Notes and Comment Blog


Blame women!

Aug 29th, 2019 9:44 am | By
Blame women!

Peter Tatchell, again. He just will not stop doing this. It’s almost as if misogyny is powerfully addictive, harder to kick than opioids.

Tracy Single is 15th trans woman of colour murdered in US this year. The tiny minority of feminists who demonise trans women as a threat to non-trans women contribute to the toxic, hateful atmosphere that fuels prejudice, discrimination & violence against trans people.

It is shocking to hear all trans women vilified as would-be rapists, domestic abusers, misogynists etc. This echoes the blanket slurs against LGBT+ people by homophobes & against Muslims/Jews by the far right. I support both women’s rights & trans rights. So do most feminists. Bravo!

A black man is murdered, and somehow that’s not an occasion for condemnation of racist violence but instead for an angry rant about women who don’t agree that men are women if they say so. A black man is murdered so Peter Tatchell yells at women. Wtf???

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Some people overreact

Aug 28th, 2019 5:35 pm | By

Morgane Oger on Facebook on the vandalism at Vancouver Rape Relief yesterday:

When Vancouver Rape Relief’s discriminatory conduct hits the light of day some people overreact. It’s deplorable when this overreaction goes so far as to threaten, or to provide implied threats, of violence.

We are not a society that tolerates violence against people because of what they believe, or even because of what they do.

Subtle. “VRR are terrible people, but it’s deplorable to imply threats of violence. They are terrible though. That’s the important point here.



They miss the good old days

Aug 28th, 2019 4:04 pm | By

This guy

Ah – reducing ‘females’ to their anatomy. What stellar feminist thinking. 😍 Really top notch. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a cluster account of ‘femaleness’ can include cis and trans people, but also exclude both. It doesn’t make sense. Much like the GC agenda.

Who is it that he’s setting straight with such authority?

Boodleoops – you know, an actual philosopher.

The only “gender identity” I have is knowledge that my body is female, and an awareness of what that body means for how I am treated by others. If you don’t have a female body, then you and I don’t share any gender identity, and therefore we can’t both be women. Sorry.

Family Planning @FPNewZealand· Aug 26
Everyone has a gender identity—a feeling or sense of being male, female or somewhere in between. Sometimes people’s gender identity matches their bodies, and sometimes it doesn’t. https://youtu.be/i83VQIaDlQw

I honest to god think one huge reason trans ideology is so popular with guys like Liam is because it gives them (what they think is) an excuse to sneer at and correct and lecture women this way, very much including women who are more intelligent and more educated than they are. I certainly think that applies to the ineffable Morgane Oger, telling us over and over and over that women have no right to say that men are not women.



Let’s just save that money in case we want another parade

Aug 28th, 2019 3:42 pm | By

What was that about Putin owning Trump, again?

Trump slow-walks Ukraine military aid meant to contain Russia

The Trump administration is slow-walking $250 million in military assistance to Ukraine, annoying lawmakers and advocates who argue the funding is critical to keeping Russia at bay.

President Donald Trump asked his national security team to review the funding program, known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, in order to ensure the money is being used in the best interest of the United States, a senior administration official told POLITICO on Wednesday.

By which of course Trump doesn’t mean the literal best interest of the United States, but rather the best interest of Donald Trump, disguised as the best interest of the United States.



Guest post: It’s about what they need

Aug 28th, 2019 1:05 pm | By

Originally a comment by Pliny the in Between on Magic with words.

When I was a general surgeon (eons ago it seems), I had been highly trained in surgery for diseases of the breast as part of my residency. I was an early advocate of less invasive surgery for breast cancer and was the first I know of who worked with a team of physicians to council women about their options. When I saw a woman with breast cancer in my office I coordinated the visit with oncology, radiation therapy and plastic surgery in one visit so the individuals I saw could make the best choice for their needs. When surgery was part of the therapy, I worked with a highly skilled plastic surgeon on all my cases who would help design the incision sites (without compromising the cancer surgery) and we would perform immediate reconstruction surgery at the same time in most cases (so the women never woke up without a breast). Lastly, all my patients were referred to a female surgeon I respected and worked with for a second opinion. The purpose of this was twofold- one to make sure all questions and doubts were addressed and 2 – allow for the possibility that my patient might prefer a woman surgeon (we informed them that this option was completely understandable and that no one would be offended). Sometimes they did – sometimes not.

