I am quite a fan of the expression “Narrative Collapse” — a handy way of saying that most politically correct martyrdom stories you hear hyped up in the press these day turn out, when the facts are in, to be nearly the opposite of what they were initially represented to be. Curiously, years of this dynamic has done little to dampen the enthusiasm of the left-wing for agitation over these stories.
An oldie-but-goodie is the University of Virginia gang-rape hoax, where one Jackie Coakley catfished into existence a made-up suitor named Haven Monahan with suspiciously white-bread characteristics, and went on to claim that this non-existent man and his equally non-existent frat buddies gang-raped her on a bed of broken glass in some kind of freaky initiation ritual. Naturally, this was nothing more than sheer fantasy; the yarn was spun out of thin air in a hyper-dramatic attempt to win the affections of another boy in her class. That university officials coddled Jackie in her delusions, and that her tall tale was reported as fact in a major national publication and gained much serious hand-wringing attention in the weeks before its debunking only goes to show how unmoored from reality are our intellectual gatekeepers have become, and how credulous the goodthinking public is. Even ordinarily sensible people were taken in: When my wife asked me back in November 2014, with a very serious expression on her face, what I thought of the matter, I replied that the crucial parts of the narrative were clearly single-sourced in Rolling Stone article and frankly unbelievable without some kind of independent check. I said the whole account read like a tawdry re-telling of The Crucible, and was very pleased to be vindicated within a matter of weeks. Let me add: Anyone who expresses disappointment at that outcome is, by the way, an obvious sociopath and a sadist — who wouldn’t rejoice to learn that a distressingly brutal and violent rape that one had heard about didn’t, technically, happen?
It’s not just campus feminists, of course, who suffer this fate. The battle of the sexes will never be won; too much fraternizing with the enemy. Race war is always more promising, so even more common is the narrative collapse of the average race-baiting Black Lives Matter martyrdom sob story. One of the earliest of the Obama years was the Zimmerman-Martin affair. The media, of course, tried to portray Trayvon Martin as a sweet, innocent Skittles-munching child brutally cut down in the flower of his innocent (did I say that already?) youth by the Racist White Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Ultimately, however, the jury at Zimmerman’s trial saw Martin for the violent thug that he was, believing that Zimmerman feared for his life due to the beating that Martin was inflicting upon him at the moment Zimmerman discharged the single, fatal gunshot.
The list goes on, of course. Other famous examples of Narrative Collapse include Mike Brown, of Ferguson, Missouri, who had his hands anywhere but up in the air when he was shot by Officer Wilson, or the Freddie Gray case, in which the prosecutor Marilyn Mosby pressed ahead with criminal charges against the police involved in Gray’s arrest, only for the case to end in complete exoneration of all the officers involved. At last report, Mosby is now being pursued for alleged ethics violations in connection with the Gray case.
Which reminds me of the Duke lacrosse case — you remember: the one in which a bunch of White jocks were alleged to have gang-raped a Black stripper (again with the White boys and their gang rape!), only for the case to end in the complete exoneration of the jocks; the humiliation, removal from office, disbarment and jailing of the prosecutor, Mike Nifong, for misconduct during the case; and — the best part — the obviously mentally unbalanced stripper going on to commit arson and murder her boyfriend in the years thereafter. Had she been thrown in jail for a good long time for perverting the course of justice in the wake of the Duke lacrosse scandal the late Mr. Reginald Daye might not be so deceased right now.
But why, you might ask, have I bothered with this hit parade?
The recent Black Likes Matter ructions have brought another raft of dubious cases to public attention. With all the attention paid to the dubious cases of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, I imagine that the truth will grind its way to public attention like it always does. More curious is the burst of attention initially given to the case of Delrawn Small, who was shot to death by an off-duty cop in a road-rage incident in Brooklyn on July 4, followed by resounding radio silence on the matter. You’d think with all the attention on the subject, the press wouldn’t be so negligent as to let a good police-shooting-a-Black-man story man grow cold and forgotten.
Initially after the shooting it was reported that an altercation broke out between Mr. Small and the off-duty officer, one Wayne Isaacs by name, with the police reporting that Mr. Small threw punches through the officer’s car window before being shot by the officer. Press coverage started to ramp up and protesters started turning out. A few days later two additional key facts emerged: 1. Surveillance video revealed that Mr. Small threw no punches at the cop, who, it turns out, shot Mr. Small within a second of Mr. Small reaching the car window. There had been no time for him to remonstrate with or assault Officer Isaacs before the fatal gunfire. If ever there was a Ferguson-like case of a police officer shooting first out his car window and asking questions later, this was it — and we have the video tape to prove it! At this point, you may be asking yourself where all the rioters are. Aren’t Quik-Trips constructed to be extra flammable for just these sorts of occasions? Didn’t protests start to ramp up immediately after the shooting become known to the public — where are they now?
Well, you’re asking yourself that question because I haven’t mention key fact #2, which is: Officer Isaacs is Black.
Yup. That’s it. If there was ever a police officer who actually did the terrible things that Officer Wilson was accused of doing to Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, it would be Officer Isaacs shooting Mr. Small in Brooklyn! Yet the name Wayne Isaacs has not been in the news since July 12, let alone has the man been turned into an international scapegoat. Oh sure, the protesters who got all worked up before this revelation took a decent interval to cool off and go home. Al Sharpton said a few not-obviously-ridiculous things about holding cops of any race to account for misdeeds. Mr. Small’s family is still not pleased. But the thing faded from national attention just as soon as it possibly could.
If any Black Lives Matter nincompoop, or a mealy-mouthed enabler, tries to tell you that the riots and protests this summer are about the unusual vulnerability of Black people to violence at the hands of the police, who, as armed agents of the state deserve extra scrutiny, you know that he’s blowing smoke into all kinds of orifices. If that were really true, Mr. Small would have been enthroned in the pantheon of martyrs and Officer Isaacs would have joined the parade of supervillains weeks ago, and these names would be on the lips of every protester and the pen of every reporter. Instead, these names were dumped down the memory hole just as quickly they as could be. Because they don’t further the bogus narrative of evil White men feasting on the blood of innocent Black Bodies. You shall remember what we tell you to remember, and forget that which we decide you should forget. The narrative has collapsed; time to move on.