Notes and Comment Blog


The Gallery of Tilted Cats

Feb 10th, 2016 4:46 pm | By
The Gallery of Tilted Cats

It’s a specialty gallery.

Oenotrian’s Virginia:

Katrina Lawson

David Richards’s Merlyn:

David Richards

If you have any tilted cats you would like to add to the gallery, send them.



Assuming they are all true

Feb 10th, 2016 11:34 am | By

One of those items that could be true or could just be something someone claimed. David Bernstein has an “o tempora o mores” piece at The Volokh Conspiracy at the Washington Post (too many levels already and I’m not even finished yet) which refers back to an earlier piece at the same place, both describing a thing that seems to be just a “she said” thing.

From the first one, the January 26 one:

Consider the following incidents described below that have reached my inbox or social media accounts over the past two weeks or so:

2. Anti-Israel sentiment at that most progressive of colleges, Oberlin, is bleeding into anti-Semitism (or maybe anti-Israel sentiment is simply providing a cover for latent anti-Semitism). Professor William Jacobson has the details here, but even if you don’t read the whole post, read the end of it, where he quotes a lengthy Facebook post from a recent alumna about anti-Semitic incidents she experienced or witnessed as a left-wing, but pro-Israel Jewish student there. I won’t endorse the claim that every one of these incidents was anti-Semitic, as such, but, assuming they are all true, they paint a very disturbing picture. I was particularly struck by her claim that multiple times she heard Oberlin students dismiss the Holocaust as “white on white violence.”

That is indeed a very striking thing to say, but did anyone say it? I hit the Google to try to confirm it and all I’ve found is people repeating Bernstein’s claim (which as I mentioned he repeated himself a few days later). What good is that? Especially now? When everything shows up on social media, surely if that were a commonplace thing to say it would turn up on social media?

I think if you’re going to talk about it – and more than once at that – in the Washington Post you need a better source than “someone on Facebook said.”



The big shave

Feb 10th, 2016 9:57 am | By

Today’s Jesus and Mo (from the archive):

beard2

 

The Patreon.


 



The epithet question again

Feb 10th, 2016 9:34 am | By

I wrote a whole post about the word “pussy” back in 2009 – a couple of years before it became routine for people to call me a cunt along with every other misogynist epithet in the arsenal. It generated a lot of interesting comments.

Here’s the post again:

I’m curious about something. To the best of my knowledge, a sexist epithet is a sexist epithet. There’s not generally a lot of ambiguity about it, although there’s always room for ironic uses in private conversation and so on. In public discourse, a sexist epithet is what it is. Yet – I keep encountering people who dispute that, in places where I wouldn’t expect to, such as comments on Jesus and Mo. So I’m curious about what other people think.

A commenter said ‘the god of Islam is such a pussy. He is unable to do a thing to protect himself or his reputation and must rely on his minions to do his dirty work.’ I took exception, and someone replied by quoting one of Julian’s Bad Moves from here, on the fact that many words have multiple meanings. True enough, but is there more than one way to understand ‘pussy’ in that comment? Not that I know of.

What’s interesting is that I think that’s pretty widely understood, even by people who pretend or believe otherwise. One reason I think that is that I don’t know anyone who uses the word that way in conversation or correspondence with me. I don’t think that’s an accident; I think it’s because no one who knows me thinks it would be welcome – and for all I know this includes people who do use the word in conversation with other people. The point is that if people avoid the word with (at least) certain audiences, then the meaning is probably pretty clear. Am I wrong?

Certain epithets just are not really ambiguous; they can’t be. ‘Nigger’ is the best known in the US and maybe elsewhere; kike, raghead, kaffir are a few more. Queer and dyke have been reclaimed, and there is a school of thought that ‘bitch’ has but I think on the contrary, ‘bitch’ is more viciously misogynist than ever. And so are, as far as I know, pussy, twat and cunt. It is my considered opinion that no one who comments on Jesus and Mo would have the gall to call the barmaid any of those things, and that if I’m right about that, they should stop using them at all.



Kitty kitty kitty

Feb 10th, 2016 9:14 am | By

So Donald Trump called Ted Cruz a pussy at a New Hampshire rally Monday night.

Oh but he didn’t really call him that, he just quoted someone else calling him that. Heeheehawhaw.

A pussy for what? For not shouting “Fuck yes!” when asked if he thought waterboarding was the best thing ever.



