Kathleen Parker

When Woody Allen said, "The brain is the most overrated organ," he must have had in mind North Carolina's Research Triangle, home both to the scandalous Duke lacrosse team "rape" fiasco -- and to more Ph.D.s per capita than just about anywhere else in America.

Rarely have so many smart people behaved so dumbly.

Last week, the case took yet a new turn when discredited district attorney Mike Nifong, under pressure from the state prosecutors association, relinquished the case to the state attorney general.

In another development, the stripper who initially claimed she was beaten, raped and sodomized by three Duke University lacrosse team players -- Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann -- has changed her story.


This time she says Seligmann didn't participate in the alleged assault after all, though she still insists he was there when the others did. She also changed the time of the alleged assault so that it no longer coincides with time-stamped receipts Seligmann produced months ago indicating that he wasn't at the party house when the incident supposedly took place.

A bit earlier, the dancer also decided she might not have been (children stop reading here) vaginally penetrated by a penis, which is required for a rape charge in North Carolina. Nifong dropped the rape charges, but intended to pursue the remaining charges of kidnapping and sexual assault.

And so it has gone for almost a year now. A new day, a new story.

Of all the questions still unanswered in this shameful saga, among the most perplexing is: How did so many smart people allow things to reach the level of hysteria we've witnessed in the past several months?

The answer is implicit in the question. Notwithstanding the rich brain trust created by the three points of North Carolina's "Triangle" -- Duke in Durham, the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University in Raleigh -- university communities are fertile breeding grounds for the totalitarian mindset known as political correctness.

Between a perverse form of liberation feminism that sanctifies strippers, prostitutes and porn stars -- and a dogma of victimology that places blame for all things at the feet of the white patriarchy -- the players were instantaneously presumed guilty by virtue of their being white males and privileged jocks.

By the same reasoning, the dancer was assured victimhood by her status as a black single mother/student, reduced by centuries of white-male oppression to stripping for food and tuition.

What happens next depends on the attorney general's review of evidence. In the meantime, members of the university community who participated in the demonization of the lacrosse team might examine their own souls.

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
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