Eddie T. Johnson, the visibly angry Chicago police superintendent, said Mr. Smollett had taken advantage of the pain and anger of racism, draining resources that could have been used to investigate other crimes for which people were actually suffering.
“I just wish that the families of gun violence in this city got this much attention,” he said at a news conference in Chicago.
The superintendent seemed particularly upset by the fact that Mr. Smollett, he said, had arranged a fake assault that featured a noose hung around his neck. The police say the staged assault was carried out by two brothers to whom the actor had paid $3,500.
“Why would anyone — especially an African-American man — use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations?” he asked. “How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile?
Chicago’s police superintendent isn’t the only person appearing to be vexed by Smollet’s apparent action. As Kyle Smith writes, “‘Why Would Jussie Smollett Do This?’ They Cried:”
[CNN’s Brian] Stelter chimed in again: “This is about why he might — and, so far, we don’t know. But why he might have made this up. It just boggles the mind.”
It boggles the mind! One struggles in vain to think of another profession in which someone could evince or affect as much incompetence as Stelter and Co. and expect to remain employed.
* * * * * * * *
Stelter was a toddler when a black teen named Tawana Brawley made up a story about six white men raping her, smearing her with feces, scrawling “KKK” and “n****r” on her torso with charcoal, and leaving her in a trash bag. He has lived nearly his entire life in the era of hate-crime hoaxes. He surely remembers the Duke-lacrosse gang-rape hoax of 2006, the University of Virginia gang-rape hoax of 2014, the incident just after Trump’s election when a woman on the New York City subway claimed drunken white men had ripped off her hijab. There are lots of other examples. Hey, do you remember as far back as January, when an Indian man tried to portray himself as the victim of a hateful mob of Trump-backing teenage goons? George Will once wrote of campuses, “When they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate.” When the media can be relied upon to credit hysterics and axe-grinders the way campus administrators do, America effectively becomes a vast campus.
The reasons for Smollett’s hoax didn’t boggle anyone’s mind, assuming that the mind in question was functioning above the level of someone who eats a bowl of lead-paint chips for breakfast. In America, victimhood is currency. It is easily converted into actual currency, and if Smollett had gotten away with his hoax, he had every reason to expect that his vastly increased celebrity would have led to the salary bump Chicago police said he wanted from his show Empire.
As Roger Kimball writes, “The less hate there is in the Untied States, the more hate crimes must be manufactured in order to keep the Fraternal Order of Victims afloat.”