A van, a few bearded men and one or two women in black chadors

Feb 9th, 2016 4:09 pm | By

The BBC reports on a new app in Iran that warns people of the location of the “morality police” aka Ershad.

Ershad’s mobile checkpoints which usually consist of a van, a few bearded men and one or two women in black chadors, are deployed in towns across Iran and appear with no notice.

Women?! But isn’t that immoral? Unless they’re related to all the men.

Ershad personnel have a very extensive list of powers ranging from issuing warnings and forcing those they accuse of violating Iran’s Islamic code of conduct, to make a written statement pledging to never do so again, to fines or even prosecuting offenders.

Ershad graphic

It’s such a horrendous way to live I can’t even really imagine it. Or maybe I can but I turn away because it’s too awful.

The range of offences which Ershad patrols deal with are extensive. From wearing too much makeup in public to wearing too little Hijab or head cover for women, to what is called western influenced hair style and trendy clothing for men.

Just exactly what amounts to immoral behaviour, can be widely open to the interpretation of the Ershad agent on the spot. So buying your clothes and or makeup from authorised shops, won’t necessarily keep you out of trouble. If an Ershad agent sees the combination unfit according the Sharia code of conduct, you can still end up being warned or even prosecuted.

Also, if you’re caught walking or riding with your opposite sex friend, you still could end up being stopped, questioned and prosecuted by Ershad because that’s another violation of Islamic code of conduct.

It’s all clothes and sex. Being kind, helping people who need help, not pushing people into puddles – never mind all that, just arrest that woman for having some hair showing.



Guest post: But who is the one actually taking “offense”?

Feb 9th, 2016 3:51 pm | By

Originally a comment by iknklast on He’s just another dude on the planet.

Oh, yes, it’s all just offense. But who is the one actually taking “offense”, if we look at it from the big picture? Dawkins took offense that Rebecca Watson didn’t want guys hitting on her in the elevator. He took offense that people thought a young boy should not have been arrested for bringing a clock to school, because “he didn’t really make a clock”. Language purity. He took offense because feminists protested an inappropriate shirt. Dawkins seems to be just one big ball of quivering offense right now, and we’re being told by everyone to lay off being offended because it’s so not freethinking, etc.

I used to try to figure out whether Dawkins was oblivious or malevolent. Now I figure it doesn’t matter. The effect is the same. Over a million fans that think he can do no wrong, and so they rush in a horde to protect him from that feminist blogger who just called him a bad name. Rape threats, death threats – it’s all just being a contrarian, a provocateur. Don’t over react. Just because they posted your address with the subtle statement that someone ought to rape you? Hypersensitive! Thought police!

I’m so tired. I thought I have finally found a home when I joined the freethought community, a place where I could finally have something in common. Now I find myself going through the same terrible experiences day in and day out that I had in the patriarchal religious community I was raised in. Patriarchy doesn’t look too good no matter which clothes it wears.

I think Dalton is right not to expect to agree with anyone 100%. I never expect that (not even you, Ophelia; not even Katha Pollitt). But he’s being a bit disingenuous here, because there are always some things that are more important than others. We are allowed to dismiss Neo-Nazis as role models, even though there may have been some decent things they did. We are allowed to dismiss the KKK as role models, even though many of them are model citizens in other aspects of life. We can just totally refuse to be friends with them, to associate with them, to read their books. We can criticize them online and off. But when the topic is sexism or misogyny, that is just trivial stuff, and merely disagreement. Sorry, don’t buy that.

Dawkins’s statement about inappropriate touching around the water cooler was sort of the last straw for me. This is recognition that sexual harassment happens, but basically he writes it off as not important. Sexual harassment is not important, it’s just “inappropriate touching”. Yes. And inappropriate leering is just inappropriate leering. And inappropriate shirts are just inappropriate shirts. But they all contribute to a pattern that affects one particular group of people disproportionately…a group of people that neither Richard Dawkins or Brian Dalton is part of, which makes their lecturing look just a bit self-serving. It’s very easy to dismiss someone else’s problems as inappropriate. What would happen if we dismissed it as unimportant when someone violated them? (And I hope no one here would ever do that…we can be bigger than that, and show them how it’s done).

 



Blue

Feb 9th, 2016 12:48 pm | By

From the Columbia Tower observation deck:

Sky View Observatory - Seattle, WA, United States. View from the Sky View Observatory

Karlo G

That’s a ferry departing at the bottom left. You can just barely see one approaching or leaving Winslow at the top – the tiny speck between two points of land.



