Notes and Comment Blog

Everything falls under Executive Privilege

Jun 12th, 2019 8:57 am | By

Trump and Gang are ratcheting up the “we have absolute power” move.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday moved to block Congress’ access to documents about how a citizenship question was added to the 2020 census.

Trump claimed executive privilege over subpoenaed documents at the urging of the Justice Department, as the House Oversight and Reform Committee was beginning proceedings Wednesday morning to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with the panel’s subpoenas, which the committee issued in April.

The committee launched an investigation earlier this year into the origins of the citizenship question, with Democrats claiming that it was added to the census in order to boost Republicans in future elections.

Democrats have accused Ross of lying about how the citizenship question was added to the census, in particular after new evidence emerged recently that highlighted the role of a now-deceased Republican gerrymandering expert who argued that adding such a question to the census would cause congressional districts to be redrawn in ways that help Republicans.

The Trump administration has said it made the decision in order to better enforce the Voting Rights Act.

Better enforce? Better nullify, is what they meant. They must have had a big laugh over that one.

Dude, go home

Jun 12th, 2019 8:41 am | By

I find this perhaps disproportionately enraging. Then again perhaps not disproportionately at all.

Why not just tell her to go home and that she’s a slut for being out in public? Why not tell her to wear a burqa? Why not ask her grandfather what the hell he’s thinking allowing his granddaughter – a GIRL, with an actual VAGINA, and possibly pubescent little BOOBIES – to be in a coffee shop with men and boys around? Why not tell her to her face that she’s a whore and has no business mingling with male people in this whorish manner?

Or why not just say to her: “Oh hi, you are a young female person, a person who is fuckable, that is all there is about you that is of interest to anyone. Female persons are for being fucked by real people, who are male. I am one such person, your brothers are more, your grandfather is another. Why are you here? Are you here so that we can fuck you? I am confused.”

Related image

Updating to add: the photo is an old one; it’s not a photo of yesterday’s creepery.

A beautiful letter here, a beautiful letter there

Jun 11th, 2019 5:41 pm | By

Oh I misunderstood what Trump said about Kim’s murder of his brother – it wasn’t that he would do the same thing in Kim’s position, it was that he wouldn’t let the CIA spy on North Korea.

Soooooo that’s horrifying. Here we are, wishing Trump had merely endorsed a murder.

David Graham at the Atlantic cleared it up for me.

Two accounts, a new book by the Washington Post reporter Anna Fifield and a Wall Street Journal story, report that Kim’s brother Kim Jong Nam was a CIA informant. Kim Jong Nam was killed in a shocking chemical-weapons attack in the Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017. Trump was asked about the revelation as he left the White House for a trip to Iowa, and his answer was jarring.

“I see that, and I just received a beautiful letter from Kim Jong Un,” Trump said. “I think the relationship is very well, but I appreciated the letter. I saw the information about the CIA with regard to his brother or half brother, and I would tell him that would not happen under my auspices. I wouldn’t let that happen under my auspices. I just received a beautiful letter from Kim Jong Un.”

I thought he meant “if I had a brother who was spying on me I’d murder him in a New York minute.” Is he now going to tell the CIA to stop gathering intel on Kim?

American officials often avoid discussing sensitive stories like this with the press, and one reason for that caution became clear as Trump continued. The context of his remarks makes clear that what Trump “wouldn’t let … happen” is not Kim Jong Nam’s killing, but his cultivation as an American asset. Trump has said that former President Barack Obama described North Korea as the nation’s greatest foreign-policy challenge, and Trump has taken that cue, making it a major priority. By saying he wouldn’t allow American intelligence to cultivate an asset so close to Kim, he’s saying he wouldn’t use spying to better understand the country’s biggest overseas challenge.

Put another way, he’s ruling out having the best information possible headed into high-stakes negotiations. Tying one hand behind your back like this makes sense only if you have a messianic belief in your own negotiating prowess—which Trump does, despite the collapse of the most recent round of talks.

Or if you’re so engorged with gratified vanity that you think the North Korean dictator really does love you and deserves all your best favors.

