Scary Smart here, with my inaugural blog post just for the Right-Wing Riot.
I’m not just a Rioter. I am also the owner and proprietor of a couple other blogs, including Conservative Fiction and Conservative Feminism (yes, I can’t stand Kathleen Parker either, but on this she’s right – conservative women can be feminists too, and we NEED them if we’re ever to bring sanity back to the fairer sex.) So I have a particular view on this insane rape-trial-by-media that seems to be a hallmark of our age.
I also happen to be a self-taught expert on the Salem Witch Trials. This period was not the footnote in American history it’s often believed to be, but rather an episode that shaped later American jurisprudence as well as lending support and rationale to several of the Bill of Rights amendments.
It’s also a near-perfect parallel to what we’re seeing today when women cry rape. Let me show you how.
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In 1692 21st century America, an authoritarian government led by a new and inexperienced executive (who, incidentally, later lied about his involvement) executed nineteen innocent people and sent hundreds to jail ignored or rhetorically supported the false accusations of dozens of men, ruining their reputations, livelihoods and marriages relationships. They did it because a group of young girls women claimed they had been the victims of witchcraft rape. These women, who all felt marginalized and rendered powerless by their culture, pointed their fingers at both powerless and powerful members of their communities.
Everyone at the time believed in witchcraft a rape epidemic. Everyone KNEW there were witches was a rape culture and that bad things were caused by them it. Where else could the terrible war* have come from, why else would there be blights on crops that caused hunger global warming? Why would a good God Gaia allow for a king the Supreme Court to put a bad man George Bush in charge of them, if it were not for witches sexually aggressive men? No, Satan the Patriarchy was out and active and looking for recruits, and many people in their own communities, people they liked and worked with and did business with every day, had sold their souls to the devil Republicans.
The community was under terrible pressure. Times were hard. There was uncertainty about the government. Because no one was sure what would happen in the near future, no one could make decisions about their own goals. They were under attack from Indians (allies of the Devil) terrorists (allies of the Patriarchy) who would like nothing more than to destroy their civilization, and everyone was paranoid about that – there was no telling when or where another Indian terrorist attack would come, costing the lives of innocents.
So a sudden opportunity to hate a witch rapist – that was golden. To be able to ignore one’s own troubles, to come to the meetinghouse protests and denounce the witches rapists with everyone else – what an amazing opportunity! And perhaps there would be some resolution, if the trusted community leaders could roust out the other witches rapists and hang punish them.
The stars of the show, however, were the afflicted girls alleged rape victims. They were not questioned. No, they were listened to, their every word hung onto by the community. Their every pronouncement against the witches rapists was believed – the invisible little yellow bird date-rape pills, the attacks on them by witches rapists creeping into their beds at night. Sometimes there would be marks on the girls correlating with their accusations, sometimes not. It didn’t matter. If a girl was questioned too harshly, she’d go into fits start crying or have a nervous breakdown.
This was heady stuff for powerless young women. More and more came forward until there was a veritable Greek chorus shrieking and falling into fits when a “witch” “rapist” so much as glanced their direction. Prayer meetings Take Back the Night and Slut Walk events were held throughout the region begging God ??? the media???** to release the colony nation from the scourge of witches rapists and in every meeting a girl would fall into throw a fit, rolling on the floor grabbing a microphone and screaming.
The witchcraft rape obsession took over the whole community. Crops Government corruption investigations lay untended, homes unguarded, as everyone gathered to go to the show trials protests that became media spectacles – for there was were no legitimate court at first trials, since there was no legitimate government real evidence of anything actually happening – everyone gathered to talk about the witches rapists, everyone had a theory or a story. Not until several months into the “trials by media” did a legitimate government come to Boston, and the new governor set up a Court of Oyer and Terminer anyone start seeing actual evidence clearing the accused.
Well, but all that court’s work had been done already. The witches had been tried in the fields and roads, the meetinghouses universities and taverns newspapers. They were virtually in jail, in irons suspended from classes or everyday life to protect the afflicted “victims.” They ranged in age from four to seventy-four, were male and female and all races all white and male and non-ethnic. And everyone knew they were all guilty, and all evil.
Let’s talk about court process here for just a moment. In colonial America media show trials, the accused were considered guilty until proven innocent. They were imprisoned, placed in chains, socially and professionally destroyed, often forced to go into hiding, and then expected to pay for their own maintenance public relations defense – charged for being in jail limbo and under attack. When they were tried in court the media, they were not given legal counsel fair media treatment. Instead, they were presented to the court and the public filthy and tattered, just as they had emerged from makeshift prisons at their absolute worst. Got that picture in your head? Let’s continue.
The Court of Oyer and Terminer secondary media and sometimes even prosecutors took the testimony that had already been gathered in “trials” by a “fair and impartial press” that had featured no defense for the accused, that had allowed illegal spectral evidence–that is, testimony by an afflicted person that she had been afflicted by the spectre of the accused unproven and usually spurious accusations and the sworn statements of witnesses, and using this “evidence,” condemned nineteen people dozens of young men to social death.
Witches “Rapists” were hanged condemned by the media en masse from the end of June through September for over a decade and counting.
At last, in October, someone regained reason. The clergy in Boston banded together and denounced the trials. The governor, whose wife had been accused of witchcraft, halted the trials. And without the momentum of near-weekly hearings and the afflicted girls going around to accuse fresh witches, the insanity quickly died down. It would certainly be nice if someone would regain reason and put a stop to media-fueled false rape accusations, don’t you think? That, however, would take strong and courageous leadership, something we seem to have a dearth of, or perhaps the implication of a member of the president’s family in a rape. This seemingly put a stop to false rape allegations during the Clinton years, though in that case I rather suspect that the “false” allegations against President Clinton could have benefited from some media airing.
It was too late for those who had died been socially ruined, those whose property had been confiscated by the government mortgaged to mount a defense of some sort, those whose crops had not been brought in or whose cattle had scattered college educations had been disrupted or careers lost, whose children had been adopted by others had lost custody of their children, whose spouses (or girlfriends) had abandoned them in the interim. Many never recovered from prison stays. Most had ruined reputations. And yet those who had afflicted them, tried them unfairly, even hanged had them imprisoned – they were pretty much unaffected.
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Now wasn’t this a fun game? Hey, you can play too. Try replacing “rapist” with “racist” – coincidentally one letter away, not coincidentally the exact same effect as above. I bet you don’t have to make too many changes to my strikeouts and redletter. Cool, huh?
The media has engaged in this witch hunt over and over and over during the last decade. Now they’ll say this is nothing new, that it happened during the McCarthy Era blah blah blah – but there’s an important difference. In the McCarthy Hearings, it was the media’s job to keep the government honest.
Whose job is it to keep the media, our new Court of Oyer and Terminer, honest? And what happens when the media is doing the dirty work of a corrupt government?
It is time that we stop repeating history and start learning from it. This could begin with a bold media inspired by truth instead of power, intoxicated by their personal ability to bring about positive change instead of indoctrinated by a false culture of political correctness. Until such time as this change is brought about, people will continue losing faith in media and government all too ready to turn on them if it serves the “Greater Good.”
*In 1675-76, King Philip’s War, with the Native Americans of the Northeast, had ended with ten percent of all the colonists dead. In 1689, a second war with Philip’s son William had begun, and by the early days of the Trials, it appeared that this war, too, would result in a holocaust for the colonists.
**I have yet to figure out exactly who the audience for these protests is. I mean, who raises their kids to be rapists? Who thinks rape culture is cool? Who are these people talking to?