I’ve held off talking about the Duke Lacrosse Scandal for a while, because blogs are always the “zero draft” of history, and you can look pretty foolish if you blather and end up being wrong. Witness the right-wing asshole bloggers who tore apart Jill Carroll for agreeing to film an anti-American screed while being held at gunpoint by Islamic fundamentalists. Man, those people should be kicked in the nuts. Both the fundamentalists and the bloggers, I mean.
Speaking of another group that needs to be kicked in the nuts, Duke U. is having the worst month since the Civil War. That is, if Duke hadn’t been invented in 1974.
My inclination, when first hearing about the alleged lacrosse rape, was “no duh.” Anyone who has been around that sort of culture knows the twin powderkegs hanging between most lacrosse players’ legs are usually four synapses away from something unholy. The particular viciousness of this allegation, however, sticks in the mind like a terrible song.
If it turns out to be a Tawana Brawley situation (as a few are suggesting) then the slow crawl towards racial harmony in Durham will take another lurch backwards. If the lacrosse players are found guilty, the same thing will happen. Nothing good will come of this.
Especially disgusting is the email (now on the Smoking Gun’s site) where a particularly proto-Cambrian knuckle-dragger from New Jersey threatens to kill the next set of strippers, skin them, and then sexually please himself. This email proves nothing about the case at hand, of course, except that this motherfucker needs to be handcuffed to a radiator until his nuts die of old age.
Knowing a tin ear when they hear one, the Duke student newspaper published this, an opinion piece that says, basically, Durham should be on bended knee thanking god that Duke exists, that the University provides shitty jobs that would otherwise not be available, and that Koach K eats sautéed Labrador puppies.
Well, maybe not the last part, but the column shows an unfettered entitlement, a world-view SO COMPLETELY OUT OF WHACK that the author should be forced to clean toilets at the Fayetteville Road Waffle House in order to gain perspective. To publish something like that when you’ve got the sneer of an alleged dead-eyed rapist staring at you from every newspaper in the Triangle? What the hell is going on over there?
I come from a generation that stayed up too late and despised authority. We gave the middle finger to everything we thought was pointless, and drank and smoked and I’m told a few of us had sex very early. Sure, we had the frosting of entitlement the same way every 20-year-old does, and our landlords didn’t always love us.
But this is another thing altogether. I’ve witnessed these Duke students first hand, as have Lee and Suzanne, who live mere seconds away from the worst offenders in Trinity Park. It’s the most fetid case of modern-day carpetbagging left in North Carolina, these northerners coming down, thinking they’re better than the town they live in, patronizing the local indigenous culture, and pissing acid, blood and semen all over the neighborhoods where they live.
As I’ve said before, some of my favorite people in the world went to Duke, and they know who they are. My feelings have always been tempered by the astonishing humor of Scotty, the loyalty and good nature of Lars, and the sweetness of many old friends. If you live in Chapel Hill for 15 years, you’re going to befriend a Duke student and love them despite it. As long as you don’t talk on game day, everything is cool.
But in general, my hatred for Duke was never limited to the basketball team, it was for the whole tiramisu. One night in 1986, we were in a crowded room in one of the J-frosh dorms at Duke, and my lovely friend Kris Richardson was wondering why she couldn’t find any boys she liked. Jon Vaden, my roommate, then said, “that’s because you go to school with ten thousand assholes.” I recall we had to run to the car, but he spoke for many of us that evening, long before it was cool.
The Duke womens’ basketball team lost in overtime to Maryland in the National Championship this week. One of the men’s players, a hugely-heralded recruit, decided to transfer. Then McRoberts, their only glimmer of hope for next year, looks to bolt for the NBA. And every time you turn on the news, you’ve got the Duke “D” logo with “RAPE?” next to it.
It’s their spring of discontent, a horrible downward spiral, and even those who despise the school the most, like me, almost feel pity for them. Almost.