He’s just another dude on the planet

Feb 9th, 2016 12:18 pm | By

Brian Dalton has a terrible short video raging at people who object to Richard Dawkins’s stream of anti-feminist tweets.

He starts out with outrage about the idea of “breaking up with” the great man. He’s not a god, Dalton tells us patronizingly, he didn’t run for president of United Atheists, and he’s not your freakin’ boyfriend.

He’s just another dude on the planet with opinions of his own, some of which you will agree with and some of which you will clearly not. But when he or Sam or Bill or whomever [sic] says something you disagree with, don’t take it as a personal betrayal. Richard never agreed to be your personal spokesman, let alone boyfriend.

And more of the same.

Here’s what he’s not getting. The issue is not mere opinions. It’s not a matter of disagreeing. It’s more than that. It has to do with bullying and harassment. It has to do with RD’s 1.35 million Twitter followers. It has to do with crude jeering as opposed to reasoned discussion.

Then he explains that we don’t need to “follow” anyone, and that we’re all individuals.

That again simply misses the point. It overlooks the fact that a great many people do follow Dawkins, and when he taunts one particular feminist or another, they follow suit. That’s the issue. It’s not pathetic disillusion with a hero we shouldn’t have been worshipping in the first place, it’s disgust that other people’s hero keeps sending harassment our way. It’s disgust that we’re being systematically driven out of the secular / freethought movement, and that Dawkins is helping with the driving out. Dalton either doesn’t recognize that or doesn’t give a fuck. I think it’s probably the latter, since the former is hard to believe.

Then he tells us we shouldn’t write off another human being “simply because they’ve said something we disagree with, however vehemently.” Again: it’s not just “disagreement.”

Then he tells us we’re never going to find someone, especially someone in the media, in the public eye, who agrees with us 100% of the time, and thank deity for that because how boring would that be. Again: not the issue.

Then he says hooray for diversity, because human beings are not simply the sum total of their last tweet.

And when a person has made major contributions in multiple fields of endeavor, it’s best to greet their current folly by recalling the totality of their life.

He just got through telling us not to hero worship Dawkins or anyone, but that claim is hero worship itself. Major contributions in multiple fields of endeavor? That’s a big exaggeration.

The rest of the claim might be true or at least reasonable were it not for the fact that the “current folly” is doing current harm, to actual people.

Then he says more about disagreement, which, again, is not the issue.

Then there’s a little aria about the freethought community and how we’re all not just individuals but individuals who “think different”; we’re freethinkers, provocateurs, contrarians, all around assholes, who love more than anything else to stir up the pot, make you think, and challenge convention.

Maybe so, although there’s a lot of self-flattery in that claim – but even if we are, it doesn’t follow that we have to bully our underlings.

Then he ends with a zinger about purity tests and that’s why he left religion in the first place. Roll credits.

He never once addresses the fact that outgroups may see this kind of thing differently from the way he does and the way Dawkins does.



Purposely misunderstood as a way to generate clicks

Feb 9th, 2016 11:24 am | By

So Robyn Blumner has spoken.

Robyn Blumner, in her interview with Hemant Mehta on his podcast says this about Richard Dawkins’ twitter feed (starts at 30:31):

“I think Richard Dawkins is purposefully misunderstood at times as a way to generate clicks on some bloggers’ page. It’s because his name brings page views and eyes so why not generate a lot of heat around something that is pretty tame if you really unpack it.”

No, his name doesn’t “bring page views.” That’s nonsense. She must be confusing the Dawkins fame that sells tickets to conferences with the mention of his name on a blog. The two aren’t comparable. Dawkins sells tickets to events because people want to be in his presence; they want to see and hear him in person. I’m not mocking that, either; I like being around people whose writing I’ve admired for years. But being in a favorite writer’s presence is one thing and seeing the writer’s name on a blog is quite, quite another. So different. No comparison.

And also – what he says isn’t always all that tame given all the circumstances – what he stands for to a lot of people, his influence and popularity, the people and groups he singles out as objects of his contempt. To spell it out, he adds to the already horrible atmosphere for women and feminists in the secular / atheist movement. That’s not all that tame.