Here’s the thing – I was completely qualified to handle the clinical needs of any of these patients. But as I tried to instill in our residents – it’s not about us – it’s about what they (the patient) need. Sometimes what they needed was something I could never be – a women who could exactly empathize with them and who provided them with a bit more comfort in a horrible time in their lives. And guess what, that’s what they got. Care, comfort, and security – the things we tried to provide to all our patients.

I bring this up because this should be the only perspective on the issue of advocacy services – what do these women need. They’re not looking to part of any would-be counselor’s agenda or be part of any social movement. They have trauma and pain and helping them find care, comfort and security is all that matters. Anyone who can’t adjust to that shouldn’t be a counselor because empathy is pretty much a must have in that role.



A remarkably long walk

Aug 28th, 2019 12:29 pm | By

David Karpf on the translucently thin skin of Bret Stephens:

Bret Stephens is above me in the status hierarchy. He knows this. I know this. He has won a Pulitzer Prize and has a regular op-ed column in the New York Times. I am just some professor. I’ve written two books, but unless you are professionally involved with digital politics, you probably have never heard of me.

We have now though.

Karpf was surprised to get an email from Stephens, and surprised to see the provost of his university was cc’ed on the message.

He shares the email. I neglected to quote the whole thing yesterday so why don’t I do that now.

Dear Dr. Karpf,

Someone just pointed out a tweet you wrote about me, calling me a “bedbug.” I’m often amazed about the things supposedly decent people are prepared to say about other people — people they’ve never met — on Twitter. I think you’ve set a new standard.

I would welcome the opportunity for you to come to my home, meet my wife and kids, talk to us for for a few minutes, and then call me a “bedbug” to my face. That would take some genuine courage and intellectual integrity on your part. I promise to be courteous no matter what you have to say.

Maybe it will make you feel better about yourself.

Please consider this a standing invitation. You are more than welcome to bring your significant other.

Cordially,
Bret Stephens

Apart from anything else – it’s hilarious that he thinks that one mild joke “set a new standard” for what people are prepared to say on Twitter. Oh, dude. Not within shouting distance.

Karpf was surprised he even knew about the tweet, let alone bothered to pitch a fit about it.

But what was most striking to me was that he had gone to the effort to CC the provost. Including the Provost clarifies the intent of the message. It means he was not reaching out in an earnest attempt to promote online civil discourse.

That insultingly insincere “Cordially” at the end notwithstanding.

It means he was trying to send a message that he stands above me in the status hierarchy, and that people like me are not supposed to write mean jokes about people like him online. It was an exercise in wielding power—using the imprimatur of The New York Times to ward off speech that he finds distasteful.

I was even more surprised this morning, when he was invited to speak on MSNBC about the incident and remarked that, “There’s a bad history of being analogized to insects that goes back to a lot of totalitarian regimes in the past.” You can draw your own conclusion as to whether my joke was worth a chuckle. But equating a random Twitter account with a totalitarian regime is a remarkably long walk. I have to assume that Stephens recognizes that these words would have a different meaning and impact if they came from the ministry of propaganda than when uttered as a cheeky response to a headline about actual bedbugs in a newsroom.

The ministry of propaganda or the president of the US.

The funny thing is the joke was more at the expense of the Times than Stephens himself. Or maybe not more, but equally. I read it as aimed in the general direction of the David Brookses and Bari Weisses – the conspicuously mediocre opinionators they choose to represent The Range of Views.

But here’s what still bothers me as this strange episode recedes from the news cycle: Bret Stephens seems to think that his social status should render him immune from criticism from people like me. I think that the rewards of his social status come with an understanding that lesser-known people will say mean things about him online.

Stephens reached out to me in the mistaken belief that I would feel ashamed. He reached out believing my university would chastise me for provoking the ire of a writer at The New York Times. That’s an abuse of his social station.

But what’s the point of having that kind of social station if you don’t get to abuse it?



Magic with words

Aug 28th, 2019 11:49 am | By

Morgane Oger provides, if nothing else, an in-depth illustration of how The New Language Rules function to help him (and others like him) blur the picture so thoroughly that most people give up trying to see it clearly.

