by Mark Steyn
Way back when America's daily papers were actually profitable, there was a cynical formula used by editors to determine news values that ran something like this:
One dead American equals ten dead Frenchmen equals one hundred dead Russians equals one thousand dead Africans.
The dying monodailies of the Democratic Party's court eunuchs have refined the formula: Six million dead in the Congolese civil war don't equal one Iraqi prisoner being led around Abu Ghraib on a dog collar - because there's no way to blame the former on Bush and Rumsfeld. Likewise, in domestic terms, if a mentally deranged loner of no party affiliation or political philosophy whatsoever shoots up a Congressional grip-and-greet it must be because of Sarah Palin's inflammatory use of metaphorical terms such as "target" and "campaign", and we need to establish a "National Institute of Civil Discourse" in Arizona headed up by Bill Clinton (whose most recent contribution to "civil discourse" was to compare the Tea Party to Timothy McVeigh) and George H W Bush (who's so unfailingly civil he feels it would be bad form not to get played for a sap one mo' time). On the other hand, when legions and legions of grunting, illiterate, foul-mouthed "educators" intimidate their opponents' families and brag of wanting to gangbang "teabaggers", there are no civility issues whatsoever.
Caroline Glick suggests that the media now operate to a hierarchy of victimhood, but even that doesn't fully account for their reaction to what happened to one of their own on Friday February 11th. Within minutes of Mubarak's resignation, the CBS reporter Lara Logan, covering events in Tahrir Square, was set upon by a 200-strong mob who stripped her, punched her, beat her with flagpoles, and subjected her to a half-hour sexual assault by multiple participants while shouting "Jew! Jew!" She's not a Jew, and she doesn't look the least bit like the hook-nosed stereotypes to which Arab cartoonists are so partial. But then, if you're the kind of Egyptian who thinks Mubarak is a "Zionist" and that the Mossad are putting GPS on sharks and sending them to terrorize sunbathers at Sharm el-Sheikh, she's close enough.
What's striking about this story is not so much that her own employer, CBS News, chose not to run it until over three days later - on the following Monday - but that in the intervening period they pumped out the same sappy drivel as everybody else - "Egypt's New Age Revolution" (60 Minutes), "Egypt Proved Change Is Possible, Sexy And Cool!" (CBS Sunday Morning) - even as they knew there was another side to the story, and that their own correspondent was lying in the hospital traumatised because of it.
In the first hour or two on Friday, I was just about the only guy on air pouring cold water on the approved hopeychangey narrative about young "freedom-loving" "democrats", and was reprimanded by "progressives" for pointing out correctly that there were very few women and even fewer uncovered women protesting on the streets of Cairo - even as the most famous uncovered woman in Tahrir Square was being set upon by a pack of savages. No such complicating factors were allowed to intrude on the delirious narcissism of the AP headline "Egypt Coverage Creates Unforgettable Daytime TV". But how can you keep shoveling that stuff out when your own reporter is a bruised, battered, bedbound rebuke to it? Even as America's laughably parochial media tried to make the story all about them or all about Obama (which boils down to the same thing), the one part of the story that actually was about one of them got buried. Would it have been different if it had been the A-list anchorettes - Katie Couric or Diane Sawyer? Or would even they have been subordinated to the politically correct narrative?
At the heart of the Lara Logan story is a basic question: Is this a one-off crime? Or a cultural faultline? Look at the picture of her in the moments before the attack: blonde, bare-headed, hint of cleavage. I would send no western woman looking like that out into the streets of Cairo or any other Arab capital. In the hierarchy of infidel whores, blondes have a special cachet. I wrote years ago about the House of Saud's annual summer-long vacation for select princes at their Spanish resort: a lucky Mayfair escort agency has the exclusive contract to supply the girls; they all have to be blonde, and they're replaced after a fortnight, because the ladies are generally all worn out by then.
As Samira Bellil wrote: "There are only two kinds of girls. Good girls stay home, clean the house, take care of their brothers and sisters, and only go out to go to school." Whereas those who "wear make-up, to go out, to smoke, quickly earn the reputation as 'easy' or as 'little whores'." The late Miss Bellil was writing not of the slums of Cairo but of the French banlieues, in her autobiography Dans l'enfer des tournantes â€“ "In the hell of the take-your-turns", the tournante being the slang term used by Muslim youths for gang-rape. Samira survived the gang-rapes, but was disowned by her parents when she went public about it. In Cairo, Lara Logan was on the receiving end of a Tahrir tournante, but, like Monsieur et Madame Bellil, her parent company decided it was best to keep quiet about it.
These facts are too cold and plain to be expressed in a "multicultural" society which has told itself that, thanks to the joys of diversity, a nice gay couple and a polygamous Muslim with three wives in identical burkas can live side by side at 27 and 29 Elm Street. In America Alone, I mentioned two European women who'd taken to going out headscarved when their journeys took them through, ahem, certain neighborhoods. No young girl can safely walk in "scanty clothing" through Clichy-sous-Bois or Rosengard in Sweden. In La Courneuve in France, 77 per cent of covered women said they wore the veil to "avoid the wrath of Islamic morality patrols," as Claire Berlinski put it. She added: "We are talking about France, not Iran."
But Egypt is different! It's the Facebook Revolution! Don't worry about the Muslim Brotherhood, it's all about "social media" - and, if some of the lads get a little too social with the media, don't let that get in the way of the myths. C'mon, what part of "Nothing to see here" don't you understand?
For the less deluded, many questions remain: How exactly did Miss Logan "become separated" from her crew? How can even 200 savages perpetrate group sexual assault on a naked blonde western woman in a square filled with hundreds of thousands of "peaceful" "freedom-loving" "democrats"? And, bearing in mind that photograph of poor Lara from moments earlier, let's not overlook the most obvious question of all: How could her bosses at CBS News be so stupid as to believe the we-are-the-world sludge they pour down their viewers' throats?
[UPDATE: By the way, what's with the terminology here? The preference for the vagaries of "sexual assault" and the insistence that it wasn't "rape". That seems awfully punctilious for a society which has assiduously promoted such elastic concepts as "date rape". So it didn't rise to the level of "rape", or "date rape", never mind (per Whoopi Goldberg) "rape rape"? Western feminists are the go-to gals when it comes to overturning the entrenched patriarchy of 1950s sitcom dads, but they don't seem to have the stomach for more culturally problematic battles.]
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