does provide another example of the intellectual sloppiness that Professor Johnson has been documenting.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Crystal's father beleves/supports his daaughter.And Tricia Nixon believes Watergate was a mockery.

Anonymous said...

Roberts is the classic example of the reason why male athletics is so attractive to some bull Lesbians: an outlet for penis envy. They define a misogynist as a man who hates every bone in a woman's body, except his, when in fact they wish they had one in there themselves.

Anonymous said...

Auburn! Even people from Clemson laugh at Auburn Graduates. Hey, Roberts! Get an Education!

Anonymous said...

Houston was very prominant in the "Water Buffalo Case." Houston appears to be on a downward spiral of Universities. I like Vanderbilt and hope they do not get hurt to bad by him. Both Auburn and Clemson have given me a lot of pleasure in sport.

Anonymous said...

Selena Roberts is a frumpy and dowdy gal.

Writing about sports and standing outside dressing rooms is about the only way she's ever going to see a hot jock with some of his clothes off.

She's also a writer who tries too hard. Sloppy and artificial.