Here:

It is explicitly prohibited in Canada for any women’s service to discriminate against more-vulnerable women while favouring less-vulnerable women.

There are no exceptions, have not been since our charter was adopted in 1983.

That sounds sensible on its face, but the trouble is that he means “it is explicitly prohibited in Canada for any women’s service to discriminate against men who say they are women while favoring women.” He is claiming that men who say they are women are, as a class or category, more vulnerable than women. How? How are men who say they are women more vulnerable than women? Not physically, certainly, because even if they do the full hormone thing they still have the male skeleton, musculature, lung capacity, and so on. Men don’t magically make themselves not just as vulnerable as women but more vulnerable than women by the power of thought. So how are men who say they are women more vulnerable than women? Given that they remain physically stronger, how can they be more vulnerable?

They can’t. It’s just the typical hyperbolic bullshit, and it’s a lie, but Oger gets away with it because of the verbal magic that is at the heart of the whole thing. Change names and pronouns and bam you’ve won most of the battle. Change names and pronouns and you condition people to think men are women and thus potentially more vulnerable than women, because they get to add their trans status to their bogus female status and get two, where women get only one.

Again:

VRR successfully protected its right to choose its own members. They did not defend any right to deny service to a woman because she is transgender. THAT has been illegal for decades in Canada.

But they didn’t “defend any right to deny service to a woman because she is transgender.” The right in question is to deny service to men, no matter what they claim about their “gender.” They don’t deny the right because the man is transgender, they deny it because he is a man.

Another:

TERFs are not “women who’ve created single-sex spaces for victims of male violence to recover free from the presence of males” They are trans-exclusionary radical feminists, a philosophy that VRR adhers to and enforces.

No. Feminist women who don’t accept the claim that men can become women by saying so can be women who have created single-sex spaces for victims of male violence to recover free from the presence of males. Whether that’s “trans-exclusionary” or not isn’t really relevant, because feminist women get to be focused on feminist issues rather than trans issues.

And:

The fact is that VRR is discriminating against one group of women on prohibited grounds. They have no defense for this other than “those women are not women”. Whereas that works for membership in an organization, it is illegal in a service.

No. The fact is that VRR is declining to serve men because their mission is to serve women. They don’t need a “defense” for it, and their reason for it is that those men are not women. If it’s illegal for women’s organizations to decline to include men then there’s something badly wrong with Canada and it should fix it. [Updating to add: it’s not; see Naif’s comment @ 3.]

Finally:

Anyone can make a tall-locally-born-women-of-childbearing-age-who-had-kids club with its own space.

Nobody can tell a woman she is not a woman.

But the issue isn’t telling a woman she is not a woman, it’s telling a man he is not a woman. Anybody can do that. Women can do that.

Oger is an entitled male bully who spends all his time bullying women for wanting to get away from him and men like him.



Puerto Rico and Fox have teamed up to steal Donnie’s second scoop

Aug 28th, 2019 10:49 am | By

Trump has been…chiming in on Bret Stephens and bedbugs, raging at a hurricane for going where hurricanes do go, raging at Fox News, advising BoJo, raging at Puerto Rico. Busy busy day in the Oval Tweet Factory.

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Bret and bedbugs:

A made up Radical Left Story about Doral bedbugs, but Bret Stephens is loaded up with them! Been calling me wrong for years, along with the few remaining Never Trumpers – All Losers!

“The infestation of bedbugs at The New York Times office” @OANN was perhaps brought in by lightweight journalist Bret Stephens, a Conservative who does anything that his bosses at the paper tell him to do! He is now quitting Twitter after being called a “bedbug.” Tough guy!

It’s great to see how focused and disciplined he is.

Raging at hurricanes:

We are tracking closely tropical storm Dorian as it heads, as usual, to Puerto Rico. FEMA and all others are ready, and will do a great job. When they do, let them know it, and give them a big Thank You – Not like last time. That includes from the incompetent Mayor of San Juan!

That irritable “as usual,” as if hurricanes and Puerto Rico did it on purpose to annoy him.

