Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Alexandria Goddard, Ariel Levy, Stuebenville Ohio

Alexandria "Brockovich" Goddard
This week's New Yorker has an article about the real America, the heartland, where 17 year old high school football players are knights and the adults are still mired in their own memories of high school, because as Alexandria Goddard, a local blogger who rode to fame on the back of an alledged rape has said, "Grown men. Twenty years out of high school and they're still reliving it. They can't get over that their lives suck."

Ms. Goddard has more piquant observations, but her main interest appears less social commentary than trying to dredge up a career as the Erin Brockovich of Steubenville, which is a phrase her new "agent" used to hype her new book about the rape which she hopes to monetize. She says "We do have a rape culture and violence against women."  Well, that sells. 

Ariel Levy, who writes about the Ms. Goddard, allowing Ms. Goddard to do all the damage which needs to be done to Ms. Goddard does buy the rape culture bit. "Worldwide , women between fifteen and four-four are more likely to be injured or die from male violence than from traffice accidents, cancer, malaria and the effects of war combined. This sustained brutality would be impossible without a culture which enables it; a value system in which women are currency and sex is something that men get--or take--from them."

Well, Mad Dog was with her, for a while, until the malaria got thrown in there. First of all, even without the malaria, Mad Dog's law of large numbers holds that once you get to really big numbers, like millions, you are almost always quoting studies which are wrong and you no longer know what you are talking about. You are saying this is a really big problem because I want it to be because I'm talking about it. 

The thing about malaria: It kills more peopel world wide than any other disease. That's a big number and likely has some meaning, even though death certificate data is almost completely unreliable and where malaria is killing people they don't even do death certificates.

But Mad Dog digresses. 

What interests Mad Dog is the whole problem of young women who get drunk and the young men who see their drunkeness as an opportunity.

Before everyone carried a smart phone, the young men tended to simply sneak off to a quiet room with the drunk girl/woman, but the smart phone has introduced a new dimension to this age old event: Now the young men are not content, in some cases, to avail themselves of a willing, if incompetent, partner, they film the event and brag about it. 

Oh, America! 

When George W. Bush confronted those nasty pictures from Abu Ghraib prison and he said, "This is not who we are," he, apparently, could not have been more wrong. This was exactly who we were and still are.

In the case of the prisoners, of course, there was no complicity. 
In the cases of the girl from West Virginia who may or may not have been raped in Steubenville, there was a problem of complicity--in that she reportedly was determined to get drunk and to  "go with" her accused attacker. 

Then there is also the crowd, the modern day Greek chorus, showing up in masks with signs outside courtrooms, posting photos of the accused males on line with a listing of their class schedules so others can show up outside classroom and chant "rapist." Thirteen hundred people "from across the country" showed up for a rally at the Jefferson County Courthouse, holding signs "Rape Is Not A Sport." Do these people not have jobs? What are they doing in Steubenville, Ohio? 

But then there is Goddard, who got to appear on "Dr. Phil"  and now describes herself as a "catalyst for change. I cause change." She describes the prosecutor in the case as "gravy legs" because "gravy spreads easily." That sort of came out of nowhere, except to say people often accuse others of what they see in themselves.  Ms. Goddard has moved to the Mojave Desert where she has a new boyfriend, a Marine Corps drill sergeant. She likes soldiers, cops and football players. "I got a little boyfriend and he's dark and delicious and twenty-six."

So, where was Mad Dog? He keeps getting distracted. Drunk girls. Football players who video and post themselves having sex, adults who never get past high school, psychologically, and Alexandria Goddard, who rockets to fame and gets herself an agent by blogging about it all.

Is this a fantastic country, or what?

At least it's not New Hampshire.



  1. Mad Dog,
    I really loved your line about Ms. Levy leaving Ms. Goddard free to do in Ms. Goddard. So true. She really is a piece of work that Ms. Goddard -a parasite that along with her cohorts adds another layer of slime to an already sleazy story. It's disturbing that someone like her can attract such a wide audience and suddenly become an authority. Years ago she just would have been another one of the town gossips-now she's an expert on violence against women..

    It would appear Ms. Levy may not be an expert on violence against women either- I share your skepticism regarding her statement on the number of violent attacks on women. I noticed she din't cite a source for that particular figure- guess we can all agree the number is both a lot and to many..

    I don't, however, share some of your views on the victim of the story. I noticed you more than once referred to her as the victim who "may or may not have been raped." I assume you are going by the legal definition of rape. Don't you think there was enough compelling testimony to make the case that she was, at least, sexually assaulted. I wasn't sure what the boys were, in the end, actually convicted of considering their somewhat light sentences if they were convicted of rape. I also don't understand your point about her being complicit in the situation because she got drunk and had wanted to "go with" one of the boys. If that is what had happened -a drunk girl having sex with a drunk boy-we would be in agreement, since I share your view that often an unfair burden is placed on the male to determine the competency of his drunken female partner. The Steubenville case was nothing like that-it was just abuse-sexually obviously- but equally disturbing was how the boys seemed to disregard her as a human being. And again, like the the rise of Ms Goddard, social media has managed to magnify the damage tremendously. Now, instead of being humiliated town wide, the victim is humiliated in front of millions. One can only imagine how she must feel knowing some kid in South Africa has probably seen pictures of her drunk and being abused. Progress...

    On a totally different subject-I was wondering if you knew that the US will be having it's own version of the Running of the Bulls? Knowing how you enjoy athletic pursuits, I was thinking this might be just the thing for you. You could, provided you were fast enough, return and tell us all about it. It would provide a bounty of blog material-- what do you think Mad Dog??

  2. Maud,

    It was only a matter of time--Hemingway wrote The Sun Also Rises in 1927, I think, and it's only now some American town decides to do a bull run?
    Yes, of course, you are right about the nature of what was done to this girl while drunk.
    On the other hand, having discussed this case with various American females, I was struck by the generational divide: Women in their 60's tend to say, "Well, if you get drunk as a skunk, you might expect to be treated like one."
    On a gut level, one has to imagine different circumstances, but Mad Dog would like to think he would not have had sex with a virtually unconscious girl for many reasons, but Mad Dog can also imagine boys who have had little sexual experience being curious enough--or thinking, this is an ideal opportunity in that the girl would have no memory and thus there could be no recrimination. The really bizarre part is the video aspect--Okay, I'm about to do this secret thing and now I'll broadcast it to the world.
    Mad Dog cannot even quite imagine under what circumstances you could interview the boys who have sex with drunk girls and get a reliably honest explanation of what the attraction was, what they were thinking. Formal interviewing with adult authority figures would get you only the answers the boys think are the "correct" answers.

    Mad Dog

  3. Mad Dog,
    "Well if you get drunk as a skunk, you might expect to be treated like a skunk" seems unduly harsh especially since the "skunk" in this case was only sixteen.( Not that an older woman should expect such treatment just because she's had to much to drink).
    Perhaps, rather than "generational" the women you spoke with just did't know the details of the case...