derstanding of the human condition.rnArguing that it is not any particular societyrnthat is derisory but rather man himself,rnlonesco gave the lie to the liberal fallacyrnthat humans can be saved throughrnsocial or political means. Unlike Tynan,rnwho hoped that we may “some day . . .rnfree ourselves from the rusty hegemonyrnof Angst,” lonesco realized that Heavenrnis not now and will never be of thisrnworld. Conscious of man’s original sin,rnhe knew better than to believe, like sornmany deluded modernists, that man canrnimplement what God has not wrought:rn”No society,” he wrote in reply to Tynan,rn”has been able to abolish human sadness,rnno political system can deliver usrnfrom the pain of living, from our fear ofrndeath, our thirst for the absolute; it is thernhuman condition that directs the socialrncondition, not vice versa.” In acceptingrnthis basic reality (and in depicting it inrnhis plays), lonesco was the very oppositernof neutral or disengaged: battling despair,rnhe kept on creating, attemptingrnthrough his writing to increase awarenessrnof the way things are. For him, whatrnmattered was his “conflict with the universe.”rnAs the French newspaper LernQuotidien summarized his outlook, “Hernknew that man is embarked on this voyage.rnHe trembled before the eternal silencernof the infinite spaces. But herncupped his ear to listen.” And, buried inrnhis writings, there was a glimmer ofrnhope. In a written answer to a questionrnposed to him by a publication calledrnBref, he anticipated a revolt that wouldrn”restore man’s inner life, his real humanity,rnhis freedom and equilibrium.”rnYet, because his attitude was more existentialrnthan religious, lonesco did fearrndeath. Indeed, this fear permeates hisrnwork. As Roger Planchon asserted in LernFigaro on the day after his death, lonescornwas “an author who, his whole life, meditatedrnabout death. . . . All of his playsrnconcern death. All his life, he reflectedrnon this subject, pen in hand. He makesrnme think of those monks of the 16thrncentury who slept in their coffins, surroundedrnby heads of the dead, and hadrnalways in mind the idea of death.” Inrnwhat he termed his “literary testament”rn(first published in Le Figaro in Decemberrn1993), lonesco revealed the profoundrnsense of fear and anguish he felt inrnhis last days: “[God] did not abolishrndeath for me, something that I find inadmissible.rn. . . Man does not appear onrnearth in order to live. He appears in orderrnto decline and die.” Althoughrnlonesco certainly felt this most stronglyrnin his old age, it was something that hadrnobsessed him for a long time. In a talkrnthat inaugurated the Helsinki Debatesrnon the Avant-Garde Theater in 1959, hernreferred to Brendan Behan’s “The QuarernFellow,” in which “death has the leadingrnrole” as all of the characters await the executionrnof a condemned man. Thernsame could also be said of lonesco’s ownrnplay “Amedee Or How to Get Rid ofrnIt,” in which a petit-bourgeois couple isrnpersecuted by a corpse that has been inrntheir apartment for 15 years. As thernbody literally grows to fill the two roomsrnof the apartment, the couple realizesrnhow much time they have wasted tiptoeingrnaround the “skeleton in [their]rncloset.” Toward the beginning of thernplay, the wife remarks in reference tornthe ever-expanding (and ever-aging)rncorpse that “the dead grow old fasterrnthan the living…. The dead are terriblyrnvindictive. The living forget much sooner.”rnMay lonesco rest in peace fromrnwhat he feared so much, and may thernliving (even in America) not forgetrnthe real literary testament that he has leftrnto us.rn—Christine HaynesrnFEMINIST JURISPRUDENCE,rnPhilip Jenkins said in these pages, hasrnbeen governed by an “unchallengedrnorthodoxy” when the issue is rape. Itrnis that “women did not lie about suchrnvictimization, never lied, not out of personalrnmalice, not from mental instabilityrnor derangement.” Believing the selfproclaimedrnvictim of rape has indeedrnevolved from ideological faith to legalrndoctrine and, in some jurisdictions, intornlaw. California now requires that jurorsrnbe explicitly told that a rape convictionrncan be based on the accuser’s testimonyrnalone, without corroboration, and Canadarnwould like men accused of rape torndemonstrate that they received the willingrnconsent of their sexual partner.rnThese new rules assume that womenrndo not lie because they have no motivernto lie. Consequently, as Jenkins states,rnthe question of the “victim’s credibility”rnhas now become “crucial.” Is thatrncredibility warranted? Is it, as feministrnjurisprudence would want it established,rnto be nearly automatic? Not if we consultrnrecent history.rnThe record shows, for example, arngrowing number of recanted raperncharges. The most celebrated occurredrnin 1985 when Gary Dotson, who after sixrnyears in prison, was released when hisrnaccuser, Cathleen Webb, confessed tornperjury. More recently we learned thatrnTawana Brawley’s sensational chargesrnwere a total fabrication. So was the storyrnof a gang rape in College Station,rnTexas, perpetrated, it was charged, byrnTexas A&M Corps of Cadets membersrnon a female cadet. So also was the rapernof a Princeton coed reported at a “TakernBack the Night Rally” and the allegedrnrape of a naval officer at the 1991 TailhookrnConvention.rnIn spite of vehement feminist protestationsrnto the contrary, such recantationsrnare not rare. They are, in fact, part of arnpattern revealed in several false allegationrnstudies. An annual F.B.I, survey ofrn1500 law enforcement agencies, for example,rndiscovered that over eight percentrnof rape charges are completely unfounded.rnThat figure, which has heldrnsteadily over the past decade, is at leastrntwice as high as for any other felony.rnUnfounded charges of assault (which,rnlike rape, is often productive of conflictingrntestimony) comprise only 1.6 percentrnof the total compared to the 8.4rnpercent recorded for rape.rnConsult also a recent development,rnDNA testing, which is now becomingrnroutine in rape investigations. Also routinernis the discovery that a third of thernDNA scans produce nonmatches. Consequently,rna growing number of men arernnot only gaining acquittals but are alsornwinning release from prison. As with allrnrape statistics, these figures need carefulrnscrutiny. Police investigators warn, forrnexample, that a mismatch proves innocencernonly when the DNA could haverncome from no one but the assailant andrnwhen its profile or makeup doesn’trnmatch the suspect’s. Even so, DNArntests, primarily a prosecutorial weapon,rnhave now been added to the arsenal ofrndefense attorneys, and more evidence ofrnfalse allegations is appearing.rnAlthough useful, the F.B.I, and DNArndata result from unstructured numbergathering.rnMore informative, therefore,rnare the results of a study by a team headedrnby Charles P. McDowell of the U.S.rnAir Force Special Studies Division. ThernMcDowell team studied 556 rape allegations.rnOf that total, 256 could not bernconclusively verified as rape. That leftrn300 authenticated cases of which 220rnwere judged to be truthful and 80, orrn27 percent, were judged by very strictrnstandards to be false.rnAUGUST 1994/7rnrnrn