Wise counsel from an elder statesman:

Would be very hard for Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s Labour Party, to seek a no-confidence vote against New Prime Minister Boris Johnson, especially in light of the fact that Boris is exactly what the U.K. has been looking for, & will prove to be “a great one!” Love U.K.

Angry breakup letter to Fox:

Just watched @FoxNews heavily promoting the Democrats through their DNC Communications Director, spewing out whatever she wanted with zero pushback by anchor, @SandraSmithFox. Terrible considering that Fox couldn’t even land a debate, the Dems give them NOTHING! @CNN & @MSNBC……..are all in for the Open Border Socialists (or beyond). Fox hires “give Hillary the questions” @donnabrazile, Juan Williams and low ratings Shep Smith. HOPELESS & CLUELESS! They should go all the way LEFT and I will still find a way to Win – That’s what I do, Win. Too Bad!……..I don’t want to Win for myself, I only want to Win for the people. The New @FoxNews is letting millions of GREAT people down! We have to start looking for a new News Outlet. Fox isn’t working for us anymore!

Helpful of him to confirm that it was working for him before.

And, finally, another blast of venom at Puerto Rico for being in the path of hurricanes:

Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on earth. Their political system is broken and their politicians are either Incompetent or Corrupt. Congress approved Billions of Dollars last time, more than anyplace else has ever gotten, and it is sent to Crooked Pols. No good!……..And by the way, I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to Puerto Rico!

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His very exciting agenda

Aug 28th, 2019 10:02 am | By

And I thought we’d gone crazy. Boris is getting away with his coup.

Parliament will be suspended just days after MPs return to work in September – and only a few weeks before the Brexit deadline.

Boris Johnson said a Queen’s Speech would take place after the suspension, on 14 October, to outline his “very exciting agenda”.

But it means the time MPs have to pass laws to stop a no-deal Brexit on 31 October would be cut.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said it was a “constitutional outrage”.

The Speaker, who does not traditionally comment on political announcements, continued: “However it is dressed up, it is blindingly obvious that the purpose of [suspending Parliament] now would be to stop [MPs] debating Brexit and performing its duty in shaping a course for the country.”

Shit’s getting real.

How long will it take Childe Donald to try to do the same?

Three Conservative members of the Queen’s Privy Council took the request to suspend Parliament to the monarch’s Scottish residence in Balmoral on Wednesday morning on behalf of the prime minister.

It has now been approved, allowing the government to suspend Parliament no earlier than Monday 9 September and no later than Thursday 12 September, until Monday 14 October.

Nice job, Brenda.

Could she have done anything else? I have no idea. I don’t understand the arrangement. The Crown plays a merely formal or ceremonial role…but then why did three Tories zip up to Balmoral to get her ok and why does it matter that she handed it over? I don’t know. Anyway she did, so Johnson’s coup is going ahead unless MPs can stop it.

Donnie of course is all for it.

Would be very hard for Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s Labour Party, to seek a no-confidence vote against New Prime Minister Boris Johnson, especially in light of the fact that Boris is exactly what the U.K. has been looking for, & will prove to be “a great one!” Love U.K.

Or England, or Queenville, or whatever they’re calling it today.



How to reshape the future of women’s sports

Aug 28th, 2019 9:37 am | By

Another one:

When June Eastwood steps onto the start line for the Clash of the Inland Northwest cross country meet on Saturday morning in Cheney, Wash., she will make history. Eastwood, a senior at the University of Montana, will become the fastest distance runner to ever compete in an NCAA Division I women’s race.

In fact, it won’t even be close.

Eastwood’s personal best in the 800 meters is 1:55.23. That’s almost four seconds faster than the collegiate record of 1:59.10 set by Raevyn Rogers in 2017.

Her personal best in the 1500 is 3:50.19. Jenny Simpson’s collegiate record, unchallenged for a decade, is almost 10 seconds slower (3:59.90).

Eastwood has run 14:38.80 in the 5,000, far ahead of Simpson’s collegiate record of 15:01.70.

Despite those PBs, it is far from certain Eastwood will win on Saturday. Eastwood has won just two races out of 56 in three years of competition for Montana. She’s never won a national title or earned All-American honors. In fact, she’s never even qualified for the national meet.

The reason? For the first three years of her career, June Eastwood competed on the men’s team.

