Well, this isn’t a surprise:
Rolling Stone on Sunday apologized and removed an article it published about an alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house, after an independent review outlined a “story of journalistic failure” at the magazine.
The author of the article, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, also apologized, offering her “deepest apologies: to Rolling Stone’s readers, to my Rolling Stone editors and colleagues, to the UVA community, and to any victims of sexual assault who may feel fearful as a result of my article”.
The 13,000-word report, which was released by Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, evaluated the editorial process that led to the story’s publication, concluding that the magazine had failed to follow “basic, even routine journalistic practice”.
It’s not, actually, that Rolling Stone didn’t follow basic, even routine, journalistic practice. That’s to fall into the pit of process. It’s that the original accusation was so mindgarglingly stupid that no one with an ounce of common sense would have believed it in the first place.
Drop all of the he saids, she saids and concentrate upon that central allegation. That gang rape was a method of pledging (or performing a forfeit in order to join) to a campus fraternity. No, that really was what Jackie was alledging. This gang rape then took place and absolutely no one gave a shit.
It’s just about possible to believe that there are some dark corners of American society where gang rape is indeed an entrance to membership of a group. There are certainly dark corners of other parts of the world where this vile crime is common enough.
And now think of fraternities. That’s the American upper middle class in the making. That’s the lawyers, doctors, accountants and engineers of the next generation in their formative years. Yes, this is a vastly classist argument that I’m making. And just how deranged to you have to be to think that the nascent upper middle classes celebrate or negotiate their way into being such by gang rape of the female members of their own generation, those women who are going to go on and join them in that upper middle class? Who may or may not be their college girlfriends, but who most definitely belong to the social group that is going to make up their wives, currently includes their sisters and into which they’ll put their own daughters when the time comes.
No, really, how bound up in madness do you have to be to think that this is even possible, let alone likely?
The entire story was the result of a collective delusion among those who saw it prior to publication.
Does rape happen in colleges? Yup, it sure does, it’s a vile crime and rapists should be jailed. But that wasn’t the centre of the allegation. Which was that this was normal, that this was a rite of passage, that this had been going on for years if not generations. And that’s just mad.
It all came from the same place as Salem, the Satanic abuse cases. Societal hysteria, nowt else.