The guiding principle of Trump’s interactions with Kim has been to try to flatter Kim’s ego and play the good cop, while allowing other members of his administration to take the hard line. Arguably, that paid off in getting Kim to negotiate, even though no deal has been struck. But it also risks letting Kim get away with heinous acts, because the risk of offending him is that negotiations will break off. Moreover, this incident shows it works both ways: Kim grasps the importance of flattering Trump, as with the “beautiful” letter he sent the president. A beautiful letter here, a beautiful letter there, and pretty soon the president of the United States is apologizing to you after a report that you killed an American informant.

Trump is a cheap date.

He just received a beautiful letter ♥ ♥ ♥

Jun 11th, 2019 5:00 pm | By

We can actually watch him say it. We can watch, and we can hear reporters erupt with questions when he says it, and we can see him make the “shutupImtalking” gesture at them. We can watch him say that he too would murder a brother who was talking to the CIA. We can watch him drivel about what a warm letter Kim sent him. We can watch him exclaim about how much better he’s made everything. We can watch his hair flap jump up and down in the wind.


Losing on climate in the courts

Jun 11th, 2019 12:01 pm | By

One bit of better news though – the Trump admin is failing to kneecap climate change-related regulations.

The Trump Administration is losing on climate in the courts. More than two and a half years into the Trump Administration, no climate change-related regulatory rollback brought before the courts has yet survived legal challenge. Nevertheless, climate change is one arena where the administration’s rollbacks have been both visible and real. In total, the Sabin Center’s U.S. Climate Deregulation Tracker identifies a total of 94 actions taken by the executive branch in 2017 and 2018 to undermine and reverse climate protections.

But despite the Trump Administration setting a high-water mark for climate change deregulation, a new Sabin Center working paper, U.S. Climate Litigation in the Age of Trump: Year Two, finds that due to vigilant litigation, the courts have largely constrained extralegal rollbacks and other attempts by the Trump Administration to undermine climate protections by overreaching executive authority, violating statutory requirements for environmental review, or flouting administrative law—at least thus far. (An executive summary of the paper is also available.)

Hanging on by our fingernails.

Trump and Kim have that in common

Jun 11th, 2019 11:44 am | By

Trump totally gets why Kim Jong Un had his brother murdered. He says he would have done the same.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he had received a very warm letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, calling the correspondence “beautiful.”

Trump spoke a day after the Wall Street Journal reported that Kim’s slain half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, was a source for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Kim Jong Nam was killed at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2017.

“I did receive a beautiful letter from Kim Jong Un … I appreciated the letter. I saw the information about CIA with respect to his brother, or half-brother. And I will tell him that will not happen under my … I wouldn’t let that happen.”


An analogy that doesn’t

Jun 11th, 2019 11:06 am | By

I saw a reference somewhere yesterday (I wish I could remember where) to an analogy between trans identity and adoptive parents. I kept thinking about it off and on all day, finding it less convincing the more I thought about it. So I searched for it and found a piece by a philosopher, one Sophie Grace Chappell. Is Chappell trans?, I wondered as I read. I had to look hard to find out, but I did look hard, because…that name? Sophie Grace? Remember the also self-named cartoonist Sophie Labelle? Self-flatter much?

Anyway I did find out: yes, Chappell is trans.

Sophie Grace Chappell is professor of philosophy at the Open University, Milton Keynes, England. Under her previous name Timothy Chappell she is the author of Ethics and Experience (Acumen 2011) and Knowing What to Do: Imagination, Virtue, and Platonism in Ethics (OUP 2014). Her most recent book is the edited collection Intuition, Theory, and Anti-Theory in Ethics (OUP 2015).

OUP: a name to conjure with.

So, this analogy:

Maybe we should think of it like this: Trans women/men are to women/men as adoptive parents are to parents. There are disanalogies of course, and the morality of adoption is a large issue in itself which I can’t do full justice to here. Still, the analogies are, I think, important and instructive. [1]

An adoptive parent is someone who desperately wants to be a parent but can’t be one in the normal biological sense. (At any rate usually–there are families with a mix of biological and adopted children. But here I’ll focus on the commoner and simpler case.) So society has found a way for her to live the role of a parent, and to be recognised socially and legally as a parent, which kind of gets round the biological obstacle.

