Wednesday, October 14, 2009

When it comes to matters of rape, the legend has become fact, so they print the legend

Only two percent of rape claims are false (sometimes it's three percent, or six percent, or eight percent, or nine percent); one-in-four college women are raped before Thanksgiving of Freshman year (sometimes its one-in-three women in general, or one-in-four college women, or one-in-four women by the time they enter college, or one-in-four women in general, or one-in-six women, or one-in-seven women, etc.); only a small percentage of rape claims are reported (pick a number, we've seen pretty much everything); women, not innocent men, justifiably fear for their safety in public; ours a "rape culture."

On and on it goes, the politicized rape milieu has spawned one "truth" after the next supported only by leaps of faith, not objectively verifiable fact. But the persons who actually speak the truth are dismissed as misogynists, their message muffled by the crushing weight of a thousand prevarications.

How did it happen that the truth got so lost? It is this simple: the truth does not fit the preferred narrative.

Let me draw a cinematic analogy that expresses that last thought far better than anything I could write. Near end of the great, elegiac lament to the passing of the old west, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," powerful U.S. Senator Ransom Stoddard, played by Jimmy Stewart, returns to his home town and confesses to the newspaper editor that his legendary reputation, his entire career, was based on a lie. Until then, everyone believed that in his youth, Stoddard had shot and killed the notorious villain Liberty Valance (played by Lee Marvin). Now Stoddard is coming clean, telling the world that Valance was really shot by a tough-as-nails rancher played by John Wayne. The newspaper editor, having heard the entire story and believing every word of it, is not interested in publishing it.

"You're not going to use the story, Mr. Scott?" Stoddard asks incredulously.

The editor famously replies: "No, sir. This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."