Competed on the men’s team and didn’t do all that well so hey, let’s try the other team.

Unless Eastwood is utterly awful this fall, it seems likely that she will face questions about whether she has an unfair advantage because of her chromosomal sex — and how big that advantage is. If she’s 20th at NCAAs, will someone complain that she bumped someone out of All-American honors? If she’s 5th at her conference meet, will someone complain she bumped someone out of all-conference honors? If she’s 5th on her team, will someone complain she bumped someone off the travel squad?

All of this makes Eastwood one of the most compelling athletes in the NCAA this fall. How she runs — and how the NCAA reacts — could set a precedent for how the NCAA handles MTF transgender cases and reshape the future of women’s sports.

And “reshape the future of women’s sports” in the sense of killing it stone dead. There won’t be any women’s sports any more, because men who claim to be women will take all of it over.



Colorless green ideas sleep furiously

Aug 27th, 2019 6:07 pm | By

Pink News tweeted this clip from last year today.

One thing the “non-binary lesbian” on the left said – or “argued” – is interesting.

At the end of the day they are terms, they are linguistic tools to describe an experience that already exists. So someone telling me that I can’t be a non-binary lesbian doesn’t mean anything [snigger] because I already am one.

What?

Yes, they are linguistic tools to describe an experience that already exists, but to do that they have to do that. They have to be accurate as opposed to inaccurate, or otherwise they’re not describing the experience, but failing to do so. If she’s trying to describe her experience of being a lesbian and swaps the word “rabbit” for the word “lesbian” she will fail at describing her experience of being a lesbian because her hearers will think she’s talking about her experience as a rabbit.

It’s the same with “non-binary lesbian.” Lesbians are women and girls attracted to women or girls. I don’t know what non-binary people are, but we are told very firmly what they are not, which is women or men. Our non-binary friend in the flowery shirt is not a woman, so she can’t be a lesbian, because lesbians are women (or girls but she’s an adult). Saying that words are terms are linguistic tools doesn’t change that.



Morgane Oger says women who won’t comply get the wall

Aug 27th, 2019 4:34 pm | By

Morgane Oger says Vancouver Rape Relief asked for it.

Regrettably but predictably, VRR choosing to ignore Canada’s civil rights laws causes blow-back. I empathize VRR feel threatened by the predictable response to their conduct. As I have previously offered, I am ready to help VRR get out of their mess if they wish to.

Sadly, people do misguided things that vent their anger but do little to further the cause they see as theirs. One constructive way to de-legitimize these actions is to participate in no injustice that can be pointed at as worthy of blow-back.

He means that VRR is “participating in an injustice” in not hiring men who identify as women to work as rape counselors. The fact that women who have been raped don’t want male rape counselors is beside the point as far as Oger is concerned. It’s all about what the men who identify as women want, and the women who have been raped just have to take what they’re given…kind of like how rape works.

Oger says it’s ok though because the threats weren’t aimed at the raped women, they were aimed at the organization that helps them.

These threats were not aimed at victims of sexual violence but against an organization run by TERFs and those persons themselves. Such foolish threats can not be condoned and are harmful. Somebody doing awful things gives no license to threaten violence.

I do not support inciting anyone killing or otherwise harming anyone else on the basis of who they are or what they believe.

The appropriate response to the views of TERFs, facists, racists, or other supremacists is education. To handle their harmful actions, we employ police.

He calls feminists who provide rape services the equivalent of fascists, racists, and “other supremacists.”

He accuses them of “inciting harm.”

VRR has been inciting harm towards transgender women since 1995. I empathize with the women this organization refused to help far more than with this easily-replaced corporate entity.

He’s tapping these out with the speed of a machine gun.

He’s a pig.



More messages

Aug 27th, 2019 12:23 pm | By

Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter today:

A follow up to the dead rat that was nailed to our door recently… this morning we found this writing scrawled across the windows of our storefront space that we use for support and training groups

No photo description available.

“KILL TERFS / TRANS POWER”

Any chance it’s provocateurs, I wonder? It seems pretty insane for actual trans people to self-present that way…but then again it would hardly be the first time.