Chappell then goes through a long list of the things people don’t think about adoptive parents but do think about trans people, but what I kept thinking about yesterday was whether the analogy is a real analogy in the first place. I get the basic idea: adoptive parents are not literal, physical parents, but they function as parents, they live as parents, they are accepted as parents, and so on. I get that but it’s not all there is to it. Adoptive parents are parents if and because they do something. You have to adopt a child or children to be an adoptive parent. You don’t have to do anything to be a trans woman. A closer analogy would be “identifying as” an adoptive parent without actually adopting any children.

The adoptive bit is not just a label, it’s an action – and quite a big action, with large consequences that last for years; an action that entails many actions every day for 18 years/the rest of your life. Being trans can include some actions taken on the body, but we are assured it doesn’t have to.

I asked myself at one point yesterday what actions I would take if I decided I was a trans man. The answer was: none. Nothing would change. Not one damn thing. I mean, sure, I could get busy telling everyone I know, but that doesn’t count as an action entailed by being a man instead of a woman. There would be no chores or duties or visible behaviors I would have to adopt to conform to my decision.

And then there’s the fact that being an adoptive parent is about the children at least as much as it’s about the parent. There are parents who adopt and children who are adopted; adoption means both parties; it can’t possibly be a solipsistic activity. Being trans is very much the opposite of that – it’s about “an authentic self”; it’s about “my identity”; it’s about “my woman’s soul”; it’s about an Inner Feeling. It’s about one person and one person only. In that way the two could hardly be more contrary to each other.

This makes all Chappell’s points about the things people don’t think about adoptive parents but do think about trans people pretty much irrelevant, as far as I can see. Of course people don’t question the category of adoptive parents the same way some of us question the category of trans people (at least as currently dogmatized): they are radically different.

Until people start “identifying as” adoptive parents while remaining childless I don’t think that will change.

Constructive, supportive dialogue

Jun 11th, 2019 10:06 am | By

How can we do more? More more more? The situation is desperate; we must do more.

The profession being discussed is philosophy (i.e. the university job).

After reading several accounts by transgender colleagues reporting very negative experiences in the profession–accounts that a number of other trans colleagues wrote on social media cohere with their own experiences–Helen and I commissioned the following guest post on ways to support our trans peers better. We hope the post will lead to constructive, supportive dialogue on this important issue – as we believe that our profession should be a welcoming and supportive place for all of its members, particularly those who have been marginalized and who experience the profession as less welcoming that it should be.

Which of course doesn’t mean women. Women are not and have never been marginalized, and they do not and never have experienced the profession as less welcoming than it should be.

Supporting Our Transgender Peers in Philosophy

By Isela González Vázquez, Jules Holroyd, and Rory Wilson

Department of Philosophy,  The University of Sheffield

Many of us will have been saddened to read the two pieces – here and here –  from trans students describing their experiences within academic philosophy. While we strongly disagree with the views of ‘gender critical’ philosophers, and are grateful to those who have engaged with their arguments, that’s not what we want to do in this post. We don’t want to add more fuel to the flames here. Instead, we want to ensure there is space to discuss the kinds of support we should be making available to trans staff and students. What we can do better? How can we, academic philosophers, cis and transgender, together support trans staff and students within our departments and within our discipline?

And how can we make sure to let gender critical feminists know we don’t support them right at the outset?

Jumping way ahead (it’s a long piece, as is only right for this Most Important Subject of All) –

In addition, there are some basic support measures that each of us, as individuals, could work towards on a daily basis:

    • Adopting the general practice of considering the specific needs of transgender individuals. Crucial here is respecting gender identity. Misgendering, or the act of referring to a person with gendered language that does not match their gender identity is frequently encountered by transgender individuals. Whether intentional or not the act can serve to make a trans person feel a host of negative emotions.
    • Often advice around misgendering is to ask people their pronouns outright. We believe this is not always the best approach as especially in the context of a classroom, asking such a question can be experienced as harmful in its own right. A person you are asking might be not out, so the asking of the question of pronouns makes them either come out not on their own terms or position them to misgender themselves. It also could put someone in a position of being unsafe if there are others who have intent to do harm to this person on finding out this information.
    • A better approach is one of respecting gender identity as a matter of privacy. Always use pronouns that a person voluntarily shares with you.

