It’s a difficult journey, this life o’ ours. Injustice, unfairness and bitter randomness nip at our every step. And sometimes, there’s not nearly enough pictures of pugs dressed up as British monarchy to ease the pain of life away.
As I’m sure most of you have heard, the Steubenville rape trial concluded earlier this Sunday. Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Mays of Steubenville, Ohio were found guilty of having raping a 16 year-old-girl throughout the night of last August 12th. The now-convicted rapists will face at least one year of juvenile detention (In Mays’ case, two) and they will be registered as sexual offenders for the entirety of their lives. Jane Doe, the formerly anonymous 16-year-old whose identity was partially and moronically revealed by the media, was raped and will never not be raped for the entirety of her life.
While I’d love to add something insightful and thought-provoking to the discussion surrounding the cultural fallout from the verdict, truth be told, much better people have already done so. Go check them out.
No, I suppose all I’m interested in is shining a light on quite possibly the most repulsive piece of writing I’ve come across in recent history. Sunlight being the best disinfectant and all.
Blogger, writer and all around wonderful chap Michael Crook took to his personal blog and penned out some of his thoughts in a piece called Travesty of Justice in Steubenville:
Two young men now have their lives forever ruined by a felony record because a 16-year-old girl went to a party and, according to testimony, didn’t loudly and clearly say “no” to sexual activity. Yet a judge elected to forever tarnish the lives of two young men who saw a seemingly willing participant. As I wrote in my latest book, “My Rules of Life,” I don’t believe for one second that “rape” exists.
For those who might not know, Crook is previously best known for the website Forsake The Troops, another brilliant look at why military soldiers are simply living way too cushy a life and deserve no medical or housing benefits. A website that earned him a guest appearance on Fox News where he was taken apart by Sean Hannity of all people. Since then, it’s been one surreal saga after saga. First trying to stage his death at the hands of military supporters, followed by attempts to sell variations of his Forsake site for the traffic it brought in. Then there was the time he posed as a 18-year-old girl on Craigslist in order to ensnare and expose married men by releasing their personal information online. He continues:
She was brave enough to drink, reportedly four vodka shots, two beers, and other alcoholic brew. This despite the fact that she had to have known that she wasn’t old enough. She was bold enough to dress as she did at a party full of boys who, by their very nature, were blamelessly driven by natural hormones.
At this point, it’s prudent to note that Crook is known for spouting off incredibly offensive streams of unlogic. From not believing in the Holocaust to attacking a young girl who committed suicide after releasing her account of sexual abuse online in 2011, Crook is nothing short of provocative. So much so that you wonder if it isn’t just the most elaborate work of performance art seen this decade. Yet, despite literally being the personification of ‘internet troll’, Crook’s hateful screeds are consistent with one another. He might be the most sorry excuse for an attention-grabbing sock puppet there is, but it doesn’t feel like an act. And of course, Crook is a ex-Mormon and calls himself an atheist. Some more:
Apparently, the vigilantes in Steubenville would rather victimize two young men who had some harmless fun, and it’s harmless fun because, absent any evidence to the contrary, this girl, who according to two former friends who testified, has an affinity for lying, was not forced to go to the party, and surely she had an inkling of what was going on before she consumed alcoholic beverages, something that was illegal for her anyway, as she wasn’t even 18, let alone 21.
I point all this out not to highlight the insanity of Crook, though I did enjoy the part where he basically admits to being the least emphatic person in the world.
I have witnessed a female being, shall we say, aggressively pursued by a male. She was crying and what not, and I walked on by. Call it the “bro code.” Bros before “ho’s” and all that.
But to emphasize that, living troll aside, Crook isn’t the outlier we’d all like to imagine he is. There are plenty of us who would agree with the basic arguments he lays out. For as much as a wingnut as he might be, you can recognize the base assumptions of his rant everywhere. The harmless fun of drunk men trying to get laid at whatever the cost, the natural hormones that blamelessly turn us into insatiable horny goats who must be turned away by responsible females, and the drunk slutty girl who deserves what she gets for putting herself in such a dangerous situation to begin with. But more than that, it’s the majority of us who hear those arguments and shrug it away that Crook represents.
Taken together, Crook sounds unhinged and evil in his reasoning, but really he’s just taken the bits many of us take for granted and smushed them together into the worst five-to-ten minutes of writing I’ve personally had the pleasure of reading.
I have to say I kinda agree with some of his points though. In rape cases people always assume that the female is telling the truth every time, when a lot of the time they aren’t, and therefore their story should be looked into just as much as the guys.
I’m sure our Reddit friend above, Miasmata, is referring to a different reality in which a report conducted by the Crown Persecution Service of England and Wales DIDN’T recently come out and find, “…that while false allegations must be taken seriously they are relatively rare and are often complex cases.”
For the bizarre ending to this story, Michael Crook’s blog and post as of today has been wiped completely off the face of the earth. No Google cache, no archival snapshots. Every attempt made to find the post or his website has been met with a blank white screen and no explanation. It’s only through memory and a few forums who quoted Crook extensively that I was able to find his original quotes. At this point, I might be the first person to discover Crook’s disappearing act, seeing as of 6:30pm EST yesterday, his page was up and running. So there’s that.
Like I said before though, it’s not about Crook. Even if the site was alive and well, I wouldn’t link to him, lest he get exactly what he wants, attention. The only thing that needs attention is the fact that Crook doesn’t fall as far from the tree as we’d like him to. Or need him to.
Known normally for exposing the real-life identities of suspected child predators online, the self-proclaimed vigilante group decided to set their sights on Crook as a direct result of his last piece. And boy, was it not pretty, with his entire internet presence scrubbed and taken control of by the group. Ethics aside, the so-called dox-drop of Crook reveals virtually every accessible detail of his life, including his birth weight. The group also alleges he once statutorily raped a 15-year-old girl who became pregnant as a result. All I can really say is…jeez.