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Bedbug claim confirmed

Aug 27th, 2019 11:48 am | By

I also went looking for recent Bret Stephens wisdom, and found some on the subject of The War On Excellence a couple of week ago:

Today’s students are not chafing under some bow-tied patriarchal WASP dispensation. Instead, they are the beneficiaries of a system put in place by professors and administrators whose political views are almost uniformly left wing and whose campus policies indulge nearly every progressive orthodoxy.

So why all the rage?

The answer lies in the title of Anthony Kronman’s necessary, humane and brave new book: “The Assault on American Excellence.” Kronman’s academic credentials are impeccable — he has taught at Yale for 40 years and spent a decade as dean of its law school — and his politics, so far as I can tell, are to the left of mine.

But Yale has been ground zero for recent campus unrest, including a Maoist-style struggle session against a distinguished professor, fights about “cultural appropriation,” the renaming of Calhoun (as in, John C.) College and the decision to drop the term “master” because, to some, it carried “a painful and unwelcome connotation.”

Only to some though. To the people who could answer to the word “master,” why, it’s a lovely word. Several words are like that, I think. “Sir,” “your lordship,” “your holiness” – they all hint at a particular form of male power which does not always entail the consent of those subject to that power, so yes, it does carry “a painful and unwelcome connotation.” Fancy that.

It’s this last decision that seems to have triggered Kronman’s alarm. The word “master” may remind some students of slavery. What it really means is a person who embodies achievement, refinement, distinction — masterliness — and whose spirit is fundamentally aristocratic. Great universities are meant to nurture that spirit, not only for its own sake but also as an essential counterweight to the leveling and conformist tendencies of democratic politics that Alexis de Tocqueville diagnosed as the most insidious threats to American civilization.

Why does Bret Stephens get to decide that “master” really means a person who embodies achievement, refinement, distinction as opposed to a person who owns and extracts labor from slaves?

Also notice the cowardly evasion of the fact that it’s an explicitly male word, with the awkward addition that the female version now means non-marital sex partner rather than The Lady of the House. He says “person” but that’s bullshit, it means male person. And the codswallop about refinement and aristocratic is just that. He sounds like Margaret Mitchell with a better vocabulary.

What’s happening on campuses today isn’t a reaction to Donald Trump or some alleged systemic injustice, at least not really. Fundamentally, Kronman argues, it’s a reaction against this aristocratic spirit — of being, as H.L. Mencken wrote, “beyond responsibility to the general masses of men, and hence superior to both their degraded longings and their no less degraded aversions.” It’s a revolt of the mediocre many against the excellent few. And it is being undertaken for the sake of a radical egalitarianism in which all are included, all are equal, all are special.

So. David Karpf wasn’t wrong; dude’s a bedbug.



“But for heaven’s sake, it was a tweet”

Aug 27th, 2019 11:26 am | By

Oh this is interesting. I wondered if I’d written anything about Bret Stephens here before so I did a search and I’ll be darned, look what I found from April 2018:

But sometimes a person’s worst tweets, like a person’s worst blurts or jokes or exclamations, tell you something.

Expressing a belief in a tweet – or on Facebook or Instagram – does not make that belief any less yours. That’s why I found it so odd when New York Times columnist Bret Stephens wrote an open letter to Williamson this weekend, apologizing to him over having his character “assassinated”.

“I jumped at your abortion comment, but for heaven’s sake, it was a tweet. When you write a whole book on the need to execute the tens of millions of American women who’ve had abortions, then I’ll worry,” Stephens wrote.

Easy for him; he’s not among the people Williamson would like to see hanged.

The first and last sentences are mine, the quoted passage is Jessica Valenti in The Guardian. The subject was a columnist at the Atlantic who was fired when staff learned that he had argued that women who get abortions should be executed.

So to Bret Stephens a tweet saying – not as a joke – that women should be executed for having abortions is merely a tweet, but a tweet saying – as a joke – that he is a bedbug is not mere at all. One the one hand, they (seriously) should be executed; on the other hand, he (heh) is a bedbug. It’s the second that he thinks really matters.

Dang. Beware the distortions of vanity, my friends, for they are the very spawn of the bedbug.



Charlie Hebdo he ain’t

Aug 27th, 2019 10:58 am | By

Another entry in the “horrors inflicted on other people are as nothing compared to a minor insult aimed at me” file: NY Times columnist Bret Stephens goes nuclear on one unnoticed tweet.