Never ever misgender anyone. Don’t ask people what gender they are. Look out!

Have a nice day.

Women are the threat

Jun 10th, 2019 5:49 pm | By

Liam Madigan informs us that Karen Ingala Smith is not a feminist, on the grounds that her list of murdered women is a list of murdered women. She “purposely” doesn’t include men on her list of murdered women, therefore she is not a feminist in the view of Liam Madigan, Labour Students National Women’s Officer.

Also Liam.

I don’t think Liam would recognize a fact if it bit him on the ass (as we vulgarly say over here – swap in “arse” if you prefer).

Bring plenty of stones

Jun 10th, 2019 5:13 pm | By

Oh goody, a town hall. A Two Spirit, Dyke, Queer & Trans Community Town Hall, Hosted by Coalition Against Trans Antagonism and Vancouver Dyke March.

Vancouver Dyke March is the one that doesn’t like lesbians. It has a video about trans inclusion.

I feel like the word “dyke” is so inclusive of so many different idenninies.

That’s at 22 seconds in and I’m not watching any more because that’s plenty stupid enough. The word “dyke” is inclusive of lesbian identities; why does it have to be inclusive of “so many” other ones? Why can’t it just name what it names? Why do words have to be inclusive at all? The more inclusive they are the less they tell us, and words are supposed to be tools for telling us things.

Back to the event page.

Coalition Against Trans Antagonism & the Vancouver Dyke March are teaming up to hold an important community discussion. Join us to debrief, reflect on, and strategize with regards to last year’s and this year’s Vancouver Dyke March and the TERF/SWERF fascist violence and oppression.

Yes that’s what dyke marches should be all about: demonizing other dykes and accusing them of fascist violence and oppression.

Image result for circular firing squad

Safer Space Information:
This event is a safer space event. We insist attendees conduct themselves within decolonial and intersectional frameworks. TERFs, SWERFs and any other forms of fascists and supremacists are not welcome. All attendees will be vetted at the door.

In other words feminists who think men are not women and feminists who think the sex trade exploits and abuses women are not welcome at this oh so intersectional meeting.

Starting point

Jun 10th, 2019 4:24 pm | By

Laurie Penny makes a reasonable suggestion.

Let’s start by acknowledging that women are not things. Before we talk, like we have to, about what the attacks on abortion access mean for this anxious, awful political era, let’s establish as a ground rule that women are not vessels, or incubators, or an undifferentiated natural resource. Women are human beings whose human rights matter.

And one item that looks a good deal like a human right is the power to decide what happens to your body, within the realm of possibility. You can’t decide you will never get ill, but you can decide to do something about getting ill. Medical technology being what it is, women now can decide they will never get pregnant, if they choose, but they should also have the right to undo a pregnancy that they don’t want. Pregnancy doesn’t happen off in some other room, with a baby placed in the hands 9 months later; it happens inside a woman’s body, and if she doesn’t want it to, it’s not for anyone else to force it on her.

But, Penny goes on, lots of people in the US think it is.

This has been coming for a long time. It’s all part of a strategic  frontal assault on women’s right to choose, a deliberate ploy to overturn  the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling upholding abortion access as a constitutional right in the United States. These laws are not about whether a fetus is a person. They are about enshrining maximalist control over the sexual autonomy of women as a foundational principle of conservative rule. They are about owning women. They are about women as things.

Women as things that are comfortable for men – things that never disagree, never object, never snap, never refuse. Whether it’s making dinner or spreading her legs or gestating an infant, she’s always compliant.

What Pride month is not

Jun 10th, 2019 12:12 pm | By

Mm hm.

A guy who “identifies as” a woman tells women that straight and “cis” women don’t have to deal with men forcing us to be sexual.

Turn right at the obstruction

Jun 10th, 2019 12:07 pm | By

John Dean is trolling Trump – who has nothing on his schedule today so is free to watch all the tv.

Richard Nixon’s former White House counsel John Dean just began his testimony with a bang.

He first notes that he last appeared before the House judiciary committee on July 11, 1974, at the impeachment inquiry into president Nixon (who resigned in August, 1974).

