An addendum to my post on XX Factor about the emerging Drinking While Female phenomenon, which highlights as evidence that misguided feminist “gender parity” issues have turned a generation of young New York women into budding alcoholics an episode during which I was invited to appear on a comedy show called “Thinking and Drinking” during which the host asked me why I hadn’t tried to press charges against a fraternity brother who had date raped me in college ten years earlier.* Slate is not the place for me to talk about “That Time I Was An Ass On The Internet,” but since New York brought it up I thought I’d explain a little about why I never really thought I should have to explain that stuff in the first place.
So I was a bit taken aback by the question, and foolishly overcompensated with what I thought to be obviously a self-mocking joke: “Well, it was a load of trouble and, you know, I had better things to do, like drinking more…” before making a clumsy (and yeah, overly verbose and also embarrassingly tipsy; although, and not to sound all Marion Berry or whatever but Winstead’s producer instructed us to “get loaded” or something like it as soon as we arrived at the studio, and I of course arrived about an hour before Tracie, so I was a bit loaded-er) attempt to answer honestly: it was probably one part wanting to forget about it entirely, another part feeling that I had in confronting the guy, reprimanded him in the most efficient and effective way possible at the time, and another part straight naive youth. But also at the time, in the fifty hours a week I managed to spend not getting totally plastered that summer, I’d been covering cops — “real” rapes and assaults and murders and the like — for a local newspaper. I did not really equate my own victimhood with that of anyone I was writing about. Maybe I should have, but there’s some context.
Still, I appreciated the question, because it made and still makes me think, and I conceded to the host of the show that I might do things differently now, even as the success rate for prosecuting date rape — especially in Philadelphia — is catastrophically dismal, which just underscores the fact that this stuff, all of it, is complicated, although for whatever reason the host, Lizz Winstead, was not interested in portraying it that way at the time. Over the summer she clipped the lengthy program into what would become a viral internet video essentially about Jezebel And The Perils Of (What I’ll Just Call In A Testament To My Charmingly Slurred Speech) “Feminebriationism.” One feminist pundit interviewed about the performance on PBS said I “reflect[ed] badly on women as a class,” which still stands out to me as one of the more anti-feminist statements I have heard in a year that certainly did not lack for anti-feminist statements.
While certainly not a high point for me — though I don’t remember the event as clearly as I do Anna’s LOL characterization of the event the next week as a “wasted opportunity” that was sorely lacking in “generosity of spirit,” meaning I still probably don’t take it seriously enough — I think it would be a far lower point for females everywhere if anyone took it to be a low point for any community larger than the three females on that stage that night. I mean, if Cindy McCain can get thisclose to the White House, I believe there is hope yet for me and Tracie.
*Now, ‘New York’ describes “Thinking and Drinking” as a “semi-Socratic affair,” and I will concede that most of the dialogues in which I’d been participating at the time were decidedly non-Socratic instant message-type ones, so perhaps that is why I was a bit startled when she asked me about my college date rape, but really, Winstead gets likened to Socrates and I am “Girls Gone Wild”? Aren’t we all just a little closer to girl Bukowskis? That’s all.