“Common Sense” and other grand ideas.

Mcjoan finds a charming little tsk-tsker from The Wall Street Journal's "Taste" editor, Naomi Schaeffer Riley, on the Duke rape case called Ladies, You Should Know Better. The title basically tells you everything you need to know. (Although, by all means, click through if you’d like to see one of the most tortured anti-feminist screeds I’ve seen lately, as Riley condemns modern feminism, yet approvingly notes that the “radical feminists” who “used to warn that men are evil and dangerous,” though “wrong-headed,” nonetheless provide a “useful … worst-case scenario for young women today”—in other words, more “All men have little rapist-devils sitting on their shoulders, so watch out, girls!” bullshit). Anyway, you can head on over to mcjoan for your tonic of righteous outrage about that swill.

As to mcjoan’s concluding question, "Can anyone explain why it's more important for women to 'learn common sense' in conducting their daily lives than for men to learn that they have absolutely no right to violate another human being's body without consent?" all I can say is this: Let's just pretend, for shits and giggles, that a precise execution of common sense as laid out by Riley and friends could indeed protect women against sexual assault; in fact, that, very specifically, it could protect women against sexual assault from the men who now stand accused in the Duke case. (Which is not to assume they're guilty; I'm just referencing the charges.) How, pray tell, could that have protected Jeffrey O. Bloxgom?

[Finnerty, one of the men currently charged in the rape case] and two of his teammates from high school lacrosse were arrested on Nov. 5 in Washington. At 2:30 a.m. that day, Jeffrey O. Bloxgom told the police that the men had "punched him in the face and body, because he told them to stop calling him gay and other derogatory names," according to records at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

Bloxgom also said that the three men "without provocation had attacked him, busting his lip and bruising his chin." He was treated for minor injuries.

Finnerty has entered a diversion program, and the simple assault charge against him will be dismissed upon completion of 25 hours community service, said his lawyer for that case, Steven J. McCool.
Was Bloxgom exercising a lapse in common sense by requesting that a collection of bullies stop hurling epithets at him? Or was allowing his face to get in the way of their fists the lapse in common sense?

Or, perhaps, is it that mcjoan is right, and, instead of focusing on what women should do to protect themselves, we might consider that there are some people who just don't agree that they have no right to violate another person's body—and that they should be the focus of our (ahem) helpful suggestions?

(Crossposted at AlterNet PEEK.)

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