Dean says: “I hope I can give a little historical perspective on the Mueller report. In many ways it is to Donald Trump what the ‘Watergate road map’ was to Nixon.”

He’s referring to the evidence Congress used to support its impeachment of Nixon, leading ultimately after the whole Watergate scandal, to the downfall of the president.

“Stated a little bit differently, Robert Mueller has provided this committee with a road map,” Dean said.

The Watergate ‘road map’ was the report that Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworski sent to Congress in 1974 and that informed its impeachment proceedings, which were already underway.

Mitch McConnell wasn’t there then.

Tall handsome rich white dude pride day?

Jun 10th, 2019 12:01 pm | By

Hmm, category of Things Not Needed department: a Straight Pride parade.

A group in Boston wants to hold a “Straight Pride” parade in August. The event, pending city approval, will be hosted by a group called Super Happy Fun America.

The movement seeks to advocate on behalf of the “straight community in order to build respect [and] inclusivity,” among other things, according to the group’s website.

“Straight people are an oppressed majority,” John Hugo, the group’s president, said on its website. “We will fight for the right of straights everywhere to express pride in themselves without fear of judgment and hate. The day will come when straights will finally be included as equals among all of the other orientations.”

So clearly it’s partly a “joke” of sorts, or at least sarcasm. But a joke about what? About the fact that not all that long ago it was considered creepy and terrible to be anything other than straight and that now lots of people don’t see it that way? Do we really need jokes about that? Not that “political correctness run mad” jokes aren’t hilarious, but do we really need new ones?

Woke philosophy’s most recent moves

Jun 10th, 2019 10:54 am | By

Daniel Kaufman at The Electric Agora walks us through the t philosopher-Justin Weinberg campaign to ostracize and silence The Evil TERFs, starting with t philosopher:

Woke philosophy’s most recent moves can be found in an “open letter” to the profession, published anonymously (by “t-philosopher”) and entitled “I am leaving academic philosophy because of its transphobia problem,” as well as a lengthy essay, written by none other than our intrepid Weinberg, “Trans Women and Philosophy: Learning from Recent Events” and published at the Daily Nous. The two pieces are an exquisite pairing: T-philosopher is wounded and empowered and terrified and accusatory and defeated and defiant, all at once – sometimes, even in the same sentence – and then, suddenly, thankfully, as if out of a puff of smoke, Weinberg appears on the scene to help us sort it out so that we all might become Better People.

T-philosopher announces to the profession – all of it – that she is leaving because of philosophy’s “transphobia” and the terrible harm she has suffered at the hands of “bigots” like Kathleen Stock (who else?), whose presence renders her no longer “safe in professional settings.” Then comes the inevitable “call to action”: Journals must refuse to publish articles critical of gender identity theory and activism; conferences must no-platform philosophers seeking to present gender critical arguments; gender critical thinkers must be barred from public discourse, whether on blogs, discussion boards, social media sites, comments sections, or other online venues; and anyone and everyone who is going to engage in both professional and public philosophical discourse on the subject had better accept that “any trans discourse that does not proceed from this initial assumption — that trans people are the gender that they say they are — is oppressive, regressive, and harmful” and that “trans discourse that does not proceed with a substantial amount of care at amplifying trans voices and understanding the trans experience should not exist.”

If you’ve raised a teenager, as my wife Nancy and I have done, you’ll immediately recognize this as very typically adolescent behavior. The clueless narcissism (“to the academic philosophy community…”); the catastrophizing (I know Kathleen Stock. You can watch video of Kathleen Stock.  One cannot possibly be “unsafe” because of Kathleen Stock); the empty (because toothless) demands; the emotional blackmail (You see what you’re making me do!); even the proverbial running away from home (I’m leaving and never coming back!)  It’s all there.

Another way of understanding it is simply as narcissism. The two are pretty much the same thing – we know narcissists when we see them because they act like angry teenagers even though they are grown-ass adults. They don’t all threaten to run away from home, to be sure, but the trans activist variety sure do invoke suicide a lot.

Then he gets to Weinberg. He is not an admirer.

