Call me crazy if you will, but I just can't seem to get enough of Carol Iannone this week.
Some years ago, she tells us, a young woman she knows went to France and had a wonderful time. Today, though, things are very different...as evidenced by the fact that a young woman she doesn't know went to Italy, and now stands accused of murdering a British woman in the course of an attempted gang-rape.
Iannone says this about that:
How different was Amanda’s situation from my friend’s.Yea, verily. All we need to do now is sort out why. First off, you can't deny that if this Amanda woman had been properly chaperoned, the murder of which she's accused never would've happened. Let's face it: her life abroad lacked "accountability and regularity," which is exactly how this sort of thing gets started. Given the permissiveness of continental culture, it's no wonder that the sidewalks of Europe are quite literally awash with the blood of murdered exchange students.
But of course that's only part of the story: technology is also to blame. Just as the easy availability of tape recorders inspired Ian Brady and Myra Hindley to commit the Moors Murders, digital technology has eroded the vital sense of hierarchy that formerly discouraged young people from slaughtering noncompliant sex partners:
The whole thing is reminiscent of Mark Bauerlein’s point in his book, The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30 — that in our culture today, young people are oriented mainly or even only toward each other and have no hierarchy in which to locate and organize themselves.And consider this: We know that the accused woman was a student, and we also know that students are obliged not just to study but to embrace postmodernism. Could this explain why she allegedly tried to pin the murder on an innocent black man?
Amanda’s odd behavior after the murder; her giving fuzzy, conflicting reports of her actions; and falsely implicated an innocent black man, Patrick Lumumba (her boss at the bar she worked at), give rise to speculation about how much postmodernism has eroded the capacity for truth. But that could be the subject of another post.Here's hoping, 'cause I really think she's on to something. The only way I could see her being wrong is if there turned out to be evidence that a suspected murderer had acted oddly, or falsely implicated an innocent bystander, prior to the publication, in 1979, of Jean-François Lyotard's The Postmodern Condition. And honestly, what are the odds of that?
I hope my jaunty tone here won't obscure the fact that I find Iannone's "speculations" to be irresponsible, ghoulish, and fantastically stupid. As for her typically cartoonish view of "postmodernism," I hardly need to point out that it's pretty rich coming from someone who treats the "text" of this sad event as an occasion for grotesque interpretive excesses founded on nothing more rigorous than kneejerk intuitions.
Which reminds me of something that's not pointed out often enough: The Sokal Affair is utterly inconsequential compared to the delirious gibberish that kulturkampfers like Iannone spout every fucking day, in perfect seriousness and to general applause from their public and peers.