Well, the discussion was winding down (or I thought it was), and I was going to leave Bunting in peace…but then she finally posted a comment (and the discussion didn’t wind down after all), so the peace idea was premature. What did she say? Did she admit that she had quote-mined? Did she explain why she is so furious at my (our) putative stridency instead of being furious at the men who murdered a raped teenager while saying ”We will do what Allah has instructed us’? Did she explain what has happened to her since she was so shocked by the Ryan report? Did she apologize for calling me strident, preposterous, crude, lacking in insight, profoundly intellectually dishonest, hysterical, and bizarre?
No. She didn’t do any of that. On the contrary – far from apologizing for calling me a long list of bad things, she complained of ‘personal abuse’ herself. It seems it’s all right for her to call me rude names but not okay for other people to call her rude names. Why would that be, exactly?
For those who loathe my writing I suggest you don’t read it. That’s the point about a newspaper/website. You get to choose what you read… so I don’t understand the personal abuse. Of course there are plenty of people who think I write rubbish – I got that message off CiF long ago. So what.
So what…Well, so they’re right, that’s so what. ‘Plenty of people’ aren’t always right, of course, but they are about this. Bunting does write rubbish, and not only that; she writes personally vituperative, inaccurate, sloppy, careless, reckless rubbish. Bunting writes badly and behaves badly and my opinion of her sinks lower all the time. There is no floor under this opinion, it turns out; it can just keep on sinking forever.
I think outrage about injustice is entirely appropriate, and Benson and I would be completely on the same side about the despicable way patriarchal societies have treated women the world over. But I strongly argue that in a small world where we are jostling up against all kinds of different belief systems, we need to understand something of why religion is still such a powerful impulse in human nature, why it is such a major influence in many parts of the world – as John Mickelthwait’s new book, ‘God is Back’ argues. Does Benson bring insight into that urgent task? I fear not.
That’s interesting, but as I said in reply, she didn’t argue that on Night Waves or in her article, so it’s a bit late to bring it up in a comment two days later.
So that’s that. As I’ve said – I knew she was as woolly as any flock of sheep you might want to meet, but I didn’t know she was so malicious or so reckless. Now I do.