Monette put it clearly:

Pretending the stuff he does isn’t a problem does not send a positive message to CFI’s members who are anything but upper class white males. No, he doesn’t speak for the foundation. But, he is on the board and will be making decisions regarding the direction and handling of all of CFI’s projects.

And Blumner is the CEO.



Cliven’s travel plans

Feb 9th, 2016 10:13 am | By

Cliven Bundy may be planning to bring his epic sense of entitlement to Oregon, to pitch a fit because his sons were actually arrested for breaking multiple laws.

Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy may be coming to Oregon to demonstrate on behalf of his sons Ammon and Ryan Bundy, as well as the remaining four armed occupants of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Nevada State Assemblywoman Michele Fiore told OPB Monday that she, along with other state lawmakers from western states, will be traveling to meet Bundy in Burns and in Portland.

Fiore said the final details of the trip are still being planned, but she expects to be in Portland on Thursday night to protest the jailing of Ammon and Ryan Bundy.

“There is a Nevadan [Ryan Bundy] sitting in jail, and as an office holder, I will be there to demand his release,” Fiore said. “If that Nevadan can’t leave Oregon, we will bring Nevada to him. Peaceful, of course.”

So a state lawmaker thinks the laws don’t apply to people from her state. Or something.

Bundy sent a letter last week to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and President Barack Obama, calling for all federal and state police to leave Harney County immediately, and for the refuge occupation to continue.

That would be funny if it weren’t for the fact that he himself has broken multiple laws, and helped himself to national resources at our expense, at gunpoint, and gotten away with it.



One of the best-known cultural commentators in Europe

Feb 9th, 2016 9:50 am | By

An event next week in Minneapolis.

The Minnesota Republic is pleased to host Milo Yiannopolous and Christina Hoff Sommers as they interview each other about the awful topic of contemporary Feminism.

Having failed to find a single member of the University of Minnesota’s Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies Department to debate Milo on the (supposed) virtues of modern, third wave, “quantum superstate” feminism, we are delighted to announce that Christina Hoff Sommers will be joining Milo on stage for this event!

This event will be held in Cowles Auditorium in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. REMINDER: This event is free, unticketed, and will be seated at a first come, first served basis.

This event will be free and open to all members of the public.

Milo Yiannopoulos is a journalist, broadcaster and internet personality. He is one of the best-known cultural commentators in Europe and his profile in America is rising rapidly thanks to fearless reporting about internet culture, video games, feminism, free speech and the effect of technology on society. He is a leading figure in the cultural libertarian movement and a senior editor at Breitbart.com.

You can find Milo’s work all over the internet, though the best place to start would be his own website.

Christina Hoff Sommers is an author and former philosophy professor who has written a number of books including “Who Stole Feminism” and “The War Against Boys” both of which are sharply critical of contemporary feminism. She is currently a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and the host of a weekly video blog, “The Factual Feminist.” She coined the term “equity feminist” to describe her own philosophy, and to distinguish it from “victim” or “gender feminism.”

You can find her published works on Amazon.

And The Factual Feminist videos.

No low too low.



Guest post: Young people are working harder, paying more, and earning less

Feb 8th, 2016 4:20 pm | By

Originally a comment by MrFancyPants on How much worse prospects for young people today are.

It’s very much true that things are worse now for younger people in the USA, too. Economically and career-wise, I mean. When I entered university at age 18 in 1984, a full semester of tuition at my state university cost about $1500, which is about $3500 in 2016 terms. That was just tuition. Back then, I recall that a salary of $40,000/year on graduation was relatively decent (in my field, Computer Science). Moreover, getting into the university was just a matter of having good grades and SAT scores.

Today students must pad their personal resumes with volunteering and extracurricular activities in addition to having good grades just to be accepted to the same university, and once accepted, they face single-semester tuitions of a little over $10,000. Upon graduation, they can look forward to a salary of around $70,000/year. So income hasn’t quite doubled, but expenses have almost tripled—and that’s just tuition. There are living expenses as well, and those have risen at the same rate.

So young people are working harder, paying more, and earning less. I know some younger colleagues who are facing decades of debt payments, as a result. How is someone supposed to save for retirement like that, when they are going to be scraping by, practically hand-to-mouth until at least their 40’s and sometimes even 50’s? The answer is obviously that they are not.

Is it any wonder that younger people are rejecting establishment candidates, and opting instead for those who promise them at least the same level of opportunity and life-success as we, their parents, had and have?



