The problem with a victim culture is that so many people want to join the ranks of victimhood that eventually you run short of oppressors. As I say in my new book Elizabeth Warren is the whitest white since Frosty the Snowman fell in a vat of Wite-Out, but a dubious claim to be one 32nd Cherokee was enough to persuade Harvard Law School to promote her as their first "woman of color". No wonder so many Democrats prefer her to Hillary: The first "woman of color" in the Oval Office! The first Cherokee!
If you're not fortunate enough to have a great-great-great-grandmother who's listed as Cherokee in the online transcription of an 1894 marriage application, what do you do? Lena Dunham is an upper-middle-class child of white privilege who's had a charmed life, but she's a victim, too. According to her new memoir, she was raped by "Barry", the token conservative at Oberlin. The real-life Barry the Conservative denies raping her, and Random House has been forced to issue a statement "regretting the confusion" and to cover his legal bills, which he'd been paying for by "crowd-funding". The publisher couldn't resist a parting sneer:
We are offering to pay the fees Mr. Minc has billed his client to date. Our offer will allow Mr. Minc and his client to donate all of the crowd-funding raised to not-for-profit organizations assisting survivors of rape and sexual assault.
Because even if Barry the Conservative never raped Lena Dunham, odds are he's raped someone else, right? As Ann Coulter put it:
How about donating it to organizations that assist survivors of false rape accusations?
Rather than an epidemic of campus rape, there seems to be some sort of psychological inversion of "white flight", in which untold numbers feel the need to flee their bland middle-class suburbs and pitch up in edgier ghettos. You'll have noticed the recent uptick in news of the transgendered - indeed, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, author of the now discredited University of Virginia gang-rape story, was previously reporting on the epidemic of trans rape (Ms Erdely appears to be the Rape Correspondent of Rolling Stone). I note there are some three times as many male-to-female transgenders as there are female-to-male. So all that "gender fluidity" is a vast net transfer from the male brutalizer sector to the female victim sector. At some point it would seem likely to become a flood. After all, it's not so difficult to imagine, a fake gang-rape story or three down the line, elite universities requiring gender reassignment as a condition of continued male admission. In some sense, the swollen ranks of the transgendered seem to have intuited that the jig is up for guys. Might as well check out of the guy business entirely. I'm thinking of pitching Marvel Comics a new superhero group featuring a transwoman, an ambigender, a pangender, an intergender, a bigender and a 2-spirited called Ex-Men.
We are all ex-men now. The sadly misnamed Cavalier Daily of Charlottesville has a highly non-cavalier story about how "Jackie", the "victim" of the University of Virginia "gang" "rape", is owed a debt of gratitude for "pulling back the curtain on rape":
Jackie, a University student, told Rolling Stone magazine seven men one of whom she worked with as a lifeguard at the Aquatic and Fitness Center raped her at a Phi Kappa Psi fraternity party on September 28, 2012.
The fraternity has since disputed Jackie's story, claiming there was no party on that particular date and that no Phi Kappa Psi brother worked at the Aquatic and Fitness Center at that time. The conflicting accounts have stirred controversy on Grounds and in the national media.
"I felt people were fixating on the details and quality of Rolling Stone reporting, and the fact is, whatever happened, something happened to Jackie," Mirza said. "And even if she made up the story, things like this do happen, and there are sexual assaults that don't get reported, so I meant to bring the focus back to Jackie. Whatever comes of this, we're still behind her and we still think she did something brave by coming forward."
"Even if she made up the story", she "pulled back the curtain on rape". And even if there was no rape going on behind the curtain she raised awareness of how rape culture is so prevalent that women are being traumatized into making up stories that they've been gang-raped by seven Phi Kappa Psi men even when they haven't been. The blogger Oliver Willis thinks it's "super dangerous" that the right is seizing on the implosion of Rolling Stone's story to insist that "all rape allegations can be ignored". But isn't it the left that's trivializing real rape by according fake rape the same protected status? After all, if Jackie is incredibly "brave" for "coming forward" to "pull back the curtain" on something that never happened, if "gang rape" no longer requires either rape or a gang, if it is not necessary to have actually been attacked, brutalized and sexually violated in order to be a rape victim, then what's the big deal if one has been?
My old Spectator comrade Theodore Dalrymple once observed:
Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.
The less it corresponds to reality the better - if the purpose is to humiliate, and force you to acquiesce in the lies. As Virginia's Professor James W Ceaser wrote:
Anyone who expressed reserve about the article or who dared to apply the adjective "alleged" to the acts described faced the charge of being indifferent to sexual violence and rape. The penalty was to be written out of the community. Best, one observer cautioned, not to poke the beast... The president of the university, Teresa Sullivan, made clear where the initiative lay: "I want you to know that I have heard you, and that your words have enkindled this message."
What she and they are, in fact, enkindling is reality: They are setting fire to truth, and justice, and civilization. There are plenty of real rape victims out there - the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, the sex slaves of ISIS, the children of Rotherham - but they're useless to the lynch mob in advancing its goals and so nothing can "enkindle" their stories. But don't worry, the next pseudo-victim will be along any moment:
Then flash'd the living Lightnings from her Eyes,
And Screams of Horror rend th' affrighted Skies.
Not louder Shrieks to pitying Heav'n are cast,
When Husbands, or when Lapdogs breathe their last.