My brain is going to explode

A few minutes ago, I sat down to read an article on criticizing some column David Brooks wrote about the Duke lacrosse team scandal (don’t really care about it, but the headline writers at slate are so good, they make you want to see what an article’s about). Apparently David Brooks had been complaining about the race/class lens being used to look at the story and he thought it should be looked at as a moral issue and a sign of the lack of any attempt by our culture or schools to indoctrinate our youth in morality and chivalry. One Stephen Metcalf at slate didn’t care for the column and as part of his response wrote this:
When a sociologist—someone like C. Wright Mills, for example—hears the word “chivalry,” he doesn’t hear the language of personal responsibility but its dark underside, the language of self-blame. There was a time—surprisingly coterminous with the heyday of Brooks’ chivalry—when a black stripper who had been raped by white college boys would never think of going to the cops. Totally unaddressed by Brooks’ nostalgia for “the 1920s,” when “you can actually see college presidents exhorting their students to battle the beast within” is whether the best aspects of that bygone era (decency in public manners) could be resurrected without the social apparatus that sustained it (white Anglo-Saxon hereditary elitism). Brooks doesn’t mention it, but one way to return university presidents to the language of inner beasts is to once again exclude women, blacks, and Jews from universities.
So chivalry and a moral education cannot exist withracismcism, religious bigotry and the oppression of women? And returning to the days of such things would be a prerequisite to a return to chivalry and morality?
As I sat at my computer, mouth agape trying to figure out if I read that right, the NPR program I had turned on early crept into my consciousness. The father of John Lindh (the American young male picked up with the Taliban back in 2001) was speaking. He was telling the story about how his son had been mistreated, not given a fair shot at justice, blah, blah blah. Someone asked if he thought his son had done anything wrong. His dad responded (paraphrasing here): “not at all. Going back to the 80’s Reagan called these people freedom fighters. John just got caught in the crosshairs when America switched sides, rather suddenly in the wake of 9/11, and began backing the Northern Alliance. What John was doing was admirable. We want our kids to go to other countries, lenewnewe things, learn about other cultures, get involved.” HELLO – your son was hanging out and “learning” with people who cut off women’s breasts, killed their husbands, dropped boulders on the heads of suspected homosexuals, made women prisoners in their homes, left widows to starve, cut off people’s hands, wouldn’t allow little girls to go to school, ripped out the fingernails of women for wearing nail polish and on and on and on. But we’re suppose to think he was just off learning about other cultures like some sort of exchange student? What was he going to do – come home and share the proper technique for whipping a woman in the street with a cat-o-nine tails?
Two displays of such reality-free immoral thinking so close together is just too much for me. I think my brain is going to explode.

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