The Withdrawing Room, political branch

Feb 8th, 2016 3:28 pm | By

In case people would like to discuss the nitty gritty of the US presidential campaign without being interrupted by me saying I’m not interested in that.



That New Hampshire would abandon his wife

Feb 8th, 2016 2:49 pm | By

That great feminist Bill Clinton is all in a lather about the sexism of Bernie Sanders supporters.

Bill Clinton uncorked an extended attack on Senator Bernie Sanders on Sunday, harshly criticizing Mr. Sanders and his supporters for what he described as inaccurate and “sexist” attacks on Hillary Clinton.

His heated remarks here reflected the frustration the Clintons felt two days before the primary in a state that has rewarded them in the past, but that appears ready to hand Mr. Sanders a decisive victory. Mr. Clinton seemed especially irritated that New Hampshire, after lifting his 1992 bid for the Democratic nomination and handing her a comeback win in 2008, would now abandon his wife.

Because after all, they liked him, and she’s his wife, so they ought to like her. Nothing sexist about that.

Also the sense of entitlement is not persuasive. The office is not their personal possession.

But Mr. Clinton’s most pointed remarks may have been when he took aim at Sanders supporters who, he said, use misogynistic language in attacking Mrs. Clinton. He told the story of a female “progressive” blogger who defended Mrs. Clinton online through a pseudonym because, he said, the vitriol from Mr. Sanders’s backers was so unrelenting.

“She and other people who have gone online to defend Hillary, to explain why they supported her, have been subject to vicious trolling and attacks that are literally too profane often, not to mention sexist, to repeat.” Mr. Clinton, growing more demonstrative, added that the liberal journalist Joan Walsh had faced what he called “unbelievable personal attacks” for writing positively about Mrs. Clinton.

People say sexist things about his wife. Other than that, he doesn’t care.



Very familiar

Feb 8th, 2016 11:56 am | By

The White House has Obama’s remarks at the mosque the other day.

Now, a lot of Americans have never visited a mosque.  To the folks watching this today who haven’t — think of your own church, or synagogue, or temple, and a mosque like this will be very familiar.  This is where families come to worship and express their love for God and each other.  There’s a school where teachers open young minds.  Kids play baseball and football and basketball — boys and girls — I hear they’re pretty good.

Um…no. Not exactly; not entirely. According to Asra Nomani and Ify Okoye, the mosque in question is strictly gender segregated:

This past weekend, dozens of girls and boys as young as about 8 years old ran up the stairwell to the main entrance of the musallah, or main prayer hall, of the Islamic Society of Baltimore, where President Obama visits Wednesday in his first presidential visit to a U.S. mosque. As the children rounded the corner, a stern mosque Sunday school teacher stood before them, shouting, “Girls, inside the gym! Boys in the musallah.”

The girls, shrouded in headscarves that, in some cases, draped half their bodies, slipped into a stark gymnasium and found seats on bare red carpet pieces laid out in a corner. They faced a tall industrial cement block wall, in the direction of the qibla, facing Mecca, a basketball hoop above them. Before them a long narrow window poured a small dash of sunlight into the dark gym.

On the other side of the wall, the boys clamored excitedly into the majestic musallah, their feet padded by thick, decorated carpet, the sunlight flooding into the room through spectacular windows engraved with the 99 names of Allah, or God, in Islam. Ornate Korans and Islamic books filled shelves that lined the front walls.

So, no, the mosque will not be “very familiar” to most people, just as a church which confines girls and women to an unadorned annex while boys and men get the church proper will not be “very familiar.” Obama shouldn’t normalize gender separate and unequal that way. I understand why he does it but I think he shouldn’t.

He does it because Muslims face a great deal of hostility and prejudice, and sometimes abuse and violence. He’s right to try to change that.

We’re one American family.  And when any part of our family starts to feel separate or second-class or targeted, it tears at the very fabric of our nation.  (Applause.)

It’s a challenge to our values — and that means we have much work to do.  We’ve got to tackle this head on.  We have to be honest and clear about it.   And we have to speak out.  This is a moment when, as Americans, we have to truly listen to each other and learn from each other.  And I believe it has to begin with a common understanding of some basic facts.  And I express these facts, although they’d be obvious to many of the people in this place, because, unfortunately, it’s not facts that are communicated on a regular basis through our media.

