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Friday, April 20, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax: The 'House of Bunk' franchise

The House of BunkThe Nifong/Mangum hoax showed us a cottage industry that we did not know existed. This business takes rich creamy terms like "white privilege," "sexual or sexualized violence," and "white supremacy," and mixes them together in various concoctions in order to make steaming hot cups of hatred, resentment, and victimhood. They then serve this evil brew to innocent young people and try to get them hooked on their own personalized blend. This is the business model for the 'House of Bunk' franchise.

The goal is to open a 'House of Bunk' franchise on every college campus in America. The 'Ho-Bunk,' as it is lovingly called, is usually co-located in some educational department that has the word "studies" in its name. For example: Women’s Studies; Romance Studies; African & African American Studies; Critical U.S. Studies; Art, Art History, and Visual Studies; Latino/a Studies; Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Medieval and Renaissance Studies; European Studies or Southern Studies; etc. A clustering strategy with a franchise spoutlet in each one of these 'studies' departments is ideal.

The lure of the franchise is the rich story telling that surrounds the blending of its ingredients. This is the so called "meta-narrative" if you really want to get academic. Anyone can spew hate, resentment, and cries of being a victim, but if you can surround your basic ingredients with a rich mythology it goes down much easier. The Nifong/Mangum hoax was initially manna from heaven for the franchise. Adding race and rape to the mix was like a quadruple shot of espresso.

The 'House of Bunk' franchise was especially strong at Duke University. The Duke 'Gang of 88' are all card carrying members of the 'Ho-bunk' loyalty program. And they are always passing out various coupons and flyers around campus promoting the franchise. See last year's Group of 88 'listening statement' for an example of Ho-bunk marketing at its best.

The 'House of Bunk' franchise is growing and graduating more bunk baristas every year. For example, this year Duke senior, Shadee Malaklou ("the lacrosse team has some history of rape"), will graduate with honors as a summa cum laude bunk barista. The market for senior bunk baristas is hot. Vanderbilt lured away from Duke, bunk barista emeritus, Houston Baker, who called the Duke lacrosse players "a bunch of farm animals." Baker is noted for the especially evil extra-hot brew of hatred that he foams up. A talent that is in big demand.

This all just proves again that America is a great country. Where else could you start with less than nothing and build something.

Today's 'House of Bunk' special:

Sue Sturgis, The Institue of Southern Studies/Facing South blog:
Duke rape case inspires racist pseudo-science -- Having been warned about stepping into the tempest that is the blogospheric discussion of the Duke lacrosse rape case, I can't say I'm surprised that my writing about it has drawn angry comments to Facing South. Though I don't plan to cover the case extensively going forward, there are some comments that I'd like to address before moving on.

One controversial aspect of my reporting has been my focus on the accuser's long history of serious mental problems. According to the latest revelations from the Raleigh News & Observer, unsealed records from UNC Healthcare contained in Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong's files show the woman was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was taking Depakote and Seroquel, drugs used to treat manic episodes associated with that disorder; Seroquel is also used to treat schizophrenia. Apparently, my pointing out these facts upsets the narrative of those who want to make the accuser out to be the villainous responsible party in the case.

But that narrative fails to hold up under scrutiny. Clearly, it was Nifong's responsibility to check out the credibility of his sole witness before dragging her, three criminally innocent men and the broader community through hell and back. He failed to do that and should be held to account.

The other controversial aspect of my reporting has been my effort to understand why some civil rights leaders were so inclined to believe the narrative offered by Nifong -- that of the poor black woman sexually abused by privileged white men. As I pointed out, there's a long and ugly history in the United States of sexualized violence being used in the service of white supremacy, in a way that has certain parallels with lynching...

I am arguing that until we as a nation begin grappling seriously with our troubled history of race, and until we grasp the way that sexualized violence has been used to bolster white supremacy, we won't understand the reaction some Americans had to the initial Duke rape charges. And until we understand that reaction, it will be that much harder for us to heal the racial rifts so tragically deepened by this case.
comment: Remember, Crystal Gail Mangum is a victim. Victims bare no responsibility for their actions or inactions. Nifong dragged Ms. Mangum into the hoax. The fact she kept lying and pressing forward with false charges is all Nifong's fault. A victim like Ms. Mangum can have it both ways. She can be too emotionally disturbed to be charged with a crime. But, not so disturbed so that the state will have to take away her children to protect them from her. She happens to be a single black mother, which puts her in the sweet spot of the victimhood.

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