Today's Blogs

Arrests in Durham

Bloggers are reacting to the two arrests in the Duke lacrosse rape scandal, and they are also alarmed by Tom Cruise’s (supposedly humorous) plans for his unborn child’s placenta.

Arrests in Durham: Early Tuesday morning, two Duke lacrosse players were arrested on charges of raping and kidnapping a Durham woman hired to dance at a party in March. The men, both sophomores, have been released on bail. (The Smoking Gun has the grand jury indictment.)

Duke-educated lawyer James Finkelstein at Build a Better Mousetrap examines the dark underbelly of his alma mater and considers the ramifications of the likely trial: “If Court TV carries the trial, we may get another national look at racism and violence against women, 10 years after the O.J. trial became a litmus test on race and crime. With a black female victim and white male defendants, the roles will be reversed this time,” he writes.

Txfeminist at Red State Feminist searches for an underlying cause of this violence. “Anyway, I’m not willing to reduce their mentality to Quake, Doom, Grand Theft Auto, or Bret Easton Ellis alone, either. Why—and how—do such young men become so violent? I’m willing to guess that a lack of parental enforcement of consequences goes a long way in creating little criminals. … Kids without consequences push and push and push and push until they find a boundary. Well boys, looks like you’ve found one.” Jill, the NYU law student at Feministe, describes where lacrosse players sit in the campus hierarchy: “There exists an elite class at already-elite universities, and many members of that class feel deeply entitled to behave pretty much however they want, since they rarely see consequences,” she writes.

Steve Gilliard is deeply disturbed by the case. “[T]o be honest most jocks care about one thing, getting laid. Which isn’t all that hard for them. To lay out, what, $800 for two strippers was about something darker and meaner. … I feel that they wanted to do something they couldn’t get a Duke girl to do,” he writes. ” … These guys wanted a show and they were gonna get a show, and more.”

Kris from Wisconsin at Dummocrats is unconvinced: “I believe the stripper in question is a big liar. The lack of physical evidence and photographic evidence that details the evening’s timeline makes me think that the only place these Duke players will be found guilty is in the media. … This case isn’t really about rape, it’s about race and class,” he writes.

Durham native Mary Katharine Ham, writing at Hugh Hewitt’s blog, is also disheartened by the media’s handling of the case and advocates moving the trial. “They shouldn’t be presumed guilty because there are racial tensions in Durham; they are not guilty because they are white and privileged and their alleged victim was black; they are not guilty because there is a ‘culture of sexual entitlement’ in collegiate athletics; they are not guilty because they had a stripper at their party; they are not guilty because making an example of them might ‘raise awareness’ of all these important social issues and might, just might, prevent the rape of one woman. No, they are guilty if, and only if, they raped this girl,” she writes.

African-American lawyer Karen Russell at The Huffington Post, dubbing the case the “perfect media storm,” ponders if the victim should be named in the press. “I’m also wondering what we should call her? Victim? Accuser? Single mom? Exotic dancer? Part-time student? Stripper? If you are Tucker Carlson, you call her a ‘crypto-hooker’ and if you are Rush Limbaugh, she’s a ‘ho’. I’m personally not a fan of the name calling but I do wonder about calling her everything BUT her name,” she writes.

With the District Attorney Mike Nifong up for re-election May 2, some bloggers see political motives driving the case. At Coldhearted Truth,Minnesotan S. Scott Johnson writes: “This particular case seems to be an uphill battle at best. It smells of political motives.” John at A Lie A Day also ascribes to this theory: “The defense attorneys seem eager to present their case to the media, and the prosecutor is up for reelection, a mix guaranteed to keep this in the public eye for months.”

Read more about the Duke lacrosse scandal.

Snack attack: Though Tom Cruise told GQ he thought eating his soon-to-be-born baby’s placenta would be “very nutritious,” he has since said he was joking. Either way, bloggers are disturbed. (Update, April 19: Today’s Blogs was posted before the announcement  from the Cruise-Holmes camp of the arrival of baby Suri.)

At Digital Sandbox, Kory sees institutionalization in Cruise’s future: “Tom Cruise is quickly racheting up his assault on Michael Jackson to be crowned the nuttiest celebrity. As if the couch jumping, craddle robbing, silent birthing weirdo wasn’t weird enough already, he had to step it up a notch.”

At Blog of Truth, “Machete” will not be trading his vitamins for placenta-y goodness. “I hope he at least has it breaded and fried. But I’ll stick to my One-a-Days, thank you,” he writes.

“Of course it was a joke! Do you have any idea how many thetans are in a placenta? That shit goes straight to your ass,” quipsDefamer.

Read more about Tom’s attempt at humor.