Just over a year ago, when Texas teen Ethan Couch was sentenced to mere probation for killing four pedestrians while driving drunk, thanks to his attorneys mounting the “affluenza” defense, I predicted that it would be only a matter of time before “rape culture” was invoked in the same way. (For the life of me, I can’t find where I wrote this, but no matter — I don’t need credit for something that’s obvious to anyone with an IQ over 80.) Well, it almost sort of happened recently in the Vanderbilt rape case, in which the defense attempted to blame a “campus culture” of drinking and partying for the defendants’ transgressions. Thankfully, the judge wasn’t having any of it, but the attempt was made nonetheless.
Christopher Hitchens, in his book Letters to a Young Contrarian, says, “Always look to the language.” As a writer, educator, and all around media/political junky, looking to the language is what I do for fun and profit. The problem with progressives is that they never consider the consequences of their own language. Phrases like “rape culture” shift the blame away from individual perps to the world at large, making it possible for defense attorneys to shift the blame for their clients’ crimes onto you, me, the internet, television, music, peach schnapps, you name it. But when such a defense succeeds (and eventually, it will, somewhere), don’t expect these rapists of the English language to apologize. They’ll do what they always do: shift the blame somewhere else.
While I’m on the subject of language, I’d like to dispel a popular myth among conservatives, which is that progressives are hypocrites. They’re not hypocrites at all and for a very simple reason. The definition of hypocrite is a person who says one thing and does another. But progressives don’t DO anything (unless you count hashtag activism as doing something). They just speak in contradictions because they suffer from cognitive dissonance, which is chronic but, unfortunately, not terminal:
Race is a social construct, but we should celebrate diversity. Factory farming is bad, but we need to feed the world. “Big Energy” is bad, but can I charge my iPhone here? Climate science is “settled,” but peer-reviewed studies on gender or race differences must be flawed, and any science that disagrees with alternative medicine is a Big Pharma conspiracy. “White privilege” is unearned, but guilt and shame over slavery is deserved. And on and on and on…
Always look to the language.