G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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I echo the sentiment that the story of Lara Logan’s sexual assault in Egypt during Hosni Mubarak’s departure poses all sorts of questions that leave one’s head spinning. Most importantly, what does the attack on Logan say about a society whose so-called democratic uprisings compel protestors to sexually assault a journalist? Why did CBS sit on the story? How should we balance the credit given to the democracy-minded groups of men with the debit taken from those very same men who would attack journalists and women?
My position on Lara Logan’s sexual assault isn’t quite as negative as Ferdinand Bardamu’s, but it still doesn’t take the full-on sympathy route that the politically correct mainstreamers are forced to supplicate. To say the least, I’m certainly not going to call Lara Logan brave for having the story of her sexual assault plastered all over the media.
My sentiment lies somewhere in the middle: I prefer to focus on the natural fallout of a person being in a dangerous situation rather than victim-blaming. Mainly, if I were to engage in victim-blaming I’d have to presume that Lara Logan is a victim. Even though the mainstream media and feminists are claiming that she is a victim, I cannot accept that argument for a couple of reasons:
First, thinking in terms of continuity and scale, Lara Logan exists and gets paid as a particular type of reporter because of the threat that she could lose her life while covering a story, at the extreme. This happened to Daniel Pearl, and it has happened to many other war reporters in our time. That this extreme exists as a possibility is inseparable from the job itself; the job of wartime reporter exists on a continuum that must be accepted in full – good and bad alike. If you engage in the job, you accept that responsibility. That job is prestigious precisely because of the danger involved.
If the job were easy, everyone would do it. The reason that there aren’t communities of highly-paid journalists who never leave their apartments is the same reason that Lara Logan immersed herself in a dangerous revolution. Since the job is not easy and since Logan is willing to take on the job – her safety becomes a function of multiple factors. In short, sexual assault has always been a danger for any reporter – especially one like Lara Logan – which puts her in the same class as a long-haul truck driver who runs the risk of skidding out on a highway and ending up dead or in ICU. Since Logan’s job is to report on the events of thousands of raucous protestors in the throes of revolution, physical harm is an occupational hazard; in short, Logan’s private parts lose a certain amount of their privacy. To make another trite analogy, zookeepers occasionally get mauled by their bestial captives.
Second, I don’t want to make the assumption that Logan isn’t happy with the way events unfolded in Egypt. This raises a philosophical question that is rarely discussed: if something bad happens to you but you become rich or famous because of it, can you actually abhor the bad thing? At the very least, Lara Logan has earned her chops as a reporter as a result of her assault. Anderson Cooper also earned journo-cred by getting beaten on a couple of occasions during his time in Tahrir Square. I believe that it is reasonable to ask what amount of abuse a person is willing to take in pursuit of their job without engaging in victim-blaming. After all, we often hear it said that a person is noble because they died doing what they loved. Some are willing to die for their art or their craft; some are willing to subject themselves to the possibility or sexual assault or simple assault. Others would rather stay home and play with the dogs.
The problem here is that mainstream media mongers, taking cues from feminists, naively assume “rape is rape is rape”. Rape in pursuit of cocaine is not rape in pursuit of a pleasant jog is not rape in pursuit of the biggest political news story of recent memory. But the tones emitted from the media set would lump them all into one pile and stifle any voice that, like little Oliver Twist, dares ask for more.