So let’s start with this fact:  For more than a thousand years, people have been drawn to Islam’s message of peace.  And the very word itself, Islam, comes from salam — peace.  The standard greeting is as-salamu alaykum — peace be upon you.  And like so many faiths, Islam is rooted in a commitment to compassion and mercy and justice and charity.  Whoever wants to enter paradise, the Prophet Muhammad taught, “let him treat people the way he would love to be treated.”  (Applause.)  For Christians like myself, I’m assuming that sounds familiar.  (Laughter.)

And yet Islam didn’t acquire so many followers by peaceful means. And if Islam really is rooted in a commitment to compassion and mercy and justice and charity, then why are countries where Islam is the official religion such horrible places for human beings? Why are they not conspicuous for compassion or justice?



It was decided

Feb 8th, 2016 10:28 am | By

The Vatican has tossed out one of the two abuse survivors on its commission for the protection of children.

UK child sex abuse lobbyist Peter Saunders, who was given a “leave of absence” from his role in the Holy See’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, has said that the “Vatican system” seems “essentially corrupt and unwilling to do the right thing”.

After a commission meeting on Saturday, the Holy See announced “it was decided” that Mr Saunders would take a leave of absence in order to “consider how he might best support the commission’s work”.

Ah that agent-free passive voice. “It was decided” – by whom, exactly? God? The EU? The combined will of humanity? And that butler-like circumlocution – a leave of absence to think hard about how he can be more obedient to the church, is what they mean. Why else would he be singled out for a “leave of absence” i.e. a suspension?

According to Vatican sources, this was prompted by concern among members that Mr Saunders had a conflict-of-interest created by his dual role as a campaigner with the UK child sex abuse lobby Napac and as a policy consultant on the Vatican commission.

Ahhhhhh yes. You know who else has a conflict of interest here? The Vatican. The whole entire Vatican, which has an interest in convincing the world that there was no child abuse and that the Vatican never turned a blind eye to that non-existent child abuse and that the Vatican never concealed that non-existent child abuse and never protected the priests who perpetrated it.

So yeah. Take a leave of absence yourselves why don’t you. Disband. Break up. Go away. Stop telling the whole world what to do. You’re a mafia wrapped in a cloak of goddy respectability. It’s a racket, and you should take an extended leave of absence to think about it, one lasting ten or twenty centuries.

Last week Saunders dared to criticize the pope for not attending the meetings to answer questions, when he’d said he would. Shock-horror among the assembled bishops.

He also criticised the pope’s appointment last summer of controversial Chilean bishop Juan Barros to the Diocese of Osorno. Bishop Barros has been accused of covering up the sex abuse crimes of Fr Fernando Karadima, a Chilean priest.

Yes but he’s Pope Frankie, he has a nice smile, he lives in a little guesthouse instead of the Vatican best bedroom, he drives around in a small car.

Speaking to The Irish Times on Sunday, Mr Saunders said he was “shell-shocked” and disappointed at the manner in which the “inquisition” had expressed a vote of no confidence in him.

As far as he is concerned, he has not taken a leave of absence, while he says the only person who can sack him is Pope Francis.

So “the Holy See” told a big fat lie. Imagine my astonishment.

On Sunday, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke confirmed that Mr Saunders was now on a leave of absence, adding that he had had problems with his fellow commission members.

His departure means Irish survivor Marie Collins is now the only sex abuse victim serving on the 17-member commission, which includes eight women. She confirmed to The Irish Times that commission members had been dismayed by Mr Saunders’s critical remarks, often made to the media and not to the commission itself.

Wow. That really takes the biscuit. Saunders is a survivor of the abuse dished out and concealed by the church, and members of the church commission are “dismayed” by his failure to be deferential enough.



He was already a buffoon caterwauling on the fringe

Feb 8th, 2016 9:57 am | By

Lindy West doesn’t take much satisfaction from seeing Roosh get a little of the kind of hostile attention he and his fans have forced on her for years. Unlike Roosh, she doesn’t wish that kind of thing on people.

Unlike Roosh, I actually oppose doxxing and death threats, even against people I dislike. So it’s difficult for me to enjoy watching anyone, even someone who’s tormented me with a pathological intensity for years, go through a hell I’ve devoted so much of my professional life to fighting.