Suffice it to say that Weinbergism is alive and well and holding court: the phony even-handedness (a not-very-effective trick he employs is to repeatedly suggest that those on his side of the issue are likely as dismayed by what he has said as his opponents); the credulous embrace of the testimony of those with whom he is already sympathetic (“Reader, what do you do when you are confronted with the anguish of another person?”); the breathtaking hypocrisy (“Be attentive to hostile rhetoric in work you are considering hosting or publishing”); the false modesty (“Yes, that’s my name up there. No, I’m not going to defend myself in this post. That’s not the point of this”); the obligatory swipe at Brian Leiter, with the equally obligatory misrepresentation of things that anyone with a pulse, two fingers, and an internet connection can check for themselves (“a well-known philosophy-blogger’s obsession with belittling graduate students who use Twitter to discuss trans issues” (2)); the by-now legendary lack of self-awareness (“Note the venues. Much of the trans-exclusionary writing by philosophers that has fueled recent controversies has been self-published (e.g., at Medium) by philosopher-activists..,” published on Weinberg’s personal site, in an essay about a politically-soaked letter published on Medium).  It’s classic Weinberg; Weinberg as only Weinberg can be.

He goes on to point out that woke philosophy isn’t philosophy at all but politics. I would think, though, that philosophers could carry the skills and the norms they rely on for philosophy into their other endeavors. Is that fatuous? Kaufman points out that their goals are very different: politics is about working for a specific outcome, while philosophy is about good arguments. (Sloppy paraphrase, but you get the drift.) If you can’t come up with a good argument for your favored outcome you should probably conclude that you ought to stop favoring that outcome…but political commitments often have to do with loyalties. It’s tricky. What if a good argument, one you can find no way to dispute, justifies an abhorrent conclusion? What do you do?

This is not a foreign experience to some of us at all

Jun 9th, 2019 4:48 pm | By

Jane Clare Jones has a must-read post on Justin Weinberg’s long and intensely clueless post about the sorrows of “t philosopher.” She has resolved, somewhat to my chagrin, to curb her tendency to jokes and swears by way of professional courtesy. She also plans to be calm even though she is pissed, man, and even though this having to pretend not to be furious is in fact central to what she’s saying.

The letter written by the anonymous ‘t philosopher’ is principally an emotional appeal to vulnerability, an intent to share the philosopher’s “pain and anger about being forced out of a career that I once loved.” The argument is, essentially, ‘allowing these women to express their views makes me feel so intolerably bad I have to leave, recast as ‘being forced to leave’ (a.k.a “you made me do it”?).

This. t’s letter is maudlin, and what it’s maudlin about is t’s fee-fees and t’s desire to make the women stop talking. This makes it a tad infuriating to see men like Justin Weinberg rush to sympathize and agree.

The first thing I want to note, is that Justin responds to this appeal as if it describes an entirely foreign vulnerability. There are several instances of this:

“But most of us are fortunate enough never to have had our toughness tested in this way.”

“For most of us, our well-being is almost never jeopardized by our work environments.”

“Most of us have not experienced what t philosopher has experienced.”

I picked Justin up for this on twitter, because, of course, as is immediately evident to anyone who is not a white man, this is not a foreign experience to some of us at all. (Note: I am not claiming that trans philosophers’ experiences of marginalization are the same as women’s, that is not something I could ever know. I am merely noting that the idea of being ignorant of what it’s like to be mentally jeopardized by our work environment is a statement that could only be made by white male (and probably straight) philosophers.) In response to my tweet Justin has clarified that that is why he wrote ‘most of us,’ and has since amended the post to reflect the recognition that the profession is 70% male and 85% white. I still, however, want to underline what is going on here. We are having a conversation about whether some women should be effectively muzzled in the profession, and the person writing the post is male, and the audience he is imaginatively addressing is also male. That is, the men are talking about whether a few women should be silenced, without acknowledging anything about how the men’s sex is affecting their understanding of the situation, and how that might be different for the women they are discussing – the women who, implicitly, are the ‘problem’ here.

That. So much that, that I want to stop reading it for awhile, so that I can let that part settle in, like watering the flowers at dusk.

