Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Rape victim

So Krakauer’s publicity machine is crying “rape” in Missoula and doesn’t want us to think about his last literary assault, which only cried “lies” and had a Bozeman target, where Mortensen’s headquarters and his mountain-climbing community is located.  In the “Three Cups of Tea” scandal, the victims were girls' schools.  A couple of righteous female Missoula liberals sued Mortenson for lying in his book.  

Mortenson did not write his book alone.  His co-writer committed suicide after the scandal.  No one sued Krakauer for that.  The Montana courts laughed Krakauer’s Furies out of the courtroom. 

Missoula is not one town -- very few towns, even the teeny ones, are a monoculture.  The darkest layer of Missoula is drugs -- in from Portland, out to the rez -- and a layer of false academic elitism.  So many WWII vets took advantage of the GI Bill so that a lot of second tier professors had to be hired -- the guys (rarely gals) had hoped to move on to the Ivy League, but were trapped by tenure.  Bitterly.  Demographic patterns are always explanatory.  But that’s speculation.

The defensive elitism sort of “hooked up” (forgive the phrase) with an insistence of virtuous gentility, a fantasy of New England campuses.  Between ’82 and ’85 I was the Unitarian Universalist minister for the two college towns plus Great Falls and Helena.  I was charged with making the four small congregations grow.  

One strategy was classes explaining the denomination.  On a Saturday morning the woman who volunteered to supply refreshments brought gingersnaps and fig newtons.    (I consider both medicinal.)  Visualizing the slightly hung-over football fans likely to arrive, I whipped over to the Grizzly Grocery and bought a box of the biggest, gooiest, sweetest, filled and coated donuts they had.  The result was a wave of UU leader resentment.  Their idea of religion was an ascetic, intellectual, critical stance in a corrupt and self-indulgent world.  Those doughnuts were sexual.  XXX.  California Unitarians would have laughed and burned off the calories playing volley ball on the beach.

The house the Missoula group owned had belonged to Leslie Fiedler: very Jewish, always oppositional and often considered offensive.  He was a New-York-type non-violent Communist with ties to the San Francisco beat scene.  Somehow he managed to survive for two decades in Missoula.  Those in the UU group at the time the house was bought were ambivalent, some pleased that it was a finger in the eye of propriety because they identified with him and some feeling that they wanted to help him leave.  They searched the house thoroughly for drugs but found only one syringe, unused.

These two paragraphs are from the anonymous Wiki entry about Fiedler:

"Come Back to the Raft Ag'in, Huck Honey!" argued a recurrent theme in American literature was an unspoken or implied homoerotic relationship between men, famously using Huckleberry Finn and Jim as examples. Pairs of men flee for wilderness rather than remain in the civilizing and domesticated world of women. . . 

As Winchell wrote in his book on Fiedler, "Reading ‘Come Back to the Raft’ over half a century later, one tends to forget that, prior to Fiedler, few critics had discussed classic American literature in terms of race, gender, and sexuality" (Winchell 53). Fiedler emphasized the fact the males paired in these wilderness adventures tend to be of different races as well, which created an additional critical dimension.

(For a modern version of this theme, look for Barrus’ book called “Genocide.”)

The point of this is that in the basement bedroom of the Fiedler house, several young men gaily composed “Montana Gothic,” which is both a periodical and a novel.  The Missoula literati try to ignore all this.  The literary scene in Montana prefers A.B. Guthrie, Jr.  Semi-respectable.  He had a “thing” about frigid women, which is unfortunate but virtuous.

Rough law enforcement.

Gender-emotion politics sneaks around all the time in Montana.  Someone should write a proper academic book about it, sourced to a fare-thee-well, because in Missoula only written words count.  It’s partly legal and partly academic.  I hear that written records are a key concept in this latest Krakauer book and its reception, but I haven’t read the book.

If Krakauer and “his publisher” were really concerned about doing good for Montana women, the book also should be about lethal violence against “squaws” which everyone (including Guthrie and the FBI) seems to understand are fair game sexually.  Frontier "thought"  is always oral stories. Listen for it:  “This book is extensively sourced.”  “It’s all in writing.  I worked from transcripts.”  Writing is the marker. Maybe’s he’s one of those who reads Playboy for the writing.  Mental constructs rising up behind images in a magazine are denied, because “everyone knows” that thought makes us human and thought is always in literate sentences.  

I wonder whether any rapes of men are considered in this book.  I wonder whether race or the terms of athletic scholarships are included.  The idea is always to be incendiary enough to sell a lot of books without being so extreme as to provoke book burning and lawsuits.

The Newsweek’s reporter, Nina Burleigh, is interested in the studies that claim that a fraction of men are “hidden rapists” (maybe 14% at the high end of estimates which is almost a percentage parallel to pedophiles), but who enjoy stalking and raping women instead of children.  Some estimate that these men (always men) average 14 rapes by the time they are detected.  From what I’ve overheard (and I never go into bars) in casual talk, I believe it.  This is, of course, the stereotype of the athletic black urban ghetto man.  Alphas dominate, Alphas fuck, Alphas sleep where they want to.   All those white rural high school athletes flashing “Number One!” are different.

David Lisak, a nationally recognized forensic consultant on acquaintance rape . . . testified for the prosecution as an educational witness in the Jordan Johnson trial; his testimony included an explanation of the typical behavior of trauma victims based on brain chemistry.)  His research, which has been replicated, showed a small number of rapists are responsible for a high number of crimes. In one study, a single criminal was responsible for six separate assaults, and 14 total abuses.

“Krakauer's working title of the book was “What happened in Missoula.” The publisher didn’t like it, though, and when it comes to titles, the author defers to the publisher.”

I know what I’m talking about indirectly.  My step-granddaughter in a rural suburb of Portland was part of a high school culture based on cars, alcohol and sex.  She had three abortions, one after the other, but refused the pill on the grounds that it would give her cancer.  Her mother died of cancer.  

But the real reason, IMHO, was that pregnancies were the way of keeping score.  The episodes of intercourse didn't mean as much as the actual pregnancies.  One boy she was involved with was locally famous for getting alcohol-blacked-out girls pregnant.  His mother thought that was cute, a good reflection on herself for raising a potent son. I told him, while wielding the surgical scissors from my old biology class, that if he didn’t give that up, I would make sure he never scored again.  He stopped coming around.

There’s more to it than what Krakauer found.  Maybe it’s just a genetic heritage from when men actually hunted for food.  It’s far more than rough sex.

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