On Twitter Monday afternoon, a George Washington University professor compared conservative New York Times columnist Bret Stephens to a bedbug after a Times editor had posted that bedbugs were spotted in its newsroom.

David Karpf’s tweet, which read, “The bedbugs are a metaphor. The bedbugs are Bret Stephens,” initially gained little traction.

“Little” traction meaning no traction – zero retweets. But never mind traction; Stephens emailed Karpf all the same, and copied in the provost at GWU where Karpf is a professor.

“This afternoon, I tweeted a brief joke about a well-known NYT op-Ed columnist,” Karpf wrote Monday night. “It got 9 likes and 0 retweets. I did not @ him. He does not follow me. He just emailed me, cc’ing my university provost. He is deeply offended that I called him a metaphorical bedbug.”

As many people have pointed out, Stephens should try being a woman or black on Twitter. He doesn’t know he’s born.

The exchange went viral soon after, when Karpf posted Stephens’ full email on Twitter.

“I’m often amazed about the things supposedly decent people are prepared to say about other people — people they’ve never met — on Twitter. I think you’ve set a new standard,” Stephens wrote. “I would welcome the opportunity for you to come to my home, meet my wife and kids, talk to us for a few minutes, and then call me a ‘bedbug’ to my face. That would take some genuine courage and intellectual integrity on your part. I promise to be courteous no matter what you have to say.”

A new standard? Good grief. Donald Trump says worse things than that every other day, and then there are all the other shits on Twitter.

Today Stephens Deleted his Account.

Stephens, an MSNBC contributor, was then asked about the spat by network host Chris Jansing on the air Tuesday morning. Stephens said being compared to a bedbug was “dehumanizing” and “totally unacceptable.”

“Analogizing people to insects is always wrong,” Stephens said, adding there is a “bad history” of comparing humans to insects that “goes back to a lot of totalitarian regimes in the past.”

Always wrong? What about comparing someone to a mosquito whining in your ear? Or a spider? Or an industrious ant? Or a butterfly? Or a moth? Or a caterpillar?

His claim just isn’t true – he should have said “vermin” or “noxious insects” or similar to make it accurate.

But more to the point there’s a consistency issue, combined with a “yes but this was about ME” issue.

Matt McDermott:

Bret Stephens: The biggest threat facing our society today is the stifling of free speech on college campuses.

Also Bret Stephens: I’m going to try and get a college professor fired for a joke he tweeted that didn’t get a single retweet.

I mean come on, @nytimes.

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The right to offend! Most precious right! Except when you’re talking about ME!



Immortal words

Aug 27th, 2019 10:27 am | By

Trump says his glorious Doral golf dump HAS NO BEDBUGS. Well all right then.

The president would like to make one thing clear: The Trump National hotel in Doral, Fla. — which he’s pushing as the site for next year’s G-7 meeting — does not have bed bugs.

“No bedbugs at Doral,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “The Radical Left Democrats, upon hearing that the perfectly located (for the next G-7) Doral National MIAMI was under consideration for the next G-7, spread that false and nasty rumor.”

Not a rumor so much as a widely-reported news item.

The “nasty rumor” to which he refers stems from a 2016 lawsuit brought by Eric Linder, a New Jersey man who claimed his room in the Doral’s Jack Nicklaus villa had a bed bug infestation. Linder reached a settlement with the property in 2017, according to the Miami Herald.

Linder’s lawsuit reemerged in the media discourse Monday after Trump told reporters at the G-7 meeting in Biarritz, France, that the hotel would likely be the venue for next year’s conference. Trump could stand to profit from the influx of diplomats, politicians and staff to the hotel.

Could? There’s no “could” about it. If the G7 is held at Trump’s swamp he will make big $$$.

Bill Kristol sums up:

FDR: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
JFK: “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”
Reagan: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
Trump: “No bedbugs at Doral.”