It’s amazing – it amazed me when I first read Weinberg’s post – that the audience he is imaginatively addressing is also male, because the audience he is literally addressing is not all male…but it might as well be for all the difference it makes. He did say that thing – “But most of us are fortunate enough never to have had our toughness tested in this way.” Yeah, right, it’s only trans women who are ever made to feel unwelcome or mocked or ignored or talked right over.

I hope he reads Jane’s post. I hope his cheeks burn with shame.

Has the water sunk in a little? Onward.

One thing that is incredibly striking to me about this is that the men are extending a degree of concern and empathy to the experience of t philosopher that is completely foreign to how I, as a woman, have come to understand men’s reactions to women’s experience of philosophy.

Men tend to see women as the opposite of philosophy, as being Pathos as opposed to Logos, and it follows that women can’t express any emotion without confirming that very stereotype. It’s quite a bind.

The culture at large, as is reasonably well recognised, is littered with images of ‘hysterical’ ‘angry’ ‘vengeful,’ women. Any expression of women’s needs which refuses to comply with male people’s desires or demands is frequently characterised as wanton aggression (which is highly relevant to the emotional force of the image of the TERF).

Aw, yeah – I hadn’t thought of that before. The deep weirdness of the emotional force of the image of the TERF has always puzzled me as well as pissing me off, and that is very helpful. We’re Medea, we’re Clytemnestra, we’re Medusa.

So next she points out that because of all that we couldn’t write a post like that and get the reaction t philosopher did. In us it would just be seen as more of the same pathetic emoting that women do and why do they even try to philosophy? And that’s why we need to be able to name the sex of people, and it’s not just to be big ol’ meanies.

because yes, I am claiming that the very fact that t philosopher thought expressing her pain in this manner was a potentially effective political manoeuvre, and that people responded to it as such, is something to do with her not being female.

Everyfuckingthing to do with it.

The fact is, therefore, that those of you who are male do not know a great deal about female people’s experiences of harm in the profession, because we do not tell you, and we may, furthermore, go to some great lengths to conceal it from you.

I was thinking this, in an infinitely more inchoate way, when reading t philosopher’s lament. I was wondering why the hell t philosopher felt so comfortable writing such an extended “pity me me me me me me” when no woman in philosophy would dare write such a thing. Sally Haslanger wrote a great piece on the treatment of women in philosophy but it was nothing like t philosopher’s.

These issues surrounding the non-expression of women’s feelings also relates to the fact that we are trying very hard, in this situation, not to let anyone see how distressing this whole conflict is to us, because we have no confidence that it will not simply be weaponised against us. (Justin for example instructs us in the manner we should respond – cordially, calmly, although the whole conversation is precipitated by an extreme – and some might think, manipulative – expression of emotion which is, nonetheless, being given enormous, uncritical, weight).

Oh so he does. I didn’t even pick up on that.

I’ll stop talking now so that you can read it all in peace.

Manolo Blahnik at the Wallace Collection

Jun 9th, 2019 12:27 pm | By

A woman writes about the mandatory high heels for women issue:

It’s hard to imagine men enduring decades of pain and long-term physical injury just to “look the part” in the workplace – after all, many bemoan the necktie as too restrictive for the daily grind.

Now consider this: millions of women around the world, at all levels of the workplace hierarchy, have consistently spent their working hours tortured by blisters, bloodied flesh, foot pain, knee pain, back pain and worse, as a result of the pressure to conform to an aesthetic code – sometimes explicitly written into contracts or policy, more often subliminally expected as a societal and cultural standard – that deems it appropriate to wear high heels.

Strange, isn’t it. The cover story is that it’s all about aesthetics, but I’m not convinced. I think it’s part fetish and part disable them so that they can’t escape. I think the proportions of each vary with the individual.

Fascination with the footwear appears to be endless, with a new exhibition celebrating Manolo Blahnik’s work opening at London’s Wallace Collection tomorrow.


In my former roles as a newspaper fashion editor and TV fashion correspondent, I revelled in the regular opportunities I had to dress up in exotic footwear. However, motherhood and life as a freelance journalist based in a rural village have made it necessary to adapt to changing needs, so trainers, brogues and wellies now feature more frequently. While I find heels empowering and enjoyable to wear on the right occasion, I would challenge any employer who stipulated I was contractually obliged to do so.