And, ethical concerns aside, Roosh facing some karmic retribution for the havoc he’s wreaked on women’s lives doesn’t bring me much satisfaction, because it really doesn’t accomplish much. He was already a buffoon caterwauling on the fringe. That the whole world knows it now doesn’t change that fact. What matters is that we recognize that Roosh and his repellant worldview don’t exist in a vacuum; they’re an extreme crystallization of attitudes with real roots in our real lives.

I don’t want horrible men to be doxxed and threatened online – I want them to be better.

That’s exactly it. Revenge is no use; revenge doesn’t get us anywhere; the thing to want is rehabilitation.



Guest post: How much worse prospects for young people today are

Feb 8th, 2016 8:35 am | By

Originally a comment by Nell on Capstone shmapstone.

We had a similar situation in the UK. When Corbyn emerged as the front -runner, feminist commentators used exactly the same arguments to try to get young women behind one of the female candidates. It failed. I think something that many older, more established people can’t seem to intuitively grasp is how much worse prospects for young people today are.

Most of us are thousands of pounds in debt, with no jobs or insecure casual jobs with wages that barely cover the travel costs. The government’s austerity measures have hit young people and women particularly hard. Housing benefits and unemployment benefits are going to be scrapped or curtailed for under 25s, and child benefits are going to be limited, but it only for women starting to have children now. We can’t afford to live once these changes come in. Rates of mental illness are increasing – about a third of my generation now have some form of mental illness, and mental health care is being slashed. and there is no sign of things getting better, no one likes thinking about the future because we can’t see anything good in it.

In the leadership elections both female candidates were pro-austerity, they said they would carry on with what the Tories started. So when commentators start saying you have to vote for the female candidate or that the left wing candidate is unelectable, pick one of the ‘centrists’, no one listens. Being able to vote for a female candidate on the basis that she is a woman is a luxury you can have if you don’t depend on the services she has pledged to cut. And we don’t really care if she was more electable because with her politics it wouldn’t matter, as long as they’re pro austerity we are screwed whether Labour or the Tories get in.

I don’t know what it’s like for young women in the US but if it’s anything like it is here, appeals to feminism and electability aren’t going to work, it will just turn people away from feminism and from mainstream politics. There’s also the danger that you turn people away from the Democrats completely. Over here, among many young people, and all generations in Scotland, the Labour-Right have become as hated as the Tories. If Corbyn gets overthrown and replaced with an ‘electable’ right winger, young people aren’t going to rally around his replacement, they’re just not going to vote. There’s a danger that using these tactics young voters will end up as anti-Clinton or Democrat as they are against the Republicans.



Capstone shmapstone

Feb 7th, 2016 6:03 pm | By

This is just such nonsense.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/08/us/politics/gloria-steinem-madeleine-albright-hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders.html

Hillary Clinton’s older feminist supporters have a message for young women who are not backing her candidacy: Shame on you.

Women were expected to help power Mrs. Clinton to the Democratic nomination, but as she struggles to overcome a tough challenge from Senator Bernie Sanders, her support among them has been surprisingly shaky. Young women, in particular, have been drawn to the septuagenarian socialist from Vermont, and the dynamic has disappointed feminists who dreamed of Mrs. Clinton’s election as a capstone to the movement.

Oh just stop that. It’s complete bullshit. One, just being a woman is not enough, to put it mildly. Two, capstone to the movement my ass. Clinton is the one woman who does not get to treat her political standing as a feminist victory, because of the way her husband’s work helped her get there. I’m sorry but that’s the reality. She’s leveraging her family name to get power; she’s using her husband’s presidency as a jumping-off point. That’s not a feminist act. I’m not saying it’s an anti-feminist act, and I think she’s highly qualified for the job, but it’s just ludicrous to treat her candidacy as an inspiring feminist victory. If she’d done it without the husband-boost it would be, but she didn’t, so it isn’t.

Two feminist icons of Mrs. Clinton’s generation made their frustration known over the weekend, calling on young women who view Mr. Sanders as their candidate to essentially grow up and get with the program.

While introducing Mrs. Clinton at a rally in New Hampshire on Saturday, Madeleine Albright, the first female secretary of state, talked about the importance of electing the first female president. In a dig at the “revolution” that Mr. Sanders often speaks of, she said that the first female commander in chief would be a true revolution. And she scolded any woman who felt otherwise.

But that revolution would be weakened by the fact that she did it as a wife.

I would think that even if I were a passionate fan, which I’m not, because both Clintons are just way too corporate and conservative for me. I would wish someone other than a wife had done it no matter what Clinton was like.