Pink and purple hands are not the issue

Aug 26th, 2019 4:56 pm | By

Also in today – Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services tweets:

Are you a self-identified woman? Are able to commit 3 evenings a month to volunteering? Are you passionate about gender equality & ending violence? If you’ve answered yes to all of the above we want to hear from you. Full details; http://devonrapecrisis.org.uk/support-us/get-involved

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Which, as many women angrily responded, is just a terrible thing to do. Women who need rape or sexual abuse services don’t want them from men. They don’t want them from men even if those men “self-identify as” women. Rape and sexual abuse services should not be a place for men to exercise their fantasies. Rape and sexual abuse services should be for women and focus on what women need, not what narcissistic fantasizing men need.



Guest post: It’s all because of the 16-year-old trollops

Aug 26th, 2019 4:38 pm | By

Originally a comment by Screechy Monkey at the Miscellany Room.

Can you stomach another article on Epstein?

This one is a Mother Jones interview with Stuart Pivar, who described himself as a close friend of Epstein, until he realized what Epstein was up to. Though he still continued to engage in some fairly gross apologetics for him, so I take the claimed separation with a grain of salt. (Pharyngula readers may recall that Pivar once sued PZ Myers for calling him a “crackpot.”)

Some notable excerpts. Those dinners with scientific stars:

There were lavish dinner parties with the likes of Steven Pinker and Stephen Jay Gould during which Epstein would ask provocatively elementary questions like “What is gravity?” If the conversation drifted beyond his interests, Epstein was known to interrupt, “What does that got to do with pussy?!”

Ha ha. Let’s get back to the important topics, amiright? Hmm — one wonders what the women scientists at the party thought of such…. ha, just kidding, obviously there weren’t any women scientists present. Which should have been a red flag to these distinguished male scholars, shouldn’t it? How come they didn’t wonder why Epstein didn’t cultivate any distinguished women scholars? It wasn’t that he didn’t enjoy the social company of women, after all.

As I said, Pivar’s claim that he stayed away rings a little hollow, given his attitude towards Epstein’s behavior:

What’s the difference between the punishment which befalls a murderer and a serial murderer? It’s the same. If Jeffrey Epstein was found guilty of fooling around with one 16-year-old trollop, nobody would pay any attention. The trouble is, what he did was quantitative and not qualitative.

What Jeffrey did is nothing in comparison to the rapes and the forceful things, which people did. Jeffrey had to do with a bunch of women who were totally complicit. For years, they went, came there time and time and time again. And if there was only one of them who did it, no one would have noticed—except he made an industry out of it. And why did he make an industry out of it? Because Jeffrey was a very, very, very sick man. For some reason that doesn’t get understood. Did you ever hear of nymphomania?

Ah yes, it was just 16-year-old “trollops,” they don’t count for anything. Why, everybody fucks one from time to time, you just shouldn’t make a habit of it, and anyone who does is obviously just ill, not evil!

He didn’t struggle with it. He was in a position financially to yield to it, big time. But nevertheless, he could not help himself. I’ve seen him do things which he couldn’t—couldn’t help himself, he was afflicted with it. If he had tuberculosis it wouldn’t be called a perversion, would it? Because he coughed too much?

Oh, indeed. Quite an apposite comparison. “(cough, cough) Oh, I’m so sorry, I seem to have gotten my penis in your teenaged vagina. Ooopsie.”

Anyone who did one thing, let us say, to some 16-year-old trollop who would come to his house time after time after time and then afterwards bitch about it— why, no one would pay attention. Except Jeffrey made an industry out of it.

The nerve of those 16-year-olds!

There are plenty of people with satyriasis like there are plenty of nymphomaniacs, except very few of them have the money to, let us say, treat themselves to sex three times a day with young girls. That was what he had to do. Other people, there are plenty of cases, presumably, if you want to read up on the subject—it’s called satyriasis, right? It’s the male version of—did you ever meet a nymphomaniac?

Ah, yes. “Treat yourself” to sex with young girls, just, you know, in moderation!

It goes on from there, often in circles. Pivar repeats himself, lectures the writer on how he should have talked to a psychologist about satyriasis, and read Kraft-Ebbing’s work on sexual perversion, threatens to sue the writer, etc.



They’re out of size small

Aug 26th, 2019 4:33 pm | By

The least useful message shirt ever:

Image may contain: 1 person, standing and text

Smirk smirk abortions not just for THE LADIES.

As if abortions were like earrings or Jimmy Choos or being on the cover of Vogue.