That’s the bit that made me decide to do a note here. She finds heels “empowering”??? How? In what sense of the word? How can that possibly make sense when heels are necessarily disempowering? They’re hobbles. They’re also sexy (see: fetish) but they can’t not be hobbling too. They are radically different from normal functional shoes that we wear to protect our feet from broken glass and dog shit: they are deliberately and calculatedly not functional, but rather anti-functional. No one would voluntarily wear them to run a race or to escape from a bear or to walk a few miles. The highness of the heels in High Heels makes them anti-functional as shoes: the highness slows the gait and makes it at least somewhat painful, and increasingly painful with more time and more steps. So in what sense can they be “empowering”?

This must be the ultimate in libertarian choosy-choice empowerment feminism: modern day footbinding is “empowering.”

Image result for naomi campbell falls

Hold that thought

Jun 9th, 2019 11:18 am | By

The second tweet directly follows the first.

The New York Times and CNN are truly The Enemy of the People! Also, it’s called Freedom of Speech!

Call it peace

Jun 9th, 2019 11:12 am | By

Also Pink News:

Let trans people swim in peace. Fine, let them, by all means. But what about women? Can we let women swim in peace too?

Hahaha don’t be silly, no, of course not, because what Pink News means by “Let trans people swim in peace” is let men who are trans swim with women and make women swim with men who are trans. It does not mean let women swim with women. It would be exclusionary to let women swim with women, but it’s inclusive to make women swim with men who are trans. Only some people get to do things in peace in this brave new world, and women are decidedly not among them.

The right side of history

Jun 9th, 2019 11:00 am | By

Julie Bindel in The Times:

On Tuesday, having given a talk at Edinburgh University about male violence towards women and girls, I was attacked on my way to the taxi that was taking me to the airport. A man, wearing a long skirt and with lots of dark stubble, started screaming and shouting at me, calling me a Nazi and Terf scum…

I recognised the man from an earlier protest. A group of about 50 people, many young “woke” students with the requisite orange or blue fringes and a couple of trans women, had been holding signs with slogans such as “No Terfs on our turf” and chanting “Die cis scum”…

The event, which the protesters had tried hard to get cancelled, was on women’s sex-based rights. In light of previous proposals by the government to allow a person to change their gender based on their own self-definition, some institutions and even local authorities have already put the policy in place despite it not yet being law.

And so we get male-bodied trans women in women’s prisons, hospitals, sports teams, changing rooms and the ladies’ pond on Hampstead Heath.

Julie doesn’t say this (newspapers have strict word counts) but I will: we also get male-bodied trans women telling the world that they are far more oppressed than women and that women have privilege and power over them – in other words we get feminism canceled out entirely and trans women taking its place.

The university event went well, in spite of the best efforts of the woke protesters.

I was the final speaker, focusing on the amazing feminist activists I have met in countries around the world who are countering male violence such as prostitution, rape, sexual assault and forced marriage. My speech went down well and as I left the hall I received a standing ovation.

I went outside to wait for my taxi, followed by the security staff. As I was saying my goodbyes a man, who had clearly been waiting around the corner for me to emerge, ran up and began screaming in my face, calling me “scum”, “Terf” and “bigot”. He lunged at me and was a split-second away from thumping me full in the face when three security guards pulled him away. I took out my phone to try to record the attack. As I did this, the attacker lunged at me again and had to be restrained.

This is a man doing his best to thump a woman in the face, but Pink News saw fit to report it as a woman “misgendering” the man who tried to thump her.

Being a lesbian and a radical feminist brings with it certain dangers because there are some serious misogynists out there. But the transgender activists and their allies, a mix of woke bearded blokes and queer-identified female students, argue that they are on the “right side of history” because they are “calling out” transphobic feminists and are defending trans people.

The men who join in the abuse and vilification of feminists are little more than misogynists but now have permission to scream insults in our faces and still be seen as progressive. Until the liberals who defend this behaviour see it for what it really is, feminists will continue to be silenced and abused.

In fact they have permission to scream insults in our faces and be seen as most progressive, as infinitely more progressive than we are.